Author's Note: This story takes place right after the end of season three of Veronica Mars, and has spoilers for the entire series – especially the episodes 'The Bitch is Back', and 'Charlie Don't Surf'. I started writing this story a couple of years ago as a thank you for Lisa, who sent me a lovely gift. Unfortunately, after I started writing it, I got stuck with writer's block, and just couldn't find a way to finish it until now. While it may be too little, too late, to actually be a thank you story, I'm still very fond of the show and the character Logan, so it I'm pleased to be finishing it.

Death Wish

Logan took another sip of beer as he stared into the fire, and almost choked when he felt a heavy slap to the back of his shoulder. Looking up with annoyance at his smiling friend Dick he said, "Careful man, there's a beverage here."

Still smiling Dick looked at the girl under his right arm and said, "This is Michelle..." he turned and put his left arm around a second girl and continued, "...and this is..."

The petite blond filled in, "Katrina."

Dick shared a look with Logan and said, "They're sisters. I told you a bonfire at the beach was the best way to celebrate finals being over."

"Don't you have your last one tomorrow?"

Dick shrugged. Logan shook his head with a knowing smile, and opened the lid of the ice chest next to him. "Would you ladies care for a refreshment?"

An hour later the four of them were getting along nicely when Michelle's cell phone rang. A few minutes after that, Dick and Logan found themselves alone. Logan muttered, "Nice jail bait Dick."

"How was I supposed to know? She looked 18 to me."

"Did you ask?"

"Ask what?

"How old they were?"

"Why would I do that?"

Logan smiled in spite of his irritation, and handed Dick another beer. "Ready to head home, or are we still trolling for girls?"

Having had quite a lot to rink already, Dick took the beer, drank half the can, let out a large belch, and said, "I gotta say, I'm so glad that you didn't go all pathetic after Parker dumped you the way you did after Ronnie dumped you. What was up with that anyway?"

Logan knew the real reason. He loved Veronica. Parker had just been a pleasant distraction. He turned back to the fire and said with fake cheer, "I guess I decided life's too short to spend it moping."

Dick lost his smile as he thought about his brother. After a pause he said, "Let's go look for more girls."


The two of them heard a voice behind them say, "Don't go just yet."

They turned and saw Gory with four large men standing behind him "Remember me?"

Logan's heart rate went up and adrenaline rushed through him as he calculated the amount of beer he had consumed, with how large the guys behind Gory were. He hid his nervousness and smirked, "I don't know. Why don't you lay face first in the sand, and maybe I'll recognize the back of your head."

Furry crossed over Gory's face and he gestured to the men behind him. Two of them went for Logan and the other two went for Dick. They took Dick by surprise and had him before he had time to react, but Logan exchanged a few punches with one of the men before he was overpowered.

Gory gave Logan a malicious smile; "You obviously don't know who I am."

With some blood trickling from his mouth Logan said with indifference, "You obviously don't realize I don't care."

Gory's face contorted with anger; "You'll care before I'm through with you."

Gory turned to Dick and said, "I've got no beef with you yet. You keep your mouth shut, and you can walk away when we're done."

Dick was quick to say, "I'm totally wasted. I'll be happy to go home, pass out, and forget everything about this night."

Logan looked at Dick with disbelief and felt slightly betrayed. Dick shrugged and put his hands in his pockets. Logan was pulled back to the current situation as Gory punched him in the jaw.

Logan was dazed for a few seconds, but instead of the fear Gory was hoping for, Logan gave him a condescending, "Could you hurry it up? I've got things to do tomorrow."

Livid, Gory said with menace, "You don't seem to understand. You're not going to live to see tomorrow."

Logan shrugged. "Living hasn't worked out for me so well lately. Do your best."

Gory got his face close to Logan's and said with a clenched jaw, "You'll beg me to kill you by the time I'm done with you."

Logan hid his growing nervousness well and smirked, "Dude, you need bodyguards to beat me up. It doesn't exactly instill fear in me."

"It should." Gory nodded to his bodyguards, and they started to punch Logan in the head and stomach. Logan would have fallen to the ground if one of the bodyguards hadn't been holding him up.

A few seconds later they stopped, and once Logan caught his breath Gory said, "I have an image to maintain. You took me by surprise and got the best of me in a crowded cafeteria. I can't let that go unpunished."

Logan spit some blood and replied, "You taped Veronica having sex without her knowledge or consent, and put it on the internet. I couldn't let that go unpunished."

Laughing Gory said, "Did you even watch he tape? The bitch didn't even put out."

Logan struggled against his captors, wanting to beat Gory down again. Gory was pleased to finally see a reaction out of Logan. He looked at his bodyguards and said, "This is too public. Let's take him somewhere a little more private."

The bodyguards started to drag Logan away, and Gory turned to Dick, "My bodyguards are just gonna make sure you don't follow us."

Before the bodyguards had a chance to punch Dick, everyone heard a gunshot and froze. Logan looked over his shoulder and saw Dick's father, Richard Casablancas, standing there with his gun pointed at Gory.

Richard said, "Let the boy go."

The bodyguards dropped him, and Logan fell into the sand. Gory glared down at Logan and said, "This isn't over."

Richard said, "The sheriff is on his way. Why don't you all have a seat until they arrive."

"Cover me." Gory said, as he started to back away. His bodyguards stepped in between Gory and Richard. When Richard didn't shoot, Gory took off running with his bodyguards following soon after.

Once they were gone, Richard and Dick went over to Logan, who couldn't quite pull himself up off the sand. Logan hadn't seen Richard since he had been back to the States. He looked up at him and asked, "Why?"

"Why what son?"

Logan tried to gather his scattered thoughts, but his head wasn't cooperating. "Did you save me so you could shoot me yourself?"

Smiling, Richard helped Dick pull Logan up to a sitting position in the sand. Logan groaned in pain and shook his head as he lay back down. Richard said, "Lie still. The paramedics will be here soon."

Logan was persistent, "Why?"

Richard said seriously, "I can't say I'm thrilled that you slept with my wife, but Kendall was half my age. You weren't the first fling she had. I saved you because... because we've lost enough already."

Logan gave him a nod of understanding, and said, "Good timing."

Dick pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and said, "All that texting during class really paid off tonight."

Richard patted Dick on the shoulder and said, "I'm glad you thought of me first."

Logan heard sirens in the distance and passed out.

# # #

Keith was asleep when he heard a knock on the door. He looked at the clock, one thirty in the morning. The knock sounded urgent as it came again. Keith got up and answered it. "Richard?"

"Hi Keith."

There was an awkward pause, and Keith asked, "What's wrong?"

"Have you reopened your private investigation office since... the election?"

Keith smiled, "Since I lost?"


"The charges against me were just dropped yesterday, so I was planning to open my office again tomorrow."

"Then I have a job for you. Logan Echolls needs protection."

Keith smiled slightly, "From himself?"

Having been woken up by the noise, Veronica came out of her bedroom and said, "Logan? What happened?"

Richard said, "Someone tried to kill him tonight."

Keith lost his smile and opened the door wider, "Come in."

Twenty minutes later Richard had told them what he knew, and Veronica had told Keith and Richard what she knew about Gory. Keith assured Richard that he would help Logan. Once Richard was gone Veronica gave her dad a hug and said, "Why would he come to us for help? Why would he even want to help Logan?"

Keith kissed the top of her head and after thinking about it for a few seconds he said, "I'm not sure, but my guess is that it has a lot to do with Cassidy."

Veronica closed her eyes for a second and nodded. Keith let her go and said, "I'm going to get dressed and go to the hospital. Why don't you try and get some more sleep."

Veronica shook her head. "I'll come with you."

# # #

Logan opened his eyes. He could tell he was in a hospital room. There was bright sunlight coming in his window. He turned his head and saw Veronica sitting in the chair next to his bed. He smiled, "Hey."


After a pause he said, "I guess you were right about Gory."

"Guess so." Veronica said with a hit of 'I told you so' in her voice.

Logan looked up at the ceiling. "How long have I been out?"

Veronica looked at her watch. "About five hours. The doctor said you have a broken rib and a slight concussion."

"Déjà vu huh?"

"Good thing you have a hard head."

Logan laughed and then hissed in pain. A voice from the doorway said with satisfaction, "Ah, proof of Karma."

Veronica and Logan both looked over to see Piz standing in the doorway holding two cups of coffee and wearing a big grin. Logan still felt bad about beating him up and mumbled, "Yeah, I suppose you're right about that."

Piz walked up to Veronica, handed her the coffee and said, "Want me to find your dad?"


Piz looked over at Logan, and then made a point of leaning down and kissing Veronica on the forehead before walking back out. Looking back at Veronica, Logan said with surprise, "Your dad came to see me?"

Veronica leaned forward and gave Logan a very serious look. "Logan, Gory is dangerous. You need to do what my dad tells you to do so you can stay safe."

Logan gave Veronica the smile only she could bring out in him. "Nice to know you still care."

Veronica shook her head once and said, "You don't understand. I saw this video clip of a confession from Gory. He was talking about his father and uncle taking some dead bodies up to a cabin in the woods to dispose of them. He was calm when he talked about it, and even sounded proud of it."

"Which is why we're gonna make sure Logan keeps a low profile for a while." Keith's voice came from the doorway.

Logan looked over and said, "Mr. Mars."


Piz showed up in the doorway behind Keith, and Veronica stood up. She looked at Logan and said, "Take care of yourself."

She headed out and gave Keith a quick kiss on the cheek before taking Piz's hand and leaving the room. Keith walked over and sat next to Logan. "You're going to be released in a couple of hours, and then I'll be taking you directly to a safehouse. I have a bodyguard set up for you already."

Logan couldn't understand why Keith would help him, but felt uncomfortable about it. "No offence Mr. Mars, but I don't see why you're doing this."

"Richard Casablancas is paying me to look out for you."

Frowning slightly, Logan looked away and said, "Right."


Once Logan looked back at him, Keith continued, "You saved Veronica's life. I'd be here to help you whether I was getting paid or not. It's the least I can do."

Logan found himself more emotional about that then he would like to be, and nodded in acceptance. Keith patted Logan's shoulder and said, "Sit tight. I'm going to make more arrangements before you get released."

# # #

A few hours later, Keith stood with Logan while he signed release papers and got some prescription strength painkillers. Once they were out of the hospital Logan turned to Keith and said, "What now?"

"Now we have a two hour drive ahead of us."

Keith started walking towards his car with Logan walking beside him. Logan got in Keith's car and tried to find a sitting position that didn't hurt his ribs. Once they were on the road Keith noticed his squirming and said, "I'll pull over, and you can stretch out in the back seat."

Logan shook his head. "I'll be fine until we get to the hotel."

"We're not going to a hotel. I told you we're going to a safehouse."

"I mean my hotel."

Keith kept his eyes forward and didn't comment even though he knew Logan was looking at him. "We are going to the hotel right? I need to pack some stuff if you want me to stay at a safehouse. And I need to leave Dick a note or something."

Keith gave Logan a sympathetic look and said, "Sorry Logan. We're going straight to the safehouse. We have everything you need there, and I'm sure Dick's dad will let him know I'm protecting you."

Feeling a little nervous but covering it with a smile Logan said, "Come on Mr. Mars, you can't expect me to stay at a safehouse without my stuff."

Keith didn't answer. Logan lost his smile. "No really. You can't expect me to stay without my stuff."

Keith pulled over, parked and turned to Logan. "I don't think you understand the magnitude of the mess you're in here. We're not going to stop at the hotel, you are going to stay without your stuff, and you're going to lay low for a few days or maybe even weeks. I need time to find out who Gory is, and what kind of connections he has, so that I can figure out what our next step is going to be."

Logan and Keith stared at each other for a few seconds, trying to decide what the other's next move would be. Logan broke eye contact first and said, "You think he's really a threat?"

"I do."

After a pause Keith said, "Why don't you take one of your painkillers, and lay down in the back for a little while. I'm going to have to drive around the city for a while to make sure we're not being followed."

Logan opened the passenger door and got out. He looked around suspiciously for a second at the people on the sidewalk and then got into the back seat. Once Logan was in, Keith said, "There's a bottled water on the floor back there for you."

"Thanks." Logan took his pill and lay down while Keith pulled back into traffic and started driving.

# # #

Logan hadn't thought he was tired, but he realized he must have fallen asleep, because Keith was out of the car and calling his name to wake him up. Logan sat up and looked around. He could see a little blue house standing alone with miles of desert all around. He looked back at the house and saw a large muscular man with dark black hair walk out of the house. Getting out of the car, Logan overheard Keith as he shook hands with the man, "Spencer, good to see you again."

"Good to see you too Keith."

"Is everything set up?"

"Just like you ordered."

Turning towards Logan, Keith waved him over and said, "Logan, this is an old friend of mine, Spencer. He usually works for witness protection, but he's doing this favor for me. Spencer, this is Logan."

Spencer stuck out his hand and Logan shook it. Spencer said, "Nice to meet you Logan."

Turning to Keith Spencer asked, "Does he know the drill?"

Keith shook his head. Nodding in understanding Spencer said, "Well then, come in and let's sit down and talk."

Logan went in and looked around. It was a very small house with the front door entering into the living room. The combined kitchen and dining room was to the left, and to the right there was a short hallway with three other doors. Logan got a quick glimpse of a bathroom and two bedrooms as he walked by. They all sat down in the living room and Spencer said, "Should I start?"

Keith nodded and Spencer turned to look at Logan. "No computer. I don't know you well enough to trust that you won't be out there instant messaging people and telling them where you are. No cell phone. I keep a non traceable disposable cell on me at all times, and there is a cell phone in the SUV in the garage which we may need to use on the move if our location is compromised. No leaving the house for any reason other then a direct attack. We have enough food and water here for three weeks."

Trying to take it all in, and not be upset, Logan sat back for a few minutes and said, "Please tell me we have cable and a game system here."

Spencer looked at Keith. Keith said, "There's a TV, but no cable or satellite, so the three channels you get don't come in very well. There's no game system."

Panicked, Logan said, "Please tell me you've stalked up on booze."

Keith glared at Logan and said, "You're nineteen."

"Hence the reason I need the booze when you've stuck me in the third level of hell."

Ignoring the remark, Keith said, "I'll call once every night on the land line and give you both an update on how the investigation on Gory is going. And that reminds me, no using the landline either. Assume that all your friend's phones are bugged until this is over."

Keith looked at Spencer. "Anything else?"

"You sure you weren't followed?"

Giving Spencer a mock wounded face, Keith said, "Et tu, Spencer? Not only do I lose the vote of the people, but now my friends turn on me too."

"Kind of melodramatic don't you think?"

Keith chuckled. "I wasn't followed."

Standing Keith shook hands with Spencer one more time before he headed towards the door. "I'll call tonight."

"Great." Logan muttered.

Once Logan and Spencer were alone, Spencer said, "You hungry kid?"

"Might as well eat, there isn't much else to do."

# # #

Veronica sat and stared at the paperwork in front of her while her mind wandered. Logan had been gone for two days now, and her father hadn't gotten very far in the investigation. Both Keith and Veronica had looked into Gory's background, and his family's background without much luck. There were plenty of people who were scared of Gory, but that was about all they had uncovered so far. And now Veronica was scheduled to leave for Virginia tomorrow morning to start her internship with the FBI for the summer. She sighed wishing she could do more, but knew her father would do his best to help Logan out.

Veronica heard the door to the office open and saw Piz walk in. She perked up and smiled, "Hi there."

"I was wondering if you could help me, you see my girlfriend is going to be leaving for the summer, and I want to make sure she's still mine when the summer ends."

Playing along Veronica asked, "You want twenty four hour surveillance?"

Smiling Piz said, "I was thinking more along the lines of a romantic dinner in my dorm room. Wallace is gone for the night."

Veronica and Piz still hadn't had sex. Things had been too strange after the video, but now that they were going to be apart for three months, Veronica knew that tonight was the night. She stood up, walked around the desk, and put her arms around his shoulders as she gave him a kiss. "Sounds like a great plan."

Later that night as she lay snuggled up next to Piz, she couldn't help but replay Logan's words to her the first time she had decided to sleep with Duncan. "FYI, if the cuddle is the best part, he didn't do it right."

She closed her eyes and berated herself for thinking of Logan while lying naked next to Piz, but the longer she lay there, the more she found herself comparing the three men she had been in a serious relationship with. Of the three, Logan won in bed hands down. It wasn't just about passion. She had been in love with each of them when she slept with them. It was about the mechanics of sex. Logan had had experience and knew the right ways to touch her. Duncan and Piz had been kind and attentive, but had left her unsatisfied. Then when she thought about the things the three men had done to her out of bed, she remembered why she was with Piz.

She sighed. Piz leaned over and kissed her. "I'm going to miss you."

She opened her eyes and could see the love for her in his eyes. She kissed his shoulder and said, "Three months is going to fly by. We'll be back in school before you know it."

# # #

The first couple of days Logan stayed at the safehouse were okay, but by the third day he was feeling trapped. Spencer was a nice enough guy, and they found that they both enjoyed playing poker to pass the time, but that was only entertaining for so long without alcohol. On the third night Keith called them and spoke with Spencer for a few minutes. Then Spencer handed the phone to Logan. "Mr. Mars."

"How are you holding up Logan?"

"I guess that depends on if you've found anything yet."

"Gory is ether really good at covering his tracks, or he's kept his activities on the verge of being legal. People are afraid of him, but I can't get any of them to tell something that would get him locked up. I've done quite a bit of research on Gory's family as well. They're not so clean, and I can link a combined six disappearances to his father and uncle. But that doesn't really help with your situation since the threat came directly from Gory. I'm afraid it's looking like this is going to take a while."

Sighing dejectedly Logan said, "Is Veronica there? Could I talk to her?"

"I'm at a pay phone remember?"

Logan's face flushed, realizing that he wouldn't know what to say to her if he did get her on the phone. He just missed her and had wanted to hear her voice. Without Dick around to distract him, Logan noticed missing Veronica even more then usual. After a pause Keith added, "And she left this morning for her internship with the FBI."

"Right. Of course. Is that everything about the case then?"

"I wish I had better news for you, but you're just going to have to stick it out."

Still embarrassed, and wanting off the phone now that he realized he had shown Keith some vulnerability, Logan asked, "Did you need to talk to Spencer again?"


Logan handed over the phone and went to sit on the couch.

That night Logan lay in bed trying to sleep but found himself tossing and turning. He thought, 'This is ridiculous. I'll just hire my own bodyguard and go about my normal routine. That little prick Gory isn't going to try and come after me in the hotel, and that's where I spend most of my time when I'm not at the beach.'

Logan lay there for the next half an hour, talking himself into leaving the safehouse the next day. Once that decision was made, he tried to sleep, but thoughts of Veronica saying goodbye to Piz ran through his mind. He got up and searched the kitchen for something to eat, but what he really wanted was alcohol. As he searched through the cupboards, he saw the keys to the car on the kitchen counter. He looked down the hallway. Spencer's door was ajar as usual, so he would wake up if there were any loud noises.

He thought, 'I wonder how loud the garage door is. I might be able to get it up without waking Spencer, but it's not likely. Starting the car will wake him up for sure, but if the garage is open I could get out before he had a chance to stop me. But what if he thinks someone has broken in and taken me. Would he shoot at the car? Maybe I should leave him a note.'

Logan put a hand through his hair and shook his head. He muttered, "This isn't a good idea, Logan."

Then thought, 'It's not even the adult thing to do. But then he thinks of me as a kid already. I should go wake him up and tell him I'm leaving…. But he'll try to stop me… and he's bigger then me. Who am I kidding, he'll be able to talk me out of it because I know it's a bad idea. But when has that ever stopped me before?'

He took a good look around the kitchen, "I'm already in hell, might as well live it up."

He got out a piece of paper and jotted down a note for Spencer. He took the keys, went back to his room to change into some jeans and grab his wallet, and then went to the garage. He saw a little button on the wall and assumed the garage was equipped with an automatic garage door. He went to the car, opened the driver's door, and settled into the car. He adjusted the seat, and put the key in the ignition. He looked in the glove box and found a remote for the garage door. He smiled and clicked it.

As he was driving away from the house he heard a gunshot and automatically ducked. He drove faster and laughed, feeling the rush he usually got when he did something wild. Once he was further down the road he used the car's phone to call Dick.

After a few rings, a tired sounding Dick answered with, "If this isn't a hot chick, I don't want to talk to you."

"Dick man, it's Logan. I busted out. Wanna meet me for drinks?"

"Logan? I thought you were all incognito or something."

"I told you I busted out, and I'm thirsty."

"Sure dude. Where are you?"

"I don't know yet. Get your ass up and get ready to go, and I'll give you a call when I see a road sign."


An hour later Logan and Dick met up in a small town halfway between Neptune and the middle of nowhere. They found a bar, and ordered some drinks. Then they spent the next hour drinking steadily while Dick filled Logan in on what had been going on in Neptune for the past three days.

When Logan had drunk enough that he felt the need to lay his head down on the table to try and make the room stop spinning, he looked up and saw Gory standing over him. Logan looked over at Dick who just sat with his mouth half open and said, "No way."

Gory looked over at Dick and said, "You're a moron. I would say that it paid off to bug your phone since you did lead us to Logan here, but having to listen to you yack about nonsense for the past three days has really pissed me off. So I think I'll be doing the world a favor by taking you along for the ride."

Gory nodded to a couple of guys who were behind him, and they tried to make Logan stand up. Before they actually succeeded, the local law enforcement showed up and said, "Is there a Logan Echolls here?"

Dick raised his hand along with Logan, and Gory backed away with his men. Logan looked up at the sheriff and said, "Thanks."

The sheriff hauled him up, turned him around and handcuffed him as he said, "You have the right to remain silent…."

Dick looked over at Gory, and then waved down the deputy who was standing next to the sheriff and said, "I'm his accomplice, you should really take me in for questioning, too."

As Dick was getting put into the police car he asked, "What are we charged with anyway?"

The sheriff answered, "Grand Theft Auto."

# # #

Keith arrived at the local sheriff's office an hour later. He smiled at the sheriff and stuck out his hand to shake, "Hi Ray, I take it the locator chip in the car worked."

"Worked like a charm" Ray smiled while shaking Keith's hand.

"Did you have any trouble with the kid?"

"No trouble at all. He was with another kid, so I brought them both in. They seemed to be happy to come with us. When we got there, a kid matching Gory's description was already there with some serious looking thugs."

"Damn." Keith said under his breath. Then he asked, "Did you read them the riot act?"

"I would have if they'd been sober enough to listen. We've mostly just been listening to Logan puke while the other one laughs."

Keith rolled his eyes. "Must be Dick. What do I need to fill out to get Logan released?"

"Just Logan?"

"I'll put a call into Dick's father. Let him deal with it. I have my hands full enough with one drunken teenager. I really appreciate your help on this one Ray."

"No problem Keith. I owed you one."

Fifteen minutes later Keith walked into the back where the cells were. Logan was lying on the floor next to the toilet, and Dick was sitting on a bunk staring off into space. Dick saw Keith first and said, "Hey Veronica's dad."


"Did you come to bail us out?"

"I came to bail Logan out. I called your dad. He's on his way to get you."

Dick started to laugh, and nudged Logan's leg with his foot. "Hear that Logan? My Dad's coming to bail me out. That's so…. What do you call it when it's kind of funny but not? You know, 'cause he's going to prison at the end of the summer."

Logan muttered, "Ironic."

Dick smiled big. "Yeah. It's ironic."

Keith looked at Logan, who still had his eyes closed, and said, "Can you get up, or do I need to come help you?"

"Just leave me here. Gory can't get me when I'm locked up."

"Can't do that Logan. I need to get you set up at a new location. Preferably before daylight."

Groaning Logan did get to his feet, but it was an effort. They let him out of the cell and Dick said, "Be careful Dude. That Gory is a freak, and I don't want…. Just be careful."

Logan gave Dick an honest look and nodded. Logan and Keith walked silently to Keith's car. Once they were on the road Keith said, "Do you have a death wish Logan?"

With his head pressed up against the cool glass of the passenger door Logan shrugged. "Everyone dies sometime. Papers would have a field day. I can see the headlines now. Son of murderer is murdered. Except the bastard was found not guilty."

Keith was shocked at Logan's openness. Logan had dated Veronica on and off again over the past three years, but he hadn't heard him talk about his family before. Logan continued with his eyes closed, "Trina would play the grieving sister on the outside, but she'd be counting up the money on the inside. Maybe she could even get them to make a movie of the week about it – rake in more dough. Charlie wouldn't care, but that's nothing new."

Keith said quietly, "Dick and Veronica would miss you. And Duncan too."

With a bitter laugh Logan said, "Duncan? Who's that? And Dick? Dick would go on a year long bender and get over it. Veronica…. well there may have been a time when Veronica would have missed me, but that boat has sailed"

Keith had found it difficult to like Logan in the past. Not only because he had dated Veronica, but also because he was always in and out of trouble of some kind, and because of his general attitude. Tonight he found himself feeling sorry for him. He had lost both parents in the span of two years, and the only family members he had left were his adopted sister who apparently liked money more then family, and a half brother who he had never even met. Keith said, "You underestimate Veronica if you think she wouldn't miss you Logan. Even if you're not dating, she still cares about you."

"How much farther, I think I'm gonna be sick."

"Fifteen minutes."

Logan rolled down his window, and stuck his head out hoping to stave off more dry heaves.

As soon as they arrived at the safehouse Keith said, "Why don't you get in the back and lay down."

Logan was happy to comply. As he was getting out, an angry looking Spencer came storming out of the house holding a note. Sighing and bracing himself, Logan waited outside of the car for the attack. Spencer walked up to him and shook the note in his face. "Don't wait up for me? What the hell were you thinking? I could have shot you! I was aiming for the driver!"

Giving Spencer a look of disinterest, Logan shrugged, "I wouldn't have held it against you."

Spencer grabbed the front of Logan's shirt and shoved him up against the car, "I would have held it against me, and I would have held it against you too. I'm here to protect you, not shoot at you!"

Logan's broken rib protested at the shove against the car. Logan yelled back, "I can hire my own bodyguard! Leave me alone!"

Keith walked up to them, and put a hand on Spencer's arm, in an effort to make him let Logan go. Spencer did let go of Logan, but leaned his face closer and said, "If you were my kid, I'd beat your ass for the stunt you pulled tonight."

Feeling a familiar cold dread wash over him as he thought about his father, Logan gave Spencer a superior look. "Good thing I'm not your kid then."

Keith pulled at Spencer's arm to get him to back up, and told Logan, "Get in the car."

Logan kept his eye on Spencer as he got in the back seat to make sure there would be no surprise attack. Once the door was closed he took a deep breath and watched Keith and Spencer talking for a few minutes before lying down and falling asleep.

Once the door was shut, and Logan was 'safe' inside the car Keith tried to calm Spencer down. "Take a minute and calm down. Hitting the kid isn't gonna do any good, it will just make him bolt."

Spencer muttered, "Might make me feel better though."

Shaking his head Keith said with conviction, "No it wouldn't."

Raising an eyebrow Spencer said, "A few smacks to the kid's backside? Yeah, I think it would make me feel better, and probably do him some good too."

Looking over at Logan, who was lying down with his eyes closed in the back seat of the car, Keith thought to himself that what Logan really needed was someone to give a damn. He thought about that for a few seconds and then turned back to Spencer. "Our location has been compromised. We need to pack up and find a new safehouse, and I have an idea about that."

"Already packed and ready to go."

"Good. Get the stuff. We're going to San Juan Capistrano."

"What? Why?"

"Just get the stuff."

A few minutes later, Keith was explaining his idea to Spencer while Logan was snoring in the back.

# # #

A little while later, at four in the morning, Keith and Spencer pulled Logan out of the car. They carried Logan up some stairs to a house and rang the bell. After a few minutes a sleepy looking man in a bathrobe answered the door. Keith said, "Charlie Stone?"

Charlie squinted against the bright porch light and looked at the three men on his porch. "Yeah, who wants to… Logan? And you're Keith Mars right?"

Smiling Keith said, "I see my reputation proceeds me. Can we come in?"

Charlie looked at Logan's bruised face, and opened the door wider. They walked in and dumped Logan on the couch. He rolled over and started snoring softly. Keith got an electronic gadget out of his pocket. He said, "Mind if I check for bugs before we talk?"

Charlie shook his head. Keith walked through the living room and kitchen, and only found one bug, which was in Charlie's phone. Keith took it out and crushed it. Then he turned back to Spencer and said, "We're clear. Go make sure no one is watching the house."

Spencer nodded and took off. Staring at Logan, Charlie said, "What's going on?"

Trying to figure out where to start Keith said, "I'm hoping that you're the kind of man I think you are, and that you'll help me. Well really that you'll help Logan."

Charlie didn't comment, but thought about the things Logan had said on Larry King. Logan's little interview had changed Charlie's life for the worse.

Keith said, "Someone has threatened to kill Logan, and it's someone who should be taken seriously. I had Logan at a safehouse, but it's not safe anymore. I was hoping to hide him here for a few weeks."

Charlie looked back over at Keith and started shaking his head no. Keith held up his hand and said, "Before you answer me, just listen. A few months ago when Logan found out about you, I did some digging on my daughter's behalf. I've done a background check on you, and I've seen your employee file at Calvert Academy."

"How did….?"

"I'm a private investigator."

"I'm pretty sure that's still illegal."

"The point is, that I know you're a good teacher. You've taught high school students for the past five years, and everything in your file is positive. I even read a letter of recommendation from a parent who said you helped their kid turn his life around. So I know you're a good person. What I don't understand is why you've shut Logan out."

Crossing his arms, Charlie said, "I don't have to explain myself to you."

"This person Logan has gotten mixed up with will kill him if he gets a hold of him. This could be the last chance you ever have to get to know your brother."

Looking back over at Logan, Charlie thought about it for a few seconds with his jaw clenched. Keith said quietly, "Logan would never ask for your help. He thinks you don't care. In fact tonight he told me that it wouldn't matter if he died, because there's no one who would care if he were gone. He's kind of a mess."

Charlie looked over at Keith with surprise, and then back at Logan. After a pause he said, "I read your book."

Wondering what Charlie was getting at Keith said, "And?"

"Did Aaron really kill that girl?"


"The same girl Logan was dating?"


Charlie looked at his feet and shook his head, as if he already regretted saying it, and said, "Okay, Logan can stay here."

Smiling Keith said, "Thank you. Can we sit down and go over a few things to keep him safe?"

Soon Charlie was sitting down with a cup of coffee for both himself and Keith. Keith said, "Are you working, or on summer break?"

"I'm on summer break."

"Did you have plans over the next few weeks?"

"I did, but I can break them."

"For the next couple of weeks, I need you to keep your blinds closed at all times, and in all rooms. If there is some reporter lurking around, we don't want them to see that Logan is here. Logan absolutely needs to stay in the house at all times. Don't tell anyone that Logan is here – not your mom, not your best friend, not your girlfriend, not anyone. Don't let Logan answer the phone for any reason, and don't let him get a cell phone. Don't let him get on the computer, unless someone is standing behind him watching what sites he's on the whole time. He can't answer any emails, and he can't log in with a password to any site he belongs to. Logan is well known for thumbing his nose at authority, and for being a runner. Don't leave him alone for any length of time. You and Logan's bodyguard, Spencer, should take different shifts to sleep. Think you can handle all that, or should I take him somewhere else before the sun comes up?"

Charlie looked over at Logan and said, "How did he get those bruises?"

"The guy who's after him, Gory, had some of his men beat him up. If someone hadn't stepped in that night, Logan would most likely be missing right now, and we would never have found him. As it is he has a broken rib and some bruising."

Sighing Charlie said, "I can handle it. Go do whatever you need to do to make sure he stays safe."

Keith stood up, and Charlie did as well. Keith stuck out his hand and they shook. Keith said, "Thank you. Spencer knows how to get in touch with me if Logan is too much of a handful."

Keith opened the front door, and let Spencer in. He said, "The parameter is clear."

"Check every room for bugs and cameras. Charlie knows the basics. You know what to do if you need me."

# # #

Keith got home early that morning, and decided to get a little more sleep. He was woken up at ten in the morning with a phone call. "Hello?"

"Hey Dad. Are you sleeping?"

"Hi sweetie. How was your first day?"

They talked for a while about the things Veronica had done so far, and then she asked, "How's it coming on Gory?"

"Not so great."

"You know, I was thinking that since I'm here, I could take a look at some files and see…"

Keith used his sternest voice and said, "Veronica, don't you dare. I have Gory covered. You are not to go snooping over at the FBI. Do you hear me?"

With a smile Veronica said, "You worry too much Dad. I'm a petite blond teenager remember? I'll just pretend I was looking for the bathroom."

"You're going to get kicked out before you ever actually get in."

Teasing Veronica said, "So little faith?"

"I mean it Veronica. Don't blow the opportunity of a lifetime over this."

"Sorry Dad, I've got to go. Someone's flagging me down. Love you."

"Veronica, promise me…."

Keith listened to the dial tone and said, "….you won't do it."

Groaning and knowing there was no way he could sleep now, Keith got out of bed and got ready for the day.

# # #

Logan woke up disoriented with a pounding headache. He checked his surroundings, and jerked himself into a sitting position when he realized he had no idea where he was. From his position, he could see into the kitchen. Spencer and his half brother, Charlie, who he had only seen in pictures, were sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast.

Charlie and Spencer had both heard the movement and turned towards Logan. Logan and Charlie locked eyes for a few seconds. Logan couldn't get over how much Charlie looked like Aaron. He had the same hair, the same nose, and the same mouth. Charlie, having never seen Logan's behavior when he wasn't in front of a camera, was amazed to see uncertainty and fear in his expression. Logan broke eye contact first as he turned to Spencer. "Where are we?"

"Charlie's house."


Spencer looked to Charlie, wondering if he should let him explain. Charlie said, "Keith brought you here last night. He asked me if you could stay here for a little while, so he has time to investigate that Gory person."

Sounding astonished Logan asked, "And you agreed?"

"I did."

Logan wasn't sure what to make of it. He put a hand to his forehead and grimaced at the pain. He said, "Why? Why are you letting me stay after… everything? Why now?"

"I don't honestly know."

Spencer said, "If you don't mind, I think I'll go try to catch some sleep now so I can be up tonight."

"Sure, the guest bedroom is at the end of the hall on the right."

Spencer got up and started to leave. Feeling a little lost, and overwhelmed Logan said, "Hey Spencer?"


Logan looked away and muttered, "I'm sorry about last night."

Spencer didn't comment, and waited until Logan looked back at him. Once he had eye contact, Spencer said, "You should be."

Logan blushed and looked back at his lap while Spencer went back to his bedroom.

After a short pause Charlie said, "If you're hungry I could make you something to eat, or the bathroom is free if you want to take a shower. Your bag is by the front door there."

Looking over at the bag Logan said, "I'd like to take a shower."

"Go ahead. We can talk once you get out. There's some Tylenol in there to help your head if you want it."

Not believing he was actually in Charlie's house, let alone having a normal conversation with him, Logan numbly stood and picked up his bag. He knew it had clothes that were his size, but they weren't his clothes. He took one more look at Charlie before heading to the bathroom. He went in and locked the door.

Staring at himself in the mirror for a few seconds he said, "What the hell are you gonna do now?"

He shook his head, and winced at the pain. He took some Tylenol and started the shower. As he was showering his mind walked through all the times he had called Charlie, only to get no response. He thought about ratting Charlie out in front of the whole world on Larry King Live. He thought about all the things he didn't know about Charlie. "This is what you wanted. This is why you called him in the first place. He's the only biological family you have left."

The back of his mind screamed, 'He looks just like Dad, and he's hurt you already.'

Wiping some of the water off his face Logan thought, 'No. You've hurt each other already. But maybe we can start over. I was so quick to believe Norman. Spilled my guts to a total stranger just because I was desperate to have some kind of family connection. What if the real thing is worse?'

Turning off the water and drying off, Logan muttered to himself, "Can't be any worse then Trina."

Feeling a little better, Logan finished getting dressed, and went back out to the living room. Charlie was still sitting at the kitchen table, and as he saw Logan he got up and said, "Come sit down, I'll get you something to eat."

Logan slowly walked over, and sat in the chair against the wall, so that no one would be able to come up behind him or startle him. He said, "Coffee would be great."

"Cream and sugar?"

"Yes please."

Charlie got him a cup and put it in front of him. Logan continued staring at Charlie through everything. Charlie said, "How about some toast or a bagel?"

"I'm fine."

"You should eat something."

Logan sipped his coffee and said, "Just the coffee for now."

Charlie sat down across from Logan, and there was an uncomfortable silence for a few long seconds. Soon he couldn't take it, and Logan said, "On second thought, toast sounds good."

Charlie got up and put some bread in the toaster. As he was rummaging around in the refrigerator, Logan looked down into his coffee, wondering if it had the answers of how to start a conversation with this man he knew next to nothing about.

A few minutes later a plate was set down in front of him with a piece of toast, and a little fruit cup full of cut up pears. The smell assaulted Logan, and he looked up at Charlie with panic. Logan couldn't stop himself from flinching away from Charlie at that moment. He looked too much like Aaron, and he was standing above him with the smell of pears in the air. Logan pushed past him, dashed for the bathroom, and puked up the half-digested Tylenol along with some coffee and water.

He flushed while breathing hard, and tried to push away the memories of his father shoving pears down his throat while he choked, and his mom forcing his dad to stop by holding a knife to his throat. He swallowed a couple of times, and once the nausea had passed, he stood to get a glass of water. He realized he hadn't shut the door, and Charlie was standing in the doorway looking at him with concern. "Everything okay?"

Logan put on his game face. "I guess that will teach me to drink a fifth of vodka in one night huh?"

Charlie still looked concerned. Logan got himself a glass of water and took some sips while looking at the sink. "Maybe we should hold off on breakfast for a while."

"I could make you some tea. That might help calm your stomach."

"Sure. Just make sure there's no food around please."


Logan heard Charlie's footsteps going back to the kitchen. He took a few deep breaths to try and calm down. He muttered, "You're pathetic Logan. It was ten years ago. Get over it already."

He went back out to the kitchen and sat back down. The food was gone, and the kettle was on the stove. After a few seconds of awkward silence Logan said, "You look like him you know."


They were quiet again until the kettle whistled. Once Logan had a cup of tea in front of him Charlie sat down and asked, "Do you miss him?"

Logan kept his eyes on his cup. "No."

After a pause, Logan with his eyes still on his cup, muttered, "I don't know if you ever got my messages, but I'm really sorry about the things I said during my Larry King interview. When that reporter came and pretended he was you… I thought you had set me up."

Logan shook his head and darted his eyes to Charlie's for a second, "If I had known that you had nothing to do with it, I never would have said those things."

Charlie sighed. "Well I guess I'm partially to blame for not calling you back the first time, but… It was just such a shock, you know? I didn't know what to say, and I didn't want my life disrupted."

Logan was happy that Charlie wasn't yelling at him and telling him that he hated him for all of it. He gave Charlie a tentative smile. "I still shouldn't have jumped the gun like that. I tend to act first and think later."

Charlie smiled back, "I tend to think things to death, and then end up not acting at all. Maybe your way is better."

After a few more seconds Logan said, "So if you've seen the hour long special on the entertainment network, you know all about my life. I'd really like to hear about yours."

"Let's see, I was mostly raised by my mom and my grandmother. My mom had a few boyfriends here and there, but no one stuck around for more then six months. I grew up here in San Juan Capistrano in my grandmother's house. I decided I wanted to be a teacher when I was in college. I did substitute teaching for a couple of years before I got the position at Calvert Academy. I've been there for going on six years now, and I like it there."

Logan asked, "How old are you?"

"Thirty one."

Logan thought about it. "That would make you twelve years older then me."


"When did you find out you had the dubious honor of being Aaron Echolls son?"

Charlie looked away and said, "I'm not ready to talk about that yet."

Surprised but hiding it, Logan forced a laugh and said, "Yeah, with all the recent press, I don't really want to be related to him either." Charlie didn't answer. After an awkward pause Logan said, "Do you live here alone?"


"Have any kids?"



Looking away, Charlie said, "I was in a serious relationship for four years before… before it came out that I'm Aaron's son."

Logan made eye contact, and Charlie could tell he was genuinely sorry. "She couldn't take the press?"

"Things went south quickly."

"I'm really sorry… again. The press can be hard to take."

Charlie gave Logan a little smile, "I believe you, but that part isn't your fault. How about you? Girlfriend?"

Logan didn't want to pour his heart out to someone only to have it stomped on again. He said, "I guess you could say I've had two serious relationships."

"Lily was one?"

Taking a drink of tea and clearing his throat, Logan gave a husky, "Yeah."

"And Veronica is the other?"

"How do you know about her?" Logan asked with surprise.

Charlie looked away, and Logan thought he saw a blush as Charlie said, "I watched the trial."


"So is it Veronica?"


"Still love her?"

Sighing Logan said, "Yeah."

After a pause Charlie said, "How's your stomach?"

"Better thanks."

"How about your hangover?"

"My head isn't pounding as much."

"Good….. so what are you studying in school?"

For the next couple of hours Charlie and Logan stayed on the neutral subject of school, but got to know more about each other just the same.

When there was a natural pause in the conversation Charlie said, "You hungry now?"

Logan nodded and got up, "You don't have to wait on me. I can make myself a sandwich or something. If you don't mind that is."

"No, of course not. Feel free to help yourself to anything in the kitchen."


Logan started making himself a sandwich and said, "Did you want one too?"

"No thanks. In fact, I should really go work for a little bit."

"Oh, I didn't even think about that. Are you missing work right now?"

Shaking his head Charlie said, "No, not that kind of work, I'm on summer break. I need to go do some stuff on the computer."


"Well… It may sound silly to you, but I'm trying to be a writer. I've written two small mystery novels, and I'm working on a third."

"It doesn't sound silly at all. I think it's kind of awesome. How did your first two books sell?"

Charlie chuckled, "They didn't get published. Although right after everyone found out who I was, a few publishers who had originally turned me down, said they would be happy to print them. But if it wasn't good enough the first time, then I don't want it published."

"Do you think I could read one of your books?"

Charlie pursed his lips as if he didn't like the idea and said, "I'll think about it."

Trying to hide his disappointment Logan said, "That's okay. Hey, do you have cable?"

"Yeah, I get all the channels."

Looking up at the ceiling Logan said, "Thank you God."

He put the lunchmeat back in the refrigerator, and put his sandwich on a plate. "Just point me to the remote, and I'll be covered for the afternoon."

# # #

Three hours later Charlie came out and sat down on the couch next to Logan. Logan turned and said, "Taking a break?"

"I couldn't write."

"I could turn the TV off if you….."

"No, it's not that. My head just isn't in it right now. Too many other things to think about." Charlie said giving Logan a little smile.

Logan smiled as well and said, "Yeah."

They sat and watched some of 'Dirty Harry' together until a commercial came on. Charlie said, "You want to tell me why this guy Gory is after you?"

Logan muted the TV and told the whole story, including the fact that he had beat up Piz. He ended it with waking up in the hospital, and Keith taking him to the safehouse. After a few seconds to process things Charlie asked, "What went wrong at the safehouse?"

Blushing, Logan turned the sound back up on the TV and muttered, "The same thing that always goes wrong. I decided to do something stupid."

Charlie ignored the movie and said, "Spencer told me what you did, I was wondering what went wrong at the safehouse that made you want to run off."

Getting annoyed that Charlie didn't take the hint, and still embarrassed about it, Logan said, "Story of my life. Things are good, and I can't stand it, so I screw them up."


Logan turned the volume up higher and said, "I'd like to watch this if you don't mind."

Charlie waited for the next commercial, and then said, "I'm going to store this afternoon. Anything you want?"

"Beer. Lots and lots of beer."

Chuckling Charlie said, "After last night? I don't think so. Your birthday isn't for two more months, and even then you'll only be twenty."

Logan lost all interest in his show, and he gave Charlie a wide eyed look. After a second Charlie said, "What?"

Logan said with some awe, "You know my birthday?"

Logan couldn't help but remember the bitter conversation he'd had with his father a couple of years ago, and the pain of realizing that his dad didn't know when his birthday was.

Charlie seemed uncomfortable, looked at his watch and said, "Is there anything you want at the store that isn't alcoholic?"

Taking a hint, and trying not to be hurt that Charlie wasn't going to answer, Logan looked back at the TV and said, "I'm not that picky. I'm allergic to shellfish, but other then that get whatever you want."

Charlie got up and went into the kitchen to make a list of the things he needed to buy. Logan looked at the TV, but his mind was busy trying to figure out how Charlie knew his birthday. Deciding it must have been mentioned in the hour long special that the Entertainment network kept running about his family, Logan switched his attention back to the TV.

A little while later Charlie came and sat down next to Logan again. "I thought you were going to the store."

"I have to wait for Spencer to get up."

Glaring at Charlie, and thinking he already knew the answer, Logan asked, "Why?"

Charlie suspected that Logan knew he wasn't supposed to be left alone, and that it was bothering him. He decided to go with a half truth, "I want to see if he wants anything at the store before I go."

Logan grunted. After a few seconds Logan said, "Do you have any kind of game system? Playstation? Xbox?"

"Sorry I don't."

Sighing Logan said, "Figures. How about a deck of cards? Spencer likes poker."

Charlie went to the kitchen and came back with a deck of cards. Logan said, "Thanks. Is the computer in your room the only one you have?"


"Can I use it while you're gone?"

"Sorry, Keith left instructions for you not to answer any emails, and not to log in to any sites that you belong to. He doesn't want anyone to trace you to my house."

Logan gave Charlie a sour look, so Charlie decided to get it all out there at the same time. "And I suppose while we're at it, he also said not to open any blinds, and for you to stay away from all the windows in case any reporters are lurking around. You're not to answer the phone, call anyone on the phone, or use any cell phones."

Logan couldn't help feeling trapped. He stood up and yelled, "That's ridiculous! No one knows that I'm here, the reporters lost interest in you months ago, and Gory isn't smart enough to trace me through an email!"

Keeping calm Charlie said, "When Keith brought you over here, he found a bug in my phone, so I don't think it's ridiculous. And even if Gory isn't smart enough to trace you here, that doesn't mean he can't hire people who are smart enough."

Logan thought about that for a second, looked away as his anger receded, and suggested, "I could hire a private body guard to stay with me at the hotel, and just go about my regular routine instead of staying here."

"You could, but I'd rather you stay here, so we have a chance to get to know each other."

Logan's eyes darted over to meet Charlie's for a second, and he saw honesty there. He looked away and muttered, "Yeah, I'd like that."

Looking like he had just woken up, Spencer came in from the hallway and said, "Everything okay in here? I heard yelling."

Logan remained silent, so Charlie stood up to face Spencer. "Everything's fine. Are you up for now? I need to go to the store and buy some supplies."

"I'm up. Hold on a second and I'll get you some of the money Keith left for supplies."

Shaking his head Charlie said, "No, that's fine. I've got it covered. Is there anything you want from the store?"

"A steak would be nice. Do you usually go to the same store for groceries?"


"Then go to a different one today. We don't want to draw attention to the fact that you're buying more food then usual."


"And if you run into someone you know, don't mention anything about us."

"I know, I got that warning from Keith last night."

Spencer gave Charlie an apologetic smile and said, "Can't be too careful."

"It's okay, I understand. I'm gonna head out, and I'll be back in a couple of hours."

Logan sat back down on the couch and watched Charlie leave. A few minutes later Spencer sat down on the couch next to him. Spencer said, "What are you watching?"

Logan handed Spencer the remote and said, "I'm just surfing. Feel free to pick."

Spencer muted the TV and said, "I wanted to tell you I'm sorry about this morning. I was tired and still pissed. But I do accept your apology."

Logan raised his eyebrows. "Really?"


Giving Spencer a genuine smile, Logan said, "Thanks man."

"I accept your apology this time because, I figure everyone is entitled to make mistakes, as long as they learn from them. Now you know that Gory is out there looking for you, and he does want to see you dead, so I assume you've learned your lesson and don't plan to run off again. But if you do try to run again while under my watch, and if I'm lucky enough to find you before you're dead, things are going to get ugly between us."

Logan clenched his jaw and thought, 'Great, so if I sneak out and manage not to get beat up by Gory's thugs, he'll be happy to do the honors. Fantastic.'

"Thanks for the warning, I'll keep it in mind."

"You do that."

"If your done making threats, why don't you pick something to watch."

Spencer turned back to the TV and before turning the sound up he said, "It wasn't a threat, it was a promise."

Logan rolled his eyes but kept silent.

A few hours later Charlie came home, with some bags of groceries, and a bag from the local video store, which held a Playstation, some games, and a few movies. Charlie handed the bag to Logan and said, "I hope this helps with the boredom."

Logan gave him a genuine smile, "Thanks. That was really nice of you."

Charlie smiled too. "Have you played any of those?"

"I've played most of them a few times, but it's always fun to play again."

"Maybe you can show me how to play later tonight."

"Sure, I'd like that."

Spencer said, "Why don't you two go ahead and play now. I'll cook for us."

Charlie and Logan played for the next four hours, with a short break to eat, and had fun together.

# # #

While Logan and Charlie were playing video games, Veronica was skipping dinner to sneak into one of the class rooms at the academy. The room had computers at every desk, and earlier that day, she had listened to a lecture on how to look up criminals in the database. She went to the front desk and looked around in the drawers for a login. "Bingo."

She typed in her teacher's login, and soon had typed in Gory's name. Before the information could come up on the screen, the lights went on in the classroom. Veronica quickly hit the escape button, and tried to end the program while smiling at her teacher. "Am I in the classroom? I was trying to get to the cafeteria. I must have gotten lost."

Her smile faltered when the teacher glared. "You need to come with me Veronica. My boss wants to talk to you."

As the two women walked down the hall, Veronica thought to herself, 'You've really done it now. Dad was right. I'll get kicked out before I even get in. What am I going to tell him?'

Her teacher led her to an interrogation room. A few minutes later they were joined by a middle aged man. He looked Veronica in the eye, and said, "What's your connection to Gorya Sorokin?"

"Connection? No connection. I… I'm looking for information on him so that I can protect a friend of mine."

The man sat down across from her and said, "Is that right? Why don't you tell me about it."

"Why do you want to know?"

"Because we've been trying to get something on his father for years now. Maybe we can help each other."

Relieved, Veronica said, "Maybe we can."