This idea has been bugging me for a while, so I decided to write it and share it with you guys; see if it's worth continuing.

So, thanks for reading and I do not own these characters.

Veronica sat, hunched over, on a bench, face buried in her hands, going over the reasons why she had to do this. By far, this would be one of the hardest things she ever had to do, and this time it wasn't because either one screwed up. She was doing this for his own good as well as hers.

"Hey," she heard him say, feeling him kiss her hair. "You alright?" he asked worriedly and she felt him sit next to her, resting his hand on her back.

Now or never, V, she thought taking a deep breath and lifting her head. She studied his worried face for a moment, very nearly talked herself out of this, but plowed on anyway. "You know I love you, right?" It had taken a while for her to actually say the words to him, but she had meant it every time she said it.

"I know you do, and I love you, too. Why are you…?"

Veronica cut him off by raising her hands and said, "Please let me get this out."

"Okay," he replied nodding, gesturing her to continue with his free hand, the other still resting on her back. She really wished he would stop touching her. This would be so much easier if his hands, his familiar, gentle hands, weren't anywhere near her body.

"As much as I love you…"

"Wait." His hand left her back as he stood up. As grateful as Veronica was that he was no longer touching her, she missed his touch. "A-are you…?" his dark eyes hardened. "Why are you doing this? I-I thought…"

"It's just…" Veronica trailed off, sighing in frustration. She forgot how much of a fight he'd put up. That's what she got for dating him two, solid years. "Look, I'll be leaving for Virginia in a few weeks and you have that road trip with Dick. Remember, you two were going to travel the world for a few years? You were going to be the Sal to his Dean. You've been dreaming about that trip for three years, about doing everything and anything. Remember the book you planned to write?" She knew she was babbling, but she had to get him to understand why she was doing this; he had to understand. "I-I don't want to hold you back."

"You won't," he insisted sitting down again. He took her hands in his and turned to face her. "That trip was a joke. I don't need that trip. I'd be perfectly happy in Virginia with you."

"I don't want you uprooting your life, your plans for me." She pulled her hands from his, getting to her feet. "I don't want you to worry about me, either." Her vision was blurring and she had to hurry up and get everything out before she started crying. "I-I'll be an FBI agent. That's more dangerous than what I do now, and I know how you feel about that."

"I can learn to accept your career," he said hurriedly, jumping to his feet. "I've learned to accept you being a P.I." He tried to grab her hand again, but she stepped away from him. "P-please Veronica, d-don't do this." His dark eyes were brimming with tears.

"I'm sorry Logan," Veronica said and walked away, feeling a sob bubbling up in her chest. She almost turned back, almost ran back to him, but forced herself to keep walking. She couldn't turn back this time.

10 years later…

Three years. The agency tracked this asshole for three years. Three, stressful years of dead end leads, phony phone calls, and a whole lot of bupkis, but it had finally paid off. They had finally caught up to him.

A bullet flew past Veronica and she ducked behind a stone wall, gripping her gun tightly. It was a far cry from her P.I. days, but in the past ten years carrying a gun had made her feel as safe as her taser had. She hurriedly reloaded her gun, shared a quick look with her partner, and threw herself away from the wall. She fired several rounds at the perp, vaguely aware of her partner copying her.

She managed to hit the suspect three times, in various locations. As he went down, he fired blindly. Pain pierced Veronica's body and she hit the ground. She glanced over, noticing a liberal amount of scarlet staining her white blouse, the gunshot wound fairly close to her collar bone.

"Ambulance is on its way," she heard her partner say as he approached her. His fuzzy form crouched down next to her, checking her wound. "You're going to be fine," he informed her, his voice sounding as if it had come from a badly tuned radio.

"I've n-never been s-shot before," Veronica whispered breathlessly before slumping forward. The last thing she felt was her partner catching her before everything went black.

It was three a.m. in Neptune. Almost everyone was either in bed, going home from the bar, or leaving a party. A few years ago, he would have been one of those latter people, but tonight he was sitting outside The Camelot, a camera in his hands, watching room 204. He had gotten a few shots of the occupants, but nothing worthy of a 'money shot.'

In retrospect, it wasn't like he needed the money. Both his parents left him a huge chunk of change when they died, and since his twenty-fifth birthday, when he could access their money (he recalled how surprised he was when he realized his sister hadn't spent all their dad's money), he had the ability to buy whatever he needed. He only did this to pass the time. Any money he made from the cases went directly to his partners or Keith Mars. It was the least he could do after they all put up with his partying ways a few years ago. He hadn't been the easiest person to get along with back then.

His phone rang and he snatched it off the seat. "Echolls, he answered without glancing at the screen. Only a few people actually had the number, so unless it was a telemarketer, he most likely knew whoever was calling him.

"All official like, huh?" Mac joked from the other end.

"What's up?" he asked letting his eyes flick back to the room.

"You need to get a sense of humor, L," Weevil's voice stated and Logan knew he was on speaker phone. It was the norm for those two, using the speaker phone when they were in the office together, so it no longer irritated him.

"Did you get that bail jumper?" Logan asked as the room's door opened. Balancing his phone between his ear and shoulder, he snapped several photos of the couple, getting the shot he was looking for when they kissed. His client should be happy. He put the camera down, tuning back into the conversation as he took hold of the phone again.

"…down in Texas. Gotta say, for a dry place, it rained a lot while I was down there," Weevil said and Logan nodded.

"Good. Head home and I'll see you Monday."

"Logan, please tell me you're home right now," Mac begged softly.

"I'm heading there," he replied staring his car.

"L, man, I still don't think it's healthy, you know, how much work you do."

Logan grunted and, like he always did when they ganged up on him, hung up the phone. He tossed his cell on the other seat, put his car into drive, and pulled away from the curb. He knew they meant well, they always did, but he wished they'd lay off. Besides, compared to how he spent his time a few years ago, this was much healthier, and really who needed to sleep anyway?

He was heading to his apartment (he could afford something bigger, but he didn't see much point), a small place a few blocks from the P.I. business he, Weevil, and Mac had opened four years ago. It was his last, ditch effort to stop drinking. Now, he spent more time working than anything else, and barely thought about the blue eyed blonde that left him standing, broken hearted, in Heart's court yard all those years ago.

He shook his head, clearing her face from his mind, and kept driving. Those memories had been shoved to the back of his mind, buried along with memories of his mother, Lily, and years of girls, parties, stupid mistakes, and being a world class jackass.

Despite never leaving Neptune like he planned, becoming a P.I. was the best thing that ever happened to him.

He had just pulled up to his building when his police radio crackled to life. "Any available personal, we have a possible 10-45. 10-55 just to be safe," the dispatcher said and rattled off an address. Logan pulled away from the curb, heading towards the address. He wasn't that tired anyway.

The sheriff looked up at the approaching black Range Rover and rolled his eyes. He knew he should have commandeered that police radio when he had the chance. His deputy sheriff caught his eyes, but Keith raised his hands, silently indicated that he'd take care of it. Leo nodded and returned to taking statements.

"You do know I have your number on speed dial, right?" Keith commented casually as he approached the young P.I. He and Logan Echolls had only become friends in recent years. Keith figured it had something to do with the kid buying his old business and keeping it as a Private Investigation business. Except it was no longer called Mars Investigations; it was now called Mackenzie, Navarro, and Echolls Investigations. It was a long name, and usually, when Keith called, Mac would answer with a bright, "M, N, and E Investigations."

"I was in the neighborhood," Logan replied softly, trying to look around the older man to get a glimpse of the crime scene. Keith had lost count the number of times Logan had shown up at a crime scene. Sometimes he was accompanied by Mac or Eli, but usually he was by himself.

"You know just because it's legal to have that radio doesn't mean you can answer every call."

"I don't," Logan deadpanned, his dark eyes meeting Keith's. "I save the cats in the trees for the fire department."

"Smart ass," Keith muttered. The kid reminded him of another P.I., but Veronica had never been this much of a workaholic nor did she sport facial hair or have permanent dark circles under her eyes. "Look, I promise, if we need your help I'll call." He knew Lamb never would have offered him the same curtsey, but Lamb had never had to be a P.I. either.

"Two minutes?" Logan countered again trying to look around Keith.

"Go home Logan," Keith replied softly.

"One minute?"

"You're not going to leave are you?" The kid met the older man's eyes, a determined look on his face, and finally Keith relented. He lifted the yellow tape, wondering why he even bothered trying to fight the kid, he usually got his way. Again, as Keith led Logan to the body, he was reminded of his daughter.

"The victim is a Jane Doe," Keith said as he pointed at a sheet covered corpse. "She was found by a young couple," he jerked his thumb at the two, twenty-something kids as they finished up talking to Leo, "while they were walking their dog."

"At three in the morning?" Logan questioned lifting an eyebrow.

"They work nights," Keith replied moving towards a bushel of bushes. "We found the murder weapon here." He pointed at a bloody knife sitting next to a yellow number 2.

"What did the coroner say? Did he have a time of death? Was she just stabbed or was there more to it?" Keith knew exactly what Logan was getting at. He wanted to know if the girl was raped before she was killed. Keith did, too, but the coroner hadn't shown up yet and until then he couldn't answer any of those questions.

"We won't know anything until the coroner gets here," the older man replied as he led Logan back to the yellow tape. "Until then I'd advise you to head home and wait for our call." The kid nodded, but Keith knew he was going to stake out the police station until they found out who did this, or ran out of leads. Whichever came first.

Keith watched as Logan headed back to his vehicle and waited until the younger guy drove away. He learned from past experiences to watch Logan otherwise he'd sneak back into the crime scene and snoop around. It was like having Veronica around all over again.

His phone rang, making him jump, and he checked the caller I.D. Speak of the devil, he thought as he answered, "Hey sweetie."

"Dad, I'm going to need you to not freak out," Veronica said slowly, and Keith felt his stomach tighten.

"What happened?" he asked cautiously.

"I'm coming home," she replied taking Keith by surprise. She hadn't been home in over eight years. Not since his and Alicia's wedding. She had been the maid of honor and Wallace had been the best man.


"Okay, this is the part where I'm going to need you to remain calm. You aren't as young as you used…"


"I was shot."

Keith was silent for a few moments, trying to process what she had just said. She was shot. His baby was shot. She had had a piece of lead enter her body and mar her skin. He knew that job was going to get her hurt. He should have wrapped her in bubble wrap and locked her in her room. At least she would have been safe.

"A-are you okay?" he asked needing to know. She was alive, people generally didn't make phone calls if they were dead, but how bad was she hurt. Did she get hit in the leg? Was she going to need crutches for a few weeks? Was she hit in the chest? Had she been put on respirator? Why hadn't anyone bothered to call him?

"Relax Dad," Veronica said softly. "I can hear the freak out from here. I was hit in the arm, cracked my collar bone. I can't work for a few weeks, so I thought I'd visit. I haven't seen you in a while, and I really miss you."

"So, you're okay?" Keith was still convinced she wasn't alright, despite the fact that she just said she was and that she was talking. She was his kid, sue him.

"I promise, Dad, I am alright."

"Okay," he responded sniffing. "Okay, if you're sure." He tried to smile. "At least I'll get to see you. And Alicia will be glad to see you and Darrell is home for spring break."

"He's still in college?"

"Yeah, he'll be graduating from NYU soon. He was staying with Wallace, but since he was transferred to L.A…" Keith trailed off. "We'll catch up when you get here."

"Okay, so I'll be there tomorrow afternoon. Do you mind coming to get me?"

"No, I'd be happy to come get you."

"See you then, Dad. I love you."

"You too," he responded but she was already gone. He stood there for a while, his phone buzzing in his ear, thinking about what had just happened. Veronica had been shot, but she was coming home. He was going to see his baby again, but she was going to have an ugly wound. One she should have never gotten. Didn't the FBI give out partners? Where was her partner? Why didn't her partner protect her?

"Sheriff Mars?" Leo's voice startled him, and Keith felt a hand settle on his shoulder. "You okay?"

"Fine," he replied, shaking his head to clear it. He turned to face Leo. "Is the coroner here, yet?"

"Yeah, he just pulled up."

"Good." Keith nodded and headed towards the newly arrived coroner. He'd deal with all this tomorrow. Right now, he had a case to solve.