vanessagalore: (!Precipitation)
[personal profile] vanessagalore
TITLE: Precipice (11/?)
AUTHOR: [personal profile] vanessagalore
CHARACTERS: Veronica, Logan, Keith
RATING: PG13/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 [ profile] zaftig_darling and [personal profile] boobsnotbombs. All remaining errors are my responsibility.

1~Precipitation 2~Precarious 3~Paranoia 4~Prevarication 5~Probation 6~Predicament 7~Paradox 8~Please 9~Perilous 10~Palpitation


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.

Once they're on the road, the dismal reality of life on the run begins to sink in. Logan reveals that he's on probation for beating up Mercer and Moe in the Neptune jail. Keith, feeling Logan is endangering them, wants Logan to go on his own, but Veronica chases after Logan, and Keith reluctantly decides to keep going as a team. Logan tells them about his preliminary hearing and his plea agreement, and Veronica realizes that the party in Aspen when Logan slept with Madison was right before Logan's hearing. They reach out to Cliff back in Neptune and find out that Vinnie has filed charges for Keith's crimes, and, more ominously, Gory has filed a complaint on Logan for having assaulted him in the food court. Logan's probation has officially been revoked, and both he and Keith are listed on the NCIC computer system used by law enforcement.

When Keith leaves on a mysterious errand, Logan and Veronica comfort each other, talking about some of their mistakes and misunderstandings. Keith returns, reeking of scotch, with newspapers and tabloids, and they search for any mention of themselves. But they've been pushed off the front page by the escapades of Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton, and the only mention is a small article about Logan in the 'Weekly World News', a trashy tabloid. Later that night, Logan and Veronica find each in the motel bathroom and reunite, in an episode fraught with tentativeness and memories of old times, bad and good.

Keith privately tells Veronica he knows about the bathroom encounter, and is surprisingly calm—on the surface. He tells Logan and Veronica that he feels that they haven't been cautious enough, and they will not only have to work harder on their disguises, but he is also purchasing weapons for all three of them. They split up, and when Keith and Veronica go to pick up Logan, they see him being arrested, while an elderly woman is being treated by paramedics.

Keith and Veronica mount a daring rescue of Logan. With Veronica driving, they flee the scene. They successfully manage to trick the police into thinking they're heading east on the highway, but instead backtrack to a parking garage not far from where Logan was arrested.

When I start crying, Dad gets out of the back seat and comes around to the driver's side. He opens my door and pulls me into his arms. "It's okay, honey, it's okay. We're going to be okay."

Logan gets out of the car and says, "I'm so sorry—"

I turn to him violently. "Can't you ever shut up?" And I start sobbing even harder.

Dad pats my back and squeezes me tighter. "Shh. Shh. Veronica. You've got to pull it together. We have a lot to do. Come on. We're all right now."

For now, I think. We're hunkered down five minutes from where it all went down, hoping that the cops have been lured into following a gray Taurus east on US-82. And so far, Dad's plan seems to have worked. But we can't stay here forever.

"I'm okay," I mutter and pull away.

"Mr. Mars, I think you just aced me out of my bad boy title. You make a really good criminal."

Dad laughs. Rolling my eyes, I ask, "Seriously, Logan, do you ever keep quiet?"

"It's not really my forte, as you know—"

Dad interrupts, "Okay. Focus. We've got to get new transportation and do a few other things." He looks in the back seat and pulls out the Walmart bags. "You got the electric shaver I wanted?"

"Yeah, it's in there. Plus I got a great outfit for you, ZZ Top meets shitkicker farmer." Logan paws through the bags, coming up triumphantly with a box labeled Braun.

"And the batteries?"

Logan nods. "Uh, Mr. Mars?" He holds up his left wrist, which still has a cuff locked around it. "I think this exquisite bracelet might be a dead giveaway."

"Right, of course. Sit up on the trunk so I can see the lock as well as possible." Dad roots around in the back seat, finding the lock picks that went flying when I veered onto the highway at full speed. "Got 'em." As he returns to Logan, he sorts through the ring of different sized lock picks, finding the one that had worked before. "Veronica...clean off the marker from the license plates."

I frown. I'd assumed that we were going to dump the car and hadn't expected that we'd bother with the altered plates, but I don't argue. This is Dad's show, and he's made it completely clear to us that he's the only chance we've got to get out of this without being arrested or killed. I assume that he's thinking that anything confusing the picture here in El Dorado might give us a little more time to get away. Grabbing the package of Wet Ones from the front seat, I restore the front license plate to its original state. "Logan, what the hell happened back there?"

"That old lady had a heart attack. There were people standing around—no one would do anything except call 911. I— I'm sorry, she wasn't breathing, and I know CPR because Dick and I took a class in case if we ever got in trouble surfing, you know, and so—"

"It's okay," Dad says. "We understand. You couldn't stand there and do nothing."

"Then somebody recognized me while I was doing chest compressions. I didn't answer them—they kept asking me if I was Logan Echolls—I just kept my mouth shut and ignored them. But I couldn't stop, I couldn't just walk away. She still wasn't breathing; she didn't revive until the paramedics got there and took over. I tried to slink away, but someone told the cop who I was, and he grabbed me as I was leaving. When I refused to show him ID, he arrested me."

"He must have radioed in your name and found out about the felony charges," Dad comments.

"Yeah. Just my luck that the one person in Arkansas who reads the 'Weekly World News' was there."

The license plate is back to its pristine state, and I stand up and head to the rear of the car, my eyes meeting Logan's as I walk.

Logan says again, "I don't understand why you didn't just leave me there. You should have left me."

Dad doesn't reply, just keeps working the lock pick in the handcuff. I scrub at the rear plate diligently, not knowing what to say. As I finish the job, Dad finally gets the cuff off Logan's wrist, and my lovable jackass jumps off the trunk.

"Okay. Back in the car, both of you." Dad takes the wheel this time. After backing out the car from the space, he turns and heads back down into the parking garage until we begin to see parked cars again. "Both of you...look around for cameras."

"I don't see any," I say. It's another thing I didn't even think about. I've never been more glad that my dad is smart and calm in a crisis.

Dad drives slowly, looking at each car. He pauses at a Honda Civic with a bike rack and a multitude of stickers advertising national parks and bicycle clubs, but ultimately he shakes his head and moves on. Another car, a extremely dirty GMC Jimmy SUV with two child seats in the rear seems to interest him, but again he moves on. Finally, he nods his head, apparently satisfied. Popping our trunk, he parks next to a Chrysler Sebring coupe and gets out to peer in the driver's window. "No alarm light. And a full tank of gas."

We get out of the car and look with him. The car looks to be about ten years old, tan, very clean. It's a very middle-of-the-road car—no flash, nothing to draw attention.

"I guess we're not planning to outrun the cops," Logan remarks.

"It's okay not to express everything you're thinking, you know," I say under my breath. He hears me and looks stricken, and I flush. I don't understand why I'm so aggravated at him—it wasn't his fault that lady had a heart attack. But his flip remarks when there's trouble always drive me crazy. 'I suppose I would have had some 'splainin' to do.' I mutter, "I'm sorry. Just try to focus."

Dad pops the trunk and finds a bag of tools. Handing both me and Logan a screwdriver and pliers, he says, "Veronica, switch the plates from the Taurus with some other car—a California car would be a bonus but I don't think we'll get that lucky. Logan, once I'm in the new car and we know there's not an alarm, you're going to switch the Sebring's plates with another Arkansas car. Try to find another Chrysler if you can. Switching the plates might buy us a little more time, and I'm afraid we're going to need it."

I kneel down by the bumper and begin to struggle with the screws on the Taurus's plates as Dad retrieves his Slim-Jim and starts sliding it down into the driver's side window of the Sebring's door. A few passes with the slender metal device, and he's popped the locks. I hold my breath, expecting a raucous alarm despite Dad's assurances. Dad snorts. "Chrysler. The easiest car to steal in America. No wonder Detroit's such a mess."

He's more confident than I am. I've seen him in action a million times when chasing a bail jumper, but this is insane.

Dad opens the trunk on the Chrysler. "Once you've got the plates done, I want you guys to put everything you can from our car's trunk into the back seat. Then take everything out of the Chrysler's trunk, even the spare, and put it into the Taurus's trunk. We're going to need the room."

"Wait...what's going in the trunk?" I ask.

"You and Logan." Logan and I exchange a glance. Dad raises his eyebrows. "And Echolls, don't pretend you're not thrilled to be alone with my daughter in the dark."

Logan blushes a deep red. Dad exhales a soft laugh at his expression and, popping the hood, gets to work on hot-wiring the car. Logan glances at me and mouths, "He knows?" and I nod, holding one finger to my lips. For once today, Logan keeps quiet.

While we're transferring everything between the two cars, Dad begins working in the engine compartment. I see him looking around carefully and then pulling at wiring, and I hope he knows what he's doing. Gauging the room in the trunk, I decide that a few obvious office machines, like the printer and the laminator, should go in the back with us to stay out of sight of curious eyes, and our backpacks and the blankets will go in the trunk as well to help cushion us while we're riding.

Getting back in the car, Dad sets the parking brake and puts the car in neutral. With a screwdriver inserted into the plastic covering on the steering column, he unlocks the wheel with a sharp thrust and then locates the solenoid in the starter assembly. He fumbles with wires, finally attaching two terminals with pliers, and the car turns over and starts running.

"I didn't know you knew how to hot-wire a car," I say, arranging boxes and suitcases in the new car's backseat to look as unobtrusive as possible. I put the police band radio under the front seat where Dad can reach it if he wants.

"Yeah." Dad is still fussing with wires under the steering wheel. He straightens up, and I see the exhaustion and stress on his face for just a moment before he resumes his mask of calm competence.

Logan says, "Seriously. You're like a master criminal."

"Do you know where the red suitcase is?" Dad asks. I point, and Dad finds the suitcase with our disguises and roots around inside it. "Logan, can you put the batteries into the new shaver for me while I do this?" Dad finally finds what he's looking for and holds it up.

"Oh no." I wince. "Not Aunt Mildred."

"Who's Aunt Mildred?" Logan asks, intent upon his assigned task with the electric shaver.

Dad shows him an extremely large bra form, a hefty girdle, a gray curly wig, and a flowered dress. "I am. You got that shaver ready?"

"Yeah," Logan says, a little stunned. "Uh, Mr. Mars, you know, we still have some cash sewn into the back seat of the Taurus."

"Right...hurry up and get that, will you? And while you're at it, do a final idiot check, make sure we got everything out of the old car, and then park it away from here, so they don't automatically associate it with this one when the owner discovers it's gone."

Logan nods and goes to work, ripping the seam in the back seat of the Taurus without finesse and pawing through the glove box and underneath the seats for anything we might have overlooked. He starts up the car and drives down into the garage.

Meanwhile, Dad strips down to his boxers and dons the fake breasts, girdle and dress. He sits in the Sebring passenger seat to use the mirror as he shaves his four-day-old beard.

"Dad, there's...there's probably DNA evidence going everywhere—" I say hesitantly as the shaver buzzes. I imagine his razor stubble carpeting the floor of the Sebring and some weenie CSI vacuuming it up and putting it under a microscope.

"It can't be helped. Veronica, can you find the makeup kit? I'm going to need you to do my face for me to save time. And grab the map so I can look at it while you work."

By the time I've come up with the makeup kit, Dad's finished shaving. I begin applying thick pancake makeup on his face, working as quickly as I can, and Dad peers closely at the map. I can almost see him trying out each possible route and then discarding it as he assesses the dangers. And then somehow while he's doing all this, he also begins talking—my dad, the multitasker.

He keeps his voice down, and I realize he sent Logan to move the car so he'd have a moment alone with me. "Veronica. Do you remember the Hanrahans, the couple that went on the lam with two million in bearer bonds? About three years ago—took me forever to track them down, and I only found them because I got lucky."

"Dad, no!" My hand grasping the makeup sponge begins to shake and I stop.

He pats my arm reassuringly, and I try to continue with his disguise. "Honey, it's the only way. We have to split up. You're going to have to explain it to Logan while you're in the trunk together. I'm going to try to get us through the roadblocks, and then—"

"I get it. I understand."

"It's going to be okay."

I don't know what to say. Nothing about this is all right.

Why the hell didn't I leave it alone when the 'Emission to Mars' video came out?

Dad sees how upset I am—I must look like a wreck, with my eyes filled with tears and dark circles underneath from lack of sleep...stupid brunette hair and bangs and a little girl's glittery T-shirt. Caressing my cheek, he whispers, "Veronica, honey...always remember that I love you. We're all going to be okay. I'm going to get us through this." I nod and finish putting rouge on Dad's cheeks, finally handing him the lipstick to put on himself.

He adjusts the gray wig and applies the lipstick, frowning a little. "I don't have time to shave my legs and arms or put on nylons. But I'll be all right as long as I don't have to get out of the car." Dad pulls on a pair of low-heeled shoes, in a very unfeminine manner with widespread legs and a knee propped up on the other.

It used to make me giggle when he dressed up as 'Aunt Mildred'. But now, I'm just hoping the ruse will work.

Logan walks back up. He looks at Dad and cringes.  "Sorry, Mr. Mars, but you are a truly ugly woman." Motioning with his thumb, he adds, "The car's all squared away."

Dad checks his watch. "We've been here too long already. 12:30—we've got about four and a half hours before somebody might report this car stolen after they get out of work, if we're lucky. We've got to get moving."

"Dad! Your watch," I exclaim.

"Damn it." He takes off his heavy gold watch, stowing it in a ladies handbag that's part of the disguise, and pulls the long frilly sleeves of his dress down to his wrists. Fumbling in the handbag, he comes up with a set of nonprescription glasses, a beaded necklace, clip-on earrings, and a matched set of wedding and engagement rings to complete his outfit. Dad tugs at the wig, giving me a quizzical look, and I nod that he looks fine.

Logan's right. Dad is now a very unattractive woman in her seventies, a little overweight and not very stylish. The flowery dress has a high collar that hides his Adam's apple. Aunt Mildred has snared several bail jumpers over the years. Dad's even learned to knit, although his large hands give him away when you get up close.

Dad says, "Let's go. In the trunk. Logan first."

After dropping the Taurus's car keys into Dad's outstretched hand, Logan gingerly climbs in and lies down. Without prompting, I follow him, lying on my side, my back to his front. Dad tosses in a bottle of water. There's a last glimpse of Dad in his ridiculous getup, and then the trunk lid closes and everything is dark. We hear the car door close with a loud thunk, and then the car revs and begins moving.

Continue reading...'Perspiration'.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-30 11:37 pm (UTC)
afrocurl: (Lyrics - Lack of Color)
From: [personal profile] afrocurl
Part of me really hopes that Logan and Veronica are the ones to be separated from Keith, but I'm not really sure at this point.

Hopefully the disguise will help them gain some more distance.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-02 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I really liked this chapter. Keith dressing as a woman is hilarious even though they are in a tough situation. Logan really does talk a lot which makes him endearing!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-06-02 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Love the idea of Keith as Aunty Mildred, and his impressive skills, some one you would want on your side. Not sure how you are going to split them up, but will wait and see. As ever the writing is taut and well plotted. I like the juxtaposition of Veronica feeling vulnerable and a little pathetic with having to wear little girl clothes, which furthe undermine her confidence. Its always good to read a Veronica who is capable of reflecting on her actions, but I can't help feeling sorry for her


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