Author's Note: written for the Variation of a Plot challenge on LJ. The plot was two characters who are attracted to each other but in denial are confined in close quarters. I chose Troy/Veronica because I loved Troy and I'm saddened that there's not more fics about him.

Make My Troubles Disappear

"Do me a favor."

Veronica paused in the crowded hallway of Bentley Hall when she heard the words she had uttered numerous times before herself. She turned around and saw Troy Vandegraff standing behind her.

"What do you want, Troy?" she asked, hitching her messenger bag up higher on her shoulder.

"I need you to do me a favor."

"Sorry," she replied, pasting a sunny smile on her face. "I'm fresh out of favors today. Try again later, say in a couple years or so."

She turned and started walking away, and he hurried to catch up with her.

"I'm serious," he said. "I…kinda got into some trouble and I need your help with something."

"Isn't that the story of your life, you getting in trouble and needing someone to bail you out?"

"Can you just stop for a minute?" he asked, grabbing her elbow, forcing her to stop walking.

She sighed and looked up at him. "I really don't have the time right now to fix your boo-boos and make them all better. You'll have to find someone else. Or, you know, stop screwing up."

"Look, Veronica, it's not like that." He glanced around, taking in the groups of people streaming by them. "Can we go somewhere and talk about this?"

"No." She stood firmly in place, crossing her arms over her chest.

"Veronica…" he said, almost pleading.

She looked up at him, wishing she had slipped out of her psychology class a few minutes earlier, so she wouldn't have had to stand here and try to resist Troy Vandegraff and his pleading, puppy dog eyes. She had gotten sucked in by those eyes before, and not just his. She thought of the times Logan and Weevil had flashed similar looks at her and she'd been powerless to resist them. Just like she was now.

She motioned for him to follow her to a secluded spot near the rear of Bentley Hall. "Talk," she demanded.

He glanced around again to make sure no one was nearby. "Uh, well, I'm not supposed to be telling anyone this, but I'm pledging the Pi Sigs."

"Good for you. I'm sure you'll fit right in with them."

"The thing is," he went on, ignoring her sarcastic tone, "one of my pledge tasks was to steal Dean Harlow's record book. You know, that one she carries all around with all these notes about the students here?"

"I'm not helping you steal it."

"I already did it. I had to take it, make a photocopy, and then return it to her desk drawer. So I did the first two, and now I just need help getting it back into her office."

"So you want me to help you break into the Dean's office just so you can join some frat? Uh uh, try again."

"Come on, Veronica, I really need your help. If I don't return it, I won't get into the Pi Sigs. And if I get caught, they're not even going to have my back, they're going to act like they had nothing to do with it. I could get kicked out of school."

"And what makes you think I can break into her office?"

"You're some kind of PI, right, you can do those things. And Mac told me how you broke into the principal's office to get something of hers back."

Veronica didn't say anything for a moment. She knew she should tell Troy to get lost, that he'd gotten himself into this mess and that he'd have to find his way out of it. She remembered how humiliated she had felt the time she'd found out he'd been lying to her and that their relationship was mostly just a joke. He was the first person she'd let get close to her following Lilly's death and she had vowed that she would never let herself get tricked like that again.

That's why she had been reluctant to help clear him of the rape charges during the "Get to Know Hearst" weekend and why she hadn't been all that eager to become friendly with him when she realized they'd both be going to Hearst, especially after he and Wallace had become such good friends. Wallace was always telling her that Troy wasn't all that bad of a guy and that she should at least try to be nice to him. Veronica decided she should just try to keep her ex-boyfriends far away from Wallace in the future. They always ended up becoming friendly and she had to hear the "he's not that bad" speech from her best friend. He'd done the same thing with Logan, and now he was doing it with Troy. She knew she'd probably never hear the end of it if Wallace found out she hadn't helped Troy.

She took a deep breath, knowing she would probably regret her decision. "Fine," she said. "I'll help you. Meet me outside the dean's office tonight at ten. That's right when the night classes are ending, so the building shouldn't be locked then."

He grinned at her. "Thanks, Veronica. You're a lifesaver."

She shrugged and prepared to walk away.

"Hey, you want to go get some lunch or something?" He paused, noting the look on her face. "I guess not. See you tonight, all right?" He grinned at her and walked off.

"You're late," she snapped as he walked up to her outside Bentley Hall.

"Jeez, only like a couple minutes late. I was working on a paper."

"I bet," she said, rolling her eyes. "Let's go."

They started walking into the building. There were just a few students milling around, having just gotten out of their night classes.

"I'm serious," Troy said. "I've got this ten-page paper about Freud due tomorrow and I've only got like half a page done."

"Aww, poor Troy, so many troubles, so little time."

He grinned at her as they rounded the corner to Dean Harlow's office. "Give me a kiss, make all my troubles disappear?"

She whipped her head around to give him a snappy reply, but the grin on his face caused her to smile slightly. "You need to find a new line," she said.

They stopped outside the dean's office door, after checking to make sure there was no one around. She pressed her ear up against the door and decided that there wasn't anyone inside. She took out her lock-picking kit and got to work.

"Impressive," he said when she had the door open in less than a minute.

She shrugged. "Dump the book on her desk and let's go," she replied.

He glanced around quickly one more time, then disappeared into the office. "It's locked," she heard him say a moment later.

"What are you talking about?" she asked, stepping into the room.

"I'm supposed to put it back in her desk drawer, but it's locked."

"Just leave it on her desk."

"But I'm not supposed to! It's supposed to go back in her drawer."

Veronica stared at him for a moment, wondering whether she should take out her taser and buzz some sense into him, or simply just walk out and let him figure his mess out on his own.

"Look, Troy," she said, walking towards him. "I'm not about to…"

"Shh," he said and paused. "Do you hear that?"

She stood still and listened carefully. She could hear heels clicking and a female voice getting closer to the door.

"It's Dean Harlow!" she said.

Troy glanced around. "What do we do?"

She grabbed his arm and pulled him into a closet, shutting the door firmly behind them. It was extremely cramped and they were surrounded by coats and boxes on the floor.

They listened as Dean Harlow entered the office, and they could hear a male's voice with her.

"Who's that?" Troy asked and Veronica quietly shushed him as she tried to listen more carefully.

"I think it's Professor Brown," she whispered.

They then heard the office door close, followed by some giggling and the smacking sound of kissing lips.

"Are they, like, making out?" Troy whispered.

Veronica stifled a laugh. "I think they're doing a lot more than making out," she replied as they heard a loud smack followed by a giggle.

"I cannot believe that's Dean Harlow," she added.

"Hey, even older chicks need a little slap and tickle every now and then," Troy told her. "Makes them less uptight. You should try it sometime."

"Are you saying I'm uptight?" Without waiting for an answer, she started rummaging through her messenger bag, her movements limited due to their cramped space.

"What are you doing?" he asked her.

"Looking for my taser."

This time he did laugh quietly and she could feel his chest vibrating against hers. She realized then just how close they were standing, with her pressed up against him. She could smell the spicy scent of his cologne. She glanced up and saw him staring down at her. She quickly glanced away, wishing she could also put some space between them. She did not like the way being this close to him was making her feel.

"Hey, Veronica," Troy said, his voice a bit huskier than before. "Do you think that we could…you know, if maybe I were to ask you out…?"

"Not a chance," she replied, praying for Dean Harlow and Professor Brown to hurry up, but it seemed like they were still going at it.

"You know, we had some good times when we dated before."

"You mean the time when you were lying to me and had another girlfriend, not to mention the fact that you were dealing drugs?"

"I've changed a lot since then," he told her. "Honestly. I told you I've been in counseling and all that."

Veronica didn't say anything for a moment. He had told her that numerous times before. Ever since the beginning of the school year, when he'd started eating lunch with her, Mac, and Wallace in the campus cafeteria. And then when he'd started walking to class with them, joining their study groups, and sitting with her and Mac in the bleachers while they'd watch Wallace's basketball games. He seemed sincere enough, but she still didn't know if she was ready to trust him.

At first, he would ask her out and she would always turn him down. After her on-again, off-again relationship with Logan during the summer, they were "off-again" at the beginning of the semester. After her amicable break up with him, she had decided to put off dating for awhile. Especially dating bad boys. She'd had enough of them.

She looked up at him again and found him still staring intensely down at her. He then leaned down and kissed her, his lips moving lightly against hers. She started to pull away, until she remembered what a good kisser he was. Not quite as skilled with his tongue as Logan, but better than Duncan or Leo. Her eyes instinctively closed and she let herself melt into the kiss. They kissed until she heard a door slam and she pulled away. She and Troy were silent for a few moments as their heavy breathing filled the air.

"I think they left," he said.

She nodded. "We should still wait here a couple more minutes just to make sure," she replied.

"Yeah, that's what I was thinking, too." He moved back in to kiss her again, but she turned her head.

"What's wrong?" he asked.

She shook her head. "Not gonna happen, Troy."

"You seemed to be into it a minute ago."

"A rare, weak moment."

They waited in silence for a few minutes, then left the closet. Troy dropped the book onto the desk, then they left the office, Veronica locking the door back behind them.

They started walking out of the building towards the parking lot.

"Thanks," Troy said, once they'd stopped by her car. "Like I said, you're a lifesaver."

"Don't mention it," she replied. "And I mean that. Don't ever mention it again because I don't ever plan on doing something like it again."

He grinned at her and she couldn't help but smile back. "That offer still stands, you know. If you ever want to go get something to eat together…"

"We eat together all the time. Me, you, Mac, and Wallace."

He nodded begrudgingly. "Right. So I guess I'll see you at lunch tomorrow." He held out his hand and she reluctantly shook it, much like she had after their very first date. He started walking away.

She unlocked her car door, then paused for a moment before getting in. Taking a deep breath, she called his name.

He stopped walking and turned around. "Yeah?"

"If you were to ask me again…you know, about us getting something to eat together…I might say yes. Maybe."

He flashed her that grin again. "I'll keep that in mind." He winked at her and walked away.