Notes and disclaimers: All characters property of Dorothy Parker Slept Here Productions and the peeps who own all things Veronica Mars. No profit garnered ever. Thanks to annavtree and SA.



CANDY MOUTH




Technically, Logan's in London. But even the great Mitchum Huntzberger could appreciate the need for a vacation. He certainly would if Logan ran it by him, but Logan chose to skip that step. Work sucks, work is boring. Colin and Finn don't visit because work sucks and work is boring and it's all Logan is allowed to do. Rory calls sporadically and mostly she wants to talk about how things will certainly be okay. Really okay, trust me, Logan. We'll get through this. Even if she doesn't bother to call every other week.

Things are most certainly not fucking okay right now.

So Logan's on vacation on the west coast. There are very snooty people who are about as smart as two of Honor's bridesmaids combined on a good day but capable of faking it, watching over the things Logan was supposed to take care of. With strict instructions to call Logan only if Natalie Portman starts blowing up Big Ben again.

It feels like private school teenage days.

*

He's staying in a hotel that costs much less per night than his suit in San Francisco. Logan wakes up at noon and leaves the room an hour later. Doyle would like this hotel, Logan thinks and then laughs out loud that he's thinking about Doyle. Doyle leads to Paris and then he shudders.

"What's so funny?"

Logan looks back and sees a teenager, leaning against the door next to Logan's. Logan smiles and says, "Robin Williams. You know, I can't get enough of that thing he does, with the funny voices? Do you like that?"

Teenager smirks. He looks familiar but Logan isn't up to using that part of his brain right now. The familiarity isn't Yale or family so it doesn't matter. Teenager says, "I love it. He's the funniest thing to ever come covered in hair."

"I get the sense you don't mean that."

"I get the sense you didn't mean it, either." Teenager pushes off from the door and walks next to Logan. "I think we're two very perceptive people."

"Are you heading out now?" Logan stares for a moment as they reach the elevator.

"The old pal who tagged along decided he'd had enough and left. So it's time to go out and see the world, Pa." Teenager rubs his neck and looks sideways at Logan. "Wanna tag along?"

"How old are you?"

"Eighteen," he says, complete with rolling eyes like how could you even ask. Even vacations require some discretion. "How old are you?"

"Older than that. But not much." Logan suspects Mister Eighteen wants to do more than see Mrs. Doubtfire. Hell, Logan wants more than that. "I'm Logan."

Eighteen shakes his hand and laughs. "Gosh, I'm Logan, too."

*

"That was impressive, Echolls," Logan says, laughing. He sits down on the boring floral print bed and brushes off his pants. Dirty streets they have in old San Fran.

"You weren't so bad yourself, Huntzie." Echolls sits down on a table. "When you convinced those tourists that your grandfather had died at Alcatraz? I was impressed."

Logan shrugs. "It was nothing."

"And you run fast, that was good, too. Sorry about that, by the way."

"Exercise is good for the body and the soul."

"You've got all this money, Huntzie baby, why are you staying in this dump?"

"Right back at you, E." Logan pats his jacket until he finally finds the flask. His very pretty flask that he meticulously filled with very expensive Cognac at the last stop on the "Logans take San Fran" tour. Thankfully, he put the cap on tight enough before they were thrown out.

"Are you going to share?" Echolls is breathing right in his ear. Kid moves fast.

"If you answer the question."

"I asked you first," Echolls says.

"I asked you first," Logan mimics. "That's so immature of you." He rolls off the bed and lists against the nearest wall. He meant to do that, he thinks. He finally gets the cap off the flask and takes a long drink.

Then he has Echolls pressed close, kissing him, tongue pressing in. "You should share," Echolls says. It isn't surprising. Logan is not surprised to be kissed. He's heard Echolls's tale of woe about how his girlfriend broke up with him, again, and how she's suddenly oh so focused on this adventure with her father and Echolls feels neglected and lost. Echolls didn't mention his father's death, but Logan already knew that part. It was hard to miss those headlines. Logan wonders where the truth lies and then hates himself for thinking like a reporter.

People do strange things when they're lost.

"Usually I share by offering you the flask," Logan says. He doesn't push the kid off. Boarding school days.

"I'm impressive," Echolls says. He holds Logan's hand for a moment before taking the flask. "Is this the good stuff? It tastes like it." He licks his lips before taking a sip. Then he drinks half of it with his head thrown back. He shakes his head and carefully puts the cap back on the flask. "That was some really expensive hooch. I feel like I should pay you back." Echolls is very very lost. Logan has some approximation of how that might feel.

"Go for it," Logan says.

Echolls sinks to his knees and rests his hands for a moment on Logan's jeans. "Whoa, head rush." Echolls giggles. "Head."

"Very funny," Logan says. He thinks about grabbing the kid's perfect hair and just pulling but then he definitely won't get what he wants. And he really wants what he wants now.

Finally, Echolls gets to undoing Logan's belt and opening his jeans. Logan stops himself from saying anything. He clenches his fist against the wall as Echolls finally touches skin. "Good to know I'm not imposing," he says.

"You're actually not doing anything right now," Logan says.

Echolls sighs and puts his mouth and hands to work at the same time. For a drunk kid, he's surprisingly apt. He keeps his mouth tight and his hands are everywhere and just the right places. It's been so fucking long. The room smells like sweat and booze. Logan groans, grabs the kid's hair without thinking and comes. He sinks to his knees and smiles. "Thank you," he says and nearly laughs at himself.

"You're welcome?" Echolls leans back against the bed and opens his pants. "Your turn, name-twin."

"I thought you were paying me back for sharing. It's not exactly generous to ask me to thank you for paying me back." He's just watching the kid jerking himself off already. Kids today, no faith in their elders.

Echolls won't move up and Logan ends up practically lying on the floor, his neck at a horrible angle and trying to do something he last did five years ago. Life is adventure, he thinks. Echolls has fewer compunctions about hair grabbing than Logan does and pulls more but the pain is a weird sort of turn-on. Echolls is loud when he comes and he doesn't let up with the hair thing so Logan swallows.

He sits up and finds the flask. What remains of the cognac goes down easy. Echolls says, "None left, huh?"

"Not now."

*

Logan composes in his head while staring at the ceiling. Dear Rory, there was this vacation. He shakes his head. It's not like he's planning to tell her. It's not like they're really still together. He wonders if she's seeing Jane or Jess or whatever his name is again. Maybe she's seeing the divorced one again. Maybe Marty finally swept her off her feet. He rubs his eyes and sits up.

Echolls comes out of the bathroom and says, "My room is definitely bigger. I'm leaving."

"Don't let me stop you."

"Why are you staying here?" Echolls picks up his jeans from the floor and puts them on.

"I don't know anyone staying here." A moment of honesty and no Rory around to provoke it. Logan is almost depressed.

Echolls makes a face somewhere between a sneer and a smirk. "I have better things to spend my money on," he says, in response to the question Logan had no interest in asking. He turns towards the door. "And I've spent enough time in penthouses." Then he takes a breath and says, "Any plans for tomorrow?"

"Dinner, movies, maybe a show."

"Knock on my door if you're bored." Then he slams the door, probably unintentionally.

Logan takes a moment to make sure nothing's missing that he didn't already know was missing. He gave his watch to a drag queen in exchange for her earrings because he promised Colin a gift for his birthday. He spent $250 all tolled and that's how much money is missing from his wallet. Not that Logan Echolls needs to steal but Logan has stolen from people all his life and he needs to do it even less.

The office calls and wakes him up at 3 am. "Is London still standing? Is the office operational?" He waits for them to say yes and then he says, "Is my father there? Did he call?" They say no and he hangs up. Fuck 'em. He calls back and says, "I'll be back in five days," and hangs up again.

*

He sleeps in and wakes up at 2 pm. This is the life. The one he should be leading. Maybe even with Rory. After a shower and something resembling breakfast from the crappy room service, he knocks on Echolls's door. Dear Rory, he thinks. Fuck her.

Echolls opens the door and leans in the opening. "Good morning, Huntzie. This is morning for you, I take it."

"Yes, it is. How about you, E? Up and ready?"

"Dinner, movies and a show, right? Maybe I've made other plans."

Behind Echolls, Logan hears someone say, "Come on, open the door all the way. I want to see."

Echolls says, "My so-called friend came back." He opens the door all the way and waves Logan in.

Echolls's friend is short with tattoos like the Doo Wop group in front of Rory's old apartment. He didn't make the Echolls family E! True Hollywood Story. Echolls says, "Huntzie, this is Eli."

"Pleased to meet you," Logan says.

Eli looks at him and then says to Echolls, "You don't need a sugar daddy and still, you find one. I'm gone for one day and you replace me with Duncan, just shorter and blond? Logan, Logan, Logan." He shakes his head.

"No, Logan, Logan, Eli," Echolls says. "Isn't it funny? We have the same first name."

"Do you two need me for this?" Logan says. He's having scary flashbacks of Rory and Paris squabbling.

"I thought," Eli says, "I was having a little vacation with my bestest high school buddy here and we were going to see the sights up here in San Francisco."

"I thought," Echolls says, "you were getting out of town until our pal Veronica could make it all go away," complete with hand gesture, "and you did so by hiding in the trunk of my car."

Eli shrugs. Logan says, "You two lead amazing lives."

"You have no idea," Echolls says. "But I'm already bored with this little melodrama. I want to go to the movies."

"I get to pick," Eli says. "And you, Huntzie, are paying."

Logan shrugs. At least it won't be boring.

*

After two movies, Eli insists they go out to dinner. Logan wants Chinese, Echolls demands to go to Chinatown and Eli, oddly, pays the cab driver.

"This still feels like a tourist joint," Eli says. "I was hoping for an authentic experience."

"We´d have to fly to China, Eli," Echolls says. "And I bet you forgot your passport."

Logan says, "It's pretty far from the real thing."

"Richie Rich deigns to enlighten us," Eli says. He's smiling, though, so Logan smiles back. "How many times have you been to China?"

"Twice to Shanghai, once to Beijing and three times to Hong Kong. And once to Taipei. Taipei was boring, but I had to do that one with Dad. My father loves to drag me around to all corners of the world."

"Oh, we all know I win at Bad Dad stories," Echolls says. He looks down and doesn't smile and everyone's very quiet for a moment.

Eli snorts and plays with his chopsticks. "I need to use the can. Think that'll be an authentic experience?"

"If it's tile around a hole, it's authentic," Logan says.

Eli mutters and walks to the back. Logan says, "You two seem like a lovely couple."

"We´re not, we are not a couple," Echolls says quickly. "Weevil? Come on."

"So you two have never shared a hotel room?" Logan forces himself not to smile.

"Is that a euphemism?" Echolls makes a sarcastic face. "Sure, we've 'shared a hotel room.' But we're not a couple. I'm pretty sure my favorite ex-girlfriend suggested to Weevil he hide in my car since she knew I was going out of town and I like to be kind to the poorer kids around town so I didn't pitch him out on the street when I finally got here. Then he gets all uppity and decides he'd rather stay somewhere else, so I wash my hands off the whole thing. Then he comes back because the money he shook down from the kids at school ran out and Veronica undoubtedly told him the heat was still on. So, you can see, this is not some lovers' romp in the homeland of the limp-wristed. It's more noblesse oblige and you know all about that, now, don't you?"

Logan lets himself smirk. "That's the longest speech you've ever made to me." He waves to Eli as he walks back to the table. "Was it an authentic experience?"

"No, thank God. Did you order without me?"

Echolls says, "Yes. I hope you like buffalo, uh, huevos because that's today's special and I got some for all of us."

*

"That's the Golden Gate Bridge," Eli says. "Huh."

"There it is," Logan says.

"Now that we've seen it, can we go? I'm freezing," Echolls says.

"You're so delicate. This isn't cold, this is balmy. It's barely windy," Logan says. "Don't you have weather in Neptune?"

"I'm not cold," Eli says. "Let's sleep here. You up for it, E?" Logan is seriously impressed with how much contempt and sneering these two can pack in the simplest words. It's like they studied at the feet of Emily Gilmore.

"I'll take an actual bed, thanks. Oh, look, a cab." He walks away, slowly.

"Baby says we go home." Eli looks over his shoulder. "And he's actually found a cab. That has to be impossible."

"We should have rented a car," Logan says. "Though neither of you would have been allowed to drive anything I'm paying for."

"Sulky boy would have still had to get his cab where it's all warm." Eli stares at the bridge again. "All right, let's go."

In the cab back to the hotel, the mythical Veronica calls. Apparently, it's safe to come home. Logan thinks about hiring that girl, whoever she is, and sending her ahead to everywhere he goes, cleaning out his father and anyone who might bother him. Maybe she'd kill people for him. He could really use someone who'd kill for him.

He goes back to his room and ignores the strained and intense conversation Logan and Eli are having in front of their door. He doesn't care. Eli waves as Logan opens his door and calls out, "Hope to see you again, Huntzie!" Logan waves and smiles and goes into his room.

*

Logan debates whether he's up for another day of Echolls's company. It's better than being alone and the kid is up for anything. He's definitely made the vacation more fun. Otherwise it would probably have been two drag queens he met the first night and Logan would have had to foot a lot more of the bill.

"But, but, but," he says to the bathroom mirror. He shaves for the first time since he landed in the States. He would really like this to be boarding school days and not give a damn. He's tired of giving a damn.

He looks at himself in the mirror and watches himself dialing Rory's number. For once, she answers.

"Isn't it awfully late for you? Or early, I can never figure those things out. If I were in a hotel, I'd just look up at all the clocks. Why do they only have those in hotels?"

"For us international travelers, I guess." Logan sits on the bed and makes a conscious decision to lie. "It's so late it's early. I just got back from work and I felt like calling you. How are you?"

She babbles. Vintage Rory-speak and he listens and feels like an ass. "Your father yelled at the mother of Luke's illegitimate child? And that was a good thing? Stars Hollow is hopping."

"You've never been to Stars Hollow."

"Yes, I have," he says. "I went to your mother's Inn when we were broken up that time. I drove through the whole town. It was a very picturesque five minutes."

She's laughing and someone knocks at the door. Logan says, "Wait one second, I ordered takeaway."

"Don't you take away takeaway, do they actually come to your door?"

Naturally, it's Echolls at the door. Logan makes the shush sign and holds the door open. Echolls walks in, all rolling eyes and teenage fuck-off-ness. Logan says, "Everyone else calls it take away. I just wanted to call and say hi. And now I have to go. My food's here. I'm sorry."

"I understand. Did you get curry? Is everything a curry in London?"

"Only certain things are curries, I think," Logan says. Echolls is clearly smirking at him. "I have to go. I'll talk to you later."

She says bye and sounds perfectly fine. They used to say "love you," or something like it.

Echolls says, "You're in England, huh?"

"To her I am. So your friend's gone?"

"Yeah, all gone. A great relief to me." Echolls looks around and then says, "You wanna do something today?"

Logan says, "Sure. That sounds good."

*

"Maybe I should come here in the fall," Echolls says, waving at Berkeley behind him. "I bet I could get in. Where do you go for college?"

"Went. I went to Yale. I managed to graduate, too." Logan never seriously considered anywhere else. Maybe he should have.

"Yale. Wow." Echolls does something that looks like jazz hands and is probably meant to indicate fake awe. "Were you in a secret society? I saw a movie once about those. It looked secret."

"If I had been in a secret society, I wouldn't admit it to you. Because they're secret." Logan watches some frightening woman who has never known a razor walk in front of them with very smelly feet. "Fine, yes, I was in a secret society." They walk one block away from the mess of people on Telegraph Avenue.

"You cave quick, Huntzie." Echolls sighs. "All these people smell."

"People at colleges smell. Every college I've ever been to. And I've been to a lot."

"You went to other places besides Yale?"

"I attended Yale. I visited a lot of schools for parties, events, places to jump off."

Echolls looks away for a moment and Logan realizes the jumping off comment was rude. He says, "Sorry."

"Don't be." Echolls reaches in his jacket and comes out with a crumpled paper bag. He reaches in and pulls out a joint. "This seems like a safe place for a little wacky indulgence, right?"

"It's probably required at classes." Echolls is still discreet as he lights it and takes a long hit.

He passes it over and Logan takes his turn. "This is nice."

"I've had better. It's what Weevil left me as he blew out of town. You'd think the local bike gang would get the good stuff, but the quality just isn't up to snuff." Echolls finishes the joint and flicks what's left into the street. It lands right next to the wheel of seriously expensive hybrid car, like Rory's. Another dip into his jacket pulls out a second one. "Who were you lying to on the phone when I came in?"

"My girlfriend. Sort of girlfriend? Possibly my ex-girlfriend and she just hasn't told me. I have no idea. I don't want to talk about it."

"Oh, what a tangled web." Echolls nudges Logan to walk away from the stores. "The thing about Weevil, the thing you need to understand --"

"What I don't understand is if it's Eli or Weevil. You introduced him as Eli to me and he didn't hit me when I called him that but every time since, it's Weevil. Explain that to me, E." And please, Logan thinks, don't explain anything else.

"Everyone calls him Weevil. Eli is his government name." Echolls passes over the joint and Logan finishes it. He's still not anything close to stoned.

"The thing about Eli Navarro is that, no, wait. That's the wrong place to start this. I've been in love twice. You know?" He glances sideways at Logan.

"I know. I've been in love." He takes the joint from Echolls's fingers. He really wants the kid to shut up. He really doesn't want to think about this or hear this.

"Neither of those people were Eli Navarro. Weevil slept with my girlfriend. Weevil tried to kill me. Weevil set me up and burned down my house and I still have not killed him. I can not get rid of him." Echolls takes out their fourth joint.

"You're connected," Logan says.

"Yes," Echolls says, loudly. "Yes. I don't understand it."

"If you're connected to people you don't want to be, who, I'm sorry, burned your house down? Disconnect. Is it that hard?" Logan rubs his forehead. They've managed to walk into some residential neighborhood. These houses probably cost as much as Logan's tuition for all four years at Yale and most of his miscellaneous legal fines thrown in as well. And they're crappy little places. He's lost the thread somewhere.

"You'd think it wouldn't be hard, wouldn't you?" Echolls takes out another joint. "This is the last one. Also, of that entire list, you think burning down my house was the worst?"

"Property is nothing to sneeze at. I don't think I'm stoned," Logan says. "That is sad."

"Isn't it," Echolls says. "Where the hell are we?"

*

"I think I was stoned. I had to have been high to listen to that woman sing and not strangle her with her guitar strings." Logan shoves the keycard into the door and waits for the little green light. After three tries, it works and he goes in. "Where were you? Why didn't you push me into action?"

"I was getting us food." Echolls waves the bags in his hands. "And you looked like you thought she was the next Sheryl Crow."

"There shouldn't even be one Sheryl Crow much less a next one. We should ban Sheryl Crow. And all her imitators." Logan sits on the bed and grabs two of the bags from Echolls.

"Preach on, brother Huntzie." After polishing off more food than Rory could in a single setting, Echolls says, "I should go home. Or drive north and not stop until I hit Canada."

"What's in Canada?"

"Legal pot and gay marriage." Echolls sighs and lies back on the bed.

"I thought you didn't want to be connected to Weevil." Logan stops himself from giggling.

"Ha ha, funny man. You should be on Leno."

"No one should be on Leno. He's a horribly unfunny person." Logan is full of food and profoundly tired. He says, "What do you have at home?"

"A really nice penthouse room at a better hotel than this crap-pile."

"Friends?" Logan decides to omit questions about family for little orphan Echolls. "People you care about?"

Echolls turns on his side and stares at Logan. "Are you giving me advice?"

"No. I wouldn't even think of it."

"Cause you're older than me and you know best."

Logan says, "I don't know shit. I should be in London. But I'm really bad with 'should.'"

"Aren't we all?" Echolls smiles. He reaches out and rests his hand on Logan's thigh.

"There are, actually, a lot of people who are really good with should. I was in love with one of them."

Echolls tightens his grip on Logan's thigh. "Was?"

"Am. Was. Who knows? I care enough to still lie to her." He thinks about moving Echolls's hand away because it would be the right thing to do. At some point, you have to decide to stop making every mistake as big as it possibly could be. At some point.

He pats Echolls's hand. But he says, "I'm flying back tomorrow. To London."

"Maybe I could come," Echolls says.

"No, you can't." Logan leans over and kisses the kid. "Go home. Tomorrow. Or don't, I guess."

"I'm not listening to you," Echolls says. He pulls Logan on top of him.

*

Logan checks out in the morning and waits for his cab. He has <i>Eugene Onegin</i> in his bag and he can't think of a single reason to read it. Rory gave it to him. So he opens it and tries to get through it. He looks up and sees Echolls checking out. When he's done, he comes over and sits next to Logan. He's reading US Weekly.

"I thought I'd buy you breakfast," Logan says.

"I thought I'd sleep in my own bed," Echolls says. "So did we have a special time? Did you learn an important lesson?"

"I didn't learn anything." Logan smiles. Nothing he didn't already know. "Oh, wait, I learned not to buy pot from your friends."

"You didn't pay for it, Huntzie."

"I wouldn't have if you asked." Logan closes the stupid book. "You know, if you're still deciding on colleges, I know a few people. At a few schools. I can make some calls."

"To keep my mouth shut?" Echolls looks scrubbed clean and innocent. How he pulls that off, Logan has no idea.

"No, because it's what I do. I know people. I'm happy to help."

Echolls sighs. "I'll add you to my rolodex." He takes Logan's cell and plays with his Sidekick and then tosses Logan's cell into Logan's lap. Logan tucks it back in his jacket without comment.

"And there's my shuttle. Have a nice drive wherever," Logan says.

"Enjoy London. Give my love to your not-girlfriend." Echolls smirks and waves.

"Say hello to Eli for me," Logan says and then he steps into the gray sunshine. He didn't leave anything in San Francisco.

THE END

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