Summary: During a series of flashbacks in this episode, Veronica tells us how her friends made her choose between them (specifically Duncan and his family) and her Dad. What if she had chose differently? Episode 2 vm_redux prompt.
Rating: like PG 15+ (it mentions rape but that's about the most horrible thing that happens)
Spoilers: Up to episode 2 of season 1.
Disclaimer: I do not own Veronica Mars though I wish I did because it's such a great show and then I'd get to see a movie.
A/N: This story hasn't beta'd and flashbacks in italics. That's all. Enjoy.
Veronica couldn't take her eyes of the speeding ticket she had discovered. She wasn't sure if it was because Lilly looked so happy in her last moments alive or because it changed everything. When Logan had asked her to choose she had taken one look into his eyes and known that she couldn't lose her last two links to Lilly.
"That's my girlfriend, your friend, Duncan's sister and now your dad thinks Mr Kane has something to do with it. It's your dad or us Veronica." Logan said with tears in his eyes. Veronica looked into his eyes and realised she already knew her answer.
"I keep trying to get him to stop but he won't." She whispered, "Don't you know I don't want this," she motioned to the computer screen that had been paused on Lilly's bloody head, "to be all that Lilly is. I believe the Kane's didn't kill their daughter! The question is whether or not you believe I'm on your side."
Logan nodded his head, "Yeah I believe you. When your dad gets removed from office –"
"My opinion is not going to change. He shouldn't be going after the Kane's. He should be finding the sick and twisted person who murdered my best friend and if push comes to shove I'm standing by Duncan, the Kane's and you."
Looking at the ticket she wished she had picked differently. She loved her dad so much, they'd always had a great relationship, and she had always trusted him til then. Until he had started in on the Kane's she had always believed in his judgement. Considering what she had traded her relationship with her father for was a lifeless shell of a Duncan and Logan, who was usually semi drunk and acting like a jackass, sometimes it didn't seem like a fair trade. They had all lost a lot but over the past year they had tried to keep each other, especially after her mother had left her in the middle of the night.
"He did it Leanne." Keith shouted from his bedroom as Veronica sat in the lounge room of what was soon to be their old house, "The man's a liar. His alibi doesn't add up."
"I don't care!" Leanne shouted right back, "He didn't kill his only daughter!"
Veronica turned the TV on and made the volume as loud as possible. Keith, finally realising that Veronica could hear their argument, left the room.
"I'm sorry honey." Keith whispered, "The arguing should end soon." He had tried numerous times to get Veronica to talk to him since she had sided with the Kane's but she wouldn't budge. Keeping her eyes glued on the television she ignored her father's pathetic attempt to try to get her to talk to him. She realised that ignoring him the way she was had childish written all over it but she had known what it had meant to side with the Kane's and she wasn't going back now. After all, what was that saying about making a bed and lying in it?
Without warning the program cut to a live news feed.
"New sheriff Don Lamb has apprehended Abel Koontz in relation with the murder of billionaire Jake Kane's daughter Lilly Kane. Koontz is a disgruntled former employee of Kane Software, where he worked as a software designer and was fired during the developmental stage of Kane Software's streaming video project." The TV reporter informed them before cutting to a shot of Sheriff Lamb holding an evidence bag in each hand, "Shoes and a backpack belonging to the deceased were discovered on Koontz's houseboat by Sheriff Don Lamb who said –" Keith reached over and took the remote from Veronica to switch of the TV
"They're kidding right?" Veronica asked with a slight sneer, "Deputy Lamb found Lilly's killer but you couldn't. Oh the irony," She got up to leave.
"I know your not happy with me at the moment but watch your tone otherwise your grounded." Keith yelled at her.
"Yeah!, Great dad! You do realise that none of your groundings have ever stuck, right?" Veronica fumed back.
"I can't believe this. Jake Kane was not telling me something!"
"So you accuse him of killing Lilly!" Veronica yelled right back, "See what happens when you stop accusing the wrong person!" waving her arm at the TV.
The same night Lilly's 'murderer' had been found her mother took off, to who knows where, to do who knows what. Veronica, despite everything, had to stay in Keith's company even though the two of them had barely spoken in the past 8 months.
"Hey sweetie," Keith said as she exited her new room in their new apartment.
"Dad." She replied grabbing an apple and her books to leave.
"So I was wondering honey if you wanted to work for me. It'd just be the reception job at the office but it'd pay ok." Keith suggested.
"Thanks but no thanks." Veronica said shooting him a cold look before leaving the apartment.
After that morning Keith took every bail jumper case that crossed his desk. It meant he didn't have to spend time in a quiet apartment with a daughter that wouldn't talk to him and a community that was not only shunning him but patting his daughter on the back for doing the same. The life she had chosen was hard though. Like the night of Shelly Pomroy's end of year party.
Veronica woke up slowly stretched trying to work the kinks out of her muscles. She slowly opened her eyes and noticed that she didn't recognise the room around her. She moved to get up, trying to remember how she got here, when she felt her thighs were in pain. Place her hand between her legs she realised that she no longer had any underwear on. Getting up she ran to the bathroom, going to throw up, just as Logan entered the room.
"Veronica!" Logan called as the bathroom door slammed behind her, "How's the hangover? I don't know what you were drinking last night but you were out of it pretty fast last night. I brought you up here and now I return with gifts of coffee and aspirin for you. Oh and you'll never guess who I was with last night."
Veronica opened the bathroom door, "No it's more like you'll never guess who I was with last. Hell even I won't guess who I was with last night."
"V, you're starting to scare me. Why would you have been with someone last night? How do you know if you can't remember?"
Veronica didn't say anything she just pointed at the ground between his feet where her underwear was sitting. "Well I'm thinking I didn't get those of by myself and since I don't remember much past my first drink. I'm also thinking I wasn't that willing of a participant." She drew in a deep shuddering breath to try and keep from crying.
"Oh V," Logan whispered walking towards her to engulf her in a bear hug, "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Let's get you to the Sheriffs department ok?"
She just nodded and let him lead her to his car but not without seeing the word slut on hers first.
Veronica refolded the ticket as the new kid approached her table with Cassidy, both laughing at some sort of joke. The boys both greeted Veronica before continuing their conversation neither realising Veronica was still in the world of her memories, trying to piece everything back together.
Veronica allowed Logan to guide her to reception area of the Sheriffs office. Inga was manning the front desk and was the first to notice them.
"Veronica what happened to you?" Inga asked stepping around her desk to try and comfort her.
"I... I need... I need to report a crime." Veronica sobbed trying to keep as calm as possible.
"I'll get the sheriff." Inga replied gesturing that they should have a seat while she went to fetch Lamb.
"I don't know why we're here. He's not going to listen. He wouldn't risk his career on it especially not after what my dad did." Veronica whispered trying to keep herself composed.
"Veronica, everyone knows who your dad is but everyone also knows that you didn't side with him. That's worth more than you think, especially to me and the Kane's."
"Good, cause I did it for you and the Kane's." She whispered as Inga returned and ushered the pair into the Sheriffs office.
Veronica thought of how all the bad things that had happened this past year where a direct result of Lilly's death and of her decision to side against her father. Madison writing the word slut on her car at Shelly's party, for example or the fact that Duncan wouldn't speak to her most days. After all everything she'd been through that year she'd lost her virginity to Sean Friedrich and had him sent to jail with the help of Logan and his high priced lawyers. Her father had tried to get her to confide in him while it was all happening but she still refused to talk to him. Her reasoning had been simple, she'd picked Logan and the Kane's and now they where helping her put the scum who raped her in jail. At that point she had truly thought that she was meant to stand by them no matter what.
Once her father realised she wasn't going to let him in he started up again with as many bail jumper cases as possible. She realised the last time she'd talked to him was a week and a half ago. Usually when he went after a bail jumper he just left a note or message in her voice mail, having realised ages ago that she wouldn't answer when he rang.
"Ready for your first day as a junior?" Keith asked as he set her breakfast in front of her. Veronica just shrugged and grabbed the toast that sat to the side of the plate before standing.
"I got to go." She said before grabbing her messenger bag and leaving.
Of course she hadn't realised when she left the house this morning that she'd be on new kid saving duty.
Veronica walked towards the entrance of the school barely aware of her surrounding, which lead her to run straight into Logan's back.
"Ok I know I'm irresistible but Mars you must try and keep your hands off me while we're at school." Logan joked earning him a punch in the arm.
"What's happening over there?" She asked pointing to the group of people who had gathered around the flag pole.
"Well would you look at that. It seems we have a new flag." Logan chuckled pointing at the kid duct taped butt naked to the flag pole. Veronica slapped his arm then started to make her way to him through the crowd. "Oh, V why have you always gotta save the helpless ones." He muttered to himself before following her to the kid and helping her cut him down.
Oh what a beautiful way to start a friendship but she knew she was going to destroy it. Oh why did she have to find out about the ticket? Life was so much simpler when she was blissfully ignorant.
Veronica walked over to the teacher at the front of the classroom feeling slightly out of place.
"Can I help you?" the teacher asked.
"Yeah the counsellor stuck me in here. She says I'm passionless and disconnected." Veronica replied.
"You?, Passionless and disconnected? Blasphemy!" Duncan joked walking up behind them
"You know it." Veronica replied before turning back to the journalism teacher, "So I was thinking I could just take photos."
"I don't know if that's all you can do but we can start you there. Do you have an experience with a camera?" The teacher asked.
"Some." Veronica replied.
Duncan let out a laugh, "Some. I wouldn't be surprised if you were born with a camera in your hand."
"And here I was hoping to wow her with my knowledge of my very fancy camera," Veronica replied, pulling the camera out of her bag, "Way to spoil my fun DK."
"Well seeing as you already know how to use a camera I've got your first assignment. How about you take photos of Brody Chang at competition his competing in up the coast? Duncan can drive you seeing as he's writing the story." The teacher said before turning to deal with Caitlin Ford. Veronica shrugged at Duncan then followed him to where he had been sitting with Logan.
"Ah Mars. Did you join this class to get closer to Duncan?" Logan asked sarcastically.
"No." Veronica replied with a small pout, "I'm here to be closer to you."
Veronica was barely aware when Logan and Dick joined her, Wallace and Cassidy at their table still too lost in thought.
Awkward silence encompassed the car on the ride home. It usually did if Veronica and Duncan spent too long alone in each others company since neither felt the need to skim past the surface of the others life anymore. Without any warning the lights and sirens of the patrol car behind them started to go off.
"Since when do you get pulled over?" Veronica asked as Duncan pulled over to the side of the road and waited for the officer to come to the car.
"I don't think I've ever been. One of the perks of being the son of a billionaire."
"Licence and registration." The cop asked. Duncan handed them over willingly. The deputy glances over them before turning back to the occupants, "I'm going to have to ask you to step out of the car." He said.
"Is there a problem?" Duncan asked as they both stepped out of the car.
"We've got an impound notice on this vehicle. There's a whole lot of parking tickets and a moving violation date October third." Veronica's ears perked up at that.
Veronica sighed. She and Duncan had waited for Jake to come and get them only for him to get there and tell them they could take the car home themselves. Oh to be rich. Now she wished she hadn't taken that assignment for journalism. If she hadn't then she would have been in the car with Duncan when he had gotten pulled over, she wouldn't have learnt of the moving violation and she wouldn't have used one of the fake Ids she and Lilly had made before her death to get a look at the ticket.
"Hey. Earth to Mars. Are you listening? Are you or are you not coming to Troy's party tomorrow night?" Logan asked from his place next to her. Veronica looked over at him and realised that day almost a year ago when he had asked her to choose she chose wrong. She should have picked the side that would led to Lilly having justice and with the ticket as proof that meant her fathers side.
Veronica sighed, "I don't know." She whispered. Then she took out a copy of the ticket she had made and handed it to Logan.
He turned it over in his hands, "What you writing me love letters now Mars?" he joked without opening it.
She shook her head, "No. I chose wrong." She said looking him in the eye, "Now, if you wish, do your worst." She grabbed her bag and left school grounds heading to her car, not once looking back to see Logan's reaction. When she reached her car she got in and drove all the way to her father's office. It took her 10minutes to turn off the engine, 5 minutes to open the door, 15 minutes to enter the building and another 10 before she was ready to open the door that would actually lead to her father. All the while her phone was ringing, Logan's tone blaring away. She knew he wanted to know what the ticket meant but she had more to deal with than that. Finally when she had the courage she entered the offices her father looked at her in surprise.
"Honey what's wrong?" Keith asked, not actually expecting an answer.
"I'm so sorry." Veronica whispered taking a deep breath to try and stop from crying. "I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry..." She continued over and over as her father reached for her and pulled her into a hug.
"It's ok sweetie. Of course it's ok." Keith whispered because somehow he knew it would be.