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I'm Done Watching You Destroy Yourself

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He felt like he had been punched in the stomach. His breath had completely left him and tears were threatening to overflow his eyes. He was done. He could no longer watch Veronica destroy herself. This was it. He had to let her go and he hoped she took this as a sign she couldn't live this way anymore.  He was sitting at the bar. He was completely sober had been for years since rehab.  While Veronica was dancing to “No Scrubs” with Nicole, he looked away from Veronica, unable to watch her dancing completely high and loopy on the dance floor.

   That wasn't his Veronica. His Veronica was careful. She didn't do drugs or drink to excess.  Honestly, he felt like Veronica was turning into a classic Noir PI - a cynical, dark, heavy drinker who found an unnecessary need to go it alone. And lastly, she had no desire to improve her life or improve her circumstances. He felt like he didn't have a place in her life anymore. Where does the Navy intelligence, therapy attender, sober, dependable boyfriend fit into this story? Where does someone who is finished running away from his feelings stand with a girl who only wants to run?

 The answer was that he didn't.  He couldn't live this way anymore. He was honestly thinking about how this had been coming down the line for a very long time. Most people - better, stronger people - would have left her the second she became dark and distant three years ago with no explanation. Stronger people would have left when she blatantly made fun of his efforts to get better. Calling him a pod person, or calling his eyes lifeless or countlessly asking him if he was on the prescription from his therapist was wrong. Veronica was asking where was her Logan when he made a logical decision – not a decision made out of anger.

  This was the last straw. The botched proposal, he now realized, was like putting a band-aid on a gushing wound. It was a last-ditch effort that wasn't a way to save the relationship or even the person, for that matter. What was he saying? He sounded like a crazy person.

       He could give her an ultimatum and ask her what she would be doing if he wasn't holding her back in Neptune. But honestly, that wouldn't help.  That is taking the easy way out because he knew her answer. She would deny her thoughts. She would make some comment that wasn't really how she felt.

He saw it now. This was his only answer. He looked at his hands in front of him but he was really looking at the people surrounding him at the bar. All of them were gone, wasted. Their eyes were dead. They were trying to run away from their problems or at least to try to drown those problems. He didn't try that anymore - drink to cover up the pain he felt and the problems he faced. He was going to get out of here.

But he couldn't leave Veronica. Logan might decide that their relationship was over, but he couldn't just leave her here in her inebriated state. So he decided to at least ask her if we could leave.  He took a deep breath before approaching Veronica cautiously. She was giggling and drinking excessively by most people – drinking her 4th drink. Logan says, “Hey, Veronica.” in a tentative voice. She laughed and grabbed his arm and giving him a “come here” look. At that point, he almost let it go. But then he looked at her closer. Her eyes looked familiar, not the color, but the distant state. He shook because they looked like his Mom’s and Carrie’s. His need to stay and help her reared its head. NO! Adult Logan thought to himself. You can’t save people, they have to save themselves. I can't keep staying, hoping you will change.  Veronica, you have to want to change. I let Carrie go, and she got better.  

But letting Veronica go was going to be a lot harder. He had loved her for the last 17 years. It would be hard but he had to let her go. No, he could not do it here.  He had to get through tonight. He headed her way. He said, “Let’s go home.” She looked like she was going to refuse, but then she sighed, “Fine, Party Pooper!” right before another overwhelming giggling fit hit her. He lightly grabbed her arm, and they start to walk toward the car. He nodded his head as he passed Dick who was kissing a girl who looked barley legal. He sighed and kept on moving. He helped Veronica into the car but she stumbled as she got in - literally falling into the passenger seat. He walked around to the other side and got in. They didn't talk on the way home since Veronica was basically passed out at this point.  He sighed as he got out of the car and went around to the other side. He picked Veronica up and carried her up to their third floor apartment.  He walked straight past Pony who was lying in her bed and to their bedroom softly laying Veronica down on her side. Just in case, he walked into the bathroom, grabbing a trash can, and putting it beside her side of the bed.

Despite Veronica's excessive drinking lately, she was still a small petite individual. This night was going to knock her on her ass. He was worried about leaving her to take Pony out for his walk because he was sure she was about to burst. He grabbed her leash, and Pony was already sitting by the door. Oh, he was going to miss Pony. But he had to leave, and he had to make a plan of what he was going to say to break up with Veronica.  This was weird. He never before had to plan what he was going to say to Veronica before. But he knew if he didn't, he would end up chickening out.

He was going to take care of her tonight and then pack early in the morning. When Veronica woke up, he was going to break up with her. Ripping the band-aid off was the only way. Then he would go to Dick’s to hide out and lick his wounds. This was going to be hard, but he had to let her go.


 Logan woke up; the sun was just rising. He smelled putrid vomit smell all around him. Veronica must have thrown up while he was asleep. The smell overwhelmed him; he quickly stood up and moved the trash can out of the room.

Since rehab and his years of college, the smell of regurgitated vomit laced with alcohol got to him. He went back to their bedroom, grabbed his go-bag from the closet, and packed all of his essentials. He would come back and get the rest later. Then he went out to go snuggle with Pony. He walked up to Pony’s bed and put his bag down. Then, Pony followed him and jumped onto the couch. He says sadly, “I'm going to miss you, girl! I hope you understand why I am leaving, It is not because of you”. He rustled Pony's coat.


Around 7 a.m., he heard Veronica and the sound of retching in the bathroom. And then, he listened to her padding toward the living room.

She says, "What are you doing?" in a quiet, groggy voice.

He turned around. She looked a mess. She was pale and green at the same time. She was squinting against the morning light.  As she got closer, he saw her eyes become confused. "Why do you have your bag packed?" she asked, "Did you get called in?"

Logan looks at her sheepishly, “Ahhh, no, that's not what's happening. We have to talk Veronica.”  Logan could hear the sadness in his own voice as he spoke.

She walked over, said, "Oh NOOOO, that's your therapy voice and facial expression. I'm sorry, can we maybe talk about this later? I can’t handle sanded down therapy Logan this morning, Logan. "

Okay, that was it. He was mad.

"No, actually, it can't wait," he said. His voice came out slightly controlled even though he was angry.

“Okay, fine.” she said, acting like he was just an inconvenience.

Logan said, “Okay, Veronica, I can't do this anymore.”

“What?!!?” she said, looking shocked.

"Oh, come on, Veronica, you can't be that shocked." he said.

"Wait for what? Where is this coming from?” she said.

 “We haven't been happy for a long time, Veronica.” he said. “I have tried to ignore it because I love you, and I will always love you, but we can't keep going this way. We are just letting everything go, not talking or baring our feelings. And I have come to the decision, we need a break. I don't feel like I have a place in your life anymore. And we aren't the same place in our lives. And I have a feeling if we keep this up we are going to destroy each other. But most importantly, ourselves.

I can't keep living this way. We are both unhappy, and it will only change if things change. So, I am going to move out. I love you, and I will always love you. But I feel unappreciated, and I feel like we are in a toxic relationship, and neither of us knows what we want, so I am being a grownup and letting you go. Hopefully, we will find our way back to each other because we are epic. But we have to figure this out and change, and it won't if I don't do this.” He was exhausted and the sun had only been up an hour. It sounded like a tirade but there was not anger. There was only resolve.  He could here it in his voice.

He looked at her; she looked like she was in complete shock and gutted. Logan scooted over, kissing her head. He stood up, grabbing his bag, and turned around to go. As he was walking to the door, he heard a knock. He opened it and there stood Keith.

“Hey, Keith.” he said awkwardly. Keith put out his hand, and they shook hands. "Where are you going?

Do you have a mission?” Keith said.

"No," Logan said. “Veronica and I are going to take some time apart. I will always love your daughter, but I feel like we are at an impasse. I hope that we can still have a relationship. I have really enjoyed becoming closer to you over the last five years.”

 He heard Veronica say Logan from behind him.  He turned around and Veronica was standing there looking sad. She had tears gathering in her eyes.

“I'm sorry, Veronica, but I will always be here if you need me. I will be staying at Dick's. I am sorry, Veronica, but I feel like this is what is best for us and best for you” he said. He could here the own pain in his voice and could also see it reflected in Veronica’s eyes. “I will always love you and if I stay we will keep being unhappy. I know it might not seem like it right now but I am doing this for you.  I have to let you go as he turned to go”and then he met eyes with Keith. Understanding was in his eyes, along with respect. “Bye, Keith.” Logan said. As he walked past him.

Logan got on his bike and set off on his way to Dick’s house. Wow, that was hard. But he did feel relief. This leaving felt different than all of their other breakups. He knew that even if they never got back together; he was going to be okay. He just hoped Veronica would be okay, as well. 

 

Chapter Text

Veronica 

"What was that?" her dad asked, concern lacing his voice. Logan was gone, and the door closed behind his back. 

 

"Huh? What?!?" Veronica, in a daze with tears pricking her eyes, choked out, "Oh, it was just Logan and me breaking up." She was unable to stop her voice from cracking as she said it.

 

"Was it the proposal's fault? I thought he forgave you for that." Her dad's mouth set in a grim line, his eyes soft, but there was no surprise in his tone. 

 

"He did, at least I thought he did," she responded in a distantly. 

 

"You want to talk about it?" he asked with a concerned look.

 

"No. I'm not up for that. I am so hungover. Also, I smell like vomit," Veronica finished, gagging. Tasting the bile, she swallowed it back down, cringing as she did so.

 

Her dad hesitated, acting like he was going to ask her something else but thought better of it.

 

Instead, he said, "I'll tell you why I am here. But judging by the morning you've had, you're probably going to say no."

 

Her feelings bubbled up to the surface, but she pushed them down. You have to fake it until you make it. It had been her new motto for her life for the last three years.

 Impatiently, Veronica responded, "Well, throw it at me, Dad."

 

"I found our rat-man." Then he showed her a piece of paper. Veronica blinked and tried to focus on these pictures, but tears were pooling in her eyes. She blinked again, but nothing helped, so she just let it go.

 

He might as well have been speaking gibberish to her brain. Now that Logan was gone, all that Veronica felt was the pain of him leaving. Well, it was not the only thing on her mind - the nausea was overwhelming. She just wanted to take a shower and cry her eyes out.

 

Keith must have sensed that. "Never mind! It's fine. What if I just see you at work?"

 

"Yeah. I'll be there soon. I'll be watching the Comrade Quacks footage and trying to push down my need to go all emo teenager. Or I'll listen to Sara Maglaclan songs," she responded in a quiet, broken tone.

 

Her dad looked at her, concerned, but again, let it go. She deserved it today. He knew her well. He wasn't going to pull the Therapist Logan routine on her.

 

She thought about Logan and knew her dad needed to leave. She could feel a breakdown coming on. Tears pricked her eyes, and that elephant was slowly stepping onto her chest. Her heart pounded, and her head throbbed. The nausea was coming back full force.

 

"Okay, goodbye, Sweetie!" he said and left. The second she heard the door click shut, she ran to the bathroom, emptying her stomach, and then continued to dry heave.

 

Once she emptied her stomach, she stumbled to the shower, turning on the water with her clothes still on. What would be the point of taking them off? Her hands trembled, and she felt complete numbness one minute and blinding pain the next. As the water finally overflowed, she sat sobbing in the shower, her tears mingling with the water.

 

After her shower and the drive to work, she sat at her desk with her head still pounding, dark glasses shielding her eyes from the blinding sun. The Comrade Quacks security footage might have been very entertaining and funny if only her mood were not so abysmal.

 

She watched Nicole hit a guy in the face with her gloves on, causing a resounding crack of hands breaking his cheekbone. Dang, she is a badass. I bet she wouldn't go emo over breaking up with a guy.

 

Nicole probably was never in a relationship with a Logan-type. He wasn't about the fun and games and letting go anymore. He was more chill at home, not go out on the town. Logan-types weasel their way into your heart, and your heart never wants to let them go.

 

Ignoring the video and daydreaming about Logan, Veronica didn’t notice her dad approaching her desk. She pushed down her depressing thoughts. It was time to get back to work. She had to bring in the bacon. Her stomach rumbled now that nausea had passed. She was hungry and needed water.

 

Keith flopped into the chair without any grace, startling her from her daydream. "Anything good on those?"

 

"Yeah, it's pretty entertaining. It gave me a  laugh," said Veronica.

 

She rewound the video and showed her dad the footage of Nicole hitting the guy right in the face with a resounding pop!

 

"Wow!" Amusement painted her dad's face, and a smirk graced his lips.

 

"Right," she said. That's all she could manage since she wasn't in the mood to spar verbally.

 

Wow. Is this the way I feel without Logan? Without him, I may bore myself to death. She looked at her dad, and he made a face.

 

To fill the silence, he said, "Cuss, she has a wicked right hook."

 

And this time, she was able to come up with a few witty retorts pushing down the pain. 

 

Then, they both heard a noise at the door. Matty stood there, looking like she was holding up better than Veronica. Veronica thought that she must be losing her edge.

 

Her dad and Matty talked, and she had a new thing to focus on other than Logan. She was going to solve this case, and hopefully, that would help her get through this Logan thing.

 

Haha. You're funny, Veronica. Get over Logan! You are a mess with him. And then you completely lose it without him. You have nowhere to take out your aggression or no one to use as an emotional punching bag.

 

Okay, that's it. Veronica wasn't going to let her anxieties rule her. So she did what she did best. Clamp them down and focus on your case.

 

Off to spy at Alpha Jollies.

 

 

Veronica sat beside Matty in the car, staring at her camera, brooding. No, you have to stop, she thought. This is for Matty, you need to focus.

 

She played with her camera and leaned her head back, hoping this wouldn't take too long. If it did, it would force her to think. That's a trip down the rabbit hole that leads straight to Logan.

 

Matty was staring down at her hands, looking like she was about to say something, then blurted out, "When your friend was murdered, were you angry?"

 

Veronica responded, "I am still angry; it hasn’t stopped consuming me. But now I have more to be angry about, and it just builds."

 

Veronica hesitated but then continued, "Do me a favor. When the time comes, let the anger go. Don't be like me and keep being angry. It pushes people away, and then you lose them."

 

Matty must have wanted to deflect and talk about someone else's issues because she said, "What do you mean? Who did you lose?"

 

Veronica's despair and pain leaked into her voice." Just the love of my life. This morning, he said he had to let me go. Do yourself a favor. If you want advice about anger and are ready to face it, see Logan Echolls. I’m a lousy role model."

 

Matty examined her but remained quiet. She looked in front of them.

 

"That's him," Matty said. She snapped their picture, and they had proof of who may have planted the bomb.  




Chapter Text

Logan had arrived at Dick's suite at the Grand an hour ago to find Dick asleep on the couch, still wearing his tear-away pants. It was a sight, but he was just Dick, and it was honestly refreshing that Dick would always be there. Dick had moved out of his house after he got his first small acting job and moved back to into the Grand when he was not on set.
 

He took a shower and made breakfast for both himself and Dick on the island and full kitchen that had been incorporated into the Grand’s suite plans after they moved out after college. Apparently more stuck up rich kids moved in and requested a kitchen with an island and it had become standard when the Grande was renovated by Petra Landros when she took over for her husband
Knowing if he didn't make breakfast, Dick would have a beer instead,  Logan made some eggs, quinoa, tomatoes, and mushrooms. It was almost ready when he heard Dick groan from the couch.

 

“What are you doing here, Logan?” he asked. “I thought you would be off making kissy faces with Ronnie.”

 

“No, me and Ronnie, as you call her, are taking a break.” Logan sighed and put his head down on the island. 
 

A loud noise echoed through the living room and into the kitchen. Logan whipped his head up and saw Dick, laying flat on the floor on his back.

"You okay?" Logan asked, eyebrows raised, amused.
  

“So you finally broke up with her, huh?” Dick wondered, a knowing smile on his face and a jovial tone in his voice.

 

“What do you mean, finally? And you can at least try to hide the enthusiasm.” Logan grumbled, slight annoyance entering his voice.  
  

“I mean, you’ve been miserable, lately, man. I’m not blind, even I see it.”

 

“Yeah. I know.” Logan walked over to Dick and handed him a plate of the food he had just made.

 

"Yuck! No wonder, you’re miserable, look at the food you eat.”  With a disgusted face, Dick dug into the quinoa.

 

Putting on his best father knows the best face, Logan made his plate and sat down next to Dick. “Eat your vegetables or no video games later.”

 

Dick took a bite, grimacing. "You want to play some games, and then, you know, maybe throw water balloons off the roof?"

 

Logan looked at Dick in amusement. “Man, you haven't grown up at all, and no, you know they don't like that at the Grand.”

 

“Growing up is for squares." Dick gave Logan a once over, implying he was now a square.  

 

Logan smirked as his phone rang. It was Wallace. He put up his finger to his mouth to shush Dick, then answered the phone.

 

"Hey, Wallace, man, how are you and Shae and my favorite man, Noah?" He tried not to sound awkward. He and Wallace had become friends in their own right in the last five years, but he was worried how his breakup with Veronica would affect their relationship.

 

"We’re good, Logan." Wallace's voice held no anger. He hasn't spoken to Veronica, then.
Wallace had always been quick to take Veronica's side, so Logan was worried he was going to lose Wallace as a friend.

 

"Speaking of Noah, would you like to watch your godson a week from now? I have to do a parent conference and Shae has a meeting with a client," Wallace pleaded.

 

"Yeah, sure! But...have you talked to Veronica?” Logan asked. Honestly, he didn't want to agree to this if his breakup with Veronica would make things awkward.

 

"No." Wallace paused slightly. "What's up?"

 

"I broke up with her this morning." Logan waited with bated breath, hoping this would not end their friendship.

 

“Oh,” Wallace sighed. “I'm sorry, man.”  Wallace's soft tone was caring with more than a slight bit of concern but no anger. Thank God.

 

"So can I still watch Noah?" His heart was beating fast and his eyebrows creased with worry until he heard Wallace’s response. 

 

"Yeah, man, as long as you didn't do anything stupid to Veronica." Wallace’s uncertainty came through his voice. 

 

"No! I promise this has been coming down the line for a while." Logan was urgent.  

 

“That's all I need to know, then. I would still love for you to watch Noah next Wednesday, a week from now." Wallace's response was firm and Logan smiled that he mattered to Wallace, with or without being in a relationship with Veronica.

 

"Then, sure, great, when should I be there?"

 

“At noon. Can you pick him up from daycare?” Wallace asked hesitantly

 

“Oh, so this isn't just a night thing, this is a whole day affair.” Excitement laced Logan’s voice.  He loved spending time with Noah. 

 

“Is that okay?” Wallace waited.

 

“Yeah, it’s great,” Logan responded, overjoyed he hadn't lost Wallace as a friend.

Once he got off the phone, he heard a scoff and looked over at Dick.

 

 “Case in point: you have become so soft. Where is the bitter, angry brother I use to know?”

 

“He’s gone.” There was no regret in his voice.



 
Logan sat on the teal couch in Jane's office. Jane was getting ready to start the session by getting her notes in order. She sat on her powder blue chair while he stared at the embroidery on the pillow situated on his lap. 

 

"So how have you been, Logan? How’s Veronica?" Jane asked, with slight hesitation in her voice. Jane never understood why Logan just accepted Veronica's treatment of him over the last year. She said he didn't deserve to be treated like this, and he earned someone that showed their affection and pride for his strides to be a better person.

 

Logan’s anguish with the situation was evident as he spoke. “She’s probably doing just fine, burning all my pictures, drinking, and hooking up since now she is free of me.”

 

“Wow,” said Jane, sitting back, eyes wide. 

 

“That wasn't very therapist-y.”

 

“You know that's not how I am, Logan,” Jane said with a smile. “So you finally did it.”

 

Logan tried to respond but he was unable to speak over the lump in his throat. 

 

“You broke up with Veronica. I think you made the right move.”

 

“How are you sure?” His eyebrows creased in worry and indecision. 

 

“She wasn't treating you right, and you weren't happy. She was using you as a punching bag, and you deserve better.”

 

As he thought about it, maybe for the first time, Logan knew he deserved more.

 

“Now, how do you feel after you did the dirty work?”

 

"I feel relief with hesitation but also slight guilt at feeling relief for causing Veronica pain.”

 

Jane raised her eyebrows at his response. 

 

He fumbled with his sleeves, staring at the pillow still in his lap. "I feel like I can breathe, but at the same time, I can't. She was making fun of my progress, never seemed to be pleased. She was making it hard for me to feel confident in myself, so in that way, I can finally breathe." He sounded frustrated and angry.

 

Then Logans voice calmed when he said the rest, becoming quiet and shy, “But at the same time, I can't because I am so worried that leaving just made it worse.”

 

"Okay, I like the first part. You were angry. Because you have a right to be. Veronica wasn't considering you. She was hurting you." Jane’s concern was apparent in her voice.“It wasn't fair of Veronica to treat you that way Logan. You can't just stay with someone and hope they will get better. I think you know that from experience?”

 

"Yeah, with my mom and Carrie." The pain of speaking their names came out in his voice.

 

“Then you made the right choice. Now you just have to hope Veronica changes and comes back to you if that's what you want.” Jane shuffled her notes. "Is that what you want?"

 

"I do. I want her back because I still love her. I’ve loved her since I was 17. But she isn't just going to show up at my door and then all is forgiven. She’s hurt me too much." Deep pain and sadness leaked into his voice.

 

His eyes closed and he felt tears slowly trickling down his face. He blinked rapidly, but water continued to cloud his eyes.

 

“I want her to find herself, find what makes her happy and grow. If I still have a place in her life after, then she comes back to me. I can't imagine my life without Veronica, but at the same time, I know that this is best right now.” Pain overwhelmed him at the thought of Veronica never coming back to him.  

 

Logan wiped his eyes and continued to speak. “So it could be years but all I know is if she isn't happy, I am not going to get back with her. I will let her go and allow her to be happy, no matter if it's with me or not because all I want is for her to be better.I will survive. With or without her. I have the military, I have Dick, I can make it.” There was no fear or worry in his voice, only Resolve that he would be okay. 



Logan’s time later that day with Maloof was uneventful; he was out to pick up dinner when he decided to go show Keith the picture of the boy pooping in the ice machine. It had become a fun game between him and Keith to see who could find the most absurd photo. So yesterday when he was visiting the police station with Maloof, he had taken a picture he knew Keith would enjoy. 

 

He entered the Mars Investigations office and lightly tapped on the door.

 

"Come in." Keith didn’t look up from the papers on his desk.

 

“Hey, Mr. Mars,” Logan said, tentatively.

Logan walked in and sat on the leather chair across from Keith’s desk. 

 

Keith looked over the desk at Logan, a smile on his face. "I thought we agreed you should call me Keith."

 

“Oh, sorry, I didn't know if you just reserved for people dating your daughter,” he said, 
fiddling with his sleeves.

 

"No! Logan, we’re friends.” Sincerity filled Keith's eyes.

 

"Even after this morning and my break up with Veronica?" he asked hesitantly.

 

"Logan, I love my daughter, but I know she is hard to be around sometimes. She is stubborn, vengeful, cynical, and distant. I’m not mad at you for breaking up with her. Based on what I heard this morning, you were trying to pick the lesser of two evils. You were trying to give Veronica a chance to become happier, and I thank you for that. I hate that she is hurting right now but I understand. I wish I could help her find happiness or at least get back to the place she was three years ago. I’m not blind to my daughter's faults. I can see her distancing herself from everyone.” His voice was full of worry for his only child. “I know she needs help, but I’m at a loss of how to help her."

 

This was more than Logan expected.

 

“Thanks, Keith. I want to show you something.” Logan pushed through the lump in his throat. 

He then pulled his phone out and turned it around and showed him the picture. Keith laughed. “Oh wait, that's the Sea Sprite. Can you send me that picture?”

 

“Sure.” Logan complied, quickly hitting the buttons on his phone. 

 

Then he was overwhelmed by a loud, blaring noise, combined with flashing lights. 

 

"What is going on! Logan yelled, trying to be heard over the racket. “Is that the smoke alarm?”

 

"Cuss!" Keith winced, trying to stand up fast.

 

Logan jumped up. is that a fire or  “What’s on fire”

 

“I was making dinner. It's in the microwave, I forgot.”  Keith yelled as Logan ran into the other room.  

 

Logan  turned off the smoke detector and disposed of the burnt frozen dinner.

 

“Are you okay, Keith? I had been afraid to ask while dating Veronica because of how stubborn and prideful she gets when I offer to help her with money. I know how both of you feel about me giving you money.” Logan hesitated, then continued. "Can you consider letting me pay for a doctor for you?"

 

He saw Keith’s apprehension in his eyes and he started to shake his head no but apparently thought better of it and spoke. “I don't know Logan; it's your money.”Keith hesitated. “What about I think about it and get back to you?”

 

"Yes, that’s okay. Just think about it?” He couldn’t help the pleading in his voice. “You are family to me, no matter if I am with Veronica or not. I would love to help you. It’s painful to see you like this and know I could have helped.” He paused. “Are you sure you are okay?  Logan asked again. 

 

“Yeah, I’m fine and I promise I will think about what you asked.” Keith said, standing up and offering Logan a hand to shake. “It’s always great to see you.”

 

 They shook hands. 

 

“I better go. Bye, Keith.”  Logan stood up and left Keith's office.



Logan was back at Maloof's room after visiting Keith and picking up dinner,.  When he heard a knock on the door. He opened it, surprised to see Keith and Veronica standing there.

Well, this is going to be awkward.

 

Keith walked in, "Hello" then when he nodded at Logan specifically.

 

That twinkle in his eyes... and the nod just at me. I think he’s going to let me help him. 

 

Logan smiled and winked at him so Keith would know he got the message. 

 

I’m so glad he will let me help.

 

When Keith stepped out of the way, Logan was faced with Veronica standing in front of him, her eyes sad.

 

"You okay if I’m here?" she asked shyly.

 

"It’s fine, I get you’re doing your job. And remember, I’ll always be here if you need me." Despite what Logan said, it was tough to see her.

Veronica smiled and seemed happy for a second; then the wall came back. And he felt helpless to stop it.

 

He was hoping just leaving would be enough of a catalyst, but apparently, they were going to have to do this the hard way. 

 

Correction: Veronica was doing it the hard way. He was done fighting for her. It was her time to fight for herself and hopefully him. 

 

Chapter Text

Veronica

 

The rest of Veronica’s day was uneventful. Attending a Murder Heads meeting alone, she heard the pizza man rant about the bombing. This guy seemed to have no idea who bombed the Sea Sprite and came off as a real attention whore.
 

 

After the Murder Heads meeting, she saw on her news app that the sheriff had found the “culprit” for the Sea Sprite but she wasn't convinced. So she went to converse with her dad at the office. When Veronica got to the office, weirdly, she  smelled Logan. She didn't know if Logan had been there, but she felt like she narrowly missed a run in. 
Her luck ran out at Maloof’s hotel room. But Logan seemed fine with her presence, and she'd like to believe  they handled it like adults. However, it was easy to see  his pain was still very fresh.
 

 

Later, she sat at home with a large glass of wine in her hand. Actually, it was her second large glass. She didn't like being alone, even when Logan was deployed. She never became accustomed to it.
 

 

It was a windy night so when she heard the door creak, she thought Logan was entering. Her heart leaped but it was just the weather.
She didn't realize how reliant she had become on him. Wait, she was Veronica Mars. She was used to being alone, separated from people, but not Logan. She always felt like he was going to come back.

 

Even in the nine years they were apart, something in her heart always told her he would find a way to come back to her. It was different this time; he was the one choosing to walk away. This felt more permanent to her.
 

 

She was miserable. Veronica took a large sip of her wine. Then she decided to just chug the rest and make her way to her room.
 

 

She was restless - tossing and turning.  But, eventually, her body was so emotionally and physically tired, she succumbed to sleep. Unfortunately, her sleep was anything but peaceful.
 

 

"We’re back!" said an eerie voice. Veronica knew right away that it was Cassidy.

 

She peered into the utterly dark abyss in front of her.

 

Then, Cassidy came into view,  a wicked smile on his face. "I mean, Veronica, you are 33 now. Do you like me that much? That you still have dreams about me?” There was a crooked smile on Cassidy's face. 

 

He said, “I was sure, at this point, after so many years, you would have attempted to rid your mind of me.”
 

 

“How could I get rid of you?” Veronica asked,  pain seeping into her voice. “I can't control my dreams. I couldn't control what you did to me!”
 

 

Cassidy spoke, “Nope! I suppose you can’t or you didn't. But, you know how this works. If you had dealt with me then, I wouldn't be here now. Well, you can choose to fight what haunts you, what makes you miserable. But instead of getting rid of me, here I am. It is 17 years later, and face it, nothing has changed.”
 

 

“What do you want, Cassidy?” Veronica asked.
 

 

“Isn’t it obvious? The reason I’m here is simple. You never faced the pain I caused you.  All you ever do is compartmentalize your traumas.  Veronica, we’re all here - Duncan and Aaron, Woody and Mercer, Tim and Cobb.” They all stood there, surrounding her.
 

 

At this moment, all she wanted to do was run away or wake up. But all she could do was sit, paralyzed with fear.
 

 

She heard Cassidy say, “If you don't change your tactics for coping, we’re always going to be here. We will never leave. You will continue to see us in your dreams forever. And by forever, I do mean forever.”  
 

 

At that moment, she felt something on her face. She sat up, sweat covering her body and her heart hammering as her chest constricted. She started to sob, burying her face in Pony's coat. Reaching over for Logan, she realized he wasn't there and started to cry even harder.
 

 

After crying for a while, her hands began to tremble less violently so she went to the bathroom. She grabbed her sleeping pills from the medicine cabinet. She got double her usual dose, took it, and went back to bed.
 

 

She slept deeply for a few hours and dreamed she was in a dark room. Veronica couldn't move. She heard “Boo!” and Cassidy and her other demons appeared. Then, they were surrounding her. 
“Nice try, Veronica. We are not going away that easily. You are going to wake up soon. But let us tell you one thing - see you tomorrow.”
 

 

In the morning, Veronica  woke up crying again, but she just got up and didn't contemplate her dreams. She had a job to do; she had to help Matty. She had to solve the case, then she could break down. She looked at her clock; it was only 5am. She decided to take a run. Stumbling  slightly, she  got dressed. She walked out of the room to get Pony, her leash, and her headphones.
 

 

As Veronica ran, she thought about her dreams. They had been getting progressively worse since an event three years ago. 
 

 

Oh, Veronica, you know it’s not just your dreams. Your ability to compartmentalize is deteriorating. There are no longer enough boxes to hold all your traumas. Your issues are  leaking into not only your dreams, but also your everyday life. Everyone can see it. Why do you think Logan left you? He saw it. He is too “put together” for you now. 
Oh, Logan, we were so solid until 3 years ago.
 

 

3 years ago
Neptune’s crime rate had been getting progressively worse. Even though Lamb was no longer the sheriff, and Langdon had taken his place, things hadn’t improved in her hometown. On this particular night, her dad was on a bounty hunt and  Logan was deployed.  With both of them gone at once, Veronica  was a ball of worry.
 

 

Running had become a lifeline for her with Logan deploying so much. As his deployments approached, her running would increase. And when he was gone, she could run up to twice a day. To cope with her current anxiety, she had gone for a late-night run. 
 

 

Veronica was almost home when she heard a loud high-pitched  yapping and saw a dog running frantically towards her. Veronica stopped. When the dog reached her, she leaned down to soothe it. The dog barked, grabbed her sleeve in his teeth, and looked up at her with scared eyes. Next, the dog started running back to the house and barking loudly as it ran. Then, the dog looked back at her as if asking her to follow.
 

 

A chill ran down her spine, but Veronica pushed back against the anxiety and followed the dog. She looked around; the street seemed quiet and typical. As she jogged down the long pathway and approached the house, she saw the door was wide open.
 
 

 

Veronica walked into the foyer of the house. She remained quiet just in case this was a robbery taking place. She pulled her taser out of her bag.
 

 

On the wall, there was a marriage certificate. Next to that hung a picture of a young couple and a newborn baby. Veronica followed the dog into the master bedroom, the door to her right.
 

 

As she entered her nostrils were overwhelmed by the smell of blood; she heard dripping on the wood floor. Her hand began to tremble, and she stared at her feet, not wanting to look up.
Veronica took a deep breath, steeling herself. Then, she slowly lifted her head. Sitting on the bed was the couple  pictured in the hall. They looked asleep except for all the blood on them. She started to feel nauseous but held it in. She looked closer and saw that the woman was breathing, but just barely. Veronica wasted no time grabbing the phone and calling 911.
 

 

“Hello, what's your emergency?” Veronica heard a calming voice reciting the first responder manual over the phone.
 

 

“I have one person who appears to be dead and one critically injured at 203 Lancaster Street.”she said with a crack in her voice. “Fast, please.”
 

 

“Okay, ma’am, are the injuries visible?” the operator asked.
 

 

“Yes, there is a lot of blood,” Veronica’s voice trembled.
 

 

Then, something in Veronica's mind clicked. Oh, they had a baby in the picture on the wall. I need to go check on the baby.
 

 

“Ma’am?” the woman on the phone tried to get her attention.
 

 

Pocketing the phone, Veronica ran out of the room and up the stairs. She looked in every room, then she heard  a sound machine from the  room near the end of the hall; she broke into a run.
 

 

When she walked through the door, she froze. She shuffled into the room, afraid of what she would see. As Veronica got closer, she heard a slow, peaceful breath. She saw the baby completely unharmed lying in the crib. Thank God.
 

 

"Oh, God!" Veronica said, exhaling a breath. “The baby is fine.”
 

 

"Excuse me, Ma'am, what did you say?” 

 

In her frantic search to find the baby she hadn’t informed the responder that there was a baby, “Oh, the couple had a baby but she seems to be perfectly fine.”
“Well then, thank God for that!  Also, the paramedics and the police are on the way and should be there in a few minutes.” As she said that, Veronica heard sirens approaching.
 

 

“They’re here,” Veronica said, full of relief that someone was there to help the poor family because she felt useless, hitting end on the phone and slowly picking up the baby so not to wake her.  She carried her out of the room and down the stairs.
 

 

The baby’s mother survived and so did the baby but the husband was gone.  Veronica solved their case and made it a point to check in on the family throughout the investigation.  Without her husband’s help and due to her severe injuries, the mother couldn’t take care of herself or her child and her parents had taken over. The cute couple who seemed like they had it all lost everything. And it reminded Veronica of why she didn’t trust people and why she didn’t let herself get too close to people. Or at least she tried not to. 
Since that night, Veronica had changed. She saw just how much a perfect life could come crashing down. She had forgotten just how bad it could be when the other shoe dropped.  All of her demons returned. Looking at that family torn apart reiterated  that marriage and kids just made things more complicated. She knew  this sounded cynical and pessimistic, but she had learned her lesson from experience. Fairy tales do not exist. It was better not to get involved than  take a chance having everything  and losing it again.
 

 

To cope with all this when she was all alone, she threw herself into her work. It was no longer her job; it allowed her to have vengeance and purpose. When Logan  returned, she thought she had dealt with her issues, so she didn't bring them up. She didn’t want Logan worrying about her. 
Done with my issues, my ass. Your dreams shouldn’t still be haunting you if you had dealt with your issues. 
 

 

Trauma had come again, and again. Cases, not the people around her, had become her sanctuary. Cases made her feel better. They made her feel like she was doing something. She had to finish the bombing case now and worry about her dreams later. She wasn't in denial. She did see that in the absence of Logan, she was even more distant. She focused on the case instead of facing her demons. It was the way she coped. She pushed it down and said she would deal with it later.
 

 

Hahaha. If this is coping, then you suck at it. Come on, Veronica, you know you won't deal with this later. You will find another case to focus on and still not face your demons. You will continue to accumulate more demons, and the new demons will build on the old ones.
 

 

She pushed down her insecurities and her memories. She looked around and realized she was six miles from her apartment. She decided to turn around and make the long run back to her place. Where she would focus on her case and hopefully keep the memories that haunted her at bay. 



Logan 

 

Logan woke up, reaching over and finding the spot beside him cold. He missed Veronica. He missed her presence, but not her actions as of late. He was used to being alone. Going on missions had gotten him very used to sleeping alone.
 

 

He was exhausted. He sighed, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Logan had slept restlessly, dreaming of Veronica going off the deep end as a result of him leaving her.
 

 

But he scoffed at himself, trying to dismiss his fears as ridiculous. It was not like him. As if you, Logan Echolls, could bring Veronica down. But, the nagging feeling in his stomach wouldn't go away. Veronica had been getting progressively more self-destructive. He knew he made the right choice. And if he hadn't left, he would have continued to enable her. He knew this but it didn't mean he still didn't worry about her. Also, it wasn’t right of her to ignore her own mistakes and treat him like crap. He deserved to be happy. I made the right choice, he repeated to himself. 
 
 
To get her off his mind, he decided to go for a short surf.  He had to conserve his energy since he knew he would need all his strength to participate in the volleyball game with Dick in a few hours.

 

 Logan had breakfast as fast as he could. Then he dressed in his blue surf shorts, grabbed his board, and  paddled out into the ocean. Now he sat on his board, contemplating how far he had come. Thirteen years ago he sat on this same board and debated killing himself. So much had changed. He had changed, and honestly, he was so happy that he had. Even though he didn't have Veronica right now, he had Dick, Keith, Wallace, Noah, and his whole Navy family. He smiled, seeing the perfect wave. He rode in on it with a smile on his face.



 
Logan heard the crowd cheering around him and heard Dick talking to the crowd.
 

 

Dick said, “My friend here brought his six-pack.” Logan rolled his eyes under his sunglasses as he pulled his shirt up to show the crowd. He took a moment to look around. He saw Wallace and Shae, but Veronica was absent.  That didn't surprise him.
 

 

It wasn’t like he expected her to come, now that they were broken up. But, it didn’t mean that her absence didn't hurt.
 

 

He heard  Dick shout a welcome to the very young, abnormally fit girls who could pass as professional volleyball players as they walked  out. Oh, they were going to lose and make a fool of themselves.
 

 

Dick motioned to them. "I am here to take your daughters."
 

 

Logan rolled his eyes again under his glasses but he couldn’t help smiling at Dick’s lack of maturity.
 

 

Logan got in position as Dick said with exuberance, "Let's begin!"
 

 

The ball came flying at them. Logan tried to play, but honestly, they sucked at volleyball.
 

 

After the second play, he heard a loud noise that made his eardrums shudder. And then there was utter chaos. People were running around like crazy. Oh, God. I know this chaos. This is a bomb. He felt like he was transported to a war zone, but he pushed down the flashes. His training kicked in. Logan ran toward the noise to see if he could help.
 

Chapter Text

Logan
 
He had learned minor first aid to help on missions so he ran to see if he could help now.

 

As he walked through the haze, the smoke coated his throat. He coughed violently but pushed through the crowd to see where he could assist.  . He heard screams of pain; he stumbled over someone’s discarded flip flop.

 

Then he saw one of the injured near him.  But as he got closer, he feared the worse. Turning the body over, Logan was overwhelmed by the smell of blood, and burnt flesh. A flashback of his war experiences entered his mind, but he pushed it down. He closed the eyes of the victim and stood up to look for more.
 

He found a second casualty who was already  dead before he found and triaged a young woman by tying a tourniquet on her leg with his tank top to stop the bleeding. 


 Through the thick fog of acidic smoke still clouding the air, he could hear an ambulance approaching. 
A paramedic thanked him and she said that she would take it from there. She said, “You did a good job so go see if you can help others.” 
 
 
At the end of an hour, he had helped 4 more victims and was exhausted and dirty. At times, he had barely held back the flashbacks of war that threatened to overwhelm him. And he had kept the nausea at bay.
 
 
Regardless of how many times you see the remains of people and the chaos that a bomb leaves, it never gets better.  It always makes you feel overwhelmed by the emotional pain.


He walked away toward the volleyball court and found Dick sitting down on the ground drinking a beer.  In that moment, he had a craving like he hadn't had in years but he did not give in to the urge.


It was different seeing bomb blasts here, instead of overseas. In Neptune, despite all he had been and seen, this was home and it should be safe. 
 
 
Logan had to call Veronica about the bomb.  Wow, calling her is going to be fun and not awkward at all.
 
 
 
Logan took a deep breath and dialed Veronica’s number. The phone rang about 8 times and then he heard breathing but no response.

 
“Veronica?” Logan said in a hesitant voice.
 

“Yes.  Sorry, I just didn’t know what to say” Veronica said awkwardly. Expectantly, Veronica responded, “What’s up? I didn’t think you would be calling me anytime soon.”
 

Logan stuttered, “There, umm, was another bomb, umm, at the volleyball game.” 

 

 “Oh! Logan, are you okay?” she said. He could hear the fear and urgency in her voice. 

 

“Yeah, I am fine, Veronica.” as he coughed violently. 

 

“Are you sure?” she asked.
 

“Yeah, fine. I just helped out with the wounded and breathed in a decent amount of fumes.” He responded in a quiet voice.

 

“Okay, I’ll be right there.” Veronica said. Then the line went silent.

 
After seeing what this case entailed first hand, he was scared for Veronica. He knew with his job it would be hypocritical to mention his worries to her.  And even though they were broken up, he would  do something, anything, to make sure she survived this experience. He would get in touch with someone that could help protect her. Of course, he would help Keith which would also help Veronica a lot. Then, to help himself, he needed to call Jane.

 


Veronica
She was frantic even though Logan said he was fine.  She was worried.  Another bomb  going off nearby. Her heart was beating so fast; and she wasn’t going to calm down until she saw him. She loved him whether they were together or not; and it didn’t matter whether he knew it or not.    If she showed it or not.  Because, come on Veronica, be honest. Have you showed him your love in the last 3 years?  Maybe that’s the reason he said you didn’t appreciate him.  Maybe that is the reason he left you.

 

As she pushed these issues down, she pulled up to the beach. She saw Logan. He looked fine. Veronica let her head drop to the steering wheel; she felt a rush of tears bleed out of the corners  of her eyes. She felt relief and finally took the breath that she had been holding since Logan had called.

 

Finally, composing herself, Veronica lifted her head off the steering wheel and stepped out of the car, grabbing her camera bag. As she got closer to Logan, she saw his hands were covered in blood. It was on his chest and he had no shirt  on.  His eyes showed that he was somewhere else.  Dick was drinking a beer that sat at his feet.
 

As she examined Logan, he looked up at her, a weak smile coming onto his face. 

 

Then, she was right there. She almost reached out to him but her hands stopped midair when she was almost there. And she then lowered them to her sides.
 
 
“Are you sure that you are okay Logan?” she asked, fear seeping into her voice.
“Yeah, I am physically. But mentally, I am a little shaken up.” Logan’s voice shaking and his hand ran through his hair.
 

“Oh, come on” Veronica said, trying not sound worried,  “You are a Naval Intelligence Officer and you get freaked out by a little bomb exploding.”     She realizes in trying to lighten the moment a bit, that she came across insensitive which is not what she had meant at all. “ I mean it’s horrific and awful but it is not like you haven't seen this before, right?”
 

Logan stared at her for a second then said with no joking in his voice, “This is my home, Veronica. I am used to this over there but it’s different here. I know this place. It hasn’t always been great to me but this is home. And, I can’t just sit by and watch it implode.”
 

“Okay.” she said, not understanding how a person like Logan could love a town that had caused him so much pain. Honestly, for the past few years, she had wondered herself if there was even anything good about this town. No matter how perfect your life might seem, this town has a way of tearing you down.

 

She had come back to Neptune to help because she was addicted to this fight. However, she obviously had little, if any, success. She had not been able to do much to change that.  She was fighting a losing battle.  Then, why are you staying here?  What is keeping you here?  I mean Logan broke up with you. Why are you here? Why aren’t you doing what you do best?  Running away was her strong suit.  She pushed that down. This subject was something to contemplate later.
 

She stammered,  “So tell me, what happened?”
 

Logan responded, “A bomb went off over there. Do you want me to show you where?” Logan stuttered.

“I am here to help you if you need me. We are still friends Veronica.” Logan said with concern in his eyes.

 

Logan was offering her an olive branch. “Sure,” she responded.. “Lead the way. ”  

 

Logan started walking towards the rubble with Veronica walking behind.
 

Logan led her with ease straight through the rubble, past all of the blood and destruction.   Veronica was thinking. This must be his military training because I know Logan. And this is affecting  him. 
 

“Right there” Logan said motioning towards the rubble  “This is ground zero for the bomb.”  He continues as he picks something up.  “This is the blasting cap. Look at the remains, it is a crude device that was probably created by someone in their basement. Here are some of the nails used as shrapnel. This is just like the previous bombing so I am guessing that it’s the same guy or someone that wants you to think it’s the same guy.” 
 

She is silent through his findings but she is in awe of what the military has turned him into. He is so knowledgeable and calm under pressure. Logan is someone to be amazed by.  Why don’t you tell him that?  I mean, how often do I say that I am amazed by him and proud of him.  Maybe that’s the reason he doesn’t feel appreciated?  Maybe that is why he feels like he is never enough?

 
“Veronica? Hey do you have any questions? What are you thinking about?”  concern in his voice. 

 

“Sorry” Veronica said, shaking the thoughts out of her head. “I was just admiring the strong, talented amazing military man I see in front of me.” Logan was obviously struggling with the events of the bomb but handling it calm, cool and collected. But she was looking down and playing with the ground at her feet.

 

“Ha! ” she hears from Logan and quickly looks up. She examines Logan's face he looked ashamed at his outburst. 

 

“What’s so funny? “she asked, feeling a little put out.

 

“Nothing, it’s just you have never talked about the military and me like that.”  

 

 “What? I have always been proud of what you do for the Navy! But yeah, I admit that I wish that it didn’t take you away from me so much.”

 

“It’s nice to hear it.” Logan sounding surprised that. “Do you have any more questions for me?” 

 

Veronica stares at him. Did he really not know that she admired him and that she was proud of him? Be honest, Veronica, it makes sense since you never really took the time to compliment Logan or let him know when he did something well. . Before you have gotten mad at him and even broken up with him for any little thing. Remember that this isn’t the first time he broke up with you by saying that.  Maybe instead of  just thinking how proud and strong he is, you should have said it more often. And then maybe you would still be together.

 

Veronica knew that this was not the only reason they broke up. But it was a good start to understanding. And maybe this is something that she can change to get him to understand how much she loves him. You know that's a reason but not enough to have got him to break up with you.  He loves you. Maybe he finally realized you weren't enough. 

 

Stop! thats enough she said in her head. That silenced her insecurities. 

 

“No, I don’t have any more questions. I am just going to take some pictures. Thanks for all the help and especially for calling me.” she says.

 

“No problem,” Logan says with a small smile gracing his lips. “Well, I am going to go. I’m  dirty and I am sure the King of Spring Break over there” Logan gestures to Dick “will want to go out to Comrade Quacks or something tonight.” Logan rolls his eyes.

 

“Hey, remember that you picked your best friend!”  She says in a joking tone.

 

Logan stares at her.  “Dick has just always been loyal.  And in a life where almost everyone else has been just using me for some other reason, it’s nice to have loyalty.  Someone who is there for me no matter what. Someone who never runs away.  At least everything that Dick says can be taken at face value, I can count on that.  I know he has made a lot of mistakes but he means the world to me. And if I have to go to bat for him, I always will.”

 

Veronica thought about it for a minute. “Wait. Are you talking about me?  I am not running. I am right here. You are the one that broke up with me.” Her voice was now  loud and edging on angry.

 

Out came a controlled no anger, patient response from Logan, “Maybe not physically, but mentally you are still running.  You have started to drink. A lot. You are doing E.  And the part about taking someone at face value?I know almost nothing about your life. You hide everything from me. You tell me nothing, Veronica.”

“ I just don't understand why you still don't trust me.  Pain leaking into his voice. 

 

“I do trust you Logan.” But do you really Veronica then why haven't you told him.  I think you are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  You wait for it and when it drops you take it as an excuse to keep yourself closed off. 

 

“Then what happened 3 years ago Veronica? I have tried to be patient, show you that you can talk to me.”
Even though she hears Logan wants to help and she shouldn't be so scared of telling Logan, her heart started to seize up. This was not right, talking so loudly of their own issues  at the awful crime scene. Then, the flashes started to come. But she was able to push the gruesome memories away.  Again. “I just can’t.” she said softly in a defeated voice.  Logan was right. She was keeping things from him and it was hurting him.  But she wasn’t ready to talk about it. 

 

“Can we do this later and somewhere else?” She said timidly. 

 

Logan responded with patience, his voice calming, “You can’t keep running and pushing things off. That’s what we did when we were younger. We pushed them down and never faced them. Now, we are adults and we need to face them so that we can move forward.”

 

“I am afraid that I don’t know how to face them.” She faltered with the anguish and pain of the last 3 years sinking into her voice.  “I don’t remember a time when I was happy and I don’t know what

I want and worse, I do not know how to change it.”

 

“Well, I really hope that you would tell me; I promise that I will help you, in any way I can.  Even though we are not together, I still want to be there for you.  We are still family and I still care about you.  You can call me any time of the day or night.” he responds.

 

Veronica stared at him and smiled.  “That was kinda cheesy. ”  She said jokingly trying to lighten the mood. “Well, thanks for all the help, Logan.  I mean it. Thanks.“

Logan gave a slight smile then turned around and he was gone. 

 

Veronica took a deep breath. It was hard to see him and not be able to touch him and worry about him because he was no longer hers. And whose fault is that Veronica? She hears her self conscious talking to her. She shakes it off, grabs her camera from her bag and moves on to something she can handle – a crime scene.

 

Wait. Wasn’t Wallace coming today?  Oh, I’m sure Logan would have mentioned it.  But her heart still seized. Oh, come on, Veronica.  Call him! You don’t want to not appreciate him enough and distance yourself. You cannot lose Wallace, too.

 

Her conscience was right. She grabbed her phone and dialed Wallace.

 

“Superfly, Veronica” is what she heard on the other side of the line.

 

“Wallace, I just wanted to call you and see if you were okay. Are you okay?” Veronica asks.

 

“We are fine. Have you talked to Logan?” worry filling his voice. 

 

“Yeah, he says that he is fine. I just saw him.” she said with pain in her voice. 

 

“I am glad.  Are you okay? I haven’t talked to you since you guys broke up. You know you can call me if you need to talk,” said Wallace.

 

“I know that I can. But you know how I am, Wallace. I am a “grin and bear it” girl.” Veronica responds.
“But you know I am your friend, right?” Wallace said with annoyance in his tone.

 

Guilt overwhelmed her. I can’t lose him too. “I know. I’m so sorry,” she said. “You don’t deserve this, me not talking to you. I am so sorry that I have been so distant. 

 

“Then, talk to me.” Wallace said.

 

“Can I come over for dinner next week? And we can hang out  like we used to.”

 

“Yeah, that would be nice,” came Wallace’s voice through the phone.

 

“Love you, Wallace, thanks for always being there,” her voice faltering.

 

“No problem,” surprise in Wallace’s voice.  “You know that Logan and your dad have always been there too. All you have to do is let us in.”

 

“Thanks.  I have to go, Wallace.”

 

“Bye.” she heard him say. Then she hung up, put her phone in her pocket and smiled. But there was still a pit in the bottom of her stomach.  Had she really started treating  Wallace that poorly?   Logan was right. Maybe I do need to change. But at the same time as she had the thought, the fear of facing all of her issues welled up inside her and the walls came up. Here you go again you know you are going to hide your feelings from Wallace pretend your fine, say enough to placate his worries and you are going to continue on this path because you know the second you feel vulnerable the walls go up. 

 

And she thought, I have to solve the case.  That’s what she had to do.  Grabbing her camera, she went into action. This was a diversion a way to not have to face her issue.  I'm Veronica and that's what I'm best at, Running mentally and/or  physically and never looking back. 

Chapter Text


Logan sat at a table at Comrade Quacks while just staring at his glass of water and wiping condensation off the glass with his fingers.
He was tired as could be but he had been dragged out against his will. Sometimes he missed letting go like he used to, but he was happy being sober. He had so many things to live for now. There was a time when alcohol was all he wanted, what he needed, to just get through the day. Now, it was harder to face his issues sober, but he was still happy that he decided not to drink.
 
Logan looked up and saw a girl walking toward him. Hey, there is the English girl that owned Comrad Quacks. What is her name?  Got it!
 
When the owner had gotten to him, Logan greeted her, “Hey, Nicole,” he said.
 
“Hey. Logan, isn’t it?”  Her eyebrows furrowed.
 
“Yeah, you’re right!”
 Nicole looked around and asked, “Where’s Veronica?”
 
“Oh, we um, sort of broke up, so she didn’t come with me.” Logan sighed and couldn’t look her in the eye, just staring at his water again.


 “I’m sorry, Logan. Do you want to talk about it?” she asked with concern but her look showed that it had been a long day.
 
“Not really, ma’am,” he said.  “Oh, sorry, I meant Nicole. It’s just a force of habit.”


 “Come on! How about I ask the questions?  I used to be a bartender so I am used to moonlighting as a therapist.


 “So, first question, how many years have you been sober?”


“Wow, you don't beat around the bush, do you?” Logan scoffed with an amused look on his face. 


He looked at Nicole who  had no shame on her face.  


Logan thought he had gotten pretty good at being  at ease in bars. When he had first gotten sober he became more quiet and introspective and looked longingly at the drink that used to help curb the tides of pain that had overwhelmed him. But, over time, he began to look at drinking not as his salvation but something that was holding him back from being happy and facing his problems.  “Is it that easy to tell?” Logan asked a little hesitantly. 
 
“Well, I mean, it is true that only a sober man would get water with lemon at a bar and not be tempted to get a real drink.”
 
She was blunt but, he liked her.  She was also honest and inquisitive.  He used to push people like her away but, over the years, he had become more comfortable talking to people.
 
Logan felt his pockets and pulled out his glasses. Then, he found his wallet in his right pocket. He opened the worn wallet that was once his grandfather’s and found the coin. He rubbed his finger over the engraved numbers on the front and back, deep in thought. Thirteen years. It had been a struggle but it was so worth it. He slowly handed the coin to Nicole. 


She read the dates on the coin and did the math.“Wow!” she said, “That’s pretty impressive. I’m guessing that you are military?”


“Yeah.” Logan said as he took the coin back from her. 


“Was it her drinking and the E that I shared with her that caused you to break up with Veronica?” she asked with a hint of guilt. 


“No, there were a lot of reasons.” Logan responded making eye contact with Nicole who looked at him expectantly. 


He considered how much to share before adding, “I don’t want to paint her in a bad light because I love Veronica and I will always love her.  But she has become distant lately and I never know what she is thinking. She never approves of my choices and always made me feel like I was not enough.  I could get over that and stay with her if I thought she was happy.  But she isn’t. She’s miserable and I was enabling her by acting like what she was doing was okay. So, I decided it was best for both of us if we went our separate ways for a while. She needs to learn to be happy with or without me.”


“Wow.” Nicole’s eyes were big and her voice was laced with awe.  “You must love her a lot if you let her go for her own benefit.”


“I just know you can’t force people to get better and be happy.  I learned that lesson with my mom and my last girlfriend. But that’s enough gossip about me. How are you, Nicole?”


“I’m good but it has been a long day,” She responded.
 
Logan’s phone pinged with a news alert.  He hadn’t set alerts to notify him but after spending the day with Noah at Wallace’s house, they began to appear.  “Noah must have hit it by accident while he was playing with my phone. I don’t know if it is the light or what, but Noah loves to play with my phone and even used to bite it when he was younger. I just decided not to turn off the alerts.” As he finished talking, he read the alert in shock - 12 injured, 2 dead in Neptune bombing.
 
Sadness now joined his shock as he remembered those he loved were still vulnerable in this cruel and unfair world. His time with the Navy had hardened him to the casualties of war, but he wouldn’t allow that permeate his everyday life. 
“You okay?” Nicole’s loud voice startled him. He had forgotten she was there. 


Logan looked up.  “Yeah, I just got an alert about the last bombing.”


“Yeah, that was awful.” Nicole said with sadness in her voice.


“I’ve seen IEDs blow up people but I accept that in war torn Yemen. I don’t expect that here in Neptune.”


“How do you get over stuff like a bombing and not keep reliving it?” Nicole asked. 


Logan responded “It’s hard and some days I am able to. I get a lot of help from my therapist. I have come to realize that as long as you have people around you to pick you up when you fall, there is hope. Spending time with the people I care about and who care about me really helps.”


Nicole added “Yeah, but right now, it is really getting to me.” “This has really thrown me. Maybe it’s because it’s so close to home. I never thought something like that could happen here. I no longer feel safe in my own home. I no longer feel safe in my own bar.” “I get it. I’ve seen a lot of things in my life. I’ve had my life destroyed and blown up. And, honestly, I wake up some days and can’t even find the pieces to try to put them back together,” Nicole responded.


Logan looked into her eyes and saw the pain that came from being chewed up and spit out by life too many times.


“Yeah.  You know what? I’m a good listener too,” he said with a small smile on his lips. 


Nicole looked like she was going to speak but stopped when she heard wheels moving towards them. Logan looked up to see his loyal friend Dick on his heelies.  Sometimes he wished Dick had better timing. Logan sighed and waited for his friend.

“Well, it seems like we are about to be interrupted.” Logan says.  “It was nice to talk to you. -someone who isn’t from here and doesn’t already have misconceptions about who I am.”
“It’s nice to talk to you, too.” Nicole sounded surprised. “I miss this part of bar tendering - the talking to people. All I seem to do now is throw customers out. “
“Yeah.” Logan said with a smile. 



 Logan’s dreams were being riddled with nightmares of people he cared about being blown to pieces.  Keith, Veronica, Dick, Wallace, Shae, Noah, and Weevil. Noah was the worst, he was so young. He needed to protect the people he loved and with another deployment, most likely imminent, he had to come up with a plan.
 
The people he loved were no longer immune to bombs. They were not a sea or a few continents away. It was literally right in their backyard.
He couldn't ask Keith with his busted-up hip or Wallace with a young child or Dick who wasn’t what you would call stealthy. So, Weevil was his only option. Yes, Weevil. He still honestly couldn't believe he even considered Weevil a friend since Logan considered him more like a partner in protecting Veronica.
Logan and Weevil had started becoming more friendly after Logan attended Letty's funeral 12 years ago.
 
Flashback 
Logan had watched the funeral from a distance. He had just finished his sophomore year of college -Round 2. He was two years older than most students, but getting clean takes time. Now, he was so much better and he owed it to Professor Galway and Letty Navarro. The funeral wasn't grand or extravagant. What did he expect from a woman that gave everything to her grandchildren and her community? Yet the funeral was so crowded. And honestly, this is what he expected. Letty was an amazing person and he was going to miss her.  They might not have flaunted their relationship but it was there. She had been his protector in his home when he moved to Neptune. It was Letty, not his Mom, that “stitched him up” after one of his Dad’s temper tantrums resulted in a bad beating for Logan. She had done so with concern and understanding in her eyes. And then she had comforted him by making him his favorite foods. 


With no one knowing, he had paid off her house.  While Weevil thought Logan was hurting his grandmother and him, Logan was actually helping. But he let Weevil believe that he had Letty evicted as a way of getting back at Weevil for burning down his home. Letty had even showed up at the hospital after Logan’s second OD and held a washcloth to his face when he got the sweats during his detox and put blankets on him when he was shivering. She had stayed in touch with him when he was getting clean.  They even had weekly phone calls. Until one Friday, when he called and she didn't answer. When he looked in the digital paper and found her obituary, the news hit him hard. 
 
In fact, Letty had done more for him than his sister or his mom when she wasn’t able to help.  And her death felt like he lost his safety net and his confidant and a family member. He owed so much to her that he had to pay his respects, no matter how much it hurt.  He stood and observed the funeral from beside a tree in the back. When the crowd began to leave, he went to visit his Mom’s empty grave and Lilly’s tombstone. After what he assumed was enough time had passed, he came back to have some private time with Letty. He was surprised to find that Weevil was still there.
Logan thought that he had approached quietly but Weevil turned around abruptly, wiping his eyes with his hands and trying to put on a strong face. When Weevil saw that it was Logan, he stopped trying.

“Hey, Rich Boy, I was going to call you later,” Weevil said with slight disdain.

“You were going to call me?” Logan asked, stunned. 
 “About her will. I have no idea why you are in it. She had little to give and she mentioned you.  I was so mad when I found out, but then I found the deed for her house. And you paid some of her medical bills during our senior year. Why did you do that?  Especially since I burned down your house and pointed guns at you. She was the most important person in my life.” Weevil said with emotions from sadness to awe then anger in his voice. “I didn't think you had a very high opinion of the “help.”
 
Guilt overwhelmed Logan. Pain seeped through him. He could see why Weevil would believe that.  Logan now knew that in high school he had been like two different people - the ruthless 09er leader who was cruel to everyone he thought was lower than him. This was the part that no one could faze.  But there was another Logan - the well-hidden kid that just wanted to be loved. This was the kid that needed someone, anyone, to make him feel less broken. And Letty understood that about him.
 
Weevil must have seen the guilt and pain reflected in Logan’s face so he continued.  “I mean, she used to make comments like, ‘I am making this for poor Mr. Logan, he is sad today.’ Or, ‘Don't speak bad about the rich, Son, because they have their own problems.  No one’s life is perfect.’ I mean she used to hate to miss work. And she would always seem on edge and nervous. What was between you two? What made you two so close? I mean there had to be something,” he pleaded. 
 
Logan understood that Weevil wanted answers. He needed something to get his mind off his grandmother’s death so he could focus on her life.
 Logan took a deep breath while preparing to speak about the horrors of his childhood that only his therapist, Letty, Veronica and his parent’s knew. “When I was, um, growing up, Aaron had a temper every time I acted out or hurt his precious image,” he said with bitterness in his voice. “Umm. He would beat me.” Logan looked down, rubbing his foot in the sand. Then he took a deep breath and looked up.  “He would hit me, whip me, and burn me. And your grandma was the only one who would pick me up, help me to my room, and bandage me up. She was the one who got me through those years. I owed her so much.”
 
Weevil stared at him with disbelief.  “Then, explain to me why you said mean things about her and made fun of her in public.” 
 

“Honestly, Weevs,” he said with pain and guilt once again seeping into his voice.  “I was a selfish, rude kid that only showed the world the worst side of myself. And every time I would say stuff like that, I would want to throw-up. I honestly wanted to take it back.  But, remember that back then I cared so much about not seeming weak or vulnerable. And my abuse being made public was my worst nightmare. I’m sorry for your loss, Weevs. She was an amazing person and I respected her so much.”  Logan looked down again as the pain became so strong that tears began filling his eyes.
Weevil spoke so quietly that Logan could not hear the words but Logan slowly raised his head as he wiped the tears from his eyes.  When he saw Weevil’s face, he saw his pain reflected in Weevil’s eyes. 
“Thanks, Man.” Weevil said in a raspy voice as he tried to give Logan a slight smile. 
 
End of Flashback 
 Ever since Letty’s funeral they had stayed in touch. Sometimes even meeting up and sharing memories when Logan wasn't away on assignment. When Veronica came back, they kept their friendship under wraps. And by the time they were ready to tell Veronica, the whole mess with Keith and the case had ruined their plans. 
 
Veronica now hated Weevil for his choices about settling the police evidence tampering case. And Logan never understood that. Weevil chose his family over his obligations to his friends.  She was getting angry at Weevil for the same reason that he got mad at her. She chose her Dad over Logan and the Kanes. Now, that’s truly ironic.
Since then, Weevil had not been very interested in protecting Veronica but he did it for Logan. He needed to stop by and check on Weevil to make sure that Veronica hadn't done something to keep Weevil from protecting her. Logan pulled into the back entrance of PCH Body and Paint Shop. After the dust settled from his bike wheels, Logan got off, positioned the kickstand and entered the shop. Looking around, Logan saw Hector and few other PCHers that he knew in high school.  His eyes landed on Weevil who was leaning over a pretty dilapidated car. 

“Paco, that one might be dead. Even your kung fu isn’t strong enough to fix that hunk of metal.”

 

Weevil chuckled slightly. “You think you can do better, white boy? I bet you would break a nail and start crying.”

 “

Haha!” Logan said smiling.  “How you doing, man?”

 
“You know, man, it’s bad – not seeing my girl and being alone,” Weevil said with sadness in his voice. 
Logan knew it had been hard for him since Jade and Valentina had moved out. Logan gave him an understanding look. “I get it. Paradise is so overrated.” He knew there was sadness in his voice, too. 

“How is it, man? Living with the frigid Ice Bitch!” Weevil’s anger clearly apparent in his tone. 
 Logan rolled his eyes. “Give her a break. She has been through a lot of crap.” 

 “You know that that's no excuse,” he spat with even more anger coming to the surface. “We have all been through a lot, Logan.” 
Logan shrugged, not knowing how to respond to that. He rubbed his eyes - exhaustion hitting him. 

“You OK, Logan?” Weevil touched his arm with concern in his eyes.

“Yeah. It’s just that after we broke up, honestly, I don’t know what to do. I still love her, Weeves.”

Weevil reflects, “I know, man, but if she is treating you like she is treating me, she doesn’t deserve you anymore.”

Logan does a double take. It was honestly still so weird to hear Weevil talk about him so kindly.

“So why are you here, man?” Weevil asks.

“I know that Veronica and I aren’t together but I just wanted to make sure that you still have her back.  I mean, I was right there yesterday when the bomb went off. Weeves, I heard the bomb. I saw what it did. And I know what you are thinking. You have seen it before. But yesterday, it really hit me. She has bitten off so much this time.  I know that this is a lot to ask of you, but, please protect her, look out for her when I am away.” 
 

“Fine.” Weevil grunted in slight annoyance “But I am not doing it for her.” 

 “Thanks. I appreciate it.” Thank God.

 They both heard a scuffle and  looked out of the garage door. 
 “Looks like we’re up,” Logan says abruptly.

“This girl just doesn’t stop.”Weevil follows Logan as they both set off towards the crowd where, once again, Veronica’s self-destructive tendencies are getting her in trouble. 

“Stop it!” Logan screamed.
“That’s enough!”  Weevil yelled as he shot a gun into the air. “Stop that or you will get hurt, guys!” 


As Weevil said it, a kid grabbed Veronica. Logan lunged at the kid, grabbing him from behind and putting him in a sleeper hold until the kid fell to the ground. 
Logan looked up at a shell-shocked Veronica, staring at him in confusion. But she pushed down the confusion and fear and coldness moved over her face.
“What in the world are you doing here, Logan?” Veronica asked  like it was an accusation.