vanessagalore: (!Precipitation)
[personal profile] vanessagalore
TITLE: Precarious (2/?)
AUTHOR: [personal profile] vanessagalore
CHARACTER: Veronica, Logan, Keith
WORD COUNT: 3,110
RATING: PG-13 for only one use of the f-bomb, a personal record for me.
SUMMARY: Sometimes it's best to just get the hell out of Dodge. Set right after 'The Bitch Is Back': a sequel to 'Precipitation'.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for the whole series, especially season 3.
WARNINGS: Very mild cursing.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own any rights to Veronica Mars. This story is written as a tribute only. Beta'd by [livejournal.com profile] zaftig_darling, who's being really patient with me lately. All remaining errors are my responsibility.

Author's note under the cut.

For a small plot detail, I was slightly inspired by one of our fellow VM fic writer's questions to the [livejournal.com profile] little_details forum several months ago. I hope I have not stepped on her story, and that I went in a different direction with the answers to her question than she was intending in her fic (which to my knowledge has not been posted). I believe the information I used comes under the heading of general legal research.

I was asked to continue my fic, 'Precipitation'. I'm having a hard time with this: it's very rough going for me because of a couple writing choices I made at the beginning. Also, I'm struggling with reconciling characterization inconsistencies within season three (let's just say...these people are screwed up and in total denial...yeah, *that's* it). In any case, I have about 7,000 more words written, and some scenes plotted out beyond that. I have never asked anything like this before, but: please let me know in the comments if you're interested in reading more of this. Be assured that your silence will speak volumes, and I'll know to stop pestering [livejournal.com profile] zaftig_darling with questions about legal scenarios.


RECAP OF PRECIPITATION: (Highlight to read)

After voting, Veronica got in her car and wallowed in the drenching rain. She worried about Logan's safety and what was going to happen to her dad. More importantly, she had a moment of realization about how incredibly reckless she had been.

After learning that her dad *had* in fact lost the election, she ends up at beach, wading into the ocean and standing in the rain, almost incognizant of her condition. Logan, Keith, and Wallace find her there, soaking wet, and tell her they were worried and everything's going to be okay. Driving back to Sunset Cliffs, Logan takes her hand; they can't actually talk about what they're feeling, and instead he tells her, "Don’t you know it never rains in Southern California?"





“I still say we go to the police.” Logan’s hand, fussing at his scalp, has become practically a nervous tic. He paces, trying to contain all that violence and rage that threatens to explode. Is it in his DNA? I wonder, and then I’m ashamed of myself for thinking it.

“You mean the FBI,” I correct him automatically. I ignore the ache in my stomach, a nagging symptom of my distress whenever I let myself think about my career in the FBI, gone forever. That stupid internship that meant so much to me—it’s completely dead in the water with the rumors of Dad covering up my criminal misdeeds.

This past semester, I’d made up my mind that the FBI was going to be my life, but now? Who knows. I can’t even go there yet—can’t even picture what my future might be like now. “Logan, we’d have to go to the FBI, not the police. The organized crime division, to be exact.”

“Whatever.” He’s pissed. He hates it when I go all semantic. “Veronica. We have to.” His face, lined with worry, betrays a hint of what old age will do to that visage. There’s a subtle hoarseness in his voice, perhaps that latent, inevitable conviction that the world always hurts him. The nightmares still torment him, even though Aaron’s been dead close to a year. It’s his baseline: Glass half-empty. Never half-full.

Although—am I really one to talk?

Logan’s phone vibrates. He looks at the display with a frown and takes the call. “Hello....Yeah, this is Logan....Wait, what?”

Now what? Can this day get any worse?

He listens intently. “That’s fine....Ah, yeah, uh, thanks for letting me know....Yeah, I appreciate it.” He thumbs the ‘send’ button almost absent-mindedly, avoiding my gaze.

“What happened? Logan...what happened?”

“You know that blue glass fish sculpture-thing above my bed at the Grand?”

“You mean that ugly blue thing that I hate? Yes, I’m familiar with the item.” I realize I’m even testier than usual.

“Someone got into my suite and broke it. It’s in pieces on the bed. Somebody complained to Tina the manager about loud voices and the sound of something breaking.”

“Someone got into your suite,” I echo faintly.

“Yeah, and, uh, Tina said they also pissed all over the bed. Subtle, right?”

“Oh god, Logan...what are we going to do?”

Logan shakes his head. He’s made it very clear what he wants to do. But it’s not that simple. Dad’s in trouble too, and going to the police might make it worse.

Dad’s still on the phone. He’s called five people—close friends at the D.A.’s office, a sympathetic reporter, a court services officer on his softball team, and Cliff. A low voice—he doesn’t want us to hear what he’s saying—surreptitious glances at us when he thinks we're not looking. I glance at the clock on the wall: 10:04pm. He cradles the phone and sighs.

“Dad?” Please, Daddy, make it okay, I think.

He shakes his head, and lays it out for us. “It’s called spoliation of evidence. And obstruction of justice.”

What did he do?...I wish he’d tell me.

He meets my pleading eyes and looks away. Vaguely, he explains. “There was...videographic evidence. And an accident in the evidence storage room.”

“An accident?”

“A technical malfunction of a recording device, and some issues with the chain of custody. I tried to document the incident, but...”

I’ve seen him lie to other people—an essential skill when he was a PI—but never to me. And he sucks at it, and knows it.

“It doesn’t matter,” I fib. “What does Cliff say?”

“Vinnie’s going to make an issue out of it. And the DA’s up for reelection in November. He’s going to press for felony obstruction of justice. You know they yanked my PI license. There’s some talk that they want to lift yours as well, but that’s a little more complicated.”

“Ff-felony? You mean...jail time? Prison?”

Logan interrupts. “Let’s just get the fuck out of Neptune. You know you can’t get a fair trial here, Mr. Mars. Let’s just—”

“You’re actually suggesting that I go on the lam?” Terse. Sarcastic, but there’s an edge to Dad’s voice, and I realize he actually might be considering this.

Mac clears her throat. She and Wallace have been listening silently, perched on the barstools in the kitchen next to the living room. “Mr. Mars, stop dancing around, and spell it out! We all know Veronica broke into Jake Kane’s house and stole a hard drive. There was some evidence, I’m betting a security camera, right?”

Barreling ahead, Mac blurts out the words we all know to be true. “And you destroyed it to protect Veronica. Just say it, Mr. Mars. You knew when you did it that you were breaking the law, and you didn’t care. The DA might go after Veronica too, you know. What if they bring up that time that she and Duncan broke into the Mannings’ house? They talked about that at the Echolls trial. It’s public knowledge.”

The slightest mention of the trial that was sheer insanity always upsets him. His face, already pale and sweaty with stress, winces at Mac's words.

Wallace adds, “There must be people who can testify about what was on that security camera, Mr. Mars. Won’t that be admissible in court? This isn’t gonna go away.” He turns to me. “An awful lot of people saw you half-naked on that video, Veronica. It’s not exactly a secret that you’re...resourceful. Everyone in Neptune remembers all the publicity from when Logan’s dad was arrested...your dad’s book about the Lilly Kane case...and then when you and Beaver, you know, on the roof— They’ll know that you had a reason, that you were looking for something on that hard drive. It’s not just Mr. Mars. You’re in real trouble too, Veronica.”

Dad puts on a show of confidence. “Let’s calm down and take a breath. If necessary, I can take a plea—plead guilty and serve some time. There’s no need for anyone to know about Veronica—”

“You can’t go to prison,” I interrupt. “You put away too many people when you were sheriff. Half the Fitzpatricks and all those junkie bikers who make the PCHers look like babies. You won’t survive.”

“I’ll survive just fine,” Dad retorts. “If I take a plea—”

“No, you can’t—”

“Veronica, I’m your father and—”

The argument escalates, both of us shouting and refusing to listen to each other.

“What about Gory?” Logan asks, shocking us into silence. “You said he’s connected, right, Veronica? Mr. Mars, if you’re in jail, you won’t be around to protect Veronica if Gory comes after her.”

The enormity of it all hits me. Suddenly the Sunset Cliffs apartment feels incredibly dangerous—we’re being very foolish to stay here tonight; we should probably be on the move already. Who knows what he’s planning? Gory was furious. Murderous. A sociopath.

Oh god. Oh god. I whisper, “Maybe he’s right. Maybe we should—maybe we should run, Dad.”

It suddenly feels like a thousand eyes are watching us. I long to check the locks on the door again. This apartment, where we’ve felt safe for three and a half years...I can hardly stand to stay here for another minute. I’m itching to pack, to throw a couple pairs of jeans in a bag and jump in the car and just drive...drive until no one knows me...drive until I can start over again.

Until we can start over again, my conscience reminds me. No, maybe it would be better if I...maybe they’d be better off without me. A few doors down in the apartment complex a door slams, and I twitch in response. There’s a target on my back burning a hole into my skin.

Dad is talking again, and I shake off my paranoia to listen to him. We discuss all the options long into the night, and in the morning, the decision is made.

In a couple days, Wallace and Mac will go to the FBI and tell them everything they know. Neither of them did anything that was technically illegal—Mac didn’t actually know for a fact that the hard drive she cracked was stolen. At the very least, when they tell their story, they’ll get increased surveillance by the Neptune Sheriff’s Department, and maybe they’ll be offered federal witness protection.

We think they’ll be okay. Gory probably won’t connect the dots. Or care. We think he’ll be looking for Logan most of all, and me.

Dad, Logan, and I will go into hiding. We can’t take the chance that Dad—and maybe even I—would go to prison, where we’d be sitting ducks for Gory’s confederates. We’ll leave a copy of the unencrypted data from the hard drive at a local attorney’s office, with instructions to deliver it to the FBI if any one of us turn up severely injured.

Or dead.

*****

We hammer out the details of getting out of town undiscovered. Hesitantly, Dad mentions that splitting up might be safer for all of us. But I can’t stomach the prospect of being apart from Dad right now, and, by the look of relief on his face at my protests, I see that he feels the same way.

After a little discussion, Dad overrules Logan’s apprehension that Dad and I would be safer if Logan, as Gory’s main target, was far away from us. Logan protests hard, and, fleetingly, I wonder if maybe there’s something he’s not telling us. But Dad insists that Logan needs our help to create a new identity, and he proves it to Logan, asking him if he knows how to make a false ID or how to use a prepaid credit card to pay utilities without alerting our pursuers. Logan finally agrees, and Dad says we can always split up later on, once Logan’s learned the basics of life on the run.

But when Dad says ‘split up’, I flash back to Logan holding my hand yesterday as we drove back from the beach.

I can’t give that up. I don’t want to give that up. I don’t care if it’s safer for us to split up.

He hasn’t touched me—hasn’t kissed or hugged me. We haven’t changed. That wall that came between us when we argued about Madison Sinclair months ago is still there. We’re not ‘together’.

But something happened between us yesterday when he reached for my hand and told me, “It never rains in Southern California.”

*****

Mac and Wallace do one last thing for us before we leave. After driving a circuitous route to foil any would-be pursuers, Mac, supplied with a blond wig, will drive my Saturn to Los Angeles, with Wallace following. She’ll leave the car in a long-term parking lot near LAX and return in Wallace’s car. Hopefully, the blond wig will be captured by traffic and security cams and any interested parties will think I—or we—have fled to Los Angeles. I watch from the apartment window as they drive away, realizing that I probably won’t ever see them again.

Meanwhile, Dad makes online reservations for Greyhound tickets from Los Angeles to Aspen, where Logan still owns a condo, and pays by Western Union, making no attempt to cover his tracks on his computer. Three one-way tickets. We have no intention of using the tickets, but hopefully the reservations will obscure our real destination.

Dad also makes a call to a colleague in Las Vegas and asks him to set up an international corporation and a bank account in Costa Rica, wiring him the incorporation fees by Paypal. It’s another false trail, an option that we don’t intend to use.

On Dad’s instructions, Logan calls some real estate brokers in Cabo San Lucas, asking to look at whatever properties are available. The brokers will run credit checks on Logan, which will hopefully draw pursuers to Baja California...where we won’t be.

Logan heads over to the Neptune Grand, where he packs a few things, and then takes a cab to the San Diego airport. After walking a roundabout route through the terminal, he finds another cab and leaves the airport, switching cabs several times before ending up at a motel in a slightly seedy area on the outskirts of San Diego.

I do virtually the same, checking in at the same motel after a diversion to the San Diego Amtrak terminal. Each of us immediately heads out to our respective banks, which both have branches in San Diego, and clean out as much cash as possible. Logan has also been instructed to buy five American Express $100 gift cards—‘as good as cash!’—at his bank. When he protested to Dad that the bank will then have a record of those cards, Dad had smiled and replied, “Exactly.”

Logan will also visit a couple pawn shops, raising some more money by selling some Echolls heirlooms. We know these items will be traceable: in fact, we’re counting on it. Logan will use some of the cash to put a deposit on a motorboat down at San Diego harbor, telling the boat broker that secrecy is essential and that he’ll return with the balance in a few days. Then he’ll stop in a Barnes and Noble, buying a travel guide to Baja California and a magazine devoted to ‘offshore living’ with his credit card. Dad carefully instructed him to ask a salesclerk at the bookstore for assistance, flirting with her a little. Every false trail we lay is hopefully going to delay our pursuers, both legal and criminal, giving us that much more time to get away. We don’t have a lot of time, but we’re trying to make the most of it.

Logan still hasn’t returned when I get back to the motel from cleaning out our bank accounts and buying a few essential items that Dad had specified. Alone, I stew in the motel room, scared to death that something’s already gone wrong—Gory’s found Logan, or Vinnie’s sworn out an arrest warrant on Dad. I count the money from our savings account three times. It’s depressingly little, and I wish I’d spent less money on frivolous things like clothes and iPods over the last few years.

I wonder how much a used Emmy award is going for these days. Certainly not as much as an Oscar statuette with a sordid history. Frankly, I’m shocked that Logan had kept any of Aaron’s things. I guess he still has the capacity to surprise me.

I can’t help but remember helping Duncan flee with baby Lilly; that was amateur hour compared to this. For a fleeting moment, I wonder how he’s doing and where he is. He’s probably an expert at this by now. I pitied him at the time; now I think how courageous he was, to choose this nightmare. We don’t have a choice. He did.

I consult my watch again. Surely they should be here by now. Peeking through the curtains, I check the parking lot. No cabs, but no insane Russian mobsters either.

I’d brought a few pictures with me from our apartment, surprising myself with my sentimentality. Pulling the cheap hardcover King James Bible from the motel’s nightstand, I go to work with some glue and scissors I’d brought for this express purpose. I carefully paste the photos onto the inside front and back covers, and then cover them with the first and last pages of the book, gluing the edges with a precision that borders on obsessive. It would take an extremely diligent investigator to discover that photos were hidden in the Bible. After all, I’m the most suspicious person I know, and I’d thought long and hard before settling on this stratagem.

It feels surprisingly comforting to stow the Bible in the bottom of my backpack.

My dad arrives at the motel in a cab just as Logan returns from the boat broker. Dad packed what we need from Mars Investigations and traveled to San Diego using similarly discreet transportation. Each of us reports that there’s been no sign of a tail and no difficulties in obtaining what we need to leave town. Dad quizzes us thoroughly as to exactly what transpired for each of us while we were apart, and seems satisfied that our precautions have been adequate.

It’s depressing how little of our old lives we’ll be taking. For each of us: one suitcase and a backpack that we’ll always keep on our person, with one change of clothes, a prepaid phone, some fake ID that Dad rustled up quickly, and our money, divided between us in case we get separated.

Weevil’s uncle has found us transportation: a ten-year-old Ford Taurus. Weevil delivers it to the motel in San Diego, swearing up and down that he’s certain he wasn’t followed. Dad crawls under the car, assuring himself that there is no tracking device or anything unusual installed on the undercarriage. The car is grey, high-mileage with a few dents. It’s nothing special, and that’s perfect.

The paperwork is somewhat less than perfect, however, and Weevil warns us that it would be very bad if we got pulled over. The car will suffice until Dad can build us a set of new identities and we can buy something else, with more legitimate paperwork.

I hug Weevil. He tells Logan to take care of me, and cautions us again not to go over the speed limit and to double-check all our running lights every day.

Weevil knows it’s a very bad situation, and he doesn’t give me a hard time about going off with Logan. I’m not sure what he heard about Gory, but Weevil not giving me shit about Logan scares me more than anything.

We’d planned on staying overnight in San Diego before leaving, but none of us feels like sleeping after the stress of the day, and we decide to just go. We each don a quick disguise from Dad’s supplies: a black wig for me, ball cap and glasses for Dad, another wig and a cheesy mustache for Logan. I feel just as strange on the inside as we all look, and I’m terrified that all these ruses aren’t going to do us any good.

Dad’s adamant that we need to stay off the major highways. The secondary roads take forever, but we tell ourselves that it’s safer. Maybe.

At 1:23am, we cross the border into Arizona and leave California behind.

( Continue reading...'Paranoia' )

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-16 04:29 am (UTC)
sarahbrand: a lone figure looking out over a vast ocean (Default)
From: [personal profile] sarahbrand
I vote you continue this, for sure. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-16 04:35 am (UTC)
celtic_flicka: UFO (Default)
From: [personal profile] celtic_flicka
Definitely an intriguing start to a longer story! Also, a more plausibly s4 premise than Veronica in the FBI.

Also, bless you for killing the fish wall hanging. :)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-16 12:49 pm (UTC)
zaftig_goddess: (Default)
From: [personal profile] zaftig_goddess
Well, obviously you know my thoughts on wanting you to continue with this, but, just for clarity, yes you should write more of this.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-16 03:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bekaz13.livejournal.com
Please continue this! I'm loving it so far, as always. =)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-16 04:15 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Well, I don't know how much one person's vote can count, but I have both hands raised for a continuation. I love the way you write Veronica and Logan, so I'd be delighted to see anything you wrote of those two, but especially more of this - the tension's so thick, but so believable, and I kind of feel like I *have* to know what happens.

(Sorry about the anonymity; I'm greyskygirl over at LiveJournal!)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-17 04:08 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I most definitely would like you to continue! Scenarios like this intrigue me & with your talented writing, I am, and know I will continue to enjoy it. :)

PS: I'm snailey over in LJ.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-17 07:08 am (UTC)
jules: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jules
Please continue this! I'm definitely intrigued. I admit, I don't recall the first part, but this is definitely something that is worth continuing.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-17 10:29 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I'm thoroughly enjoying this, please do continue!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-18 10:15 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
i really hope you continue this! i loved precipitation, and i thoroughly enjoyed this too. like someone else has said, this is a waaaay more plausible s4 than that FBI premise. would love to find out what happens next!
thank you so much for writing vm fic. my heart jumps every time i see a post from you.

-sharn.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-20 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Will always read your stories. I like it so far. It's an interesting situation for them.

I feel hesitant about it and I can't put my finger on why. Maybe because I feel like they would not run from their problems, but it is a scary situation with the mob and what he did with destroying the evidence. So their concerns are definitely plausible.

However, I love the idea of a road trip with the three of them. Maybe Logan and Keith can finally bond.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-25 04:19 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Let me be clear, I'm not hesitant about the writing whatsoever. Or the style. Seriously, always love your stuff! It was more about the concept. But that is why I didn't completely enjoy Season 3 there at the end. It was trying to get too big, in scope, you know? With the mob, and then the appearance of bizzaro OOC Jake Kane. And yes, Keith destroying evidence. It all just left me with an unsatisfied WTF feeling. I enjoyed the seedy side of the Neptune Community and the scandal-ridden underbelly, but not the interlopers, like the out of state college students with mobster connections, or floppy hairstyles. Although, I guess they get to go to college too, wherever they please. :-)

But I am loving this journey. It's different from anything else out there. I'm along for the ride, for however far you want to take us! And despite my general "meh" attitude for Season 3, I still love to see where a continuation of canon will take us by a very talented writer.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-22 12:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] boobsnotbombs.livejournal.com
I enjoyed this, but I think the sparseness in language worked better for the first part, Precipitation. I found myself yearning for more details and insight, where as in part one I was satisfied with the lack of description, even preferred it.

I hope that you continue. I'm really enjoying this.

By the way, I didn't find any real inconsistencies in the character. No lack of verisimilitude. Everything rang plausible to me.

I love everything you write so much.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-22 01:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] boobsnotbombs.livejournal.com
Also, in case you were wondering, I would not be opposed if you wanted to include mucho smutiness in future chapters :o) I'm sure it's presumptuous to ask, but I think I've literally read every piece of Veronica/Logan (and Veronica/Mac) of smut out there, even the hideously bad. And your smut makes me happy. Very happy.

Anyway, again - please keep going, even if you're not up for graphic depictions of sex.

Very interesting plot...

Date: 2010-11-23 02:19 am (UTC)
schuylerjo: (Default)
From: [personal profile] schuylerjo
Hi, Vanessa. I enjoyed reading this. I will say it feels different than Precipitation to me, but I have really been depressed by the lack of "future-fic-with-a-plot" available, so I am excited by the idea. Just wondering, why is it so hard to write? Because you don't know where you're going with it? I never really thought they would go on-the-lam...I guess my perception of the trouble they were in wasn't really on that scale and I'm surprised by the direction. But maybe it's because I was so annoyed by the lack of L/V wrap-up. Also, I was always surprised by the direction the show went with things...so I guess it makes it truer to canon!

(no subject)

Date: 2010-11-23 03:29 am (UTC)
jesstherobot: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jesstherobot
Ah, I'm sorry for not replying to this sooner -- I've been getting absolutely murdered by school and have been saving this for a treat. Of course I would love to see more, you cannot leave us hanging there! I'm loving this for the same reason I loved YLD: you have such a way of making our favorite characters actually face and pay for past mistakes. (Your writing style has also evolved a lot since YLD, I think... hope that's not offensive, I mean, YLD was very snappy but the prose here is beautifully clean and tight, so that's a lot of fun.) It seems so probable that they would end up in this horrible bind after the giant fuck-ups of the third season, I love it. I really do hope you'll post more.

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