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Even though I'm crying and it hurts, I don't quite know why I'm crying. It's not like I ever expected Duncan to come back on bended knee or anything, but... maybe it was just me but it seemed like lately, we were getting somewhere.

Maybe it's been so long since I've been friends with Duncan that I'd forgotten what it felt like.

Still, though, I couldn't help, for a second, thinking that when someone knocked on my car window, that it was going to be Duncan. He was going to apologize for ever thinking that any girl, even a friend of mine, could ever replace me, and we were going to kiss, and it was going to be perfect.

Funny thing was, when I saw that it was Logan instead of Duncan? I didn't quite feel as brokenhearted as I thought I should have. He dangled my car keys in the window, and I opened the door so I could take them back. "Hey."

"Veronica Mars. What's a girl like you doing in a place like this, all alone and crying your eyes out."

I almost couldn't answer, because I was hung up on the fact that Logan...

...seemed to have forgotten his pants.

"I... um..." Couldn't hope to formulate an answer when Logan's tighty whities were in my face--and wasn't *that* more information than I needed to know?

"Come on. It's a fucking dance. We're gonna go in, have fun, and pretend like we don't give a fuck what anyone else is thinking about us right now." Logan smiled at me, but even though his eyes were hidden behind those black sunglasses, I could tell something wasn't right.

"You sure you wanna do this, Logan?" I got out of the car and put my keys in my pocketbook, then looked up at him. Now that I was out of the car and standing close, I could smell the alcohol. No idea what it was, but it smelled like Logan had marinated in it. "You're drunk!"

"No." A pause, and then the familiar, derisive grin. "All right, yes. The great Veronica Mars has figured out the obvious."

Surprisingly enough, that didn't hurt my feelings. I didn't really stop to ponder why, but I figured in the back of my mind it had something to do with the fact that I knew what it felt like to have Logan cry on my shoulder. "It wasn't too hard for a crack shot like me," Veronica agreed. "How about you let me drive you home instead, because I can't imagine how you got here without being pulled over, but we're not going to try your luck twice."

"I'm sure my loving sister will be along any moment to dutifully fetch me home before I make an ass out of my father." Logan sneered it, but I couldn't miss the real hurt underneath.

"Well, how about we surprise her, and not *be* here?" I could be honest--I really didn't like Trina either, not after that little show at the hotel. "Let her show up and try to hunt you down back in that time warp."

"Oh ho ho.... I *like* the way you think, Veronica Mars, yes, I do." Logan slammed the palm of his hand down on the roof of my car while I got in, and he slid into the passenger side. "Fair warning, though. I'm going to throw up in your car."

I had to laugh at that. "I'll just roll the window down and you can puke on the car behind us, just like Backup."

"You know, I should be afraid that you actually have a vomit contingency plan." The drunken awe and amusement in Logan's voice made me grin.

"We of the Mars clan have learned to roll with anything," I said, backing out of the parking space. "That includes vomit contingencies and selective hearing."

Logan laid his head back against the head rest and I'd bet his eyes were closed. "We of the Echolls clan have learned that Valium and booze makes everything better." His voice was getting rough, but like I said--selective hearing. I could ignore it. "I hate her right now, you know."

Like I had to guess who. Or why, really. But I got the feeling he needed to talk to someone and had needed the booze to loosen his tongue enough to be able to say whatever he was feeling. "Who, Trina?"

"Always," Logan said with a snicker. "But, no. My dear, departed, bitch of a mother. She took the easy way out, Veronica, and she left me to deal with all the shit that she couldn't. A stepdaughter who couldn't come to the funeral but had no problem using Mom's credit cards or wearing her clothes, and let's not even mention my dad."

Yeah, let's not. Because I'd hate to have to tell you that both of your only living relations are assholes. Somehow I'm gathering that's not what you need to hear right now. What you need right now are smooth words to make everything better, and unfortunately, I'm fresh out. Instead, I put one hand on--whoa, not his naked leg, thank you--his shoulder. "You're not alone, you know," is the only thing I could offer.

Logan laughed again, but it was that ugly, bitter laugh that he usually reserved for me, and I'd noticed lately, himself. "No, you see, that's where you're wrong. I am alone, just like I've always been, because the people I love don't love me enough to stick around."

Oh, crap.

I pulled the car over, barely noticing the fact that I'd picked the parking lot of Wallace's Pac-N-Sac. "Lilly didn't mean to leave," I said quietly, turning off the engine and leaving my hand on his shoulder.

To my utter shock, Logan leaned against my shoulder. For a long moment, he was so quiet I thought he'd passed out, but then... "Maybe not, but she's not here, is she? My mother bailed out on me, my friends are a bunch of fucks who'd rather ogle her when she was alive and tape tabloids on my locker now that she's gone rather than be worried about me, and the only person who ends up giving me the time of day is the girl everybody hates because it's quite possible she's smarter than all of them put together."

Well? It was true. It was beside the point, but it was also true. I filed it away for later gloating. "You've got Duncan."

Even through the sunglasses, I could feel the glare. "No, I *had* Duncan," he clarified for me. "But between the little blue happy pills and the scent of fresh snatch, I most certainly do *not* have Duncan any longer."

Now that did make my chest hurt, but it was more for Logan than myself, which I didn't bother to examine yet. "I'm sorry," I said quietly, and I actually meant it. I'm not the best friend to have, and I know it.

"I'm not. At least I found out who I can and can't trust, right?"

I didn't have to be a rocket scientist to know how much this conversation was upsetting Logan, so I did something I'd seen Lilly do before, but nobody since.

I got out of the front seat and into the back seat instead, and tapped him on the shoulder. "C'mon," is all I said.

Logan didn't bother to get out; he just climbed over the back and dropped into the seat beside me. I only had to offer my arms once, and he came. In the hotel, our different heights had made things awkward but this was anything but. His head was on my shoulder, my arms were around him, and that was it. NO awkwardness, nothing.

When he cried again, I didn't say anything, and when he puked all over the parking lot, I managed to convince Wallace to help me drag Logan into the men's room to clean up.

While Logan was busy, I picked out a couple of soft drinks and a clean t-shirt that read, "I'm not being rude, you're just insignificant."

Well, I appreciated the humor, even if no one else did, and I left the stuff on the counter before going to knock on the men's room door. "Logan?"

"Logan Echolls has left the building," came the reply, and Wallace opened the door to glare at me. "*Way* above and beyond, Mars. You owe me, huge."

I gave Wallace a huge grin. "Yeah, I do. Is he done?"

"Oh yeah." Logan's face, pale but clean, poked over Wallace's shoulder. "Done and ready to do it again."

"Come on, Mr. Risky Business," I said, rolling my eyes. "Let's go." I grabbed his arm and steered him towards the counter. "You're going home." I picked up the t-shirt and slapped it lightly against his chest. "Go change and get out to the car."

Wallace waited until Logan was out of sight, and then stared steadily at me. "Be careful, V. I know you. Marshmallow Mars doesn't like to see anyone miserable, but this guy is trouble. Be careful and don't let him hurt you again. Cause then I'd have to hurt him and it'd all get really ugly."

Well, how about that. Someone who wasn't my dad was worried about me. It felt kind of weird, actually, but I liked it. "Don't worry, Wallace. I'm just gonna take him home, tease him about the t-shirt, and make sure he doesn't drink until he gets there." I lowered my voice. "I know how he feels. My mom walked out on me too, only it wasn't the permanent way Lynn did it. Nobody deserves that, not even Logan."

Wallace just handed me back my change, and poked me in the shoulder. "Peep."

"Hey! I am not a peep." I paused. "Much, anyway."

"Peep! Peep!" Wallace yelled, as I waved and left the store.

Logan was leaning against the car, because I'd forgotten I locked the doors, and I had to laugh. Green t-shirt from the Pac-N-Sac, tighty whities, white socks and brown bed slippers. Oh, I laughed.

"Hey now, Madonna--I wouldn't be laughing if I were you," Logan groused, but he was finally smiling.

It was a small smile, but it was a smile nevertheless, and it was easy to ignore the clothes and everything else when Logan was smiling like that. I unlocked his side of the car so he could get in, and for some reason, when he caught my arm and pulled me back, I didn't really argue.

Maybe because I knew the kiss was coming, but I'd expected it to be on my cheek or something. Not the full-on game of tonsil-hockey we were playing by the time we finished. "Wow," I said quietly, pretty much because it was the only word left in my brain.

Logan's cocky grin was back in place, and he pushed me towards my side of the car. "Come on. Drive. I owe you a dance, though I have to warn you, it won't be to Hungry Like The Wolf."

"Thank God," I answered. "I always liked New Kids on the Block better than Duran Duran."

"I'm going to pretend I *didn't* hear you say that, because I know you have better... taste." Logan licked his lips and I was sure he meant to, because I nearly ran out of the road when he did it.

Come to think of it, Logan had pretty good taste himself.

The End