vanessagalore: (!L/V B&W outside River Styx)
[personal profile] vanessagalore
NOTE: I recently reformatted this story for Dreamwidth, taking advantage of the longer chapter lengths available on this platform. In addition, I set the version imported from Livejournal to private, in order to conceal the comments that were originally made on LJ because some commenters felt it was a violation for me to display their comments on a site other than the one where they originally appeared. (The Livejournal entries still exist on that platform.) The comments still exist, but are only visible to me. You can help me by letting me know if you spot any formatting errors that you suspect are due to this conversion (putting 10 chapters in each entry). There are certainly many grammar errors and frank typos--if you notice them, please forgive me. One of these days I will fix them.



Title:
The Year of Living Dangerously
Author: VanessaGalore
Pairing/Character: eventual Veronica/Logan, eventual Mac/Dick, ensemble
Word Count: 103,000 for entire fic
Rating: This section rated "R"; eventually "NC-17"
Summary: Future Fic. Canonical. Veronica Mars' junior year at Hearst: there are two new murders to occupy her time. Logan is trying to reinvent himself. Mostly Veronica POV. Minor character death. Everyone you love or love to hate. Veronica's old enemies are holding a grudge.
Spoilers: All of Veronica Mars is spoiled.
Warnings: Adult language; minor drug use; violence; sex.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. Veronica Mars is owned by Rob Thomas, et al. No celebrity endorsement is implied by the use of product placements. Any real person’s name is used in the sense of "wouldn’t it be cool if this actor had this gig?"
A/N: Feedback, including concrit, welcomed.


Banner by [livejournal.com profile] princess_sarsa

Welcome to October 2008
Veronica Mars: The Year of Living Dangerously, on the new TFX network (Teen FX, where you are allowed to use the "F" word, the "S" word, and have a little nudity, as long as it's 10:00 p.m. EST.)


Previously on Veronica Mars:
In my imaginary world, season 4 is about 10 episodes on the CW (Clueless Wonders) network as a mid-season replacement. Episodes are shot around Kristin Bell's schedule on "Heroes". The season features Veronica together with Piz for a short while; they halfheartedly try to have mind-blowing sex but settle for cuddling, then Piz transfers to another college to get away from Veronica's soul-suckingness. Veronica is actually single for a couple weeks and then begins to resume her formerly interesting personality by throwing herself into work at Mars Investigations. Veronica solves one little mystery each week; some new viewers drop in to try the show, attracted by the lack of a season-long mystery arc that might tax their wee little brains. But something's missing in season 4...by about the sixth episode, in an effort to prop up the ratings, there are cameos from Los Angeles by Jason Dohring, who sometimes forgets to take out his vampire teeth.

Timeline of LoVe

April-May 2007-End of freshman year spring semester
- Veronica and Piz break it off.
- Logan and Veronica try to be 'just friends' unsuccessfully.
- Veronica gets back together with Piz, begins avoiding Logan.
Summer 2007
- Veronica at FBI internship, has long-distance relationship with Piz.
- Logan applies to UCLA film school and is accepted.
Sept. 2007-Sophomore Year, fall semester
- Veronica and Piz try again, it's boring.
- Logan takes acting and writing classes at UCLA.
Jan. 2008-Sophomore Year, spring semester
- Pizonica is history; Piz transfers to UCLA for music business studies, takes part-time job at fertility clinic.
- Veronica is single and throws herself into classes and working at Mars Investigations.
- Logan emails Keith, semi-maudlin due to the holidays, he asks Keith not to tell Veronica. They begin corresponding.
Feb. 2008-May 2008 Sophomore Year, spring semester
- Veronica begins to date again, it's not epic. She reapplies to the FBI internship and is accepted.
- Logan is also dating, but is having a lot more sex than Veronica.
Summer 2008
- Veronica at FBI internship again, she starts a torrid affair with older FBI trainee who is about to graduate. They become embroiled in an investigation which almost gets them both kicked out of the program. Her new BF is amused by Veronica's misbehaving ways.
- Logan has a prolonged affair with a very much married, and older, trophy wife. After a nasty encounter with said wife's husband, he breaks it off and, as Keith advises him, he decides to see a psychiatrist for help with his self-destructive tendencies.


At the beginning of our story, Logan and Veronica (in their junior years at, respectively, UCLA and Hearst College) have been apart for about seventeen months.


*****************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
Jailhouse Rock
Veronica is accused of murder; an old friend
comes back to town to bail her out.
Veronica: Kristin Bell. Logan: Jason Dohring.
Leo: Max Greenfield. Keith: Enrico Colantoni.
Cliff: Daran Norris.
*****************************************************

CHAPTER ONE: "JAILHOUSE ROCK"

VERONICA

Through the jail cell bars, I watch him approach. I haven't seen Logan Echolls in a year and a half, but he hasn't changed. He stops in front of me, and plays with his hair, that old gesture still a familiar part of his repertoire. I see by his expression that he too is remembering the harsh words that finally drove us apart for good at the end of freshman year.

"Hello, Veronica."

I search for a witty comeback, but my exhaustion and fear overwhelm me, and I settle for, "Just like old times."

"Well, I hear this is a little more serious than aiding and abetting a fugitive, Mars. I'm here to bail you out," he says.

Leo comes around the corner and says, "You're a lucky girl, Veronica Mars, not everyone has an ex-boyfriend with $2 million to spare."

I wince, and picture yesterday's hearing.

FLASHBACK: The evidence was presented and Cliff protested the admissibility, the chain of evidence, the relevance, basically threw in the kitchen sink, but to no avail. My dad was as pale as I've ever seen him. What was worse was the doubt I saw in his eyes; he too thought the evidence was incontrovertible. I had to admit, I was worried; they had blood, hair and fiber evidence tying me to the scene of the crime. I kept fading in and out, losing track of what was being said.

The judge banged his gavel and said, "Veronica Mars, you are hereby ordered bound over for trial in the murder of Clarence Wiedman. Bail is set at two million dollars."

Cliff looked over at me and my dad, and said, unconvincingly, "It's just the prelim. I'm sure we'll be able to prevail at trial. You know that we had to hear what evidence they have, free discovery and all. Keith, you worry about raising the bail money. We have lots of time before trial to investigate and we all know Veronica couldn't have done this."

Dad said, "It might as well be two billion dollars. Honey, I don't know what to say."

Deputy Sacks came over and said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Mars, I have to take her now. Veronica, put your hands behind your back." As he cuffed me and led me away, he said, "You know the drill, Mr. Mars. She'll be transferred to Valley State Women's Penitentiary in a few days. She'll be okay, you just worry about bail, I'll make sure she's taken care of in the meantime."

Keith grips Sacks' arm in an unspoken thank you. "I love you, honey," he said to me, his voice breaking.

"Dad? Daddy, please tell me..." I cried out.


That it was a mistake. That they don't really believe I killed Clarence Wiedman, who killed my mother two weeks before.

----------

I look at Logan. I've had twenty-four hours to ponder my situation sitting in this cell, and, despite my fatigue, I'm beginning to think more clearly. "Logan, I can't let you do this."

Logan sighs, "What good is money if you can't bail out murdering ex-girlfriends? No, seriously, Veronica, do you think I could leave you in here when it's within my power to get you out?"

Leo clears his throat. "Okay, Veronica, can we save the reunion for later? Mr. Echolls has already signed the paperwork and we need to get you fitted with the ankle monitor for house arrest." He unlocks the cell door, and gestures, 'after you'.

I flush deep red. I have forgotten; the prosecutor insisted that house arrest be a condition of my bail, due to my contacts in the FBI, my previous experience with fake ID's, and my connection to the disappearance of Duncan Kane, who was still wanted for questioning in the kidnapping of Faith Manning (aka Lilly) and the murder of Aaron Echolls.

Logan says, "Your dad's here too. He's signing paperwork that he'll be responsible for you."

*****************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
Reefer Madness
Veronica’s lack of alibi. Veronica: Kristen
Bell. Mike Fields: Michael Trucco. Keith:
Enrico Colantoni.
*****************************************************

CHAPTER TWO: "REEFER MADNESS"

Keith sits on a bench at the sheriff's office, his head in his hands.

It's a nightmare. My baby girl, accused of murder. I know, I know, you're thinking, "Veronica Mars, she's not exactly an upright citizen." She's been known to plant evidence, to taser a suspect, to hack into computers, etc., etc., etc. A father worries, you know??

But this, this...

They found my baby's blood and hair, and fibers from her favorite Hearst sweatshirt. Admittedly, a miniscule amount of blood. Cliff tried to make something out of the amount of blood found. And the hair and fibers, well, any private detective worth their salt could come up with a scenario that would explain them.

What killed me, what made me die inside, was Veronica's refusal to tell me where she had been during the time of the murder. "Honey, it doesn't matter!!" I screamed at her. "You have to tell me what you were doing!"

She turned white as a ghost and walked into her bedroom, closing the door quietly. I wouldn't have worried as much if she had slammed the door. I heard her sobbing as I paced around the living room. Could she have killed Wiedman? I don't even know, and I've never doubted my daughter like this before. She was upset enough about her mother's murder to do almost anything, and when the witness came forward i.d.'ing Wiedman, she freaked. Two days later, Wiedman was shot; hell...he was executed.

I know that her alibi has something to do with Mike Fields. Damn, why can't she find an EASY boyfriend? Really, I never saw what was so bad about Piz.


VERONICA

"Dad, can I just be alone for a minute? I want to call Mike." I say, knowing that Dad wants to fuss over me. The ankle monitor is incredibly annoying. I feel like I've left one prison for another with my dad and Logan hovering.

As we drove to my house, Logan said matter-of-factly, "I've engaged the best criminal defense attorney I could find. My dad's agent said that this guy has gotten off more Hollywood stars than Angelina Jolie." I couldn't help rolling my eyes.

Logan continued, "And I'm not going to argue with you about it. You can owe me, or whatever. You are going to accept help, from me."

Dad chimed in, "And of course Cliff and I are going to work the case too. With any luck, this won't even go to trial. Even Leo said he would help." Logan dropped Dad and me off and left without a backward glance.

I have friends. I don't deserve them.

Finally alone, for the first time since I was arrested, I go to my bedroom, pull out my cell and speed-dial 3.

After one and a half rings I hear an anxious voice,"Veronica, what's happening? How are you calling me? Did you get released?"

"Mike, try to calm down. An old friend put up the bail money and I'm at home. Actually, I'm under house arrest," I say as calmly as possible.

I can picture Mike pulling his fingers through his dark, wavy hair, the way he does when he's stressed.

FLASHBACK TO THE SUMMER: The FBI internship is much harder the second time around: I'm expected to master various self-defense techniques and to qualify on the weapons range. I don't have any trouble with the course work, from the courses on "Investigative Procedure" and "Internet Crime" to the legal work on racketeering statutes, bias crimes and various other federal offenses, but I'm out of my element in hand-to-hand combat. I haven't managed to pass even the first level of coursework due to my petite size and lack of experience. I know I'll pass the weapons range eventually, but I've been wishing I'd taken Logan up on his pleas to play first person shooter videogames more often.

This time my partner in "Defensive Tactics" is a tall, dark-haired man, older than me. He's at least 12 inches taller than me!! He said, "Hi, I'm Mike, I'll be throwing you to the mat today." I replied, "You got that right. This will be an easy day for you."

Mike laughed and said, "Did you miss the part about using your opponent's force and strength against them? I think you'll be the one in control today."

"Since you're the force and strength?" I snarked back.

He just smiled smugly.

But what was amazing was that I actually began to get it that day, with Mike's help. The instructor came over and said, "Good, Veronica, you actually might survive more than a day in the field. Mike, don't go easy on her."

Mike said, "Are you kidding? She's been scaring me to death."

Just for that, I had to pin him to the mat later in the class, and to my bed that evening. I have to admit, we had a lot of fun practicing for the Handcuffs Exam. Mike was just brushing up his skills in the Defensive Tactics class and it was only by chance we met. He was close to finish his seventeen-week agent training program and if everything went as planned, he expected to get his first real posting in the fall. He was 26, smart, strong, gorgeous, an NYU graduate and former NYC policeman, and my dad hated him on sight.

When I asked my dad about it, he just said, "I don't know why, but I don't trust him, and it's not a Logan thing." I have to admit that I sometimes wonder about Mike too. He's just a little too perfect.


----------

"Veronica? Veronica!! Are you still there?" Mike's voice comes faintly through the cell. I realize I've dropped the phone, spacing out again. "Veronica, I think we should tell the police about your alibi. It doesn't matter."

"It DOES matter," I say, a little too harshly. "You're not going to give up your career for me."

"You don't know that will happen. Besides, it's not that big a deal, maybe it won't matter, you know that..."

"Shh!" Veronica almost squeaks. "You know they're investigating me, don't say another word. Can I see you? I'll go nuts on house arrest, please come."

"You know, Veronica, your dad...he doesn't like me much. I think it's a bad idea."

"He doesn't know you..." I start.

"Veronica, this is not the time to play Meet My Daddy. I need to think about this. The consequences are real, for both of us."

We hang up. The truth is, my alibi is nothing too sordid. When the news broke that my mother's body had been found, I was desolate. My dad wasn't making things any easier, he was full of self-recriminations that he should have tried harder to find her and to make her go to rehab again. The funeral was a nightmare for both of us. Two weeks later, an eyewitness turned up, who claimed to have seen Clarence Wiedman gunning my mother down, and then fleeing town in a Lincoln town car. My dad made me promise not to try to find Wiedman, and I wouldn't promise. We argued, as intensely as we ever have, and fought to a draw. I called Mike the next day, and sobbed out the whole story.

The press coverage was intense; reporters waited outside our door to snap lurid photos and to call out to us, "How are you taking the news? Give us a quote!" I told my dad I needed to get away for the weekend. Mike is posted in San Francisco. He flew down that weekend to be with me. He wanted to comfort me and make me forget, just for a little while. He knew all about Lianne, what I had given up for her, and knew that I shouldn't be alone.

I met up with Mike at a local motel. Mike had paid cash for the room and checked us in as Mr. and Mrs. Lebowski. The desk clerk never saw me, I went directly to the room and fell into Mike's arms. Later that day I made a phone call to one of Logan's old dealers...he brought over some pot, and Mike and I got completely wasted. Not a big deal, except...the FBI is very clear.

"The unlawful use of drugs by FBI employees is not tolerated....Under the FBI's current Employment Drug Policy, an applicant will be found unsuitable for employment if they have used marijuana/cannabis within the past three years, or have extensively used marijuana/cannabis or over a substantial period of time."(1)

So, not only would Mike lose his career, I would lose my chance at an FBI career as well. Of course, a felony conviction for murder would blow my chances as well, not to mention that whole twenty years to life business.

Why can't we just lie and say we were together without mentioning the drug use? Well, let's just say we never left the hotel room and the only witness who saw us together was the dealer. Room service? Nope, no room service at this seedy no-tell motel; Mike ordered food from a local deli, charged it to his credit card, and told them just to leave it outside the door...we didn't want to bother getting dressed and going out. I have to say, Mike has his talents.

We didn't come up for air for 48 hours. During which time, no one but Mike and a skeevy drug dealer saw me. During which time, Mr. Wiedman rudely managed to get himself shot. With the same kind of gun I just qualified on over the summer.

Now that the preliminary hearing is over, I'm very afraid. I'm afraid that this weak alibi, if it has to be used, will not suffice. I was so sure that, even with Sheriff Vinnie Van Lowe in charge, the hair and blood evidence would turn out to exonerate me without blowing it for Mike. If we had come clean right away, my charges might have been dismissed, but I had been confident that I didn't need Mike's alibi. I can't believe I might fry for smoking pot.

____________________________________________________________
1: FBI Employment Drug Policy http://www.fbijobs.gov/52.asp

*****************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
The Prince of Tides
Logan finds out about Veronica’s arrest.
Echolls: Jason Dohring. Dick: Ryan Hansen.
Carrie: Amber Heard. Dr. Friedman:
Lorraine Bracco.
*****************************************************

CHAPTER THREE: "THE PRINCE OF TIDES"

One week earlier.

FLASHBACK: Logan is sitting on the deck of his Venice Beach house, watching the sunset and stroking a blonde woman's hair. He leans down and kisses her forehead. Maybe this one will last, he muses. Carrie's pretty and fun, and pretends she doesn't know who Aaron Echolls was. Although Logan is pretty sure Dick coached her on that. He sips at his beer.

The door to the deck banged open, and Logan looks up, annoyed that his perfect evening is being interrupted.

"Dude..." Dick starts. He's actually panting; something is really wrong.

Carrie sits up and Logan says, "What the fuck, Dick? You don't knock anymore?"

Dick stammers, "It's Veronica, man. She's been arrested. They're saying she killed Clarence Wiedman."

Logan says, "Veronica did what?"

"Wiedman offed her mother and Veronica went gunning for him," Dick says. "It's all over CNN, I can't believe that there aren't any reporters here, they're calling it the Neptune Curse, and they're rerunning all the footage of Lilly and your dad, and the bus crash, and...shit, man. I don't know..." his voice trails off.

Logan picks up the phone and call Keith, who fills him in. Lianne's murder didn't rate much attention in L.A. Logan has been enjoying the distance from Neptune and all of Neptune's crazy residents. He had transferred to the UCLA film school at the beginning of sophomore year for a new start, without Veronica; just one semester later, he bumped into Piz, and realized he probably came here for the same reason Logan did. Logan thought about making a club, "Ex-boyfriends of soul-sucking amateur detectives", but he realized the commute would be hard for Duncan.

Logan still hangs out with Dick a lot on the weekends, but Dick knows better than to make Logan party with Hearst kids or '09ers. They usually ended up at Logan's place or down in TJ when they were in the mood for a major blowout. Dick goes to more than his share of frat parties at Hearst, but he never gives Logan shit about not coming with him. Of course, he knows that L.A. pussy is perfectly fine ("Primo, man!") and there's nothing wrong with the alcohol either. Dick and Logan: it's not exactly a complicated or even a healthy relationship, but it's the best one Logan has.

Now, Dick looks at Logan expectantly. "What?" Logan says, rubbing his forehead.

"Logan, don't you think we should, I mean you should, help her? I mean, I know she's like a succubus or something but..."

"Succubus?" Logan can't believe his ears.

"Yeah, you know, like a perverted sex ghost that steals your soul by fucking you. I've been watching Buffy in reruns." Dick mutters. "Damn, that girl is HOT!"

"Am I supposed to run to her? You know she never pays any attention to her safety, just runs off doing whatever the fuck she wants. And nobody ever calls her on it. No fucking consequences. That's why I'm here, remember, because I couldn't take it anymore," Logan says, defeatedly. "Even her dad lets her get away with murder...."

Dick stares at him, and Logan realizes what he just said.

Dick says, "Dude, I don't care. You'll regret it if you don't help her. I know you, you'll mope around for the next ten years and you won't be any fun at all."

Logan morosely thinks it's time to call an emergency meeting of Veronica's ex-boyfriends' club. Or at the very least discuss this with Dr. Friedman.


----------

DR. LEAH FRIEDMAN
Patient notes on Logan Echolls

7/30/08
LE reticent about reason for therapy now. Talks about Lilly Kane, her murder in 2003. When I ask about family, says "I have a half-sister, she's not worth talking about. There's no one else."
8/7/08
LE misses appt, leaves message, "surf's up."
8/14/08
LE shows up 15 minutes late. He refuses to talk about his dad. I ask about his mother, he calls her a bitch who left.
8/21/08
LE tells me about his last affair. The woman was much older, 40 years old, and married. She's married to an actor, an action-adventure star. I ask LE if that reminds him of anyone. He tells me I'm sick and storms out.
8/26/08
LE shows up without an appt. He hasn't slept. He talks for an hour about his father beating him and his mother just letting it happen, then abandoning him. I ask him what happened to his father. LE just stares at me like I'm from Mars, then laughs manically.
8/28/08
LE talks about Veronica. Once he starts it's like a dam bursting. I can't make sense of it. I press him as to why he would try again and again with someone who always pushes him away and he shrugs and says, "We're epic." I ask him if Veronica reminds him of anyone else in his life, if anyone else ever pushed him away. He shoves the chair back violently and leaves.
9/4/08
LE quiet today. Says he's been thinking a lot. I ask about school, he says that he's signed up for a directing class at the film school this semester. Although he's done well in his acting classes, he laughs and says what he really wants is to control all the characters. I ask about control, he says that would REALLY be epic. I'm not sure of the reference.
9/11/08
LE talks about Veronica again. He admits he's angry at her for fingering his father as the murderer of his girlfriend. He's angry at his father for killing his girlfriend Lilly and trying to kill Veronica. He's angry at his best friend's brother for raping his girlfriend Veronica, trying to kill her, then jumping off a roof. Also claims he was falsely accused of a gang murder. Patient has deep sense of worthlessness. Could this patient be delusional? This can't be fact-based. Need to research.
9/13-14/08
Researched LE this weekend. Patient not delusional. This Veronica Mars sounds like she has a god-complex. Control issues up the wazoo.
9/18/08
Armed with my research, I try to get LE to open up about his mother and Veronica. "Everyone leaves me, ok?" he finally says and slumps in his chair. I ask LE if he would consider antidepressants. He snorts and says, "Not after what they did to Duncan." Who is Duncan? Possibly a brief homosexual fling? Possible latent homosexuality.
9/25/08
LE talks about Veronica. I ask if they ever considered couples counseling and he looks at me as if I'm nuts. He rambles for a while, then says, "It wasn't her fault, about running away. I'm responsible for her getting raped, and later I almost did it again by alibi-ing that freak Mercer." I tell LE I would like him to start coming twice a week and I ask again about antidepressants. Again he mentions Duncan, then he says Lilly's ghost told me "that stuff will kill you, Logan." Possible psychotic break, with delusional thinking. Would really like to put LE on anti-psychotic medication, to see if hallucinations decrease.
10/2/08
LE expresses deep shame over punching a rival at a party over the weekend. I ask about previous violent episodes, he mentions purposely being arrested to beat up Veronica's alleged rapist. I ask if he feels in control when he hits, and he sneers, "you mean like my DAD?" LE clams up and won't speak for the rest of the session.
10/9/08
LE talks about sex with Veronica. I find myself blushing, and just a little turned on.

*****************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
The Breakfast Club
Veronica's friends plan how to help her.
Veronica: Kristin Bell. Mac: Tina Majorino.
Wallace: Percy Daggs III. Eli: Francis Capra.
Logan: Jason Dohring.
*****************************************************

CHAPTER FOUR: "THE BREAKFAST CLUB"

Mac and Wallace meet for lunch at the Hearst Food Court. Neither seems to be able to swallow more than a few bites.

"What does Keith think?" Mac says.

"I don't know, he won't really talk to me either. I am getting pretty sick of being BFF on Veronica's schedule," Wallace grouses. "I know Keith's worried. Yesterday, Keith just came in and shut the door to his office. I've been working there for a year and he never does that. But I think this lawyer that Logan hired--"

"What??" Mac almost screams. "Logan? Since when is Logan back in the picture?"

"Oh I thought you knew. Didn't you talk to Veronica yesterday?"

Mac sighs. "I'm not exactly BFF either. She just said she was released on bail and is on house arrest. Logan hired a lawyer?"

"Not just a lawyer. This guy got Michael Jackson off. Logan is sparing no expense," Wallace replies. "Cliff is so impressed he went and bought a new set of law books just to keep up. But wait, didn't Veronica tell you that Logan put up the bail money?"

Mac looks stunned. "Why would he...I guess he...oh I'll never understand those two."

"That's two of us."

"Well, I want to help. With Veronica on house arrest, she'll need us to do the legwork for her," Mac says firmly.

"Mac, the girl's gotta come clean. There's somethin' she's not tellin' us." Wallace tries another bite of lunch and ends up pushing it away. "She was probably there at the murder scene."

Weevil drops down onto a chair, joining them. "Nah, that's not it."

"Eli, do you know where Veronica was?" Mac says.

Weevil shakes his head no. "But I heard a rumor that she was being a bad girl that night...my cousin's girlfriend told me that Veronica and her man scored some weed that weekend."

Wallace asks, "Weed? That's what she's hiding? That's total bull, no one cares about weed."

Mac says, "Wait a second" and opens her laptop. Her fingers dance over the keyboard. "It's so simple really if you know what to look for. I just googled "employment FBI drug" and look what came up."

http://www.fbi.gov/employment/policies.htm

"Shit, that boyfriend of hers will lose his job. And Veronica is out of the FBI forever." Wallace says. They kept reading down the page.

"Polygraph Examination

Each applicant who successfully completes the initial application process to include testing and interviews will be required to successfully complete a polygraph examination in order to continue processing. You will be notified of the date, time, and location of the polygraph test. Polygraph results are not official until they are approved by FBI Headquarters officials in Washington, D.C."

"Veronica is totally screwed, she'd have to pass a polygraph exam, too," Mac says.

"Actually...I don't think she'd have any trouble passing that. Have you SEEN our girl lie? But still...you can't think she would go to jail to protect him," Wallace says.

Weevil says firmly, "I owe Veronica a lot. If she hadn't helped me with that crap with the fake college IDs, I never would have gotten the maintenance supervisor position. I'll alibi her."

Mac and Wallace both shake their heads. "Sorry, Weevil," Wallace says ruefully, "you're just not credible. But now that we know what she's hiding maybe we can actually find a way to get her an alibi. I want us to meet over at Veronica's tomorrow and see if we can make a plan."

They agree to meet up around 9 a.m. the next day.

----------

Mac is waiting in the parking lot at the Sunset Cliffs for Wallace and Eli to arrive so they can talk to Veronica. She considers what she's learned. Logan put up Veronica's bail money? My god, that's like...romantic...like...epic. Veronica hasn't even talked to him for a year and a half. Whenever his name comes up in conversation, she changes the subject.

About six months ago, before this whole mess started, I caught Veronica reading a tabloid. "Logan Echolls-Bad Seed" Complete with topless, pixelated pictures of Logan with not one, but two, bimbos. When Veronica looked up, she blushed; then, recovering her usual cynical poise, she pointed at the ad for male enhancement on the opposite page, saying, 'Can you imagine how big a jackass you'd have to be to order this stuff?'

'Unh-huh,' I mumbled. 'Totally, like, a jackass.' I looked at her sympathetically.


An SUV pulls in. The light green BMW X5 parks in the furthest corner of the lot. Mac watches as Logan shuts off the engine. He doesn't get out.

Mac walks over, hesitatingly. "Logan?"

He's sitting behind the wheel with his eyes closed, listening to Kurt Cobain. He opens his eyes. "Mac?"

"Logan, thanks for what you did for Veronica."

Logan sighs, "I couldn't help it. Dick forced me. He said I would be unbearable to be around if I knew I could have helped and instead I let her rot in prison."

Mac thinks, 'Dick forced me', what the hell?. "Well for whatever reason you did it, I'm really grateful and I'm sure Veronica is too."

Logan smirks, "I'm a real humanitarian, just like my daddy."

Mac stares at Logan, who stares back, then drops his eyes and sighs again, ruffling his hair. "Logan, Wallace and Eli are meeting me here in a few minutes. We have some ideas about Veronica's alibi and we're trying to convince her to let us help. Do you want in?"

"I'm actually here to meet Keith. I was terrified that Veronica would see me so I parked over here."

"Keith?" Mac asks.

"Well, I've been emailing back and forth to Keith for about nine months now. He encouraged me to find a shrink after my latest debauched adventures and I wanted to thank him. I can't say she's helping me but it's definitely...interesting."

Mac thinks Shrink? LOGAN? She mumbles, "Gee, that's great, Logan."

Keith pulls up. Logan hops out and gets in the passenger side of Keith's car. Keith leans out the window, "Hi, Mac. I assume you're here to visit Veronica?" Mac nods. "Try to talk some sense into her, willya? I won't be back for awhile. I see your boys are here," he nods toward Wallace and Eli pulling into the lot, "I hope you have more success than I did." Keith pulls out into traffic with a small wave and a grimace on his face.

----------

VERONICA

I peek through the peephole. Shit, it's an intervention. No point delaying the inevitable. I open the door. "Well, lookie the gang's all here." I flop on the couch. I still have my cute-as-a-bunny pj's on, since there's no point getting dressed if you're a psychopathic murderer.

Wallace, Mac and Weevil look nervously at each other and I take pity on them. "Thanks for coming by. I'm pretty lonely what with this doodad on my leg keeping me inside." I show off my pretty ankle bracelet. "I never fully appreciated what this must have been like for Logan." I glare at Mac.

Mac sucks in her breath. I saw her talking to Logan in the parking lot a minute ago and she knows I know.

Wallace says, "Veronica, we know about your alibi. We know about the weed."

I just look at him.

Weevil continues, "We know you bought some weed and we think you won't tell where you were that night because it will blow it for your FBI dude."

It's really amazing. I don't do drugs as a rule. In fact, I can probably count on the fingers of one hand the times I did any drugs at all, and one of those times was Madison's fault, and another was Mercer's. Three simple words to live by, "just say no", and I had to screw up on this particular night.

I start to cry. Mac is horrified. I don't think she's ever seen me cry. It's not heart-wrenching sobs, this is just water streaming down my face uncontrollably. "I couldn't believe the evidence was going to hold up. I didn't think I would need an alibi. Now no one will believe it. Mike and I holed up in a motel in the next town over. He checked us in, the desk clerk never saw me. I had been fighting with my dad, and I just needed someone to hold me and tell me it was going to be okay. At one point, it seemed like a good idea to get some grass. I think it was Mike's idea, but I don't remember, I was upset the whole weekend. I remembered Logan's dealer and we called him on Mike's cell. We didn't even use my phone, so I can't prove I called him. He came over, and we bought a little weed. He tried to sell us some ecstasy but we weren't interested. He was a little pissed to come over for so little, and called me a bitch. He definitely would remember me. But he would also remember the tall man I was with."

My friends are silent, thinking about the problem. Mac said, "Did you use the phone in the room at all? What about maid service?"

I shake my head. "No and no."

Wallace says, "Why can't Mike just say he was with you?"

Weevil says angrily, "Don't you get it? They won't believe him now, they'll think he's just saying it to get his girlfriend off."

"Unless they have a corroborating witness," I add. "And they won't. There's no point for Mike to lose his career too."

"That's ridiculous, Veronica," Mac says. "You can't compare losing a career to a life sentence for murder. And what about Logan?"

"What about Logan?" I spit back at her.

She stares at me shocked. "Veronica, he's paying a fortune for your attorney. Plus your bail. He's not even your boyfriend anymore, you can't use him like this. You have to tell the truth."

"Get out!" I yell. The tears are flowing harder than ever. "You probably think I did it. So does Logan. You can all go to hell." I push them out the door and sink down to the floor sobbing.

*******************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
Hoop Dreams
Wallace gets a new case; Logan & Keith talk.
Wallace: Percy Daggs III. Selma Rose:
Patty Hearst. Logan: Jason Dohring. Keith:
Enrico Colantoni.
*******************************************************

CHAPTER FIVE: "HOOP DREAMS"

Damn, Veronica. You are going to jail if you don't let us help. Wallace sits behind the desk at Mars Investigations thinking about the whole mess. He says aloud, "I wish I was Veronica, maybe I'd have some idea how to come up with an alibi." Using the letter opener, he opens the mail. He notices one particular envelope and doesn't open it. "Shit, this is another one of those letters." He walks into Keith's office and drops the unopened envelope on his desk.

The exterior door opens. Wallace walks back into the outer office and says, "May I help you?" before he realizes it's Selma Hearst Rose. There's an awkward silence. "Dean Rose, my name is Wallace Fennel, did you want to make an appointment to speak with Keith Mars?"

Selma clears her throat. "I can speak with you. You're a student at Hearst, a basketball player, correct?"

Wallace nods. "I've been one of Mr. Mars' assistants for a little over a year."

Selma says, "I'm sorry for Mr. Mars'...'troubles' lately. I don't want to disturb him at this time, but a matter has come up the college that needs to be addressed, and I know I can rely on Mars Investigations to be discreet."

"We can certainly be discreet. Tell me about the problem and I'll go over it with Mr. Mars as soon as he comes in."

Selma stands and paces around the room. "Since I've assumed the post of dean, I have had reason to review many of Dean O'Dell's decisions. The fraternity situation was regrettable, but we do depend on alumni support. It's essential that we maintain our endowment at its current healthy state. If alumni giving is reduced, we risk cutting programs in other areas. The basketball program is an important source of alumni revenue. The new coach..."

Wallace frowns. The team had been disastrous last year. The new coach, Coach Robbins, had led the team to its worst record in twenty years (6-13).

Selma continues, "Coach Robbins doesn't seem to be who he said he was when he was first hired to be assistant coach. One of our more prominent alums has said that Robbins didn't attend the school he claims to have graduated from."

Wallace says, "Didn't O'Dell check his references?"

Selma sighs. "I believe he did. I rechecked them myself and they seem okay, both at his previous post and the one before that." She drops a folder onto Wallace's desk. Wallace opens it and looks at a list of references and a curriculum vitae. Selma continues, "The problem is that this alum personally went to Robbins and accused him of being a fraud as well as a complete failure as a coach. Robbins then told me that if I dismissed him, he would file suit for wrongful termination and sexual harassment."

Wallace repeats incredulously, "Sexual harassment?"

Selma blushes. "I made the unfortunate mistake of dating him for a short time before I became dean. I broke it off, and he didn't take it well. When Coach Barry died, we naturally assumed it was best to promote from within, but as you know..."

"It's been a disaster," Wallace finishes for her. "If he isn't who he claims to be, it won't be a problem to fire him."

"Even if I did...date him."

"Uh, right," Wallace says. "Date him." Is that what the kids are calling it? "I'll get Mr. Mars up to speed right away and we'll report back to you as soon as possible. Hopefully, long before basketball season. In the meantime, I think a $2000 deposit would be appropriate."

Selma stands and shakes Wallace's hands. "Well, Mr. Fennel, I have every confidence in your and Mr. Mars' abilities. I'll have the accounting department messenger over a check and I'll be in touch."

----------

At Java the Hut, Keith stirs his coffee and looks at Logan. "She's my only daughter, my only family, what you've done for us is...well I can't thank you enough."

"Mr. Mars, you don't know how much your emails have meant to me." Logan say quietly.

"It's Keith, okay? Logan, I never thought about...how alone you were, how much you depended on Veronica. I think you two never had a chance with all that pressure. I wish I did some things differently; I wish I had welcomed you a bit more the summer your dad was arrested."

"Yeah, I needed a family. Veronica's lucky to have you for a father."

Keith sighs. "There have been times when I really let down Veronica as well. I am really regretting teaching her the PI business. She needed something when her mom left but I think that was a wrong choice on my part."

"As if you could have stopped her, " Logan snorts.

Keith looks up, and starts to laugh as well. "Okay, you're right, Logan, Veronica is an army of one, no one could have stopped her." He pauses. "On another subject, how goes the therapy?" Keith says gently.

Logan shrugs. "There's a lot to tell. I'm pretty sure the shrink thought I was making most of it up. Then one session, she looked at me differently. I think she went back and looked up the news stories. But I don't think I'm really getting any better, you know? I just feel like crap when I leave there."

"It's not your therapist's job to make you feel instantaneously better. You've been trying to do that with alcohol for quite some time and that doesn't work either."

"Well, at least I've stopped sleeping with married women."

Keith grimaces. "That's something I suppose. Logan, you need a purpose in your life. It can't be Veronica. Even if you were together, she wouldn't be an appropriate purpose for your life."

"Why can't the therapist just say it like that? It's always, 'How do you feel about it, blah blah blah'. Who cares how I feel about it."

Keith puts his hand on Logan's arm. "In the first place, you should care about how you feel about it. In the second place, I care, and not just because you bailed out my daughter. I've never heard you talk like this before, Logan, I think you're making great strides."

*****************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
Identity
Veronica & Mac go undercover, Wallace gets
help on his investigation.
Veronica: Kristin Bell. Mac: Tina Majorino.
Wallace: Percy Daggs III. Keith: Enrico
Colantoni. Logan: Jason Dohring. Blond
Stranger: Chris Carmack.
*****************************************************

CHAPTER SIX: "IDENTITY"

Keith walks into Mars Investigations. Wallace at first doesn't know how to tell him about the new case when he must have so much on his mind, but he decides Keith needs a new focus as much as he does.

"Keith, Selma Hearst Rose stopped by today with a new case for us." Wallace tells Keith all the details provided by Selma. "I ran all the standard background checks in the meantime. Everything seems to check out, but there's a glitch..."

Keith looks up at Wallace. Wallace continues, "About ten years ago, there's a gap of about a year in his credit report. And there's no explanation on his curriculum vitae. He supposedly went from an average credit card bill of $500 a month to zero for 10 months. No activity, none. No utility bills, nothing." Keith raises his eyebrows. "Um, Mr. Mars..."

"Wallace, you only call me Mr. Mars when you think I won't like something."

"Keith, I'd like to take this over to Veronica and see if she has any ideas. Maybe it would get her mind off, you know...She wasn't too happy with us when we left her this morning."

Keith looks at Wallace sharply. He remembers what he said to Logan in the coffee shop, I am really regretting teaching her the PI business. "Okay, Wallace, maybe you can fly solo on this one with Veronica spotting you. I think you're ready." Keith adds to himself, Wallace needs a distraction too. "Try the Big Brother scam when you check the references."

Wallace grins at him. "Alright! My first solo. Oh, Keith, another threatening letter came. It's on your desk." He waves, and leaves with Selma's folder.

Keith frowns. This makes five letters in the past three months, since Keith's latest book came out. When Keith lost the sheriff's election, financial worries and a need to do something resulted in his writing a fictional thriller, not-quite-a-sequel to his first book on the Lilly Kane murder. While the book, 'Neptune Undercover', was entirely fictional, it featured characters that could have been '09ers, and Keith had apparently touched a nerve. The letters have grown progressively more spiteful and disturbed, with all of them vaguely threatening and creepily religious in theme. Keith has dropped off copies to Vinnie Van Lowe, but Vinnie dismissed him with a casual "These things happen, Keith. You can't take it seriously." But Keith is disturbed enough that he makes sure he is carrying his revolver at all times.

----------

Mac thinks to herself, this is fricking brilliant. She knocks on Veronica's door. Veronica flings open the door and stares at her.

"Uh, hi, Veronica, I had the most amazing and totally illegal idea." Mac waits for Veronica to respond. "Seriously, Veronica, we just want to help, we all care about you."

Finally, Veronica says, in a clipped and patently false British accent, "Bloody hell, the wankers just won't bugger off." Mac smiles and pushes past Veronica, opening up her laptop on the coffee table.

"Veronica, I've hacked into the sheriff's department computer. I took a look at their tracking program and I wrote some code that randomly simulates your ankle monitor moving around your house so..."

"So I can leave the house and no one will be the wiser."

"We can turn the program on and off, which would be safer, much harder for someone to discover."

"But I can't just walk around Neptune, my pictures have been on the front page every day for two weeks."

"Well, the second part of my surprise is in this bag." In a plastic shopping bag, Veronica discovers a black wig with red streaks and one of Mac's favorite Goth girl outfits. Veronica hugs Mac, "I love you for doing this. It's so Alias. I've been wanting to go back to the motel to see if there's any way I could prove I was there."

Mac helps her to put on the black wig and the outfit. Veronica looks like Goth Barbie. They are ready to head out when there's a knock at the door. Mac opens the door a crack, sees Wallace and invites him in.

"What the HELL are you doing?" he laughs.

"Mac figured out a way around the tracking device and we're going to look around at the motel where Mike and I were," Veronica says.

"This time you have totally lost it, Mars," Wallace giggles.

"Well, would you have recognized her?" Mac says, a little peevishly.

"Hell, no. You did a great job, Mac. Before you guys split, Veronica, can you look over this case for me and help me figure out what to do next. Your dad is letting me fly solo on this one," Wallace beams.

Wallace brings her up to speed on the case of the possibly not-who-you-thought-I-was coach.

"What did Dad say?" Veronica asked.

"He said to try the Big Brothers scam on the references. But I think there's more than just faked references here."

"You're thinking identity theft?"

"Yep."

Veronica makes a few suggestions for researching the coach and hugs Wallace. Mac and Veronica leave for the motel.

While out on the street, they see a man with a small child in a stroller. He looks vaguely familiar but Veronica can't place him. He has blond hair, worn long. His daughter has long blonde hair, done up in pigtails. He is kneeling down next to his daughter and doesn't seem to notice them. But as they walk away, he stands up and mutters to himself, "What the hell are you up to, Veronica?"

----------

In Mac's car, Veronica pulls out her cell phone. She dials a familiar phone number. She's surprised to hear a message that the phone number has been changed. I didn't even know his phone number. God, I am a bitch. Before she tries again, she makes sure to store the new number. "Hello, you've reached Logan Echolls with today's inspirational message. 'Once a man has tasted freedom he will never be content to be a slave. That is why I believe that this frightfulness we see everywhere today is only temporary. Tomorrow will be better for as long as America keeps alive the ideals of freedom and a better life.' Walt Disney." Veronica thinks, Walt Disney? She leaves a message, "Logan, I'm so grateful for everything you've done for me. It was...nice to see you again the other day. I hope we'll get a chance to catch up before you leave town. Bye."

----------

Logan sees her familiar caller ID and let it go right to voicemail. He waits several minutes until the voicemail icon lights up, then he listens to the voicemail. "If you'd like to delete this message, press 7. If you'd like to save this message, press 9." Logan presses 9. This was definitely worth saving; in fact, maybe he would post it to YouTube. Veronica Mars was grateful to legendary jackass Logan Echolls.

*****************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
Ragtime
Veronica & Mac undercover; new forensics
are discovered; Wallace investigates.
Veronica: Kristin Bell. Mac: Tina Majorino.
Wallace: Percy Daggs III. Eli: Francis Capra.
*****************************************************

CHAPTER SEVEN: "RAGTIME"

Veronica is lost in thought in Mac's car.

Mac looks over, concerned. Maybe we were too hard on her this morning. Of course we know she didn't do it. I mean, I think we know she didn't do it. And she is trying, she is protecting her current boyfriend and being nice to her ex for a change. The Veronica steamroller is slowing down a little. When they are close to the motel, Mac speaks up. "What's our plan when we get there?"

"I want to talk to the desk clerk and the maids to see if possibly anyone saw me after all. Maybe there was someone in the parking lot when I got there. Maybe the maids peeked in the room and I didn't notice. And then I just want to look around. I was so upset that weekend I might have missed something."

Mac pulls into the parking lot. When Veronica and Mac enter the lobby area, the desk clerk raises one eyebrow as he looks them over, then shrugs, it being none of his business. "Hourly or daily?" he asks.

"Neither," Veronica says. "We were wondering if you saw this girl here two weeks ago." She holds up a picture of herself.

The clerk looks the photo and then looks back at Veronica. "Well, Miss Mars, I don't recall you staying with us. Have you signed up for our frequent visitor program? There is a 10% discount on the hourly rate."

Veronica, embarrassed, looks at Mac and back at the clerk. "I was here with a friend. It's important that I prove I was here that weekend."

"I'll bet." The clerk shows her the front page of the Neptune paper. 'Veronica Mars released on $2 million bond in murder of hired killer Wiedman' "It must be nice to be wealthy. I don't remember you."

"Seriously," Mac pleads, "she was here that weekend but didn't leave the room. There's got to be a way to show that she was here." The clerk seems oblivious, and begins to work on paperwork on the desk.

"Wait," Veronica says slowly. She points to a video camera behind the clerk's head. "Are there other cameras in the motel?"

"Three others."

"Show me." The clerk doesn't seem too interested, and just keeps working. "You know, I bet 'Access Hollywood' might be interested in the story of the clerk who proved Veronica Mars' innocence. I know someone who knows someone." She tilts her head, smiling.

The clerk lets them in the back office and Veronica sees on the video monitor that the hallway leading down to the room where she stayed was just barely in the frame. "How long do you keep video from these cameras?'

The clerk says, "Two weeks. The recorder records one frame every six seconds and one DVD holds one night of video. Our insurance company requires us to hold on to the video for two weeks, then we rewrite over the DVD."

"You mean, tomorrow you'll rewrite the DVD from two Saturdays ago?"

The clerk nods.

Mac gasps, "You can't, it could be essential evidence."

Veronica quickly pulls out her cell phone and calls Cliff. "Cliffy, it's your favorite client. I have some news, but we have to hurry. Can you and your fellow high-priced legal talent get a judge to sign a warrant for video evidence from the Outer Limits Motel? I think with the testimony of my boyfriend Mike it will be enough to prove that I wasn't in Neptune when Wiedman was shot."

Cliff snorts. "The Outer Limits Motel? Even hookers don't own up to going there. Seriously, Veronica, that place reeks."

Veronica stamps her foot. "Cliff...they're going to rewrite over the video evidence tomorrow."

Cliff says, "I'll get on the phone immediately. As it turns out, your other legal talent seems to be well worth their fee. They've come up with an angle on the blood evidence that seems to indicate that it was planted. I was just going to call you with the good news."

"You're kidding. What angle?"

Cliff coughs politely. "It seems that the blood was menstrual blood. Dewey Cheatum and Howe found a forensic specialist who has perfected a technique of discerning endometrial cells in minute samples of blood, thus proving..."

Veronica breaks in quickly, "I get it. Let's just say the timing wasn't right for me to leave that bloodstain two weeks ago. How did the Neptune prosecutor's office miss that?"

"It's a brand new technique, and the prosecutors weren't exactly looking to prove you were framed. They were handed Veronica Mars on a platter, and there are still people in the prosecutor's office who resent your Dad going after Jake Kane. It doesn't matter, the blood evidence plus the video evidence you say you've got should put us over the top. By the way, are you at home? I just called your dad with the good news and I bet he's rushing to see you."

"Crap," Veronica moans. "We'll never make it."

"Maybe Keith should hold onto that tracking device," Cliff laughs. "Oh and Veronica? Have your boyfriend call me, we'll need him to come in and give testimony as well."

----------

Back at Mars Investigations, Wallace scowls at the computer. He had been on the phone for hours.

"Hello, this is Wallace Fennel, and I'm calling from Catholic Big Brothers. Dan Robbins has expressed an interest in becoming a Big Brother to a deserving inner city child and he has given us your number as a reference."

All the references check. One especially garrulous woman talked for twenty minutes, telling Wallace a story from ten years ago. The description she gave of the coach matched to a tee. But there was still no evidence of where the coach had been when his credit report was mysteriously blank. Wallace thinks a minute and pulls up a website that searched death notice databases. He enters the coach's name and limited the query to dates about one year before the gap. "Bingo!" Wallace says, then looks around to see if anyone heard him. He clicks on the link, but all that comes up is the error message, "404, page not found". He clicks back, but gets the same result. "Damn, I thought I was on to something."

The phone rings. "Mars Investigations," Wallace grumps into the phone.

"Whoa, somebody needs a nap," Veronica laughs.

"Wait, you're laughing, what happened? Did you find something?"

Veronica clues Wallace in on the good news. "But hey, Wallace, is my Dad there by any chance? If I can possibly get back home before he does, I can avoid some excruciating daddy-daughter conversations."

"He's not here, Veronica, but I'll call him and stall him somehow. You know, even if he catches you, I think he'll forgive you eventually. Can I ask you a question while I got you on the phone?" Wallace explains about the broken link in the death notices database. "I'm thinking he got a hold of a birth certificate and took over a dead dude's life. But the death certificate info should still be there."

"Wallace, I think I remember something about that from this summer at the FBI internship. Let me ask Mike, it wasn't really part of my coursework...."

"But you couldn't help checking it out anyway," Wallace finishes. "That's so not like you, V," he chuckles. "Get back to me when you can, and Veronica, I'm so glad you got the proof today. The streets were a little safer without you, but much more boring."

"This is me sticking my tongue out at you." They disconnect.

----------

Veronica tries to call Mike. It goes straight to voicemail. She hangs up and sends a text. "GOOD NEWS CALL RT AWAY IMPT V"

********************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
Raging Bull
Mike helps Wallace; Logan confronts Mike.
Veronica: Kristin Bell. Mike: Michael Trucco.
Keith: Enrico Colantoni. Logan: Jason Dohring.
********************************************************

CHAPTER EIGHT: "RAGING BULL"

On Saturday morning, Veronica gets the best kind of wake up call. "Hi baby, whatcha wearing?"

"Ooh, lover! I've got the best news. I was trying to reach you all last night, but your phone kept going to voicemail." She excitedly tells Mike about the forensic evidence and her alibi. Then she drops her voice a little. "I've got the teensiest little pink nightie on."

"You're wearing a Hearst sweatshirt and sweatpants, aren't you?" Mike laughs. "We really have to practice having phone sex a little more often."

"Are you in Neptune?"

"I'll be there in a couple hours. I'm boarding the commuter plane as we speak. Do you want to go to the firing range again today? You seemed to really enjoy blowing those paper dirtbag targets away last time."

"Dirty Harriet, that's me. Before we go, can we stop by Mars Investigations and use your ill-gotten FBI knowledge to help my best bud Wallace on his first solo investigation? He's stumped, and I seem to remember there was some info on identity theft last summer."

"Yeah, in that seminar you weren't even supposed to be in."

Veronica coos, "Well, I still aced the Basic Investigative Techniques class."

They arrange to meet up with Wallace at 10:00. Veronica hangs up and pads into the kitchen. Keith is drinking coffee. He offers Veronica a donut. "Who's your..."

"Da-ad!" She kisses Keith on his bald spot, interrupting his favorite joke.

"So, Veronica, I was wondering...how did you manage to get the video from the motel while you were on house arrest."

"Um, actually, Mac took care of that for me." Veronica crosses her fingers behind her back, although technically this statement is actually true. Just a little ambiguous.

"We're not finished discussing this yet. Just because I'm ecstatic about the evidence you got doesn't mean there won't be consequences. And I'm still wondering why you didn't just tell Vinnie you were at the motel during the murder."

"It's complicated, Dad."

"I'm not sure that it is, honey. You are just not as invincible as you think. In fact, it scares me, because you got away with something again, and each time that happens, you take more and more chances and you never tell me the whole story." Keith rubs his forehead. He doesn't think he's getting through and it worries him. "I don't think this guy Mike is good for you, Veronica."

"Dad, he's reliable, he's sweet to me....He's an FBI agent, how can you have a problem with that!!"

"I don't know. It just seems like you don't trust ME anymore. And it's not just because I'm an old fuddy-duddy."

"Chill out, daddy-o, don't be such a square," Veronica pouts.

"Awww...who's your daddy?" Keith can't help himself and laughs.

----------

Mike taps a few keys on the computer at Mars Investigations. Veronica and Wallace look on, impressed.

"Geez, Veronica, you're getting drool on the keyboard," Wallace complains.

Veronica rolls her eyes. "Is it my fault I have wet dreams about data-mining?"

Mike says, "Just as I suspected. Veronica, I need to make a call to my supervisor. In private."

Wallace and Veronica exchange a glance. "What's going on?"

Mike stands up and says "It's okay if I use your dad's office for a minute?" He walks into Keith's office and shuts the door.

Five minutes later, Mike returns to the outer office and sits down. "Veronica, Wallace, I think you can tell your client that they don't need to worry about Coach Robbins. He'll be resigning later today."

Wallace says in disbelief, "What you say?"

Veronica, eyes narrowing, says, "Oh, I get it." Wallace turns to her. She whispers, "Witness Protection, that's why the database information was incomplete."

Mike said, "You didn't hear that from me. But, it seems likely that when a protected informant is given a new career, he would be expected to keep a low profile, and perhaps head basketball coach, when you are not particularly qualified for that job, would not be considered 'low profile'. And threatening to sue for sexual harassment is probably unwise as well." He smiles. "But that's just a theory. I think Coach Robbins will be telling the dean that he has accepted a new coaching position back east where he can take care of his aging parents. Of course, a career change might be in his plans, too."

"Can you see why I love this guy?" Veronica almost moans.

Wallace says, "Because he has passwords to the coolest database in the world?"

"That, and he's very cute."

"And I have a very big gun, that I'm going to let you practice with today," Mike smirks, grabbing Veronica around the shoulders.

"Ewww, TMI, guys, TMI," Wallace makes a gagging sound.

"No such thing as too much information, Wallace. Toodles, sweetie." Veronica waggles her fingers at Wallace as Mike and Veronica, laughing, leave for the shooting range.

---------

Mike and Veronica get out of Veronica's Saturn at the Mars apartment. Arm in arm, they make their way up the stairs to the apartment. "Who knew practicing reloading drills with our eyes closed could be such fun? Of course I already knew you had extensive experience in the dark." Veronica purrs.

"Veronica, I don't think your dad is going to want to hear about his baby girl shooting guns. The taser is one thing, let's keep the handgun practice on the down low. How about we say we had a picnic today instead?"

They enter the Mars apartment. "Dad, we're here." Seeing takeout bags on the kitchen table, she exclaims, "Look, Mike, Dad went to Luigi's! Yeah baby, manicotti!"

"Hello, Veronica," Logan speaks up from the living room couch. "We've been waiting for you to celebrate. Cliff said there's no doubt the forensic expert will carry the day at Monday's hearing."

"Logan," she says, her voice dropping, almost toneless.

Logan stands up and meets them in the kitchen, his face like stone. "I presume this is the jackass who wouldn't give you an alibi?"

Keith enters from the hallway, drying his hands. Uh, oh. This is going to be bad, he thinks.

Veronica whirls around. In an overly bright voice, gesturing wildly, she says, "Why, yes. Jackass who wouldn't give me an alibi, meet the jackass who paid my bail and will never let me forget it."

"Jeez, Veronica, when you say it like that, I forget all about sweet sugarlips and fuzzy I wuv you's."

"I never said--" she starts furiously.

"That's right, you never did. Keith, thanks for hanging out today, I'll give you my answer by Tuesday at the latest." Logan walks out, his anger palpable and simmering. He closes the door gently behind him, shooting a last glance at Keith, who shrugs.

Keith says, "Honey, calm down, willya? This is supposed to be a celebration."

"Hanging out....Hanging out? Since when do you hang out with Logan Echolls?" her voice seems calm enough, but Keith knows that she too is furious.

"Veronica, baby, this is your celebration, try not to get mad." Keith tries a little misdirection. "Okay, who's for antipasto? Veronica, it's your favorite meal, with plenty for leftovers...ah, who'm I kidding, with Veronica Mars, there's never leftovers."

"Dad, I can't eat right now." Veronica goes to her room without looking at either man, both of whom are stunned at this heretofore unheard-of development. They hear the door lock.

Mike clears his throat. "Well, Mr. Mars, I think I maybe should leave too. I'm at the Neptune Grand. Veronica can reach me on my cell if she wants."

"You got it," Keith says in falsely upbeat tone. When Mike leaves, he sighs in relief and knocks on Veronica's door. "Honey?"

"Please leave me alone, Dad," comes the muffled reply.

"Okay, Veronica. Mike said to try him on his cell if you want. I'm going to take Backup out for a short walk and then I'll be sitting by the pool if you want to join me. It's a beautiful night out." Keith hooks on the dog's leash and walks a short distance to the beach. He lets Backup off the leash to run, then he pulls out his cell and makes a call.

"This is Logan Echolls with today's inspirational message. "Lo! with a little rod I did but touch the honey of romance--And must I lose a soul's inheritance?" Oscar Wilde. Leave a message or don't."

Keith stares at the phone and shakes his head in disbelief. He says, "Logan, I want you to call me in the morning. Don't do anything stupid. I really think you had a great idea and I want to work on it with you. Please call me."

He hangs up and shakes his head again. He whistles for Backup and they return to the apartment complex. Backup settles in at Keith's side as he puts his feet up on the lounge chair by the pool. He trails his hand over Backup's head and gently scratches. The front door to the Mars apartment opens and Veronica walks out to the pool.

"Daddy?" She crawls into his lap and hugs his neck.

"Hungry, baby?"

"No, just hold me, Dad."

"You got it."

*****************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
A Bridge Too Far
Veronica back on campus; Logan has a therapy
breakthrough and takes a positive step.
Veronica: Kristin Bell. Logan: Jason Dohring.
Dr. Friedman: Lorraine Bracco.
*****************************************************

CHAPTER NINE: "A BRIDGE TOO FAR"

VERONICA

Bookbag, check. Clean laundry, check. Laptop, iPhone, check, check. I'm ready to resume junior year. First stop, the dorm room to drop off my laundry, see how Mac's doing. Next stop, the dean's office, to get an extension on my assignments for the last three weeks. You have to admit I have a really good excuse.

FLASHBACK
The gavel comes down with a sharp crack. "Veronica Mars, the charges against you are hereby dismissed. The states reserves the option of refiling the charges at a later date." Veronica hugs her dad, and over his shoulder, she sees Logan stand and leave the courthouse without a word. She turns and hugs Mike, who whispers, "Thank god, Veronica, thank god."


I'm still furious that I let myself react to Logan the other night. I was so looking forward to an evening with Mike and my dad, I needed a normal evening with them, and I was hoping they might start to like each other a little more. But...Dad and Logan are hanging out?? The next day I asked Dad again, and he said that Logan hired him to do some checking on a private matter, it was no big deal, and Logan would tell me about it when he was ready. He wouldn't say any more, telling me that Logan asked him to keep it private, even from me. Dad didn't tell me that I should cut Logan some slack, but I saw it in his eyes.

Mike was pretty noncommittal about the whole scene. He said, "The guy still digs you, and he did you a monumental favor. I can't be mad at him when he stepped up the way he did. And, Veronica, your mom just died and you were arrested. You have a lot to be upset about and Logan probably knows that, and he was probably worried too."

I'm ashamed to say that I was mad that Mike wasn't jealous of Logan.

When I get to the dorm, I find a cactus plant on my desk with a little sign that says, "Welcome back V" and a mix CD. From Mac, that's like 20 dozen red roses. I smile, and drop my bags. I open my duffel and add a new picture frame to my desk. Dad and I went through all the family scrapbooks again last night, and I found a photo of Mom and me, from happier days.

FLASHBACK--The Mars family at the beach--Six-year-old Veronica throws a frisbee over her dad's head, forcing him to run into the surf to retrieve it. He throws it to Lianne, who laughingly pretends to throw it to Veronica, then runs away, with Veronica chasing her. Lianne lets Veronica tackle her and they tussle over the frisbee. Keith runs up, drops to the sand and begins tickling them both.

That day at the beach was our best family vacation ever. It wasn't all bad with my mother; at one time we all loved each other to death. To death.

Dad's crazy if he thinks I'm not going to investigate my mother's murder. And why would someone set me up for Wiedman's murder? I know Dad's not going to let it drop either, I just wish we could work on it together. And if I keep busy enough, maybe I won't wake up crying in the middle of the night like I did last night.

----------

Logan knocks on Dr. Friedman's door.

"Logan, come in. I was glad I was able to fit you in when you called. Are you skipping classes today?"

"I'm not really 'up' for classes today, I've had enough drama to last awhile." Logan sits down. The comfortable easy chair with big arms was easy to sink into. Logan never chooses the couch, he can't imagine why anyone would. He drums his fingers on the arm.

"Did something happen?"

Logan snorts. "I am just the biggest loser in the world. I bailed out my ex-girlfriend and laid out the cash for the best attorney for her that I could find."

"Why does that make you a loser? When you decided to help her, did you have another motive?"

"Sneaky, Dr. Friedman. Always with the questions."

"Logan, please tell me what happened. All of it."

He tells her everything that happened in Neptune, culminating in Veronica's harsh words and his departure.

"And??"

Logan says, "And what? Isn't that enough?"

"Well, did you get drunk and screw the first girl you found?"

He stares at her. "No."

"Logan, that's called progress. And although you reacted to Veronica, I don't think you overreacted. Well, maybe a little, calling her boyfriend a jackass. But, I have to tell you, I think he IS a jackass, he should have come forward immediately to give her an alibi. His actions were not the actions of a lover. Didn't you say that Veronica's friends also jumped into action to try to help with her alibi? Where was her lover at that time? You cared about her at one point, and I think it's appropriate to express concern. But we should work on how you can express your feelings without alienating the people you care about."

Logan stares at her. The last thing he was expecting was support. This is the longest statement Dr. Friedman has made since they started working together. Usually, he has to do all the heavy lifting in these sessions.

The silence lengthens. Dr. Friedman begins to blush and says, "Logan, it's actually a little inappropriate for me to direct your feelings that way, but I thought your actions were very generous, especially since you have indicated to me that you did not end the relationship on good terms and haven't spoken since."

Logan says, "I think I mostly did it for Keith. Veronica doesn't know how lucky she is." He avoids looking at his therapist.

"I agree." Dr. Friedman clears her throat and says, "Do you want to talk about your charity idea?"

Logan has been toying with the idea of creating a charity to honor his mother. "I've decided that a shelter and halfway house for battered wives and children in Neptune is the best way to honor my mom's memory. I think I'm going to call it 'The Bridge'."

"The bridge to..."

"The Bridge to peace, to a new life, to a future, whatever." He doesn't mention 'jumping' off a bridge, but the reference is clear to Dr. Friedman. "Keith and I scouted some buildings on Saturday while I was there, he thinks it's a great idea and wants to help. My attorney Cliff is setting up the paperwork."

"What does Veronica think?"

"I haven't told her. She's not...she's not in my life anymore, the way that Keith is. It's always been so difficult with her."

"Why do you think that is?"

Logan looks at her directly. "Enough with the questions, already. I get it, it's the process. But I really don't want to go there."

"Not yet, you mean. I'm afraid we're out of time, Logan, but we'll continue talking at our regular session. Until then, I want you to think about the possibility that you are allowed to grieve for your relationship with Veronica."

Grieve? he thinks.

*****************************************************
VERONICA MARS
10:00PM TFX ch: 92 60min 2008 TV-MA
Cactus Flower
Keith considers the anonymous letters;
Veronica organizes her suspect file.
Veronica: Kristin Bell. Mac: Tina Majorino.
Keith: Enrico Colantoni. Eli: Francis Capra.
*****************************************************

CHAPTER TEN: "CACTUS FLOWER"

Keith is frowning at five letters spread across his desk. Each is on plain white bond paper, with words and letters cut out from various magazines and glued onto the paper.

'Repent, the time of Reckoning is upon you'
'Whosoever shall lay with the sinner shall be struck by the hand of god's messenger'
'The Mother shall bear the burdens of the Father'
'The sins of the Father shall be visited upon the lamb'

The latest is just as bad.

'Judge not; for only the lord can forgive a sin'

Just a random crazy? Not likely, he thinks. He takes a pair of tweezers from his desk drawer and pulls the word 'sin' from the note. Just like the other ones, a word printed on glossy colored paper, with a white backing. What kind of magazine only prints on one side?

Keith picks up the phone and dials Veronica's number. "How's it going the first day back?....that's great, honey....I'm sure you'll catch up in no time. Maybe Wallace can work a few extra hours this week. There aren't too many pressing cases right now, I can handle it....Stay in touch, okay? I almost lost you, a dad's allowed to worry...Bye honey."

Hanging up, he sighs deeply, closing his eyes and massaging his forehead. He can't help remembering his beloved daughter, terrified, in a freezer screaming for him. It's an image that haunts him every day and every night when he closes his eyes. Sometimes it morphs into a broken limbed corpse on the sidewalk beside the Neptune Grand, and he shudders to think how easily it could have been Veronica instead of Cassidy in those crime scene photos. He knows that his daughter takes impossible risks with her life, and he blames himself. She thrills to the chase, to the adventure of the discovery of every sordid detail, and he introduced her to this adrenaline rush in a misguided pursuit of daddy-daughter time. These notes are frightening him. There is no forensic evidence on them, no stray hairs, no fingerprints that he could ask Deputy Chief Leo to run for him. The vagueness of the threats terrifies him more than if they itemized a plan that he could actually DO something about.

He picks up the phone again. "Eli, it's Keith Mars. I have a proposal for you. Can you meet me at my office later today?....That will be fine. See you at 5:30 then." He hangs up, but the feeling of dread has not eased.

----------

Mac enters her dorm room and find Veronica studying on the bed. "Hey roomie."

"Hi, Mac, that cactus was really sweet."

"Well, it kind of reminded me of you. Beautiful, tough and resilient, prickly, flowers rarely..."

"Thanks, I think," Veronica says drily.

"Plus you don't have to water it very often, plant-killer."

Veronica laughs, "My green thumb is offended. Are you going to Vegas again this weekend?"

Mac grins. "Yes, I am. Did you want to come and celebrate getting off house arrest?"

Veronica replies, "I am so behind in my work. I have a statistical modeling project for Quantitative Sociology due next Wednesday and an org beaver paper due on Monday that I have to finish," and I have an idea how to start investigating my mother that won't wait, she adds in her head.

"Sounds good, Veronica. It's nice to have you here, I was lonely when you were gone." Mac settles in on her bed and opens her laptop to begin her work. She has been going to Vegas almost weekly for the last year. Money was tight for the Mackenzies and Mac has tried several part-time jobs to help pay her tuition, including her consultant work for Veronica and Keith.

One weekend a classmate in her game theory class suggested she accompany him on a trip to Vegas. Armed with her killer math skills and a surprisingly successful poker face, she cleaned up at blackjack and poker. Over the last year, she has developed several successful betting systems as well as a way of counting cards that improved her odds enough that she usually returns home at least a thousand dollars up, and she occasionally has a large payoff of two thousand or more.

Now Mac has begun to rotate disguises, since she worried that she could be identified as a card counter and banned from the casinos. Veronica occasionally accompanies her, but rarely bets significantly, concentrating on small stakes blackjack and the occasional one-armed bandit, and often preferring to spend her time at the casino shows or on nearby desert excursions. Of course, Veronica has provided Mac with several excellent photo IDs so that she could enter the casino floor and has helped Mac develop her distinct disguises. Mac is thinking she will wear the long blonde wig and tailored business suit, low-cut with a padded pushup bra, for this weekend, "Gail Simone". She giggles, thinking about how hard it had been for her to dress up as Gail at first.

----------

Later that day, Veronica heads to her jujitsu class. Even though Mike had helped her to improve her self-defense skills over the summer, her internship had impressed upon her the need to develop greater physical prowess to compensate for her petite size. She enjoys the workout, and the heady sense of control when she defeats a larger opponent is intoxicating. Veronica doesn't allow many things to interfere with this class, and she has missed it during her time in jail and on house arrest.

In the corner of her eye, she thinks she sees someone just behind her. She whirls and sees only a maintenance man, carrying a clipboard and a small bag of what she assumes are tools, walking toward a nearby class building. She turns, relieved, and enters the sports center for her class.

After she enters the building, the maintenance man clicks on the two-way feature on his phone, "Weevil, come in...I'm sorry, man, she saw me. She's in the sports center now....Nope, I didn't see anyone else hanging around....Okay, I'll see ya later." He clicks off the phone and walks away.

---------

Logan finds an envelope with no return address in his mail.

Dear Logan,
I have thought about calling you every day since we fought. But I can't seem to talk to you anymore so I thought I'd try to write you. How quaint, I know.
I don't want to leave it like this, I really am grateful to you. I don't know why we can't avoid the bitterness and spite when we see each other. After all, we did have some beautiful times together.
I wanted you to know that I will pay you back for every penny you spent on my defense. It's been very hard for me to know that I needed you to come to my rescue again. I don't like being dependent on anyone, except maybe Dad.
I hope you're happy in L.A.
V


Logan starts to crumple the letter, then reconsiders, smooths it again, and puts it in his desk drawer. He sits, looking out at the distant sunset diminishing beyond the Venice Beach pier.

----------

Veronica opens a new computer file and creates a new password-encrypted folder. She creates a file and begins to type.

"Why did Clarence Wiedman kill Lianne Mars?
Did Wiedman have a previous relationship with Lianne?
Was Wiedman hired to kill Lianne by Jake Kane or another person?
Was Lianne blackmailing Jake Kane?
Where has Lianne been for the last two and a half years, and what was she doing?
Who killed Wiedman and why?
Was Wiedman murdered to ensure his silence by his employer?
Was Wiedman murdered to avenge Lianne's murder?
Who hates me enough to frame me for murder?"

She creates another file titled "Suspects" and types:

Jake Kane
Celeste Kane
Rose Manning
Stewart Manning
Liam Fitzpatrick
Gory Sorokin
unknown??

She thinks a moment. She goes back to her list of questions, erases the last line and types:

"Who hates me enough to kill my mother and frame me for murder?"

She hugs herself, grimacing, and thinks, There are an awful lot of people who should be added to this list. The only ones I know for sure aren't on it: Dad, Wallace, Mac, Weevil...and Logan. She catches herself, and thinks, And Mike.

Chapter 11

(no subject)

Date: 2013-02-23 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] fatherjerusalem
I know I've commented on YLD 1 and 2 before, but I've found myself starting (yet another) reread here on Dreamwidth now, and I just wanted to leave you a note that I really do love this new format.

It makes it, to me, easier to get lost in the story even more now that there are several chapters all put together on one page.

The story itself is as fantastic now as it was the first time I read it, and I still find myself appreciating the little details you put in - the cast notes, the details right from the FBI handbook, the therapist notes... it just helps to make this story all the more involving.

TYOLD

Date: 2014-04-04 07:21 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] contraspirit
I just finished TYOLD after reading PRECIPITATION and I have to admit while I appreciate your improvement in style in the latter one I really prefer your first novel. It's just much more in line with the style of the series, most of the series' character are back and the characters are a little bit more normal. I like how you stayed true to the concept of the series and included these little cases in the whole story ark. I guess I could have lived without Mike, he just seems unnecessary to the story.
What seems strange to me are the sporadic changes in perspective, I had prefered a consistent authorial perspective.
But that's just details, in general the novel is a fascinating, gripping story with witty dialogues, likable Characters and the patented great Veronica Mars-feeling of the tv-series. I am really looking forward to reading the sequel.
Edited Date: 2014-04-04 07:22 am (UTC)

Re: TYOLD

Date: 2014-04-06 08:11 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] contraspirit
Well, I have to say thank you for writing these stories, I really appreciate them. I just watched the whole series for a second time to be prepared for the movie (that I found disappointing) and I followed up with the official novel (that positively surprised me). But still I was (and am) not ready to leave the world of VM and youre novels are the ideal reason to stay. I read through PRECIPITATION and YLD in just a week, I guess for YLD2 I'll need a bit more time.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-06-26 05:54 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] amasirol
I've been putting this off since I know I'll have to go through this fic and the sequel, but my summer is nearly halfway over and I haven't gotten started. I feel as if you're going to get short-changed since I'm 10 chapters in before you get a comment but here goes:

1) In terms of picking an over-arching mystery--who killed CW, who, in turn, killed Liane Mars?!!! Holy F***! Can't imagine anyone getting the jump on him.

2) Logan growing up, by moving away from veronica was a pretty big step. Film school seems to play into his linguistic talents. His therapist's notes were completely awesome for its perspectively in its brevity. Bonus points for Logan not punching out V's FBI jackass-but-hot!boyfriend. I'm really impressed by the concept behind "The bridge" center in honor of his mom.

3) everyone has grown up. Wallace with some PI chops and. Mac with the mad skills. She would be totally rocking as a card shark. Too bad Vetonica didn't want to school at the poker table--she cleaned the boys out during An Echolls Family Christmas.

4) weird little mysteries in this fic and Iove the format concept of a continuing series with a cast list.

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