Episode One: Tabula Rasa - Ensemble - 12
Title: Season Three – Episode One: Tabula Rasa
Author: fickledame
Rating: There may be character death, bad language, dark themes and possibly sex all somewhere down the line.

Characters: All main cast.
Word Count: Every episode will differ, but this one is 5420.
Summary: This is the first episode in a planned ten episode season three. It's totally plotted out, and I planned to completely finish the whole thing before posting, but I'm afraid I can no longer resist.
Spoilers: You should have seen season one and two. There are no spoilers for season three at all. If I happen to get anything right when the episodes start airing, it's entirely coincidental.
Thanks: Gah, who didn't I rope into helping me with this? First of all, massive thanks go to skk670 who has helped me every step of the way with the plot and read over everything. Additional thanks go to veni, semby, moire2, marylane23 and takenwithyou. If I've forgotten anyone, I'm very sorry! Just let me know.
A/N: Italics denote Veronica's voiceovers and the bold text is flashbacks.
A/N2: Some formatting always goes wrong when I post. Sorry! I'm cursed.

Veronica squinted through her dark glasses at the four dorms, trying to remember which one was Wallace's. The large, square buildings reminded her of the blocks she used to play with when she was a kid. The four units were each painted a different primary colour and connected at the base to the main single-story dining hall. She threaded through the crowd of students moving in, almost tripping over a suitcase before coming to a complete halt. The large sign above the door announced it to be Enbom Hall. Apparently, John Enbom's father had some sort of precognitive ability and, years ago, donated millions of dollars to build the dorm. Lucky thing he did too, as John was somehow admitted with only a 2.0 GPA. She grimaced; it looked like class issues weren't just a high school thing.

Veronica sighed, using her campus map as a fan. The heat was unbearable, and was made worse with the crowds of people all trying to move in on the same day. She walked over to the doorway, where a group of people had gathered, blocking the way in.

"Excuse me," Veronica said, "can I get through there?" She waited for a response from one of them. One guy turned and stared at her blankly, while the others ignored her completely.

"Hey!" a sharp voice demanded. "Get out the way." The guys moved without a complaint and Veronica and the girl walked through.

"Thanks," Veronica said, turning to the young woman beside her who had two large boxes stacked on top of one another in her arms. "Here, let me help."

"Thanks, yourself," she replied gratefully, letting her take the top box. Her short hair was spiked up and a small black band held her bangs up from her forehead. Her clothes were colourful, matching the different colours in her hair. "Sometimes they just need a kick where the sun don't shine." They walked through the door and towards the stairs. "I'm Anna Parsons, by the way."

"Veronica Mars," Veronica introduced.

"Freshman?" Anna questioned.

"That obvious?" Veronica laughed, as they walked up the stairs.

"You have the wide-eyed, god-so-many-people look. You just need to yell at them, they won't remember you anyway," she shrugged. "Going to be living here?"

"Nope, I'm going to be a townie. I live in Neptune anyway, sadly. My best friend is moving in, thought I would give him a hand."

"Nice. Well, this is my room," Anna said, putting her box on the floor and fishing out her key. "Thanks for your help, and I'm sure I'll see you around." Veronica put the other box down on the carpet, her arms aching from the weight. How Anna had thought she was going to carry both all the way up the stairs by herself, Veronica could only imagine.

"Yeah, likewise," Veronica replied, before walking up the next flight of stairs. She walked along the well-lit corridor, passing by three wide windows, until she reached the correct door and knocked.

The door swung open quickly. "Hey, you. Wondering when you'd get here. Bring me a housewarming gift?"

"Yeah, me! You should be happy I visit at all."

She followed him through to his room, where piles of boxes lay scattered on every surface. The room was large, bigger than Veronica had imagined college dorms to be. There were two single beds either side of the room, two smaller doors that Veronica imagined to be closets, an open door that led to a bathroom and two desks. "I love what you've done with the place," she joked. "It reminds me of one of the exhibits at the MoMa... I think it was called 'Squalor.'"

Yes, I did get to the see the MoMA after all this summer, along with the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and all the other standard tourist stops. Dad made it to the airport just in time to save me from a summer vacation spent locked in my room sulking. I was dying to know what Kendall held him up for - apparently she had a briefcase full of money. After I kicked him repeatedly for not taking it, he told me she wanted him to blackmail someone on her behalf. He gave Kendall Vinnie Vanlowe's card and sent her on her slutty way.

"Haha," Wallace deadpanned. "Take a seat?"

"On the mess?" Veronica asked, glancing around. "Tempting…"

"You could help unpack," Wallace pointed out.

"Also a tempting offer, but I said I'd visit Mac before going to the welcome talks," Veronica said, waving her hand in false regret.

"Some friend you are, you can't even help with a little unpacking."

Her voice took on her best bubble-gum air-headed blonde persona as she gasped and protested, "But I might break a nail."

Wallace smiled and began to dig around in a box on his bed. "Made any enemies yet?" Wallace teased.

"You mean any more enemies. I seem to recall being on a certain frat's 'people to kill' list since before registration. Seriously though, that's the great thing about college – it's a clean slate. No one knows who I am, I don't have a reputation, I won't get constantly bugged for help with whatever."

Wallace smiled. "Yeah, it will be a nice change for you."

"Met your roomie yet?" Veronica asked.

"He stopped by earlier. Seems… different? He put his duffle bag down and said, 'You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him catch the worm.' He then left the room and I haven't seen him since."

"Interesting. I wonder if they check if people are of sound mental health."

"I wasn't checked," Wallace said.

"Ah, your poor roommate's gotta put up with you," Veronica teased. "How will he cope? But seriously though, how do you know you aren't sharing living space with a murderer, or someone who checks if you're getting enough fruits and vegetables in your diet, or something?"

"I guess that's a risk I'll have to take," Wallace conceded, before turning and glaring at her as she moved the poster he had put on the wall already.

"If you're going to be annoying, you can go bug Mac."

"You're turning on me already!" Veronica protested. "You promised you wouldn't desert me and already it's 'get out, go and see your other friend!'" She sighed dramatically. "You know I only have two friends, I need to budget my time between you." She turned and flounced out the door before he could respond.

And here I am. Hearst College. When I walked out of that exam before Aaron's verdict, I walked out on my childhood dream of Stanford. Dad suggested I save money and live at home - although it isn't much cheaper, but I don't think dad was quite ready to let me go yet. My contact from the 09er trial managed to get me a partial scholarship. With the Mannings reward for catching Woody, my savings and working my ass off this year - I can just about afford to go. And it does mean I get to go to school with my friends.

"Wow," Veronica exclaimed, as she walked into Mac's room.

"You like?" Mac asked, gesturing around the room. Posters covered the walls, trinkets adorned every surface and a complicated dark tapestry had been somehow hung over the wall on Mac's side of the room.

"I love. How long have you been here?" Veronica asked, deciding that it must have taken hours of work to get it looking this way. Her gaze flicked to the window, where fairy lights were strung around it, and dark voile hung over the curtain pole.

"I left at dawn." She shrugged. "I couldn't wait to get out of there."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to ignore you," Veronica said to the auburn haired girl sitting on the other bed. Her long skirt was pooled around her knees as she flicked through what looked like a copy of People magazine.

"Hi, I'm Sarah, Sarah Greene," she greeted brightly.

"Veronica Mars, and god, I'm sick of my name already. Maybe I should just have it tattooed on my forehead," Veronica laughed.

"I think that's a little extreme," Sarah said, wrinkling her nose. "Some people wear name tags, but…"

"But name tags are lame?" Veronica interjected.

Sarah smiled. "So. Lame."

"Are you guys ready to head over to orientation?" Mac asked, as she put her jacket on and picked up her set of keys to the room.

"Count me in," Veronica said. "I think it's mandatory anyway. Plus, I think skipping our first talk wouldn't go down well."


"My god, was that the most boring thing ever?" Mac asked, shaking her head.

"Actually, I think Professor Badel's lectures have it beat," a male voice said from behind them, and the girls turned, "but the welcome talks are a close second."

"Nice to see you again, Dean." She smiled at the friendly face of the boy that had shown them around campus a few months prior.

"And you, Veronica, who proclaimed you'd not be coming to Hearst."

"Yeah, they totally stalked me, sent me pleading letters and stuff until I agreed. I didn't know a college could be so needy," Veronica shrugged.

"Right," Dean laughed. "Well, I have to go. I'll probably see you around campus, with all the activities going on. And you'll be coming to the mixer Friday night? It's usually a blast."

"Sounds like fun," Sarah agreed.

"Yeah, we'll see you there," Mac put in.

Dean headed back into the building as they began to walk back towards the halls. Veronica glanced at her watch, with a grimace. "Damn, I said I'd be at the office by lunch. I'll come over tomorrow!"

"Have fun!" Mac called, as Veronica hurried off to where she had parked the LeBaron.


"Go right through, Veronica," Beverly, the mayor's assistant greeted with a welcoming smile.

"Is my dad here?" Veronica asked.

"He's in a meeting, I'll tell him you dropped by."

"Thanks," Veronica said, opening the door to the office next door and going through. "Sorry I'm late, Toby. Orientation overran."

Toby dropped his file and hurried across the room. He put his hands on her hips, and pulled her close for a kiss. Veronica ran her fingers through his short dark hair before they broke apart. He smiled warmly down at her. "Missed you."

"I'm sure the mayor has kept you busy," Veronica smirked.

"He's a demanding fellow," Toby said sarcastically. "Expects me to be on time, finish work promptly, polish my shoes…"

"I'm sure you're exaggerating. He's never on time. And by the way, if you bring him chocolate cookies in the afternoon, he's putty in your hands," Veronica revealed.

"Right. Cookies. Putty in hands. I do love dating the mayor's daughter," Toby laughed. "I get to know all the trade secrets. Ready for lunch?"


Yes, it was another complicated summer for my love life. Things went from good, to horrible, to okay again. After Aaron died, the media went completely insane. They honed in on Logan, following him everywhere. We couldn't go to the beach without ending up in The National Enquirer. Logan was used to being under the spotlight to a certain extent, but he'd never been under so much pressure. His father's death and Trina's attention whore tendencies brought on additional public interest. Things turned ugly when Logan started hanging out with Dick Casablancas again. Images of them stumbling drunk out of bars became a cover story. I tried to be the supportive girlfriend, but things came to a head a few weeks after I got back from New York.

"Wanna see a movie tomorrow night?" Veronica asked, as she smiled up at Logan from her position on the couch. Her long blond hair was pulled back from her face with a pale blue head band and she reached up and adjusted it slightly, to catch a few escaped hairs. She crossed her legs beneath her as she shifted into a new position. "We could go and see X-Men 3. I've heard mixed reviews, but..." She trailed off with a shrug and looked at Logan expectantly.

Logan's shoulders stiffened as he turned away. "Veronica," he said quietly. "I'm leaving."

"Oh, okay," she said, hiding a smile at his dramatics. "Well, let me know about the movie? I mean, we don't have to see it, but I'm tired of waiting for things to come through on Netflix."

"No, I'm leaving. I'm leaving Neptune." He shifted next to her, looking uncomfortable and his posture still set.

Veronica gaped at him in shock. Her voice was non-existent for a moment, before she managed to stammer out, "What? I don't understand…"

Logan was alone in the world. Both his parents were dead, his sister was off chasing whichever two-bit producer might be able to salvage her career this week, and his buddy Dick was on his own downward spiral. Why would Logan want to leave the only person in the world he had?

She reached out to put her hand on his arm, but he moved before she could. She pulled her arm back as if she'd been burned, hiding her hand in her lap.

Logan and I talked about it. We agreed that we were both going to try and make our relationship work this time. We had a lot of issues but I thought we both wanted to be together.

Veronica could feel icy slivers of numbness slowly reaching around her body. When Logan spoke, it sounded like she was underwater, his voice sounding distant and muted.

"I can't do this anymore. So, I'm going. Tomorrow." He slowly rose from the couch and walked away from her slowly. His eyes were still not meeting hers.

"Tomorrow?" Veronica asked dully. "You're telling me now that you're leaving tomorrow? But why?"

He glanced down towards her, his height and darkening expression making her feel even smaller. "I'm sorry; it just has to be this way." He still wouldn't face her, like he couldn't bear to look at her.

Veronica's breath hitched, as she pulled her knees up under her chin and wrapped her arms around them.

Logan crossed to the door, his jaw tight and his shoulders slumped. He touched the door handle, then looked back at her, his eyes dull and lifeless.

Veronica wanted to lash out at him but his haunted expression stopped her. He looked like someone had just ripped his heart out. Her anger melted into concern. "Logan," she whispered.

He ignored her soft plea and wrenched open the door. "Goodbye," he murmured. He walked out without a backward glance.

The door clicked shut behind him and Veronica remained frozen, unable to tear her eyes away from it.

I spent the next few weeks trying to piece myself back together again. I hated that I'd let him do that to me, but I couldn't bring myself out of the daze. One night, Cliff and dad were slowly making their way through a bottle of scotch when Cliff told dad they were looking for someone to temporarily replace Woody Goodman in the emergency elections. Dad, being drunk, decided he could completely turn Neptune around, and phoned the Neptune office to agree. The next morning he woke up with a pounding hangover, but decided to stick to his word. He was a shoo-in at elections, what with the whole 'running uncontested thing' to slant things in his favour. That's where Toby came in. He was already working at the mayor's office on a summer internship. He asked me to dinner constantly, but I kept turning him down. I so wasn't ready to move on. Until my nineteenth birthday…

Veronica finished piling up the discarded paper plates and threw them into the trash. She surveyed the remaining glasses that were scattered around her apartment from the small birthday gathering she'd had, and frowned. Too tired to care any longer, she grabbed the remote control and pressed the power button.

A documentary on iguanas was hardly a thrilling end to anyone's nineteenth birthday; news, depressing; Lost, overrated – until she landed on a documentary on the Echolls'. Unable to tear her eyes away from the screen, she listened to the tragedy and scandal surrounding the Echolls family. Finally, they got to what Logan was up to now. Her heart clenched as they revealed he'd moved into a family home in Los Angeles, and was living the high life, drinking and partying nightly. Clips of him in a fist fight with paparazzi, followed by him staggering out of a nightclub at closing, and finally with his lips attached to an unknown blonde girl. She switched the TV off instantly, her chest tightening as she drew a sharp breath. Her eyes stung and she wiped at them angrily, before she began to pile the glasses up.

I accepted Toby's dinner invitation the next time he asked, and we've been dating ever since. He's nice, caring and could make a nun's hormones go into overdrive.


Weevil coughed politely, trying to gain Beverly's attention. She looked up, startled, and plastered her wide, fake smile on her face quickly.

"I'm sorry, I didn't see you there. Can I help you?" she asked.

"I'm here to see Mr Mars," Weevil explained.

"I'll let him know," Beverley said. "And who should I tell him wants to see him?"

"Eli Navarro."

Beverley disappeared into the office for a minute, and then returned, holding the door open. "He says go right in."

"Eli, what brings you here?" Keith asked from behind his desk, as Weevil walked through the doorway.

"Congratulations on becoming the mayor," he said.

"Thanks. I didn't know you were out of jail yet," Keith pointed out. "What can I do for you?"

"I got let out early for good behaviour." Weevil glanced towards a seat and Keith nodded. He sat down on it quickly and folded his hands in his lap. He hesitated, before he rushed ahead, "I know people."

"Good for you, Eli, but what's that got to do with me?" Keith asked in confusion.

"Nah, I mean, I've got connections. People on the streets, people from inside. I've got access to my uncle's cars, great for tailing people. You being mayor is only temporary, right? And you must want a business to go back to."

"Are you asking for a job?" Keith asked, fighting to keep his jaw from dropping.

Weevil shrugged. "With Veronica busy at college, I can help you with Mars Investigations while you're busy. I just need to get back on my feet, for someone to give me a chance."


"No? That's it?"

"Forgive me for not putting my trust into someone who just served three months for the assault of a boy who later turned up dead. Now, I've got a lot of work to do, so if you wouldn't mind…" Keith began gathering papers on his desk, implying their conversation was over.

Weevil stared at him in disappointment for a second, before he said, "I thought you were different." He got up and let himself out.


"This place is amazing," Toby told Veronica, as she handed him the menu.

Veronica glanced around at the neon blue strip lighting, the movie star pictures and the dim, moody feeling of the place. "It was a great find," she admitted. "Wallace and I had lunch here the other day."

"You came here with another guy first?" Toby protested, his blue eyes wide. "You don't tell me that."

Veronica laughed. "You'll live."

"I guess I'll have to. What are you gonna order?"

"Pasta," Veronica said with a smile, waiting for his usual protests.

"Then why didn't we just go to the Italian place if you were going to order that?" he asked in mock-annoyance. "Honestly."

"Because that would be boring," Veronica informed him, punching him gently in the shoulder. "Now shut up and choose already, I'm hungry." Veronica watched him as he bit his lip as he concentrated on scanning the menu.

"Veronica?" a voice questioned, and Veronica looked up to see Sarah standing behind Toby in a short yellow summer dress.

"Oh, hi!" Veronica greeted. "Toby, this is Mac's roommate, and Sarah, this is my boyfriend."

"Nice to meet you," Toby said as he stood, holding out his hand. Sarah took it briefly.

"I'm here on a first date, actually," Sarah admitted. "We're sitting across the room but I saw you come in and wanted to say 'hi'. I should get back before he comes out of the bathroom. I'll see you tomorrow night!"

"She seems nice," Toby commented.

"Yeah," Veronica agreed. "I'm glad for Mac; she could do with some more people in her life."

"After what happened with her boyfriend?" Toby asked, with a sympathetic expression.

"Yeah," Veronica said uncomfortably.

Mac handled the situation as well as anyone could. I mean, what can you do when your boyfriend turns out to be a mass murderer? Toby doesn't know all the details, but he got the Reader's Digest version from the newspapers like everybody else. And I want to keep it that way. I think if I told him the drama that really is my life, he'd set a new world record for running a mile, so I think I'll keep those stories for a rainy day – and luckily it rarely rains in Neptune.


"I can't believe we've been here three days already," Mac said. "It's been so busy!"

"Well, spending all your spare time with a certain boy probably helped," Veronica teased. "Meeting someone on the first day, lucky girl!"

Mac looked down, a blush staining her cheek, before she looked up hesitantly. "Do you think it's too soon?"

"To be dating someone?" Veronica asked gently.

"Matt and I aren't dating," Mac quickly clarified. "I only just met him, but he's nice and he makes me laugh."

"If you feel ready, then it isn't too soon," Veronica said.

Mac sighed, her shoulders slumping. "I almost feel like I'm betraying him, then I remember…"

Veronica's expression was sympathetic as she put her hand on top of Mac's. "It'll take time." Mac nodded, just as the door opened and Sarah strolled in, wearing large sunglasses. "And he makes you happy. That's what's important," Veronica finished.

"Hey, Veronica," Sarah greeted with a wide smile.

"Hi, Sarah," Veronica replied. "Love the look, very movie star-esque."

"Oh, crap. I always forget to take them off when I come inside," Sarah admitted, putting them on her bedside cabinet. Her nose screwed up as she added, "In fact, this morning, they were in the sink."

"Huh, my stuff's been turning up in weird places, too," Mac said. "My external hard drive was behind the TV, among other things."

"It's almost like someone is moving things while we're asleep at night," Sarah said, before she looked scared. "Do you think we have ghosts?"

"Hm, maybe some weird prank? But, as pranks on the incoming freshman go, that's pretty lame," Veronica said, her gaze fixed on Sarah's wide hazel eyes. The redhead showed no signs of lying, she maintained eye contact, didn't touch her mouth as she spoke… all the basics.

"Oh, I hope not. It will be a real pain if we have a class, and our books have been moved or something," Sarah replied.

"Oh no," Mac exclaimed. "We're late for Psych 101."

"See you later, Sarah," Veronica said, as they left the room.


The sun was warm on her skin as Veronica stood by the lecture hall's entrance. Campus had calmed down a lot over the last few days. Groups found places to hang out and were busy taking their first few introduction classes to their chosen subjects.

Veronica caught sight of Wallace, and a smile flitted across her lips. "Hey, stranger."

"Wanna go get a coffee? Although I'm sure we should be wasted, stoned and trying to hook up with anything walking right now," Wallace said in mock confusion.

"Oh, it's early in the semester," Veronica teased. "We have all year for that."

"How are classes going?" Wallace asked as they headed towards the coffee shop.

"Psychology was interesting, Intro to Criminology is tomorrow, and Photography doesn't start until Monday."

They reached the coffee shop, and ordered what they wanted, before taking a seat on one of the sofas scattered about.

"Met your team members yet?" Veronica asked.

"Yeah, had our first practise today. Seems like a bunch of cool guys," Wallace informed her. "Tryouts for positions are tomorrow, before the Freshman Mixer. You are going, right?"

"Would I ever let my BFF down?" Veronica asked, with a shocked expression. Wallace shot her an amused look.


Veronica shifted on Mac's bed as she waited for Mac to finish getting ready in the bathroom. Sarah was busy chatting on her cell phone outside the room, and Veronica was bored. She pressed her lips together as she surveyed their room. She'd been looking forward to getting her own place all year. It wasn't that she didn't like living with her dad, he was great, but getting her own space and feeling like an individual appealed to her.

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a bottle tucked behind an alarm clock on Sarah's bedside cabinet and she got up, walked across the room and picked it up out of curiosity. Ambien – sleeping pills. Veronica frowned, as she sat down by Mac's laptop, already open and booted up. She typed the name into Google and waited for the page to load. She scrolled down the list of side effects, until she hit the one she was looking for. Veronica stood and put the pills back where she had found them.

"I'm done," Mac asked, walking out the bathroom with new purple streaks in her hair.

"You look great," Veronica complimented. "I like the purple the best out of all the colours."

"I kinda liked the blue, but this is a close second."

"Okay, I'm done," Sarah said, coming back through the door, and flipping her phone shut. "I'm sure my purse was here," she mumbled from inside her closet.

"Your purse is behind the plant," Veronica said. "How long have you been on Ambien?"

Sarah looked up in surprise. "A few days. I can never sleep when I'm in a new place; my doctor suggested I try them. Why?"

"Did you know Ambien causes sleepwalking?"

Sarah shook her head. "I used to suffer from sleepwalking when I was little, but I grew out of it." She grabbed a bottle of Mountain Dew from her bedside cabinet and unscrewed the lid.

Veronica smiled. "Your stuff that keeps moving? I think it will stop when you get into a good sleeping pattern." Veronica glanced at the drink Sarah was gulping

Maybe if you kicked the caffeine habit, you wouldn't need the drugs to help you sleep.

Sarah gaped at her as Mac laughed. "This is what Veronica does," Mac explained. "Figures stuff out."

"I… well, good to know," Sarah answered.


The music blared out as people milled around the dorm, some dancing, but most trying to have conversations at the edges of the room. A large table was weighted down with drinks, and a guy stood behind it, playing the makeshift bartender. They had gone to the official on-campus mixer, but found it was mainly used by frats and private houses to give out flyers advertising their own afterparties. They had picked the most colourful flier and headed over.

Veronica sighed, swirling her drink. It was impossible to talk over the loud noise, and Mac had been dancing with Matt for awhile, and had yet to return. Wallace and Sarah were somehow managing to keep a conversation without screaming, "What?" every three seconds.

Just then Mac bounded up, looking slightly flushed and her dark hair tousled. Veronica barely recognised her from the outfit she was wearing. Sarah had a wardrobe full of flirty, party clothes and had talked Mac into wearing a plaid mini skirt and a black halter. "Dance with me?" Mac shouted. Veronica hesitated for a second and Mac continued, "Come on! It will be fun."

"Wallace?" Veronica called as she turned; placing her drink on the windowsill they were standing by. "Keep an eye on my drink? Going to dance."

Wallace nodded and smiled as she put the drink down on the table and allowed Mac to grab her wrist and drag her onto the make-shift dance floor. The music changed to an upbeat 80's song and they moved in time to the beat.

Mac suddenly nudged her and Veronica glanced in the direction Mac was looking to see a cute guy, with short blond hair. He was tall, well built and dressed smartly in a shirt and black jeans. Mac couldn't have got any further from Cassidy if she tried.

"Matt, this is Veronica," Mac introduced.

"Nice to meet you, Veronica," Matt smiled. "I've heard a lot about you."

Veronica grimaced playfully. "Uh-oh. None of it's true."

"Wanna head back to the table?" Mac asked. Veronica agreed and the three made their way through the crowd.

Matt and Mac broke into animated conversation and Veronica sighed, wondering how everyone else managed to talk over the noise.

Veronica picked up her drink from the sill, stifling a yawn. Although home wasn't that far, it was still a twenty minute drive.

"I'm going to get a drink," Mac called.

Veronica pointed to the table. "Have you seen the line?" Mac turned and frowned when she saw the line snaked around most of the large room.

"Actually," Veronica said, "I think I'm going to go. Mac, I haven't even started my drink yet, do you want it?"

"Sure, thanks," Mac smiled, taking the glass from her. "See you tomorrow!"

Veronica made it halfway across the room, when she felt someone tap her on the shoulder. She turned to find Dean standing there, with a beer in one hand.

"You made it!" he called across the loud noise.

"I did," Veronica replied, with a smile.

"How are you finding Hearst so far?" Dean asked.

"It's great! I can see why you are so proud of it," Veronica said kindly.

"What classes are you taking?"

"Doing a mix, Criminology, Psychology and Photography. Will see how it goes from there. How about you?"

"I major in Math. Which dorm have you been assigned to?"

"Oh, I'm living off-campus actually, but my friends are both at Enbom Hall and my boyfriend is at Fordham Court."

Dean's smiled. "Oh, I'm the RA at Enbom this year, so I'll probably see you around there."

"I'm sure you will," Veronica replied, before adding regretfully, "I was leaving actually. Have fun!"

Dean waved, disappearing back into the crowd again.


"Where did everyone go?" Mac asked, grabbing hold of Wallace's arm.

"Sorry? Veronica left a few minutes ago… everyone else is here," Wallace said slowly, looking at her with a curious expression. She stared at him in confusion, her pupils dilated. Her hand fell to her stomach and she groaned.

"I don't feel so good," she slurred.

"Hey, are you okay?" Matt asked, as Mac stumbled into him.

"Everything's spinning. Just need to close my eyes," she said, sitting down heavily on a chair. Wallace frowned, and glanced at her empty glass, realisation dawning on him that the drink was Veronica's.

"Sarah, stay with her!" he shouted, pushing Sarah towards Mac. "Call an ambulance and don't you dare leave her."

Wallace jumped up and raced across the room, Matt close at his heels. They burst out through the double doors, and glanced around the parking lot.

"Veronica!" Wallace yelled, looking around desperately, as he tried to decide which way she went.

"What the hell is going on?" Matt asked.

"Shh," Wallace hissed urgently. "Hear that?" he asked, a second after they heard a muffled scream. They glanced at each other before taking off at a sprint towards the sounds.

They rounded the corner, to see three people wearing dark ski masks attacking a girl, who was half crouched on the ground, her arms up as she tried to protect herself. The darkness made it impossible to see who it was.

"Hey!" Wallace bellowed, and they looked over towards them. The two men nearest the van turned and opened the doors as Wallace and Matt ran towards them. The third grabbed the girl by the back of the neck and slammed her head against the side of the van with a sickening thud. The girl crumpled to the ground, motionless.

The third person jumped in the back of the van as it sped off with a screech, leaving the girl on the asphalt. Wallace skidded to a halt next to her, his heart jumping into his throat as he brushed the blood soaked hair out of Veronica's face.



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