Disclaimer: I don't own Veronica Mars.

Chapter 24: Happy Birthday, Veronica

Veronica hurried around her room to get ready. If she believed in bad luck, she'd consider running late on a Monday morning a bad omen. But she didn't, so it wasn't.

"Shit!" She rubbed her shoulder where her arm hit her dresser. She swore again upon hearing a second thud and the soft sound of tinny music. She dropped to her knees and gathered the wooden music box onto her lap. She held her breath as she checked the hinges, carefully closed the box and turned it over in her hands. Happy 17th, Veronica Mars. To the many birthdays we'll celebrate together. Logan

She turned the mechanism beside the engraving, flipped open the box and listened to the music play. The bronze figurines still danced to the tune.

Veronica let out a sigh of relief, pulled herself to her feet and set the box further back on her dresser where a different music box once sat. It'd been a gift from her mother, one she'd thrown a way long ago. She couldn't say she cared for it as much as she cared for this one.

Turning away from her dresser, Veronica rubbed her forehead tiredly and tucked her hair behind her ears. She turned 17 on Saturday. She'd forgotten all about it, but no one else had. They had a party on the beach for her. Everyone, including Mrs. Navarro and Weevil, showed up. Mrs. Navarro baked her a cake. Her father even rented a pony for the day. The whole thing only ended when Sheriff Lamb showed up and harassed her father about a permit. Veronica smiled at the memory of Lynn putting up a fuss on her behalf and Logan and Dick's snide remarks. She didn't care about their 09er status, but she enjoyed that she had someone to defend her.


Speaking of my defenders…

"I'm in my room."
Logan poked his head into the room. "You're late."
Veronica rolled her eyes. "You're on time."

"Isn't that what you wanted?"

Veronica nodded after a moment's thought. "I guess so."

Logan smirked.

"Hey, have I told you how much I love my music box and how great the party was?" Veronica asked as she grabbed her bag.

"Not today," Logan said smugly.

"Don't make me regret thanking you," Veronica warned.

Logan raised his hands in defeat. "I would hate to make you regret anything, Veronica."

Veronica looked at Logan. He was looking at her like she was the only thing that mattered and in that moment she knew that he liked her back. She'd only ever seen him look at Lilly like that. Not to mention how close they'd been since the start of the summer. The only other person she'd felt the close to was Duncan. Suddenly she felt both ecstatic and disgusted. She wanted to be with him so badly but at the same time this was Logan. Lilly's Logan. Not to mention Duncan was still hanging around. What would happen if he wasn't her brother? She'd never go back to him, but how would he feel?



"You okay?"

Veronica curled her hands into fists, cracked her knuckles and released. She wasn't okay, but how could she tell him that?

"All good."

"Are you sure?" Mac asked.

"Pretty sure," Veronica sighed.

Mac shrugged. "So you like him and he likes you."

Veronica leaned against the locker next to Mac's. "It's not as easy as that."
"Why not?"

Veronica tucked her hair behind her ears. "He's Logan." She hoped Mac would understand what that meant because she wasn't sure she could really explain it any better.

"So the past is complicated, I get it," Mac acknowledged, closing her locker. "But don't let that be a reason not to be with him if that's what you want."
"Just because I want something doesn't necessarily mean it's a good idea."
Mac sighed. "Maybe that's true, but don't get a pouty if your miserable for letting the past dictate your future."

"Hey, V!" Weevil called out before Veronica could even figure out how to respond to Mac.

"Just what I need," Veronica grumbled.

"Chica, I need your help," Weevil said, approaching Veronica and Mac.

"Hello to you too, Weevil," Mac greeted.

"Oh, yeah, hey," Weevil said, nodding at Mac as an afterthought. "V, it's my abuela."

"What?" Veronica asked, her interest suddenly peaked at the mention of Mrs. Navarro.

"They're saying she stole from the Echolls."

"What?" Mac echoed.

Veronica looked up and down the hallway. It was beginning to fill with students. "Come with me."

She grabbed Weevil's wrist and dragged him after her, into the girl's bathroom. Mac followed closely behind them and, after a quick stall-check, she jammed the door with a doorstopper to keep unwanted visitors out.

"Mrs. Echolls doesn't believe it and I don't think your boy does either, but Mr. Echolls called it in." Weevil sounded panicked. Veronica understood why.

"But she didn't do it," Mac said.

"Yeah, but it looks like she did," Weevil pressed.

"They'll figure it out," Mac continued.

"Not if Lamb's on the case," Veronica mumbled.

Mac shot Veronica a reproving look.

Veronica looked over at Weevil. "Oh. Right. Sorry."

"Fix it, V," Weevil insisted.

"Fix what?" Veronica asked.

"They arrested her," Weevil said, "this morning."

"They did what?" Mac asked incredulously.

"They had a warrant. You gotta do something," Weevil pleaded.

Veronica's brain was working on overdrive. If Mrs. Navarro didn't do it, who did? She eyed Weevil skeptically. "Did you do it?"

Weevil shot her a look. "I would turn myself in before letting my abuela sit in jail cell."

The girls exchanged a look before relenting. "Okay, you didn't do it. Let me talk to my dad and see what he has to say, okay?" Veronica asked.

Weevil nodded. "You gotta help her, V."

"We will."

Mac nodded in agreement. "I'm on the case."

Weevil looked down at the floor then back up at Veronica and Mac. "Thanks," he ground out.

Veronica and Mac watched Weevil as he removed the doorstopper and left the bathroom.

"We're gonna kill whoever did this," Mac told Veronica, both of their eyes still on the bathroom door.

"Crucify them," Veronica agreed.

A/N: It's been a while since I last updated here, hasn't it? I am sorry, although I can't promise I'll be much better in the future. Real life has gotten in the way and all that.

Regardless of my terrible writing habits, I hope you all enjoyed this short little installment and will stick with me until I can make something a little longer happen. Many thanks to all of the readers and reviewers out there. The feedback really does push me to work harder on this.

Love and Luck,