?

Log in

 
 
16 January 2007 @ 08:16 pm
Fic: Triangulations, L/V, NC-17 WIP 8/?  
Title: Triangulations, WIP 8/?
Author:gertinator
Pairing/Character: Logan/Veronica, ensemble and OCs
Word Count: 6812
Rating: NC-17
Summary: The epic continues. Sequel to Full Circle which can be found at my index.
Spoilers/Warnings: I went AU from 2.22, and now it is about 9 years in the future. Graphic smut, and possible violence once the mystery gets started.
A/N 1: prompts: windbreaker, calendar (Full prompt list.) Awesome header by spikeshunny


part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5 | part 6 | part 7







pretty

Part 8



Three days in LA had put Logan in a foul mood. The studio bastards were messing with Rita and he was ready to pull the damn novel from their hands and pay whatever penalties breach of contract caused. He had tried to convince Veronica to come to LA and stay with him, since it was too long of drive for him to come home at night and then return again in the morning to argue some more. But she couldn't leave Neptune.

Roberts had come through with some important information on the newest product in the Kane Software line-up, and he was due at the Academy in less than three weeks so they had to push to figure out as much as they could. Veronica was planning a trip to Silicon Valley to pull Mac into the milieu, which only meant she and Logan would be spending even more time apart. Which just pissed Logan off more.

Logan privately thought Veronica might have been avoiding him and his moods, with good reason. The Echolls temper rarely came out these days, but it was always bubbling under the surface. God knows, Logan didn't even really want to be around himself sometimes. Duncan and his constant envious lurking was bringing up old insecurities and rubbing Logan's already strained nerves raw. So much for paradise. That desert island was looking better and better.

Logan threw his briefcase down and kicked off his shoes as he yelled her name. "Veronica. I'm home. Are you here?" His throat closed up as he noticed a man's windbreaker slung over a chair in the living room. Duncan's coat.

Veronica didn't answer his call. He was home a day early. She wouldn't - Logan felt his chest tighten. She absolutely wouldn't. His brain knew it, his heart knew it... but some traitorous part of him still had to ask, where is she? Why isn't she answering? Why is Duncan's coat here?

He saw Duncan first, heard a door opening, and Duncan was coming down the hall. The hall from the bedroom. Logan's brain was ready to shut down, a filmy red haze narrowing his vision.

"Get out of my house." Logan's voice was a dangerously low growl, and the threat was clear in his eyes.

"We were just talking and then I had to use the bathroom," said Duncan in a placating tone, hands up in surrender.

Veronica entered from the kitchen, muttering something dark about unscheduled visits from Duncan and the joy of cleaning up cat yak. She stopped at the sight of her husband, fists clenched and ready to blow in the living room.

"Logan," she said, startled. She flashed a look at Duncan and once again wondered at his impeccable timing. But how could he have known Logan would come home early... Or had he planned that Logan not come home? Veronica pushed that thought to the back of her mind. Duncan couldn't possibly be that stupid, could he?

"Talk at the office. You are not welcome here." Logan was furious, over the edge. Logan's home was his refuge, and it had just been invaded. He had been counting on Veronica and Felicia to sooth his tumultuous mood. Instead he found his dreaded rival making himself at home in Logan's sanctuary. The producers were encroaching on Rita, and Duncan was trying to take Veronica away.

"Go!" Logan yelled, waving towards the door. "Get the hell out before I have to hurt you." Duncan looked back and forth between Logan and Veronica, seeming afraid to leave her with Logan in such a rage.

"Get out, Duncan. I told you when you came to the door that you shouldn't be here." Veronica's eyes were locked on Logan and she was willing him to calm down, be reasonable. She hadn't seen him like this... ever, really. The closest was the night she broke up with him and her Dad had to throw him out. There was a wild out of control anger in his eyes, the look she remembered from high school, the look that had let her believe for a minute or more that he really could have killed Lilly. It was a major overreaction to the situation, but she knew the negotiations in LA had been difficult. They must have been worse than she thought.

"I don't want him to hurt you, Veronica," said Duncan.

"She's not the one I want to hurt right now, asshole." Logan growled pointedly, clenching and unclenching his fists.

"Logan would never hurt me," Veronica said deliberately, her trust in her eyes, ignoring Duncan and locking gazes with her husband. She had to get through to Logan, make him realize he was blowing things out of proportion. "This is between us. You should leave."

"But I - " Duncan started. Logan turned from Veronica and moved menacingly towards Duncan. Duncan shook his head, raised his hands in surrender again. "Veronica, are you sure?"

"Get out," she hissed. "You've caused enough trouble." She was relieved to hear the door slam. She concentrated her attention on Logan. "He forced his way in, wanted to talk about Lilly and the Mannings. Then he said he had to use the bathroom. I thought if I humored him, he'd get out faster."

"He still wants you. I know it." Logan's breath was coming in short pants and his voice was hoarse. "I won't let him have you. I'll kill him first." He stepped towards Veronica and she backed up.

"He won't get me, Logan. I don't want him." She held her gaze steady, locked with his, feeling a moment of fear, but not seeing any real threat in his eyes. He was more of a danger to himself at the moment than to her. He was tearing himself apart inside with jealousy, insecurity. She made a decision and reached for him. "There is only you. I see only you," she said softly, conviction strong in her voice. She knew as the words came out that it was true. She had her forever planned, and it did not include Duncan Kane, only the man in front of her.

Logan groaned, deep and animalistic and sounding as if his heart was breaking. He grabbed her, pushing her up against the wall. She took his mouth with hers in a devouring kiss, a wet trickle flowing between her thighs. They tore at each other, ripping at clothes and biting at skin, consumed by the transformation of anger to lust, trying to find an outlet for the fierce and burning need they felt for each other. Trying to find a way to make the world sane again.

The only way to sanity seemed to be naked skin against skin, and buttons popped and seams tore as they rushed towards their goal. Logan felt a madness to be inside her. He ripped through her panties like a man possessed, impaling her on his cock. Despite the speed and lack of preparation, Veronica was ready for him, moaning her approval.

It was rough and dirty and absolutely right in the moment. There was blood under her fingernails and running in rivulets down his back and it only made him want her more. He wanted to be marked, to be owned, and he left purple bruises blossoming on her thighs, tattooing himself across her skin. Their fury for each other pounded out into the wall, shaking the house to its foundations.

"There is only you," Veronica repeated like a mantra, as Logan answered with a barely coherent chant of, "I love you." They groaned as the world shattered, going over the edge together with a cry. Logan gripped Veronica with all of his strength, leaving the imprints of his fingers on her shoulders. Tears slid down his cheeks, his face as slick next to hers as her pussy on his spent cock.

"Oh, my god, baby, I'm so sorry," he said when he could finally speak, his voice shaky and broken. He still stood, pinning her to the wall, and he stroked the fine strands of her hair as he touched his forehead to hers. "I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have - Oh, god." He buried his face in her blonde fringe, ashamed that he had let the wild Echolls' temper out of its cage. He didn't want to be like his father; he didn't want his love to hurt her.

"Logan." Veronica reached up and stroked his face. "You have nothing to be sorry about. I left some marks on you, too." She kissed him tenderly. "That was actually incredibly sexy. I'm not saying I want you ripping my clothes off everyday, but it's nice to feel wanted." She smiled at him, her lips quirking into just a hint of a smirk. "Nothing wrong with a little earth shaking passion."

Logan picked her up and carried her to the couch, nuzzling into her neck. "You know I can't ever live without you, right? I need you by my side forever. Okay?"

"Okay," she agreed. "I'll pencil you in on my calendar."

"Pen. I want to be in pen. A big, fat, permanent Sharpie. You got it?" He held her close, his hand covering her heart, feeling it beat into his palm and into his soul. "I love you," he said, for maybe the millionth time, but it was still as fresh and meaningful as the first time.

"I love you, too." Veronica cupped his face with her hands and looked into his eyes. "I love all of you. The angry possessive bits just as much as the tender emo squishiness and the sexy role playing trickster. I love you." Logan pulled her tightly against him, thanking god that he had managed to get so lucky. Veronica had chosen him, really chosen him this time.

*********

Veronica saw the name on her cell screen and almost didn't answer it. But Duncan would probably freak out and decide Logan had killed her if she didn't answer, and the last thing she wanted was an actual visit from him. She pressed the green button and held the phone to her ear.

"Veronica, Veronica... I just wanted to make sure that you are okay."

"If you are asking if Logan beat me," said Veronica sounding exasperated. "Then the answer is no." Veronica paused as she fondly remembered what Logan had done. The man was sex on a stick all right. She stretched and felt the ache. She might be a little sore, but he definitely hadn't hurt her. "He just had a rough time in LA and wasn't pleased to come home and find you in our house. I don't know what ideas you have in your head about him, but he is a good husband who loves me very much."

"I know that... I'm sorry. It's just - " Duncan stopped and tried to get his thoughts in order. "You both seem to hate me now, I don't know how to - "

"Duncan." Veronica sighed. "Do you have any idea how hard it is to plan a wedding?"

"Huh?" Duncan was confused by the seeming non sequitur.

"Especially when the groom is front page news and the bride attracts trouble like flowers attract bees?" Veronica sighed again. It wasn't Duncan that she hated, not really, it was just his bad timing. And his arrogant self-centeredness. And his...well, yeah, best not to start that list.

"What does that have to do with - " He was so dense sometimes.

"The wedding was a huge tension," Veronica explained, speaking slowly so that it would penetrate his thick skull. "If it weren't for Ruthie and the movie, we would have eloped, had a quite ceremony somewhere far away. Weddings are not the time for surprises, especially when the world is watching and the surprise is an ex-boyfriend wanted for felony kidnapping."

"Oh."

"Yeah, oh." Veronica rolled her eyes. She imagined Lilly making a crack about him putting the "Dough" in "Donut" and she smiled. "It's not that we hate you. It's that we have our own lives now, different lives, and your timing has been... well, incredibly bad." She remembered his return visit and also the home visit from the previous night. He seemed to know when Logan was out of town, and he tried to use it against her. Her heart hardened a little. It wasn't all innocent bumbling on his part.

"Not just bad, but manipulative. You knew Logan was out of town when you showed up at our doorstep, didn't you?" accused Veronica.

There was a long pause at the other end of the line. "The new Logan scares me a little," Duncan admitted. "He seems so sure of himself, and it's like he can see right through me. And he doesn't trust me at all."

Veronica laughed a little. Logan could be intimidating at times. It was one of the things she loved about him; he was a power player in the world. "You haven't given him reason to trust you, have you? You say you want to be his friend, but you keep trying to corner me."

"You're easier..." Duncan cut short what he was going to say at Veronica's angry snort.

"You clearly don't know me as well as you think you do," she said, her voice clipped and carrying a deadly edge. "Make friends with Logan before you bother to come looking for me. If I need to know anything about the case, I will contact you." She abruptly cut the call. She stared at the phone in her hand. Duncan hadn't meant that the way it sounded, but it still offended the hell out of her. Maybe Logan was right, and she needed to be a little more on her guard.

*********

"Matt Roberts, this is my friend Cindy Mackenzie. You can call her Mac." Veronica introduced her best tech girl to her ace in the hole former intern. Roberts was practically vibrating with excitement, and Mac had on her usual droll smile. Veronica noticed Mac had put fresh blue streaks in her hair since her previous visit, though that could just be coincidence.

"Wow! You're the famous Mac. It's so good to meet you," gushed Roberts, pumping her hand with enthusiasm as a blush crept across his cheeks. Mac had borrowed a friend's condo for their clandestine meeting, and the homey space made it seem more like a social occasion than detectives trying to crack a case.

Roberts kept emphasizing how paranoid the programmers at Kane were, and he had insisted on a neutral location. A random code monkey's house in Silicon Valley seemed like the perfect spot. Far from home, no chance of bugging, and Roberts had as much claim to the locale as Mac did.

"Oh, God. A fan." Mac deadpanned, "You haven't been reading Logan's books, have you?" She was amused at the attention from the programmer, and honestly, he was a little cute with the trendy glasses and gelled hair. And the blush.

"Logan writes books?" asked Roberts, turning to Veronica. "I thought he was an artist?"

Veronica patted his shoulder. "I'll tell you about it later." She turned to Mac. "Roberts tends to be... a little behind on the gossip. Though you'd think being in Neptune would change that."

"Haven't had time for gossip," commented Roberts, once again studying Mac with devoted adoration. "I've been trying to pass myself off as an evil programmer ready to take over the world."

"Easy, champ." Veronica soothed. "You don't have to sell your soul, just weasel into the Kane underbelly."

"That's not as easy as it sounds." Roberts looked a little forlorn. He'd been at Kane for over a month and hadn't gotten very far. The Wonder Boys were a hard clique to crack into, and he still wasn't sure they were the actual bad guys. The Old Timers were just as suspicious. They all worked on different sections of code, so it was hard for Roberts to know who was doing what. As the newbie to the team, Roberts was mostly debugging the most basic parts of the new product.

Mac was still stuck on Roberts' fangirl greeting. "Then how have you heard of me?" she asked, confused. She was used to the Dell jokes as soon as anyone found out her relationship to Logan and Veronica. As far as she knew, that was her only claim to fame.

"Agent Mars - " It was funny, Roberts had no trouble calling Logan by his first name, but Veronica was always 'Agent Mars' to him. "I mean, Mrs..." It was weird giving her a title, especially considering he was on a first name basis with everyone else. "Uh, V..." Veronica laughed and patted him again.

"It's okay, Roberts. You can call me Agent Mars if you really want to. We'll consider it an honorary title." He blushed deeper, and then turned earnestly to Mac.

"Whenever I pulled off a piece of spectacular tech magic, she would say it was almost like having Mac around again. Then I knew I was really doing something right. And everything with Kane, she always says she's going to ask your opinion. Agent Mars hardly trusts anyone, but she takes your word as Bible." Mac glanced at Veronica who shrugged. Roberts continued gush, "Some of the tricks you pulled. Awesome, just awesome. Like, did you really hack into the governor's email and fake a note to the sheriff?"

This time, it was Mac who blushed. "You told him that?!" she said accusingly to Veronica. "Do you know how much trouble I could get in for that??"

"I think Logan was the one who brought that story up. Anyway, I knew Roberts'd keep his mouth shut," smirked Veronica. She was highly amused at the... chemistry... that seemed to be sparking between her former intern and her close friend. Roberts was clearly crushing. It would be so cute if they got together and had little computer nerd babies. Mac hadn't dated since high school, and it was far beyond the time for her to give up her pain over Cassidy. Veronica sighed, and put match making thoughts away. At least until the case was done. "Now, we need to get down to business. Roberts only has another three weeks before he goes to the Academy, and we need to crack the case."

"Yeah, about that." Roberts looked uncomfortable. "I was thinking about trying to get a deferral, to start next year."

"What?" Veronica had been feeling the pressure, and she was worried that she was going to have to pull Roberts before they had anything solid, but she had no idea he had been considering giving up his start at the FBI.

"This is too important." Roberts shook his head. "Mac, I want to show you something. It's not complete, just what I could reconstruct from the parts I've seen. I was afraid to try to make any copies." He booted his laptop and pulled up a file filled with code. "It's been really cleverly hidden, I wouldn't have even noticed it if I hadn't worked some similar streaming video R&D at Google."

Mac scrolled through the file, back tracking and rereading, then whistling. "That's brilliant... and evil," she commented in an impressed voice.

"You see it, too, then?" Roberts got really excited. "I thought at first that it was just coincidence, but then I kept finding these worms... I haven't seen enough of the parts to know for sure, but I think it might work..."

"Yeah." Mac's eyes were wide. "It could work. There's only a hint of it here, but what I see makes sense, and if they have this much..."

"They must know the rest." Roberts stared at her, a cross between raw admiration and fear in his face. "Or they are close."

"Fuck, this is big." Veronica was startled to hear Mac swear. Mac had never had a potty mouth before. "You're right, Roberts. Matt. You can't leave Kane now, and we can't ever meet like this again. We'll have to figure out a secure way to pass messages, fake chat rooms IDs and code words. Maybe the good old fashioned US mail, since it is so low tech they will ignore it. Nothing that can be traced, nothing that can be tracked. We have to get as much of this as we can, and then get you out hella fast." Mac whistled and turned to Veronica. "You've managed to do it again, my dear. Stepped your foot in a monster pile o' crap, and you ain't gonna scrape this off into the grass without having the CIA, NCIS, Homeland Security and FBI on your ass. Maybe MI5 and the KGB, too."

"I don't think the KGB exists anymore," corrected Matt. Mac just rolled her eyes.

"What? What is it?" Veronica was bewildered. Could the case, and Weidman's disappearance, really hinge on a bit of code? Could a software program change the world?

"You know how there have always been rumors... jokes... about Bill Gates owning anyone with a Window's product?" Veronica nodded slowly. She didn't pay much attention, but the paranoid part of her did keep an ear out for those kind of things. She liked to keep her information secure. Mac regularly undated Veronica's system to make sure it stayed that way. "Well, there are bits of that in here. But more... a virus, worms..." Mac struggled to put it in terms Veronica could understand. "The product is a trojan horse. A working trojan horse, which makes it more stealth. The soldiers inside... they take up residence and don't ever leave. But it's done so cleverly!" Mac shook her head, a bit of awe in her voice.

"Kane Software' product writes and translates streaming video, keeps a constant web interface. But there is a hidden stream, a backdoor, that would let a person with the right password alter files without any record of the activity. Anytime. Without any record of access at all. At least, there is a shadow of that in what Matt's found." Mac paused, not even realizing this revelation had suddenly put her on a first name basis with the programmer. "It's never been possible before, I've never seen anything like this. But if they have more, the other pieces," she took a breath. "They could slip undetected past the best firewalls in the system. In and out whenever they wanted. No one would even guess."

"But I don't get it," puzzled Veronica. "Streaming video, it's entertainment, right? It's mostly on home PCs. Identity theft and credit card fraud are big business, but why would computer geniuses care?"

"This is bigger than that." Roberts chewed his lip as he explained. "If one computer on a server is compromised, they all end up compromised. The 'soldiers' would spread. But unlike current viruses or worms, they would be totally undetected. They would be part of licensed, legal software and the safeguards in the system wouldn't block them. Streaming video is everywhere, part of commercial websites and research. Shit, it's all over the 'net. The person with access to this would pretty much own the world."

"It's not that the idea is new..." Mac added. "It's more like it's the holy grail of hacking. And to do it in a well respected product like Kane Software, well it's pretty shocking. Audacious."

"It takes a major conspiracy," Roberts agreed. "Software goes through so many hands that no one person could attempt something like this. Everybody has to be in on the party, or clueless. They've managed to hide the encrypted bits really well."

"I doubt I would have noticed it, if you hadn't isolated the parts and put them together for me to see," agreed Mac, impressed with Roberts' skill and powers of observation. "A product like Kane's has so incredibly much code, it can be overwhelming. This is elegantly designed, very covert."

"So should we... should I get in touch with Agent Anderson?" asked Veronica, suddenly worried about what she had gotten Roberts into. Maybe it was time to call in the Big Boys.

"Yes!" Roberts agreed, relieved that it would be given over to "the proper authorities."

"No!" Mac said simultaneously. Roberts looked at her questioningly, surprised by her vehement dismissal of the idea. "This is more than a prank. Especially if Weidman has gone missing. And they threatened Duncan." Mac looked startled, as if she had had a sudden thought. "Veronica, have they threatened Duncan since he got back to town?"

"No," said Veronica, equally suspicious. "Not a thing. You don't think he faked that, do you?" Lately, she wouldn't put it past him.

"He clearly doesn't know shit about programming or computers." Roberts said with a hint of disdain. "He's just distracted everyone, shaken up the organization, and played to the reporters."

Veronica looked at Mac, understanding dawning. "He was meant to be a distraction. They must be close to releasing the program. They wanted him back in town to draw attention away from the new product release, make it anticlimactic. But still, everyone will know the company name because of the publicity surrounding his return. God, they're good. They just slip in with boosted sales. And if anything goes wrong, they have the sacrificial goat all ready prepped to be thrown in the volcano."

"The Kane Silver Ghost is supposed to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas in January," said Roberts. "The world will be there to test it out. It's the biggest tech show of the year. Geek heaven. The new product is pretty good, too. Some bells and whistles not available with the competition."

Mac blinked a few times. "They must have it mostly worked out, that's only a few months away." She laughed. "The Silver Ghost, huh? Someone's got a sense of humor. This is the ultimate ghost in the machine." Roberts laughed with her, and if she weren't so freaked out about the shit Veronica had managed to pull them into, she might have admired how cute his dimples were.

"So I bring in Anderson." Veronica was firm. She hadn't particularly liked her supervisor, but by the end of the Tilden deal, she had trusted him. "He'll put some big guns behind it and close down Kane Software. They can weed this out and start fresh."

"No, you don't get it, Veronica." Mac was a little frantic as she tried to open her best friend's eyes to the implications of this technology. "The government can't be trusted with a program like this. Hell, they could be the ones sponsoring its development. This is Big Brother in a way Orwell couldn't even comprehend. They would have access to everything. We have to get as much of the code as we can and then try to figure out how to defend against it before it goes public. You get what I'm saying, right, Matt?"

Roberts stared at Mac. Clearly her time with Veronica had left her with a suspicious nature, the "Trust No One" favored by Mulder and those of his ilk. After the experience with Tilden, Roberts had lost some of his own naive trust. He considered how many government people would like a tool like this and what they would do to get it. And how many people could be like Tilden, sociopaths hiding under the respectable guise of government agencies. "Yeah, you're right. We can't let this get out without an antidote. But Mac - " He didn't want to say it, but this was bigger than anything he had ever seen before. People would surely kill for this kind of power. "We need an insurance policy. If something happens to me, to us..."

"Right." Mac looked grim. "I'll duplicate this file, bury it in a remote server, and set up a timed release. If we don't maintain the clock, if for some reason we can't, it'll all go to Anderson. And maybe we should pick a few others, too." Roberts nodded.

"This is that big, huh?" Veronica asked, trying not to feel intimidated.

"Mr. Bond, do you ever do it small? I expect nothing less than full world disaster when you are involved," teased Mac, trying to be flippant instead of frightened. "I don't know about you, but I could use some ice cream before dealing with this. Shall we see what Rashid has in his freezer?"

Roberts followed Mac into the kitchen while Veronica contemplated how favors for a friend could get her to the edge of conspiracies for world domination. Duncan really wasn't worth the bother. She sighed. But she was in it now, and she had never been good at walking away.

"Ah well," she sighed. "They say world domination goes better with Coke, but I think they underrate the Ben and Jerry's." So much for Mac and Roberts making cute little nerd babies. From the sound of it, they'd be lucky if they both made it out of this case alive.

***********

"Athena," Logan said absently, answering the phone. "How can I help you?" He had gotten used to the midget in the office, he kind of missed her when she was out. He certainly missed her screening all of his calls, a thought that hit him as soon as the caller identified himself.

"Hey, Logan, it's me. Duncan."

"Hey, man. No new developments on our end. Has something happened with you?" Logan tried to sound cool and professional, and not let Duncan know that he got under Logan's skin. Veronica was in Silicon Valley deeply involved in clandestine nerd meetings, which made it even more odd that Duncan had called. He usually only talked to Veronica, especially since the little incident when Logan had threatened him and kicked him out of his house. Logan had regretted over -reacting later... a little bit. But not enough to seek Duncan out and apologize.

"No. Um. No, I - I just bought a new surfboard." Duncan paused, sounding unsure of himself. "I was wondering if maybe you'd want to catch some waves in the AM."

Logan pulled the phone from his ear and stared at it. Duncan had been back for weeks now, but this was the first friendly gesture he had made. Duncan had been trying to cozy up to Veronica, but had virtually ignored him. Logan wasn't at all sure how he felt about the change. Was it a ruse? A different tactic to get to Logan's wife? If so, Duncan hadn't planned very well. Veronica would be gone for at least another full day.

Then again, Duncan didn't have many friends and neither did Logan. No almost-brothers like Duncan had been before Lilly's death. A little surfing wouldn't hurt anything, and maybe it would ease the tension a little. Might as well let the past be over with and see what he could salvage. He didn't have anything better to do with Veronica out of town. Logan took a deep breath and tried to keep his voice even.

"Yeah, um. Our beach isn't too bad. Or if you can get your lazy ass out of bed before dawn, I know a sweet little shore a ways up the coast. Power waves that'll make your board dance." Logan's fingers drummed on his desk nervously, but his voice came out confident and strong. One thing Aaron Echolls had given his son: a facade of steel.

"I'll be at your door at 5," Duncan said, sounding relieved that he hadn't been rejected. "Maybe we can catch breakfast afterwards."

"Cool. Later, dude." Logan hung up the phone before the Rod Sterling voiceover could begin. Just another day here in the Twilight Zone.

*********

Logan relaxed on his board, bobbing in the waves dyed pink and purple by the rising sun. No wonder people compared the ocean to a mother. She had a way of holding a person, so that everything else just slipped away. He loved to surf, but he also loved the peace of just being out here, floating.

Logan thought briefly of his own mother, lost somewhere in the comforting swells. He still missed her regularly. Sometimes he was angry at her for giving up, for leaving him, but he also understood that bone-weary desperation that had driven her to find peace in the big blue forgetfulness. He had taken his own attempt at that, and only luck and persistence, and later Veronica, had turned his world around.

Logan didn't have as much free time time as he used to, to absorb the salt water and waves and rosy hues of the rising sun. He forgot how healing it was for his soul. This had been a good plan, a good way to spend time with Duncan outside of the tangle their lives had made. Logan really did want to believe he could regain the first friendship that had ever meant anything to him. It was just so hard to let himself be that vulnerable, especially with the looks he saw Duncan throwing Veronica.

Duncan was suddenly floating next to him, a thoughtful expression on his face as he held his place in the waves with a few gentle strokes.

"Sometimes, I wake up and there is this big hole in me and I miss her so much..." Duncan said softly, more to himself than Logan.

"Veronica?" Logan asked sharply. He was willing to give the guy a chance, but he really wasn't ready for this kind of confession from Duncan.

Startled out of his thoughts, Duncan gave Logan an odd look. "Lilly. I miss Veronica, too, but I meant Lilly. It's still so hard for me to believe that I can't call her up, have her mock me for the way my life has turned out." Duncan rolled sideways on his board and squinted at Logan, did a high pitched imitation of Lilly's voice. "You really screwed the pooch on this one, didn't you little brother? Looks like you aren't gonna be president after all."

Logan laughed. "She'd be proud that you are a pardoned felon, and that you managed to pull one over on the FBI and Celeste. Probably more impressed that you finally took on Celeste than anything else."

"God, she was crazy, wasn't she? I wonder what she'd be doing now... She'd probably be the one who got elected president." Duncan smiled at the thought. "Lilly in a business suit deciding world affairs. Now that would be a sight."

"Are you kidding? Can you imagine the scandals? The young interns servicing her in the Oval Office? She'd have them lined up..." Logan teased. It barely hurt him to say it, to joke about her sexcapades. Lilly was what she was, and Logan had made his peace. She had been selfish and deadly naive and even horribly destructive at times, but she had also been a light in his otherwise dreary and painful life. Logan and Duncan both fell silent as they contemplated the bright life cut short.

"It's easier here," Duncan said after a pause. "She's still here somehow."

Logan nodded his agreement, but didn't break the silence. The sun was up now, the tide almost completely in, but it seemed a shame to end this peaceful interlude. Logan rolled on his back, put his arm over his eyes and relaxed, allowing the gentle waves to rock him as his feet dangled in the surf.

A few moments later, Duncan broke the silence again. Apparently the sun and sea were wringing confessions from his soul. "They don't like me much at Kane Software. It's been a lot harder to come back than I thought it would be."

"Do you think that's because they are afraid you will interfere with their nefarious plans? Or because you are a high school dropout whose main computer experience is email and whose only real qualification is being the son of the man who started the company?" Logan winced as he realized his words held more bite than he intended, but Duncan didn't seemed fazed. In fact, Duncan seemed to like the way Logan cut to the heart of the matter.

"You always say it like it is, don't you?" laughed Duncan. "God, I've missed that. I've missed you." Duncan paused, and then when Logan didn't respond, he added, "Any hope for our friendship? Or is it terminal?"

Logan held his breath, contemplated the possible answers to that question. Finally, he decided to go with balls out truth. If they had any hope of regaining trust, they had to face the elephant, not just sidestep it and hope it left the room before dumping a pile of manure.

"It would be easier to accept you as a friend if I didn't see that look of envy on your face every time my wife is in the room," whispered Logan. Logan imagined the long silence that hung between them was filled with guilt and shame from Duncan, but he refused to turn his head. He did not want to read the thoughts on Duncan's face.

"Can I be honest with you?" Duncan finally asked hesitantly.

Logan wasn't sure he could handle the confessions that lurked within Duncan, but some masochist streak in him made him mumble out a, "Yes, please."

"I do feel envy when I look at Veronica, at the two of you together. Resentment even. But it's not that I want to take her from you - " Logan's head whipped to the side, and his eyes pinned Duncan, making him squirm. "Okay, maybe I still want her a little..." Logan snorted. Duncan continued, "But it's the whole thing, not just her. You're my friend Logan, the fuck up playboy, and here you are with the life I always wanted. The life that was supposed to be mine. You were supposed to be wild and drunk and crazy, and I was supposed to be the family man..."

Duncan bit his lip and closed his eyes, resting his cheek against the cool fiberglass of his board. Maybe he had said too much. At least he had cut off before saying he was supposed to have the stable family with Veronica. Logan's stunned silence suggested Duncan should have kept his mouth shut. But Duncan had started it and he was going to finish it, even if it was just to unburden himself.

"I'm a fucking dropout, who hasn't had a home or a career or even a date in the last eight years. Up until a few weeks ago, I was a criminal on the run with my kidnapped, illegitimate daughter. On top of that, I have a brain disorder that's incurable and seems to be getting worse." Duncan sighed. "This is not the way I pictured my life turning out."

The lapping of the waves filled the heavy tension between them as it stretched taut. Finally, Logan said jokingly, "Eight years with out a date, huh? That does suck." The laughter eased the edge between them, and Duncan reached over and tipped Logan off his board. Logan hit the water with a splash.

Logan had to return the favor, yelling gleefully, "Look at me, Dunkin' the Donut," as he pushed Duncan under. They squabbled and splashed until they were both exhausted and the sun was bright and high in the sky.

"Breakfast?" Duncan suggested, as his stomach rumbled in agreement.

"You're treating," Logan agreed. "I know just the place."

"Maybe... maybe we could do this again?" Duncan asked as he waded towards the shore.

"Yeah, man. I'd like that." Logan smiled at Duncan, and for the first time, he really felt it. A tiny thread of friendship. It might not be all good; Logan still wouldn't trust the bastard alone with Veronica. But it was a start.





A/N:I know diddly squat about programming, but tried to convincingly fake it for my Kane Software story line. If you notice any glaring errors, please let me know. Thanks!

 
 
 
WeHo M.: ET - Doesn't Knowafrocurl on January 17th, 2007 04:35 am (UTC)
SQUEE! Ignore this and I'll be back with thoughts later.
Olivia Bliviousgertinator on January 17th, 2007 04:38 am (UTC)
Just had to be the first comment, eh? I knew you couldn't have read it already, I just posted it minutes ago! *grins*
(no subject) - afrocurl on January 17th, 2007 05:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
Anitarowanceleste on January 17th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
I loved it and I wouldn't worry about any glaring computer programming errors. This was a fantastic chapter. I loved that they aired a lot of dirty laundry and Logan and Duncan are working on their friendship. I'm also glad that Logan also realizes that Veronica did and does choose him each and every time and always will, so any insecurity he has about Duncan being alone with Veronica is not due to any worry about her feelings. Hee. Felicia also apparently made her feelings known by barfing when Duncan was there. Logan will probably try to train her to attack Duncan if he ever tries to show up at their house again when Logan's not there.
Trixxsynful_trixxie on January 17th, 2007 05:09 am (UTC)
*sighs happily* Maybe I should stop asking to be spoiled? Cause this? was so fucking perfect and beautiful in a way that just makes me hurt in places I didn't know I had anymore.

I adore you.

*pauses*

but I still wants spoilers *G*
Olivia Bliviousgertinator on January 17th, 2007 05:13 am (UTC)
Aw, you know I'll always spoil you. :)

Maybe not everything, but a lot. :P
tigereyes320: LVS3LoVeCtigereyes320 on January 17th, 2007 05:12 am (UTC)
I so needed my fix
I love this chapter. I love how Duncan got thrown out. I love the reference to the Net and Veronica trying to do her matchmaking thing.

I also love that Veronica GETS it. About Logan and Duncan and everything. and that she has told him without reservation that if there are sides in this war she's on Logan's side.

Duncan if he isn't being an ass needs to get off of his and get his GED, talk about living off of Daddy's money
Olivia Bliviousgertinator on January 17th, 2007 07:00 am (UTC)
Re: I so needed my fix
It's my own cathartic thing to make Veroncia get it this time around. How could she possibly choose Duncan the rolled-his-eyes-at-her-thinking-she-was-raped guy, over Logan, Mr. "I just want to be here for you, what ever you need"???? Besides, it's Logan's world that I am writing in, ain't it? 'Cause he's really the only one I care about. *winks*

Duncan does seriously need to get a life, doesn't he? Ah, I only keep him a round as a plot device.
keisha the pretty__barelyalive on January 17th, 2007 05:34 am (UTC)
you must have done really good because i probably only got... oh, a fourth of it. just enough to know what was going on, sort of, but you know, i kinda like that i didnt get all of it. it's more... real that way. hahaha.

seriously, this is its own canon. kudos as always to you miss gert.

and i dont know how i fell about DK and logan... rebuilding their friendship. it makes sense but it's just not... ok. it's just me and my dislike of the Donut. however, logan needs friends. but i would really like it if Dick came back. :D
Olivia Bliviousgertinator on January 17th, 2007 05:40 am (UTC)
Don't worry, DK isn't quite back in anyone's good graces, and Veroncia is going to rip on him a lot in the future. *grins* 'Cause it's my story and I like it that way.

Oh, and Dick will be back soon. Maybe even the next chapter. I've written the scene already, just have to make some timeline decisions. (ooooh. A spoiler!)
Jenny: angel2berry_hearts on January 17th, 2007 05:35 am (UTC)
YAY! I do love me some protective!Logan

PWP? haha.
Aislyn: LoVeprincess72385 on January 17th, 2007 06:04 am (UTC)
oooo... haven't read it yet because I just checked (I'm sick and completely addicted to my refresh button), but I'm already happy. I can tell it's an awesome chapter because I love this story (and it's prequel) and you never disappoint... and I just realized how much like a 'love letter' this is sounding...
So anyway, I'm off to read, excitedly and I'll probably bounce giddily while I read it, as is my way!
lovekarma on January 17th, 2007 06:13 am (UTC)
Loved the chapter but there were two things that kind of bugged me and I mean this in the nicest possible way.

*In Full Circle Logan's had a shitload of therapy after the accident and I'm having trouble believing he'd lose it like that when Duncan was there.I know that he does have a temper and that no amount of therapy can fix that but it would have helped him deal with his anger a lot better even where Duncan's concerned.He was always so great and sweet with Veronica that I find it a little hard to believe that he'd go off like that to the point where she'd even for a second fear him regardless of how stressed he may have been.It seems to me just a little out of character when looking at how the adult Logan has been established by you so far.

*Also,the comment about him killing Duncan before he'd let him have Veronica makes him seem a lot like Aaron.Aaron did whatever he had to do to get his way and went as far as killing someone.Here Logan is practically saying he'd kill someone to keep Veronica.I assume you weren't implying he'd really do it but still.

Love the drama Duncan brings.

Can't wait for the next chapter!
Anitarowanceleste on January 17th, 2007 06:44 am (UTC)
LOL..You know you're 'invested' when you can't go to sleep without replying!

As for Logan's reaction to Duncan, I can absolutely picture it. Logan is already stressed out because he's worried about Duncan being back in town, then he has to be away from Veronica and the producers are being a pain in the ass. On top of that, he comes home early and hopes that he can de-stress with Veronica and Felicia and not only is the guy that's causing 60% of his stress in Logan's home, but Duncan doesn't even have the decency to have just been sitting on the couch talking to Veronica, thereby causing Logan to have that one thousandth of a millisecond doubt about what Veronica and Duncan were doing, which in turn, pissed off Logan because he KNOWS he can trust Veronica and she loves him, but he couldn't help the momentary doubt when he saw Duncan's jacket, Veronica didn't answer and then he sees Duncan walking down the hallway from the bedroom. Yeah, I can see Logan just pitching a fit. Hee.

As for killing Duncan if he tried to take Veronica away...that's just drama queen, emotional Logan, expressing that he won't roll over (this time) and just let Duncan take away the love of Logan's life...not that he actually could.
(no subject) - gertinator on January 17th, 2007 06:51 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gertinator on January 17th, 2007 06:50 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lovekarma on January 18th, 2007 06:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - gertinator on January 18th, 2007 07:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
Jessica: Wrath of Logan Animatedstarxd_sparrow on January 17th, 2007 06:50 am (UTC)
The programming bits seemed pretty spot-on,'cause they couldn't have confounded me anymore if you'd atually had Bill Gates coach you. And the Mac/Roberts bit was a nice touch. I really liked Roberts in Full Circle, so it's nice to see him repurposed! I even sort of hope for an Anderson cameo.

Teh wall!sex was so yummy. Shook the house to its foundations, indeed!

Eager for the next bit, as ever!
Lalala623 on January 17th, 2007 08:11 am (UTC)
I loved this! Damn...hot angry sex this time, eh? Lovely... :) I was mad at Duncan in the beginning, but this last part redeemed him...it was nice to picture them like old times....can't wait to read more!
p2880 on January 17th, 2007 08:30 am (UTC)
Thanks for another wonderful chapter with out-of-control sex and an honest conversation between Logan and Duncan. I also liked that Felicia threw up because Duncan was in the house! HeeHee!
Olivia Bliviousgertinator on January 17th, 2007 05:18 pm (UTC)
That Felicia, she doesn't hide her feelings! Hee.
smellologist on January 17th, 2007 10:28 am (UTC)
oooh more!
i love this fic so much
i don't know anything about computers in the code sense so it seemed fine to me!!
like that felicia was mentioned even though we didn't see her
its just SOO good

erm in this line it says 'ate' instead of 'at' thought i'd tell you incase you wanted to change it or something
XX
Ate least until the case was done. "Now, we need to get down to business. Roberts only has another three weeks before he goes to the Academy, and we need to crack the case."
Olivia Bliviousgertinator on January 17th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the heads up on the typo. I usually miss at least one or two, no matter how closely I edit.

I am probably needlessly paranoid on computer tech. I have friends and family who program, but I am not a tech head myself. I just hate when shows/stories are totally off and don't want anyone to say that about me :)
jen_knee_suujen_knee_suu on January 17th, 2007 11:51 am (UTC)
I skimmed the thing!! I have to re-read it after work! But what I did read...I loved it! I'll post again after work!
jen_knee_suu: OPJ Loganjen_knee_suu on January 17th, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
Gert..you are awesome. I loved this chapter! Angry possessive Logan. Sooo hot. Beginning chapter Duncan...pisses me off. Ending chapter Duncan...I don't know yet. I can't figure out if he's playin Logan...or if he's going to become friends with Logan just to try and get Veronica back. Hopefully he's not that stupid.

The sex...my lord that was hot. And all the computer programming stuff...it was kinda like Latin to me! I know about computer..but not that part ;)

Great job, Gert! Loved it as always!
Alexisa_h_c on January 17th, 2007 02:02 pm (UTC)
Another great chapter, as usual. My favorite bit was the reveal about Kane software (I also know nothing about programming) because of course Veronica ends up with some major conspiracy case. It was interesting that Mac was the one to go to the paranoia first, however. I think you have taken on a challenge with the tech-based mystery and I look forward to seeing how it fleshes out.

While I am not a Duncan fan, I did think the friendship redemption at the end was a good one. Logan has so few people in his life that truly know him and Duncan has been out of the country for so long that it is completely reasonable to try to rekindle that friendship. Personally, there is something about those friends that you had when you were young that you can't duplicate with your grown-up friends.

I also liked Veronica's very clear statement of her feelings for Logan -- the "I choose you" speech. I like the fact that Veronica has matured in your future fic because it somehow gives me hope that her character can evolve on the show as well. *sigh*

Looking forward to your next update!
Olivia Bliviousgertinator on January 17th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
In my expereince, all true techies are paranoid, because they know how easy it is to own people. I will never forget my brother and his friend visiting me at college. My brother's friend (a top tier programmer) checked his email in the computer lab, typed a few things, then looked up with a glint in his eye and said, "I could own this system." I freaked out and was like, "Please don't hurt my school." He didn't do anything bad, but I will never forget that sense that he could have. We, the general public, have far too much trust for the magic of the computer.

I agree about the friendship redemtion bit. I have a friend from when I was five who I have absolutely nothing in common with and probably would not befriend if I met her now. But we have so much history, we are closer than family. Logan has very little family, and he needs those kinds of friends, the ones who just are.

I don't like Season 3 V very much, but I think Logan is maturing nicely. *winks* 'Course I am all about the Logan.
(no subject) - a_h_c on January 18th, 2007 03:26 am (UTC) (Expand)
nocturnes: LoVeLookmidnight_27 on January 17th, 2007 02:26 pm (UTC)
Awesome.

Love Logan's line of Veronica using a permanent Sharpie - possessive Logan is delicious!

Mac and Roberts flirtations - too cute.

Can't wait for more.

By the way, is it okay to friend you - I want to keep up with the updates. Thanks!
Olivia Bliviousgertinator on January 17th, 2007 05:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, please friend me. I only write fic in my journal, so there is no danger of being subjected to a long diatribe about the woman ahead of me in the checkout line at the grocery store. (Well, unless you comment and I respond with some rambling. *winks*)

I try to update weekly. I actually have a lot of plot already written, but have to figure out other story threads so I am moving a little slowly right now. Unfortunately my brain doesn't work in a linear way, and my inspiration is more like popcorn. At some point, the updates will start rolling out relatively quickly. I hope. *grins*
(no subject) - midnight_27 on January 17th, 2007 11:42 pm (UTC) (Expand)
sweetumms33: Piz Dancingsweetumms33 on January 17th, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
Joy! So good, and the computer babble sounded good to me
Shane: minehavemy_heart on January 17th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
Loved Duncan getting thrown out of the house! He really is an ass who doesn't think about other people's feelings. I'm so glad that Veronica made it clear she's on Logan's side always. And who can complain about hot, angry wall!sex? Not me!

The stuff with Mac and Roberts was adorable. All of the computer lingo hurt my brain, but I loved them getting all excited over it ;-)

I'm glad that Duncan made the overture of renewing his and Logan's friendship. The surfing bringing much-needed peace to Logan was great, and hopefully, since Duncan admitted everything about his envy, they can move forward.

I missed Tori, but at least we got a Felicia mention :-)
anifsemajanifsemaj on January 17th, 2007 06:06 pm (UTC)
Boy oh boy, you just know how to make my day, don't you!!!

Loved it!!! All of it!! Logan's reactions to Duncan in the first scene were just perfect. And Veronica was perfect!!

The case is heating up nicely, and Mac & Roberts are great together.

I hope Duncan and Logan are able to sort out some kind of friendship, cause Logan has lost so much, but I can see it's going to be a tough road if Duncan doesn't really "get it" about Logan and Veronica - I can see him making a whole slew of errors... that Veronica can tell him off for!
Ella-ella-eh-eh-ehpopaddict on January 17th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
Duncan. I still don't know if I can trust him. I'll just continue reading and see if this reservation is well deserved or not.

The nerdy flirt that went on for .2 seconds before the conspiracy revelation warmed my heart. Mac hasn't dated since hs? She needs to get her groove on.
bookjamprincess: LoVebookjamprincess on January 17th, 2007 10:03 pm (UTC)
Yes!!! I <3 this new chapter. Logan is great when he's being possessive like that over Veronica. I totally get it. Plus, when it results in hot sex, even better. Great job and I love it!
xxbrigittexx on January 17th, 2007 11:26 pm (UTC)
OMG I love love love it!
Hello! I almost never post comments but I just had to tell u how much I adore this story (I loved Full Circle too!) U r soooo talented! Im so so so amazingly jealous! Major Congrats n please please please update soon!

xxx

Bridget
love4ever666love4ever666 on January 17th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
I love this story,

you lost me thou, on about the second paragraph when Mac was talking and then I didn't get it until like the last few paragraphs of their talk. But better late then never. lol I really need to learn something, besides the on and off switch on the computer.

Great job, this is an awesome story, I love it.
Moi Mobiasmoimobias on January 18th, 2007 04:14 am (UTC)
Liked the chapter a lot but I still don't trust Duncan at all. Although it was amusing that he hasn't had a date in eight years. Ah good times.
hiddeneloisehiddeneloise on January 18th, 2007 04:07 am (UTC)
Weee! Update! Weeee! :) Favorite bits:

The Echolls temper rarely came out these days, but it was always bubbling under the surface.

So true. He is good at controlling it these days, but you get that simmering feeling when you look in the boy's eyes. :)

Veronica entered from the kitchen, muttering something dark about unscheduled visits from Duncan and the joy of cleaning up cat yak.

ROTFL! I'm guessing she and Felicia did not become BFFs. Hee! And how funny is that she is now equating Donut annoyance with cat annoyance! Shows his place in her heart these days. :)

And Gah! The angry "clawing back sanity" sex! Just gah! :)

"Pen. I want to be in pen. A big, fat, permanent Sharpie. You got it?" He held her close, his hand covering her heart, feeling it beat into his palm and into his soul.

Beautiful! :)

It wasn't Duncan that she hated, not really, it was just his bad timing. And his arrogant self-centeredness. And his...well, yeah, best not to start that list.

Oh, go ahead! Start the list! LOL. His self-centeredness, his obliviousness, his beyond-belief passiveness, his emotional apathy, his entitlement, his inability to see anyone eles's point of view or understand any one else's feelings ... And, okay, I can see why you didn't want to start the list: There just isn't enough bandwidth! :)

And I am so with Mac on not trusting the government with a software like that.

much for Mac and Roberts making cute little nerd babies.

Heee! But they would be such cute little nerd babies!!!

One thing Aaron Echolls had given his son: a facade of steel.

Again, so true. :)

And you made me feel a little misty-eyed for Donut there in the end. How did you manage that?! :)
Kristindestroymebaby on January 20th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC)
I love love love your stories!!!

the mac/roberts thing was really cute.

and I like the kane software storyline a lot!
ronnigan on January 21st, 2007 08:11 am (UTC)
I love love love this story. Favorite parts from this update:

- The romance unfolding between Mac and Roberts. I love that Mac finally has someone adoring her...too often she's the one pining away, and that's not right, because Mac is so pretty and adorable and awesome.
- The friendship rebuilding scenes between Duncan and Logan. Unlike everyone else, I don't detest the Donut (as long as he's not with Veronica :P), and so I'm glad that he and Logan are trying to salvage what they used to have. I think Logan needs that in his life. It was also really refreshing for them to just put everything out in the open without beating around the bush.
- The Kane Software plot is great, really original.
- Of course, the hot LoVe sex scene. Oh, Logan. *sigh*

Things I can't wait to read:

- Things heating up between Mac and Roberts
- More specifics about the Rita movies...I think it will be interesting when it finally comes out. Logan and Veronica should go see it together. ;-D
- Baby!?! Please!!!
- Hot LoVe scene to make the aforementioned baby. Haha. Logan would love that so much. He's been wanting it forever...

Thank you for this wonderful story!