Title: Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes
Fandom: Veronica Mars
Characters: the fab 4 & Wallace (mentions of Logan/Lilly, Logan/Veronica & Veronica/Duncan)
Spoilers: Through 1x22 - Leave it to Beaver
Disclaimer: Don't own 'em, don't sue. Lyrics, title & subtitles are from the song Seasons of Love from Rent (movie in theaters November 23rd!!!!!!)
Author's Note: MUCH MUCH love to my fabulous beta, storydivagirl!!!! fanfic100 #10 - Years
Five Hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
Five Hundred twenty-five thousand journeys to plan
Five Hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure the life of a woman or a man?
In truths that she learned
“I feel like Tom Cruise in A Few Good Men,” Veronica admitted.
Wallace’s puzzled expression made her roll her eyes.
“You know, the big courtroom scene, when he’s hounding Jack Nicholson and he says he wants the truth and Jack replies ‘You can’t handle the truth!’ and proceeds to admit that he ordered the murder of one of his soldiers,” she explained.
He sighed. “I got the reference. I don’t understand why you feel that way. You should be on top of the world. Ever since I met you, all you cared about was finding out the truth about who killed Lilly. Now the truth is out and you’re saying you can’t handle it? I thought the truth was supposed to set you free.”
“You know what’s funny about that quote?” she asked with a derisive snort.
“No one ever quotes it in its entirety. The whole quote is ‘The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.’”
“Who said that?”
Wallace pondered that for a minute. “Well, maybe Albert Einstein had it right. ‘The search for truth is more precious than its possession.’”
“I think I like Aldous Huxley’s idea the best,” she said with a shrug. “He said ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad.’”
“Girl, you solved a murder case, why are you so down?”
She rolled her eyes again. “When I started searching for the truth about Lilly’s death, I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. I found out things I never wanted or needed to know.”
“Let’s see. I found out that my mother left because someone threatened my life and that she had an affair with Jake Kane for years. I found out that my dad raised me not knowing if he was actually my dad. I found out that Duncan dumped me because he knew we might be related and couldn’t be bothered to tell me. Then he had sex with me anyway when we were both drunk and drugged at a party, but he ran in the morning when he realized what he might have done, leaving me to think I had been raped. And I found out that I’m not as nice of a person as I always thought I was. I hurt so many people in the last year and a half in my quest for truth and justice.” She choked out the last sentence before dissolving into tears.
Wallace sighed and put a tentative arm around her shoulder. “Veronica, you did a good thing. Aaron Echolls is a sadistic bastard who beat his wife and son, had sex with any willing woman in a fifty mile radius, and murdered a defenseless teenage girl to keep his public image intact.”
“Name one person that I didn’t hurt in some way in the last year. Does the end really justify the means?”
“Veronica Mars, I never thought I would see the day when you would doubt yourself. Yes, you stomped on a few toes and possibly made a few enemies. The end result is that Lilly’s real killer is in jail. And some people were helped by your discovery. Abel Koontz’s daughter got the opportunity to know her father and the Kane’s found out that Duncan wasn’t responsible.”
“And Logan lost both of his parents and all faith in me.”
“You had nothing to do with Lynn Echolls’ suicide. And from what you’ve told me, it sounds like Logan will be better off without his father.”
“And better off without a girlfriend who accuses him of rape and murder.”
Wallace shook his head. “Veronica, you have got to stop beating yourself up about that. He lied about his alibi even though he knew you were investigating the murder. You were perfectly justified in suspecting him of killing Lilly. As for the rape thing, well, he didn’t do it and he wasn’t directly responsible, but it was good for him to learn that his actions have consequences.”
Veronica gave him a weak smile. “Okay, okay, I get you, bro. I did what I had to do and I’m not as terrible as I think I am.” She leaned over and gave Wallace a huge hug. “I am so glad that you pissed off the PCHers last year and got taped to that flag pole.”
“Oh yeah, so am I,” he deadpanned in response. “That was the smartest thing I ever did.”
Her smile brightened and she said, “You know what? I think Shakespeare was the one that had it right.”
“Huh?” Wallace wondered if he would ever be able to keep up with his soon-to-be-stepsister.
“To thine own self be true.”
Or in times that he cried
Duncan had been raised to believe that real men didn’t cry.
The first time he remembered crying was the day his mother told him he had to break up with Veronica.
He knew his mother wasn’t fond of his girlfriend, but he never understood why. That day, when she sat him down and told him they needed to have a serious, private conversation, he had felt his heart sink to his knees. He somehow knew that whatever she was going to say would change his life in ways he wasn’t prepared to deal with.
Lilly was at pep squad practice and his father was out of town on business. Duncan didn’t realize the ramifications of this until much later.
His first reaction was to accuse his mother of lying. She showed him pictures of his dad with Veronica’s mom. His second reaction was to accuse her of being jealous that he was happy since she clearly was not. She handed him a letter that Lianne had written to Jake when she realized she was pregnant. His third reaction was to lock himself in his room and cry.
By the time Lilly got home and knocked on his door for help with their physics homework, he had cried himself out and knew that he had to break up with Veronica. He also knew that he could not tell Veronica or Lilly what he had learned.
The second time he cried was when he found Lilly’s body by the pool. He reacted on pure instinct, holding her close, thinking he could will her back to life. He sobbed as his dad pulled him away from her. He sobbed as his mother stripped off his bloody soccer uniform and pushed him into a scalding hot shower. He sobbed until he heard the sirens wailing toward his house. Then suddenly, something inside of him snapped and he spent the next week in a complete daze.
He still feels guilty about the fact that he did not cry at Lilly’s funeral.
After Lilly’s death, his parents kept him so medicated that he couldn’t cry about anything. His feelings were dull, blunted and he was a shell of his former self. The saddest thing was that he didn’t even realize it.
When he found out that Veronica was investigating Lilly’s murder, that she didn’t think Abel Koontz did it, that, in fact, he was one of her prime suspects, whatever had snapped inside him and turned off his emotions, snapped again, letting them flood through his body. He didn’t know how to control the rage, fear and depression that overtook him. As he listened to Veronica telling Meg about the case she and her dad were working on and how the guy disappeared, he paid close attention, his plan forming unconsciously.
The moment the plane was in the air, he broke down sobbing. His tears were for Lilly, for Veronica and for himself. He was convinced that he had killed Lilly in an epileptic fit and he was equally convinced that Veronica was their sister and that neither girl would ever forgive him for his misdeeds.
He almost cried when Keith Mars found him and took him back to Neptune. But some small voice in the back of his mind told him that he deserved to be punished for all the bad things he had done and he was able to keep the tears at bay.
Since then, he had cried when he found out Veronica was dating Logan, when she was attacked, when she told him in no uncertain terms that she could never date him again and the day she testified at Aaron’s trial.
In fact, he realized later that day when he was visiting Lilly’s grave, most of the tears he had shed in his life had been over Veronica Mars. He was done crying, he promised Lilly that day. After all, real men didn’t cry.
In bridges he burned
He had been afraid of bridges ever since he was a kid. He could never explain what it was about them that made him so uncomfortable. His father and Trina had ridiculed him for crying when they drove across a bridge. His mother had asked his pediatrician to recommend a therapist that could help him overcome his fears. The doctor had assured Lynn that it was a normal childhood fear and he would outgrow it in time.
Logan laughed as he remembered that while balancing precariously on the side of the Coronado Bridge. He wondered if his mother remembered her son’s fear of bridges when she took her own life.
He thought about Lilly as he swallowed another drink from his flask. They had a good relationship in the beginning and he still couldn’t put a finger on what exactly changed that. Had he missed the signs that Lilly was unhappy? Was there anything he could have done differently to avoid her death?
A chuckle escaped his lips before he realized it and he suddenly recalled Lilly’s infamous saying when asked about something she didn’t feel like dealing with.
"We’ll burn that bridge when we come to it,” she’d say with a laugh.
Well, she had certainly burned her bridge with Logan by cheating on him with Weevil. He had known back then that she was unfaithful, but he didn’t know who with. He wondered if it was just Weevil or if there had been others. He wondered if it mattered.
He had done his own share of bridge burning lately. First with Duncan by dating Veronica. He still didn’t understand how that all happened. He had hated her after Lilly’s death. Hated her for breaking Duncan’s heart (even though he didn’t know all the specifics of their breakup), for her dad stirring up so much trouble, for still being alive when Lilly was gone.
But that had all changed. He wasn’t exactly sure when, but he knew that when he thought she was in trouble, he had to do whatever he could to help her. Did his feelings change when she held him in the lobby of the Neptune Grand? Or was it even earlier, when she gave him the tapes of Lilly for the video? Had he always had feelings for her? Is that why he lashed out at her so strongly when Lilly died?
He guessed it didn’t matter, because Veronica was definitely a burned bridge.
He took another swig from his flask and admitted to himself that he didn’t really blame her for not trusting him. He had lied to her about his alibi for the day of Lilly’s murder. And even though it hurt to have the one person he trusted without a doubt not return those feelings, he understood why she felt that way.
Sometimes he let himself wonder how things would’ve turned out if he had asked Veronica out instead of Lilly. He hadn’t lied during that long ago truth or dare game when he said he thought Veronica was hot when he first met her. Unfortunately, he knew that Duncan felt the same way and, since Duncan was the only friend he had in Neptune, he wasn’t going to fight with him over a girl. It didn’t hurt that Lilly came on to him hard and didn’t seem to care who his parents were.
But what if he had told Duncan that he liked Veronica? What if he had said no to Lilly, even though he didn’t want to risk his friendship with Duncan? Would Lilly still be dead? Would he still be standing on the bridge, contemplating repeating his mother’s fate?
The low rumble of motorcycles snapped him out of his reverie. He knew without looking that it was Weevil and his gang. He knew without a doubt that Weevil knew Veronica suspected Logan of murdering Lilly.
The only thing he didn’t know was what he was going to do.
Or the way that she died
Lilly Kane was one pissed off dead girl.
She was pissed at her best friend for almost joining her in the after life, she was pissed at her brother for his self pity and she was pissed at Logan for not telling Veronica how he felt. When she was alive, they had been the fab four and, now that she was gone, they were falling apart.
Most of all, she was pissed off because she was dead. Lilly loved being alive; that’s why she screwed around and got in trouble and had as much fun as she could every single day. Life was for experiencing and she tried desperately to impart her philosophy on her brother and her best friend.
She had been so attracted to Logan because she knew he felt the same way. It took her years to find out that the reason he felt that way was because his dad beat the shit out of him. But the first day they met, she recognized him as a kindred spirit. And even though she could tell he was interested in Veronica, she knew she needed him so she could recognize her potential.
There were times when she wondered if she had been mildly psychic. If she had known that she was going to die very young and needed to squeeze every bit out of life while it lasted. She could recall times with Weevil and times with Aaron when she felt guilty about cheating on Logan. In her own way, she did love him. But there was always this little voice in the back of her mind that urged her to keep going, to do it all, to not hold anything back.
On her more depressed days, she wondered if her lust for life was what had killed her. She knew it wasn’t the brightest decision in the world, getting involved with her boyfriend’s married father. But she certainly had not expected Aaron to kill her, either.
Part of her was overjoyed when Veronica finally put everything together and figured out the truth. Another part was pissed that the newspapers were labeling her some sort of slut, like she had brought the whole thing on herself. Some of them even went as far as saying she got what she deserved.
It pissed her off that people were forgetting how she lived her life. She didn’t want the people she loved to dwell on the way she died, or why she died. She wanted them to remember her example and live life to the fullest.
She wanted Duncan to forgive himself for the things he thought he did wrong and find someone to be happy with. She wanted Veronica and Logan to make up and be happy together. She had known for a long time that those two were soul mates, that she had been standing in the way of their happily ever after. She wanted Weevil to stop being so angry and macho all the time and realize that he didn’t have to go down the path he seemed to think was all laid out for him. She wanted her mother to forgive her father for his past indiscretions and let go of her insecurities. She wanted her father to stop working so damn much and spend more time with his family.
Most of all, she wanted to see Aaron Echolls burn in hell, because he really shouldn’t have killed her. She still had too much life left to live.