Character: Veronica (Gen)
Summary: Her heart always spoke but never listened.
Spoilers: Through early Season 2.
Author's Notes: For lissa_bear's birthday. You've been waiting for someone to tell this story since early Season 2, and even though you've left the show behind I think this resolution will give you the ending you deserved. Inspired by pamalax' challenge to write "father" drabbles—this one took a different turn. Also for philosophy_20, this is "Infinity."
He's the wrong kind of boy for you, Veronica.
Even when they were teenagers— before anything had really started— her father had tried to warn her.
He runs with the wrong crowd, and his mother's never home. You can see he's headed for trouble…
What she'd seen was that he was cute and definitely cool, and no thirteen-year-old could resist a boy like that. Over the years, that never really changed.
Lincoln had had confidence and charisma, and more than anything she'd wanted him to notice her. So she'd learned where to be and how to dress, learned to flirt without being too obvious or pathetic. All of it for him.
One day he'd looked at her and kept on looking. On that day, everything changed.
He's dangerous—or will be before long. His younger brother's all right though, not much younger than you. Far more suitable than Lincoln.
But Michael was Michael, always so serious and both too old and young at once. And above all, he wasn't Lincoln—which was all that mattered. Michael was okay, but by then it was too late to choose him even if she'd wanted to change her mind: she'd already given Lincoln everything.
A girl couldn't walk away after giving up that part of herself. The boy had to be worth it, or it made her feel cheap—and Veronica wasn't ready to be that wrong, especially when her father was expecting it, just waiting for her to fail.
They arrested that Burrows boy today—always said he was bad news. I don't want you seeing him again.
The heartache had been unbearable, the end of all her schoolgirl hopes that he could change. It was so much worse having to grieve in private under her father's roof: she wasn't allowed to miss Lincoln or to be sorry he'd gotten so far out of control. Within herself, she wasn't even allowed to be mad at him for making such stupid choices. She counted the days until his sentence in Juvie would be over, but it didn't matter—she was supposed to be done with him forever, imprisoned or not.
Too bad her heart wasn't ready to let go.
She tried to be so careful when Lincoln got out—she stopped by the house the first day like any good friend, but only stayed ten minutes. The next time was five minutes, and the time after that was a wave from across the street. Keeping her distance was hard, but she made herself try. One day at a time.
So many girls showed up to flutter around Lincoln after Veronica backed away. She wondered if they'd always been there, part of his world but never hers. She stayed as far away as she could then, so she'd never have to know. But she never stopped thinking about him.
In college, she heard about the baby. That could have been me, she thought, not sure if she was angry or relieved. It had to be over then inside her heart, and she forced herself to think it: It's for the best, he belongs with someone else.
Her heart always spoke but never listened.
Chicago was a big city, and after she graduated from law school there was no reason to go anywhere else. Her family was there, her friends, and she could choose the direction of her own life.
It led her back to Lincoln's bed before he'd even settled on leaving Lisa. She shouldn't have done it—any of it, since the first time her father warned her—and yet she did. Maybe she'd never really had any innocence to lose after all.
It was hopeless, loving Lincoln—he'd been in prison again while she was gone, and he was still drifting through life on a day-to day basis, just like always. There was no future in loving him, but she'd known that already. It didn't help her find the strength to leave.
When he started using drugs again, she thought maybe the decision was finally being made for her. It was exactly the kind of push she needed to gather herself up and walk away.
When he went to prison for murdering the Vice President's brother, those foolish options that sometimes tempted her were severed, both by his sentence and by the shock of what he'd done. Any lingering regrets were laid to rest; it was time to commit to finally moving on.
It was Michael who didn't let go of Lincoln then. He tried to fill the places Lincoln never quite managed to— LJ's father, Veronica's friend. Michael came to believe that Lincoln was innocent, and after awhile she believed it too.
It was like being pulled under by a soundless, invisible tide…
In a ranch house in Montana, she finally found the missing key that would free Lincoln and Michael forever. It should have been impossible, but yet she'd done it; so much could happen if you just refused to ever give up.
She didn't tell anyone where she was going, though— who would she tell when there was no-one left who wasn't already a casualty to the larger cause?
The sudden pewww-pop sound from behind and the pain in her shoulder told her that secrecy had been a mistake—she had no backup or leverage now.
This was so frustrating, so ridiculous and wrong. Steadman was alive—right here in front of her—had nearly been executed because of him, for no reason. She couldn't even persuade Steadman to do the right thing and be more than a pawn: people were dying for the lie built upon his name, and he just didn't care.
Pewww-pop, and now her lungs hurt too, but Lincoln had called her up and he was listening and she thought he understood—what finding Steadman meant, why she did it, why she had to—before the phone fell from her grasp.
The room filled and spun with men's voices, and none of them were the ones she needed to hear. Neither Lincoln nor her father were here now.
Stay away from that Burrows boy—he's trouble. She remembered the first time she'd heard that, like it was yesterday. Had it really been so long ago?
Her father had been right, always right, and it still didn't matter even now. She'd have done all of it just the same, two times over— all because it was Lincoln.
The air grew cold around her pain, cold and dark, but she remembered Lincoln's face and the feel of it under her fingers when she'd kissed him back at Fox River.
He was the first boy she'd ever loved, and now he would be the last one as well.
He must have been her destiny, pure and simple, because in the end she was still giving him everything all over again…
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ETA:Darn that LJ "mailbox" feature. I accidentally deleted all the wonderful comments to this story, when I thought I was deleting their presence in the LJ mailbox. Including Elissa's comment! *kicks self*