A/N: Okay, so I'm back in this fandom (did you miss me? lol) with a kind of outlandish idea that I'm not sure is going to be popular, but I really want to to write it so, we'll see how it goes. If you like it, please leave a review and let me know! Thanx in advance :)
(Disclaimer: All recognisable characters from Veronica Mars belong to Rob Thomas and other important people who aren't me!)
Another day at Neptune High, and she was not impressed. Most teenage girls would love the idea of heading off to school, no doubt looking forward to cheerleading practise or glee club, seeing that special boy or just hanging out with friends. Some even appreciated the classes they attended, enjoying their education immensely. She was just different to everyone else.
These were supposed to be the greatest years of her life, so she was told by adults she was sure barely remembered how tough High School could be. If they did remember, they did a good job of hiding it.
She sighed as she looked in the mirror at her appearance that didn't thrill her. Being shorter than her friends was not her favourite thing, but it was slightly less depressing than her flat chest. Still, being a law man's daughter had its perks. The local gang element thought twice about messing with her... or maybe that was more down to her Mom's reputation?
"T.J.!" the call came up from the bottom of the stairs and the girl in question sighed.
"Think of the devil," she muttered as she grabbed a hair tie from the night stand and pulled her boring mid-brown hair back into a ponytail. "I'm coming!" she called back as she pulled up her book bag and headed out of her room.
Veronica heard the bedroom door slam and physically jumped. She ought to be used to the way her petite teenage daughter seemed to move round like a whole herd of elephants, and yet she still flinched at every door that clanged shut, and every stomp across the upstairs hallway. Almost sixteen years, and honestly, she wasn't entirely sure she was used to the fact she was even a mother. She loved her baby girl, of course she did, but it seemed so weird that she had come this far, that it was so very long since Veronica was that age herself.
"Mom! Seriously?" T.J. called from the kitchen doorway then, snapping her mother out a daze she hardly noticed she'd fallen into. "You yell at me because we're gonna be late and then you're not even ready yet?" she checked.
"I don't have to be ready, smarty pants," Veronica smirked as she tied up the garbage bag in her hand and went towards the back door. "Your Dad is driving you to school this morning because I have an early meeting."
"Oh, cool," her daughter smiled amiably then.
She saw her father pretty often, considering her parents had been divorced since she was twelve. It was all weirdly friendly, no throwing dishes or discovery of torrid affairs. It was just like Mom and Dad decided they were better at being friends than being married, and that suited T.J. just fine.
Her father was only a few streets away and she could see him pretty much anytime she wanted. They even went out as a family sometimes, her and the parentals and Grandpa Keith too. Some of the others kids didn't understand how T.J. could be so cool about coming from a broken home, but it never really felt broken to her, just different.
A car horn outside signalled that her father had arrived and T.J. turned to leave without a moment pause.
"Hold on a sec!" her Mom called after her, bringing her back into the kitchen. "Have a good day at school, honey" said Veronica, giving her a one armed hug.
"Make sure you kick ass at your meeting," her daughter replied, before turning to leave.
Veronica opened her mouth to berate her for her language, but stopped herself and only smiled. Her little girl was growing up fast, and if she could just keep her from becoming too much like herself, everything would be fine. Veronica wasn't sure she could have dealt with herself as a teen and often wondered how her father did it. She had to have been quite the handful, behaving the way she did. T.J. was pretty tame in comparison, much more like the man that raised her really.
Shaking her head clear of the past, Veronica finished off cleaning up in the kitchen, grabbed her purse and practically ran out of the door. After chiding her daughter for almost being late for school, she was going to make the meeting with her latest client by the skin of her teeth. So much for being organised this morning!
"So, how's the law business, Dad?" asked T.J. as she sat back in the front seat of the Sheriff's patrol car and watched Neptune rush by the window. "Stuck enough perps in the can this week?" she teased.
"Happy to say we don't have so many perps to throw these days," he smiled at her phrasing that reminded him so very much of Veronica. "The best I got is busting a couple of kids from your school for possession," he admitted. "Yet another reason to be happy you don't mix with the 09er crowd."
"Amen to that," his daughter agreed. "I don't even know how those people stand to be around themselves. As much as the cash might be cool sometimes, I could not deal being the daughter of one of those rich families. They're all seriously depraved!"
"Teresa Jane D'Amato, me and your Mom raised you better than that," Leo snapped a little then. "You don't judge people by what social circle they have or what house they live in."
T.J. had the good grace to look a little ashamed of herself then, but only a little.
"Trust me, I don't make blanket statements lightly," she assured him, "but I never met an 09er I could get along with, not ever."
Leo bit his lip at that and chose not to say anymore. It wasn't Teresa's fault, she didn't know any better than to see those people as her enemies. To explain it was to make life extremely complicated for everyone. Sometimes the truth was worth hiding, even a man of the law like him knew that.
"Your Mom should be around to pick you up at three if you need her," he said as he pulled up around the corner from the school, "but if you're getting a ride with one of your friends, remember to call or text her, okay?" he reminded her.
"Yes, Dad," T.J. dutifully answered, not a hint of sarcasm somehow, despite the fact it was a little tiresome to be told stuff over and over at her age.
Sometimes she thought her parents saw a six year old rather than a young woman of almost sixteen when they looked at her. Still, it was kinda cool that they both cared that much. She knew enough kids who barely got any attention out of one parent, never mind two.
"Thanks for the ride, Dad," she smiled as she leaned over and planted a kiss on his cheek before dodging out of the car and hurrying down the street.
Leo shook his head as he watched her go. His little girl, all grown up. She would be sixteen in just a few short weeks and he could hardly believe how fast the time had gone. It seemed like only yesterday Veronica had told him she was pregnant. Even then, he'd had no idea how much that tearful announcement would change his life.
He just came by to check in with his boss. It was a pleasure for Leo to be working for Sheriff Mars again, and pretty much everyone was pleased to have him win the election over Vinnie Van Lowe a few weeks ago. Honestly, Leo was as glad to have Keith around for more than one reason, and Veronica was way up there at the top of the list. He had missed her, and some part of his heart was always waiting for her to want him back. It wasn't that he expected it to happen so much as he just lived in hope, no matter how unlikely it seemed, or how much of a girl such thoughts made him!
Leo was surprised when he tapped on the door to the apartment and it came open all by itself. Immediately he was on the defensive, pulling out his gun and preparing himself for whatever might lay beyond the door. Still, he was not ready for the sight that met his eyes.
Veronica was sat on the floor, her back against the kitchen counter, crying like her heart would break. She almost never cried, Leo wasn't so sure he ever saw it happen, at least not in sadness. Happy tears when her father was elected, that kind of thing, but never like this. She was one of the strongest people Leo had ever met in his life, so to see her in such a way now scared the life out of him.
"Veronica?" he approached her carefully. "What happened?" he asked desperately. "C'mon, please, tell me what's wrong," he urged her when she only continued to cry.
"I screwed up," she choked out eventually. "Leo, I really screwed up," she admitted, showing him the item that had been clutched in her hand this whole time, though he had not noticed it.
"Oh, man," he reacted with evident surprise, hand going over his mouth as he realised she wasn't exactly wrong about the screwing up part.
Veronica Mars was pregnant.
"I can't believe I was this stupid," she cried, smacking her hands hard against the floor in frustration. "It wasn't supposed to happen," she shook her head sadly, and Leo pulled her into a hug without a moments thought.
He didn't know what to say to her, he just didn't. This was not exactly an area of expertise for him. Sure, he'd comforted sobbing women in distress before, sometimes it was part of the job as a Deputy, but this was different, this was Veronica, and there was no easy fix to the dilemma she was facing.
"Is it... Is Logan Echolls the father?" he asked carefully.
It just didn't make sense for it to be anyone else, and it would have been more of a surprise if Veronica hadn't nodded her head in agreement then.
"The night before he left," she admitted, sniffing hard, mindful of the fact she had already soaked her friend's shoulder. "Leo, I don't know what I'm gonna do," she told him, fighting the urge to cry all over again. "I don't know how I'm gonna tell my Dad, and... and I just don't know anything right now, and I'm terrified," she admitted.
It took a lot for someone as tough as Veronica to say she was scared, Leo knew that better than anyone. Pulling her close and rubbing her back, he did his best to soothe her panic, but it wasn't easy. He couldn't wave a magic wand and take away the complications from Veronica's life. She had options, the baby didn't have to exist, but somehow Leo doubted she could easily go down the routes of abortion or adoption, that just wasn't Veronica Mars.
"It's gonna be okay," he told her anyway, determined that somehow he would help her through this tough time. "I'm here, and I promise, I'm gonna make sure you're okay."
Leo had been as good as his word, he made sure of it. When he told Veronica everything was going to be okay, he committed to making it true for her. He understood she couldn't love him the way he loved her, but that was okay. She cared enough for him that they made it work and between them they raised a decent teenage girl who was going to be a wonderful woman before long, just like her Mom.
"Get it together, man," the Sheriff told himself aloud when he realised how long he had been sat here in his car, thinking of the past and staring into space.
Of course, even as he drove away, his mind was still whirring with too many thoughts. The past had been pretty good and the present wasn't so bad either, but Leo always had a little fear in him when it came to the future.
One day, without warning, the truth could out. It was right and proper for kids to know who their real parents were, and Leo always thought he would stand behind any person who said so. When it came to his little girl (that wasn't his at all), he prayed she never realised he was not her real Daddy, for her as well as his own sake, and for Veronica too. Leo told himself not to be so dumb. If all was still good after sixteen years, maybe he was worrying about nothing. Maybe.
To Be Continued...