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31 March 2008 @ 09:46 am
Fic: Nothing Happens Accidently  
Title: Nothing Happens Accidently
Author: xlivvielockex
Characters/Pairing: Kendall Casablancas, Keith Mars
Word Count: 4,884
Rating: PG13
Spoilers: Not Pictured and Welcome Wagon
Summary: AU after Not Pictured with information from Welcome Wagon. Kendall asks Keith to help her get out of town.
A/N: Written for the gogetem_bobcat Road Trippin! challenge. Thank you to boy_named_susie for the last minute beta.



“Mrs. Casablancas, please, keep your hands off my radio.” Keith Mars said, reaching over to change the station back to the classic rock one that he usually kept it programmed to.

“If I have to listen to this stuff all the way to Timbuktu, you might as well just let Liam blow my brains out now.” Kendall Casablancas sat back in the seat of the sedan. She was not happy at having to listen to arena hair bands for the entire drive.

Keith tried not to look over at her. He couldn’t believe what he was doing. He left Veronica alone in New York and for what? She was paying him a lot of money. and any money he could keep out of the Fitzpatricks’ hands was fine by him. Not that they would ever be smart enough to figure out how she had hidden her millions. He considered this just the start of the just desserts for the Fitzpatricks after what they had done to not only Neptune but to his daughter. Then again, Veronica wouldn’t have gotten in trouble with them if she had just stayed away from that Echolls boy.

“I am doing the driving, Mrs. Casablancas, so I get to pick the music. You wanted out of town so here I am.” He replied as he tried to stay focused on the road.

She huffed and then she was silent for a few blessed minutes before she spoke again. “I told you that you can just call me Kendall.” There was a deep tone of bitterness and Keith knew why. She married Dick Sr. with the hopes that he would keep her in Manolos and Louis Vutton until her face was pulled so tight, she had a beard. Instead, he committed real estate fraud and fled, leaving her penniless. All her dreams of getting her big score were dashed in that instant…until now.

“Alright, Kendall. Mind telling me what brought about this change of heart? Why are you so eager to get out of Neptune?” He glanced over briefly towards her and he thought he saw some shadow of emotion pass over her face. It was just a flicker, but then it was gone. Her cold steel gaze was back again.

“Oh, I don’t know. When Liam had a gun pressed against my temple demanding I give him his money, I sort of thought this might not be the healthiest friendship for me.”

Keith couldn’t help it when he felt the need to protect her. The Fitzpatrick boys weren’t exactly knights in shining armor, and Kendall wasn’t exactly helpless. There was something, however, something about the idea of a man hurting a woman that put him in a protective stance. He said the next without even thinking. “Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you stay safe.”

Kendall paused for a moment. She had to admit that was the first time that a man had said that to her and actually meant it, without it being a way to get into her pants. She doubted that Keith Mars was looking to get into her pants. He had the whole eunuch thing working for him. She reached over and touched his knee anyway. “Thanks.”

He heard it then. He heard an undertone of kindness to her voice. He found himself making excuses for her. Probably it was something people had done for her during her whole life. She was beautiful, so it made it all the easier. She’d had a rough life. He and Veronica uncovered that much. Probably not a good family life, wasn’t loved, fell in with the wrong kind of guy who put her in the wrong direction. She was a good girl under all of that. She just spent so many years being hurt that it made her jaded and cynical. He’d put the pieces together in his mind, but only because he had seen it before.

“So how long until we get to…wherever it is?” She was clearly agitated from having to be in the car this long. It was fear. He had seen it before. She was worried that they were being followed, that her not so quite well thought out plan to run to Keith Mars for help was not going to work.

“A couple of more hours. Why don’t you try to get some sleep?”

“You are kidding right? Some crazy meth head wants to kill me, and you think I can sleep? I’ve slept through a lot of bad stuff, but nothing when my life was threatened.”

“What about when you were in jail?” He glanced at her briefly, for just a moment to gauge her reaction, but she was good. There was no emotion on her face.

“Jail is just like anything else. You do your time, you think about other stuff, you get through it.”

“Sort of like your marriage to Big Dick?”

“I’m sorry, am I paying you to play twenty questions, or am I paying you to get me safely out of the country?”

“I was just trying to converse a bit. You know, make the time on the road go faster. Since you don’t like my taste in music.”

“I am just tired of long haired drunks droning on about some woman named Rhonda or Sharona or some other bridge and tunnel Jersey girl.”

The mention of Jersey sent the briefest pang through him. He had called Veronica, left her a voicemail making an attempt to explain the situation to her. It would only take a few days, tops, to get Kendall into a safe place. Arranging for her new identity, new bank cards, the standard escaping the country package hadn’t taken long. He still couldn’t help but feel guilty.

“So…if you were supposed to meet your father for a trip and he didn’t show for a few days, what would be a good gift? You know, for someone your age?”

She raised a brow as she glanced over at him. “Are you asking me what you should get your daughter?”

“I figured you might know what is hip. What is cool. What all the down cats are down with.”

“Well, first, they aren’t down with the lingo, pops. Second, you can’t go wrong with something expensive. How big of an “I’m sorry” are we talking about here?”

Keith paused for a moment. “Real big.”

“I’d say you can never go wrong with a new car. And don’t pick it out for her. Because judging by this rental car, you’d get something practical with good gas mileage instead of something fun.”

“Guilty as charged.” He chuckled just a bit as he shrugged his shoulders.

Kendall shifted slightly in her seat. “Can we at least stop someplace? Get something to eat? Maybe go to the bathroom?”

He was about to tell her that there were no scheduled stops until they got to the safe house when he felt the car sputter. He checked the gas gauge, but it was nowhere near empty. He pressed the pedal, the car surging forward for a moment before it sputtered again. He was losing speed, not a good thing on a highway, even if there was no one for miles. He maneuvered the car onto the shoulder, hoping it was just a bad bit of gas or water in the gas tank as the car continued to sputter forward. Finally, with one last huff and surge, the car died.

“You have got to be kidding me.” Keith didn’t need to look at her to see that Kendall was rolling her eyes. “If you think I am going to pee in the desert, you’ve got another thing coming, buddy.”

He tried to get the car to start again, turning the key. The car spat once more, almost looking like it would roar into life, but it died pathetically. He sighed. “I think we are stuck.”

“Thank god someone invented cell phones then. And those things called tow trucks.” The sarcasm was dripping from her words as she pulled the phone from her purse. She started to dial, bringing it up to her ear when she was finished. Nothing. No dial tone. “You have to be kidding me. If there is one place that could benefit from cell phone towers, it is out here.” She shook the phone as if that would get a signal.

“There was a town a couple of miles back. We could follow the highway.”

“You have to be kidding me. These are Jimmy Choos. You do not walk in Jimmy Choos. You look gorgeous in them. You wear them to expensive dinner dates. You keep them on during sex. You do not walk in them.”

“Then we just have to sit here and wait for someone to come along. We can always go back to our stimulating discussion about your jail time or your marriage.” He turned to look at her.

She frowned at him. “You are just lucky I packed some sneakers.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It took over an hour before they saw the sights of the town just up over a small hill. It was an hour of Kendall being chilly and quiet. She didn’t like being out in the open, not when there was a price on her head. Not to mention that although sweating at the gym was totally acceptable, sweating outside of the gym in a new designer suit was not. She breathed a loud sigh of relief as she saw the small bar. “Oh god, I really hope they have Evian. Or Perrier.”

Keith wiped an arm across his forehead, taking away the sweat with it. “For the first time on this trip, I think we agree on something. Though a hot day like this, I could go for a cold beer.”

“Are you supposed to drink on the job?” She turned to him, giving him the smallest teasing smile, a tease that was reflected in her voice.

“Why Mrs. Casablancas, I do believe you made a joke there.” He crossed the parking lot of the dingy bar, pulling the door open. “I know it isn’t drinks at the Chateau Marmont, but I think it will serve us.”

“After that walk, this place looks like the Palace.” She blinked against the dimness of the bar, bringing a hand up. Her eyes blinked rapidly. It was a change to go from the sunlight outside to the almost darkness in here. But it was something that she was oddly used to, something she had tried to escape.

“You can order us some beers while I see if they have a phone book so I can call a tow truck.”

She nodded her head, making her way across the threadbare carpeting to the bar. She hauled herself up onto the seat, looking at the guy behind the counter. “Just two drafts. Whatever is cold and medium range. I don’t want any Schlitz.”

The bartender grunted at her, nodding his head, before he grabbed two glasses. At least the glasses were clean. Just about the only thing in this place that was. She did a quick glance around, half expecting Liam to come out of the shadows, armed and ready to kill her. This was exactly the kind of place he would like, the kind of place that she had been in way too many years ago. Those memories were quickly pushed back into the depths of her mind as the guy set the beers in front of her. She reached for hers, not bothering to wait on Keith’s return before she downed it.

She was already working on her second beer by the time that Keith returned. The look on his face said it all. “You have to be kidding me.”

“The tow truck will be bringing it here, but the garage is already closed for the night. I think we better head over to the motel and book some rooms for tonight.”

“Why am I not surprised that the sidewalks roll up at three o’clock here in Mayberry?” She shook her head, taking another long pull from her beer. It felt good going down. It made her forget that once more she was back to sleeping on dirty motel sheets in some run down ghost town.

“You might want to slow down there, Kendall.” Keith said as he reached for his own beer. He took the seat next to her, taking a drink from it as he watched her downing hers.

She set the glass down. “I was hoping that I would be sleeping in a nice, safe bed tonight. Emphasis on safe.”

“I told you, I will make sure you stay safe.” Though Keith was fairly sure she didn’t believe him as she finished off the last of her beer.

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“This is hell. This is my own personal hell. I just know any minute now some guy with a pitchfork is going to come out from behind the curtains and yell ‘Surprise!’” She dropped both of her heavy suitcases on the floor of the motel room. The briefcase had been tucked under her arm and with her since they left the car. At least after a few beers at the bar, the tow truck was back and they could get their things.

“It isn’t as bad as it seems, Kendall. I think you are over--“

She cut him off, giving him a steely cold look. “Don’t you think it is a little convenient that this nowhere town is a stop on the Catalina Motorcycle Club’s Annual Fun Ride? And that the day we get stranded is the day they only have one motel room left?”

“I am sure if you would just calm down, it is just coincidence. This city is a half way point.” He paused for a moment. “It will be fine. You can take the bed, and I will keep watch in the chair by the window.”

Kendall tossed herself onto the bed, unable to hide the disdain on her face when dust flew in the air. At least it was better than other things like a wet spot left by the previous tenant. “I feel like we are in some road trip gone wrong movie here. Where we end up in bed together or something.”

He pulled back the curtain, checking outside. “As attractive as you are, I don’t think that is going to happen.”

“Oh please, if you thought you had a chance, you’d be like every other straight guy in the world. Nothing matters when it comes to getting some with guys.”

“I think you’ll find that I am not like most other guys.”

“Uh huh.” In her tone, it was clear that she didn’t believe him at all. “You’ve never had any sort of indiscretion? Cheated on your wife? Sex with a much younger woman? Sex with a married woman?”

Keith fell silent, using the guise of checking for any trouble outside the window instead of answering her.

“Yeah, that is what I thought.” She got up from the bed. “Well, at least this place has a TV. No mini bar though. I think we need to go on a dinner run. Or snack run at the very least.”

He looked at her for a moment, abandoning his post at the window. He found it hard to believe that Kendall was the type of woman who would be able to shovel down the fare at the local greasy spoon.

“What? I do eat, you know. I just make sure I work it off. No one wants a trophy wife that looks like Roseanne, even with my cash. I saw a café when we were walking here. I bet they at least have road food.”

He didn’t like the idea of being out in public now that he knew there were plenty of bikers around the small town, but he liked the idea of leaving her alone in this motel room even less. “Let’s just get in and out. We can eat the food here.”

“At least you didn’t tell me to stay here while you went to get the food. I really wouldn’t have appreciated that. I am paying you to keep me safe, not to get me killed.”

“As we’ve gone over time and time again, I’ll keep you safe. You’ve trusted me this far, might as well trust me the whole way.”

She frowned slightly when he said that. He did have a point. It took a lot of guts to come to the former sheriff and ask him to help her hide, to get her a new identity. Despite the fact that he had broken into her place, stolen her hard drive, and uncovered most of her secrets, she thought maybe this once she could trust someone. “I’ve got it. Can we eat now?”

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When he and Kendall had crossed the dusty two-lane road to get to the café on the other side, Keith had expected some greasy burgers and a bout of indigestion. What he didn’t expect was that only minutes after ordering, he would be crouched behind the counter, Kendall curled up in a ball, shielding her head and bleeding from a bullet wound that had grazed her arm. The rude waitress when they first came in was a given, but Liam Fitzpatrick coming in only moments after them and opening fire was not on the menu. Neither was diving for cover, going around the counter to put at least a bit of barrier between him and Kendall and Liam. It was hard to shoot down and be accurate. Liam wasn’t smart enough to just come around the counter. He called out. “Liam, I don’t think you want to do this. There are plenty of witnesses here.”

“Witnesses? I see them as people that are going to get shot one by one until that bitch tells me where my money is.”

Kendall’s head came up from under the protective hold Keith had her in. “It isn’t your money, you overgrown ape.”

“Why don’t you use that pretty mouth of yours for something else, Kendall. Like telling me where the 8 million is.”

Keith had already drawn his cell phone out, thankful that finally they were able to get a signal. He dialed 911, reaching up slowly to put the phone on the shelf under the counter. It could at least be traced and all of Liam’s words heard by the authorities.

“You think you are going to be able to take her into a bank with a gun in her back and the tellers are just going to hand it over?” Keith said, back flat against the counter as best as he could being hunched down.

“Only, it ain’t in no bank, Keith. I already checked that out. I am not as dumb as you think I am. She’s got it with her.” Liam’s footsteps were heaving as he moved. He turned around, his gun pointed at the few local folk that were in the café. The bikers were no doubt all at the bar. “Now which one of these people should I kill first, Kendall?”

“Wow, nice to see that you can actually rub those two brain cells of yours together once and a while. But do you really think I am going to carry around that much cash?” She glanced at Keith. She knew that Liam wouldn’t waste any time in killing someone here. Not that she really cared about a bunch of backwater hicks, but still, he might turn it on them next. “It’s in two suitcases. In our motel room.”

Keith nodded his head. She had done the right thing. Or not as they head Liam’s footsteps moving towards the edge of the counter and not towards the door. “Well, thank you so much for that information. Now I only have to take care of you and Mr. Mars.”

Liam came around the counter to find the couple huddled low. He aimed the gun right at Kendall’s head. Keith moved quickly, grabbing a pot of coffee from the heater and tossing it towards Liam. It didn’t work like in the movies, scalding his face, but it did scald his neck and shoulders, giving Keith enough time to grab Kendall and haul her up. He yanked her towards the swinging door for the kitchen as Liam back away, knocking several postcard racks off the counter. He fired his gun, which was aimed towards the ceiling. A bit of the ceiling tile broke off, showering him with debris that stuck to the wet, hot coffee.

“Come on.” Keith said as he pulled Kendall along. He was moving through the kitchen, barely noticing the huddled cook and dishwasher. He looked to them. “The police should be here soon.” He said, though he had no confidence they were coming.

“At least you didn’t grab my bleeding arm!” Kendall yelled at him as they burst through the back of the café. Keith checked around quickly, taking a moment to grab his own gun. “He probably knows we are at the motel.”

“You don’t possibly think some of those bikers tipped him off, do you?” Again, her voice was thick with sarcasm as she held her arm, trying to get the bleeding to slow just a bit. It wasn’t a deep wound but it was enough that she would need medical attention eventually.

He grabbed her once more so that he could usher her to someplace safer. If Liam knew about the motel room and the bikers were at the bar, it limited their options. He pointed towards the garage. “There. It is closed up but we can break a window and get inside. There should be someplace for you to hide.”

“And what about you?” For the first time, Keith heard a real concern in Kendall’s voice. He brushed it off quickly. It was just her worried about her own safety. Without Keith, she was as good as dead.

“I’ll be fine. I’ve got a gun and a good looking mug. Plus, the old town sheriff only dies in Stephen King movies.” He pulled her towards the garage, looking over his shoulder for any sign of Liam.

“Oh, that is sooooo reassuring, Keith.” She ran along. Her balance was off since she was still holding her arm so she stumbled a few times. She couldn’t help but look over her shoulder as well. Whatever was keeping Liam, she was happy for it.

Keith didn’t pause as they got to the garage. He moved around back with her quickly. Seeing a window that was at an easy level to boost her up, he let go of her. “Move away.” He turned his head, using the butt of his gun to smash the glass. Once it broke initially, he used the gun to knock out the remaining glass. He stripped his shirt off, laying it half inside the garage and half out the window. He looked at her. “I am going to boost you up, you…”

She cut him off once again. “Got it. I get inside, unlock it, and let you in. This is not my first time breaking into a place.” She moved to him, taking her hand off her arm for the time being. She rested her hands on the t-shirt covered pane, waiting for him to get behind her and lift her up.

It was times like this that Keith was glad that Kendall was a trophy wife and not Roseanne. He lifted her up easily and she was able to climb inside without any difficulty. He kept his eyes open, fully expecting Liam to come around the corner at any moment and put a bullet in his head. It was both a relief and nerve wracking when it didn’t happen. He only hoped that the police had shown up, wrestled the gun away from Liam, and had taken him into custody.

“Open.” He heard Kendall’s voice call out. He moved to the back door of the garage, opening it and slipping inside. He took her arm once more, gently moving her to some large barrels. “You stay here. I am going to try the phone. Here…” He grabbed a crowbar, putting it into her hands. “Hit his gun hand, try to knock it away. That is your best bet.”

She nodded her head to show she understood and crouched behind the barrels. She was armed, and it at least made her feel a bit better about her situation. Not great, but better at least. She closed her eyes, taking in a deep breath as she heard Keith moving slowly away from her. This is not at all how she pictured this trip. She imagined Keith taking her to a safe house. Keith bringing Cormac to her when he got out. Cormac and her running away to some tropical island with their new identities and their money. Crouched in an oily garage with a bleeding arm and Liam ready to kill her didn’t really fit into that fantasy.

Keith found the office and picked the phone up. He was glad to have a dial tone but once more, he expected that Liam would be pressing the barrel of his gun to the back of his head, giving some parting shot before spattering Keith’s brains all over the “Girls of GM” calendar. He was dialing 911 when he saw a movement out of the corner of his eye.

“Put the phone down, Keith.” Liam’s voice came from behind him. Seems he wasn’t that far off in thinking Liam was behind him, waiting.

“We don’t have to do this.” Keith lowered the phone, lifting his hands up, and turning around slowly. He could see, despite the dim lighting, that the coffee had burned Liam’s neck and no doubt his shoulder. He had a black eye forming as well, the skin around his eye angry and red. The people at the café must have fought back. Keith hoped they were all still alive.

“Now that I know where the money is, I don’t need you or Kendall. Just going to take that money and retire to Mexico. I speak good Mexican.”

That was when Keith saw her. Just a flash of brunette hair and tanned skin catching the light as the crowbar came down on Liam. The fact that she didn’t have some cool closing line was a bit of a disappointment. Liam had no time to react from the shot, the crowbar landing firmly on the back of his skull, neck, and back. He blubbered for a moment before pitching forward. Keith moved quickly out of the way to avoid the falling body. Kendall stood there, red faced, panting from the force she had put behind it.

“I know you said his gun hand but I couldn’t get to it.” Kendall looked at him, wide eyed, looking vulnerable for the first time ever.

He grabbed her, pulling her close to him in a hug. “You did good. You did real good.”

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Keith Mars stood just outside of the emergency room cubicle where the nurse was stitching up Kendall Casblancas, formerly Kendall Shiftlet, formerly Priscilla Banks. She hadn’t needed that many stitches, but she had baulked at the idea of even one. She was worried about a scar. She wasn’t sure how that would play when she tried to land her next rich husband. He had only stuck around long enough to watch the police haul Liam Fitzpatrick into the back of a squad car before climbing into the ambulance with her. With Liam out of the picture, she didn’t have to run. She could go back to Neptune, back to her big house, back to pretending.

“I can’t believe I don’t get any kind of anesthetic for this. Do you know how bad it hurts? Worse than when I got shot. Yeah, you heard me Marcus Welby, I was shot. By a lunatic. So can you cut me a little bit of slack here?”

The nurse merely rolled his eyes at Kendall and finished stitching her up. He put a bandage on. “You are all done, Mrs. Casablancas.”

“About time. You know, they might tolerate this kind of bedside manner here in Green Acres but in the real world, beautiful women get a little more respect. You should be all over me. I have all my teeth!” She shouted the last sentence as the nurse walked away. She huffed, shaking her head, looking to Keith. “Do you believe that guy?”

Keith merely chuckled at her. He held out a hand to help her down from the exam table. “I take it you want a ride back to Neptune then?”

“Are you kidding me? Why? So I can go back to living alone, dealing with Dick Jr., and then having to worry Liam is going to put a hit out on me. No thank you. And as soon as Cormac finds out I hit Liam with a crowbar, forget it. The Fitzpatricks have got the whole blood before women thing. I am pretty much open for suggestions.”

He looked at her for a moment. She really had no one else. She was right – her life was still in danger. And he had made a promise to her. “How do you feel about New York?”
 
 
Current Mood: awakeawake
 
 
 
oceandreams on March 31st, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
When I saw your icon, I was like, what the hell is Cordy doing with Veronica's dad??! LOL
Kelly: KeKe: Mars Investigationsxlivvielockex on April 3rd, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC)
LOL Well, where Charisma goes, so I go. Hence loving her on Veronica Mars as Kendall Casablancas. I can't help it, I just think she and Keith would be hot together.
molecules and agitation: LoVe: all smilesdacian_goddess on April 2nd, 2008 10:54 pm (UTC)
Hee! By the time I got round to reading this fic, I'd forgot which comm I had followed the link from. Namely, I thought I'd come in from one of the Veronica/Logan comms I watch -- and thus enjoyed a good few minutes of confusion over what I'd read vs what I'd been expecting.

Enough of the babble, though. OK; so ... This fic? Phenomenal pacing. Loved the premise, set-up, overall dynamic and character interaction.

You do tremendous character voices. Your Kendall was spectacular; she had so much presence she practically leapt out of the screen, and her dialogue was so spot-on that I could just hear her speak as I was reading. Keith was no less terrific -- from the progressively thawing initial awkwardness of his interaction with Mrs C to his actions and reactions.

And the plotty progression of the narrative was great to read through!
Kelly: KeKe: Back in Blackxlivvielockex on April 3rd, 2008 07:22 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the fantastic feedback. This comment was just so much awesome, you have no idea.

I know that the majority of the VM fandom is LoVe but I don't know, I just like to explore the secondary characters of the show a lot more. I think because there is so much writing about LoVe.

I am just really glad that you stumbled across my fic, even by accident, and left me such amazing feedback. I wrote it because mainly, Kendall and Keith's voices were stuck in my head, screaming WRITE US! I wasn't expecting any comments at all so yours, was like this super great surprise. So thank you. :)
love_is_epic: LoVe in the bathroomlove_is_epic on April 11th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
Normally I don't read much that isn't LoVe but I wanted to read all the fics for the gogetem_bobcat road trippin! challenge before I voted. I'm glad I did because this fic was great and it was a change of pace for me.

I think you have Kendall's voice down perfectly. I could actually hear her saying everything that you wrote. And I really liked the idea of them on a roadtrip together. I could see this happening.

Great job!