A/N: So, this story is kind of a lot different from my other one. Timeline is about sixteen years after graduation... so... nineteen years after the show left off. Uh... so here's my deal about future writing, I am in no way a psychic, so my "future" will be set in more of a present day setting... aka, I'm not going to make up crazy futuristic technology or fashion trends or celebrities etc, it will be like now, just with a different date. I think that helps avoid confusion as well and those details arent super relevant to the scope of the story line. That's really my only important notice for reading this.

Chapter One: With No Other Options Available

The blonde sat in the courtroom, kicking the leg of the table in front of her, arms crossed on her chest, not that she had much of a chest to mention, and an annoyed look across her face. Compared to all of the suits in the room, she was drastically underdressed, but that thought was probably the furthest thing from her mind. All of these people claimed to care about her and her well being; yet, she didn't feel like a single one of them was listening to her.

The judge looked between the people in the room, many of whom she didn't know herself very well. The woman next to her was the social worker assigned to her case, Miss Farley or something. Next to Miss Farley was one of the girl's least liked people: Agent Weiner… err… Agent Warner, but he was more of a wiener in her opinion. In front of her was the lawyer on her "team" making his case. She had zoned out twenty minutes ago and had lost track of what he actually wanted for her.

On the other side of the courtroom were her Uncle Wallace and his wife Jackie. They were making the case for her to live with them. She had maybe seen them twice a year since she was six. Next to them was a lawyer, a tall man in a dark suit with greased back hair. He was young and sharp, but the girl could tell the judge was not impressed by his act.

In the back of the court room sat her Aunt Mac and Uncle Dick. She could probably count on one hand the number of times she'd actually seen them. They lived clear across the country and had three kids. They had lives. It was certainly understandable.

Their three kids sat with Uncle Wallace and Aunt Jackie's younger daughter; her son was old enough to be on his own. The four really didn't have an interest in the actions at the front of the court room. In fact, they showed no interest in being there at all.

"The court is going to take a fifteen minute recess at which point I would like to see Linley Mars in my chambers, please," the judge said and the bailiff dismissed the occupants before leading the teenager back.

She took a seat in one of the large chairs in his office, not really caring what the old man had to say. Linley just wanted it to be over. "Linley?" the judge asked, focusing her attention on him. Her eyes narrowed and he continued, "Where do you want to live? Do you want to live with Mr. and Mrs. Fennell in New York? Or would you prefer to stay here, in D.C. in a foster home? Or…" he looked through the case files, seeing if there was a third option.

"I don't care," she interrupted. Honestly, she really didn't. Wherever she was sent, she would be living with strangers, she knew that much. "What did my mom say, in her will… what did she want for me?" Linley asked, sitting forward. Maybe that would help her decide.

The judge shuffled through the papers and found the one she requested, "Your mother requested that you live with her father in Neptune, California. It appears that she hadn't gotten around to updating her will, seeing as how Mr. Mars passed away last year."

Right. Grandpa Keith died last year and her mother had flown to California for two days to attend the funeral. She had barely known the man, only seeing him on his few trips to D.C. and never in California. "Yeah, my mom was so upset; they were close, her and grandpa. I guess they're together again now, huh," she said, sadly.

"Linley, I need an answer from you. I want to give you what you want, but you need to tell me what that is," the judge sighed. These cases were always hard. The poor girl had no family left and she needed to decide where she was going to live; who was going to take care of her and most important, who was going to be making the decisions in her life.

She sat, thinking of her options. Without her mom, she really had no reason to stay in D.C. Then again, there really wasn't anything in New York for her with Uncle Wallace. He felt obligated because he hadn't been the best friend to her lately. That was probably the same reason Aunt Mac found herself in the back of the courtroom. "I'll take New York, I guess," she said finally.

With court back in session, the judge ruled in favor of the Fennells and Linley packed her stuff to move to New York, knowing she would probably never set foot in the apartment she called home for the first sixteen years of her life ever again. Though, in her defense, she didn't need much. Most of it was just stuff, though other things were harder to part with.

Wallace looked around the living room of the small apartment while Linley packed her room. He noticed all of the pictures of his best friend and her little girl through the years and felt a pang of sadness shoot through him. He should have been a better friend, but time and space had caused them to grow apart. Jackie sat on the couch, waiting for the girl to be finished. "Wallace, why don't you come sit? Your pacing is making me nervous," she said, light as air.

Linley dropped her duffel into the middle of the floor, packed full of some of her most important possessions and most of her clothing. "I'm going to go and see what of my mom's stuff I want," she announced and point to the door of her mother's room. It was weird to be in there without her mom; like she was snooping but knew she wasn't going to get caught.

Wallace continued to look around the place like he had never been there before. "Wallace, please," Jackie insisted and finally Wallace complied, sitting next to his wife. It seemed to relax her, but it made him more uncomfortable. He didn't like feeling useless, but when it came to his best friend, Wallace was painfully aware how many times she had kept him on the sidelines.

In the bedroom, Linley went through her mother's things, searching for the important things. First, she grabbed her mother's camera, knowing that was probably the most expensive thing in the apartment and gently placed it inside of its bag before placing that bag inside the suitcase she was packing. She worried little of making a mess and shoved the clothes aside to get to the safe in the back of the closet.

It took her a few tries to open it, but once she did, Linley packed all of the contents, wrapping certain things inside of clothing to protect them in the journey. She would have plenty of time later to go through it all. Next, she packed the photo albums from the top of the closet, wanting to keep all of their memories together. Satisfied, she left the room and put the suitcase next to her duffel.

"Are you ready to go?" Jackie asked, noticing the girl coming out of the bedroom with a suitcase. It was a shame really. Jackie had never really minded Veronica and knew she was important to Wallace, but she never dreamed of taking in her daughter.

Linley looked around one last time, and said nothing, grabbing a few of the frames that Wallace had been looking at earlier and stuffed them into her backpack. The girl sitting on the chair in the living room watched her with her eyes, but Linley paid no attention. Instead, she moved on to the kitchen to collect a few things before deciding she was ready to leave the apartment for the last time.

A/N: Little tidbit, I originally started this story in about six different spots, but I liked this one the best because I can still play around with some of the events that happened prior to this. Let me know your thoughts in the box below. Update coming soon.