sadiekate (sadiekate) wrote in veronicamarsfic,
sadiekate
sadiekate
veronicamarsfic

Fic: Any Of Our Current Animosity (Lamb, Veronica) PG

Title: Any Of Our Current Animosity
Author: sadiekate
Pairing/Character: Lamb, Veronica
Word Count: 3,632
Rating: PG
Summary: Lamb and Veronica. Veronica and Lamb. They snark, they fight, they maybe flirt a little. Logan who?
Spoilers/Warnings: Includes references through 2.03.
Author's Note: I've loved the chemistry between these two characters for ages, and I would watch an entire hour of the two of them in a staring contest, especially if there was some snark thrown in.

Author's Note, Several Months Later: This is the story that sent me over to the dark side. Not long after I wrote it, I signed up for Lamb at the fanfic100 challenge. The stories are pretty much in a vague semblance of order, and the links can be found here in my Big Damn Table.


“I wasn’t aware you made house calls,” Lamb said, bemused.

He was standing in his doorway, shirtless, hair shower-damp and tousled, and Veronica’s cheeks flushed slightly. She hadn’t been expecting him to be home really, or at least hadn’t given much thought to the fact that he might have things going on if he was home. He crossed his arms across his chest and smirked.

“What’s the matter, is Veronica Mars speechless? From the stories I’ve heard about you, I’m far from the first half-naked guy you’ve seen. So what gives?”

“The bus …” She faltered, took a deep breath, then pushed forward shakily. “The bus. It wasn’t a suicide. It wasn’t an accident. It was on purpose. It was intended for me.”

“Did I miss the memo declaring that the whole goddamn world now revolves around you?” Lamb sniped, but when she kept her gaze fixed to the ground and didn’t rise to the bait, he heaved a sigh, then stepped away from the doorway to let her in.

His apartment was small, and sparsely furnished. Bachelor chic. Veronica was surprised by the dearth of beer can pyramids and pinup posters. She sat down on the futon, kept her gaze pinned to the polished hardwood floor. Lamb disappeared for a moment into a back room, and reemerged pulling on a t-shirt. He ran her a glass of water from the tap in the kitchen, and set it on the coffee table in front of her. She took a polite sip. Her hands were shaking slightly – he noticed, and she noticed him noticing, so she knotted her fingers together in her lap, gripping so tight that her knuckles showed white through her skin. She seemed nervous enough, so he figured he probably didn’t need to loom over her. He sat in the chair opposite her, waited for her to unfreeze her gaze from the floor.

“So, what’s the deal, Veronica?” he asked finally, after she seemed to have composed herself.

“The man that washed up on the beach … I went to the shop where he worked and found this.” She pulled a framed photograph from her bag and handed it to him quickly, like it burned her fingers. He studied it for a moment.

The Long Haul, huh? Wasn’t that one of his films?” Lamb asked, studying the signature.

He didn’t figure he needed to say Aaron Echolls’ name out loud. Lamb still remembered the way Veronica had looked that night when he had screeched up in his squad car to find her holding a gun steadily on the guy who had tried to kill her while she ordered the paramedics to tend to her father first. Lamb had been the one to pull the gun from fingers wrapped around the trigger like stone, had cuffed Echolls to a gurney and then led Veronica to another ambulance where she sat like a statue while a medic shined a flashlight into her eyes. Saying his name out loud was probably like playing a game of Bloody Mary for her. Lamb liked to poke at her, but he didn’t enjoy twisting the knife.

“Yeah, that’s one of his films, Deputy. I never knew you were such a connoisseur of the genre.” The corner of her mouth quirked bitterly, and he was relieved to see some small trace of the uppity pain-in-the-ass Veronica Mars he knew so well.

“What does this prove, though?” he asked, brandishing the photo. She snatched it back out of his grasp and stuffed it back in her bag.

“Well, gee. Let’s think about it. A guy with a record and a long history of working with Aaron Echolls, who, for all his many faults, is rumored to have been quite a generous employer, washes up dead with my name on his hand. A guy I’ve seen exactly once in my life at a memorial site. A memorial site for victims of a crash that wasn’t a suicide, yet left no brake marks on the road. Oh, and this guy just happens to be a stuntman who is an expert on all things vehicular. None of this strikes you as the least bit odd.”

“I’m not saying it’s not a pretty big coincidence,” he admitted. “I just have a hard time seeing where I fit into this.”

“You’re not the only one,” Veronica muttered. She rose to her feet and started pacing.

“Look, I’m not making any promises, but I could check into it, I guess,” Lamb said, finally. “Echolls had his accounts frozen, but there may be some tricky way he hired the guy. I wouldn’t put it past him. I mean, besides the fact that you’re going to be a major witness against him, he just seems like the persistent type, you know?”

“Thanks,” she said distractedly.

“I’m just curious. Why come to me with this? We don’t really have the best history,” he understated. She snorted mirthlessly.

“What, because of the whole thing where you like to put the wrong people in jail, and not investigate allegations that I’ve made? That history?”

“I suppose I deserve that,” he agreed, mildly. He still wasn’t sure what the hell was going on, but this was shaping up to be a way more interesting evening than his planned dart game at the pool hall. She stopped pacing and sank back onto the futon, shooting him a baleful glare.

“Look, my dad’s out of town, and besides that, he’s sort of done enough worrying about me for about eight lifetimes. My boyfriend is useless – when I show up, telling him it’s my fault, he pats my head, and that’s not what I need. I’m sick of people dying. I’m sick of people trying to kill me. I should be worrying about prom dates and college acceptance letters, not … corpses. You know, I could probably figure this thing out myself, but I don’t want to. I’m sick of it. It just brings me more trouble, and that’s the last thing I need. I want out. I want someone else to worry about this shit. It’s your job, so you do it.”

Lamb regarded her for a long moment. Her chest was heaving, her cheeks flushed, her eyes bright. He got up, grabbed her untouched glass from the coffee table and poured the water down the kitchen drain. He returned a moment later and extended it to her. She eyed him warily.

“What’s this?”

“Break it.”

“What?”

“Break the glass.”

“Is this some kind of trick? Are you trying to frame me for assaulting an officer of the law? Because I know you’ve been looking for a reason to cuff me again.”

“The next time I cuff you, you’ll have it coming. Now break the glass. You’ll feel better. Go ahead.”

Veronica accepted the glass and hefted it in her hand, still gazing at him with suspicion. Then she turned and hurled it against the wall. They both watched it smash, and then she sank back down onto the futon while Lamb swept up the shards. He leaned the broom against the wall and sat next to her.

“Better?”

“Much. Thanks.” Veronica replied.

“Old anger management trick I picked up. The sensitivity training guy at the precinct claims you should talk about your feelings, but I find that destroying things has a more cathartic effect.”

“It definitely has a certain charm.”

“Listen …” Lamb paused, trying to think of the best way to phrase it. “That thing you said about me not investigating things you bring to my attention …”

“Forget about it.”

“No, I’m curious. Did you ever figure out what happened that night?”

Again, he didn’t have to say what he was talking about out loud, only this time he wasn’t sure if he was shielding her or himself. It bothered him how much it still gnawed at him, that tearstained girl in white asking for help he had refused. She didn’t bear any resemblance to the girl sitting a few feet away from him now, but it didn’t mean it didn’t keep him up some nights, when he let himself remember.

“In a way? You kind of did me a favor,” she said softly. “It wasn’t … what I thought happened isn’t really what happened. I mean, something happened, but it wasn’t deliberate, and a lot of people share the blame, me included. I figured it out, and I made a choice to get over it. If you had investigated, a lot of people would have gotten hurt, and not all of them would have deserved it. In a certain way, I even understand your ... reluctance to get involved. I still think you're an asshole, though.”

“Did you ever tell your dad?” Lamb doubted it. If she had, he wouldn’t be sitting there intact, or breathing. She confirmed his suspicions with a slight shake of her head.

“Like I said, he’s had enough stuff to worry about. He didn’t need to know about … that.”

“Did you ever talk to anyone about it?”

“I’ve talked enough. Besides,” she said, slightly teasing. “Now I don’t have to talk about anything ever again, since I’ve learned of the joys of hurling glassware.”

“I’m not surprised you figured it out,” he admitted. “It hasn’t escaped my attention that when you’re not breaking the law, you’re pretty damn good at enforcing it.”

“I will have you know, that I’ve been found innocent of every crime I’ve been accused of,” she reminded him.

“I notice you don’t mention anything about the crimes you haven’t been accused of. Nice evasive language, there. You know, you’d make a good cop. Have you ever thought about it?”

“Are you trying to recruit me Deputy? I always knew you wanted to spend all day, every day with me.”

He grinned, then got up and made his way to the kitchen.

“I believe that much quality time would be the death of one of us. Probably me,” he called to her as he rummaged through the fridge.

He returned with two cold bottles of beer, and proffered one to her. Veronica looked at him as though he had sprouted an extra head that was reciting Shakespeare.

“Wait. Are you, a cop, offering me, a minor, an alcoholic beverage?”

“You look like you could use one,” he said frankly. “Besides, what are you going to do, tell on me? I doubt you’re planning to admit to anyone that you spent your Saturday night hanging around with me. Now, it’s a one-time offer, so don’t start showing up at the station, asking me to buy Zima for you and your girlfriends.”

She smiled and accepted the bottle, taking a long pull.

“I wasn’t kidding about that cop thing,” Lamb continued. “it’s not the most lucrative career, but the department is pretty generous with paying for continued education for officers. It’s a good way to get through college cheap. That’s how I paid for school. The occupation just kind of wound up sticking with me, despite my intentions to the contrary.”

“I’ve given it some thought, sure. Mostly because I must admit, I look smoking hot in taupe polyester,” Veronica deadpanned.

“I’m sure you do,” he smirked.

“So, what did the illustrious Don Lamb major in at college? Keg stands? Scoring babes? Taking kickbacks from the wealthy?”

“Please. If I was taking kickbacks, do you think I’d live here?”

“Oh, so it’s just general incompetence then, not bribery?”

“I just remembered why I don’t like you very much.”

“I’m sorry. Old habits die hard,” Veronica said, mostly sincerely.

“English Lit,” he said, after a lengthy pause.

“What?”

“I liked literature. That’s what I majored in.”

Veronica gaped at him.

“Wait … you can read?”

“You are such a pain in my ass.”

“You’ve earned it.”

“Oh, you were a pain in my ass long before any of our current animosity. I seem to remember a time when you were an evil twelve-year old, and I was fresh out of school, and I did a favor for your old man and looked after you at the station when he had to go haul in a city councilman on a drunk and disorderly.”

“Oh, you mean that time you baby-sat me.”

“I wasn't a baby-sitter,” he said, shooting her a withering glance. “It's not like I was getting paid. In fact, you were pretty peeved by the implication that you needed someone to look after you.”

“Well, even at such a delicate age, I could tell you were the one in need of being watched,” she informed him loftily, taking another long swallow of her beer.

“Only because you handcuffed me to my desk, you little brat.”

“Like it's my fault you were talking to your girlfriend on the phone and I happened to be stealthy,” she grinned. “I think I taught you a very valuable lesson about being aware of your surroundings at all times.”

“You taught me a very valuable lesson in that I decided right then and there to never reproduce.”

“Well, then I actually provided a humanitarian service to the world at large,” veronica said smugly.

“Oh, whatever. You were just jealous.”

“Me? Jealous?”

“Oh yes. Your dad told me all about that huge crush you had on me.”

Veronica's jaw dropped.

“He did not. I did not!”

“No?” Lamb laughed. “You didn't get busted doodling 'Mrs. Veronica Lamb' in your school notebook? You didn't ask your dad all the time if I could come over for dinner? I guess I was misinformed. What's wrong, are you hot? Your face is all red.”

“I am going to kill myself,” Veronica muttered. Lamb laughed even harder. She sulked while she finished her beer, then made her way to the fridge and grabbed two more. He cocked an eyebrow at her, and took the fresh bottle she offered.

“After that, I definitely need another drink. Or five,” she grumbled. “Don't worry. I'll take a cab home.”

“Aww, I shouldn't have teased you. I was very flattered, actually. I mean, it's a shame about the age difference, because I really think we could have had something otherwise.”

“Well, now I'm eighteen, and you have the emotional maturity of a twelve-year old, so I guess the roles are reversed,” she said sweetly.

“No fair. You already said I'm not allowed to handcuff you,” Lamb protested.

“My kingdom for a wiretap,” she said ruefully. “If I had you on tape with the repeated handcuff references, I would own you. Just think how bad it would look for the Sheriff to be so kinky. With a high-school student, nonetheless.”

“Wow,” he said softly, shaking his head.

“What?”

“I think that's the first time you've ever referred to me as 'Sheriff'.”

“Well, don't get used to it,” she said, a little uncomfortably.

“I heard your dad's going to throw his hat back into the ring.”

“Yeah?” Veronica said, noncommittally.

“That's the rumor.”

“You know he's going to kick your ass.”

“Yeah, probably,” Lamb admitted. “No one can resist a hero. I mean, the dude was on fire. I can't really compete with that.”

“He is a hero.”

“And a good cop. And a good man. Better than me on both counts, and I'm the first to admit it. But he's not going to last as Sheriff. He doesn't have the taste for politics. You have to have a certain moral ambiguity in the position if you expect to sleep at night.”

“How do you sleep?” she asked curiously.

“For the most part? Just fine,” he admitted.

“So what's next, then? Where are the sleazy charms of Don Lamb going to be put to use?”

“Sky's the limit, I guess. Where do you see me?”

“Hmm ...” Veronica turned to face him and rubbed her chin thoughtfully.

“Please say astronaut, please say astronaut,” he chanted. She laughed and swung her foot out, kicking him gently in the leg.

“I'm thinking ... car sales. No, wait. Used car sales. Yup, that's it,” she decided.

“Because of the sleazy charm thing?”

“Yup.”

“Wow, that's twice in under a minute you've admitted that I'm charming,” he drawled. “Are you sure you're over that grade-school crush? Let me see your notebooks, so I can make sure you're not still calling yourself Veronica Lamb. I could take out a restraining order, you know. I've got connections.”

“As if. When we get married, I'm keeping my last name. Veronica Mars just has a certain ring to it, you know?”

“Yeah, a certain annoying ring.”

“Aww, you don't mind, do you sweetheart? You know I fell for you because of your progressive-thinking ways.” Veronica beamed at him faux-vacantly, and he rolled his eyes and chuckled.

“Well, I guess the timing couldn't be better,” he conceded. “Since I'm evidently going to be all jobless, I can just follow you to college. I don't have much in the way of savings, since I've obviously squandered my salary on my extravagant lifestyle. I guess I'll have to live in your dorm room.”

“I'm sure my future roommate, whoever she is, will be thrilled.”

“I make an excellent hausefrau,” he assured her. He held her gaze for a moment. The sudden silence was broken by the ringing of her cellphone. She broke eye contact and rummaged through her bag.

“Hi Dad,” she said into the receiver, turning away. “How's Chicago? Please tell me that Alicia hasn't let you eat your body weight in deep-dish pizza.”

Lamb got up to clear the empty beer bottles from the coffee table. He lingered in the kitchen to give her some privacy, but he could still hear her voice filtering through the small apartment.

“Of course I'm not home at eleven o'clock on a Saturday night. The moment your plane took off, I departed for Vegas. I'm currently snorting coke off a stripper's ass. Her name's Crystal. I think we're in love. You're really gonna like her. Yeah, yeah, I love you too, Dad. Have fun.”

Lamb meandered back out towards the living room as Veronica was dropping her phone back into her bag.

“Should I be jealous of this Crystal?” he asked, leaning against the doorjamb.

“Well, I figured I should warm him up before I confessed our forbidden love,” she grinned. “I figure by the time I've had fourteen crack babies out of wedlock by thirteen different fathers, he'll have warmed up to you slightly.”

“As long as you love our crack babies the best.”

“Well, obviously.”

He smiled at her, and she stifled a yawn.

“Getting late, huh?” he observed.

“Yeah. I guess I should call a cab.”

“You could crash here,” he offered, then held up his hands in protest at the suspicious glance she threw his way. “No, not like that. The futon is comfy, and then you wouldn't have to worry about coming to get your car in the morning. And I wouldn't have to worry about sending you home to an empty house what with the whole people trying to kill you thing that you brought up earlier. Tomorrow, I'll start looking into all that, and we'll have one of the deputies cruise by your house periodically to check on you while your dad's gone, but in the meantime, it might be better if you just stayed here”

“Wow. You really take that 'serve and protect' thing seriously, huh?” she said dryly.

“Well, that, and you kind of derailed my plans for the evening, so now you owe me one. I'm going to feel really lame sitting home alone on a Saturday night, eating Chinese food and watching old-school Degrassi reruns.”

“I don't know if having a witness to that kind of lameness is really any better,” she teased, but she let her bag fall to the floor, and settled more squarely onto the futon.

“All right, sesame chicken or beef and broccoli?”

“Dude, I know you live frugally, but I'm a growing girl. Both, obviously. And you'd better get one of those crab rangoon appetizers, too.”

“Of course. My mistake,” he said, as he dialed the phone. Veronica picked up the remote and began flipping through the channels while he placed the order.

“So,” she said, when he settled in next to her. “When you said the futon was comfy, you meant for you to sleep on, because I will obviously be sleeping in the bed, right? Assuming you have clean sheets, because I don't want to have to go get deloused tomorrow. It's really going to cut into my busy social schedule.”

“You really know how to make a guy regret an out-of-character altruistic act in a hurry,” he griped, and she settled her head delicately on his shoulder.

“Let's face it kid,” she informed him. “You and I are not really the Hallmark-types.”

“You snark because you love?”

“Hey, whatever gets you through the night. And Sheriff?”

“Yeah.”

“Thanks. You know, for not being nearly as much of a creep as usual.”

“Well, thank you for being slightly less of a pain-in-the-ass than usual.”

“Just so we're clear ...” Veronica said. “We never speak of this whole bonding thing ever again, right?”

“God, no. I've got a reputation to protect. To the grave, Mars.”

“I think this is both the beginning and end to a beautiful friendship.”

What Veronica Mars would additionally never mention to anyone, was that that night, she slept better than she had in at least two years. And what Don Lamb would never mention to anyone, was that out on the futon, where the smell of Veronica's shampoo lingered, he didn't sleep a wink all night.
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