Title: Going Greek
Character/Pairing: Casey POV, Casey/Veronica
Spoilers: Vague S2 spoilers, but nothing specific or detailed (honest); diverges from canon after 1x22
Word Count: 3218
Disclaimer: Rob Thomas kicks so much ass.
Notes: This is for onastick because she's my fellow Casey!nut. Thanks for all your beta and editing help, and also just for the simple encouragement. You're fabulous, dear. :)
Thanks to: escrituras, europa, mutinousmuse, and onastick for editing/beta help. :)
He's walking across campus, aware that he's more than a little late for class, but he doesn't really care. His Intro to Business Management class is incredibly pointless, as the lectures are filled with things his grandmother had taught him years ago.
His phone chirps, and he pulls it from his pocket, hoping one of his friends is about to offer a better alternative to his afternoon class. His Caller ID doesn't recognize the number, but he picks it up anyhow, as he's that desperate to find something else to do.
"Casey? It's Veronica. I have a favor to ask."
When Casey Gant had started classes at UCLA a few months earlier, he had looked forward to not seeing one Veronica Mars at every turn, or having her name on the lips of every gossip queen he encountered.
It's not that he hates her – because he doesn't. Rather, it was more because she intrigued him – and confused him – and he figured his life at college would be much simpler without her around.
When he first met her, she was Duncan's girlfriend and Lilly's best friend and the sheriff's daughter. She was giggly and innocent and just too saccharine sweet to really be interesting. She was Lilly without the skewed halo or the seductive bedroom eyes. And if he had any shot at the real thing – which he did, once, not that anyone else knew about that – why would he want to waste his time on the poor imitation?
Then Lilly died, and Veronica changed – or was forced to change, maybe. At first, he thought she was pathetic, looking like a lost little rag doll without her usual foursome of friends.
And then, suddenly, she was someone else entirely. She'd chopped off her hair and stopped caring what people said about her. He had never believed any of the skank stories that fed the grapevine for the months that followed – she was still Veronica Mars, after all. But, still, she's lost her previous halo – she'd messed with Dick's car on more than one occasion, she'd circulated photos of Madison's latest nose job, and she'd put the cock bong in Logan's locker. And there were likely at least a half-dozen other things that he just never knew about.
Payback was a bitch – a bitch named Veronica Mars.
At the same time, he found himself changing as well. He'd made the mistake of sharing a bit too much about his family when asked to write a personal essay for Ms. Mills's class. His grandmother had taken a turn for the worse, and his parents had just learned about her will. He wanted to bitch out his parents to someone other than his friends that he wrote a paper himself for the first time in years.
He'd never expected her to actually read his writing – after all, she'd never picked up on the fact that he'd never written any of his other essays. But the fact that she cared had surprised him more than anything else. Within four months, he was selling his Porsche and moving in with the collective.
When Veronica came out to see them, he realized that she wasn't as hard-boiled as the 'New Veronica' initially appeared to be. Sure, she could be a bitch sometimes, but she still had a soft spot for the disenfranchised. And she was a good friend to him that week – no matter how much he'd ignored her to that point.
After his grandmother died, he had considered asking her out on a date. She certainly piqued his interest once he'd gotten to know her better. But then she was dating that deputy, or Logan, or Duncan – and he just couldn't keep track anymore. Plus, there was the fact that the war Duncan and Logan were waging amongst themselves over her just wasn't worth getting involved in – no matter how much he would have liked to show up the reigning 09'er royalty.
So he avoided her – as best he could – still acknowledging her in the halls, but wanting to minimize the fuel for his fantasies. After all, he wasn't an emotional masochist who wanted torture himself by spending all his time thinking about a girl that would never be his.
And then, once he was off at college, he pushed his thoughts and memories of Veronica Mars from his mind. It worked, most of the time. Sure, the publicity of Aaron Echolls's trial and her father's book brought her to his mind, but at least he didn't see her everywhere. He made friends who had never heard of her, slept with girls who looked nothing like her, and his life was simple, easy.
But with a single phone call, he could feel his world tilting on its axis.
"What do you need?" he asks after a moment's pause. He can still say no – not that he's likely to refuse to help – but he wonders what's leading her to call him now, months since she last saw him.
"Can we meet somewhere? I'm in LA, and I don't really want to get into this over the phone."
He knows that whatever the case is, it must be big. She has to know that he won't be able to refuse her anything when she's standing right in front of him, looking at him with those beautiful baby blue eyes. She's persuasive enough over the phone, but damn near irresistible face-to-face.
Five minutes later, he's sitting in the corner coffee shop, sipping at a mocha latte when he sees Veronica Mars breeze through the door, seemingly without a care in the world. She doesn't acknowledge him, but instead walks to the counter to order her own drink.
A few moments later, she's walking over, caffeinated drink in hand, and taking a seat across from him.
"How was your day, sweetie?" she asks sweetly, causing him to raise one eyebrow in surprise. Sweetie?
"It was fine, Veronica. How are you doing?"
She flashes him a dazzling smile before replying, this time in a much quieter tone of voice than before. "My dad's got a case that involves determining the true intentions of a UCLA senior's new fiancé. The parents think she's a gold digger and are willing to pay good money for proof of that. And that means that I need to get close to her, to try to get her to talk."
"And how do I fit into this plan?"
"They'll both be at the Sigma Phi Epsilon house party on Saturday night, and I was hoping that you might be able to get us on the guest list."
"Us?" Casey questions, thinking of the plans he'd made for Saturday night with Stacia, a fiery redhead from his philosophy class whom he already knew that she was red-hot in bed. Still, she didn't captivate him like Veronica Mars did, and he had a feeling that he would end up canceling his original plans.
"How am I going to win her trust if I don't have a rich boyfriend of my own?" Veronica asks, a twinkle in her eye.
"Your dad's okay with you crashing a frat party?" Casey finds himself asking, trying to ignore the fact that she just referred to him as her boyfriend. It was only for a case. She wasn't actually interested in dating him. "And your boyfriend's okay with you going to that party with me?"
"My dad … trusts you, oddly enough. Or, at least, he know how to hurt you if you let something happen to me," she amends with a teasing grin.
"And your boyfriend?" he prods again, unsure which best friend she's dating this week. He feels nosy for asking, but he can't stop himself.
"We're done," she shares after a moment's pause, not specifying which boy she's referring to, or if she's done with the both of them. However, he doesn't press for details, instead finding himself agreeing to play the role of her boyfriend – or at least for that one night.
As they pass through the throng of people at the frat party, Casey holds Veronica's hand firmly in his own. She's dressed as a sorority coed, much like the woman she's hoping to befriend. She's catching eyes and turning heads in her short pink dress, and he feels oddly protective. He knows that he has the hottest girl at the party on his arm, and damn him if he's going to let her out of his sight.
She'd arrived at his apartment earlier that evening with a duffel bag in hand, saying that she hadn't wanted to spend an hour on the roads in her party-wear.
She'd done her primping in his bathroom, and to say he was surprised at the end-result would be an understatement. She walked out of the bathroom looking absolutely gorgeous, if not a little bit nervous.
Her smile grew once she realized the effect that she was having on him, and she – of course – then proceeded to ruin the moment by asking if he could tell that she was bugged. Apparently, she'd placed a small microphone transmitter within her bodice, so that her dad could record and transcribe any conversations she had that night for their clients.
At least she told him about the bug though, so he didn't say something completely inappropriate and make Mr. Mars want to kill him.
"Target acquired," she murmurs softly, nodding towards a pair dancing together across the room.
She leads him towards the couple, and before long they're easily within five feet of them. And then, when they're so close he can almost smell the woman's perfume, Veronica loses her sexy sorority girl façade and looks instead like a lost little girl, unsure of what she should do next.
He doesn't know if it's a part of the role that she's playing tonight – although he doubts that because sorority girls always at least put on a confident façade – or if her nervousness comes from being unsure of how to act at what is probably her first frat party. Still, he wants to help her, make her more comfortable, make everything go as well as it can.
"Dance with me," he finds himself saying, even though he doesn't dance. Ever.
She nods sharply, relief flooding her features as he takes her into his arms. Then their bodies are moving to the pulsing beat, her frame is brushing against his own, and he's trying not to think about how incredibly hot she's looking with a sunny smile on her face and a devilish look in her eyes. She's gorgeous and tempting, and all he wants to do is forget why they're really here and instead sample the taste of her mouth.
And then she's slowing, stopping, and stepping back, and he wants to grab hold of her and keep her close and flush up against him and just never let her go.
"Do you know where the bathroom is?" she asks, and he shakes his head automatically.
"Excuse me," she begins, interrupting the closely dancing couple beside them. "Do you know where the bathroom is?"
The blonde woman looks annoyed, but gives directions, likely figuring that's the quickest way to make her go away. But Veronica will have none of that, putting on her dumb blonde act – which Casey knows is complete and total bullshit – until the other woman is leading her to the restroom.
"Wanna beer?" the guy offers, as they watch their respective dates head off together.
"Sure," Casey replies, not really sure what else to say or do, as he follows the man to the makeshift bar nearby.
"You're not Greek, are you?" he questions, passing a can in his direction.
"No," he responds honestly. "I didn't rush – wanted to get a year under my belt first."
"Didn't think so," the man replies with a smile. "I'm Devin Britt, Sig Ep President."
Devin Britt – the man whose parents had hired the Marses, the reason why he's at this party in the first place. And now Veronica had gotten her prey – Devin's fiancé Janeen – isolated and alone.
Damn is she good.
"Casey Gant," he introduces himself, shaking Britt's hand. He suddenly wonders if he should have given a false name. He's all new to this detective thing, after all.
"You should rush next semester," Britt suggests. "See if you can find a house that suits you. It won't be nearly as big as fall rush, but I don't think you'll have any problems getting a bid, if you're interested."
"Wow, thanks, man," Casey answers, shocked. He barely knows this guy, but at the same time he's practically being promised a spot in the house by its president – who will shortly hate him on sight, once Veronica is through with his fiancé.
He feels a stab of guilt – this guy seems genuinely nice, and he doesn't deserve to have his romantic dreams dashed by his overprotective parents.
Then again, he's also nice enough to deserve a girl who genuinely loves him, and who isn't just into him for his money.
"Your girlfriend's turning a lot of heads tonight," Devin notes after a bit, making small talk while they wait for their dates to return.
"Yeah, she is," Casey agrees with a grin, omitting the fact that she's not really his girlfriend. But he knows that his words are true – she looks beautiful, but at the same time, she doesn't look like Veronica Mars. It's almost like he's out with someone else entirely.
Casey searches for something witty or intelligent to add, but he's saved from further mind-numbing and overly-awkward small talk by the return of the two ladies.
"Thanks, man," Casey says in closing, grabbing for Veronica's hand and setting the beer can on an adjacent tabletop. He leads her back out into the crowd of gyrating dancers and pulls her into his arms once again.
"What did you find out?" he asks, as they begin moving to the pulsing beat.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" she responses teasingly, a sparkle in her eyes.
She's looking all flirty and seductive and … totally un-Veronica. They're dancing closer and closer, and he's getting warmer and warmer, until finally –
"Why don't we head out of here?" he suggests.
She slows her dancing, a dazed look on her face, as if he's pulled her from some parallel reality.
"Sure," she nods after a moment, and he reaches for her hand again. It's almost a compulsive action by this point. He leads her out of the smoky basement and into the crisp moonlit night.
The walk back to his place, and also her car, is filled with a comfortable silence. Part of him wants to say something, anything, but he's drawing a total blank. He's curious about what Janeen – the woman in question – told Veronica, if she got the evidence that she needed. Then again, there probably is some sort of confidentiality agreement that she needed to adhere to, even as a junior PI.
"Thanks, for all this," she says softly a few moments later. "I wouldn't have been able to do this without you."
"It wasn't difficult. I was happy to help," he responds, as he slows to a stop outside his apartment building, as he reaches for his keys. "Did you want to change again before you head on home?"
"Yeah," she says, nodding. He opens the door and she slips inside, grabs her duffel from against the wall, and steps into the bathroom once more.
He's happy that he can help her out by offering her a place to change, but now he needs to find some way of distracting himself from thinking of the fact that Veronica Mars could very well be naked in his bathroom right now.
"So, um, thanks," Veronica says awkwardly, after appearing from the bathroom in the jeans and tee-shirt she was wearing earlier.
"You're welcome," Casey responds, unsure of what he could or should say.
Then an idea pops into his head.
"Um, Veronica, I was wondering, what exactly do I get for helping you out?"
"You want a percentage of the reward money?" she asks incredulously. "I'm sure we can work out a number, but – "
"I don't want your money," he replies softly, shaking his head.
"What do you want then?" she queries.
He can see the wary look on her face, and he can practically hear her father's brakes squealing as he pulls out of whatever parking lot he's been monitoring the audio feed from.
Then again, she's probably – hopefully – disconnected the bug by now.
"There are two things I'd like," he begins with what he hopes is a reassuring smile. "One, I'd like to go out on an actual date with you, Veronica Mars, teenage ingénue. As much fun as I've had tonight, I'd like to take the real you out to dinner – party clothes optional. Hell, clothes in general are optional."
"You wish," she snorts in response, but he notices that she doesn't object to his request. "And?"
Encouraged, he continues on. "Two, I'd like to kiss you to bring this fun - and undoubtedly interesting night to a proper close."
"Proper?" she questions, raising an eyebrow.
"This was supposed to be a date, right?"
She nods, a small smile spreading across her features as she likely recalls the previous events of that evening. "Okay," she murmurs in agreement.
And so Casey turns, cupping her cheek with one hand and circling the other around her back. He presses his lips to her own, and she responds eagerly, her tongue dancing with his own under the buzzing fluorescent light above them. Her hands are gripping his shoulders tightly, holding him closer, nearer. The sweetness of her mouth is similar to that of strawberries, freshly picked on a warm summer day. The light floral scent of her perfume floods his senses. The fragrance isn't one that he would ordinarily associate with Veronica, but it's appropriate, given the role she played earlier.
Then he pulls away and steps back, fingering her blonde tendrils before dropping his hands to his side.
"You should probably be getting home," he states, half-hoping that she'll disagree. Instead, she nods, so he reaches for her hand, which has almost become a compulsion by this point. Holding her hand in his own just feels so right, so natural. "Let me walk you to your car."
He knows that she's parked just outside his apartment building, and he doubts that she'll run into anything she can't handle on the way there. But, at the same time, escorting her to her car feels almost gentlemanly, and it's something an almost-wannabe-boyfriend should do.
"So next Friday?" he asks, leaning on the top of the now-open car door.
"It's a date," she agrees, pulling his lips down to meet her own.
They share a final lingering kiss under the stars, before she pulls away. He brushes his hand along her jaw, and then steps back and raises his hand in farewell as he watches her pull away.
So it appears as if he was unable to completely excise Veronica Mars from his life, as he'd initially planned.
But, honestly? You won't be hearing any complaints from him.
Thanks so much for reading. This is my first time writing Casey, so any con/crit that you have to share would be greatly welcomed. I'm hoping to write a date-ish sequel, as my free time will allow - but who knows when that'll be?
Anyhow, I hope you enjoyed this, and I'd love to hear what you think! Thanks again!