Title: "Fragile Gifts"
Fandom: VM (i know, i know)
Spoilers/Timeline: none, really
Rating: meh. No worries.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOU!”
Duncan’s smooth baritone and Veronica’s quiet murmur were drowned out by Lilly’s overly loud voice, which carried over the school grounds until every head was turned in their direction. A lesser mortal would have blushed, but lesser mortals rarely could stand the presence of Lilly Kane long enough to endure her attention.
“And now that the entire world knows…” Logan said wryly.
“Of course they should know,” Lilly purred. “They should be kissing your feet! Just as long as they don’t kiss anything else…” she slid herself over and maneuvered herself onto his lap, tilting his head for a kiss. He lost himself in her until a cough from Duncan’s direction broke them apart. Lilly stuck her tongue out at her brother. Logan noticed Veronica blushing. Maybe it wasn’t just the lesser mortals.
“So what was the haul this year?” Duncan asked as he bit into his apple. “Gold? Diamonds? That date with Sarah Michelle Gellar you’ve been angling for?”
“All of the above and more, man. The best part being that Lynn and Aaron have taken off to parts unknown, leaving us to celebrate in style.” He smirked, stretching his arm over Lilly’s empty chair. “This, my friends, will be the party of the year.”
Lilly gave a squeal, Duncan high-fived him and Veronica smiled, although it didn’t reach her eyes. She seemed preoccupied with something under the table that she was fiddling with. “Whatcha got down there, Ronnie? Duncan not doing his job right? Or you swiped one of Lilly’s pocket boyfriends?”
She blushed deeper and her eyes went wide as Lilly shrieked. He didn’t know why, but he truly enjoyed teasing Veronica like that. It was strange how innocent she remained, even after years with Lilly’s influence. He knew it was definitely what drew Duncan to her.
“I was waiting until everyone else had, but here,” Veronica quickly thrust a wrapped box at him. “Um…happy birthday Logan.” She looked over at Lilly, as if asking for permission.
“V, what are you doing?” Lilly laughed. “Don’t you know the birthday rules? Presents come at the party, which is tonight! You’re a few hours early.”
Veronica looked confused. “But I thought you said last night you were going to give Logan his big surprise at lunch…” she trailed off when Lilly raised her eyebrows suggestively and blushed again. Logan and Lilly burst out laughing as Duncan put his arm around Veronica’s shoulders.
“Ah, it’s cool Ronnie,” he picked up the box and shook it. “All will be forgiven if it’s the police master key that you snuck from your dad.” He held it up to the sun, as if he could see through it.
“Just open it, you goof,” Lilly punched him lightly. He kissed her cheek and tore into the gift.
It was just basic white and black beads, not really anything special. He picked it up and held it between his fingers. It was a little crooked and not quite symmetrical. And it was cheap; there were little bits of string sticking out from between the beads.
It wasn’t really his style-nothing was really his style. So what had prompted her to get it for him?
Lilly plucked it from his hands. “Cute, V. It turned out a lot better than you said.”
“Yeah, well,” Veronica shrugged. “Other than those little ones we did, this is my first REAL try.” She ducked her head slightly. “It sucks, I know.”
“Wait, you made this? For me?” Logan asked incredulously.
She looked up and smiled at him. “Yeah,” she said softly. “I made it for you.”
He just looked at her as Lilly placed the necklace around his neck and Duncan leaned in to congratulate his girlfriend on a job well done. He watched her as others came by with their wishes and Lilly cheerfully made plans for tonight. He watched and he waited until she met his eyes again, before he silently mouthed “Thank you.”
“I’m starting to wonder if I should be jealous,” Lilly rolled over and pressed up against him, her body half-draped over his.
“You, jealous of me? That’d be a first,” he said jokingly.
Lilly laughed, then hooked a finger underneath the chain around his neck. “You wear this every day,” she said archly.
“No I don’t,” he said quickly.
“Logan,” she propped herself up on one elbow. “I may be a little self-absorbed,” she poked his stomach when he snorted, “but I’m not blind, not to realize that my boyfriend wears another girl’s present all the time.”
“I don’t,” he protested. She poked him again. “Lil, babe, I don’t. I don’t wear boxers every day, let alone some cheap bland piece of jewelry.” He rolled away and grabbed his shirt, pulling it on.
“It’s okay, you know,” he turned around and she crawled over to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “I think it’s great that you wear it; shows that you like Veronica’s present. I mean, you could have thrown it away; she probably would have understood.” She kissed him, slow and a bit tender.
“Well, aren’t you the understanding one? Forgiving me for something when I didn’t even do anything,” he teased.
She raised an eyebrow at him. “God, you’re dumb.”
“Defamation of character? Oh, you are so asking for it,” and he kissed her roughly before she could say anything else.
“Are you going to throw it away?”
“What?” he replied dully.
Duncan pointed to his neck and he realized he had been fiddling with the necklace. He never fiddled. He never did a lot of things, but when people died, it tended to change the people left behind.
“I should rip it apart and throw the fucking thing in her face,” he laughed humorlessly.
Duncan just nodded. Logan was doing things he never used to do and the only thing Duncan could do was nod.
He tugged it with a jerk and it dug deeply into his neck, but didn’t break.
“Eww, where did you get THIS piece of trash?” Caitlyn let it hang from one long fingernail. “It is SO not you. Want me to do you a favour?” She dangled it over the trash.
He snatched it from her. “Never. Ever. Touch my things again.”
She just rolled her eyes.
He very deliberately put it on.
“I would have thought you would burn this,” she said softly.
He caught the gentle fingers at his throat and kissed them. “Your gifts are surprisingly strong, Veronica Mars. Even when they look fragile and cheap.”
Her lips replaced her fingers and when they found themselves twirling around the necklace again, his came up to entangle them together.