Notes and disclaimers: Veronica Mars, etc, not mine. No profit ever. Written for thrace. Thanks to tigs for awesome beta magic. Set shortly before Ruskie Business.


Veronica did the deep breath and smile thing. Then she decided this might require her to show a more serious face. "Meg, I need a favor."

"Sure." The world was all sunshine and smiles as Meg turned from her locker.

"Oh, Meg. So trusting, so nice. You haven't heard what I want yet."

"Okay. Tell me." Even with that warning, Meg still looked like the happiest before picture in any teen magazine.

"I need you to be my girlfriend. Pretend girlfriend."

"Oh. Not, not here at school, right?" Meg held her books a little closer. Warning: hesitation.

"No, it's not a show for Dick. We'd be going to San Diego, we shouldn't see anyone we know. That's sort of the point. See, I have this client. She thinks her girlfriend is cheating on her. Said cheating Anne likes to go to this club, but it would be easier if I were coupled up for it."

"We wouldn't have to … do anything, right?"

"Hold hands? Call each other Meggypoo and Ronniekins? I don't think we'll need a mature audiences only tag." Veronica brought out the smile. "I think we'd make an adorable couple."

Meg smiled at that. "We would, wouldn't we?"

"So, you're in? Tomorrow night?"

"Sure. Sounds exciting."


"You look nice," Veronica said.

"I wasn't sure what to wear, so I went with pants." Meg laughed a little as she said it. She'd also gone with a sensible sweater set that looked more coming to your door to tell you about Jesus than L Word fan.

Veronica said, "It's not like there's a dress code. It's not a wild Sapphic sex club, I promise. Just a coffee house that caters to lesbians. We sit around, we act coupled, we're done."

"We're looking for this Anne, though, right? Do you have a picture? I could look, too."

"Her name's not Anne, it's Tenley."

"Oh, I thought you said Anne," Meg said, frowning.

"I was making a joke. Anne Heche?" Probably a little too three years ago, but Veronica had missed the last two seasons of the Real World and wasn't sure who the du jour lesbian ho was.

"I totally missed that."

"It wasn't a very good joke," Veronica said. "I have a tiny camera, it's the finest in prying technology. We spot Tenley, we take the pics, we're out."

"That wasn't a very good joke," Meg said, smiling.

"I know. I'm crossing comedy writing off my career aspiration worksheet as soon as we get home."

"So, do you have pictures? Of Tenley?" Meg looked around the car.

"Yeah, sorry. It's in the folder in the back seat."

Meg grabbed the folder and scanned the pictures in there. The happy couple and their two pet birds. "So this is p.i. work, huh? Is it usually this glamorous?"

"I can't think of anything more glamorous than sitting outside Neptune's finest run-down motels at 4am, waiting for two upstanding marrieds to come out and greet the digital camera."

"I was being sarcastic," Meg said. She laughed again.

"Why, Meg Manning. I didn't know you had sarcasm in you."

"Only for the girls I date," Meg said. "Tenley is pretty."

"And she knows it, apparently. She and her girlfriend, our client, run a hair salon together. Which my friend Mac goes to when she has hair dye disasters." So Mac, who would make a smashing girlfriend, was not usable for the down low coffee house adventure.

"So is this your case, or your dad's?"


"Then I should be telling you I want 10% for this, huh?"

Veronica laughed. Mac, she suspected, would have asked before saying yes. "I think I'm getting paid in hair trims and really great conditioner at wholesale prices, but you're welcome to your part."

"I could use a trim. Maybe some highlights."

"Let's get the night over before you count your peroxide."

"She might not be there?" Meg sounded a little hopeful. A belief in fidelity or hope to avoid having to hold her hand, Veronica wondered.

"I looked up her credit card records. She'll be there. Every Wednesday night when she tells Sophia she's taking an excel class."


Meg looked around when they walked into the coffee house, not even shying away from Veronica's hand on her back. So this would probably work out without too much post-undercover awkwardness. Meg said, "Not everyone here is with someone else. Were you just hitting on me when you asked me to help?"

Veronica smiled and resisted the urge to be more convincing by kissing Meg on her cute little nose. "You've seen right through me. Really, I just wanted to sit and stare into your eyes all night. In fact, sit here. And lean a little to the left." Veronica had found the perfect little table against the wall where she could see everyone who came in.

"You just didn't want anyone to ask you out." Meg looked a little pouty. When the waitress came up, Meg put her hand over Veronica's and ordered mochas and muffins for both of them.

After the waitress left, Veronica said, "It does tend to interfere with looking for our little miss Tenley."

"I thought it would be more of a caper. You know, making up stories of our secret romance, kissing to prove our love." Meg laughed and moved her hand.

"We can do all of that if you really want." Veronica scanned the room and then turned back to Meg with a big smile. "I think we met in the video store where we were both renting the finest movies of Gina Gershon."

Meg said, "I don't think I've seen any of her movies."

"I haven't either." They were both laughing when the waitress came so that worked out well. "So, are you seeing anyone?"

"I thought I had a hot date tonight but it turns out we're just getting coffee. What about you?"

Veronica said, "Clearly I shouldn't have counted you out of the running so quickly."

Meg looked around casually and then said quietly, "Isn't that her?"

Veronica looked at the couple who'd just walked in from the bathroom. "You're right. Why, Tenley, what a pretty girlfriend you have."

"That's not the woman she was with in the pictures." Meg sounded a little excited. Getting into the caper, Veronica thought.

"It is the woman she will be with in these pictures. And she has a tongue piercing, I see."

Meg looked at her muffin. "Tenley? Or her new girlfriend?"

"Both." Meg nearly giggled. Veronica said, "Oh, go ahead and turn around, they're not looking at anything but each other."

"That would be sort of sweet," Meg said, sounding a little awed. Tenley and her girl were doing some very thorough exploration there at the bar.

"If Tenley didn't have a live-in girlfriend and co-business owner waiting at home with their two birds, it would be sweet. Now it's just tacky." Veronica took a few more pictures and thought, gotcha. Poor Sophia.


Meg had Veronica park a block from her house. "My parents think I'm studying with someone else."

"Someone more acceptable?" Veronica put on her best smile again.

"It's not like that. They just haven't met you. They don't like me studying with kids they don't know." Meg patted Veronica's knee.

"It's okay," Veronica said. "Thanks for tonight, you were really helpful."

"It was almost too easy," Meg said. She wasn't making any moves to get out of the car.

"People are stupid. They think they won't get caught."

Meg said, "I even did research."

"What kind of research?"

"I watched Xena. And Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Meg grinned.

"You were thinking you'd be quizzed?"

"I thought I needed to be your girlfriend and all we did was hold hands," Meg said. It was really sweet.

"You wanted a good night kiss. We could do it now."

"Really?" Meg leaned over and there they were, kissing. It was surreal. But in no way bad, Veronica thought. Meg Manning, who knew?

"That was …" Veronica said. Maybe it was just a joke. But Meg wasn't looking at her like it was a joke.

"Yeah. Huh."

"Guess we both just lowered our purity score," Meg said.

"I have points to spare, Meg," Veronica said. Surreal was better than waiting to be betrayed.

Meg said, "Veronica, I …"

"No, I know, but this was probably the best date I've had in a while." Veronica grinned. "And you earned a kiss good night."

"Best date for me, too." Meg looked at the dark house they were parked in front of, a full block over from her own. "Usually my dates end with a little more than kissing, though." She turned back to Veronica, smiling. "You?"

"Why, Meg. You vixen," Veronica said, leaning towards her.

There was another kiss where surreal moved to unexpected and excellent. Veronica thought of Lilly, like she was sitting in the back seat, cheering and kicking her feet.

"We´re both going to freak out tomorrow and never do this again," Meg said, laughing. She shifted in her seat and pulled Veronica closer. Everything smelled like cinnamon and mochas. It wasn't unpleasant at all.

"Probably," Veronica said. "So we should have something more than kissing for freaking out."

Meg grinned. "I like the way you think."

She looked at the back seat. Veronica got the hint.


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