Title: Get Tough, Get Even

Author: zmdr

Fandom: Veronica Mars

Rating: PG-13 for Language

Characters: Veronica

Summary: Post 3x20, Veronica takes it personally. Waaay personally.

Spoilers: All of VM is spoiled. Warning: Major character death. Possible OoC.

Disclaimer: Veronica Mars is one of the greatest shows. Ever. Pity I don't own it. Actually, if I own it I'll probably ruin it, as can be seen in the following fic. Rob Thomas owns all, CW owns rights.

Word Count: 1,900

A/N: My first fic. It's un-betaed so please forgive any minor spelling or grammatical errors. Also, since I'm just starting out, I'm not too sure about my tone, voices, tense and characterisations. Hopefully it will become more consistent the more I write. Please read and review honestly. Praise is great, criticisms with suggestions to improve is even better. Constructive criticism is the soil in which literary skill grows.

Get Tough, Get Even

Veronica

It never rains in Southern California. Yeah, right. It never rains, but it pours.

It certainly makes one of the worst days of my life seem even worse. Oh, yes, finding out that your father had destroyed police evidence to save your butt? Finding out that Dad, whom I respect above all things, has forsaken his values to save what he cares about most in the world? Finding out that, if I hadn't made out with Piz in his room, causation would not have lead me to piss off one of the most powerful men in Neptune, would not have lead him to pursue vengeance against Dad and I with all his considerable power and influence, and everything right now would be hunky-dory. Damn you, hormones. Damn you to hell. And Hell, if you're listening, leave a space for hindsight, would you? 'Cause I know a place where I'd like to stick it.

"Goddamn it,"

I curse as yet another car speeds through a puddle on the road, drenching me. I swear that once everything is done and through, I would be getting a raincoat. Or an umbrella. Or I'll just park a little closer to the voting station next time. It seems that today, the skies are weeping for one Keith Mars, soon-to-be two times ex-Sheriff.

Dad's campaign against Vinnie Van Lowe had NOT gone well. Vinnie had the support of the Fighting Fitzpatricks. They created ammunition for Vinnie to use against Dad; crime rates rose BECAUSE they caused it. The campaign was not going well even before I found out he had destroyed evidence implicating me in the Kane break-in. Which I wouldn't have done if I hadn't been so horny as to make out with Piz in his room, or been so vengeful as to break into Jake Kane's house, or had been so stupid and complacent as to not even consider that Jake Kane's rich, 09er neighbours, paranoid at the recent rise in Irish crime, would install a video surveillance security system, or…

STOP, Veronica. Chill. It's no use. What's done is done. Take what's coming, adapt, and move on.

All right, then.

There's ample time to look back and cry. For now, I have to get to Dad. Apologise to him face-to-face. Come clean. Attempt to regain his trust. For whatever the results of the election, only a shitstorm awaits when Dad faces the charges against him. And it seems I'm the only one he has left in this world. And he shouldn't be going into it alone. Because when the Marses stand together, there is nothing in this world that cannot be overcome.

Right?

Home

Keith looked up as he spotted Veronica walking in. He frowned as he saw her dishevelled appearance.

God, she looks like she has driven to New York and back. In a convertible with the roof down. While crying.

He glanced at the crumpled morning's newspaper on the table, and put two and two together.

Well, this should make it easier to break the news to her.

Keith saw Veronica tense as she approached him. Before she could speak, he said, in the gentlest tone he could muster,

"Veronica, what you're about to say can wait until you have cleaned yourself up and put on something dry."

Veronica nodded as she went to her room.

And Keith returned to his room and continued to pack.

When Veronica had showered and changed, Keith called her into his room.

"Hi, Dad."

"Veronica, I…"

"Dad I'm so sorry, I didn't have to do it…"

"Veronica! Listen to me!"

Keith saw her suck in a breath, wipe the tears from her eyes and sit on the bed, facing him. He knew that he had to get it off his chest quickly and succinctly.

Bandaids, Keith. Think of Bandaids.

"Veronica, I have been indicted for spoliation of evidence."

Veronica stiffened.

"I have to be present at the State Court in Sacramento in a month to answer the charges. Cliff has recommended that I go there early and assemble a defence team I can trust and count on. "Lawyers who actually cost more than 20 bucks an hour", he said. He recommended I work on my case as much as possible before the trial."

Veronica nodded. She was beginning to see where this was going.

"I leave at noon."

Keith could see that Veronica was getting overwhelmed. He reached over and enveloped her in a hug.

"Mars Investigations is yours for the time being, Veronica. You're licensed, and I honestly don't know a better PI in the entire county. And I'll probably need to start on the client pool you build up after returning from Sacramento."

He made a wry smile.

Veronica could see the pain in his eyes.

"I love you, Dad, and I'm…"

"We'll talk when I return. Feed Backup, the usual, bring him on stakeouts. Don't take cases that are too big for you. And remember, school comes first. Don't think you can get off easy just because both the Professor and his TA are in jail awaiting trial."

Veronica nodded, resting her head in her father's shoulder, the way she usually did.

"And whatever you do, don't go after Jake Kane. He's like a hound baying for blood. I don't know why, but recently he has gotten a little less vocal for our complete and utter destruction."

"Yes, Dad."

"Don't worry, the State Court judge won't be able to resist the good ol' Mars charm. Who's your daddy?"

He asked with a smile.

"You are."

Veronica

I spent the rest of the morning helping Dad pack. I reminded him to keep safe, wished him luck and told him to eat plenty of veggies. And since he didn't want to discuss the raison d'être for the indictment, I obliged by spending the last hour and a half serving him lunch.

He kissed me goodbye.

He left the keys to Mars Investigations on the dining table.

He left in a cab.

I know why Jake Kane has become less vindictive. He knows that contents of the hard disc I found in his house can cause a lot of trouble. Why, I even gave him a teaser on what I knew about the contents just last night. It would be wise of him to back off. He would know that a person resourceful enough to brute force his 128bit encryption on that hard drive, would also be smart enough to make copies. Both of us know that it's impossible to destroy a digital file with any kind of certainty. Oh well, let sleeping dogs lie.

Mars Investigations – Veronica

I cracked the door open. The room smelled a little musty. Well, what can I say? Between the six weeks of Dad taking over the Sheriff job and me working my ass off in Hearst, we kind of had problems on the manpower side of things. We had to cancel or, God forbid, refer our precious clients to the significantly seedier Vinnie Van Lowe.

Dad had trusted me to rebuild our client base when he was away.

Looks like even Dad thinks a loss in the elections is a forgone conclusion. When Dad gives up, things have really gone to the shithole.

Ok.

First things first. Put files in order.

Change the combination on the safe.

Pull out past client list.

Reach for phone.

Call said client.

Ask if there's anything Mars Investigations can help with.

Get politely declined. Or, get told that "I didn't vote for that Mars dude."

Put down phone with sigh.

Rinse.

Repeat.

I did that throughout the afternoon.

Turns out, some people actually were open to coming back to Mars investigations. Apparently getting double crossed by your PI makes one crave a little something the Marses like to call 'ethics'. I thanked them, made appointments for the following weeks, and moved on.

Pretty soon, it was dark outside.

The votes would have been counted.

I couldn't breathe.

But I could hope.

I closed up, got in my car, and drove back home through the rain.

Home – Veronica

I pull out the remote from the holder and turn on the TV. Backup whines and lays his head on my lap. I hug him, snuggling into the familiar, soft, brown fur.

I'm greeted by the smarmy face of one Vinnie Van Lowe, jubilant as an 8 year old kid at his surprise birthday party.

My jaw drops.

He is already in his sheriff uniform, the four stars on each lapel shining brightly. Accusingly. Four stars saying four words.

What.

Have.

You.

Done.

Good job, Veronica. You've handed Neptune to your friendly neighbourhood Fitzpatricks, Irish thugs extraordinaire. Let's all get green clover tattoos! Ok, don't go there, Veronica.

The newscaster snaps me out of my reverie.

"Sheriff Van Lowe, congratulations on your victory. What do you have to say about this nail-biter of an election? Any comments on your 50.1% share of the Neptune vote?"

"Thank you Neptune for voting for the asset to the community. Thank you for giving me such a strong mandate for the Sheriff position. I will do my utmost to make Neptune a safer place for all."

Oh, Vinnie. You just HAD to win with the narrowest margin possible, and then rub our faces in it.

He ends the nauseating speech with a nauseating grin. And a nauseating wave.

I avert my eyes.

Anything to avoid seeing the embarrassment on screen.

My eyes drop to the scrolling headlines at the bottom of the screen.

My heart stops.

My chest tightens.

My hearing sharpens.

I rise to my feet.

The sound of raindrops pounding on the corrugated zinc plates left in the backyard sound louder, sharper, closer.

I had thought that the skies were weeping for Dad.

But as it seems, the skies were not only weeping for Dad.

They were also weeping for one Logan Echolls.

Oh god

The headlines blare. "LATEST NEWS: THE ECHOLLS FAMILY CURSE: LOGAN ECHOLLS FOUND DEAD IN HOTEL ROOM"

Ohcrap

I know what I have forgotten. The anxiety of the Sheriff election had completely occupied my mind. I had completely forgotten a 'little' altercation that had happened in the Hearst food court. A knight in armor blazing bright, defending his lady's honor from the beast who had sullied it. A whispered threat,

"Whoever you are, you're gonna die…"

"Yeah, someday…"

Who knew that someday would come so soon? It was barely yesterday that the… incident… happened.

I need to sit down. I need comfort. I need to curl up in some place warm. I need my Dad, who is probably landing at Sacramento right about now. I need Logan, who is…

Fuck.

Why does the world suddenly seem so blurry? Why does my head pound? Why does my heart pound like a jackhammer? Oh yeah, it's the sensation of the obliteration of the status quo, the overturning of the world, foundations of your life that you once thought were bedrock but turns out to be just crumbling sand.

I sit down and cry. Backup doesn't even complain as I almost choke him with the strength of my hug. My tears soak his fur.

I cry until the tears dry up and I think I cannot cry any more.

I prove myself wrong.

I cry until I feel that I have surpassed the lament of the sky.

The sky, and Veronica Mars, weeps for Logan Echolls.

A/N: Please review :)