WAIT, ALSO. People who are clearly more awesome than the world demands have written me fic which you (and I) need to read asap, so bye:
theviolonist: everything you love will burn up in the light: klaus/caroline.
badboy_fangirl: because. veronica mars. veronica/logan.
lynzie914: swallow me whole. caroline. caroline/ensemble.
jada_jasmine: and we keep doing it. harry/hermione.
warsan shire's poetry for women who are difficult to love
[you hate women, just like your father and his father, so it runs in your blood.]
[you made the nomad in me build a house and stay.]
[i was still lonely so I did even lonelier things.]
[i couldn’t love you, you were a small war.]
[you’re the song I rewind until I know all the words and I feel sick.]
[forgive me, I was lonely so I chose you.]
[the women in my family die waiting.]
[he knows all of my secrets and still wants to kiss me.]
-- thirty four excuses for why we failed at love / warsan shire
Summer ends, of course, eventually, it seems to be the general course of things. If winter comes, in reverse. And when he messes up, when he really messes up, because he was always going to, obviously, and comes to her house smelling of gasoline and slow disaster, and there's no going back from this, she goes into her room, shuts the door, and cries from the sheer relief. The constant state of waiting was the difficult part, the real deal-breaker. This is easy.
He doesn't really leave, even then. He's outside, hours later, like he has been so many times before, when she steps out, "something to be said about living up to your stereotype, huh?"
It's not about protection, Logan, it's about pride.
"Something to be said," she agrees, her voice sounds swollen to her, probably does to him too, but he has nowhere to go.
Everything is heavier, and she wishes she'd thought to make hot chocolate before she stepped out. It's getting colder, and she sometimes has to carry her jacket at night now, because the adulterers at Neptune are no more empathetic of her trials than they ever were. But she can stay out as long as she wants now, Logan won't be waiting with careful eyes and stilted words, checking her for bruises with laser eyes.
It annoys her, that concern, like he has a right over the bruises on her skin.
Anyway, it's not like she does the actual investigation thing now, that's the past, that's the old Veronica, the kind of Veronica who would let Logan Echolls get to second base and in her head. She's Veronica Two Point Oh: New and Improved; she takes the money-shot and runs, and sometimes, when she doesn't get it, she runs anyway, and lets her dad handle it, because that is normal, she's read the literature. Her camera, slung around her neck, feels heavier too, these days. It weighs her down a little.
So spake the albatross she thinks she hears him say as she walks away, but then again, maybe it's that voice inside her head that sometimes sounds like him; drawling and low and biting. Anyway, she does. Have places to go.
She's sensible, she'd like to think. Fool-hardy, yes. Stupid, on occasion. But mostly sensible. Or at least acquainted just about enough with the rules of the universe. Enough to make it through life without it flashing before her eyes through the wrong end of a smoking gun or something, or at least not in the time she's doing normal, instead of The (Fabulous) Life And Death of Lilly Kane. She does normal well.
That she lets Logan Echolls get to second base in Neptune High's supplies closet, in the middle of a summer school programme she's not even in, with three pens jabbing into the space between her shoulders, belies that claim. Mostly. Probably, certainly. But shh.
This is her life flashing before her eyes: god, she really, really hates her mother. And she doesn't even know why she ever listened to Logan, like the girl's bathroom is some alternate timeline where he gets to mess up her insides and get her to do things she shouldn't do, because fuck it, she's sensible. And sometimes she's scared she'll never love anyone like she did Lilly Kane, but Lilly is dead and how is it fair that she's going to spend her life being mostly in love with a dead girl. And Logan is at the door with another gun in his hand and high-strung bravado and he's going to get himself killed. And she's fucking going to kill him if he does that. And nobody wanted to take her to the spring dance except Leo and Leo didn't know her well enough to know better.
"You're one of those girls who just needs to have all the boys, aren't you." Maria is mostly just amused now, and kind of a friend, or something.
"It's in the genes," she says, absently, "mom's side of the family. Biology is a wonderful, mysterious, thing that way." Duncan is smiling from across the room, fully engrossed in her, and he makes letters with his hands when she looks his way, and she resists the urge to smile. This is what always should have been, and she's going to be fine now.
"This one's cuter." Maria mock-whispers, as she hands her the lattes-without-cream-but-with-cinnamon-p
He always bites the word out, as if if he can manage to say it just the right number of times, mockingly enough, with that shadow of a sneer, it won't mean anything anymore. Wouldn't have meant anything that first time either, in the backseat of his expensive, ugly car, with the sweat and salt-skin and her shirt sticking to her back, a summer younger, with all the time in the world. He's been saying it too often, he keeps saying it, every time she sees him now, somehow or the other, over and over, and it's starting to sound wrong, it's starting to spell wrong in her head.
The hand draped around Kendall hangs dangerously low. She's observing her nails, bored with the drama. Veronica's bored too, or just tired, exhausted, one of them.
"You know he has no filter," Duncan tells her, once he's gone. He's always gone and Duncan always defends him, will always defend him, she knows. She's the third-party in this relationship.
"He is the filter," she says, darkly. Logan lets everything through but the dirt. He lets it stick to his armor, his words, an open plan of battle in his half-smile.
"I love you," Duncan whispers against her skin when she comes, later, later. It sounds like a foreign language she isn't allowed subtitles for and can't understand anymore. He makes an effort, makes an effort for her, takes it slower. She wants to go faster, go home, but they're getting better at this.
"That's karmic retribution," he should be slurring by now, but he's not. Logan's a negative of a lot of things.
She's sipping slower than is strictly necessary, "what is."
"I spent," he turns his head, still cushioned by his hands, legs stretched out, almost reaching the edge of the pool, and she thinks she can feel her head spin a little, her spine straightening automatically at his proximity, "a year punishing you for your grand betrayal, and then you actually betrayed me." It's the first time he's brought this up, and he really is drunk, she can tell, even though he doesn't look it, no more lost than usual.
"So, you going to punish me again, Echolls?" It's not flirty, it's tight, muted instead, and that's not what she was going for. She remembers being punished the first time round. And now she's doing this. Flirting with Logan is uncomfortable, he's a one-man show, and he's so expensive and she doesn't want to save up to afford the tickets. Making an effort is too much of an effort.
He reaches out and taps her nose with one finger, her grip on her can tightens at the gesture, he doesn't need to sit up to reach her, he's long limbs and awkwardness, and he still somehow works with them, and she feels wrongly assembled, "read the statutory literature, Veronica. Double Jeopardy. You can't be convicted twice for the same offence. I've learnt something about the law these past few months. Just your friendly neighborhood murderer, you know."
She takes another slow sip, and wishes he'd hold her hand, which is ridiculous. And thinks she may just be passing time, trying to stay a little while longer, which is sad, because she'd actually thought she was running away, not breaking stereotype, definitely not slowing down.
The water reflects the pool-house at a distance. He took down the curtains with Aaron's face on them. Probably shredded them to indistinguishable pieces, because Logan doesn't settle for half-hearted destruction. Sometimes, she remembers making-out with Logan more than she remembers the cameras, more than she remembers Lilly's upturned face and Aaron's hands on her. Sometimes a pool-house is just a pool-house.
"Profound," she draws out. She's not looking, but he's reflected in the blank television set and she has to look somewhere. Her feet are on the table in front of the couch, and, as stupid as that is, it feels curiously intimate to let him see her without socks on, so she swings them off, underneath.
"You must be karma."
"Smooth," she rolls her eyes, clapping her hand together, once, the monosyllables are becoming thematic and she thinks she likes it, but he's already gone before she's fully managed to get all the letters out, the shower drowning out the sound of her hands.
Maybe she should stop waiting for Duncan here; she doesn't have to come over to his fucking suite at the Grand all the time with Logan's stupid video games on the table and his stupid orange jacket draped across the sofa and his cologne near the filter and everywhere. If Duncan wants to see her, it's not like he can't walk the distance to her front door and fucking knock.
But at least there's central heating, and she can take off her thick jacket and not feel the cold in her bones. That almost makes up for the empty apartment, she could get used to the luxury of constant warmth.
Logan's out the door, twenty minutes later, dripping water all over the floor, a one-finger salute in her general direction, doesn't meet her eyes at all, like he can't be bothered. He doesn't pick up his jacket, and she resists the urge to call after him, because it's freezing outside, and the world isn't his suite room, poor little rich boy. But if his death wish extends to an early grave by possible pneumonia, well, it really isn't any of her business. He probably left his towel lying across his bed too, it's Logan. She won't check, though.
Duncan doesn't come home, she watches the water droplets dry to nothingness instead.
"I don't think I can define normal," she says, out of the blue. It's true, though. She isn't sure if it's a verb or an adjective and how she can be it if she doesn't have a classification. Her apron is tied too tightly and she has to suck her stomach in, but she does blonde-and-perky just about right, and sometimes, it doesn't really take that much effort. Sometimes she is blonde-and-perky and naturally hair-flippy and it's bizarre. Not bad, exactly, just--
"Good for you," Logan is bored, an eyebrow lifted lazily in practiced ease.
He waits anyway, though, everyday, over at table eleven, engrossed in his stupid gameboy or graphic novel or whatever, and not even looking at her, really, and god, maybe he actually comes in just for the coffee and people being at his beck-and-call like they aren't anymore in the deserted Echolls mansion.
But then, other times, when she over looks at him, he looks up too, and smiles; open, sudden, unexpected, and she finds she's smiling back, and this isn't at all what she'd thought it would be, but she thinks she's going to be fine now.
She can feel her hair sticking to the back of her neck, drenched in sweat, the cooling system clearly acting up again, and Logan stops pressing his frantic buttons only long enough to run an impatient hand across his face to swat flies, which makes her turn her head away, because it feels strangely intimate to be looking when he isn't. They really should look into getting that air conditioner fixed, but she doesn't particularly care, it's just the second week, and whatever, as long as no one's burning her alive in a box, she can handle a little heat, she's Veronica Mars.
She sprinkles the chocolate shavings on top of the make-that-extra-whipped-cream for table three, and tries fruitlessly to remember the name of the song stuck in her head, then lets it go; she can always ask Logan later, considering it was on his player, and hums along with the Top Twenty selection instead, playing soft enough to be mistaken for something else.
She picks up the macchiatos for table twenty one, and smiles like the management likes it, the tray cool against her hand. Anyway, she has all the time in the world now to get used to the warmth; it's supposed to be a long summer.