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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 Four: Not the Nine O'Clock News



“Veronica, honey,” her father said absently, as he rooted around in the fridge. “You couldn’t go out and light the barbeque, could you - I’ll whistle up some of your favourite steak sauce? “ He waggled his eyebrows.

Veronica smirked and rolled her eyes. “Why, I’ll do anythin’ for your special, homemade, hot and spicy, Tabasco steak sauce, Papa,” she said, in her fake Southern accent, as she threw on a cardigan. Backup held up his head, hopefully, and trotted to the door. She quirked an eyebrow at him, but picked up his lead all the same.

“I thought you said you’d have a talk to him about those puppy eyes he keeps pulling on me,” she mock grumbled, as she attached the lead.

“He told me it wasn’t his fault I have such a sucker for a daughter.”

“Ha, ha,” Veronica said, as Backup dragged her through the door. “Oh, and don’t forget the Salad!

“Salad?”

“You know? The green stuff you’re supposed to eat in order to balance out all that lovely artery hardening steak?”

“My daughter speaks of heresy,” he moaned. “Thou shalt not serve steak with greens, unless it’s in a pepper sauce or topeth a baked potato, so sayeth the good steak cookbook!”

Veronica shook her head in commiseration. “That’s the best comeback you could come up with?” she asked. “Better come up with a way of adding some brain food into that meal before it’s too late.” Before he could come up with a retort, she shut the door with a grin.

“Rooph!” enquired Backup, his tail and tongue lolling enthusiastically.

“Sorry, big guy, just to the barbeque pit and back,” she told him. “But, if you play your cards right, you might actually get some steak out of this.”

“Rooph! ruph!”

“Hey, easy, boy, you’ll wake the baby up in 4F.”

“Rooph, rooph, rooph!!!”

A shiver of unease went down Veronica’s spine as they gained the Deck. She peered into the shadows. The sun had just dropped below the horizon line, and the automatic lighting hadn’t come on, yet. She realised that her mace was in her coat… the coat she’d left behind in the apartment.

Damn it.

“Hey, boy,” Veronica murmured, as she bent down to unhook Backup’s lead. “How about we play a nice game of hide and—”

She felt it cut through the air, rather than saw it, and instinctive dropped to the floor, letting it hit the air above her. Backup went wild, and Veronica pulled herself shakily to her feet, and over against the railing. Voices called out, and Veronica was sure she heard her father’s among them.

The lights suddenly blazed, and Veronica had good look at her attacker. “Holy Crusader,” she breathed, as she eyed the huge sword in his hand. Backup had gone for the weapon hand, but a blade wasn’t a gun, and he was already bleeding from several shallow cuts.

It all happened so quickly. One moment, Backup had the bad guy’s wrist between his teeth; the next, he was lying on the deck, a dagger thrust into his hind legs. The intruder leapt at her, grabbing her by the hair, and bending her backwards over the rail. “How many of you are they?” he rasped.

“Wh-what?”

“How many of you are they, in town…watching?” he asked. He frantically tugged at the cardigan sleeves, pulled over her wrists.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” she said, as she watched him check one wrist, then the next. A look of pure rage flew through his narrow, pale face, and dark eyes.

“You’re not one of them,” he muttered. “Not one of us… why were you talking to him?”

“Who?” Veronica asked, wincing as she heard the fear in her voice.

“Dawson!” he growled. “You were talking to Dawson, and that other one…is it the boy? Is he a Watcher? Your lover?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I only met Mr Dawson in the elevator—“

Veronica screamed as he squeezed her throat, and held the blade to it. She heard footsteps on the stairs – her father's – but she knew he wouldn’t make it in time. “You’ve seen my face,” he said lowly, his limp, dark hair falling into his eyes as he stared into hers.

A pop sounded, and the man’s eyes widened, as an exit wound formed on his forehead. He slumped onto her, and Veronica whimpered, pushing him aside; the body toppled over the railing, and into the darkness below.

“You all right, kid?”

Veronica looked at her saviour, shock running through every bone in her body. “You shot him, between the eyes, with a silencer.”

Joe Dawson shrugged, as he expertly unscrewed it and popped the gun and silencer inside his long overcoat, just as her father ran onto the Deck.

“Honey?” he asked, lowering his gun slightly. Then he saw Backup, who lay whimpering on his side, and swiftly raised it again, looking at Dawson suspiciously.

“Dad, this is Joe Dawson,” Veronica explained hurriedly. “I think…I think… he just saved my life.”

The tension eased out of her father’s shoulders, and he nodded, holstering the gun as he crouched beside backup, who whimpered. “He got away?”

“Leapt over the railing,” Dawson said quickly, before Veronica could open her mouth. “Probably long gone.”

Veronica stared at him as she heard the bald faced lie coming out of his mouth. “Oh, I don’t know,” she drawled sarcastically, suddenly finding her voice. “I think he may have injured his head on the way down - I definitely heard something go pop!”

She saw the wince flit across his face, but he held firm to his lie. “No,” he said. “I heard footsteps running, he’s gone.”

“Gone?” Veronica echoed flatly.

“Veronica, honey, is there something you’re not telling me?” he father interrupted gently, as he wrapped backup in his jacket and lifted him.

Veronica looked at Dawson’s face; she saw the warning in his eyes, and the ‘I’ll explain later’ his lips mouthed silently. She hesitated; the man had saved her life. “Nothing, Dad,” she said eventually. “Just a bit freaked out, I guess…is Backup okay?”

“It seems superficial, blood loss, mostly,” his father muttered worriedly. “I’m taking him to the vet’s.”

“I’ll go with you,” she said.

“No, honey, you have to talk to cops, remember? You’ve just been attacked. They’re already on their way.”

Veronica groaned. “Do I have to?” she complained. “I’m alright, see?” She did a little twirl. “All in one piece.”

“Veronica, the bruises are already forming on your neck,” he said softly. “You’re talking to the cops and, when I’m finished at the vet’s, I’m bringing you to the hospital to get checked out.”

“Dad!”

Veronica!” he snapped, before taking a deep breath. “Just do your old man a favour, okay, honey? I’ll sleep better knowing you were checked out.”

Reluctantly, Veronica nodded, wrapping her arms around herself, as she suddenly felt the cold. She sensed Dawson move behind her, and felt the heavy weight of an overcoat fall onto her shoulders.

“Here, kid, I’ll keep you company until they arrive.”

Her father gave Dawson a sharp look, then nodded. “In case I don’t have an opportunity to say it later, Mr Dawson, thank you,” he said.

Veronica watched her father descend the steps, before she whirled on him. “The cops will be here any moment,” she said. “Spill, or I’ll tell them everything.”

“You would, too, wouldn’t you?” he said, half amused. “You’re one tough cookie, kid. Most teenagers, your age, would be a drooling mess by now.”

“Been there, done that,” she said sharply. “Kinda grew bored of it – now, who was he, and why did you lie to my father? You’ve just made it a lot harder to defend yourself, once the cops find the body… and while I’m at it, why are you here?”

“Your attacker’s name is Harry Proctor,” Dawson said.

Was, you mean,” she retorted.

“No kid, I mean is,” Dawson said softly. “I know you think you saw him die but, believe me, he’s still very much alive… and now that you’ve seen his face, your life is in danger.”





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