vanessagalore: (!Precipitation)
[personal profile] vanessagalore
TITLE: Prevarication (4/?)
AUTHOR: [personal profile] vanessagalore
CHARACTER: Veronica, Logan, Keith
WORD COUNT: 3,824
RATING: R for this chapter
SUMMARY: Sometimes it's best to just get the hell out of Dodge. Set right after 'The Bitch Is Back'.
SPOILERS: Spoilers for the whole series, especially season 3.
WARNINGS: 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. All remaining errors are my responsibility.



RECAP OF THE FIRST THREE CHAPTERS: (Highlight to read)

Keith loses the election. Gory breaks into Logan's suite at the Neptune Grand, breaking the fish sculpture and peeing on Logan's bed, and Keith finds out that Vinnie and the DA plan to pursue felony charges against him. They realize that any investigation will cause Veronica's B&E at the Kane mansion to come to light as well. Veronica, Logan, and Keith decide to flee Neptune, and they lay numerous fake trails and drive to the east in a slightly illegal car provided by Weevil. Logan admits Gory punched him in the kidneys in the fight. Once they're on the road, the dismal reality of life on the run begins to sink in, and Veronica seems to see danger everywhere around her. Logan tentatively comforts her when she has a nightmare.



I open my eyes to filtered sun sifting through the motel's cheap drapes. Dad shuts the door and puts a couple plastic shopping bags on the dresser. "Hey, you're awake," he notes as he turns to me, and I jump in alarm when I see his face. Dad's shaved off all his remaining hair and is wearing tinted aviator glasses. And he hasn't shaved his beard for a couple days. I've rarely seen him with so much as a five-o'clock shadow. He's creepy-looking, with that bald head and those odd glasses.

"Ah...good morning," I manage. "You look...ah geez, Dad, you look awful."

"Yeah. Kind of the point, Veronica. People look at the bald head, and they don't look at the face." Dad pulls a box from one of the bags and tosses it onto the bed next to me.

I struggle up onto my elbows and take a look. Brown hair dye. "'Butterscotch Boom', also known as mousy brown."

"Might save your life, sweetheart."

"Yeah, I know. And it's a lot easier than wearing a wig." I throw the covers off and head for the shower.

When I emerge, Logan's sitting on the side of the bed. He smiles at me and goes into the bathroom, his own new hair color in hand.

Dad motions to the chair that he's set up in front of the mirror. He picks up a comb and scissors. "I'm thinking...pretty short. Just below the ears. Your hair's been long for a couple years now. There aren't too many photos of you with short hair. It's our best bet."

I try not to react. Vanity is a luxury we can't afford. I know that...but it's still hard.

Draping a towel around my shoulders, Dad pulls the comb through my hair and gets to work, lopping off a large chunk of brown hair right off the bat. "D'you remember when you were little, and I was the only one you'd let cut your hair?"

"Yeah. I hated that lady at the beauty salon."

He chuckles. "You were already smarter than her at age three, and it pissed her off."

And of course, I remember that, even as a toddler, I couldn't keep my cleverness to myself. The stylist kept going on and on that she couldn't believe I was three because I was so small for my age. She asked Dad what he was feeding me, insinuating that Mom and Dad weren't taking proper care of me. "You know, nutrition's very important for young children. Are you sure she's eating a balanced diet?"

I piped up, "I have a good meTAH-, meTAH-, meTABatoLISm. Maybe you need one of those!!" The plump hairdresser flushed. Turning the chair around with a jerk, she grabbed my head roughly and began to cut my hair, much shorter than Dad had specified. I pulled away from her and began to cry. Dad swooped in and hoisted me in his arms, and we walked out of the salon. At home, he carefully evened out my hair and soothed my tears with a dish of Rocky Road. From then on, until I was eleven, he was in charge of my haircuts.

Dad got pretty good at cutting hair in those years. I watch in the mirror as he carefully combs out a section at a time and snips off the ends.

"Bangs, I think. I know you've been growing them out lately," he says apologetically.

"Yeah, that was a mistake." I close my eyes and the scissors brush lightly against my brow as he works. "Dad...I'm— I'm sorry for all this." The scissors hesitate and then begin cutting again. "Daddy, I screwed up. I'm so sorry. I know this is all my fault. I don't know why I— Oh god."

The scissors clunk on the dresser, and I open my eyes. Dropping to his knees beside the chair, Dad hugs me tightly. "It's going to be okay, Veronica. We're going to get through this. It's not your fault."

I hold on to him and sob, "It is my fault. How can you say that? You gave up everything—"

"Shh. Shh. Hush, Veronica, it's okay." He rocks me a little, and I remember how he used to hold me in his arms every night, reading me a bedtime story, or pretending to let me read the bedtime story to him. 'And goodnight to the old lady, whispering hushhhh.' We'd always draw it out into a ridiculous, long word, a special comfort code we'd use whenever one of us was upset: hushhhh, Daddy. Hushhhh, Veronica.

"I'm sorry. I promise I'm going to make it up to you."

"There's nothing to make up to me." He knuckles the tears from beneath my eyes.

I hate his new look, even without the ludicrous glasses. I want my old dad back, but that's never going to happen.

Logan emerges from the bathroom with black hair. To me, it looks patently fake with his coloring. I remember dressing as 'The White Stripes' for Halloween; this isn't much better. When Logan starts combing his hair in the mirror, Dad walks over and suggests a different part and a new way of combing it. "I think you should let your hair grow long, Logan. You've never had long hair, right?"

Logan nods, scowling at himself in the mirror. "Yeah. Maybe that would be good. It just looks...I don't know, something doesn't look right."

Dad scrutinizes him and nods. "Your eyebrows. They're too light."

"How about a brow pencil? I'm going to need to do that too," I suggest. I dig out my makeup bag, and I go to him and show him how I do it. Logan takes the pencil and begins to darken his brows, and he does look better. But it feels preposterous to see him applying makeup, no matter how unavoidable it is.

I feel sick thinking about doing this for the rest of our lives. How long until he hates me for making this necessary? I swallow hard and try to smile a little at our reflections.

"Thanks," he mutters, motioning with the brow pencil.

"How's your...your bruise?"

"Yeah, it's better today. Thanks. The hot water bottle helped a lot."

"I'm glad. We can heat it up again before we leave. I— I wish you wouldn't keep things from me. Please."

"Yeah. You're right." He keeps his focus on the mirror and the unfamiliar task of darkening his brows. One more clumsy swipe with the pencil, and, with a scowl at his reflection, he asks, "Better?"

"Yeah, but...here, gimme the pencil." I take it from him and feather a few strokes on his brow, blending them with my thumb. "Like this. It'll get easier. Makeup's hard in the beginning." Dad's doing something with some equipment out by the beds and not paying us much attention. So before I can chicken out, I say it again, the whispered words coming out in a rush. I feel like I can never say it enough. "I'm sorry I caused this. I'm so sorry."

"You didn't tell me to beat up Gory. In fact, you tried to tell me not to." He glances over at my dad.

What's that expression on his face? Guilt. He looks guilty. Something's going on with him, I know. "No, Logan...I did this. It's my fault...I've been...I've been like a loose cannon this whole year." Tell me...what aren't you telling me?

"You know, some people might think that you had a pretty good reason to be a loose cannon. You find out that Beaver's a monster who...assaulted you, almost killed you...and then you're in the middle of a rape investigation at Hearst and...and...and your boyfriend's a loser who—"

"No, stop. You're not a loser. You told me you were worried about me. You tried to get me to stop investigating—"

"Yeah. We're pretty messed up, all right." And then he surprises me: he gently tucks a strand of my mousy brown hair behind my ear, the way he always used to. "We're going to get through this, Veronica."

Dad clears his throat. "Everything okay over there? I want to take some new photos and make some new IDs for us, and then hit the road. We still gotta clean up the room, too. Time's a-wasting."

That feeling of panic, never-enough-time, that conviction that someone's always chasing us—that's our new reality.

*****

Just before we leave town, we mail the first one of Logan's Amex $100 gift cards to Arturo Escalante, Avenida Revolución, Cabo San Lucas, with a letter from 'Global Prize Syndicate' announcing, 'You have won our monthly contest! Use this gift card to treat yourself to a fine restaurant or a new cell phone, or anything you'd like.' We'd pulled Arturo's name and address from a Cabo San Lucas newspaper site. Smiling, I imagine Vinnie running down to Baja, trying to track Logan down.

As he drives down the road, leaving Lubbock in the rearview, Dad announces, "We need to go over a couple things about our fake IDs. Logan, you need to understand that's it's a crime to show one of these to a cop. A C felony, just to possess it, in a lot of states. Definitely a misdemeanor."

Logan replies, "Why even have a fake ID then? Let's just go without. We're not going to be doing any underage drinking, that's for sure."

I squirm a little, thinking of all the IDs I made for my friends and Dad busting me for it. Maybe if he'd come down a little harder on me...maybe if he'd insisted a little more on knowing what I was up to...god, I'd thought I knew everything.

Dad explains to Logan, "Look it, there are a lot of times you need ID: for instance, when we rent a motel room, even if we pay cash or use a prepaid credit card. It's too suspicious not to have it in a lot of situations."

"What happens if we get stopped by a cop?"

"If we get pulled over, we're screwed," I butt in. "Period. We gotta be careful when we're driving."

"She's right. A policeman has the right to ask for the ID of anyone driving a car, and probably any of the passengers, too."

"Yeah, but Dad, it's really not legal to ID the passengers—"

"Veronica, we're not here to debate constitutional law. It's pretty damn likely that we're all going to end up in jail if we get pulled over. There are a million reasons that a cop can cite for probable cause when they've pulled over a vehicle. Trust me on this. I've performed hundreds of traffic stops, and I've never had a case thrown out."

Logan mutters, "And by the time we take it to the Supreme Court to argue about probable cause, we'll be dead from Gory's crew in prison anyways."

Dad ignores him. "So, we keep the speed down, we check the running lights and all the necessary safety equipment on the car. We're careful about passing. We don't drive too slowly either, but we stay in the right lane as much as possible."

"What about when we're not driving?" Logan asks. Again, I get that feeling. There's something very bad that he's not telling us. "What if you're just walking, and a cop asks for your ID? For some bullshit reason."

"You politely give him your fake name, and tell him you left your ID at home. Maybe even apologize, say you're sorry that you don't have it on you. If he asks if he can search you or look in your bag, you ask if you're under arrest, and if you're not, you say, 'Officer, I'd like to leave. I'm really sorry, but I don't have any ID on me. I've given you my name, and you don't have a reason to search me.'"

"Jesus. You mean, just walk away...refuse to be searched?"

"Yep. It's your right. He's probably going to follow you though. You better pray he's not having a bad day, because you just pissed him off. And his bullshit detector is going to be on high-alert. But, Logan, he's gotta have a reason to detain you, unless you consent to it. It's called a Terry Stop. He has to have probable cause even to ask you for ID. You'll be fine, just don't— ...Why are you asking?"

"Just...I just don't want to screw up." A sidelong glance out the window—he's way too interested in the scenery: dried-up scrub grass, a few trees, and cookie-cutter suburban homes.

Goddamn it. He's lying. What isn't he telling us?

Dad catches it too. "Why are you asking? Logan, what aren't you telling us?"

Logan says, "Um, technically, um, I'm on probation. It was, uh, after Mercer almost— I mean, you know, when they got arrested for the rapes at Hearst, and you know, they tried to hurt Veronica?... I took a baseball bat to one of the sheriff's department cruisers, so I'd get thrown into lockup with Mercer and Moe. And then..." He sees Dad's face, stone-cold furious, and stops.

"And then what? You beat them up? In the Neptune jail?"

I don't think I've seen Dad this angry since Jake Kane lied to him while Dad was investigating Lilly's murder. "Dad!"

Defensive as hell, Logan retorts, "Yeah, I beat them up! I paid a fine and I had a suspended sentence. Criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, big fucking deal. It was worth it to smash their faces in."

Stubborn, reckless Logan...I remember him mouthing off to his father just like this when the four of us had been caught raiding the Echolls liquor cabinet freshman year. Consequences be damned, as usual. I feel nauseous thinking about the risk he'd taken to exact vengeance for me. A police car? Voluntarily going to jail, after the hell he'd been through senior year when under suspicion for Felix's murder?

And I hadn't even know that he'd done it.

That makes three times he's beat up someone on my behalf: Mercer and Moe, Piz, and Gory. Four times if you count the ATF agent. Crap. Each time he hadn't hesitated; he weighed the consequences for about a second and decided that the feel of the skin of his knuckles breaking on someone's face was worth whatever would happen to him.

There's an exit ramp just ahead, and Dad accelerates, obviously trying to get off the thruway as quickly as possible. The car lurches and the tires squeal as he takes the right turn at the bottom of the ramp a little too fast.

I clutch the armrest as the car careens around the corner.  "Dad, you're...you're gonna get a ticket. What happened to being careful about our driving? Daddy, please, you're scaring me!"

Ignoring me, he turns right again into a residential neighborhood and pulls the car over to the side of the road, slamming the gear shift into 'park' as the car stops with a jerk.

Dad's voice is brusque, a tone I've never heard before, but it's a timbre I bet many offenders grew to know well when he was sheriff. That's exactly what Logan's become now, an offender. "You purposely wrecked a squad car? And then you assaulted your fellow prisoners in lockup?"

"Yeah, I told you, I'm on probation. Informal probation, they called it. I don't even have to check in with a probation officer."

"So you're telling me that I'm abetting a fugitive? What are the exact requirements of your probation? Are you allowed to leave the jurisdiction?"

"It's not a problem. I completed the anger management classes, and did fifty AA meetings in ninety days. Kept my grades up, too. Everybody was happy because I was getting my shit together. I asked the probation officer if I could go to South America to go surfing this summer and he said it would be fine. He's cool—he's so starstruck by me being the son of the fabulous Aaron Echolls that he—"

"It was okay for you to go to South America because you asked him. What about a UA? Have they been doing random drug testing on you?

"No, I told you, I don't have to check in, the P.O. is cool—"

"Don't you get it? All that has to happen now is Vinnie contacts your P.O. and tells him to have you come in, and, when you don't show up, BOOM! you're violated! You're now in violation of your probation and they can swear out a warrant for you. Suspended sentence, don't you understand what that means?! They can reopen your case now and sentence you to the whole goddamned kit and caboodle—what was it, a year's suspended sentence?"

"Yeah, a year! I didn't realize—"

"You didn't think. Just like you didn't think when you started whaling on a fucking mobster!"

"Yeah, you're right. I didn't think. I just—" He looks at me. I recognize the regret on his face; it's the same as mine. "I'm sorry. I'll get the hell out of your lives now."

Logan jumps out of car with only his backpack and starts walking.

"Dad, stop him! You can't let him go off on his own! He'll be dead in a week."

"Veronica, this is very, very bad. He doesn't ever think before he flies off the handle! He should have told us about this before we left Neptune. He didn't open his mouth about being on probation. There's probably already a warrant for him in the system. If Gory's smart, he had Logan's criminal record investigated and now some lowlife P.I. is just waiting for Logan to jaywalk—"

"You're signing his death warrant."

"Did you know about this? Did you know he was on probation? Veronica...tell me that you didn't know about this!"

"No, I didn't know! He never told me. I mean...I heard a rumor that Mercer and Moe got beat up in the holding cell. I guess I assumed that someone didn't like rapists. I didn't talk to Logan for weeks after they were arrested. We were broken up, remember?"

I'm overcome by guilt again. Why didn't I know what happened? I thought I was supposed to be some kind of superstar teen detective. Even after we got back together, I didn't ever find out that he was on probation. Was he peeing in a cup when I had my back turned? I try to think back, considering whether there were times when he was being secretive about where he was going.

And I realize: he was always being evasive, the whole year, whether we were together or not. He'd tell me about a last-minute weightlifting 'midterm exam', or forget to tell me about a trip to Aspen—oh god, don't go there, Veronica—or surreptitiously visit a secret poker game or a hedonistic frat party that would have repulsed me. Sometimes it felt like he was pushing my buttons, testing just how pathologically suspicious I'd be.

Dad muses, "Yeah, I heard that rumor about Mercer and Moe too. To be frank, I didn't care too much about their safety at that point. But it's funny how for once Lamb kept his mouth shut. You'd think the paparazzi would have gotten a hold of the news of Logan's arrest."

"I'm sure that Logan made it worth his while—a donation to the sheriff's department little league team, something like that—to keep it out of the tabloids." Focus, Veronica. Logan's out there by himself. "Dad, you can't do this. We can't leave him on his own. He doesn't have the first idea what to do on the run. You heard him—he barely gets the concept of disinformation with burn phones and maildrops. He needs us."

Dad is silent and refuses to look at me.

"Dad, please." I look out the window, trying to see where Logan went. Panicked, I realize he's out of sight already.

"Veronica. That whole long night back in Neptune, when we talked about whether we should run? He never thought that it might be a little bit relevant to tell us that he was on probation?"

"It doesn't matter. He won't make it without us."

"He's going to have to. He's jeopardizing your safety, Veronica. I can't accept that. I'm sorry."

Dad's completely right. It was grievously bad judgment for Logan not to tell us about his situation, and it means that it's going to be twice as hard for us to disappear.

I make up my mind. "I'm going with him. Logan screwed up, but this is my fault. I caused this, I caused all of this. I can't abandon him. I'm sorry. I love you, Dad."

I know that if I slow down to hug him goodbye, I won't be able to go. So I just leave.  Grabbing my backpack, I jump out of the car and run after Logan. When I reach the main road, I look for him frantically, but he seems to have disappeared. Finally, I spot him a hundred feet down the road with his thumb stuck out for a ride, and I run to catch up with him.

He sees me and begins to walk away purposely. "Veronica, go away. Your dad's right. I'm a liability."

"I'm the liability. I'm the one that brought all this down on us!"

A car pulls up beside us, braking sharply to a stop. I almost scream, thinking for a second that Gory's caught up to us.

Dad says tersely through the open window, "Get in the car, and we'll talk about this. Right now! Both of you. If we make a scene here—we're all dead." He motions with his head. "People are already noticing. Goddamn it, get in the car and we'll work it out."

We comply, piling into the backseat as quickly as we can, and he drives in silence, making several turns before doubling back. I realize he's checking for a tail and maybe cops, and I'm so rattled by all this that it didn't even cross my mind that that might be necessary. How in the hell are we going to do this if I can't hold it together?

I brush tears from my eyes and look at Logan. Staring out the window, he's rigid, with obvious tension in his shoulders. He hasn't said a word since he declared himself a liability.

Dad pulls into the parking lot of a large supermarket. Stopping the car, he turns around to face us. "I don't see any security cameras. Let's talk. Logan, I want you to tell me exactly what you did and what happened in court. And then I think we're going to have to take a chance and call Cliff and see just what's going on with your probation."

I reach out for Logan's hand to comfort him, but he pulls away and begins to tell us what happened.

Continue reading...Probation

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-01 07:35 pm (UTC)
celtic_flicka: UFO (Default)
From: [personal profile] celtic_flicka
Oo, I totally forgot about the repercussions from the baseball bat incident! Interesting...

I also must say, since I know you've been working on it, your writing is getting better and better. The wording is tighter, and your descriptions are really vivid.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-05 05:55 pm (UTC)
medjunkie: (Default)
From: [personal profile] medjunkie
I did a longer comment, which seems to have got lost in hyper space, so will summarise. Am still really relishing this, liked the whole complication of Logan being on probation, and Love shipper heart was delighted by Veronica's decision to go after Logan.
I see from one of your replies, that you particularly like following up on an event that happened in Cannon, and seeing where you can take it, as a reader, I like this too, because it the show had a habbit of barely touching on things that other shows would have devoted a few episodes to :)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-01 07:41 pm (UTC)
jesstherobot: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jesstherobot
Ah, the baseball bat incident! I had totally forgotten about that. You really don't let the characters get away with anything at all.

It's so fun to have a new ongoing fic from you. Fills the void in my life that was left when YLDII ended. :P

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-01 08:57 pm (UTC)
sarahbrand: a lone figure looking out over a vast ocean (Default)
From: [personal profile] sarahbrand
The plot thickens! And it's completely in character for Logan, too.

Reading this is making me want to watch the show again, but my DVDs are a couple hundred miles away. Boo.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-04 05:57 am (UTC)
sarahbrand: a lone figure looking out over a vast ocean (Default)
From: [personal profile] sarahbrand
(Blah, I'm in the middle of finals now, and so I might as well wait until I go home for break. It'd be tempting at any other time of year, though!)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-01 09:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] atomic89.livejournal.com
Loving the story so far. I'm glad your back writing VM fic as I really enjoyed "The Year of Living Dangerously".

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-03 09:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] love-is-epic.livejournal.com
I've just had the opportunity to read this and let me first say that I SO glad you decided to continue on with it!

I love how raw it is - of course you have that natural talent that shows up in all your fics. I feel like I am right there with them the whole way. The whole fic rings so completely true with no apologies - which consequently is why I love your writing so much.

I always feel like I need to be completely invested when I sit down to read something of yours because it drags me in like no other. Please continue tapping away at those keys! I will continue to bow down to your supreme skills of not just writing, but carrying me with you on your character's journeys.

Thanks for sharing : )

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-03 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] love-is-epic.livejournal.com
Oh, and I forgot to mention that I LOVED that Veronica was going to go with Logan and choose him for once.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-04 05:01 am (UTC)
afrocurl: (Default)
From: [personal profile] afrocurl
Logan and that baseball bat. *drools*

I really love this whole thing and the way that all those little moments from the show are biting them all in the ass.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-04 06:18 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] boobsnotbombs
Read this up at fanfiction.net a few days ago, but I wanted to save my review here.

I really like how slowly Veronica and Logan's relationship is developing - very believable. I hope the probation thing doesn't really fuck them up. I can only take so much bad news and conflict! I'm really interested in seeing what their lives are like once they settled down a bit. I think you could do some really great stuff with Veronica and Logan working. I'd love to see Logan as a bartender. Or a waiter. Or a landscaper. Whatever. I think seeing how they live their underground lives, and I soak up all the details.

Keep up the good work :o)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-12-06 01:35 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
O. M. G! I never even thought about the implications of beating up Moe and Mercer! You are so awesome at catching the loose ends.

I'm so tense after that chapter. Wow!

WilcoRules

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