Veronica was eighteen when she saw a girl dive off the roof of a building in LA.
She was at a ritzy rooftop party organized by one of Logan's Hollywood friends, too many drinks and too few clothes, and she caught sight of someone moving on the roof of the building opposite. She could just make out a slight figure dressed in black, and a sliver of blond hair; a girl, she thought. And then she just leapt, no hesitation, no fear, just a careless effortless freefall into the cool evening air.
It was the second time Veronica had seen someone leap off a rooftop, but this time it looked joyful and dazzling and liberating, and Veronica's breath caught and before she could help herself she thought, I want that.
She almost caught Parker in Chicago.
It was a casino sting, and they'd had surveillance on this particular stash for almost 72 hours, waiting for someone to take the bait. When they caught sight of Parker on the casino's video feed, though, she was on the main floor playing a slot machine and nowhere near the money. When Veronica got down there, the only thing she found was a green sticky note with a lopsided smiley face drawn on it. The slot machine was clanging and pouring out quarters.
"I think this means she likes you," her partner said dryly, during the cleanup.
"Great, just what I need -- a criminal with a crush," Veronica shot back, but she smoothed her finger thoughtfully over the sticky note in its plastic evidence bag.
When Veronica took a leave of absence from the Bureau to track down a con artist her partner thought she was crazy. That didn't stop him from giving her an ex-spook contact in Miami. "Just to give yourself a little backup, okay?" he said.
It turned out Veronica needed it when she ended up smack in the middle of an elaborate ongoing scam involving a charity ball, fire insurance, and a Justin Timberlake impersonator.
The contact turned out to be a guy in a Hawaiian shirt and a leer who showed up with two partners. The woman took one look at Veronica and drawled, "Really, Sam? More feds?"
Veronica was paying them though and it was off the books, so they stuck around.
She went undercover as the daughter of a plastic surgeon at the charity ball. She was trapped in conversation by the buffet table when she saw a familiar blonde figure slipping through the crowd. "Watch the back door!" she hissed into her mic. But exits included more than doors when it was Parker you were dealing with, and she was gone before Veronica even managed to shed the D-list celeb she was small talking or dodge the tray of canapés.
Also, the explosion Fiona set off in the parking lot was a bit of a distraction.
Veronica hadn't heard from Mac for months, which wasn't unusual, when she got a text at two in the morning: smthg weird going on. srsly. call me.
"What is it?" she asked when she got Mac got on her untraceable line. "This better be worth interrupting my well-earned beauty sleep." Mac immediately started talking about corrupted files and infiltrated databases and invisible hackers.
"Whoa there, slow down," Veronica said. "You're talking crazy."
"I wouldn't have even noticed if I wasn't doing this contract for -- this company for which I signed a heavy non-disclosure agreement and to which I cannot refer by name. But I saw it disappear with my own eyes. There's no way anyone's that good." Mac sighed. "I'm totally in love."
Which was how Veronica eventually ended up tracking someone called Alec Hardison in her off-duty time and how Parker came to be in her apartment when she got home one evening.
"I made Hardison let me come," Parker said, once they got the scuffle for weapons and the threatening out of the way. She was eating Veronica's cheese. "He says this is your warning."
Veronica bared her teeth. "Oh, I don't think he gets to decide that," she said.
Parker smiled back at her. "I believe you," she said. "I think this is supposed to cover it." She passed Veronica a file folder (the contents of which would make her the Bureau's darling for the next year).
"You know, we feds may give off this impression that we're all slimy little weasels, but actually I don't take bribes," Veronica said.
"That wasn't my impression of feds," Parker said, her mouth quirking a little. She left the folder on the counter. "Or my impression of you." She slid off the chair and came right up to Veronica to kiss her briefly on her way out. "Bye."
She was back five minutes later, and she even knocked on the door this time. "This is yours," she said, and handed Veronica her wallet before disappearing again.
The plan had been set in motion months ago; Veronica was playing a long con. The bait was a diamond tiara, one that Parker had tried to steal in Madrid in 2003, resting for one night only in a suite rented to a wealthy Spanish businessman under an assumed name. A once-in-a-lifetime temptation. Veronica even organized an FBI detail for Parker to evade and increased security measures on the hotel room to give her a bit of a challenge.
Parker was right on time, dropping in through the window and blinking as Veronica flashed her a dangerous smile in the darkness.
"Veronica Mars," she said. "Hello." And then in a weird, stuttery tone of voice: "I-didn't-expect-to-see-you-here, this-is-a-surprise."
Veronica had tracked down a lot of people in her life, and sometimes it was simple and sometimes it broke her heart open. It turned out that finding Parker was simple for the uncomplicated reason that she let herself be caught.