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Title: A Damsel in Distrust (6/?)
Author: [livejournal.com profile] invida
Rating: PG-13 for the swears
Word Count: 2960
Fandoms: BBC Sherlock, Veronica Mars
Timeline/spoilers: entire series of Veronica Mars (not the movie), up to A Scandal in Belgravia of Sherlock.
Disclaimer: I know the law, and the law would win.
Summary: Veronica Mars meets Sherlock Holmes. How well did you think it would go?
Acknowledgements: Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] aud_woman_in for the beta, encouragement, and a willing ear. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] maybe_amanda for giving me the idea for an actual plot. Thanks to DC for the challenge.

Previous Parts


The new room where Logan was being held didn't have a window, but he had to admit, it was better than being handcuffed to a radiator. Of course, he had a limited view from his position on the floor, so the window had been a moot point. But with the window at least he'd been able to tell whether it was daytime or not. An alarm clock let him keep time now, but he couldn't be sure it was the right time. Logan tried to keep a routine around it anyway.

The other bonus to the new captors was that he wasn't getting random beatings anymore, in fact, none at all. That miserable shit, Gory Sorokin, did not have a sense of humour. And Logan never had learned when he should keep his mouth shut. Gory, like Aaron, didn't appreciate Logan's opinion on getting beaten. And neither of them seemed to appreciate Logan's endurance either.

But the new anonymous captors were already his best friends. He had a bed, a desk and chair, and a small bathroom. There were books and magazines. He was getting fed and watered regularly, too. So whoever this new faction was, they at least wanted him alive. For now, anyway.

It was just like Logan to be kidnapped not once but twice. He could imagine the lecture from Veronica about how he always had to do things to the extreme. When he played out the yelling match in his head, he knew his juvenile response would be that it wasn’t his fault, just his shitty luck. And she'd volley back just as petulantly that he had a knack for making his luck infinitely shittier. But he didn't dare imagine past that because they hadn't had the opportunity to get to that place in their relationship where it might go beyond an argument to making up the way he'd like.

He couldn’t tell exactly what had happened either day he was taken. The first time, he was jumped in a parking lot and kept drugged until he finally woke up in the room where Gory held him. From what Gory would let slip from phone calls or while he was drunk or high, Gory's family connections wanted nothing to do with the mess he'd created by trying to get revenge on Logan, and he was on his own.

The day he was taken from Gory, Gory had put a bag over his head, saying he'd found someone to take Logan off his hands and he was going on a trip. The doorbell had buzzed, there was a conversation, an altercation, then quiet as whoever it was began to search the apartment. It didn’t take long to find him. Then he was knocked out and woke up in his current surroundings, cleaned up and injuries bandaged.

Gloved hands pushed a tray of food through a slot in the door of his room at meal times. He couldn't be sure if it was the same set of hands every day. Whoever brought him his food refused to speak to him no matter what he asked. On his second day, he tried to grab the gloved hands that pushed his tray of food through the slot on the door, begging for the person on the other side to help him or just talk to him.

For a full day after, despite his yells and protests, the only thing pushed through the slot was a glass of water, until he promised sincerely that he wouldn't try anything again. Now every time the slot opened, he just mused to the hands about what store you'd have to go to get a door like that. Kidnappers Depot? Captors Warehouse? How many pairs of gloves must they have? Did they use the same pair over and over?

Regardless of the lack of conversation, he was pretty sure he wasn't in America. Gory had liked the TV on at all hours and liked it loud. So he was somewhere that could get the BBC. It would be easy to give up knowing that. Because who the hell was going to come looking for him outside of the U.S.?

But then, anyone asking that question didn't know Veronica Mars.

----------

John turned on the telly then turned up the volume to a near-deafening level.

Sherlock walked up and pressed the power button, shutting it off. "You’re angry with me. Again."

John tossed the remote on the sofa beside him. "Nope. Not angry with you. Can’t possibly be angry with you. It’s never your fault, after all."

"What is that supposed to mean?" Sherlock asked as he flopped into his chair.

"Well, you don’t know you're doing it, do you? You can never help just saying or doing the things you do."

"You are the one that tries to make me interact with people. And you are surprised when they don’t understand me?"

"No, I am never surprised when you make a bloody mess of things with other actual human beings. I fully expect it every time now. But this time -- this one time when you should’ve been you, when you should've bollocksed it all up, and instead you go and be the perfect–"

"You." Sherlock finished for John. He pressed his fingers together under his nose. "So that’s what’s bothering you."

John gave an exasperated sigh. "What did you think was bothering me?"

Sherlock threw his hands up. "That we didn’t make her tell us what she found in that room, of course! That we aren't making her have her conversation with her hacker source in front of us."

John tried to blink the incredulity from his eyes. "After what happened back at the Sorokin flat, after she completely broke down, you want to put her through more interrogation? You still think she has something to do with this?"

"Whether she does or not, she holds all the cards and has all the information."

"I don't believe this," John said, shaking his head. "No one can fake that kind of outburst! Certainly not over jewellery. Not unless it was given on bended knee."

"Oh no. I believe she's as influenced by sentiment as the rest of you lot. I'm just saying she knows how to use it effectively when she needs to. Hence us letting her go off on her own again."

John cocked his head at Sherlock, as though he was finally hearing what he was saying. He sat back, steepled his fingers, pressing them under his nose to mimic Sherlock, and said, "I see."

Sherlock sat forward and narrowed his eyes at John, signalling that he was deducing everything he could until he hit on what John was getting at. John wondered what his room looked like in Sherlock's mind palace.

Finally, Sherlock looked away with a frown, and said, "Oh, shut up."

"Must be true then if I struck a nerve."

Sherlock fastidiously pulled at his jacket cuffs, avoiding John's gaze. "You mistake disappointment for annoyance. You think very little of me."

"Au contraire. I think you're more disappointed in yourself than anybody right now. And the reason you're working so damn hard to prove that she's another Irene Adler is so you can excuse yourself for your admiration. Oh, she's tricked me into liking her. It's not my fault. Wah wah. You gonna play sad songs when she leaves, too?"

Sherlock stood suddenly and began to pace. "Do you know how ridiculous you sound right now? How childish? You don't even know the truth about who she's looking for. You haven't even asked her because you know you don't want to hear it."

"I've made assumptions and her outburst has pretty much confirmed it. You clearly have known for a while, and yet you're still acting this way. Which of us is really more ridiculous? I'd say we're practically even."

Sherlock walked over to the telly and stabbed the power button, filling the room again with noise and harsh light, then stalked off to his bedroom.

It was a hollow win.

-----
Mac's face finally appeared on the borrowed laptop screen. "Mars ATTACKS!" Mac announced with a screech.

"BIG MAC!" Veronica replied with as much ferocity.

This was what she needed. Riffing with someone from home. The ache of homesickness dissipated as she eased into her comfort zone.

She was back in her closet in Mrs. Hudson's apartment. She needed the privacy after her emotional display at the Sorokin safehouse and she didn’t want any interruptions or eavesdropping on her face time with Mac. Mac would be wary of new faces and she needed Mac to be as relaxed as possible.

"How's Jolly Ol'?" So Mac was going to skirt around the issue. That was fine. Veronica could skirt too.

"Old. Not so jolly. How's the internship?"

Mac gave a snort. "Sooo boring. They have me debugging junior programmers' code. Something I can do in my sleep. But if I do all the tasks too quickly, then there's nothing left for me to do until they get the next batch of code written. So I have to find ways to do this stuff slowly enough."

"It is a curse to be gifted."

"Tell me about it."

"What if I give you a tasty project in between assignments?" Veronica asked, looking at her hopefully.

Mac winced. "I dunno Veronica. They like bums in seats here. Even though I've got bupkis to do, they want me here doing it. They time me for my lunch. I've got forty-five minutes. That's enough time to forage for food, eat it, perform ablutions, and then think about my life choices for the extra two minutes."

"Not a problem. My project is Kane Software based."

"Veronica," Mac said with a frustrated sigh, "I need this internship. And yes, they've made me very aware that they know I'm your friend. You wouldn't believe the grilling security gave me when I started. I have to play by their rules."

Veronica was done with skirting. "C'mon Mac, you know why I'm here in England. It's for Logan. Remember him? Even if you don't admit he's your friend, he's at least your shady business partner now. Aren’t you the slightest bit worried about him?"

"Hey, there’s nothing shady about exploiting people’s debauchery. If people want to give us money to humiliate themselves, who am I to say no? And what are you not admitting to? He's not your boyfriend but you drop everything the second he goes missing. You find the tiniest circumstantial shreds to corroborate your theory that he's been kidnapped –"

Veronica interrupted her. "You can't tell me that Gory leaving and Logan disappearing at the same time is a coincidence."

"It's summer break! Except for us townies, everybody leaves for the summer. He's probably on a bender in Vegas like the papers say. But no, you go on a vendetta against the craziest mobster wannabe you can find and skip the country. All to search for a guy you've broken up with -- for good, I might add -- three times. You don't tell your dad you're going, and you dump Piz in the process."

"That's so not true! I ended things with Piz before I left for England –"

"A technicality! And an e-mail break-up? Do you know how much he's been bugging me about you since? And now I find out that you're staying with these 'consulting detectives'? Do you know how that looks?"

Veronica sat up straight. "Wait. What? How did you know that?"

"Google is amazing. What I would've done for an internship there. I put an alert for your name because your dad has been bugging me too for any info on you and what you're doing because he has this misguided notion that you tell me everything. And you popped up a couple of days ago on this guy, John Watson's blog."

"Are you serious?"

The link appeared in the chat window and Veronica opened it. She skimmed the latest entries and felt herself blushing.

"I'd say he's smitten," Mac said, noticing Veronica's discomfort.

"Shut up."

"Why are you still there, Veronica?"

"Because I have evidence now. And because I made a deal with Jake Kane. That's why I need your help."

Mac blinked and gave a quick shake of her head. "Have you picked up a bunch of Britishisms that haven't made it into Doctor Who yet? Because you should add a couple of blimeys and bloodys in there so I know when you're not going to make any sense."

Veronica had to admit, it didn't sound good when she said it out loud. "Jake's here in England and he had Scotland Yard come after me because he thought I stole something of his. I made him a deal I'd find it and whoever was responsible and he'd drop the charges and get me info on where I could find Gory. But now Gory's missing too."

"And the consulting detectives?"

"The police let me go if I promised to work with them."

Mac's eyes widened. "That's just so babytown frolics."

"Whatever. They're actually pretty good detectives. And it lets me investigate."

"High praise from Veronica Mars. They're easy on the eyes too, judging by the photos I've found. Heh. Nice hat." A series of links appeared in the chat.

Veronica ignored them. "Getting back to the point –"

"Yeah. You said evidence?"

Veronica held up her hand, dangling a shell necklace.

"You can't say for sure that it's Logan's."

"I haven't had the time to swab it for his DNA, no. But I stared at this thing for two long hot summers during make-out sessions. There's a chip in this shell and one of the dark shells is missing here. Not to mention that I found it in Gory Sorokin's family safehouse in London. That's a huge fucking coincidence, Mac. God! You're getting worse than Wallace."

Mac shrugged. "Someone's gotta pick up the "BFF-call-you-on-your-shit" slack while he's away. I will make you a deal. Promise you'll call your dad. Then tell me what you need. And I'll think about it."

Veronica tried to suppress her smirk. Just getting Mac to 'think about it' meant she was three-quarters of the way to convincing her. She made an X over her chest with her finger. "I promise." Then she leaned in and asked quietly, "Our chat's secure, right?"

Mac rolled her eyes. "As soon as I saw your chat request, I went into triple lockdown mode. Fort Knox has nothing on me."

"That's my Mac. Okay, I’m sending you the IP address of the most secure Kane Software server, and a date and time. The hacker who went into took everything, burned the drives, and then covered up his tracks so well, no one can figure out where he originated from. And the kicker is that he used Jake Kane's credentials to get in once he got past all the best of Kane Software's security protocols."

Veronica hadn't even finished typing before Mac said, "I know who it was."

Veronica chuckled, but continued typing. "I know you're good, Mac, but I haven't even sent you the -"

"And it wasn't a he."

It took Veronica a beat to realize what Mac was saying. She looked up at the screen to see if Mac was serious. "Mac, no –"

"Mac, yes." Mac squirmed visibly. "Do you want an explanation?"

"I don’t know. Do you want to give me one?"

Mac put a hand up making a placating motion. "I want you to understand that I didn’t have a choice."

Veronica shook her head in disbelief. "Choice?! Now who's making no sense? Do you know how much trouble you’re in?"

"He said no one would ever find out!"

"He?"

"Clarence Wiedman."

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