Title: History of Abuse
Characters: Logan, Veronica, Aaron, Trina, and Lynn
Spoilers: All seasons
Word count: 4,029
Summary: “Logan,” she whispered in a comforting tone he hadn’t heard in years, hadn’t heard from her ever. “How did you get this scar?”
Warning: This story will include rather descriptive child abuse. If you can’t handle it I suggest you don’t read past the first chapter.
Disclaimer: Still not mine but oh how I wish...
A/N: Thanks to hokeysmoke for all her beta work. Any remaining mistakes are my fault.
Veronica exclaimed, interrupting Logan mid sentence as she threw back the covers and rushed to the bathroom, ignoring his call for her to wait.
Once inside she shut the door firmly behind her. She took a few deep breaths in hopes of calming herself. Her hands were shaking and she could feel the burn of tears behind her eyes. God, she wanted to rage, wanted to break something, hit someone, and scream at the top of her lungs. Most of all she wanted to cry.
Logan had been going through that hell the entire time she’d known him –longer than she’d known him- she’d been so oblivious, so wrapped up in Duncan, Lilly, and hundreds of little things that should not have been more important than her friend. Why hadn’t she noticed? Why hadn’t she seen the signs? How could she have been so self-involved?
She thought back to that time before their world had fallen apart. Try as she might she couldn’t think of a single moment that stood out, a time he’d flinched at her touch, told a story that didn’t quite add up, a time he hadn’t managed to hide the pain behind his smile, his class clown facade. Veronica hated that she’d been that blind, that everyone had been that blind. Seventeen years. Logan had been with Aaron seventeen years, and all that time no one had noticed what was happening to him, or had noticed but done nothing about it.
Aaron had gotten off easy. He hadn’t had to feel the terror that comes with knowing your life is about to end. He hadn’t had to look into his murderer’s eyes and know there wasn’t a damn thing he could do to save himself. Aaron hadn’t had to beg and plead for mercy only to be ignored or mocked. Worst of all he was remembered exactly the way he would have wanted. He was remembered as a talented actor, generous human being, loving father and husband, another Hollywood star taken before his time. It made her sick.
A tentative knock at the door pulled Veronica from her angry musing. Quickly pushing herself off the door, she moved towards the sink, holding on to the counter with a knuckle-whitening grip.
“Veronica,” Logan called, softly. “Veronica, can I come in?”
She had to cringe at the uncertainty in his voice. She shouldn’t have run out of the room. He’d been letting her in, sharing painful memories, memories she’d asked him to share, and she’d abandoned him. Sometimes it was hard to curb her automatic flight response to emotional stress.
“Yes…I…” she sighed, “Come in.”
Logan slid the door open and moved towards Veronica, taking up a position behind her, resting his hands on either side of hers.
“Hi,” she greeted lamely, giving a small wave to his reflection.
“Hi,” Logan replied.
His face remained neutral, showing no signs of hurt or anger but she still found it hard to look him in the eye. Instead she let her gaze drift to his hands. Two years ago when she’d haltingly told him about being with Duncan the night of Shelly Pomeroy’s party he hadn’t judged or looked disgusted, he hadn’t run away. Logan had just held her hand and told her he’d be there for her no matter what.
And after the fall out with Beaver, when she’d sobbed the whole story to him he’d held her close, soothingly rubbing her back. He couldn’t have fixed anything that had happened, but she’d known she wouldn’t be alone.
Slowly, Veronica linked their hands. “I’m sorry I ran. It was just…a lot to take in.”
“It wasn’t always that bad,” Logan said. “I wasn’t always such a…I learned to take it.”
Veronica stared for a moment in disbelief before responding, her voice tight with anger. “You shouldn’t have had to learn to take it.”
Logan sighed, giving a brief nod. She couldn’t tell if he was agreeing or was merely placating her.
“Logan,” Veronica asked, softening her tone. “Can I ask…why didn’t you ever tell me what he was doing? I would have helped you.”
Logan gave a weak smile, reaching up to lightly tug on her hair. “My very own pig-tailed crusader for justice.”
“Come on Veronica,” Logan said, rolling his eyes. “You saw what happened when your dad went after Jake Kane & when my…Aaron was arrested. What do you think would have happened?”
“So you were protecting me?”
“Yes, you and everyone else I cared about."
“Do you know how that makes me feel? God, my dad was the Sheriff. He would have done everything in his power to make things right.”
“He would have lost everything,” Logan snapped. “And he wouldn’t have been the first. I couldn’t let that happen to someone, not again.”
They lapsed into an uncomfortable silence that lasted for a few moments.
“Look,” Logan said, finally breaking the silence. “Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea. We should just do something else.”
“No,” Veronica stated firmly. “I don’t want to ignore it. I don’t want to not talk about everything that happened to you…to me. Can we just push through the awkwardness?”
There was a long pause. Logan studied her with an assessing gaze before breaking eye contact and laying a kiss on her shoulder.
“What is this?” Logan asked jokingly. “Veronica Mars is pushing for healthy communication?”
Veronica rolled her eyes. “I thought we’d try something new.”
“Yeah, still, maybe we should take a break.”
Veronica nodded in agreement.
“Are you hungry?”
“No, not really,” Veronica responded. “Maybe we could get something to snack on, ice cream, fries, or something.”
“I’ll make the call,” Logan said, slipping out of the bathroom.
Veronica stared after him. Logan had a tendency not to tell her when she’d hurt him, brushing it off as unimportant. She only hoped she hadn’t managed to do any damage, to break his trust, or cause him to hold back.
Veronica lingered in the bathroom for a few minutes longer, before making her way through the bedroom, coming to rest in the doorway. She watched as Logan finished his call to room service. He stood still for a few moments before releasing an audible sigh and beginning to straighten the room, picking up any articles of clothing that had been carelessly thrown aside, straightening the shoes they’d kicked off earlier in the night, lifting her bag and placing it on the couch.
She recognized Logan’s tidying of the room for what it was, a clear sign of avoidance. Logan Echolls did not clean. It was going to take more than an apology to make up for her bathroom episode.
“After Lilly died my parents fought a lot. My mother drank more than ever,” Veronica said, stepping further into the room. Logan froze, but didn’t turn to face her.
“Sometimes she didn’t get home till early in the morning, other times she didn’t come home at all. One night my dad was working late and my mom was out. I heard a noise at the door, I thought maybe someone decided to egg the house again, or get creative with spray paint.”
“Jesus,” Logan turned to face her.
She could see the guilt etched on his face but she couldn’t stop to ease it. If she didn’t get the story out that moment she was sure she ever would.
“My mom was at the door. She was too blitzed to remember what a key was let alone how to use one,” Veronica continued, disgust creeping into her tone. “Anyway, after I helped her up and got her inside I started helping her to her room. She stumbled in the hallway and we both went down, hard. I had been biting my lip at the time, so when we fell…I bit through my lip. It hurt like hell, bled like you wouldn’t believe. She didn’t even notice, too busy passing out.”
Logan had been moving slowly towards her as she told her story. She paused when he reached her, standing still as he lifted his hand, gently running his thumb along her lower lip.
“I’d wondered how you got that. I just thought, maybe when you were little…”
Veronica shook her heard. “No.”
“What else?” Logan pushed, watching her blink back her tears.
“I left her on the floor, went into the bathroom and cleaned up,” she paused briefly, rolling her eyes. “I cried for half an hour.”
“My dad was working long hours, my mother was drunk or hung over all the time, I missed Lilly, Duncan…and I missed you. I just wanted my life back.”
“I’m sorry, Veronica. I wish I could…”
“Stop apologizing. I forgave you a long time ago.”
“Doesn’t make me feel any less guilty,” Logan responded.
Veronica shrugged. “Doesn’t mean you’re any less forgiven.”
They lapsed into silence; neither was sure what to say next.
“I’m gonna get some air,” Veronica eventually said, gesturing to the balcony.
“Right,” Logan said, taking a step back.
“No, I didn’t mean…you can come with.”
Together, they stepped out onto the balcony. Veronica stood silently, taking in the view. She could feel Logan’s gaze on her but didn’t turn to meet it. After telling her story she was feeling, not bad, but a bit exposed.
“Do you miss her?”
Veronica shrugged. “She made her choice.”
“Missing her doesn’t make you weak Veronica. It doesn’t mean she was right.”
“I don’t miss her. I won’t.” Veronica took a deep breath. “But, I miss having a mother.”
Logan moved forward, wrapping his arms around her, and she melted into his embrace.
“Thank you,” Logan whispered into her hair.
A little over an hour later Logan and Veronica found themselves cuddled together on the couch, room service having come and gone. Despite her claim that she hadn’t been hungry Veronica had still managed to devour all her fries and half of Logan’s, much to his amusement.
They had comfortably resumed their previous game of twenty questions. Logan didn’t seem to be in a hurry to resume their prior conversation and Veronica was fine letting him set the pace. She didn’t want to make him feel obligated to share more.
“Hmmm,” Logan exaggeratedly rubbed his chin, pretending to ponder his next question. “Favorite sexual position?”
“Oh God,” Veronica laughed then paused. “You’re serious?”
Logan wiggled his eyebrows, smirk firmly in place.
“What is yours?” Veronica shot back.
Logan smiled. “Maybe when it’s your turn you can use your question to find out?”
Veronica thought for a moment.
“I like being on top.”
“Really?” Logan asked, intrigued. “Why?”
“Oh, I’m sorry. We have a one question per turn limit.”
Logan chuckled at her tone and gestured for Veronica to take her turn.
Veronica thought for a moment, absentmindedly tracing patterns on Logan’s bare stomach.
“Tell me a secret,” she finally demanded. “And make it a good one.”
“If you keep doing that thing with your hand I won’t be held responsible for my actions.”
“That’s not a secret,” Veronica smiled.
“I had a crush on you when I first moved here.”
“I know. You thought I was hot…and something about knee socks.”
“I’m serious,” Logan responded.
“Really?” Veronica asked, propping herself up so she could meet his gaze.
“What about Lilly?”
“Lilly,” Logan gave a sad smile. “Lilly was Lilly.”
Veronica knew what he meant. Even at thirteen Lilly had been hell on wheels, wild, impulsive, frustrating at times but always impossible to ignore.
“So,” Veronica said, settling back down, her head on Logan’s shoulder. “Logan Echolls had a crush on me.”
“I wanted to ask you out,” Logan further revealed.
“Why didn’t you?”
“Duncan. I was new in town, didn’t have any friends. I couldn’t afford to step on any toes.”
Veronica thought back to that time in their lives, back when they'd been four unstoppable kids. She had thought Duncan was cute with all his stuttering attempts to speak with her but she honestly hadn’t been considering him one way or the other.
She remembered Lilly & Duncan dragging Logan over to her one day after soccer practice. He hadn't been as cute as Duncan, what with his gangly limbs, ears too big for his head, and the light sprinkling of acne that graced his forehead, but she'd found his attempts to be cool as charming as they had been amusing.
Veronica smiled. "I would have said yes."
They lapsed into silence for a few minutes before Veronica nudged his side, reminding Logan that it was his turn.
"Did you ever tell your dad about that night with your mom?" Logan asked quietly.
"No," she answered, shaking her head. "I told him I tripped when I was walking Backup. He had enough to deal with and I...things were tense enough as it was. I didn't want to give them another reason to fight."
Logan hugged her closer. "Your turn."
Taking her cue from Logan, Veronica lightly tapped a spot slightly below his hipbone. "You have a scar here."
"It was after Lilly died. I was...messed up. Aaron dragged my mom and me to dinner with a director he wanted to work with. I knew the guy’s step daughter and she and I...we ended up...fooling around. Needless to say, no one was amused when we were caught."
Veronica cringed. Imagining her father catching her like that was scary enough.
"What did he do?" she asked softly.
Logan sat slouched down in the back seat of his father’s new Jag. Since leaving Richard Jacob’s house a tense silence had settled in the car. From his vantage point he could see the knuckle-whitening grip his father had on the steering wheel as well as the anxious glances his mother kept throwing his father.
Aaron was going to blow, it was only a matter of time, but Logan was finding it hard to care. Lilly was dead, Duncan was practically comatose, and Veronica had turned her back on them. There wasn’t anything Aaron could do to make things worse than they already were.
They continued for a few more minutes before Aaron broke the silence, his voice tight with anger. “I have to say, you’ve pulled a lot of dumb stunts in your life but this one tops them all.”
“Aaron,” Lynn said softly.
“Stay out of this Lynn,” Aaron snapped, angling his mirror so he could see Logan. “What have you got to say?”
Logan didn’t respond, choosing instead to gaze out the window and watch the endless line of trees fly by.
“You’ve got nothing to say?” Aaron barked. “You just cost me a job because you were chasing some cheap piece of ass.”
Logan snorted. “The world weeps.”
Aaron slammed on the brakes and Logan had to catch himself on his mother’s seat so he wouldn’t end up scrunched on the floor. Definitely should have worn a seat belt.
“Please wait,” Lynn pleaded as Aaron undid his seat belt with a sharp jerk. “He’s been having a hard time lately and-” Aaron cut her off with a slam of his door.
Logan followed his father’s progress around the car. He’d been expecting this, what with the getting caught with his hand down Emily’s pants and the mouthing off but he still couldn’t help the pounding of his heart. When Aaron finally reached Logan’s door he yanked it open and grabbed the collar of Logan’s shirt, pulling him from the car.
Lynn climbed out after them, reaching for Aaron’s arm. “Aaron, we’re in public. Please, he’s just a little…confused right now.”
“Get in the car.” Aaron pulled his arm from her grasp, causing her to stumble.
Logan took a step forward, prepared to intervene but Aaron shoved him back, slamming him against the side of the car, before once more ordering Lynn to get back in the car.
Once he was certain Lynn had followed his order Aaron turned his attention back to Logan. “I don’t know who the hell you think you are. I’ve been letting a lot of things slide since your girlfriend passed but in light of what has happened tonight it’s clear I’ve been too lenient. This attitude of yours is done. Do you understand me?”
Logan just stared, his heart was pounding wildly but he refused to give Aaron the satisfaction of knowing how nervous he was.
Aaron smacked him upside his head. “I asked you a question.”
Despite the sharp throbbing of his head, Logan again remained silent.
“You’re going to learn respect. There isn’t a damn thing you have that my money didn’t pay for and you’re going to cost me work and then have the nerve to stand there like it’s nothing,” Aaron’s eyes blazed. “You think you could make it without my money and all it provides? You couldn’t manage on your own for a week. There isn’t a self-sufficient bone in your body. You’re not bred for anything but draining people’s time, patience, and hard earned money.”
Logan rolled his eyes and looking away. Before he could register what was happening, Aaron was reaching into his coat pocket and grabbing his cell phone and then digging his wallet out of the back pocket of his jeans.
“You think you could make it on your own?” Aaron threw Logan’s belongings into the car. “Go.”
Logan stood still, unsure what to do. He’d expected something else, maybe a couple more smacks upside the head, or maybe one to his nose, possibly even a whipping if Aaron was angry enough to take the chance of a car passing by.
“Go,” Aaron barked as he gave Logan a shove, causing him to stumble back. “Let’s see how far your smart-ass attitude takes you.”
Logan threw a nervous glance at his mother, he wasn’t sure where this was going, how far Aaron would take it. Once more he stumbled back when Aaron gave him a shove, this time his foot slipped and before he could stop himself he slid down the embankment, his hip slamming into something sharp as he went. The impact sent sparks of pain shooting through his body.
When he reached the bottom he sat up, pressing his forearm against his wound. For a moment all he could focus on was the throbbing pain. After a while he became aware of his mother yelling his name, demanding he answer her.
For the first time in a long time he allowed himself to hate her. Judging by her panicked cries she didn’t think the idea of Aaron going too far was beyond the realm of possibility. He hated that she wouldn’t just take him and get them both away from it all.
Allowing his anger to get the better of him, Logan laid back; listening as his mother’s panicked cries filled the night air. He loved her for being the only one to care but he hated her for not caring enough.