TITLE: Dick Casablancas and the Jelly Bean Trail (Or the One Where Dean and Veronica Go Camping) [1/2]
AUTHOR: Sonya (virtualinsomnia
SERIES: Mars & Winchester Investigations
FANDOM(S): Supernatural, Veronica Mars
CHARACTER(S): Dean, Veronica, Lilly, Wallace and some of the ‘09er boys
SUMMARY: The dead weren’t supposed to talk to you. Not if you weren’t Haley Joel Osment, at any rate.
TIMELINE/SPOILERS: Totally AU, but time-wise it’s the equivalent of early S1 on both shows. So if you haven’t seen the early stuff, there could be spoilers, especially for SPN 1x02.
THANKS: To carynsilver
, for her kick-ass beta-fu. To kernelm
, for the last-minute read through. And to all the people who left me such nice comments on the first story and kept asking about a sequel. I know it’s been a long time coming, but hopefully you’ll still enjoy it!
NOTE: According to VM, Neptune is located somewhere between LA and San Diego; according to SPN, Black Water Ridge is in Lost Creek, which Google tells me is in central Colorado, not too far from Denver. According to Google maps, it takes about 15 hours to drive from Los Angeles to Denver (not counting stops). So that’s how I determined driving times, since I’ve never driven from LA to Denver myself. If my time estimate is wrong, I blame Google. :-P
DEDICATION: Inspired by medie
, for she is made of awesome.
This is the second installment in a series. You can find the first one here:Aaron Echolls and the Ghostly Trollop (Or the One Where Dean and Veronica See Dead People)
The dead weren’t supposed to talk to you. Not if you weren’t Haley Joel Osment, at any rate. Ghosts might be real—a lesson that Veronica still sometimes had nightmares about, by the way—but that didn’t mean that she expected to have actual conversations with them.
Which was why Veronica found it so disturbing when Lilly Kane began haunting her.
Sometimes she came to Veronica in her dreams, dancing and laughing and being so Lilly
that it almost hurt to watch her. And each time Veronica would wake up afterwards in a cold sweat, unsure for a minute what was real and what was illusion.
Sometimes she came in the form of a memory, beckoning at the edges of Veronica’s mind when she was supposed to be studying or working on a case. Lilly would hold out her hands, that million-dollar smile on her lips, and Veronica would forget where she was and what her life had become. And for just a few moments, it would be like it used to be. Veronica, Duncan, Logan, Lilly. Four best friends taking on the world. Perfect. Of course, then she’d blink and find herself in math class, where Dick Casablancas had just lobbed a spitball at her head, reminding her that her life was anything but perfect.
Veronica could deal with all of that, though. That was a cakewalk, honestly. No, it was the times like right now
that really drove her crazy.
“So you’re honestly telling me that you’ve never even thought
She was sitting at her desk in the office, and Lilly was perched on the corner, leaning her head back so far that her silky, blonde hair trailed over the case files that Veronica was supposed to be alphabetizing.
Dean stood by the window, completely oblivious to the ghostly figure currently driving Veronica batty. He was talking softly into his cell phone, trying to get some useful information out of the latest jealous wife convinced her husband was stepping out on her. Not the most exciting of cases, but it paid the bills.
“Nope,” Veronica said, her voice barely more than a whisper. “Never.”
Lilly giggled and hopped off the desk, sashaying around to stand next to Veronica’s chair. She had a grin on her face reminiscent of the cat that caught the canary. “Please, Veronica, you are such a bad liar. You’ve totally thought about it.” She looked over her shoulder at Dean, a predatory smile curving across her lips. “I mean seriously, just look at him. Mmmmmm, he looks good enough to eat.”
Veronica sighed. “He’s almost ten years older than me, Lilly. My dad would kill me.”
Lilly rolled her eyes. “Only you would think that your dad even needs to know.” She looked over at Dean again, grinning wolfishly as he leaned over to pick up a piece of paper that he’d dropped on the floor. “Besides, 26 isn’t old. At least not when you’ve got an ass like that
Veronica choked back her laughter. “Lilly!
” she gasped, equal parts amused and horrified.
“Did you say somethin’, Ace?”
Veronica turned wide eyes on Dean, her heart leaping into her throat. “Um... no,” she mumbled, suddenly finding the folders on her desk very interesting.
The bell on the office’s front door jangled, and Veronica leapt to her feet, grateful for the interruption.
“Saved by the bell.” Lilly smirked. Her image faded in and out of focus jerkily before vanishing altogether.
Veronica stared at the spot that her best friend’s ghost had just recently occupied for a long moment before she was able to shake off her lingering feelings of unease and acknowledge the young man standing in the doorway.
“Hey, beautiful.” Troy Vandergraff leaned forward to give Veronica a quick peck on the lips. “You busy tonight?”
Veronica smiled, glad to have something other than Dean Winchester and old ghosts to focus on. “Well, I was planning on a nice, long night of thumb twiddling, followed by a rousing session of foot tapping. And then, to really shake things up, I was going to watch some paint dry.”
Troy chuckled. “Veronica Mars, your life is wall-to-wall excitement.”
“Don’t I know it,” she replied, opening the door and grabbing her bag. “It’s five past; I’m off,” she called over her shoulder to Dean, before following Troy outside to his car.
“So what’s the plan?” she asked, after she got situated in the passenger seat.
“Well, the plan is to have one last night of fun and debauchery before I leave tomorrow,” Troy said, waggling his eyebrows at her suggestively.
Troy, Duncan, Logan and Dick were going on a camping trip out at Blackwater Ridge in Colorado. The plan was for them to leave early Saturday morning and be back on Wednesday. Sure, they’d be missing a couple of days of school, but their parents had signed off on the adventure, and what the rich and powerful parents of Neptune wanted, they got. No doctor’s note required.
Veronica grinned. “I suppose I could be up for a little debauchery. Just make sure we’re back by midnight...”
“...or your dad will murder me, I know,” Troy finished, giving her a sly grin. “No worries. I’ve got it covered.”
As they pulled away from the curb, Veronica thought she saw a flash of blonde hair in one of the office windows, but she purposefully ignored it.
Dean sighed, pocketing his cell phone, taking a seat at Veronica’s desk and trying to restrain the urge to go outside and punch that kid Troy’s face in. Something about him just rubbed Dean the wrong way. He was rich, cocky, full of himself... Oh, who he was he kidding? Dean ran an agitated hand through his hair. The kid made him see red because he was pawing all over Veronica. Here he was, 26 years old, and he was jealous of a teenaged trust fund brat. If it wasn’t so pathetic, it might actually be funny.
The phone rang, startling Dean out of his thoughts. He picked up the handset on the second ring. “Mars and Winchester Investigations, this is Dean Winchester speaking.”
“Hey, is Veronica there?”
“Oh, hey Wallace,” Dean said, as he used one foot to spin himself around in circles in the office chair. Eventually, the phone cord wrapped all the way around the chair several times, stopping his momentum, and he was forced to change directions. “You just missed her. She left. With that Troy
guy.” He tried to keep the distaste out of his voice when he said the kid’s name, but he didn’t think he succeeded all that well.
“Wow, somebody doesn’t like him very much.”
Or at all, apparently. Way to be subtle, Dean-o.
“I didn’t actually say that,” he pointed out. It was a token protest that they both knew he didn’t really mean.
“You didn’t have to, man. It was painfully obvious.”
Dean huffed into the phone. “Shut up, Wallace, before I come over there and kick the shit outta you.”
Wallace laughed. “Yeah, you and what army, Winchester?”
“Like I’d need an entire army to kick your skinny little ass.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Wallace grumbled. “Look, just tell her I called, okay? She’s supposed to help me with my history paper this weekend.”
“Will do, man.”
Dean hung up the phone and checked the clock. Ten after six. Keith was out on assignment, and there were no more scheduled appointments for the day, so Dean decided to pack it in. He scribbled “Call Wally” on a post-it and stuck it on top of Veronica’s laptop. Then he grabbed his jacket and keys and made sure to lock up on his way out.
As he made his way to the back lot where the Impala was waiting for him, he thought he saw a pretty blonde girl smiling at him from across the street, but when he looked more closely, there was nobody there.
“Jesus, now I’m starting to hallucinate,” he sighed, climbing into the car and starting the motor. What he needed was a drink. Or maybe twenty. And then he could collapse into a blissful, alcohol-induced coma for the rest of the weekend.
“TGIF,” Dean muttered, as he pulled out of the parking lot and headed for the nearest bar.
Dean woke up to the sound of somebody pounding on his front door. He opened bleary eyes and winced when the sunlight that came through his bedroom window felt like knives stabbing into his brain. He started to sit up, but his stomach protested the sudden movement violently.This
was why he generally never tried to drink the whole weekend away. It always ended up with him worshipping the porcelain gods come Sunday morning.
“Oh god,” he muttered, rolling over onto his stomach. “I think I’m gonna be sick.”
“Just don’t puke on me, baby,” came a husky, feminine voice from his other side.
Dean blinked sluggishly, and turned his head to see a mass of tangled blonde hair on the pillow next to him. His eyes traveled down a shapely body and paused for a second on the small tattoo of a sun on her right hip.
“Um,” he said, rather eloquently if he did say so himself.
“Somebody’s knocking at your door, sport,” she murmured, before burying her face in the pillow with a sigh.
Dean blinked several times, turned over, and swung his feet down to the floor, thankful when he didn’t actually ralph. He grabbed a pair of jeans that didn’t smell too
bad and tugged them on as he made his way to the door.
“Jesus, hold your horses, I’m coming,” he muttered, as he shuffled into the small combination kitchen/living area that made up the remainder of his tiny apartment. The pounding on the door continued right up until Dean undid the chain and deadbolt and yanked the door open, an angry comment about disrupting the peace on his lips, and came face-to-face with a desperate looking Veronica. They stood there frozen for a long moment, her with red-rimmed eyes and one fist poised as if to knock, him rumpled and sleepy and suddenly aware of the fact that he’d forgotten to grab a shirt, before she swallowed and dropped her hand.
“We need to talk,” she said, before she walked through the door, forcing him to turn sideways to let her pass. He told himself he wasn’t hyper-aware of the scent of her perfume as she brushed past him, but he could spot a lie from a mile away, even when he was lying to himself.
“Um, right, come on in,” Dean mumbled, shutting the door behind them and turning to follow her back inside.
She paused in the center of the living room, bag clutched against her side and one hand toying distractedly with the hairs at the nape of her neck.
“What’s going on?” he asked tentatively, moving over to stand in front of her. “What happened?”
She didn’t say anything, simply reached into her bag and pulled out her cell phone. After pressing a quick combination of keys, she handed it to him silently.
It was a voice mail dated late Saturday night.
“Hey, babe, it’s me. We just got here. I thought I’d call and rescue you from homework hell with little dirty talk, but I guess you’re deep in it.”
Dean’s jaw clenched, and he lifted his eyes to meet Veronica’s gaze. She was making him listen to Troy Vandergraff calling her for phone sex? God, could his life suck any harder?
But then, even as Troy was mid-sentence, there was a strange shriek, like some kind of animal, and the sound of fabric ripping.
He was stunned into silence by the sound of a man screaming, followed by a click and then nothing.
“Jesus,” he muttered, turning the phone off setting it down on his coffee table. He looked up at Veronica, meeting her wide-eyed gaze with one of his own. “What the hell was that?”
She shook her head, wisps of blonde hair flying out of the messy ponytail she wore. “I don’t know,” she whispered, “but this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in Blackwater Ridge.”
She reached trembling hands into her messenger bag and pulled out a small sheaf of papers, quickly handing them to Dean. As he flipped through them, she continued talking, summing up her findings.
“After I heard that message, I called the Park Services in Lost Creek, but they just stonewalled me with some bullshit about Dick filing a backcountry permit. So I did some digging. Every 23 years, there’s a spate of attacks. Hikers and campers go missing, and their bodies are never found. Officials attribute them to grizzly bears, but it doesn’t add up. It’s obviously the same thing each time. The timing is too precise, and the attacks are too similar for it not to be. But I traced the attacks back to 1936, and unless you know of a grizzly bear that can live for 70 years...”
She trailed off with a helpless shrug, before lifting panicked eyes to meet his. “I just... I didn’t know who I could go to,” she whispered. “Nobody else would believe me.”
Dean tossed the papers down onto his coffee table, and before he let himself think about it for too long, he pulled Veronica against his chest and wrapped his arms tightly around her. Her bag slipped out of her hands and fell to the floor between their feet, unnoticed.
“You did the right thing,” he murmured, running his hands up and down her back in soothing motions.
Veronica’s hands rose to grip his shoulders, her nails sharp points against his skin as she held on to him like her life depended on it. “I don’t know what I’d do if something happened to him, Dean.”
Dean didn’t for a moment fool himself into believing that she was talking about Troy. No, this was worse. Much worse.
“I’ll find him,” he promised, lightly brushing his lips against her hair. He didn’t know how he’d manage it, but somehow, for her, he’d do it. Call him whipped, but he’d do anything for Veronica. Damn it, though, why’d it have to be camping? Dean hated
camping. When this was over, Duncan Kane was going to owe him one.
“Sorry to interrupt,” a feminine voice spoke up suddenly, causing Dean and Veronica to spring apart like a pair of guilty teenagers. Standing in the doorway to the bedroom was the blonde from before. Though she’d thankfully taken the time to get dressed since he’d left her in bed, Dean couldn’t help but notice that she’d chosen to wear his
shirt (the hemline of which just barely reached mid-thigh on her) and little else.
Veronica’s eyes widened as she took in the shapely, blonde and Dean’s state of half-dress, and he could practically see the wheels in her head turning as she came to the obvious conclusion.
“Um, right,” she said, quickly reaching down to grab her cell phone and bag. “I’d better be going. Just... call me when you know something.”
She started to pick up the sheaf of papers on Blackwater Ridge, but Dean’s hand shot out, grabbing her wrist and halting her movements, which startled her into dropping all the papers back onto the coffee table. Dean could feel her pulse fluttering beneath his fingertips and the slight tremor that ran through her body at his touch.
“Leave them,” he told her softly. He sought out her eyes, but she was studiously avoiding his gaze. “I want to go over them myself.”
Veronica nodded mutely and tugged at her hand, belatedly reminding him that she’d already dropped the papers, and there was no good reason for him to still be touching her. He released her and stepped back, rocking back on his heels and stuffing his hands into his jean pockets.
After she slipped out the door, he sighed and collapsed back onto his rather threadbare couch. He heard the blonde from the previous night moving around in his apartment, but he didn’t pay her much attention until she kicked him in the shin.
“Ow,” he muttered, glaring up at her.
She simply shrugged, as if to say suck it up, you big baby
, stripped off his shirt and tossed it into his lap, which left her standing before him in only a tiny scrap of black lace masquerading as underwear. Her breasts bobbed gently as she reached down to pick up her own shirt from where she’d laid it on the table.
“You know,” she commented as she pulled the shirt over her head and then began struggling into her jeans, which were so tight that they were almost like a second skin. She had to do an interesting little shimmy to get them over her hips, and she threw him a wink as she began to do up the buttons. “They have a word for your particular situation.”
“Oh, yeah,” he replied with a sigh. “And what’s that?”
She toed on her shoes and smirked down at him, before slithering into his lap and lacing her arms around his neck. She leaned in and kissed him before he could say another word, slipping her nimble tongue between his lips and fluttering it against his own teasingly before disengaging. She gave his cheek a fond pat before sliding off of him and standing up.
“Jailbait, sweetie,” she told him as she picked up her bag and walked through his front door. “You should look it up.”
Dean closed his eyes with a sigh and let his head fall backwards against the couch. God, his life was seriously fucked up.
It wasn’t until the Impala sped past a sign that announced, “Now leaving California. Entering Nevada,” that Dean finally dared to pull out his cell phone and turn it back on. He knew Veronica had probably already called him at least half a dozen times, if not more, but if he’d talked to her before he was far enough away to make turning back next to impossible, she would’ve badgered him into bringing her along. And there was no way in hell he was dragging a seventeen-year-old girl through the backcountry in Colorado to hunt a cannibalistic monster.
Dean glanced over at the small stack of papers in the passenger seat. Veronica’s research, coupled with a single page of handwritten notes from his conversation with Bobby Singer. Even though it had been nearly a month since their encounter on that bridge in Jericho, the older man hadn’t acted at all surprised when Dean had called asking for help identifying a strange creature that was attacking people in Colorado. It was almost like he’d been expecting Dean to call, which, hell, maybe he had been. Dean wasn’t sure what exactly that said about him, but he figured the hastily outfitted camping pack in the back seat, complete with an ancient book on Anasazi protection rituals and a pair of flare guns (the better to roast a Wendigo with), was proof enough that he was in too deep now to bother worrying about it.
Dean took his eyes off the road to risk a quick glance at the digital display on his phone. As he’d predicted, it proclaimed that he had 8 missed calls.
Well, he supposed it was time to face the music. Veronica wasn’t going to be very happy with him for leaving her behind, but she would just have to accept it. He picked up the phone and hit speed dial 4.
A few seconds later he heard the phone on the other end of the line start to ring. He almost swerved the Impala off the road when that was immediately followed by the sound of a very familiar ring tone buzzing from the back seat.
“Shit!” came a muffled voice, followed by the noise of somebody hastily scrambling about behind him. Dean saw a flash of blonde hair in the rearview mirror, and then the call suddenly disconnected, leaving the car in total silence.
It took a few moments for the shock to wear off, and then Dean was slamming on the brakes, gravel flying and rubber burning as he jerked the car off onto the shoulder. There was more cursing from the backseat, followed by a loud thump, before the car came to a halt.
Dean was out of the car and yanking open the door to the backseat before the dust had time to settle, and what he saw wasn’t surprising at this point, though it was damn well infuriating. A head of tousled blonde hair poked out from underneath a tangle of sleeping bags and blankets, and Veronica gave him a sheepish look.
“Um... you rang?”Part Two
This story is x-posted at supernaturalfic