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9:37 am.

Keith is tired.

Keith has only been home from a very long, irritating drive for a little over seventy-two hours, and he has a cramp in his right arm from steering too long with the same hand.  Keith has Blue Oyster Cult stuck in his head from playing it too often on the road.  Keith doesn't know how to look at or touch his daughter for the first time in his life.  Keith is stuffed into his least favorite suit -- the black one that still fits -- and is fidgeting awkwardly in the corner of a reception full of people who don't know where to stand, what to eat, and definitely not what to say.

The Casablancas have rushed the funeral arrangements, because the press always quiets down faster in Neptune if things move at the speed of a strung out meth-head in Vegas.  The press in Neptune seems to have the attention span of a small rodent.  Or a pet rock.

Keith is tired; yawning hugely in the complete wrong place at the complete wrong time.  Keith tries not to think about words like scrape, pancake, autopsy or squashed. Suddenly the hors d'oeuvres with little slices of zucchini in them seem in horrifically bad taste.

Keith shifts from one foot to the other, hands shoved deep into his pockets, and searches out his petite blonde progeny without having to look very hard.  Years of practice, and whatnot.

It should be easier than usual to spot her, what with her being in the constant company of a certain very tall young man he knows all too well, since the night everything apparently went to hell in the form of a scared, scarred little boy plummeting from a rooftop.  Keith tries not to think of just how much fell over the edge of that building with him.

His eyes move over to some misguided decorator's version of a love seat crossed with a bench crossed with God knows what else, and there they are.

They're sitting side by side on it, and somehow, Logan is resting his head on Veronica's shoulder.  Keith has to stare at them for a minute to see how he does it, and it's almost funny how Logan is slouched ridiculously low in the bench, while Veronica sits so ramrod straight just next to him.  It would be funny if it weren't touching and draining to look at, all at once.

They're contrasting each other; clashing with one another in the way they always seem to.  He wonders how they manage to fit together so well; Logan in all his long, sharp, rigid angles, and Veronica in all her petite, flowing sort of softness.  Still, Veronica has her stiff, cutting moments and Logan goes gentle plenty, so it figures in a way.  Maybe.

He sees the dark circles under both their eyes even from here, but Logan's are considerably darker.  Keith knows he hasn't been sleeping much; how little is the real question.  Veronica hasn't been doing much better, but she's a tough girl; she's his tough girl, and she's dealing like the pro he keeps trying to forget she most likely is at this point in her life.

Keith is just deciding to walk up to say… something appropriate to the moment, though he's still kind of stuck on what there is that he could say.  What's the etiquette for this sort of thing, exactly?  Sorry the kid you thought might be a semi-friend decided to leap off the roof after terrorizing the hell out of both of you?  Or maybe, They have some halfway decent cucumber sandwiches over there, you know.  They both sound equally stupid, and there is no point whatsoever in saying either one.  There is no Consoling Completely Fucked Up Teenagers for Dummies book out there, and Keith is mildly resentful for it.

That, or maybe he just resents the fact that his daughter is outgrowing him too quickly; spreading out and aging with the sickening, seeping, poisonous weight of all her tragedies.

Either way, without any kind of speech prepared, he's still considering at least coming over to sit down, but then Veronica reaches across her lap, without any sort of preamble, and takes hold of Logan's hand where it's barely resting against her thigh.  He closes his eyes, leans on her a little more and lets out a soft sigh.  It's not loud or heavy or long, but Keith feels it more than hears it from halfway across the room, and somehow it seems like the weight of the world just lifted off of the both of them for the time being, and they have to take a moment to adjust to the absence of it.  Veronica takes in a shaky breath, squeezes his fingers gently, and leans her head down against his, and it isn't long before her eyes drift closed as well.

Keith is reminded suddenly of a time, way back when Veronica was in grade school, the first year she and Logan knew one another.  Logan had needed stitches for something, but it's been too long, and Keith can't remember what he was saying they were for, and what they were really for.  The fact that there's a difference that needs to be distinguished at all makes him feel a bit sick, even now.  But all he can remember is watching from the doorway as Veronica, tiny as ever -- with Logan not towering over her nearly as much back then -- held his hand while the doctor worked, letting him squeeze her hand a little harder with each tug of the needle.

Somewhere inside them both, there are a little girl and a little boy, so lost in the shuffle they only seem to find themselves when they lean on each other like that day, so long ago.  Inexplicably, watching them doing exactly that, somehow separate amidst a mass of black filled with grief or guilt or both, Keith can't worry too much anymore about that little ghost of a girl being swallowed up inside of his daughter.  When she is next to Logan, Keith almost forgets how equally broken they both are, inside and out, and from where he's standing, they're like a Monet painting; a not-quite perfect series of strokes on canvas that, from far enough away, looks almost whole.

11:41am.

Keith's been keeping a close eye on them ever since he got home from the Lodge, when he'd come to realize just how horribly everything had gone wrong.  In some twisted way, it makes him feel a bit better (though not much) about the twelve or so hours Veronica spent thinking she and Logan were equally alone in the world.

They are both shot to hell with a sort of straight-to-the-core exhaustion that he isn't sure a good night's sleep, or three, can really cure.

Still, Veronica humors him, at least a little bit.  She has shut herself in her room at somewhat reasonable hours, and he's fairly certain she spends the majority of it asleep.  Logan doesn't bother to keep up any sort of charade with him, though; he simply spends the hours he isn't with Veronica flung across the couch, staring blankly at the ceiling.

Keith allows Logan to stay under his roof because he simply has nowhere else to go.  Sure, he could work something out if he actually tried, but it's clear Logan's energy has been exhausted for the foreseeable future, and he's not the only one who needs for him to be here.  He'd only been out the door for about fifteen minutes that fateful morning before an urgent call from Cliff had interrupted Veronica's relay of everything Keith had missed, and they had learned that one father had come home in some sort of karmic exchange for another leaving for good.

Veronica had stared at the phone in her hands for several long, quiet minutes after snapping it shut, before finally speaking.

"I can't even…" she had started, abruptly stopping; swallowing, breathing very shallowly.  "What does that feel like?  Losing someone you hated so much, when he was your only family?"

Keith had no answer for that, and he didn't think Veronica expected one, anyway.

"He doesn't have anywhere to go," she'd said at last, handing him the phone, and running out the door.

It had taken her the better part of ten minutes to convince Logan to come back inside, but he hasn't left since without Veronica by his side.

1:54pm.

Two funerals in one day would be really, really depressing if any of them had any room left for something that clinical anymore.  Keith is spending the lag time between the two services hovering in the kitchen, feeling out of place in his own apartment for going on the third day in a row.

He isn't sure why Logan agrees with so little protest when Veronica pleads with him to go.

"He was your father, Logan," she says, sounding sorry for saying so even as the words came out.

"He was an asshole," Logan counters, without much feeling behind it, though there is the hint of a He got what he deserved sentiment behind it all the same.  Keith pretends to rifle through the same stack of unopened mail for the twelfth time since coming home, and he has never seen someone so young look so tired.

"I'll go with you," she says.  "We don't have to…  We can just go, and then leave.  You don't have to…  If anyone tries to get you to say something, just…  I won't let them."

She sounds so much more like her usual fierce self that Keith feels a sharp wave of relief flood through him, and a crushing sort of affection flickers in Logan's startlingly expressive eyes, before he simply says, "Okay."

2:13pm.

Keith watches over a glass of lukewarm orange juice as Logan struggles with the knot of his tie, which has gotten so twisted and backward since the first wake that Keith wonders briefly if he's ever seen Logan actually sit still.  Like, in his life.  After about three minutes of this, Veronica wanders over, running a brush through her hair absentmindedly.  She simply raises an eyebrow; steers him over to the chair in the living room by the shoulders.  "Sit," she says, without her usual bite of command, but he does so without protest, anyway.

She remains standing, and even then, their heads are not so far from being level with one another.  Logan looks up the slight angle at her, her hair brushing against his face as she leans down to twist the fabric through her fingers.  "I think I'm officially too tall for you," he says, the ghost of a laugh in his voice, smiling in the same tired, sad way he had when Keith had found him bleary eyed and alone but for the company of a stack of blank tapes.

She just lets out a little laugh, so soft it almost doesn't sound like one at all.  "You're not," is all she says, finishing the knot; smoothing the wrinkles in his shirt out with surprisingly steady hands.  Logan's smile gains something indefinable then; something that qualifies it by so much more than its shape.  She smiles back at him, and for the second time since Keith came home, they both look so genuinely at peace it's just as staggering as the first.

Veronica moves as if to straighten again when Logan catches one of her hands in his; pulls it up and presses his lips to her knuckles affectionately, and it's somehow such an intimate gesture Keith almost looks away.

And he understands this emotion, in a way he can because he's her father; he's actually connecting with Logan from across a room and without him even knowing.  He remembers a night from a year ago, but somehow not that long ago at all; shoving him against a wall and telling him to pretty much stay the hell away.

He understands now that Logan can't just stay the hell away; he doesn't even know how, probably.  The fear Keith felt in his frame and saw in his face that night wasn't as simple as Please don’t kick my ass to next Tuesday fear.  Logan is afraid now, just as he was then, that he really will lose Veronica for good; that he'll never be able to reach out and touch her like this again.

Veronica's body flutters a little all over at the contact; he's never seen her react that way to anything before, and it's such a slight, understated movement he almost wonders if he really saw it.  After a moment she smiles back at Logan, cups his face in her free hand -- his fingers still threaded through the other -- presses a soft kiss of her own just above the bridge of his nose.  She lets herself lean against him again for just a moment; their foreheads together, and a few seconds pass where the air flow in the room seems to stop.  Keith feels strangely removed while being in the same room; afraid to move, even.  As if everything he's watching will crumble if he dares to.

And then, without his help, the moment is over; she's picking up her brush and walking away, and Logan is standing, throwing on his jacket.  Keith feels winded, like he's just run up the staircase outside, and stopped abruptly where he's standing.

2:57pm.

Keith has always thought of Logan as some sort of caged animal.  The sort of something that his baby girl might lose a valuable extremity to, or at least a finger, if he lets her wander up too close to the bars.  It's taken years, but he's finally beginning to understand that Logan is more of a caged bird than anything; beautiful to look at in a depressing way, so resigned to being stuck where it is.  In Logan's case of course, he's resigned to being stuck in the same vicious cycle of loss and incredibly fucked up happenings, but the principle is essentially the same, so the metaphor works.

It's not like Keith will ever stop trying to protect Veronica, because come on, she's his one and only, flesh and blood daughter in the whole world, and it's been such a deeply embedded instinct from the get-go that he doesn't even think about it anymore.

Still, if Veronica is determined to let Logan out, Keith's not so afraid to let her anymore.

Logan hovers a little too long in the doorway as they are leaving, until Veronica comes up beside him, curls her fingers through his once more, and they walk through the door in stride.

"I might have to punch Trina," he says out of nowhere on the way to the car, and Veronica doesn't have to force the laugh that comes bubbling out.

"That could work for me."

3:34pm.

Keith used to have a furious sort of mantra when it came to Logan.  Whenever Veronica came home in tears from school, years before; whenever she'd come in, obviously furious with him for some stupid retaliation in their explosive string of harassment, he'd let it pass through his head.  Almost like a commercial jingle, but more annoying:

Logan is trouble.  No matter what else he is, or what he's trying to be, he is most definitely trouble.

Logan is Trouble with a capital T, that rhymes with C, that stands for…  Maybe the C stands for a lot of Clichés he ends up fulfilling; sometimes not for lack of struggling against his circumstances, and sometimes just because he can.

Logan is trouble.

And yet he'd sit back and watch as they crossed paths again and again, hassling each other; pushing and pulling and generally being the bane of one another's existence.  It would have been pretty amusing if not for the fact that Logan is trouble.

There's always been something mildly volatile about the way he and Veronica react to one another.  Keith's first instinct has usually been to lecture Veronica about it, the sort of way you'd tell a five-year-old not to touch the stove, because yeah, that’s going to burn, and yeah, you're going to regret it later.

And yet, here they stand, side by side and completely removed from a huge grouping of mourners and flashing cameras, holding one another up by very little physical contact.

Logan may be trouble, but Veronica hasn't been any kind of saintly in a long time, and it's not as though Keith wedging himself between them will stop them from meddling in each other's lives in the slightest.  If they had labels, they'd probably proclaim in loud, capital letters: DO NOT MIX, but Veronica is stubborn, and Logan is impulsive, and together they are a lot more of both, but it kind of makes sense in a really stupid, reckless way.

Which Keith supposes is just how it works.  It's not like love ever made sense, right?  He definitely ought to know that by now.

6:29pm.

Keith has discovered that if he angles his head just right, he can see into Veronica's open door -- which he refuses to let her close during her waking hours these days, because yeah, right -- and she appears to be too dulled by everything that has crumbled these past few days to notice she is being spied on.

Veronica may be stealthy, but Keith is stealthier.  She has his genes, but he has a good thirty years on her scrawny ass, and whether she'll give him credit or not, he still has the chops and more than enough reason to spy on his own daughter.

At the moment, that reason is sprawled across a little more than half her bedspread, a legal pad and pen in his hands, and Veronica is stretched on her stomach across the rest of the shared space, idly stroking Backup's ears where he is lying just against the side of her bed.

Logan is definitely the more tired of the two right now, and from the look of it, apparently his tendencies for nervous energy and extreme fidgeting have now transferred their way to Veronica.

"What'cha do-in'?" she asks, stretching out the syllables and getting right up in his face, being all purposefully perky and annoying about it.  Keith can't help but smile.  She knows how to pester.  She learned from the best, after all.

After a long, obviously exasperated pause, Logan pulls the pen out from his mouth and scribbles something down; replies "Writing," in a tone that heavily implies the What does it look like, smartass? he probably bit back first.  Logan is nothing, if not eloquent in his silences.  Veronica simply fake-pouts in reply, and though he's not looking at her, one side of Logan's mouth quirks up in a self-satisfied half-smirk that displays he knows just what sort of face she's making at him.

"Ass," she says, but it comes out in such a surprisingly warm manner, and Logan's smile turns genuine out of nowhere, and Keith decides he will never understand these two, and how they will live their lives without killing each other.

At the very least, this sort of tug of war they're falling back into is something just a little like normal.  As normal as they ever get, that is.

8:02pm.

The next time Keith cranes his neck down the hallway, Logan is sitting in nearly the same position as before; still leaning against the wall behind Veronica's bed, one leg crossed over the other, which dangles over the edge of the bedspread.

Veronica is partly in his lap now; her head pillowed on his thigh, and she looks as though she might have fallen asleep.  It's hard to tell, from a distance, but her breathing is slow, even.  The legal notepad still rests on his other leg, and he taps the pen against its surface absentmindedly, reading and re-reading as his free hand strokes Veronica's hair gently in lazy patterns.

Apparently Veronica has not quite drifted off yet, because she pipes up unexpectedly a moment later.  "You plan on finishing sometime this century, Vonnegut?" she sighs, sounding too sleepy to really qualify it as an insult.  Either way, it's a disturbingly appropriate choice of comparison in more than a few ways.

"Be nice," Logan chides, and Veronica simply snorts loudly by way of reply.  Logan laughs, the sound somehow foreign, but pleasantly deep in his throat all the same.  "How attractive of you."

"Quit reading the same thing fifty times over already," she insists, a slight whine in her voice, which she pronounces by tugging slightly on the sleeve of his shirt.  "You can write more later."

The eye rolling is exclusive to Logan's voice somehow, though Keith has no idea how he achieves this.  Is there such a thing as Jackass Magic?  "Someone's bordering on downright peskiness."

Keith takes a moment to mull over just exactly how a boy goes from pulling a girl's pigtails by his best friend's pool, to turning her into a social outcast for mere sport, to secretly dating her, to not dating her and probably hating her a little (or a lot) again, to saving her life and making a genuine attempt at pancakes in her kitchen and caring so deeply for her.  It seems like, fundamentally, that just shouldn't work.  That, or it's just really screwed up.

Veronica dodges Logan's light jibe; doesn't return it, and watches as he rubs slowly at his eyes.  "You're tired," she says quietly.  "It's late."

He glances at the alarm clock above her bed, just to be difficult.  "It's not."

"It is when you don’t sleep at all the night before," she reprimands in her more customary, authoritarian voice.

"Thanks Mom," he groans, but he drops the pen and pad to the floor anyway.

Keith has a brief moment of apprehension at the looks on both their faces immediately after Logan's potentially loaded comment, but apparently the fact that they both have severe mother-related issues is not a subject that even requires broaching anymore.  He realizes, the more he thinks about it, that they both have other issues that have made any others so trivial, and the thought scares him.  Seeing his daughter so strong in the face of all she's been through makes him feel a choking mix of proud and helpless.

But Veronica still has that anxious look on her face, and so does Logan, so there is something under the surface of this that Keith is just not grasping.  And they're certainly not helping his eavesdropping (Just-happened-by listening he prefers to call it.  For five minutes and counting.  Shut up.) any by simply staring at each other, leaving so much unsaid.

"I slept some," Logan finally manages, but his voice comes out very strained.

Veronica looks skeptical.  "Like what, an hour?  Two?"

"Don't start," Logan sighs, extracting his hand from her hair as she props herself up on her elbows, pressing his fingers to his temples roughly.  Keith realizes with a start that he hasn't seen Logan actually sleep since… at all.  Damn.

Veronica makes a disgusted noise of exasperation, rolling to the side and away from Logan's legs as he stretches.  Despite the weighty direction this conversation is heading, Keith can’t help but smile; next to Veronica's small form, Logan extending his limbs to their limits looks weirdly comedic, like a tree growing next to a tiny, slightly pissed off little cactus.

"It wasn’t for lack of trying, okay?" he starts, prodding Veronica in the ribs with his elbow so she'll look at him.  She does, but she's glaring now.

"You know Logan, don't pretend you don't," she bites back.  "It drives me nuts when you're all concerned about every little thing I do or don't do, and you won't do a damn thing to take care of yourself!"  Veronica is not yelling, but her voice has an edge to it that sounds as though she could be convinced to start, if he pushes her that far.

Logan doesn't let her get that annoyed with him, though.  After looking intently at her through her entire little tirade, he simply sighs loudly and pulls her against him before she can protest.

"I'm sorry," he says, so quietly Keith almost doesn't hear him.  His voice is muffled by Veronica's hair; she's already given up and relaxed herself against his chest.  "But you’re just going to have to deal with the fact that it takes me a little while to get over being scared out of my fucking mind for you."

Keith, once again, can sympathize with the feeling.  This is more than a little weird.

"I know," Veronica says after a long while.

"For like, the fiftieth time.  This month," Logan says gruffly, but it's probably a joke.  Probably.  Keith feels sick for a half second, until Veronica chokes out a small laugh.  It sounds bitter, though.

"That's funny, coming from you.  Paid any visits to the Coronado Bridge lately?"  Keith draws a sharp breath at the bluntness of this, but Logan appears to have expected it.

"I said, don't start," he sighs, and now he really sounds tired.

"Oh, by all means, keep going Logan," Veronica snaps, pulling away from him again.  "I'm this close to crowning you the World's Biggest Hypocrite."  She makes a little measure between her fingers, but Logan is having none of it.

"Dammit, Veronica, quit trying to bait me, I'm not going to argue with you right now."  Keith suddenly realizes how much like a married couple they're beginning to sound.  But it's the fact that this means they've grown so far past their age that scares him, rather than the fact that this is Logan, who is trouble that he's putting in that hypothetical scenario.

Keith supposes that means he's more than sort of okay with Logan now.  Maybe.

"You think you don’t scare the crap out of me?  On an obnoxiously regular basis?"  Veronica is beginning to sound like she might cry.  Considering the events of the past seventy-two hours, Keith can't blame her.  "Jesus, Logan, this year was a goddamn joy for me.  Wonderful, great, awesome, I had a fantastic time."

"Stop," Logan says suddenly, sounding sorrier than Keith's ever heard him.

"How about you stop giving me so much ammunition," Veronica pleads, her voice finally breaking.

"It's never going to matter how many times I say it, but… you have no idea how sorry I am," Logan says, and Keith can tell he actually means it.  Imagine that.  Not that he's surprised to hear it, not after everything he's seen between them -- and God only knows how much he hasn't seen -- but it's still good to hear.

"I'm sorry, too," Veronica chokes out, still struggling not to cry.  Logan leans forwards slightly; takes her face into his hands, and they are so big against her head.

"Please," he says, his voice very soft.  "Don't be."

"But I am," she insists, her voice getting tighter.  "I'm so sorry, for not trusting you all those times, for all of the stupid, horrible things I've accused you of, for just… giving up on you, I just… I don't want to--"

Logan cuts her off before she can finish, kissing her firmly, and it hardly takes Veronica more than a second or two to respond.  Oddly enough, rather than wanting to burst unexpectedly through the door, I Will END You game face blazing and all, Keith merely realizes with a bit of a jolt that they've spent nearly an entire year missing one another, and stays exactly where he is.

Apparently, he is very much more than just okay with Logan these days.

Keith isn't quite sure how to feel about this.

Logan pulls away from Veronica at last; brushes the one small tear that's escaped her eye across her cheek with his thumb.  He looks like he doesn't ever want to stop for the rest of his life, and Keith still remembers how that feels.  Which is how he understands why Logan also looks absolutely terrified.  It is kind of a scary feeling.

"How about," Logan starts, his voice raw and as tired as the rest of him.  "I just tell you I love you, and we leave it at that?"  He says it like he's told her before.  Keith would not be surprised if he has.

"That's kind of half-assed, don't you think?" Veronica replies, some of her more wicked humor returning, but there is still unguarded emotion all over her face.

"I'm tired."

Veronica laughs; her throat tight with that kind of strangled laughter that sounds a bit like sobbing.  She presses her lips to Logan's again, soft and quick, but he keeps his eyes open, and so does she.  She stares for a very long minute before whispering, "I love you, too."

That was apparently a first, considering the reaction it gets.  Logan tries to hide a lot of things, but the shock, distrust, hope and fear all flit across his features pretty openly.  Keith has a momentary, ridiculous wish that he could turn back time; do something to force the universe to rearrange itself so Logan could grow up in a house where he was loved the way he should have been.

Keith is apparently having fatherly urges for a boy who has spent twenty minutes too long in the backseat of his obnoxious yellow car with his only daughter.  Keith is about to contemplate psychiatric help.

The last emotion that passes over Logan's face lingers though, and it's authentic happiness mixed in with a lot of love.  The fact that the former looks so unusual there hurts a little to see, too.

There is a long silence where it feels as though a lot is being said, and Keith is sure he isn't supposed to understand it, so he doesn't try to.

Veronica suddenly tenses, and yawns hugely.  Logan laughs; lets go of her face.  "I guess you're pretty tired, too."  She just tosses one of her pillows at him without much energy behind it.

"So go to bed," Logan says, smiling as he pitches it back to her.

He's standing to work a crick out of his neck when Veronica blurts out, "Will you stay?"

Keith has to admit, aside from the slight, instinctually homicidal urge that flashes up in his chest at her words, the look on Logan's face -- not-so-equal parts pure shock and terror -- is pretty damn funny.

He waits, staring at Veronica like she's lost her ever-loving mind, for nearly an entire minute before he speaks, clearly taking the time to choose from what has to be a staggering number of possible responses.  When he does, he goes with an appropriately sarcastic, "Sorry, I like to wake up in the morning and not get shot in the face by your father."

Keith can't help it -- he laughs.

Much too loudly.

Veronica's head snaps to the direction of the doorway so quickly, he swears he hears something pop.  Logan just looks like he wants to dissolve into the carpet, or maybe leap out the window.

"Sorry," Keith says, his hands up before him, and he's surprising himself, being the one to apologize in this situation.  He has to admit it, though, and it's not like it's the first time -- Veronica is not a little girl anymore.

"I didn’t mean to overhear," except I completely did, "But I don't plan on shooting you."  Logan looks appropriately shell-shocked, and just stands there with his mouth half-open.  Keith fights the insane impulse to laugh some more.  "Right now.  For this particular discussion."  Hey, if he doesn’t say something threatening, he won't get to keep his Proudly Gun-Toting Father plaque.

Veronica looks mortified.  Logan closes his mouth, and Keith thinks he might say something, but he just swallows.  Very loudly.  Veronica puts a hand to her head, closes her eyes, face ablaze and starts, "Dad…"

"It's fine, Veronica," Keith cuts in, and Logan looks at him like he's just gone and grown a second head without telling them first.  "He can stay."  Now Veronica's face is practically a mirror of Logan's, and Keith has definitely lost his mind by now, because the only thing he cannot get over is how ridiculously amusing this evening is becoming.  "It's been a long couple of days, and I'm letting this slide.  But if you two do anything but sleep in here, so help you God--"

Logan is the one to hold his hands out in front of him now, and he actually backs a whole step away from Veronica.  Keith cracks a smile then, and somehow, that just seems to scare Logan more.

Keith may have decided he likes Logan, but he really likes that plaque.

8:51pm.

Logan almost walks right into him, leaving the bathroom after brushing his teeth, and upon realizing who he's just encountered, freezes.  Just like a deer in the headlights of a Mack truck.

Keith enjoys a long moment of his own special brand of I Am An Ex-Cop and If You Cross the Line No One Will Ever Find Your Body control over the situation.  It's just a natural compulsion born of that exclusive kind of sadism that comes with being a father of a teenage girl.  Despite the fact that Logan has a few inches on him, there is no question of who is in charge.

He drags out the extremely tense silence for another few seconds, and then claps a hand on Logan's shoulder.  Whose knees seem to come close to buckling from shock.

"I can't believe I'm actually saying this," Keith starts, and Logan has an odd expression, as if he doesn't know how to arrange his facial features.  "But I'm trusting you on this.  Probably because you're both exhausted, and the past few days have been spectacularly hellish, and I know you'd like to live to see tomorrow."

Logan just nods, still standing very still, as if Keith will take movement of any kind as a signal to go for his throat.  Even though he doesn't owe him an explanation, Keith feels strangely compelled to elaborate.

"I know how you feel about Veronica," he adds, and Logan finally manages to assemble his face into something that communicates anything.  In this case, it's… relief.  Which Keith has to admit to himself was the last thing he was expecting.  "I think that's good enough for me right now."

Logan actually manages a smile, with a large side of terrified, and Keith finds himself returning it in a more relaxed manner.

This is turning out to be the most backwards day of his life.

9:16pm.

Keith hovers in the hallway after Logan goes in anyway; leaves the door open a crack because it's his apartment, his daughter, and because he can, dammit.

Logan and Veronica have been very quiet ever since the incident in the bedroom; practically hugging the walls as they pass in the hall and dodging one another furtively when going in and out of doorways.  The fatherly sadism is back in full swing, because Keith has not been this amused in a long time.

Still, Keith knows that by now they must be tangled up together in a mess of Veronica's million and a half blankets, approaching summer be damned, because they're a couple of kids in a very not-at-all-kid-like sort of love, and that's just how it goes.

It's dark, it's not exactly early, and they haven't slept properly in days, and Keith isn't all that worried about it.  If he's honest with himself, he's almost sure they'll have a better night's sleep than either of them has had in a very long time.

"Wow.  So that's what having a heart attack feels like," he hears Logan say after a long while, and Keith cackles to himself all the way down the hall.

 

 

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