Summary: On the day of the car wash, Lilly found a Veronica who was wiser, wordlier, and wearier. Then, after she died, she found herself.
Fandom: Veronica Mars (slight BtVS crossover)
Spoilers: VMars season 1; oblique spoilers for "Chosen"
Title, Author and URL of original story: Be Kind, Rewind by dark_roast.
Be Kind, Rewind (The Second Ghost Remix)
The girl who stood in front of me was the hottest woman I'd ever seen. Physically perfect in every way--well, with one with one fairly major exception: her skull was cracked open and oozing blood. She was dressed just like me, in the green and white of the pep squad uniform.
"You're me," I said. I could hear the accusation in my own voice, as if challenging that anyone might possibly infringe on my fabulousness by daring to be me.
The other Lilly just smiled back at me, and slowly I remembered: I was dead.
"Logan! What happened to you?"
"She brought me back with her," Logan said, not looking at Lilly. "Pulled me out. The circle is in the square."
"What happened there?" It drove Lilly crazy not knowing, not being able to be on top of the situation, of being at the mercy of Logan, of Veronica, of an entire future she had never seen.
Logan turned and his gaze met Lilly's. His eye were wide and wild and there was nothing in him that she could recognize anymore. Not like Veronica, who had simply grown wiser, wearier, worldly. Logan had been driven insane. "Hell," he answered simply, and stepped toward her.
It wasn't fear or anger or hatred she saw in Logan, more like relief if anything, but even so she knew with a sinking certainty that his intent was murderous. "Veronica!" she cried out, knowing they had gone too far. "Veronica, help me!" Veronica, protect me. Veronica, remember me.
Pray for me, now at the hour of my death.
Veronica, her last thought was as Logan crushed her skull. I need you so much.
"You're my ghost," I said.
"You're your ghost," Lilly--the Lilly who wasn't me, I mean--corrected. "I'm the ghost of me--the other you."
"The one Aaron killed."
Lilly nodded. "I'm a clever one," she said, then sobered. "Like father, like son."
"I'm from the future," Veronica had said. She stood across from Lilly in the examining room of the hospital. Logan, whom they had found curled up in a ball in his car, sat on the examining table, whimpering.
Lilly stared at her, examining her, doing her best to read Veronica. She seemed to believe what she was saying--and in its way, it explained a lot. "Is George W. still president?"
Veronica just rolled her eyes, so Lilly just plunged on. "Veronica, Aaron Echolls is not plotting to murder me." She glanced at Logan, not sure whether it was safe to say more, but he just stared into space, vacantly. "We're just fooling around."
"Aaron isn't plotting anything. He's going to kill you just because--" She was about to say something, then stopped. Making decisions about what it was and wasn't safe for Lilly to know. She'd turned into an adult. "It's spur of the moment."
Lilly just stared at her, waiting for her to go on.
"You die today," Veronica said, and now her voice was begging, pleading. It made Lilly feel good, powerful. "Without you, nothing is the same. Me, Duncan, Logan--we fall apart. You never should have died. It wasn't your time."
"You don't know that."
"I don't care!" she snarled.
Lilly grinned. "I think I like this Veronica from the future." Here was a Veronica with a backbone, a Veronica willing to stand up to Lilly, a Veronica driven by ruthless desperation. A Veronica which could well prove useful.
"Everybody's life turns to shit. Duncan thinks he killed you in an epileptic fit, I thought Logan killed you, and Logan..."
She paused. What had happened between Veronica and Logan in this future she remembered?
"And Logan what?" Lilly demanded. Then she sighed and let out her anger. "What did you do to my boyfriend?"
Then Logan spoke. "Excuse me," he said, and got up, began walking to the door. "Got to drain the dragon."
"What have I done?" Veronica whispered, her face white.
Lilly crossed her arms. "You've turned my boyfriend into a turnip, that's what you've done." The anger continued. Maybe Lilly would have given Logan to Veronica, if that's what she would have wanted, just out of the goodness of Lilly's heart. But now Veronica had taken him from her, and that was unforgiveable.
"Maybe--" She cleared her throat. "Look, I'll explain later. I promise. But maybe you ought to go after Logan. Make sure he's okay."
And then Lilly Kane left Veronica Mars--forever.
"You followed her back," I reallized. "Veronica."
She nodded. "It wasn't hard--she had more unfinished business with me than most, after all. Even Dad and Duncan have mostly forgotten us, but in Veronica we live on. And it didn't hurt that there's a still an active Hellmouth within thirty miles at this point in the timeline."
"It'll be destroyed before the summer's over. But don't worry about it; it's not important." The other Lilly said it casually, with a shrug, but I could see the pain that the talk of timelines and Hellmouths was designed to disguise. I could see in her eyes the desperation of a soul that was not ready to move on, and for whom Veronica was the only thing left.
Lilly Kane loved Veronica like a sister--which was appropriate, it turned out, considering what might or might not be the case.
Not that siblingship acted as any limit to her behavior, to what she would do to or with Veronica; one would only have to look at the way she acted with Duncan to see that, the way she skirted the boundary of what was appropriate to keep everybody off balance, although she was fairly certain she would never do anything to really hurt him. Duncan's anguish over his lust for Veronica made no sense Lilly, as she had told him forcefully time after time. Sisterly love for Lilly was an urge to protect, to cherish, to keep safe: things she would never concern herself with over someone she was merely fucking.
To possess, some might say.
Regardless of whether Jake Kane's or Keith Mars' blood ran in Veronica's veins (and frankly Lilly didn't see any reason why anybody should care, except for maybe Celeste), then, Lilly loved Veronica like a sister. She loved the younger's girl innocence, her naivete, and--perhaps most of all--her eagerness to please. It pleased Lilly to take Veronica under her wing, protect her from the outside world and its harsh realities, install her as an 09er. Veronica was so the opposite of everything Lilly was, and there was something Lilly loved about being able to look into Veronica's eyes and not see any cynicism or anger or pettiness reflected within there, but trust and goodness which belonged to Lilly Kane.
Which is all a way of saying, the difference which had worked itself in Veronica the day of the car wash was drastic. One moment Lilly was dangling her secret (one of many, and Lilly herself wasn't sure which in particular she had in mind) in front of a clueless girl who would never in a million be able to guess it, and the next moment Veronica was transformed. She hadn't changed physically--her long blonde hair still hung over her pep squad shirt, her too-pale complexion still lacked color in a way which would be easily fixable if Veronica had had any talent for cosmetics at all--but suddenly there was something new in her features: a weariness, a sense of loss, a resignation. Lilly shivered reflexively. "Veronica?"
Veronica looked at Lilly, and a new expression passed over her face--one more akin to horror than anything else, as if Veronica had just seen a ghost. "Lilly," she said, giving the name the kind of power boys sometimes did when they said it to her in bed, tinged with awe and amazement. Veronica pulled Lilly close, their bodies pressed together tightly, and for a moment Lilly wondered if Veronica hadn't meant it in just that way. But no--Veronica had always been about as straight and boring as they come. A pity.
"Good thing Logan's not here," Lilly quipped anyway. "He'd get jealous. Or turned on." Or both, probably. Lilly's mind began working, thinking of various outcomes and whether it would be worthwhile to force any of them to play out.
But Veronica pulled away at the mention of Logan's name. Although Veronica had never really liked Lilly's boyfriend, still they managed to get along peaceably enough. But now . . . had Veronica suddenly developed an interest in Logan? Interesting.
More possibilities ran through her mind. Maybe a threesome was on the charts after all. It would go a long way to keeping her relationship with Logan interesting--it had already begun to turn stale, boring even. But maybe she would be able to extend the expiry date after all.
She walked Veronica back to the tent where they were keeping the sodas. Meg was inside, and looked at Veronica with surprise. "Sunstroke," Lilly explained, although that wasn't quite it.
Veronica let Meg give her a soda, but her eyes were fixed on a point outside the tent. Lilly followed her gaze and saw Logan's car parked on the street. "Fuck. Logan must have come back early to spy on me."
"Maybe Logan came back early because he loves you and he misses you," Veronica snapped. "Ever think of that?"
As if that would be so much better.
There was real vehemence in her voice, though, and Lilly thought, yeah. She wasn't sure how it had happened, but suddenly it seemed Veronica had done the impossible and fallen for Logan, hard. Well, maybe Lilly would let Veronica have him. They'd be certain to prove an explosive combination, and it wasn't as if Lilly hadn't already begun to grow tired of him.
Lilly smiled a big, sassy smile. "You must be feeling better," she said to Veronica, "if you can get up in my grill."
But Veronica wasn't better, and whatever was wrong with her, it wasn't sunstroke. She glared at Lilly with a cold, cutting gaze of which, Lilly knew, the Veronica she had known just wouldn't be capable. The temperature in the tent dropped twenty degrees, and Meg scrambled out of it. "I know what your big secret is," Veronica said. Her eyes held no mercy, only judgment. "Don't go," she said. "He'll kill you."
"You're freaking me out."
Veronica just grabbed Lilly's hand and pulled her towards Logan's car.
"Veronica?" I asked, but part of me already knew the answer, that my friend--my best friend and possible sister--was lost to me forever.
"D'Hoffryn has her," the other Lilly said, and although I didn't know the name, the meaning was clear. "He had her from the moment she invoked his name. The same thirst for revenge which tied me to her world, which brought me to this one, has consumed her at last."
"We're alone now."
"No," the other Lilly said. "We haven't moved on." She waved at my (our?) prostrate--and dead--body to illustrate her point. There was no doubt we were still on old planet Earth--not hell, not heaven, not purgatory, not even reincarnated. Which was probably a good thing--I'm not sure what kind of afterlife we'd get, but I'd be just as happy not knowing, you know? "We're not forgotten."
"We have each other, now," the other Lilly pointed out. "I have you, and you have me."
I looked at the other herself, then nodded. She and me, Lilly and Lilly, together forever, anchoring each other to the world. "So now what do we do?" I asked her. That Lilly had been a ghost for longer, would understand the ropes better.
But that Lilly just gave a nonchalant shrug. "We haunt," she said, as if she were proposing a day spent at the mall. Maybe she was.
I took my counterpart's spectral hand in my own and smiled. I'd finally found a partner worthy of myself--and good thing too, because this was going to give a whole new meaning to BFF.