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



Dead Ahead

A Veronica Mars/Highlander Crossover


Chapter 2: Jailbait



Seven hours.

Seven long hours.

With seventeen to go, before they either charged her or let her go.

Unless they get an extension,” Veronica thought, sighing restlessly. “Gotta love the Patriot Act.”

Lamb’s smug expression floated back to haunt her as she tried to make herself comfortable on the hard mattress. “Guess he wasn’t too happy about his wild Mexican goose chase,” she thought, a smile hovering on her lips. She knew he suspected what had been in his trunk. The venom in his voice had been even more vitriolic than usual…

~~*~*~~

“Well, well, well, if it isn’t Veronica Mars. What’s she done now?”

“Suspect in a homicide,” said Agent Morris crisply

Lamb’s eyebrows raised in disbelief. “A homicide,” he drawled. “Moving up in the criminal world, Veronica?”

“That’s me, America’s most wanted,” Veronica has said, acidly.

“Tell it to the wizard, Mars.”

“Y’know, you really should get a new catch phrase, that one’s getting a little old,” she bit back.


~~*~*~~

Five minutes later, she was locked up in a nice, cosy cell, with nothing but a mattress and Charlie the cockroach for company.

Bored, she glared at the ceiling. So far, she had counted two pieces of chewing gum, a patch of mould, and a dark stain she’d rather not identify. Oh yeah, life was fun in the pokey.

The door beeped, and Veronica eyed it as it opened, revealing a familiar, crumpled figure. “You owe me, big time,” Lee said. dryly.

“You got me out?” asked Veronica eagerly.

Nodding, he stepped aside for a deputy, who unlocked the cell.

“Free at last,” she said chirpily.

“A word of advice, Veronica,” Lee said, sardonically. “Next time, get a better class of Lawyer. If the coroner hadn’t confirmed the time of death as three days ago – about the time you were last helping the police with their enquiries – you’d still be locked up.”

“Did they run the fingerprints?”

Lee raised an eyebrow and cocked his head at the deputy, meaningfully.

Nodding, Veronica dutifully trotted silently after him and filled out the release forms at the desk. “Where’s Backup?” she asked.

“He’s in my car,” lee said, laconically. “Chewing my upholstery.”

She waited until they were on the front strips before she asked again. “Fingerprints?”

“Word is they identified them,” Lee confirmed. “But, funnily enough, they didn’t want to share the details with me. I did overhear a little titbit while I was waiting for Lamb to quit stalling with the paperwork, though. What did you do to Agent Morris, by the way? She really doesn’t like you.”

“I’ve probably upset her five year career plan,” Veronica said lightly. “She wanted me give up Duncan – as if I knew where he was.”

“Sure, Veronica, whatever you say,” Lee drawled.

“Hey, he dumped me, remember? I’m an innocent party”

“Yeah, and you’ve got the witnesses to prove it.” Veronica decided to let the matter drop. “So, you overheard something?”

“Did I mention that you owe me big time? I see a lot of free gratis work in your future.”

Veronica rolled her eyes. “Yes, yes, now give.”

“I got a name.”

“I thought you didn’t get the name of the victim.”

“I didn’t, I got the name of the guy who identified the body.”

Veronica blinked. “How do you identify a headless body?”

“Apparently he had a distinctive tattoo on his wrist.”

She raised an eyebrow “It could be worse, I suppose. They could have found my name written on his palm – oh, wait, that was the last time they found a body on the beach,” she drawled. “Jail tats?”

Lee sighed. “Veronica, much as I’d like to be the font of all wisdom, I’m afraid I can’t help you. All I got was a name - Joe Dawson.”


*************************************

“Joe Dawson,” Biting her lip, Veronica tapped the name into her Dad’s database, her eyebrows shooting up as his information came up. “Wow…Vietnam vet, twice decorated…might explain the tattoo…has a gun permit… an address in Seacouver… bar license…and a few parking tickets, nothing more serious."

Veronica frowned as she looked at his photo, he was an out-of-towner, so chances were he was staying at a hotel. “He got here awful fast, though,” she mused. “Makes you think he may have already been in Neptune when they discovered the body...”

“Veronica, honey, whatch’ya looking at?”

Veronica jumped, and looked up to see her father strolling into the office. “Oh, you know, gambling, porn, the usual stuff,” she said brightly, closing the window. “I didn’t hear you come in.”

Keith smiled knowingly. “How was school?”

Veronica considered lying, but saw the glint in his eye. “You’ve been talking to Lamb, haven’t you,” she sighed. “I did try to call you, but your cell wasn’t picking up.”

“Got a tip on Harry Johnson,” Keith said, throwing himself onto the couch. “It wasn’t the kind of neighbourhood that you’d leave your cell on, if you catch my drift.”

“Did you get him?” Veronica asked, her memory dredging up the case; another bail jumper.

Keith smiled. “Steaks tonight,” he confirmed. “Had a nice chat with Lamb, when I turned him in too.”

Veronica sighed. “You know they just did it to pressure me,” she pointed out. “All I did was find a dead body.”

Keith shook his head in amusement. “You know, I’m pretty sure that most fathers don’t have to lecture their teenage daughters about annoying the FBI. What happened to prom dates and good grades?” He said dryly.

“C’mon Dad, That’s Tuesday and Thursdays,” Veronica said brightly. “Monday and Wednesdays are handcuffs and jail bars.”

“What am I going to do with you?”

“Hmmm, let me see,” Veronica said, tapping her chin with a forefinger. “Cook me steak?”


************************************

She knew she shouldn’t be doing this, she had enough on her plate, and it isn’t as if Morris could make anything stick. But there was something about that dead body that wouldn’t let her go. She needed to know what had happened to him.

She had told Dad she was going to the library, and he wryly informed to be back by ten. It was a familiar dance; she lied, he pretended to believe her, it usually worked out well.

Usually.

A few surreptitious phone calls from her bedroom had tracked down Joe Dawson’s hotel. It had taken longer than expected, but how many Barkeeps stayed at the Neptune Grand? Now, all she had to do was find out which number he was in.

Unfortunately, because of her frequent visits to the Neptune Grand over the last few months, her face was too well known, and conning the information out of the desk clerk wasn’t an option. It’s a pity the hotel security didn’t see her in the same light as her father.

Veronica combed her fingers through her hair and strolled inside, smiling at the desk clerk as she made a beeline to the elevator. That was the upside of being a regular at the hotel.

The downside was Logan Echolls.

“Why, Veronica, did you miss me?”

Veronica glared at the figure lounging inside the elevator. “It’s a hotel, Logan, not your private estate. Live with it,” she muttered, stepping into the elevator.

“I’m crushed,” Logan drawled. “Which floor?” His finger hovered over the elevator buttons.

“Aren’t you getting out?”

“I changed my mind.”

Veronica smirked. “If you’re not careful, I might begin to think that you missed me,” she said dryly. “Floor eight.” The linen cupboards were on floor eight and, if she was lucky, Julie would still be on the day shift and willing to gossip.

The doors slid closed, and Veronica studiously studied the elevator ceiling and ignored him. It didn’t work.

“So…who brings you to the Neptune Grand? A new beau? Didn’t take you very long, did it? You always liked a quick turnover.”

Veronica rolled her eyes. “It’s none of your business,” she said stonily.

“Yeah, there seems to be a lot of that going on lately.”

Veronica grimly kept silent, knowing he was referring to Duncan’s disappearance.

Logan laughed sourly under his breath. “That’s what I thought.”

“You just can’t leave it alone, can you?” Veronica sighed.

“Why should I? I do enjoy it so,” Logan said, mockingly.

“Listen, Logan—“

The elevator stopped, and Veronica fell silent as the doors began to slide open.

“Sorry, dudes, this elevator is taken,” Logan drawled, pressing the door button.

A cane snaked out and lodged itself between the narrowing gap. “Not so fast, buddy.”

Not believing her luck, Veronica grinned as the doors jerked apart and revealed the face attached to the cane. “Well hello, Joe Dawson, pleased to meet you.”



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