Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own

Chapter 1 – Should have brought Backup

A/N: Warning! Although this is NOT an angst story, the first chapter is pretty violent.

The violence exists specifically to move the characters onto their paths, at which point, this should be a mostly fun and sometimes silly story.

Prologue - Somewhere in Texas - Day Three

The armadillo had just finished crossing to the other side of the Texas highway when the Ford Explorer flew by at almost 100 miles per hour, its draft causing him to roll down the embankment. Getting his feet back underneath him, he tried crawling back up the embankment, not quite making it before the Ford Mustang flew by at the same rate of speed, causing him to roll back down. This time when he regained his feet, he headed in the opposite direction. To safety.

Inside the Explorer, Veronica Mars pressed her foot on the gas, watching the needle crawl up - 101, 102, 103. In the passenger seat, Logan Echolls held on tightly to the grab handle while watching over his shoulder. Duncan Kane sat in the back seat staring out the window.

"He's catching up." Logan yelled, referring to the pissed-off Fitzpatrick in the Mustang behind them. "HE'S ABOUT TO RAM US!"

Veronica checked her seat belt and braced herself.

They felt a hard thump on the back of the truck.

But stop!


Maybe we're getting ahead of ourselves. I know exactly what you're thinking. Veronica Mars would never get in a truck with Logan Echolls. He's her archenemy. Her nemesis. And Texas? What would three kids from Neptune, California be doing in Texas? Ford Explorer? Too expensive for Veronica. Too cheap for the boys. What gives?

Maybe we should go back to the beginning. Two days earlier. Friday. One day after Veronica's pleasant but not earth-shattering first date with Troy Vandegraff. Three days after Duncan Kane started tossing his meds down the kitchen sink. And Logan Echolls? Nobody knows what exactly he was up to in the preceding days, but knowing Logan, it had to have been nefarious.

Veronica - Neptune Community Park - Day One

At first glance, the Neptune Community Park appears to be an idyllic slice of wholesome American Pie. Here little Susie 09er plays softball on one of the three baseball diamonds. Johnny 02er plays football here in the fall, and Duncan 09er still plays soccer here weekly on one of the two soccer fields.

However, as with everything else in Neptune, CA, a seedy underbelly lurks just below the surface. Here Corny Douglas and his friends smoke joints in the picnic gazebo when it's unoccupied. Here Natalie Landers takes boys behind the public restrooms for cash. PCHers rumble in and out looking for fights or anything worth stealing, and in the far corner, past baseball diamond #1, Ciaran Fitzpatrick peddles his wares: mostly Meth and Ecstasy and Oxy, with the occasional Cocaine for the business crowd.

Dennis Fairlong –tall, dark, and gorgeous, with everything to live for – used to be one of the young 09ers who played soccer here, but around a year ago, he traded in his soccer cleats for crystal meth. Three weeks ago, he died of a fatal overdose.

When the Balboa County Sheriff's Department failed to provide any justice, his mother, Evelyn Fairlong – a silvery blonde who could give Celeste Kane a run for her money in the Miss Ice Queen Pageant – came to Mars Investigations. She had it on good authority from one of Dennis' closest friends that he had been making his drug buys at the community park, and she wanted names and pictures. Best case scenario? Mrs. Fairlong would be able to file a wrongful death suit against the drug dealer. Worst case? She would start a 'take back our park' campaign, and drive him out. She would have her justice one way or another.

With Keith Mars out of town for three days chasing down a bail jumper, Veronica had taken over the managing of the office. She had originally intended to decline the case. Keith wouldn't have let her near a case like this, citing the obvious risks of running afoul of Neptune's organized crime, but when Mrs. Fairlong handed Veronica a check with an obscene dollar amount filled in, Veronica gulped, pulled out a blank contract, and began filling it out.

That was how Veronica found herself here at the park after school on a sweltering Tuesday, in early September. With baseball season over, and no football practice scheduled for today, the park was nearly abandoned. A game was in progress on soccer field #1, but the spectators in attendance were not numerous enough to make a significant amount of noise. The community pool always closed for cleaning on Tuesdays, but the clean smell of chlorine lingered.

In all of the years Veronica had been coming to this park, she had never seen it so empty, and she was kicking herself now for not bringing Backup with her.

The sixth row of the "away" bleachers for baseball diamond #3 provided the perfect vantage point from which to photograph Ciaran Fitzpatrick in his dealings. Ciaran strongly resembled his older brother Liam, except he was slightly smaller and his teeth were beginning to rot from sampling his own product. He did a good business. The sheer number of his customers - from both sides of the tracks - surprised Veronica. Due to her powerful zoom, she had photos of the drugs, photos of the customers (Hello Sean Friedrich!) and photos of the money exchanging hands. This might actually be enough for the Fairlong's lawsuit.

"Stalking again, Ronnie?" A voice asked from below her. Veronica stiffened, but resisted the urge to turn her head in his direction.

Mask up. Face of stone.

"Go away, Logan. I'm busy."

"Here to get some soccer uniform pictures for your 'Duncan is Dreamy' scrapbook? Hey, I can have him come over and pose for you. Would you like that? Hmm?"

"Great!" Veronica said, finally turning to face Logan. "While we're at it, maybe I can get some new shots for my 'Logan is Loathsome' scrapbook!"

Logan flashed his 'she-fights-back!' grin, and struck a dramatic pose leaning on the support columns for the bleachers. On impulse, Veronica raised her camera and snapped the shutter.

"I'll call this one, 'Portrait of a Psychotic Jackass in the Shade'" Veronica smirked.

Logan clutched his heart. "Psychotic Jackass? I didn't know you cared. So, whose life are you trying to ruin today? A cheating spouse? A deadbeat dad?"

"Why? Jealous that you don't have my undivided attention?"

Logan batted his lashes flirtatiously. "What can I say? I don't like to share my playthings."

"Don't worry. I still have plans for you." Veronica said with her most threatening smile.

Logan's grin faltered, and then reasserted itself. "I'm shivering in anticipation." Jazz hands emphasized his point.

"Run along, Logan. You're dismissed." Veronica said with an exaggerated yawn, searching for Ciaran again with her viewfinder.

Now where did he run off to? Damn! Logan Echolls has the worst timing.

When she looked back down, Logan was gone. Without the last word, even. Who would have guessed that was even possible?

Veronica used her viewfinder to follow Logan's progress to the soccer field. Despite their mutual animosity, she could not help but acknowledge the gracefulness of his gait. She'd pointed it out to Lilly in the past. Lilly, agreeing, had pointed out other ways in which Logan excelled at using his body. Lilly loved oversharing in the hopes of making Veronica blush.

Enough nights parked outside the Camelot, and not much can make me blush anymore. I wonder what Lilly would think of me now.

Duncan Kane, just coming off the field, dabbed at his forehead with a towel. After performing a complicated handshake with Logan, he reached for his water bottle. Logan leaned in to say something, and they both looked over in Veronica's direction, before Duncan shook his head with a scowl. Logan had a tendency of using Veronica to push Duncan's buttons. She didn't quite understand his motivation. Duncan had left her, not the other way around. If he'd cared about her at all, they would still be together.

Veronica didn't see Duncan's Mercedes SUV anywhere in the parking lot, so Logan must be here to drive him home.

She gathered her messenger bag, stuffing her Nikon inside, and quickly jotting down her notes about what she had seen. She had finished earlier than expected and was considering inviting Troy to hang out for a while. She stood, rubbing at the indentations on her right thigh from the lines on the aluminum bleachers, before climbing down.

Duncan and Logan were nearby now, heading in the direction of the parking lot. Both of them noticed Veronica at the same time - Logan smirking and Duncan staring right through her with his icy blue eyes - then they returned to their conversation. She heard the cheep-cheep of Logan disengaging his car locks, and both of the boys climbed into Logan's truck.

When Veronica turned around to scan the park one more time for Ciaran Fitzpatrick, he was right in front of her. Her eyes widened as he reached for her. She took a step back, but he grabbed her by the hair, using it to propel her forward.

"Let go of me!" She screamed, praying for a miracle. Praying the boys hadn't driven off yet, not trusting that they could be bothered to help her even if they hadn't.

On the far side of the parking lot was a small brick maintenance building - not much more than a shed - that stored equipment and controlled the floodlights for the various sports fields. It sat on a concrete slab, extending ten feet from its front and right sides, and was surrounded by an eight-foot high dog-eared wooden fence with a gate barely wide enough to drive a ride-on mower through.

It was towards this building that Ciaran dragged Veronica, literally kicking and screaming. She had no intention of being an easy victim. She clawed at his hand, she kicked at him, she yelled, and he pulled so tightly on her hair that she thought he would pull the entire clump out.

The sign on the gate – white with black letters - warned that the area was for city employees only, but the padlock had been snipped. Ciaran ignored the warning and pulled Veronica through, pulling the gate closed behind him. It bounced, leaving a three-inch gap - not wide enough to offer any hope. Veronica screamed again, and he shoved her face-first against the maintenance building, causing her nose to bleed.

"Why were you taking pictures of me, bitch?" He hissed, spinning her around. She tried to reach for her taser, but Ciaran knocked her bag out of her hand.

"I was photographing the park for a class project." Veronica cried. "For a newspaper piece on Neptune Community Park and the sports the residents play here."

"You're a lying bitch. I know who you are, Veronica Mars," Ciaran said.

"Well then, does the name Keith Mars ring any bells? He's expecting me home about now, and he will destroy you if you hurt me." Veronica threatened, voice trembling.

"He's welcome to come find me," Ciaran jeered. He reeked of the sour smell of sweat. "Liam's been talking about getting rid of Mars for years."

She attempted to push past him, but he threw her back against the building, pulling a knife out of his pocket and holding it to her throat. Veronica squeezed her eyes closed tightly, her breath rasping.

"Let me show you what I do with lying bitches." He said.

With his left hand, he grabbed her breast, squeezing hard enough to leave a bruise, and causing Veronica to cry out in pain.

"Get your hands off of me!" She screamed, tears beginning to stream down her face. How could she fight back with that knife pressed so hard against her throat?

Ciaran abruptly reached up under Veronica's skirt and yanked at her underwear. The sound of ripping fabric caused Veronica to whimper and try again to pull away. She felt the knife bite into her skin as Ciaran applied more pressure.

Somebody! Anybody! Help me! Please don't let him do this to me!

Ciaran became rougher, slashing her thigh with his fingernails as he ripped at her panties. With one more yank, he managed to rip them off. They fell to the ground, landing in a sad white cotton pile.

"I'm going to fuck you, you lying whore," he hissed at her, causing Veronica to dry heave at the scent of rot that lingering on his breath. Twisting her head to the side to avoid smelling him caused the knife to dig deeper and only infuriated him further.

She felt the tickle of blood on her neck as Ciaran ripped open her shirt, buttons popping off one by one. Veronica's eyes followed one of the tiny white buttons rolling on the concrete slab in an ever-tightening circle, finally coming to rest near her shoe.

Fitzpatrick squeezed at her breasts until she gasped in pain.

"Please!" Veronica cried. "I'll delete the pictures, and you'll never see me again. Please let me go. "

Ciaran laughed, dropping his hands to unbuckle his belt, and unzip his zipper. While he was distracted and was no longer holding a knife to her throat, Veronica took her chance and kneed him in the balls.

If she could only get to her bag; her taser.

He pulled her back by the hair again and punched her in the stomach twice before throwing her against the building. The knife clattered to the cement, but Ciaran compensated by pressing on her windpipe with his hand.

"You don't have to be conscious for me to fuck you, you STUPID BITCH!" He screamed at her.

He was cutting off her air supply, and Veronica's ears started ringing as her consciousness began to slip away. She tried clawing at Ciaran's hand, but he was too jacked-up to register any pain.

Fitzpatrick yanked up her skirt and started thrusting his penis at her. With her last bit of strength, she crossed her legs together as tightly as possible, locking her ankles. She felt him try to pry her thighs apart with the harsh fingers of his right hand, while continuing to press on her windpipe with his left.

It's only a body Veronica. You can't protect your body, but don't let him rape your mind. Go to a better place. A better time. With Lilly...the beach at Homecoming...I Never...Group hug...Lilly and Duncan...and Logan... before my life went to hell...How things were supposed to stay forever...

Right before Veronica lost consciousness, she thought she heard a voice echoing through the ringing in her ears - was that Logan?

"You like to rape little girls you sick fuck?"

Then another sound - an almost inhuman cry.

Another moment of pressure and everything went black.

A/N1: In case you were wondering, in this story, our characters had a normal day of school, the day after Veronica and Troy's first date. Veronica didn't kiss Troy by the field, Duncan didn't sing Summer Lovin' and didn't go all Wipeout. Logan didn't sprinkle his flask down upon their heads. I imagine Veronica still flirted with Troy, and Duncan was probably still a little wacky, but nothing major occurred. Until after school.

A/N2: Super-duper thanks to debbieja and fatherlessgirls who have proven to me how invaluable a beta can be.

A/N3: Will try to get Chapter 2 up before Monday. On Monday evening I'm leaving for 11 days in London/Paris/Rome. I have no idea if any of my hotels will have wi-fi. If they do, will update, if not, I'm sure you all will forgive me. Right? Please?

A/N4: Feedback? Sure, I'll take it. Any of of it. All of it. Let me know what you think Thanks!