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Veronica Mars fic: "Daddy's Little Girl"

Title: Daddy's Little Girl
Fandom, Character: Veronica Mars, Keith Mars
Rating: PG
Challenge: Written for boxathon prompt #196: "Yes, Veronica Mars is smarter than me."
Length: 1170 words
Betas: Thanks to panther_kitten and akamine_chan for helping me pull this together.
Disclaimers: The characters and concepts of "Veronica Mars" do not belong to me.
Spoilers: Episode 1x01
Summary: Sometimes Keith worries about his daughter.

When Veronica was two, her favorite words were “no” and “up.” “No!” for when she wanted the world to bend to her will. That happened every five minutes or so. “Up,” meant that Veronica wanted to be picked up so that she could get to something above her eye level. Access to the secret world of adults; rustling newspapers, forbidden cookies, breakable knick-knacks, and that beautiful red-hot stove top. Veronica managed to burn herself three times before the lesson stuck.

By the time she was four, Veronica had given up on fairy tales at bed time.

“No, Daddy, I want a real story. One where you catch the bad guys,” she demanded, chin at a stubborn tilt.

So I told her stories about pick-pockets and carjackers, card sharks and bank robbers; bad guys and the men of the Neptune Sheriff’s Office who tried to bring them to justice. After days that were more Keystone Cop than Bullitt, Veronica made me feel ten feet tall.

I remember sitting up with Veronica one night when she was six years old, sick with an inner-ear infection. She was tired and cranky, all wrapped up in a blanket, snuggled next to me on the couch. We were getting a little Daddy-daughter time, mocking an episode of NYPD Blue, and Veronica figured out whodunit before I did. Her reasoning was right on the nose, too. She figured out who benefited from the murder, saw through the fake alibi, and told me how he had pulled it off. I think that was the moment when I first realized that Veronica was going to grow up to be much smarter than her old man. Her mother and I might be a mess, but we were raising a pretty amazing little girl.

Of course, by the time she was eight, it was all rainbows, unicorns, and frilly dresses. I didn’t mind. Liane was going through a good patch and it was great to see them spending time together. The department was investigating a string of ugly OD’s and I was glad that Veronica wasn’t quizzing me about work anymore. I locked that part of my life away with my gun each night before dinner, so we could talk about the book Veronica was reading and her friend Lilly’s new bike.

Veronica never asked for a bike. She figured out early on that there were two Neptunes. She had fun visiting the rich one, but every night she came home to us. Her mother never let me forget what we were missing. Veronica didn’t seem to mind.

When Veronica was ten, she took a fall that scared the hell out of me. I told her she wasn’t allowed to climb trees anymore. I found her two hours after we got home from the hospital, twenty feet straight up, stuck, but refusing to call for help. I couldn’t be angry. Veronica’d been scared by that fall, too, and decided to face it head on.

By the time Veronica was in high school, Liane’s drinking had gotten worse. Veronica stepped into the gap. She cooked dinner and did the laundry while keeping a 4.0 GPA. We made it work. Veronica was popular, happy. She created a photo essay on the lunchroom politics of Neptune High. Her English teacher submitted it to a national teen literary magazine, and they published it. Veronica checked out four decades of Life magazines from the public library. She wanted to be the next Spider Martin. I believed she could do it, and bought Veronica a camera for her birthday.

Veronica’s future was there in front of us, bright and close enough to touch. Then Lilly Kane was murdered.

When I arrived on the scene, the Kanes were doing laundry in the middle of the night.

That’s where it all went wrong, because I screwed up. I should have kept my mouth shut, done my investigating under the radar to find out what happened to Lilly. But after everything Jake Kane had put me through, I couldn’t stand there and watch the bastard cover-up his own daughter’s murder. A child’s death is hard, a terrible thing for any parent to face. A child’s murder is worse; all of that potential maliciously stolen. And this was my daughter’s best friend. Veronica was supposed to learn about death by burying a pet gerbil. Not a murdered friend. Violence wasn’t allowed that close to her. So I lost my temper, pulled Jake Kane in for an interview, and confronted him. It made national TV, the small-town sheriff persecuting a grieving millionaire father. Before I knew it, Kane’s Armani-clad minions had a patsy on Death Row and I was out of a job.

We probably should have left Neptune. God knows Liane wanted to. But I couldn’t tuck my tail between my legs and run. I couldn’t let Jake Kane get away with murder. With ending a young girl’s innocent, happy life. So I got my P.I.’s license and opened an office.

Liane said it was humiliating. She couldn’t go to the store without people whispering behind her back. I asked Veronica if it was causing her any problems at school.

She shrugged and looked away. “Nothing I can’t handle, Dad.”

Have I mentioned that my daughter is tough as nails?

Liane took off, and then it was just the two of us. Veronica was furious. I … I’d been expecting Liane to leave me for years. It was a relief to finally stop waiting for it.

I worry sometimes that Veronica hasn’t had much of a childhood since then. It started small, with Veronica answering phones in the office. I was scrabbling to make ends meet. Veronica wanted to help, and there was no one else.

Somehow it ended up with my sixteen year-old daughter using her gift to get money shots of adulterous spouses. She can run a single-vehicle tail, skip trace a bail jumper, create professional-quality fake ids, and switch personas on the fly to sweet-talk information out of people who should know better. I haven’t taught her to pick locks. You have to draw the line somewhere. Sometimes a man needs a locked door between his daughter and the dirty little secrets. Besides, lock picks are illegal in California.

I wanted to give Veronica … art. Music. Ballet lessons. A pony. Summers in Europe. The world on a silver platter. A safe place to grow up. Freedom to go wherever her heart led. Friends she could trust. A mother she could rely on. But I couldn’t give her things I didn’t have, had never had.

So I gave Veronica a Taser to protect herself, the freedom to make her own mistakes, and a father who loves her more than life itself.

It isn’t enough. But when I look at my little girl now, I catch glimpses of the woman she’ll become. Strong. Independent. Loyal to her friends, hell on wheels to her enemies. Unflinching when she sees a chance to right a wrong. She makes me proud.

I think maybe we’ll be okay.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 7th, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
keith and veronica mars!!! best father-daughter relationship IN ALL OF TELEVISION.

thank you for this. i love them SO MUCH.

Jun. 9th, 2008 06:31 am (UTC)
They are a delight, aren't they? Thanks zabira!
Jun. 7th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
I wanted to give Veronica … art. Music. Ballet lessons. A pony. Summers in Europe. The world on a silver platter. A safe place to grow up. Freedom to go wherever her heart led. Friends she could trust. A mother she could rely on. But I couldn’t give her things I didn’t have, had never had.

Aw, that's Keith all over.

This is a great character piece. I love Keith.
Jun. 9th, 2008 06:36 am (UTC)
Thanks, meresy. Keith is a wonderful character, and he'd do anything for Veronica.
Jun. 7th, 2008 09:09 pm (UTC)
Hooray! I was wondering what someone would do with this prompt, and I am blown away!

Inquisitive!LittleVeronica, Reflective!Keith....just perfect. :)
Jun. 9th, 2008 06:37 am (UTC)
Raising Veronica would have been seriously hair-raising. I'm glad you liked it, spin1978!
Jun. 8th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
I love this! It's so great to see a Keith POV fic, and it's even better to find one that's so well-written. Thanks for sharing!
Jun. 11th, 2008 05:21 am (UTC)
Thank you for the comment, kwatchingoverme!
Jun. 9th, 2008 01:00 am (UTC)
omg that was like the sweetest thing ever. *tear*

Jun. 11th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
*offers a handkerchief* I appreciate the feedback, dtkokoro!
Jun. 9th, 2008 03:12 am (UTC)
I loved it before, keerawa, but I love it more now with the wonderful changes you've made. Congrats on a job really well done!

I wanted to give Veronica … art. Music. Ballet lessons. A pony. Summers in Europe. The world on a silver platter. A safe place to grow up. Freedom to go wherever her heart led. Friends she could trust. A mother she could rely on. But I couldn’t give her things I didn’t have, had never had.

That's still my favorite part. If only more parents wanted these kind of things for their kids...

Lovely, k. *hugs*
Jun. 11th, 2008 05:27 am (UTC)
Thank you, akamine_chan, your beta really helped improve it! Keith really wishes he could give Veronica an ideal life, and is enraged when the Kanes interfere with that.

At first I thought that Keith KNEW that Veronica had been raped. Then, in a process of writing this, I realized that simply wasn't possible, given the character that existed in my mind. So I looked it up, and saw that Veronica had hidden it from him in canon.
Jun. 13th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)
...your beta really helped improve it!

Oh, I'm so glad you think so.

I think Veronica probably went out of her way to make sure he didn't know about the rape. Mainly to protect him.

Jun. 9th, 2008 05:02 am (UTC)
Wonderful! You really captured Keith here.
Jun. 11th, 2008 05:27 am (UTC)
Thank you, ainsley! What a gorgeous icon of Veronica.
Jun. 9th, 2008 02:13 pm (UTC)
Awww. I love the relationship between Veronica and Keith and you captured it perfectly here!
Jun. 11th, 2008 05:28 am (UTC)
The two of them are wonderful together, aren't they? Thank you for the comment, mammothluv!
Jul. 7th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
Jul. 7th, 2008 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you, hokeysmoke, I'm glad you enjoed.
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )