Title: Confessions of an Unapologetic Feminazi
Author: chichuri

Pairing/Character: Fern

Word Count: 1542
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Fern reflects on the past while watching the Pi Sigs. Officially AU as of VM 3.8

Spoilers: 3.4

Disclaimer: Characters not mine, of course

Author's note: I wrote this because I was bit by a rabid plot bunny, and I finally acknowledged I wouldn't be able to pry its jaws loose until I typed it out. This was originally posted to my LiveJournal account in early November, and has officially become AU as of episode 3.8.

Confessions of an Unapologetic Feminazi

They stand strong, a sisterhood united by injustice and pain, watching the Pi Sigs trail in for the hearing that will determine their fate on campus. Fern can hear the taunts and jeers from the supporters of the hopefully soon-to-be-ousted fraternity. Words like dyke, hag, bitch, feminazi, they're all the same. All words of patriarchal repression, designed to 'put the uppity woman in her place'. She'll reclaim every syllable and a whole dictionary more if it means one more woman is saved from the hell of waking up alone, dreading what happened in the shadows of the night.

She remembers her freshman year, fresh from the cradle of the Midwest. Blinded by visions of stars and wealth, the idyllic city of Neptune, California had been the perfect antidote to boring small towns full of summers oppressive with heat and humidity and winters overburdened with arctic wind and snow. She hadn't yet learned that underneath the glitz and shine, California thrived on the corruption and destruction of innocent victims caught up in the hype. Back then she'd been all about the latest fashions and hottest parties, so sure she could handle anything the big bad world threw at her. Of course, that was because up until then, life had only tossed her softballs.

The Lilly Kane murder had rocked Neptune that fall, even penetrating the insulated liberal arts world of Hearst. Fern had snuck a look at the crime scene video; everyone had, although most spouted hypocritical denials that they would never exploit tragedy for cheap thrills. The bright and vivacious high school junior, left broken at the edge of her pool by persons unknown, dominated the gossip rounds. The girl's dead eyes, staring unfocussed into the great beyond, haunted Fern's dreams for weeks. She had mourned the innocent girl struck down by a vendetta not of her making, but had missed the lesson embedded in the media blitz--that anyone who did not take care could be destroyed by another's careless passion.

As terrible as the Kane girl's death was, it had seemed a straightforward, if savage, crime. It wasn't until nineteen months later, after the world had moved on to the next unbearable tragedy, that the true story of movie stars, infidelity, murder, and cover-ups emerged. By then Fern's illusions had been broken as surely as that not-so-innocent girl, and the final twists to the story only merited an ironic eyebrow raise and a shaken head at the transgressions of the filthy rich.

Back when she had shrouded herself in her naivety, Fern had gone to the parties and been part of the faceless masses--losing herself to drink and dancing, the eager high school students' dream of the ultimate college fun. Until that spring, when she had realized that her concept of fun and that of drunk and amorous frat boys were two brutally different things. Frat boys were much stronger than she, especially when her wits were dulled after she had indulged in the ever-present party staple of alcohol. Furthermore, the Greek concept of brotherhood included alibis that contradicted the tearful statement she had given the smirking sheriff, leading to his crocodile tears as he spoke of the penalties of false accusations. In Neptune, justice was the privilege of those with power, and the more power you had, the more you could manipulate the meaning of the word.

She never told her parents why she had abandoned stylish and fashionable for nose rings and tattoos, or why her previous extracurricular activities had been forgotten in favor of women's rights and women's power. All the truth could do is hurt them.

Fern dedicated herself to helping women survive the worst experience in their lives. She volunteered at the Rape Crisis Center as often as possible, and spent most nights in a golf cart ferrying drunken college girls from parties to their dorms. Often frustrated by the never-ending parade of co-eds willing to sacrifice themselves on the alter of self-indulgence, she consoled herself that at least she did what little she could to protect them before they were forced to grow up. Watching the procession every weekend fueled her anger, and in turn her motivation to do everything she could to protect immature girls from themselves.

She had met Nish at a meeting at the Center. They may have initially been drawn together by a shared devotion to women's rights and a shared disdain for the domineering Greek system and the alcohol-soaked framework that propped it up, but mutual respect and a broader array of common interests cemented their friendship. Fern has never asked for the details of that which had triggered Nish's call to the cause or her crusade against the Greeks; the tall, dark, and elegant woman has never volunteered them. Others at the Center introduced them both to Lilith House, where they found a sisterhood that supported and empowered them. After years of dedicated service, being elected as heads of the House had been one of the most gratifying moments in both of their lives.

While most of the women in Lilith House were activists for women's rights, they had maintained a low profile until the serial rapist rocked Hearst, a rapist the college was determined to downplay and ignore. Furious, Fern and her sisters had refused to kowtow to the party line.

The first of the rapes had slipped under the radar. Like many survivors, Dawn hadn't even reported the crime, but simply tried to pick up the pieces of her life and move on as if nothing had happened. It wasn't until the second survivor went to the police that the first forced herself to come forward. No new incidents the rest of the semester had lulled the administration into a false sense of security and a belief that no new precautions needed to be taken. Members of Lilith House had protested, but their valid concerns were unfeelingly brushed off by the administration. Neither survivor had been comfortable becoming the magnet to publicity that a public outcry would entail.

Not so Nancy Cooper. When Nancy was raped shortly before classes began, she became vocal, giving both face and voice to those who had been attacked. She refused to be ignored, intent on forcing the Hearst administration to realize that they had a problem on their hands and that mounting evidence suggested the Greek system was playing a significant role.

Fern and her sisters had been grateful for Nancy's bravery, hopeful that progress towards protecting the women of Hearst would finally be made. They had underestimated the idiocy of the primarily male administration. Not even the fourth woman to wake up shorn shook the assholes' arrogant complacency. And the top it off, the Pi Sig bastards behind it all took one of Lilith House's own, Claire, as their fifth.

Fern had been shocked to see Nish's cub reporter, ally on the Zeta Theta Beta sting, saunter from the Pi Sigma Sigma house all chummy with one of their pledges. Nish had not only been shocked, but furious. The newspaper editor had sources galore, and a quick background check revealed how much she had underestimated the blonde photographer. Veronica Mars had been a good friend to the deceased lolita Lilly Kane, former girlfriend of the dead girl's brother and runaway heir to software billions, current girlfriend of the spawn of the movie star who had murdered her friend. Furthermore, Nish reported rumors that the girl was working to cover up the Pi Sigs crimes. Far from a sympathetic ally, Veronica Mars was one of them, those who didn't give a shit about justice but only about using her looks and charm to play the system for her own personal gain.

And now, as Fern stands by her sisters and shivers in the chill of the evening, she sees the small blonde once again fawning over the Pi Sigs. The girl hands them something, then turns, choosing not to follow her confederates into the meeting that will decide their fate. Fern glares at her, angry on behalf of all the women that the girl is betraying. Mars has chosen her side.

That pretty girl, all gussied up in her fashionable clothes, has never known what it is like to face the catcalls and jeers of the ignorant masses. She may have lost one friend, but she's never found herself powerless and alone, prey to the whims of overgrown boys. She's never fought tooth and nail for something she believes in more than life itself. Fern hates her, just a little bit, but that's all right. Fern and her sisters will stand up for justice, fighting to protect all women, even pretty little things like Mars, so the painful realities of life never intrude on their fantasies. Fern and those she stands beside will step up and scream, make themselves targets of hatred, ignore pleas for rationality and moderation, all to force those in power listen to their voices and accede to their demands, all to ensure that no other woman wakes up lost and bewildered and alone.

And if Veronica Mars and girls like her never know what people like Fern have given up in their urge for justice? Well, that's her loss. She would never understand, anyway.