PLEASE TELL ME I DID NOT JUST DO THIS.
(I have only seen till 1x20 so any inconsistencies are my fault. Why is this my life.)
Written for fluffyfrolicker at softly_me's comment ficathon. (This is all your fault, you guys, I hope you know that. That and the fact that this show may or may not have broken me.) Also, people, rec me everything. Only pre-series and S1 compliant, but, y'know.
but i haven't thought of you lately at all
01. when you came in, the air went out.
It takes him about a day to come to the conclusion that Neptune sucks. And by 'sucks', he's talking Bermuda Triangle levels of suckage.
The realization is definitively corroborated when he walks outside the door on the second day and there are dozens of would-be whores at the gate, screaming, as his father smiles his perfect smile and waves his hand like he’s the fucking president of the free world instead of some guy with a genetic make-up that makes him look good on magazine covers.
His father doesn’t look so good when he’s standing behind him with thick leather in his hands, but that’s neither here nor there.
So he takes his bike out, instead. Doesn’t stop because no one asks him too. Trina’s home from college for the holidays and it’s obviously Cold War circa whenever-the-hell-it-was between his mother and her step-daughter. It’s amusing to watch if he has a bowl of popcorn handy. But if he doesn’t, it mostly just gives him a headache.
It’s near the gate of Neptune Middle School, that he first sees her and his first thought is somewhere along the lines of hot and his second thought is about how what his biology teacher had said in all those classes on reproduction was definitely true; if rather technical for something that regular.
He stops beside her, gripping the ground with one foot. She’s shorter than she’d looked from the distance, because he’d kind of fixated solely on her legs. “hey.”
She turns around and he thinks something contemptuous like princess. She’s all blonde hair and big eyes and a Disney smile offset by a soccer uniform that seems off on her. Whatever pun can be made out of that totally intended. “Hi.”
“I just moved here,” he offers, taking out his hand, “Logan Echolls.”
Her eyes widen further and he half-expects singing birds to perch on her head, “As in Aaron Echolls’ son?”
His mouth curves up in a smile that’s harder than he intends for it to be, “exactly as in Aaron Echoll’s son.” That’s pretty much his definition in three words— Aaron Echoll’s son.
“Wow,” she breathes out, and for a moment he wants to impress her if it makes her look like that. Even if only with his father’s name, “we heard he was shifting in the 09er area.”
“The 09er area?” less because he has any interest whatsoever in knowing, and more because if he can keep that mouth moving, he’s doing something right.
“The people who live in the 90909 area code,” she says, absently rubbing her hand against her shorts. Her face and hands are streaked with dirt; somehow he hadn’t noticed. “It’s a very prestigious district. The crème de la crème of Neptune basically.”
“Do you live there as well?” this conversation is much too prolonged, he knows, but it’s not like he has anything better to do.
“No,” she replies, waving at someone behind him, “can’t afford it.”
“Then I can’t imagine,” he slows down till she looks back at him, he has to get this right with the words, the tone, the expression; first impressions and whatever the fuck, “living there can be worth all that much.”
She blushes, as he’d known she would, awkwardly tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, and actively avoiding his gaze. He’s always been good at this. It’s probably something he gets from his father.
“But maybe I’ll see you around anyway—” it’s then he realizes he hadn’t asked the Disney Princess her name. It doesn't particularly matter, he can always make one up.
“Veronica,” she says, as she walks away, backwards, hands in pockets, “Veronica Mars.”
There's no way he could have made that up.
02. but it’s a conversation i just can’t have tonight.
He laughs, he can’t help it, “tell me you did not just ask out Snow White's kid sister.”
Duncan looks at him with an expression that’s half-rueful and half-amused and most definitely 'Let's Not Make A Big Deal Out Of It, Logan', “yes, I did.”
“Dude,” because this is insane, you don’t touch girls like Veronica Mars and they definitely don’t touch back. It’s the Law of…Human Sexuality or something, “you know she’s never going to give it up, right?”
Duncan shoves him playfully with one free hand, “maybe I’m in it for her intelligence, her charm, her inner beauty? That ever strike you.”
“Aren’t we all,” he rolls his eyes, “but seriously, man, did you forget that fun high school part which involves underage drinking and overactive teen sexuality and waking up in places you don’t remember with your clothes lying on the bannister.”
Duncan turns an attractive shade of green, “you’re dating my sister, dude. Don’t even.”
“Or is it the Sheriff’s daughter thing,” for some reason he can’t let it go. Because it hadn’t struck him that this was a possibility. That you could date Veronica Mars. Touch her, maybe. Kiss her, even, “that sort of power-play and being-on-the-wrong-end-of-a-gun shtick get you horny?”
He thinks of it; the pure, innocent Sheriff’s daughter. It’s such a cliché, even his dad might reject that script.
“Let it go,” Duncan says, “she’s Lilly’s best friend. You should be ecstatic; all the times they’re going to take hours to dress up together, we can be out here, shooting hoops instead of waiting with some other guy who reads Russian Literature and writes poetry.”
“Yeah,” he presses the buttons on the controller harder, the sound of blasts echoing through the room, “pretty sure you’re that guy. But man, Veronica Mars. She's pretty much the poster-child for Pro Lifers everywhere.”
It's like she comes in on cue, all pink and dolled up and out of place in the mess that is Duncan's room. Definitely out of place in Duncan's room, “hey.”
“Hey,” he says briefly, noticing his best friend give her a long, lingering smile out of the corner of his eyes. Jesus.
He makes strangled noises when she sits on Duncan’s lap, his arms coming around her to hold the controller, she's tiny, even now, almost ridiculously short; “is this going to be a thing? Please tell me this is not going to be a thing. I may have to go and get my gag-reflex removed.”
She turns around to face him, and smiles brightly, and it makes him ache a little, for some odd, godforsaken reason. He hadn’t realized you were allowed to touch Veronica Mars. “Whatever, Logan. Like you and Lilly aren’t the worst with the PDA and the touching.”
“Yeah,” he fixes his eyes on the game, “except we make people hot with the display, increase their sex-drives, play the all-round role of human Viagra; complete our quota of social service basically. We don’t get them hospitalized with type-2 diabetes.
She snorts, “they teach you that at Charm School?”
And leans in to kiss Duncan. With tongue.
It’s more for his benefit, he can tell. To make a point. He knows this about Veronica; she hates losing. And she doesn’t give up. Even when she really should.
Two minutes later, he’s blown up Duncan’s avatar. He hasn’t won anything against Duncan in a long while; it’s probably why it feels so good.
03. i guess you must be somewhere breathing.
"I've never," he licks his lips; sometimes he ups the teen-porno feel just because. He can't seem to break out of the theatricality, the dramatizations; his father would be so proud, "touched myself with Logan watching."
"Aren't you smooth," she tips the glass back, "although I think you'd count in that one too, you know. Give that right hand and those lonely nights some credit."
It's why he loves Lilly, he thinks. Because both of them constantly play at being real, functional people who say real things. And they're good at it.
"I've never," Lilly smiles straight at him, moving backwards towards the pillow in a fluid, practiced gesture, legs outstretched. It gives him a vague sense of foreboding, "imagined my head between Veronica Mars' thighs."
They don't go here. This isn't in the script and she can't go off-book because he'll mess up his lines. They both know that.
She tilts her glass towards him, in silent acknowledgment, holding his gaze for a second that stretches much too long in the space between them.
"You know," he forces his voice to sound light, "the whole point of the game is to throw something out there that you haven't done."
She pouts— god, she's gorgeous—"where's the fun in that. I thought the whole point of the game was to get hammered and have drunken sex. Come on, drink."
He can't raise the glass to his lips. Because now it'll mean something. Mean something beyond his head and hand and cock, and what it means to be male and sixteen. Mean something else. Something more. And he doesn't like to mean anything.
"My turn," he says, instead, "I've never—"
She laughs derisively, and he stops. It's not as if he'd imagined that she'd let it slide, not Lilly, it's just that sometimes he tries even when he's going to lose, "oh come on, Logan. You're telling me you've never imagined going down on Veronica Mars. Tonguefucking sweet, innocent Veronica. Bringing her to orgasm with those long," she moves forward, her fixed gaze still holding his, "talented," she sucks on the pad of his thumb and he swallows the guttural sound that threatens to take every last shred of his control; he won't let her have that, if only that, "fingers. Find out if it's true, what they say about the good girls?"
He looks at the wall behind her. He doesn't realize his hand is shaking till the clear, amber liquid spills over the rim of his glass onto his hand. “That’s exactly what I’m telling you.”
His voice sounds strained, even to him. It’s just— if he gets this license, if in some alternate universe this is acceptable, then she’ll never get out of his head. And he needs her to get out. He needs her to get out and fucking stay out.
“You know,” Lilly whispers in his ear, “I’m wearing her dress. She leaves her clothes sometimes when she stays over. You’ve never thought of what we do on those nights either, Echolls?”
He hadn’t noticed it, but he can visualize the dress on her easily. Lilly's taller and the dress skims her thighs almost obscenely, her breasts almost spilling out of the white material obviously made for a smaller frame. Just as he likes it.
And— it’s like, now that he’s seen, he can’t unsee it— her hair’s different. It’s not straight, perfectly falling down her back, as it usually does. It’s wavier. Messier.
She’d planned this.
“What are you doing?” he asks, even though he knows. Even though it’s obvious. Even though he should have known he’s obvious. But occasionally he likes to imagine that his practiced gestures weren’t framed for him by someone else.
She slides down his body, pulling his zipper with her teeth, by way of answer.
“Lilly,” he grits his teeth, “what the fuck.” He knows it doesn’t hold any water if clenches his fingers in her hair and pulls her closer, but this, whatever this is, isn't...fair. It just isn't fucking fair.
She doesn’t look up. And when she finally wraps her lips around him, he can’t see her face. See nothing but golden hair that’s not set like hers and a dress that isn’t hers. Can’t see anything except a girl who isn’t here. Will never be here. Like this.
He comes too early, harder than he can remember in a while. Static behind his closed eyes, the image of wavy blonde hair and a girl on her knees branded on his skin.
When he looks down, Lilly finally looks up at him, running the tip of her tongue over her lips; seductive, polished, in-control, always, "it's a good thing I'm not the jealous kind."
04. suppose we never fell in love.
“What are you doing in my house.”
She jumps, turning to face him, obviously rattled. Good. The fucking bitch.
He’d like to move faster, but every inch of his body aches and he’ll have to settle for pretending that this slow walk towards her is a choice he’s making.
When he’s finally close to her, she takes a step back, and it gives him momentary satisfaction that he can tower over her like this, intimidate her by something as ridiculous as his height, something he never even had to work for. Something he's not pretending.
“I said,” he says soft, dangerous, “what are you doing in my house?”
She raises herself defiantly, which makes her, oh wait, a foot shorter than him. If he could move his facial muscles or unclench his teeth to actually form an expression that wouldn’t be a grimace of pain, he’d be laughing right now.
“You mother asked me to come over to collect some papers for dad.” She says, defiantly.
“It must be ‘Charity Week’”, he says, dismissively. “‘Help The White Trash Week’. Some Week for sure. My mother’s all heart for the poor, lost causes.”
“Why are you being like this,” she asks, face set, “I didn’t do anything to you, Logan.”
“I know,” he makes an exaggerated hand gesture that can mean anything. Or nothing, “except for that part where you broke me and Lilly up. But hey, all in a day’s work, no hard feelings, etcetera.”
“You kissed Yolanda,” she says. She doesn’t sound accusing, she sounds like she needs him to understand. Bitch. ‘You cheated on her. I had to tell Lilly. Lilly’s my best friend. I couldn’t—”
“—what,” he interrupts, “not poke your nose in things that don’t concern it? Did it ever strike you, I would have told Lilly, given half the chance? I was drunk, Yolanda was drunk and it happened, for like, three seconds. Instead, you had to go and make it sound all Fatal Attraction and now Lily’s not talking to me. What? Duncan decides he doesn’t want you and you make it your life’s mission to break everyone else’s heart in the aggregate square area of your unwantedness?”
He knows just how to hurt, how to single out weaknesses and make them tipping points. It's been his modus operandi since he can remember. He doesn't get that from his father. His father prefers other things to words. Stick and stones, and however that goes.
She bites her lip and stares at him, clear-eyed, even though he can tell that Duncan dumping her is still a sore spot, “would you." she doesn't believe him, "would you have told her?”
He looks away, because he’s an idiot. “Yes.”
“Then,” she reaches a hand out, “I’m sorry.” Magnanimously forgiving him even while she's the one saying the words.
“Don’t touch me.”
Her hand on his shirt burns through, aggravating the torn skin. He can feel his face turn white.
“What’s wrong,” she sounds terrified. Of him. And it doesn’t feel as good as it should. “Are you hurt? What’s wrong, Logan?”
It’s the way she says his name that does it. Like she has a right to. Like she can come in his house and stand like she belongs and be achingly concerned about him. Like she can stay on the edges of his mind and mess up his insides and refuse to get out, no matter how hard he tries.
He knows what would happen if she knew. Veronica fucking Mars; savior of the abused and the broken; with the hair and the eyes and the general Florence Nightingale appeal. She’d pity him, pity him with every fibre of her being and then go and tell her daddy; Oh, Logan, that poor guy with the overactive defense mechanism, whose famous father beats him up. It’s a cycle of abuse, you know. He’s standing here, shouting at her, because his father beats him up. It’s all so fucking tragic.
He does the only thing he knows how, he improvises. Moves closer, trapping her against one of those various, useless objects his house is filled with, that it’s possible to trap people against.
“Or, touch me.” he whispers.
“What are you—” she raises a hand, presumably to push against him, and then lets it fall. Don’t touch me.
“I had it wrong, didn’t I?” he pushes her hair back with one hand, the other still caging her in, and for a moment— just for a moment—it feels real. Like he’s real. Or something. “This is why you interfered in the first place.”
“What are you talking about?” her voice doesn’t waver, but pressed up against her like this, he can feel that hint of a shiver. And that’s good enough. Proof enough. Even if he doesn’t know what the evidence adds up to, he’s willing to manipulate the truth. He always is.
He shrugs, “if you wanted me all to yourself, V, all you had to do was ask. I’m sure Lilly wouldn’t mind sharing me for a couple of hours.”
(He doesn’t think of it. That night. He really doesn’t.)
“You’re crazy,” she says finally, and she’s still carefully not touching him and it’s just— “you know that’s not true.”
It’s just that little bit ridiculous that she feels the need to justify. Like everyone who’s ever known her wouldn’t automatically know it’s not true. That she was going to keep her mummy proud and her thoughts pure and walk down the aisle in a dress the color of driven snow.
“Do I,” he thumbs her lower lip, “you’re telling me, you’ve never wanted to—”
Oh come on, Logan. You're telling me you've never imagined—
Her laughter has an edge of hysteria to it, “wow, okay, obviously Lilly was the only thing keeping your precarious sanity in check. Maybe you should try and persuade her to take you back, for medical reasons, if nothing else.”
“I’d say the same,” he says mock-sorrow coloring his face, “but we all know Duncan would rather not be with some cock-tease, bowed under the weight of her golden, virgin halo.”
She shoves him then, hard.
As the pain intensifies behind his eyelids, she walks away. And for a moment— just for moment— he thinks he may want to go through it again, even if this is how it ends each time.
05. don't hold yourself like that, you'll hurt your knees.
He knows a walk of shame when he sees one.
(He remembers the white-hot flash of rage when he’d seen her in that dress at Shelley’s. That fucking white dress falling just right on her, as it hadn’t on Lilly that night she— goddammit.)
It's not like he wonders what she's done. Whether she'd drunkenly hit on some guy only too willing to take the high-school burden of her virginity off her hands. Whether she’d wanted it in the moment, or just been too drunk, too teenage, to care. He'd seen her there, walking with her head held high, the veneer of bravado lacing the fall of her feet, like she was still a part of this. Still a part of them. And he remembers the body shots, her salted skin under his mouth, the spiked drink, remembers remembering it even after he'd left early with Cindy. And honestly, he's glad someone tarnished that halo she so spectacularly bears the weight of.
He feels sick.
(He hadn't realized you were allowed to touch Veronica Mars before and now he won't touch her because god knows what he might catch. But, either way, it's the 'no touching' thing that remains constant, if he's doing the math. Which he isn't. And he's mad, because this is not the world he wants to live in. The one where Lilly's dead and princess Veronica of the childlike pastel sweaters and virginal white dresses walks home in the morning from some guy’s bed, regret etched in the corners of her eyes.
In his head, Lilly laughs— "you're not as subtle as you think you are, Logan.")
"Ronnie," he rolls down his window and he can almost see every muscle in her body tense up. She's deliberately not looking around and it makes him even more determined to hurt. He's always been a bastard. "I think you're going the wrong way."
"Logan," it's so soft, he almost doesn't hear it. Her lips closing around his syllables in a way they haven't in a very, very long time. It's almost unfamiliar to his ears now. A different language. She sounds. Tired. She sounds tired. "Not now. Please, just—"
"Hey," he raises one hand from the steering-wheel in mock-defensiveness, "just trying to help here, Ms. Mars. I'm pretty sure the one way road to Slutsville is on that side." he thumbs towards the right.
Her face crumples for an instance, and he thinks something like finally because he needs this right now. He doesn't need the image of blonde hair and that white dress kneeling on the floor in front of him, he doesn't need the urge to kiss her or hold her or protect her or all the ridiculous things his head conjures up when he leaves his thoughts unguarded for a single moment; he needs this. And she deserves this. Deserves this for having betrayed them. For not having loved Lilly enough. For not having chosen them. He's only balancing karma.
But then she straightens up, back ramrod straight, and looks straight at him, and maybe, beneath the pink and the softness and the wide-eyed smile, this is who she's always been. Maybe he's been too busy with her skin and eyes to see the steel underneath— "fuck you, Echolls."
Of course, the thing about being Aaron and Lynn Echolls' son and Trina Echolls' half-brother is that he knows when someone's putting on a show. Even if they're good at it. He can still tell.
He winks, and gives her a slow once-over, deliberately making her uncomfortable, eyes lingering on her legs longer than he intends but she doesn't know that and just—fuck her, "you're already ready for another round, love? You know what they say; it's always the good girls. Or was it something else. Didn't the other guy satisfy your needs? You still wet under that dress, Mars? Soaking up your white cotton panties?" he clucks his tongue in disappointment, "these high school boys don't know how to treat a lady right these days. Come over to my place tonight. I promise I give excellent head. If you want credentials, just ask your best friend."
He reaches her face finally, catching her gaze, the trembling of her lips that she's trying so hard to hide, in the periphery of his vision. And for a moment he hates her. Hates her as much as he's always wanted her. Hates her more than he's hated anyone in his life, "oh wait." he slams his hand onto his forehead, he belongs to a family of actors after all, this is second nature to him, it's probably genetic, "I totally forgot; you can't. She's dead. Right. My bad."
He puts on the sunglasses and starts the car. Leaves her standing in the middle of the street.
Doesn't look back.
(And if he stops the car later, further down the road, his hand shaking far too much to grip the wheel, then that's okay, because there's no way that scene will ever make it to the final cut. He's Aaron Echolls' son, after all, he knows this stuff.)