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Veronica Mars Secret Santa

Final Gift for MaDi_Lover

Final Gift for MaDi_Lover

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Singing Gal
Title: Unexpected Life Lessons
Pairing: Mac/Dick, Logan/Veronica
Rating: PG-13 (If you can watch the show, you can read this story)



Sometimes, things happen. When those things happen, you think they'll lead your path somewhere else.

You're wrong. It's only until you make those choices that you find out that you're taken somewhere you never would have guessed. Sometimes, you'll want to trade where you are for where you thought you would be.

Otherwise, you know that you never would have chosen what you got, but now that you have it, you can't imagine choosing otherwise.

Some people thought that it began with an apology on Dog Beach. Those people would be wrong. It went back much farther than that.

***

Cindy Mackenzie met Dick Casablancas when they were in kindergarten. When you grow up in Neptune, you know people from an early age, unless people move to town. There are more elementary schools than middle schools, and four middle schools as opposed to the two high schools, but typically, you meet your classmates in kindergarten and you stay with them until you graduate.

Which seriously sucks when one of those classmates is Dick Casablancas, even if at that point in time, he was still called Richard.

They waged war against each other when Mac, precocious for her age, was reading her book at recess (nothing major, just a "Babysitter's Little Sister" book, though she was pretty sure she could graduate up to the "Babysitter's Club" books relatively soon; if she didn't know a word, she could get it from the context fairly easily) and Dick decided that meant that the best thing in the world to do was throw bean bags at Mac and distract her. He awarded himself points for hitting different body parts.

They didn't hurt. That wasn't the point. He was doing it just to do it, because even then, he was a major-league brat.

Mac retaliated by throwing her juice box at him. Somehow, that turned into an invitation for him to tackle her.

Which resulted in the two of them being pulled apart by the teacher, and Mac getting in trouble, while Dick was simply admonished.

This did not cause Mac to suddenly develop warm fuzzy feelings for the older Casablancas son.

***

The apology at Dog Beach wasn't the beginning. But it was a beginning. It was the beginning of Mac making the decision to view Dick differently. She chose to not let the past dictate how she saw him, and focus on what he was doing now.

And Dick, for the first time, decided to take a summer off from sex and girls. Partially because he was spending the summer with his dad. But also because he wanted to take a look at his life. He obviously wasn't happy, and had learned to cover up that unhappiness, and cover it up well. So he might as well figure out what it was that made him unhappy, and figure out if he could get rid of it.

***

Dick and Logan decided to buy a house of their own. Logan needed to show Veronica, though he wouldn't say that it was her, that he was able to take care of himself and not depend solely on room service, though he still managed to burn Mac and Cheese more often than not, and Dick wanted to be able to get away from his dad at the end of the day.

Scratch that. Dick needed to be able to get away from his dad at the end of the day.

He was willing to spend his summer with his father before Big Dick went off to jail or prison or whichever it was that was worse. He recognized that his dad needed it, and Dick didn't want to regret not spending time with him while he had a chance.

But he hadn't been lying when he told his dad that Big Dick made life so much harder just by being around. Dick was still dealing with Beav- Cassidy's death. Still dealing with the things Cassidy had done. Still dealing with the fact that maybe it was his fault, that he hadn't treated his little brother the way a big brother should, that he hadn't shown his brother every day how much he loved him and admired him, and that if only he'd done those things, and hadn't done other things, eight of their classmates might still be alive, Duncan might still be around, and Dick would still have a brother.

So, yeah, Dick needed to have his own space to get away to. He needed to have his own time to drink his own beer and play his own video games, just so he could keep himself from going wackadoodle and possibly jumping off the roof of the Neptune Grand himself.

Logan, meanwhile, was spending a summer with more sad sackery, regretting the way things had gone with Veronica, and how things had ended with Parker. He felt bad that a great girl that hadn't done anything wrong was being forced to pay for his inability to let go of "epic".

Because "epic" wasn't over-rated at all. "Epic" didn't cause pain. "Epic" didn't lead to holding onto all the trays from the Neptune Grand, or to a crap-ton of drinking. "Epic" didn't result in weeks of depression.

"Epic" didn't lead to innocent people getting beat up. "Epic" didn't cause Piz to be bruised and bloody. "Epic" didn't make Veronica decide to not even be his friend.

Right. Sarcasm had better be obvious there, because Logan's inner voice was laden with it, much like his actual voice.

While Dick was spending his days with his father, and his evenings blowing off steam, Logan was spending his days taking summer courses, which were a bitch to deal with and he didn't know what the hell he was thinking signing up for as many as he was allowed to take and he was pretty sure he might just kill someone, except that coming from Neptune, and more specifically his family, he really shouldn't be joking about murder. Logan wasn't exactly a serious student, but he'd wanted to buckle down and prove to -Veronica- to himself that he could do this. He needed to be responsible.

So Logan was being responsible and taking classes and causing his brain to leak out of his ears in the process, because summer courses were intense, and he'd signed up for six of them. Stupid, stupid Logan.

With Veronica interning with the FBI, Wallace in Africa, and Parker visiting home in Denver, Mac didn't have her usual friends to hang out with. Before Veronica, that wouldn't have been a big deal; Mac would have just spent the summer on her computer. But in the past two and a half years, Mac had gotten to the point where she needed to be with people every once in a while. Provided they weren't huge groups and she wasn't having to be the center of attention, because she was still Cindy Mackenzie, after all.

So she signed up for a summer computer course. Just something to pass the time. Which meant that Logan literally ran into her after class one day, and he hired her to tutor him, and as a result of that, she wound up spending time at Casa de Beach Boys. And she learned a few things that she wasn't expecting.

***

Lesson One)
Logan was not an idiot. He was just really good at faking it. Logan actually had a near visually eidetic memory, so if he just read something and understood it, he could remember it months or sometimes even years later. It just had to grab his attention so that he'd care enough to memorize it.

Mac discovered Logan's eidetic memory when he made a comment about never forgetting a girl's outfit. So she asked him what Veronica was wearing on various days, and was surprised when he got them all right.

And then he told her what she herself had been wearing for various events, and that had surprised her more. After all, Logan paying attention to Veronica? Really a no-brainer. Logan paying attention to Mac? That one was a shocker.

After that, it turned into a game. Mac would hand Logan a book, and see how much of it he could remember after five minutes. Logan, always up for some fun, actually started learning what his textbooks said. After that, the only necessary part was Mac explaining to Logan how to apply the things in real life, or how to apply what he learned in Class A to things going on in Class D.

***

Lesson Two)
Dick paid close attention to Logan, and would adapt his mood around Logan. If Logan was in his head too much, Dick would be loud and obnoxious and get him to come out of himself a bit. If Logan were in a good mood already, Dick toned himself down, and actually reigned Logan in a little if he were too out there.

The first time Mac noticed how Dick would adapt to Logan, she was there for her second Logan-tutoring session. She and Logan were sitting in the dining room, with some cheese, apples, and peanut butter on the table with them, though Mac wouldn't touch the cheese. Logan was getting frustrated as Mac tried to explain math to him; this was something she could do with her eyes closed and math made a lot more sense to her than people did, but for whatever reason, whether it was her lack of ability to explain it, or Logan's lack of ability to understand English (right, then, her failing, not his). Dick ducked his head in the dining room, listened to Logan's rant, and showed them his new "weird human trick". Mac thought that guys had grown out of the flipping their eyelids inside out phase around third grade.

Logan quipped at Dick, and all the tension had left the taller man's body, and Dick left, his mission accomplished.

Mac didn't really think anything of it until a few days later, when Logan was down on himself over Veronica's absence and Parker's hurt feelings, and Dick lured Logan into the kitchen and sprayed him with the spray hose attached to the sink. Logan retaliated with a pitcher of water, and somehow, Mac got dragged into the impromptu water fight in the middle of the kitchen. The three of them were completely drenched, grinning like loons, and once again, Dick nodded with self-satisifaction, and that's when Mac realized that it had been done specifically to cheer Logan up.

When Logan hatched an outrageous plot to make Vinnie Van Lowe pay for something or other (most likely for winning the election, though Logan gave another reason), Dick of all people was the one to talk him out of it, mainly by employing the use of distraction.

Mac came to the realization that Dick was more intune with Logan than most boyfriends were with their girlfriends.

***

Lesson Three)
Dick was not an idiot. Nor was he a jerk. He was also just really, really good at faking it. Dick was your classic ADD sufferer, it's just no one had forced him to pay attention to things, due to having a rich daddy. Now that that kind of influence was gone, and Dick had flunked a few classes, he was trying to buckle down and study, but just couldn't make himself focus. So Mac took to tutoring him as well as Logan even though the blond wasn't taking any summer classes, and learned tricks to make Dick pay attention Most notably, the reward system. Dick loved getting rewards.

Seriously, that boy was a reward junkie. Even for something as simple as a chocolate chip cookie for every right answer would have Dick's brow furrowing as he tried to puzzle out the questions, and he managed to concentrate enough to get every question right.

Every question.

The cheater.

He wasn't cheating, of course, he'd just found something that made concentrating worth his while. Mac envied him that the thing that made it worthwhile was chocolate chip cookies. Why he couldn't hold out for gold stars, or something, Mac didn't know.

***

Lesson Four)
Both boys could actually be patient, if the reward was great enough. Somehow or other, and to this day, Mac was still not exactly sure how, they'd convinced her to try surfing. Despite growing up on the beach, Mac wasn't so good with the ocean and swimming or other water-related sports. She preferred indoor activities, like reading, watching movies, or trashing Gory's credit cards and signing him up for all the embarrassing magazines she could think of (like "Chicks With Dicks") and having them sent to him at his father's business. Yet, somehow, she wound up on a surfboard. Not that she stayed on it for very long, because she kept falling off. But she also kept getting back on and paying attention to the advice Logan and Dick gave her. They teased her, sure, but it was always good-natured.

They started the surfing lesson on the beach. Logan wore his wetsuit; Mac had noticed that he never, never, walked around topless, or even showing his arms. He always had long sleeves on. She wondered why, but also figured that it might be one of those things that might break her heart if she knew. It was enough to know that Veronica knew. Dick had some baggy orange and blue boardshorts, not having the same reason Logan did to cover his upper body. Mac didn't even own a swimsuit, and had tried to convince the guys to just let her surf in shorts and a t-shirt. They hadn't gone for that idea, and had instead dragged her shopping for a suit.

Surprisingly enough, they'd stayed away from the bikinis, and had actually looked at swimsuits that she might actually wear, like boyshorts and tankinis. They wound up buying her a pair of black boardshorts and a wine-colored tankini that matched the streaks Mac had put in her hair at the beginning of the summer.

The lesson started with showing her how to jump on the board. Mac eyed them doubtfully, but tried.

And tried.

And tried.

Finally, she'd reached their specifications on the jumping, and next she was allowed to actually paddle the board on out. She waited for a small wave, waited for Dick to give her the signal to pop up --

-- and promptly wound up in the water.

Mac came up spluttering, grabbed her board, climbed back on, and waited for another wave.

Rinse, repeat another seven times, and Mac was getting more than a little tired of spitting water and sand. She'd listened to the advice Dick and Logan gave her, but it didn't seem to help.

Dick convinced her to try it one more time, and if she ate sand again, they'd let her pack it in for the day. Mac paddled out, waiting for the right moment, and then popped up, the way the guys had taught her. Her feet gripped the board, and she could feel herself going off-balance, and then she adjusted.

And she was surfing.

Mac rode the wave, making minute adjustments in her balance to keep her upright and not toppling back into the water. It didn't last long, but this time, when she came up spitting the saltwater out, she didn't mind.

Afterwards, the three of them grilled burgers (and Boca burgers for Mac) and relaxed on the deck, watching the sun go down, and Mac realized she was happy here.

***

Lesson Five)
Spending her summer with Dick and Logan really wasn't that bad. They all enjoyed watching movies and making comments all through them, prompting her to introduce them to Mystery Science Theater 3000 and then RiffTrax, which they enjoyed a bit more, since they were newer movies. They respected her, respected her boundaries, though she had to get used to the fact that whenever Dick took a shower, he got thirsty and would simply come downstairs for water with a towel wrapped around his waist, instead of waiting to get dressed. It ended when Mac sprayed him with the spray hose, gave him a small lecture on respecting people in his house, and suggested that he just keep a glass of water and a Brita pitcher in his bathroom.

Logan and Dick liked the Mysties that she brought over for them. Mac had grown up with them around the house, and while she liked foreign films and documentaries, Mac also enjoyed her MST3K. The real fun came in when she treated them to RiffTrax. Logan and Dick swore up and down that they would never watch "Music and Lyrics", but when Mac plugged in her computer, and they heard the opening segment of the RiffTrax, Logan and Dick pronounced her a genius and settled in. Dick popped the popcorn the way she'd taught them, mixing in garlic powder, sea salt, and some Cavendar's seasoning, and stuck the massive bowl in her lap, since Mac was sitting between the two of them.

After movies, Mac would crash in their guest bedroom every once in a while, depending on whether or not she felt like driving her little Bug home. After the first night, the guys had decided it was her room, and it was her choice about using it. For the first week or so, she stayed with them twice, and slept at home the rest of the time. The second week, she stayed over three times. The third week, she brought a carful of her necessities, and officially moved in, though they wouldn't let her pay them rent.

Since they wouldn't let her pay her own way, or even chip in on groceries, Mac taught them how to clean. Logan had expressed interest in learning; he just hadn't had anyone to teach him, though Letty Navarro had insisted he do a certain amount, saying that young boys needed to be taught basic skills. Basically, what Logan knew how to do was keep his room neat, and take his dishes to the sink. The first time he tried to run the dishwasher, he'd used dishwashing soap instead of dishwasher soap, and had flooded the kitchen. Dick had run in, skidded on the suds all over the floor, and his shout had drawn the other two. Logan and Mac ran in, and thus begun an impromptu soap suds fight. Mac didn't think she'd laughed that much since she and Cas- since the Winter Festival her Senior year of high school.

Afterwards, Mac grabbed the towels and set about cleaning the soap off the floor, and scrubbing the floor in the process. The upside was that the floor was really clean.

***

When summer ended, and Veronica was home from her FBI internship, and no one was surprised when she was grabbed for questioning within two hours of her arrival.

Veronica had a history of being questioned by sheriffs who could tell when she was lying, and who were also convinced she was involved in a lot of things. When her father had been Sheriff the first time around, he hadn't questioned her for anything except for insight on some of her classmates. He had no reason to question her, because she was fluffy vanilla cotton candy Veronica. Don Lamb had brought her in for questioning for just about anything that went wrong in Neptune, and more often than not, he was right that she was involved, however peripherally, in what had happened. Lamb knew when she was lying because she'd been the one to teach him how to bluff when he taught her how to play poker back when Keith Mars had been Sheriff. Lamb would never be able to trip her up in a lie, but he had always known that she was. When her father was acting Sheriff after Lamb's death, he hadn't questioned her officially, but you'd better believe he'd had plenty of unofficial questions.

Vinnie Van Lowe was Sherrif now, so Veronica wasn't all that surprised when Sachs picked her up and took her to the station.

She was slightly surprised when Vinnie didn't show up in the interrogation room, and instead it was Sachs in there with her.

Further surprise came when Sachs didn't talk to her. Instead, he seemed to have picked up a trick from her dad's book, and waited her out.

After 45 minutes of boredom, Veronica slapped her hand down on the table, and deadpanned, "All right. I confess. I shot the Sheriff, but I did not shoot the Deputy."

The biggest surprise of the day came when Sachs informed her that Vinnie had been shot, and they would take that as a confession.

First person she called was Cliff, and then she had to wait in her cell for him to get there.

Cliff, in his cheap suit glory, stood before her. "Veronica. Has it ever occured to you that smartmouthing the law enforcement might not be the best idea?"

Veronica shrugged. "You know me, Cliffy. I'm an equal opportunity kind of gal. All this sarcasm just brimming out of me, I gotta share it with the world." Her demeaner turned serious. "What do they have on me?"

"Well, they do have a confession from you. However, they know it's not real, they have no evidence to tie you to the crime, and they didn't think you actually did it. They're trying to teach you to stop mouthing off to them." Cliff might rag on himself as a lawyer, but the fact of the matter was, he was a damn good one, and he had contacts virtually everywhere. There was no way that information had come officially, and Veronica knew it.

He gave her a few more pieces of advice, and then left her in the cell. She was going to be held as long as possible, which meant at least 24 hours. Veronica always overlooked that little law about police being able to detain people for 24 hours without due cause, since Lamb had never taken advantage of it. She'd really have to remember this law; she'd like to not have blackmarks against her for the FBI. Veronica considered it a minor miracle that she'd been accepted for the internship in spite of her past; she really needed to not add on to that minor miracle.

She called Wallace, since the two of them had plans to catch up and tell each other all about their summers, and let him know that she wouldn't be able to be there since she was in a jail cell. Wallace apparently spread the word, because Logan, Mac, and Dick arrived together to talk to her.

Mac had brought a book for Veronica, to keep the blonde occupied for her night of boredom. Logan hung back and didn't really say anything, and seemed to be relieved when Dick asked Mac and Logan to leave so he could talk to Ronnie alone.

Veronica was too confused about Dick wanting to talk to her to be relieved at Logan leaving.

Dick shuffled his feet a few times, his hands shoved in his pockets.

"Dick. Time is money. You're wasting mine. What's your problem, what are you paying me, and I'll work on it tomorrow." Veronica didn't have a lot of patience for Dick under the best of circumstances, and these were most definitely not those best circumstances.

He shuffled a few more times, and then finally spoke. "I know you're going to get revenge on me later, because you're Veronica Mars. But you can't taze me while you're behind bars, Ronnie, and that's why I'm saying this now. The night at the party, with you and Beav..." He trailed off, averting his eyes momentarily before bringing them back to her. "I'm sorry. I didn't know how messed up Bea- Cassidy was. I know that some of that is my fault, and I'm so sorry for that, too. But I'm really sorry about that night. If I'd known he might do something, I wouldn't have left you in there with him. I wouldn't have teased him into anything. Irony? I actually left you there with him because I thought he'd take care of you. I mean, if you couldn't trust Cassidy to not do anything, who could you trust? Or, at least, that's what I thought then. I'm sorry, Ronnie. And I know that sorry isn't going to fix it, but I still had to tell you."

Veronica just looked at Dick without a change of her expression, studying him for a long moment while Dick was probably sweating bullets. "I'm not going to lie to you, Dick. It's not okay. If you didn't want him to do anything, you shouldn't have goaded him into doing it." She sighed heavily, sitting on the edge of her bed. "But you're also not responsible for Cassidy's actions. He made his own choices. He chose to kill people. He chose to rape me. He chose to lure me up to the roof and try to kill me. He chose to leave Mac stranded in the hotel room without her clothes." Veronica was deliberately phrasing things in the harshest way she knew, needing Dick to understand how heinous the crimes were that Cassidy Casablancas had chosen to commit. "He chose those things. Not you. Maybe you're right, and he would have turned out to be exactly what everyone thought he was if you had done things differently. But we have no way of knowing that, and I'm not going to put blame on you that doesn't belong there." Veronica swung her legs a few times, before looking back up at Dick. "I can't forgive you for my rape, Dick. But I can try to forget, and pretend that you weren't part of it. For whatever reason, you're friends with Mac, and that means you're apparently going to be part of my life."

Dick smiled at her, a real honest to goodness smile, the grin wide across his face. "You're cool, Ronnie. Seriously, you're really cool. You're, like, the second coolest girl in the world."

Veronica raised her eyebrow at him. "Second coolest?"

"Well, you know. Mac-aroni's in first place there. But you run a close second." Dick had no compunction about admitting that, nor did he even sound like he might be embarrassed by it. It was simply a fact of life for him.

"Just don't make me have to use Mr. Sparky on you, Dick. If you do anything to embarrass Mac, or if this is a setup of any kind, I'll end you." Veronica spoke straightly, belying the threat.

Dick nodded. "Yeah, I know. That's another reason you're the second coolest girl in the world. You take loyalty to whole new levels, Ronnie."

***

School started, and the group found themselves hanging out at the beach house more often. It started with Mac inviting Veronica and Wallace over for the movie nights on Friday, and soon, Veronica and Wallace were crashing in the extra guest bedrooms for the weekends. The beach house was closer to campus than either of their parents' places, so it quickly became the place to relax in the evenings, or to study together, or whatever. After a few weeks of that, Veronica and Wallace started crashing on some of the school nights, and soon enough, the beach house had five official occupants.

It wasn't too long before Veronica and Logan got into one of their screaming fights, but this time, instead of Veronica storming off and leaving, she stayed and tried to work it out. In the process of trying to work out that fight, they managed to work through a lot of their issues from the past. Veronica and Piz had broken up about ten minutes after Logan beat up Gory in the caf, and she'd spent the summer thinking about what she and Logan had done right, and a whole lot about what they'd both done wrong, and could they fix things. A lot of thinking.

Thinking stopped when Veronica grabbed Logan's shirt, pulled him down close, and kissed him for all she was worth.

The two of them didn't always have the most verbally communicative relationship, but when they stopped trying to use words and simply let actions take over, they spoke a lot better. Logan beating up Gory in the cafeteria said, "I love you, I will always love you, and I will always protect you". Veronica kissing Logan in the kitchen said, "I love you, too, and I'm sorry for some of the crap that I put you through".

It wasn't long before Veronica moved out of her room and into Logan's.

***

Mac continued her tutoring sessions with Logan and Dick, though Veronica was helping with Logan. Dick was still excited about the reward system, but chocolate chip cookies were losing their charm for him.

Dick decided to negotiate (negotiate! How's that for a SAT word, Dad?) for a better reward. "Mac-aroon, I've been thinking." Mac shifted to look at him, but remained silent. Veronica would have snarked at him, but Mac just waited for him to talk. That was why she was the coolest chick ever. "I was thinking that instead of chocolate chip cookies, I could get something else for right answers."

Mac nodded. "Yeah, sure, I guess. What kind of thing were you thinking?"

Showtime. Dick pushed down the butterflies. "A kiss."

Silence.

Dead silence.

Dead. Freaking. Silence.

Oh, hell. He'd screwed up. He'd just wrecked their friendship.

Oh, balls

Mac swallowed hard, her eyes wide. "Why do you want a kiss?"

"Are you kidding? I don't want one kiss." Dick's eyes nearly bugged out at the thought.

"Then why did you ask for one?" Mac's voice showed her hurt, and she found herself shouting at him. "If you don't want one, don't ask!"

Dick continued, oblivious to Mac's distress. "I want a whole bunch of kisses. As many kisses as you'll give me."

Mac looked at him, trying to discern whether or not he was being serious. "Why do you want kisses from me?" She spoke calmly, wanting to not color his response.

Dick looked at her, suddenly serious. "Because you're awesome, Mac-attack. You're, like, the coolest girl ever. Seriously. You're way cooler than Ronnie. You don't treat me like I'm dumb, or like you're better than me even though you totally are. You're willing to try all kinds of new things, and you stand up for things that are important to you, and I want to be one of those important things to you."

Mac decided to take a page out of her friend's book, and grabbed Dick's shirt and dragged him in close, pouring her own feelings out through the kiss.

Turns out that Mac and Dick were also better at communicating without words.

When they finished kissing Mac said simply, "You're already one of those important things." He was. She'd defended him to Veronica when the blonde had asked her why Mac was living with Logan and Dick. Mac had shared some of the things that she'd learned over the summer, and confided that Dick and Logan had made it up to her top three best friends, and the only person still above them was Veronica herself.

***

Christmas was interesting that year. Everyone wanted to spend Christmas evening with their parents and families, because Christmas was a time for families. But the five of them wanted to spend Christmas afternoon with each other, because Christmas was a time for families.

They'd chosen each other.

Before Lilly's death, Veronica had been part of the 09er crowd, and she knew that Duncan was Logan's best friend, Veronica was his second, and Dick was trailing a ways behind for third. Logan's family situation sucked, and to him, you always, always chose friends over family. After Lilly's death, Duncan was still Logan's best friend, Logan did his best to ignore Veronica, and Dick was trailing a ways behind for second. When Veronica turned her back on her friends and sided with her dad, Logan couldn't make sense of it. He couldn't understand how a daughter, even if that daughter was Veronica, could be that loyal to her father, placing him over her friends. That, combined with some jealousy over the relationship Veronica had with her father, and Duncan's silence on why he broke up with Veronica, leading Logan to think Veronica had been to blame for the break-up and that whatever she'd done was so bad that Duncan wouldn't even talk about it, was why Logan had treated Veronica as badly as he did.

That, and Logan was just an asshole like that. But he was trying to leave those ways behind him, and turn over a non-asshole leaf.

Before Lilly's death, Veronica had one best friend, Lilly, and a whole lot of people she hung out with. She and Logan had become each other's confidants about their relationships with the Kane siblings, so for her as well, Logan was her second-best friend. Veronica's friends were important to her, but family always came first. Particularly her dad. After Lilly's death, the memory of Lilly was still Veronica's best friend, Logan was going out of his way to make her life hell, and all those people she'd hung out with had turned their backs on her. So screw them. She didn't need them. She had her dad, and she'd be fine on her own at school. When Veronica cut a skinny black kid down from the flagpole, she had no way of knowing how much that would change things. She'd earned herself a best friend that day, and as much as Veronica loved Lilly, Wallace was a far better friend. Wallace was a far better friend to Veronica than she was to him and she knew it. Mac was an addition to the lunch table duo that Veronica and Wallace became, and a good one. Veronica had missed hanging out with girls, particularly girls that weren't all that girly. Veronica could talk to Mac about PI stuff, and Mac could talk about computer stuff, and even though the other girl totally didn't have a clue what the other was saying, it was fun for both of them.

And they could talk boys. Talking boys was all kinds of fun.

Dick had grown up knowing that he wasn't smart, and knowing that his best friends didn't consider him their best friend. He was okay with that, though it would have been nice to be someone's best friend. Whatev. No big deal. He had a lot of friends, and so what if he wasn't really close to anyone? He had friends, he had the waves, and he had a really dorky little brother who he still loved.

Your friends aren't around so much when your father is in another country trying to stay out of prison for fraud and your brother killed himself after confessing to killing a bus of your classmates. Dick remembered how his friends had treated Jackie when they thought her dad had been responsible, and Dick got off light in comparison. All he really had was the waves, and even those could only keep him going for so long. Dick's first year of college had been a spiral down, and he was glad that for once, he had a best friend who considered Dick his best friend, too, because Dick really needed that then. Logan pulled him out of his descent, and Dick returned the favor after Ronnie broke Logan's heart again.

The idea of having four people you're actually close to was a foreign concept to Dick. But he was realizing that he liked it.

Dick had gone completely over the top for the twelve days before Christmas, and he knew it. But he loved making Mac smile, and he knew that his gifts had made her smile, and that made him smile, too.

The idea of actually being happy was also a foreign concept to Dick. There could be things you were happy about. There might be times you were feeling happy. But actually being happy? Not so much.

Looking around at his friends and housemates while they passed Christmas gifts around, sitting with his Mac-adamia Nut, Dick realized that for the first time, he was actually happy.

He could live with happy.

END
  • (no subject) - madi_lover
    • Is there any chance you could post the rest of the 12 Days of Christmas? I'm curious what else he got her

      Absolutely! I do need to apologize- I thought I'd done the math to work out when I needed to start in order to have a drabble for each day beforehand. And it turns out that late night math skills are not my forte.

      I'll finish the 12 Days of Christmas and post all of them in one post.

      I'm glad you enjoyed the story! I love the fact that all the characters on the show have an intertwined history, and there's so much room for imagination and fleshing out that history, and I had a lot of fun doing it.
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