vanessagalore: (!Precipitation)
[personal profile] vanessagalore
TITLE: Probation (5/?)
AUTHOR: [personal profile] vanessagalore
CHARACTER: Veronica, Logan, Keith
WORD COUNT: 2,628
RATING: PG13 for this chapter
SUMMARY: Sometimes it's best to just get the hell out of Dodge. Set right after 'The Bitch Is Back'.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for the whole series, especially season 3.
WARNINGS: Cursing.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any rights to Veronica Mars. This story is written as a tribute only. Beta'd by [livejournal.com profile] zaftig_darling. All remaining errors are my responsibility.



RECAP OF THE FIRST FOUR CHAPTERS: (Highlight to read)

Keith loses the election. Gory breaks into Logan's suite at the Neptune Grand, breaking the fish sculpture and peeing on Logan's bed, and Keith finds out that Vinnie and the DA plan to pursue felony charges against him. They realize that any investigation will cause Veronica's B&E at the Kane mansion to come to light as well. Veronica, Logan, and Keith decide to flee Neptune, and they lay numerous fake trails and drive to the east in a slightly illegal car provided by Weevil. Once they're on the road, the dismal reality of life on the run begins to sink in. Logan reveals that he's on probation for beating up Mercer and Moe in the Neptune jail. Keith, feeling Logan is endangering them, wants Logan to go on his own, but Veronica chases after Logan, and Keith reluctantly decides to keep going as a team.


His voice is low. Somehow he's embarrassed, defiant, and proud all at once. It scares the crap out of me—the things that Logan's willing to do to avenge me, then and now.

He tells us how he freaked out when he heard what happened to me and, after a few drinks, came up with the idea of getting himself thrown into jail along with Mercer and Moe. There's a sense of incredible betrayal that a boy with whom Logan had been friends had tried to hurt me so badly. You can hear the self-loathing in his voice when he observes that he was quite familiar with Lamb's arrest procedures.

Dad's incredulous that Logan would do something so risky after all the trouble senior year, and Logan just shrugs. Somehow that calculation of risk and return is incredibly skewed when I'm part of the equation.

It's almost sensual when he talks about the way that it felt to smash the bat against the cruiser's windshield and how his fists swelled and ached from breaking Mercer and Moe's noses. He notes with pride that Moe lost consciousness for a little while and Mercer developed a new scar on that pretty face under his right eye. Ten stitches, Logan boasts.

Dad queries him about assault charges, and Logan shakes his head 'no'. Again, Dad says that Logan's lucky to have escaped with criminal mischief charges.

You can see it in every cell of his body that Logan doesn't feel lucky. He tells Dad that the original charges were felony battery and destruction of property, with an enhancement for having attacked a police vehicle. With self-contempt, he announces that his expensive lawyers had charged him extravagantly for the privilege of negotiating the charges down to criminal mischief.

Again, he deflects with that habitual swipe of hand through hair—now with a new jolt of surprise that his hair is parted wrong, and then remembering just why that is—and his downcast eyes try to avoid my dad's worried gaze.

Logan doesn't dare look at me.

His shoulders hunch, and I wonder again, as I often do, just how it was when his dad struck him with the belt. Did he cower from the punishment? No, he would have held his back straight and defied his father to do his best. It would have gone on and on: Aaron endlessly demanding apologies and promises of good behavior accented with vicious strokes, with Logan resisting, holding his back as straight as he could, refusing to give in. Until Logan finally was broken and pleading for mercy—and it would have killed him inside, every time. I can't see that it could have been any other way. Logan won't talk about it, and I know better than to ask. But it's obvious that Aaron molded him into the supremely screwed-up man that Logan is today.

Logan's saying something about a drunken party in Aspen a couple days before his pretrial hearing and then he breaks off speaking. He falls silent, staring out the window at the trees flashing by as Dad puts miles between us and Neptune, and I realize that this was the night with Madison.

This is new information. He was dreading his court date that night; his expensive lawyers had warned him that state prison time was a possibility if the judge didn't accept the plea agreement for a misdemeanor. It wasn't just another night, just another bimbo at a lavish, debauched 09er party.

I think about just how alone he must have felt the eve of his hearing. Was he contemplating strip searches and public toilets and very large convicts, who would've loved to defile the rich son of a bitch? Was he worrying about Hep-C and HIV and daily beatdowns by gang members? Madison's sordid sexual history probably didn't merit a blip on his radar. Yet...again, I wonder, why Madison?

I shake it off, and focus on something much more important than Madison: why Logan didn't tell me what was going on. And I realize it must have been very expensive for his lawyers to keep the proceedings out of the papers. He would have been dreading the paparazzi getting wind of that arrest. I get just a glimpse of how bleak it had been for him at that time.

I remember being kind of a mess myself. Mercer had really done a number on me. I'd thought that I'd learned to look beneath the surface after Beaver had fooled me so thoroughly. Mercer had just seemed like a sleaze, until he turned into a complete sociopath in front of my eyes. And Moe—I still feel humiliated that I let him drug me like that, practically served myself up on a platter for them. If Parker hadn't heard the rape whistle....

Parker. It had been so easy for me to dismiss her as a bimbo. And Mercer and Moe had completely snowed me. So I'd been wrong all the way around, about everyone.

I'd often thought about the irony of me hearing Parker being raped and cynically thinking she was your typical horny freshman getting some, when it was she who had heroically brought in the cavalry upon hearing the faint sound of a whistle being blown.

'You actually think people would come a-running, huh?'

Yeah, cynicism, as an art form. In retrospect, I guess that's when I first realized that I didn't know a goddamned thing.

I'd been a mess all right.

Logan is telling us about the pretrial hearing—surreal glimpses of an insane legal system. Bartering by blasé lawyers who truly didn't give a shit; a judge who was bored and indifferent about rehabilitation, as long as it didn't take long to dispose of the case. Logan had to make a statement expressing contrition and fervent promises to behave himself in the future. It had been all too obvious that the judge had heard it all before: the words were expected but not believed.

Pressed by Dad, Logan relates the specifics of his probation. One year of unsupervised probation, a relatively innocuous sentencing that meant no required meetings with a probation officer after an initial brief encounter and, surprisingly, not even drug testing, neither blood nor urine; restitution for the police cruiser, court costs, and a stiff fine; fifty AA meetings in ninety days; anger management classes; and a requirement to keep his grade point average at a B or above. I thought back and realized his flip comments about highlighter pens and attendance at early morning classes had been concealing a desperation to pull his grades up after the disaster of his first semester.

If Logan complied completely with the terms of the probation and managed not to get in any more trouble, at the end of the year, his plea of nolo contendere to the misdemeanor criminal mischief would be changed to not guilty and he could apply to have his record expunged.

"An expungement under 1203.4," Dad says, nodding. "That's good."

"Yeah, well, even with the expungement, I could never be an attorney or a doctor in the State of California, or so my lawyer said," Logan comments, that old smart-alecky attitude peeking out from under his despair. "Or run for public office. Here I'd been hoping to take over for Arnold, in the tradition of rich dilettantes running the Golden State."

"Don't joke about this." Dad's truly irritated.

There's a moment of silence, and then Logan speaks. The humiliation in his voice is impossible to bear. "I'm really sorry I let you down, but why are you so upset, anyways? I don't get it. We've broken a million laws the last few days since we left Neptune...what's one more broken law?"

Dad shakes his head. "No. We haven't broken any laws, except maybe knowingly driving a car with forged paperwork, which is petty-ante stuff. Until the grand jury brings down an indictment against me, there's no law against us traveling across the country. That's one of the reasons it was so important to get as far away from Neptune as quickly as possible, before an indictment could happen. And there's no crime in concealing your personal identity. But it's not just that. My little tampering-with-evidence problem is page 29, below the fold. The son of Aaron Echolls jumping probation? That's the front cover of People magazine. Every paparazzo and all your dad's fans are going to be on the lookout for you now. And you can bet Vinnie's going to be giving interviews to all the tabloids to fan the flames."

"Jesus! I...I swear to you, Mr. Mars, I— I didn't think it'd be a big deal. It didn't seem like a big deal."

"You're right, it wasn't. Did you bring a copy of the probation order with you?"

"No. It's in a safe-deposit box in Neptune."

"Shit." It's shocking to hear my dad curse so overtly. And I've never seen him look so weary as he does right now.

"Logan," I ask hesitantly, "Why didn't you tell me?" I'm almost afraid to let the words float on the air between us. "You never said anything, even when we got back together. Why didn't you tell me about this?"

Shaded eyes flick toward me, concealing more than revealing. "I didn't want you to know."

He's much better at lying to me than Dad is.

*****

Dad tells us he needs to think about what we should do. He pulls out of the parking lot and heads back to the freeway. The set of his face is grim, and his eyes are focused on the road ahead. There are no half-smiles of reassurance in the rearview mirror today.

Logan's sitting as far away from me as he can on the rear bench seat, his head tilted onto the window and his eyes vacant. The recitation of his sins took a lot out of him. He's making a point of not looking at me too.

There's a film running on a loop in my head: Logan smashing a police car with a baseball bat, fading into Logan pummeling Mercer and Moe. Over and over, that determined, slightly crazed face as he focuses on the task at hand. A judge swings the gavel down hard, Logan is hauled out of the courtroom in prison-orange and chains, and then the cycle begins again, with Logan hoisting the bat high to get his vengeance.

And then it morphs into the food court, Logan sending a table and chairs flying as he attacks Gory. I watch the images, frozen...I can't even manage a word in protest. It's that nightmare where you can't move. After that last punch, Logan looks at me. Directly at me. He wants my reaction. He wants me to know that he did it for me. This time, at least, he's sure that I'm aware just what he did for me. Again, I try to warn him, "He's connected," and again the table flies and I'm powerless as the images assault me over and over, and Gory keeps repeating, "Whoever you are, you're gonna die."

I force myself to think back to January, after this pretrial hearing that I never even knew about. We'd gotten back together...I'd gone to his suite and thrown myself into his arms. There wasn't any talking that night. When I think about it, we didn't talk at all when we resumed our relationship. We never discussed the issues that had driven us apart. Maybe we were hoping they'd just go away if we ignored them. Or maybe we were afraid if we looked at them again, we'd deadlock, the way we always did.

I remember thinking, 'this time, maybe this time, please.' Frantic caresses and kisses all over, and nonsense words of love, sure, but no promises, no negotiations, just the same old dysfunctional relationship we'd always had. The film in my head turns into flashes of the two of us, making love for hours—the director's cut, I think, absurdly, with all the soft-core deleted scenes of an erotic entanglement. A memory, jagged and stuttering, of falling onto luxurious sheets on a ridiculously soft mattress, rolling, Logan's weight on top of me, below me, insistent, demanding, incredulous. Hands splayed on familiar skin, too long lamented in its absence.

Once again, we'd fit together our disparate heights and predilections with an effortlessness we reserved only for the bedroom. The back of his hand, wondering at the soft skin of my cheek; his hooded eyes, with pupils blown to black in lust; the feel of his legs easing me open.... Sometime later that night, sated and happy, we'd fallen asleep in exhaustion, and we'd never spoken even a word of how we planned to make it work this time around.

Logan's still staring out the window, inscrutable and barricaded in his thoughts. Dad's chosen a route that skirts the major cities and avoids the interstates, and now we're in a rural part of Texas. 'Welcome to Vera, Texas, Founded 1890, Population 45.' One hog farm after another, with the midday heat shimmering off the flat landscape and the metal prefabricated farm buildings. Every once in a while, we pass a truck barreling along in the opposite direction. The sun glares in a washed-out, cloudless sky, and parallel white lines on the tarmac stretch to infinity. Logan gazes straight ahead as if hypnotized by fascinating scenery.

I wonder if he's replaying the same films in his head that I am, jumbled images of sex and violence and retribution.

And then there's my own responsibility for our problems. Squirming, I think about how Logan had been proven right about his concerns when Mercer and Moe had almost...oh god, I don't even know what they would have done. I don't want to know. I refuse to think about it.

That little bald patch on my scalp had niggled at me for months whenever I styled my hair. My fingers would brush against the bristle of shorn hair, and I'd pull my hand away and ignore the nausea, as the brutal image of Parker's bald head superimposed itself on my reflection.

But when Logan and I got back together after I'd solved the Hearst rapes and managed almost to get raped myself, he'd never said, 'I told you so.' And god, he could have. He'd told me exactly what would happen.

And what was that Logan had said to me? 'Maybe I enjoy my romantic notions.' What's more romantic than beating up your girlfriend's attempted rapist? Was he trying to tell me then?

But, instead, I insisted on picking at the scab, pressing him about hookers and if he'd been with someone else. What were you trying to prove, Veronica?

I'd been accusing him of being a lowlife when he'd risked going to prison for me.

And he never said a word. Maybe it was stupid what he did, but the sentiment behind it—it's scary to contemplate that kind of love.

Suddenly, his eyes flick toward me. I wonder if he can feel my thoughts. I whisper, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I didn't know you did that for me."

Logan flinches and looks away. Maybe he was expecting more recriminations?

"Why didn't you tell me?" It's killing me that I can't figure this out. I may be a student of human nature for my job, but for the life of me I can't figure him and me out.

He shrugs. "Maybe I was tired of disappointing you."

I see Dad's eyes in the rearview mirror, watching us. Dad announces, "Let's stop up ahead at that gas station. We're going to call Cliff and see what's up. Maybe we're being paranoid for nothing."

Or maybe we're not.

Continue reading...Predicament.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-09 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm reading this over on LJ and enjoying it. Please continue! =)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-10 12:40 am (UTC)
sarahbrand: a lone figure looking out over a vast ocean (Default)
From: [personal profile] sarahbrand
I like Veronica's reaction to these new revelations... it feels very believable. I also like how you take things from canon and sort of... I don't quite know how to put it, but you tend to interpret things we know in a way that gives them an interesting twist. Can't wait for the next chapter!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-11 04:52 pm (UTC)
medjunkie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] medjunkie
I like the way that you have tied the offence and trial in with what happened with Aspen,in terms of building an idea of what sort of things were motivating Logan at that time. In the show we got that really telling scene with the surfer girl.
I presume that Keith is going to soften towards Logan at some point.
I like the image of Logan playing with his hair and then realising that it is now even styled differently.
I also like Veronica's introspection, it seems within character but it's certainly different from the Veronica who is using her wits, taking action, but not seeming to reflect on situations as she moves from one incident to the next.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-13 09:02 pm (UTC)
afrocurl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] afrocurl
This comment is much delayed (damn real life getting in the way), but there's so much raw pain in this chapter, something that fits them both. Logan's recanting his unknown trial reads like something he'd always do, and the sort of conversation he'd avoid at all costs after Aaron.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-07 09:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://www.google.com/profiles/116264982644933904721
Jeez this is painful stuff. Totally can see L hiding all the probation stuff from V. And the idea that L hid his retribution of Mercer and Moe from V but looked for her reaction after the Gory incident. Interesting.

Applauding:
The description of L's violence on the policy car and on M&M - sensual indeed
V being scared of the intensity of L's love/passion for her
The shorn locks, L concealing the legal issues from her, L&V falling back together w/o talking - all the avoidance! nicely highlighted
K watching in the rear view mirror - not even sure why but I really like this image

[One small continuity issue - the whole probation conversation happens while sitting in the car in a parking lot so this sentence is out of place "He falls silent, staring out the window at the trees flashing by as Dad puts miles between us and Neptune, and I realize that this was the night with Madison."]

On to the next section. who needs sleep? ;D

Thanks,

Jenn

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