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Sometimes Logan feels endlessly ridiculous referring to Veronica as his girlfriend. It’s what he called her (in his head) when they were 17 and meeting in the Neptune High School girls’ bathroom to make out because no one but the two of them knew about their budding relationship. Now they’re in their thirties, have been living together for years (even bought a house on the beach together three years ago), usually don’t have to talk to understand each other (although they had that a long time ago already) and have a dog together. And not even a young dog. Pony’s not as energetic as she once was. So girlfriend is accurate, sure, but it seems flimsy. Like it doesn’t hold the meaning it should. He’d refer to Veronica as the love of his life, but then he’d be accused by everyone, especially her, of being an overdramatic sap. They’d all be right, but the appellation would still feel more appropriate than referring to the woman currently frowning at the crossword she’s filling in, her feet tucked under his thighs to keep warm and the old shirt of his she converted in a pajama top over a decade ago exposing negligently a bare shoulder, his girlfriend.

He knows there’s other things he can call her without being called a sap or receiving any comment on the dramatic or even shakespearean side of his upbringing. But he doesn’t like any of it.

Life partner is so stale. He’s a romantic at heart and while the pragmatic take on it would likely be Veronica’s pick, Logan isn't a fan of those kinds of qualifiers.

Her name is usually enough for people they know – because they know about all of it, not just that she’s his girlfriend. They know they’re not just two young adults taking it easy because they just started dating 4 months ago. No, his girlfriend, he’s been in love with for half his life.

And now it’s just past 10PM on a Wednesday night in April and he's already thinking of turning in for the night, and he has no idea why he suddenly has such an aversion to the term girlfriend.

He’s never had a problem with it before. When he was 18, he was fucking elated to refer to Veronica as his girlfriend. It was like, yeah, my parents are dead, I have one friend, and I’m an eternal fuckup, but Veronica Mars is my girlfriend.

He doesn’t really have the need to parade her around to show the world the one thing he actually cares about, anymore. For them to think he’s lucky for more than his name and wealth. He’s proud as fuck that she’s his – every goddamn day – but his own knowledge is enough nowadays. And he’s not a fuckup anymore. His parents are still dead, but he has other friends, now, besides Dick. (Thank God.)

And when he was 27, and he just got her back, he loved referring to Veronica as his girlfriend in his mind. He’d be on one of the more difficult days on the aircraft carrier, miles away from anything, without any contact with the outside world, and thoughts of her would flash in his mind. I’m going back to Veronica, to my girlfriend, this time. And that would soothe him right up.

Now he’s more or less used to the idea that his girls – Veronica and Pony – will be waiting for him when he gets home. The deployments are more frequent, but much shorter. And Veronica’s presence is a calming and steadying constant, his love for her a warm blanket, rather than a sudden rush of giddy remembrance. It’s better now.

He’s not the man he was before, they’re not the couple they were before, he knows that. And it can explain his sudden disinclination for the word.

But it can’t explain the uncontrolled, unrestrained question that just flies out of his mouth unauthorized.

“Marry me.”

It’s actually more of a statement. But it's meant as a question. He hopes she knows that.

She just laughs. “What?”

“Let’s get married,” he reformulates, the daring that had let the words initially escape his mouth dwindling fast.

“Where is this coming from?” Veronica asks, suddenly frowning.

“Uh – just a thought.”

Telling her the reason would just be embarrassing. It’s not like it's the first time he’s thought about it. It’s been in and out of his mind for years, for longer than he cares to admit. He thought about it somewhat seriously once when they were at Hearst, how it would be to marry her. How there was no one else in the world he would ever possibly want to marry. Two weeks later they were broken up, again. But since they got back together 7 years ago, the thought has been regularly popping into his head. Well, maybe not initially. But when he had to leave for his sudden deployment after Bilbo’s death, he definitely started thinking about it. And it hasn’t ever really gone since. He brought it up with her exactly once, about a year ago, after years of hearing her little comments about her job or other couples he couldn’t exactly say were pro-marriage. She was half asleep, blissed out from the reunion sex, his duffle was still packed from his latest deployment and at the end of the bed, and he was fluffing his pillow to an acceptable shape. He asked her, “what do you think about marriage?”, testing the waters. She told him to “take things one at a time, buster”, and that was it. She fell asleep seconds later, and since then he’s been too chicken to ask what the everliving fuck she meant.

So maybe it’s not out of nowhere that he’s asking now, but it’s pretty damn out of the blue. Especially since it’s not just an innocent enquiry like last time; it’s as close as he’s ever been to proposing.

Still, he asked, and she laughed, so he’s half ready to write off that conversation and just try again in another year.

“But why?” she finally asks. “Do you have a dangerous deployment coming up? Because I swear to God, Logan, I’m not signing a prenup, and I’m not taking all your money just in case. So forget it. I just want you to come back home safe or nothing. I don’t want the consolation prize.”

“Hey, hey, no, nothing like that,” he quickly says, untucking her feet from under his legs to pull her torso towards him. He folds her inside his arms, against his chest, her head resting just below his. “Not every decision we make has to be about life or death situations, you know.”

“Getting Pony wasn't a life or death situation.”

“Right, and we're pretty happy with that decision, aren't we?”

“You’re the one who gets out of alternating nights to take her out and pick up her poop for months at a time.”

“Veronica.”

“Yeah, okay,” she relents. “We’re happy with that decision.”

“Good. That’s what I thought.”

“But seriously, why? Why now? Why ever?”

“Because you’re the most important person in my life, the most important person I’ve ever had in my life. And I want you to legally be that person. And, yes, if anything happens to me –”

“Stop,” she protests firmly.

“Fine. Forget that last part. But, Veronica, you’re my world. And I want to marry you. I want to call you my wife,” he whispers into her hair.

“Is that even a good reason? Because we want to?”

“It’s a great reason. It’s the best reason, if it’s true. If you want it too.”

“Yeah. You’d look good in a tuxedo. You don’t wear enough of ‘em nowadays.”

“I could wear formal military wear.”

Veronica’s eyes widen. “Fuck yes.”

“So is that – are you saying –”

She tilts her head up and smiles at him. “Yeah, okay. Let’s get married. On one condition,” she adds, placing a finger on his lips.

He nips ineffectively at her finger. “Anything.”

“I want another reason. Not one that’s logical, or sentimental. I want a selfish reason.”

“I want another one of those memories for when we get old. When we’re always saying the same things to each other and reminiscing about the good old days like annoying fucks, I want to have another one of those. We’ll have ‘remember when you kissed me at the Camelot?’ and ‘remember that stupid fucking speech from prom?’ and ‘remember when I beat up your boyfriend?’ and ‘remember when I picked you up from the airport and remembered I was in love with you?’. But we'll also have ‘remember when we got married?’ and we’ll tell the same stories over and over again, except in that one no one will be dead and no one will be drunk.”

Veronica smiles and nudges him playfully. “Remember when you proposed to me?”

“It was romantic as hell. Candlelight and rose petals –”

He’s cut off when she smacks his chest, laughing. “Bet you’re embarrassed about that now, huh? This will be the stupid night we remember.”

“I don’t care. You can still gush about the beautiful ring I got you and how you just knew, in your heart, that I was the one,” Logan simpers sarcastically.

She snorts and gets up to go to the kitchen area. As she pours herself a glass of water, she addresses him. “You know, I’m not sure you completely understand the concept of truth.”

“Excuse me?” Logan asks, faux-offended. “All of it was true.” At her smirk and shake of her head, he walks up to Veronica and kisses her temple slowly. “I love you,” he adds.

“I love you too.” She closes her eyes, then opens them to gaze more seriously into Logan’s. “You know you are the one, right?”

He grins. “It’s always nice to hear.”

That’s another thing that’s better than girlfriend. The one. Veronica is the one.

“Okay, don’t call me old, but are you tired? I'm tired.”

He laughs. “Let’s go to sleep... oldster.”

“Shut up!”

He laughs harder as she swats at him and he dodges her before sauntering to the bedroom. The bedroom he shares with Veronica. Veronica, his fiancée. It’s kind of stupid that he found a solution to his tiny little problem, and it so happens the solution has many, many more benefits.

He rifles through his drawers, tosses out something onto the bed, then heads for the bathroom to clean up.

A few minutes later, he’s brushing his teeth when Veronica enters the bedroom, and he snickers when he hears her reaction to his earlier disposal on the comforter.

“You actually got a ring?” she asks, baffled. “Logan!”

He’s had it a while. He can tell her about that tomorrow.