Disclaimer: The Characters from Veronica Mars and Highlander aren't mine...pass the tissues

Dead Ahead

(Veronica Mars/Highlander Crossover)

Chapter 1: beachcombing

“The thing about being under FBI surveillance, is that it can be so damned inconvenient sometimes,” Veronica thought, shivering as she stepped onto the sand. Tugging gently at Backup’s lead, she wandered towards the surf and tried to ignore the hairs rising at the back of her neck. The not so discrete FBI agent was beginning to get on her nerves.

“No, the little high school student isn’t about to run off to aid and abet her baby snatching ex-boyfriend. She’s just taking a long, solitary walk on the beach…move along there, folks, nothing to see. Just Veronica Mars, Neptune’s dumpee of the week,” she muttered under her breath as she let Backup drag her further down the beach. How much longer would this go on?

She debated whether or not to produce a few tears for the ever-present long lens camera, but decided against it. She’d had already used that trick once, this week, and the look of betrayal on Dad’s face still hadn’t faded. Maybe she’d just let her chin wobble a bit as she stared at the horizon…not so hard, really.

It pretty much fitted her mood.

Veronica’s eyes blurred, and she flopped into a graceless sprawl on the beach. Damn, sometimes it felt like her body had a mind of it’s own. Blinking, she buried her face in Backup’s coat, as he whined and pushed at her shoulder with his nose. “It’s okay, boy,” she murmured, reassuringly, scratching him behind the ears as she unhooked the lead. “You go and have your run.” With a bound, Backup darted up the beach, his tongue hanging out in that special, doggy way of his, with not a care in the world. How she wished she could say the same. Wasn’t high school supposed to be the best years of her life?

She though of the day ahead and winced, the FBI had nothing on the grilling tactics of Neptune High’s student body, all of them wondering if she knew what Duncan had been planning. One person wasn’t in any doubt, of course. Logan knew she was lying. He’d read it in her face in two seconds flat, before strutting away with that oh-so-slappable smirk on his face.

Grimacing, Veronica picked up a stray stone and threw it into the surf, watching as it sunk without a trace under the surface “ Just like my life,“ she thought, cynically, as she picked up another pebble and weighed it in her hand.

A bark echoed down the beach, and Veronica’s head jerked up. Backup’s outline was barely visible in the distance. Scrambling to her feet, she frowned as she watched him worry at something on the ground. “Backup, Backup, here boy,” she called out, breaking into a jog. In Neptune, you never knew what the sea might wash up.

She was five feet from the dark heap when she realised what it was. “Oh my God—“ her stomach heaved, and she turned her face away as she tried to push down the nausea. She had seen more than her fair share of bodies over the last few years, but this was…this was…

She closed her eyes, trying to push the image of the headless body out of her mind. “Backup, come here,” she said, hoarsely. Whining, Backup trotted over to her. “ Good boy,” Veronica leaned down to attach his leash before fumbling in her pocket for her cell phone. Hopefully, he hadn’t disturbed the scene too much, or Lamb would never let her hear the end of it.

The sound of footsteps crunching through the sand filled the air, and Veronica looked up, her heart sinking when she realised who it was. Perfect, just perfect. “Agent Morris!” she said, brightly, “Fancy meeting you here.”

“Miss Mars,” the FBI agent said, dryly, flicking her long hair out of her eyes as she eyed the body at Veronica’s feet. “You seem to be in a little trouble here?”

“Yeah, that’s me, little miss trouble,” Veronica chirped, sarcastically. “Dead bodies just turn up wherever I go.”

So I’ve been told,” Agent Morris murmured. “You do realise that I’ll have to take you in for questioning?”

“Actually, no, I didn’t,” Veronica said. “Since when did having the misfortune of finding a body, merit a trip to the Sheriff’s office? What, exactly, will be I questioned about?”

Well, you have to admit it is a bit suspect, Miss Mars. First, you’re implicated in a federal kidnapping case, and now we find you standing over a dead body—“

“C’mon, give me a break. You know I didn’t do this; I’ve been under surveillance since Duncan disappeared. I haven’t been able to use the toilet without someone snapping a photo of me, never mind commit a murder!”

“I don’t know what you mean, Miss Mars, Twenty-four-hour surveillance costs money, and we don’t waste our precious tax dollars trailing after eighteen year old high school students. If we did, of course, we could clear this right up, but…”

Understanding suddenly bloomed in Veronica’s mind. “It’s not going to work,” she said, softly. “I don’t know where Duncan is.”

“Of course you don’t, Miss Mars,” Agent Morris said. “And you, no doubt, know nothing about this body either. Did you know that, statistically, a high percentage of murders are perpetrated by the person who actually ‘stumbles’ across the body; it’s amazing, really.”

“You’re forgetting the part which mentions that the ‘perpetrators’ are also usually close family members,” Veronica drawled back. “Can we skip the pseudo-psychology? I’m feeling nauseous enough as it is.”

Agent Morris’s face hardened. “Okay, if that’s the way you want to play it, that’s what we’ll do,” she said, abruptly. “Veronica Mars, you are under arrest.”

“Now, wait a minute—“

“Too late, Miss Mars. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in a court of law…”

Shaking her head, Veronica put her arms behind her back as Agent Morris produced a pair of cuffs, letting the words float over her head as her mind raced. How the hell was she going to get out of this? “First things, first,” she thought “Get Dad to post bail, and then figure out who the victim is…if I can figure that out, I might be able to track down the real killer and get Agent Morris out of my hair…damn, this is going to look so bad on my school record…