Prompt: "Early Season One: Veronica's relationship with Troy causes an unexpected reaction in another character."



Author's note: Takes place entirely within the episode "You Think You Know Somebody."  Begins as Veronica drops Luke and Logan off in front of Luke's house, after rescuing them from the restaurant at the US Mexican border.  Not necessarily AU.  I tried really hard, actually, to not make anything within this contradict what actually happened in the episode.



Thanks for the ride," Logan says.  "Does this mean you’re gonna play nice now?" he asks as taps the hood of Veronica’s LeBaron.

"Walk in front of the car, we’ll see," Veronica quips as she revs the engine and smirks wryly.

He smiles back at her - a smile not loaded with blame and venom, for the first time in nearly a year.

Logan expects Luke to go inside as he walks to his XTerra, but instead he follows Logan, asking, "Can I stay in your guest house?  I don’t want to wake my parents up this early."

Logan stifles his annoyance.  He had been planning on crashing in the pool house himself, to avoid any possible confrontation with Aaron this morning, but he nods and Luke slides into his passenger seat with a look of deep distress on his face.

"Dude," Logan says, "you look like you’re gonna hurl.  If you throw up in my car, I will hurt you."

"Says the man who dry-heaved for an hour in Troy’s dad’s car," Luke snaps.

Logan shrugs, evidence of his own double standard not lost on him.  "What’s the problem?" he asks, nonchalantly, as he pulls the car out into traffic.

Luke is silent for a moment and then admits, "The steroids for Zigman were in the piñata.  In Troy’s dad’s car.  Which is now stolen."

Realization passes over Logan’s face and he nods grimly.  "Hank Zigman is not going to take that well."

"He’s going to fucking kill me!" Luke says.

"Well," Logan says, uncharacteristically thoughtful, "Veronica seemed hell bent on keeping her boy-toy-Troy out of Catholic School, and she’s all into this Nancy Drew shit lately.  If she finds the car, maybe she’ll find your piñata."  A look of subtle irritation passes over Logan’s tired face, an expression missed entirely by Luke, who is far too worried about his own predicament to wonder why Logan is aggravated.

As he drives, Logan is increasingly annoyed by the thought of Veronica using her new-found sleuthing skills to assist Troy.  He wonders where this knack for unraveling petty mysteries came from - it’s not normal for a teenage girl to suddenly morph from a pep squad cheerleader into some junior ninja Sherlock Holmes in combat boots and a skirt.  These powers of observation couldn’t have just fallen from the sky at the very moment of her disloyalty.  Which means, Logan considers, clenching his jaw, that her ability to uncover secrets was probably there all along.  Logan bites his lip and wonders just how much Veronica knows about Logan’s own secrets.

***

Logan points Luke in the direction of the pool house and slips quietly into the house through the kitchen entrance, silencing the alarm and hoping the subtle "beep beep" doesn’t wake Aaron. He climbs the stairs as softly as he can, and lets out a sigh of relief when he makes it to his bedroom without incident.

Logan cannot believe he agreed to ride along to Tijuana, knowing what he did about Luke’s plan to bring back the steroids.  That was the height of insanity on his part.  He thinks back to the moment the border guard asked them to turn over their contraband – what fresh hell would have been unleashed if the steroids had been found?  Logan envisions the front of every tabloid rag in the country with his mug shot on the front of it, and a headline declaring, "Aaron Echolls Troubled Son Caught in Mexican Drug Cartel Conspiracy!"  He smiles ruefully, for a moment wondering if the embarrassment to his father might have been worth it.

In hindsight, he is incredibly relieved it hadn’t played out that way.

Flinging his clothes to the floor, he falls into bed, fully expecting to pass out immediately and sleep until lunch, at least.

Instead he lies awake, staring at the ceiling, thinking about Veronica again.  He feels uneasy about Veronica coming to their rescue at the border this morning.  He tries to tell himself that his distress stems from having to rely on Veronica for anything – even a pre-dawn ride home from a car-napping.  But the more he mulls over the morning in his mind, the more he comes to realize that it’s Veronica he’s worried about.

He thinks about Veronica before – before Lilly’s murder, before Keith Mars cast blame on Lilly’s family, before she chose her father over her friends.  He thinks about Veronica in a ponytail and soccer shorts, Veronica the pink princess who was Duncan’s true love.  He thinks about Veronica who was Lilly’s confidante and shadow and best friend.  He wistfully remembers the fabulous foursome they had been, before someone shattered Lilly’s skull and everything he thought he knew was true came crashing down around him.

He cannot comprehend the sweet Veronica of before doing the things badass Veronica does now.  Planting a bong in his locker?  And then having the bong destroyed?  Is it possible she was to thank for the fire inside the police evidence room???  Dual images of Veronica flash back and forth in his mind, and he can hardly believe they are one and the same.

As he lies in bed, the early morning sunshine creeping in around the blinds of his bedroom window, he hates that idea that Veronica is withTroy.  And he hates himself for giving a rat’s ass.

He’s certainly done more than his share of things to hurt Veronica.  He’s made it practically his mission in life to embarrass and shame her.  Her stunt with the bong had resulted in some truly wretched repercussions from Aaron - the scars on his back would remind him of that afternoon for the rest of his life.  That incident alone should be reason enough for him to hope for horrible things to befall the tiny blonde girl.

And yet, when he considers everything he knows about Troy Vandergraf, information mostly gleaned from Caitlyn, traitorous bitch - and when he balances that against his memory of a 12-year-old Veronica, Veronica as he first knew her – he doesn’t like the idea at all.

If he can believe anything that Caitlyn had told him – debatable, of course, considering what a duplicitous skank she was – Troy was constantly in trouble, getting arrested and failing out of numerous schools.  If half of the exploits Caitlyn told him about Troy’s weakness for both pussy and cocaine were true, Troy Vandergraf made Logan Echolls looks like a monogamous teetotaler in comparison.

For a brief moment, Logan imagines Veronica before, all rosy-cheeked innocence, suddenly half-naked and sweaty with arousal in the back seat of Troy’s father’s car, and the image makes him simultaneously furious and horny as hell.

Sure, he’s responsible for the rumors of her epic sluttiness, but he doesn’t actually believe them.  He hates that Troy Vandergraf may have sought her out for those qualities bestowed upon her, falsely, by Logan himself.  He hates that she might be letting Troy explore the contours of her fine, perfect body – something Logan will never, ever be able to do.

Logan tosses and turns and finally falls into a fitful sleep, wondering how to turn Troy off Veronica, without letting on that he actually cares what happens to his old friend turned enemy.  He is determined that he will do whatever it takes to make sure Vandergraf is shipped off to Catholic school, far far away from Neptune and its resident pixie detective.



Jacqui's critique:

Slipping right inside the episode "You Think You Know Somebody", this fic is a snapshot of what could very well have been inside Logan's dead during this point in the series. The author states they tried to keep it within canon and not stray from what was there, which they've done quite well.

Told from Logan's point of view, this fic slips right into Logan's world and frame of mind: messy and confused and convoluted. He's bemused with his new found interest in Veronica, annoyed by it and his reaction to her, jealous of Troy and annoyed by the jealousy, afraid of his father and resentful of the situation that brought the fear, tempted and angered throughout by Veronica.

One second Logan is gleefully considering how much destruction to his father could have been caused by being discovered with drugs over the border and in the next breath, immediately glad it did not work out that way. Admiring Veronica's sleuthing one second and the next bitterly wondering how traitorous these same skills have made her.

It gives the reader just a taste of the tumult we know lies underneath all Logan's actions, that early on in the season seem vicious and unforgivably cruel but seen through the revelations of later in the season become understandable.

We know, from canon that has yet to happen in this point, that Logan's conflicted feelings towards Veronica are more than just bitterness, but stem from a strong sense of avoid/approach attraction he cannot express yet and cannot let go because of their shared history.

Here we see him at the fragile beginnings of a dark realization, not just that he is attracted to somebody he has convinced himself he hates, but that his own actions have had a very dark, negative consequence.

Calling Veronica names, destroying her reputation at Neptune is one thing, where Logan remains high school royalty and controls the masses is one thing, but for that to spread over into other social realms, to serious people such as drug dealing womaniser Troy, whom Logan has absolutely no societal control over, who has taken Logan's words at heart, is something else altogether.

Logan doesn't believe his own words, so it's all still just a game to him, a controllable set of punishments he can dole out at will. But Troy has no reason not to trust them and Logan is beginning to see the growth of something that will soon develop into guilt, a realization that Veronica does not deserve this.

An interesting look into the thought processes of Logan at this point in the series.



This response was written by [livejournal.com profile] zaftig_darling. Great job!

afrocurl: (Default)

From: [personal profile] afrocurl


I'm tempted to share my thoughts on all of this, but I don't want to ruin anything Jacqui might say.

However, at the outset, I adore this piece and what it reveals about this early Logan.

From: (Anonymous)


This episode was interesting to me, for a variety of reasons, one being that Logan and Veronica continue their very gradual thaw with each other. the hostility is tempered with humour here by both of them.
I like the idea of Logan feeling unaccountably aggravated by Troys interest in Veronica. I also like the exploration of Logan making things happen or not behind the scenes, the ultimate manipulator of public opinion.
.

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