Setting: Post-Chosen for the Buffyverse characters, and after Veronica Mars 1x15 – Ruskie Business.
Summary: Veronica Mars meets some newcomers to Neptune, and finds that her safe little world has just gotten a lot more dangerous.
Author's Notes: Thanks to hjcallipygian for the look-over.
1: Wanted – New Sidekick
Welcome to Neptune High, home of the Haves and the Have-Nots.
Oh sure, that’s just like other schools, you say, but this is Neptune and the gap is a little larger than normal. Here, either your parents are millionaires, or they work for the millionaires. As you might expect, that makes the normal social strata of high school even more extreme than usual.
As normal, the rich kids run the school, jocks and cheerleaders especially. Top of the heap are people like Duncan Kane (whose father is billionaire software developer Jake Kane) and Logan Echolls (the son of famous movie star Aaron Echolls).
A long time ago, we used to be friends.
Just over a year ago, I was Duncan Kane’s girlfriend.
For unspecified reasons, he dumped me -- not long before his sister Lilly, my best friend, was murdered. Dad was the local sheriff, and became convinced that Jake Kane knew something about it. Jake goes on TV, weeps a lot about police tactics, and bingo! Instant recall election and Dad’s sent packing. Mom leaves soon after, and my social life descends right after. Got to support Dad after all, but that makes me a social pariah at Neptune High.
Guess some of them only let me hang out because of Duncan and my father being the sheriff. Anyway, infodump over and that leaves me where I am now. Obsessed with finding who killed Lilly, and clearing Dad’s name.
Obsessed? Yeah, I'm willing to use that term. Me? My name’s Veronica Mars. And you do not want to piss me off.
It was the new big thing in all the newspaper.
Teen found dead on Triton Beach. Throat ripped out. Local community in mourning.
Well, some people mourned for Casey Drake, but not me. Well, okay; not much. She was a bitch when she was alive, even when I was part of the ‘Inner Circle’. Now, normally I don’t use air quotes, but that’s just typical of Casey – melodrama always followed her around. Trust me, I’m rolling my eyes right now.
Casey had a rich father, a divorced mother and a tendency to play both of them off each other. Consequently, she was always showing up to school with the latest stuff, and the more expensive the better. Add in the tendency to sneer down her nose at you from twenty paces, and you got someone detested by the vast majority at Neptune High.
I was already interested in looking at her death because of the Lilly connections. Just over a year later, and Casey had been one of the other girls at the sponsored car wash where I’d last seen Lilly alive. Lilly had told me she had a secret. I wondered whether she’d dropped any more hints to the other girls there. But hey -- not exactly the easiest subject to bring up to people who hate your guts now.
And Dad’s new job as a private investigator didn’t help either. Anyone in Neptune who’s anyone used him to spy on their spouses, check out what they were doing – or spending. Something in the social cachet about having the old sheriff at their beck and call. Not to mention that he is damn good at it (aided and abetted by his loyal secretary and daughter, of course). Still, yet another reason for people at Neptune High to hate me.
So, Casey’s death rose up on my private list of things to look into.
It got to the top of my list three days later when someone desecrated the grave and stole her body.
It was funny watching the police flocking around the grave the next day. I leaned on the side of my car from a nearby hill, talked to Wallace, and enjoyed the harassed look on Sheriff Lamb’s face.
Wallace? I guess you’d call him my sidekick, though he hates that. My source for all school-based information, and probably a better friend than I deserve. Our roles were forever fixed the day I first met him and cut him down off the school flagpole. I’m the girl with the reputation, and he’s still known for that incident.
“You know what?” I remarked casually in between snickers at Lamb’s so-called policing. “Any chance you can get me Casey’s files when we’re back at school tomorrow?”
“Veronica Mars!” he said with assumed shock and clasped his chest. “Tell me this isn’t the only reason you dragged me out on a lazy Sunday afternoon. I thought we were just going to hang out and laugh at the cops together.”
“I like to think of that as more of a bonus question, Wallace,” I said, rolling my eyes.
He pulled his bag out of the back of my car and just regarded me for a moment. “That all I am to you, Veronica? Your convenient source of info?”
“Stop busting my balls, Wallace,” I said evenly. “You really not going to get me Casey’s records tomorrow?”
“No way,” Wallace said. Then he burst out laughing. “Man, girl – you should have seen your face!” Still chuckling, he fished inside his bag and pulled out a typical Neptune High file folder, marked Casey Drake. “I just happened to be doing some extra stuff for Miss Dent yesterday, so it was a piece of cake to copy this for you. Not that I’m saying you’re getting predictable or anything, Veronica Mars,” he smirked.
Honestly, it was so much easier before he grew a spine. Wonder if I can complain to the sidekicks union?
The rest of Sunday night I spent going through Casey’s file. Bitch, yes, but it looks like she never did that much that got complained about – or had to be squashed at higher levels. Never underestimate the power of Daddy’s money. About the only thing that stands out is a slight pattern of skipping Spanish several Thursday afternoons. Odd - because I remembered she was quite good at Spanish and liked it. Not the sort of class I could see her skipping unless she had a real good reason.
I wondered if she had somewhere else to be, and swung past Dad’s office on the way into school Monday morning.
One of the nice things about Dad being a private investigator is the access to certain databases that the public normally don’t even get a sniff of. Luckily, Dad was away at the moment chasing down yet another bail jumper, so he wouldn’t mind me using it.
A quick look at Casey’s parking permit gave me her car registration. Entering that into the system lets me see just how many parking tickets she’s had recently. Bingo! Several recent Thursdays she was ticketed for parking too long. The actual location made me blink a bit. Not quite the spot I’d have expected someone of her social standing to even know about.
Fortunately, I know the neighbourhood. Weevil lives there.
Time for school, and time to find out who the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher is.
Slight in-joke around the school. Most of us have started to think the History teacher job is cursed. After Mr Rooks got fired for sleeping with one of his students, the next three fill-in teachers all came and went within one month. The first one turned up drunk on his second day, and was quickly fired. Number two got caught speeding in his second week in, and a police search of his car found drugs hidden in a side panel. And then there was poor Miss Farmer. Poor, poor Miss Farmer.
Anyone could have checked out her qualifications and found them false. I don’t know why Wallace keeps thinking it was me. Anyone could have tipped off the principal – particularly if they were pissed at only getting a C on their American Foreign Policy in the 60’s and 70’s paper. Um… that’s theoretically, right? Move along, nothing to see here.
Anyway, bets were already being taken on how long the new guy would last. For some reason, no-one would let me bet. Sheesh – you plant one bong in Logan Echoll’s locker, and everyone assumes you’re a criminal mastermind. Still, at least I was in the first class with Newbie, and I could always get Wallace to place a bet for me.
The bell rang and we all scrambled inside quickly. I wasn’t the only one curious. A deep voice came from the doorway, “Okay, everyone sit down.” Oooo… nice first impression. Tall African-American, bald, nice goatee. And from the look on the face of Tracy Jenkins next to me, I’m not the only one in the class who thought the wrong teacher slept with his students.
“Good morning class,” he started off with. “My name is Robin Wood, and I’ll be your History teacher for a bit. See how long I last, shall we?” He puts his briefcase on the desk, and smiled.
“I should warn you that I was a principal before this, so don’t think that anything you come up with is something I don’t know how to deal with. In fact, this will be definitely a lot more relaxed than my last school.”
He pulled out a seating chart, quickly ran a finger along it, and glanced up – directly at me. ”Not to mention all the warnings I’ve had from other staff members.”
Oh, crud. Busted already.
End part one
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