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Veronica ([personal profile] veronicamarshmallow) wrote2012-10-28 02:58 pm
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Fear of Flying

What are you afraid of?

Those were the words that rang in Veronica’s ears as her body was pressed lightly back into the stiff airline seat. Logan had asked her a few days before (though from Logan, it had come out sounding a lot more like an accusation), and then, eerily, her father had unintentionally echoed him on their trip to the airport. Keith Mars dad had been kinder about the question, smiling merrily at her from the driver’s seat. He thought he knew; he didn’t think Veronica was afraid of anything.

But there was something in the pit of her stomach, something not quite as unfamiliar as she would have liked. It was gnawing at her gut, making takeoff - normally a mildly thrilling experience – extremely unpleasant. She even let her eyes drift to the convenient puke sack peeking innocuously from behind a dog-eared issue of SkyMall. She closed her eyes, willing her gorge back down. She’d never been airsick (or even carsick), and today was no time to start.

"Miss?" The voice came from across the aisle to her left. "You okay?"

Veronica inhaled a deep breath before opening her eyes and pasting on a smile. She looked over to see a concerned young man watching her. "Yeah, I’m good." Normally, she would have left it there – Veronica had never been much for chatting up strangers aboard public transportation, and her year-long stint in DC had made her downright averse to it – but his worried look compelled her to add, "Just haven’t flown in a while. I forgot what it was like, I guess."

That seemed to satisfy him, and his tense expression eased slightly. Even without his forehead crinkled and his mouth turned down in a frown, the man looked older than his years. "Yeah," was all he said. He smiled at her, then relaxed in his seat, studying the back of the chair in front of him.

She was going to reach into her bag and find her iPod, but that nagging question came again, stopping her: What are you afraid of? Rather than Logan’s face or her father’s, for some reason, she thought of Lily. The memory of her friend always brought a smile to her lips, and this time was no different. She looked back to the man across the aisle, deciding if he wasn’t ensconced in a book or some mobile device by the time she turned to him, she’d strike up a conversation. Despite what Logan seemed to think, she did remember how to make friends. It was her luck (or maybe lack thereof) the man was still studying the headrest when she faced him.

"So, uh, have you ever been to Europe before?"

The man turned his gaze back to her, and when he didn’t immediately reply, she nearly retracted her question. But after a beat, he shook his head. "Nope. Never been outta the States. You?"

Veronica shook her head, too. "Well, I’ve been to Mexico before, but it was before you even needed a passport, so I don’t count it."

He nodded, using his whole upper body to do so. Appearing to consider for another moment, he guessed, "Spring break?"

Normally, Veronica would have been offended, but she knew how she appeared to others. After returning from Quantico, she’d divested her entire wardrobe of nearly everything black, grey, and brown and vowed to never to wind her hair into a bun unless it was for the purposes of going undercover with the Russian ballet. Dressed as she was in pink and curls, she probably appeared to the man a flighty SoCal stereotype. "Something like that," she remarked with a small smile. "It was springtime, I think, but I was there to pick up some friends who’d had their car stolen." Calling Sean or Troy a friend was a stretch, and Logan… well, at the time, he had decidedly not been a friend. But that was irrelevant (and ancient) history. The other time she’d been, it was to arrange for her ex-boyfriend to abscond with his baby daughter to Australia. She didn’t mention that, though.

At any rate, it made the man nod respectfully. "It was nice of you to rescue them. From what I’ve heard, Mexico isn’t a very nice place to visit, and if you were headed someplace where car theft was common…" he trailed off with a shrug.

"Yeah, but it was a nice car. They kind of had it coming." It had been also stolen by its owner and full of someone else’s drugs, too, but again – neither here nor there. She smiled and offered her hand. "Veronica."

He took it firmly and shook. "John." He gave a better smile than he had previously, and instantly, he looked ten years younger – probably closer to his actual age. "Where you headed, Veronica?"

"Italy," she replied. "You?"

"Paris, ultimately, but I think I might spend some time in England before I go."

"Business?" she guessed.

"Some," he agreed. "Inescapable, you know? How about you?"

"The same, but I hope to get in at least a little sight-seeing." She brightened a bit, adding, "And plenty of eating."

John chuckled. "Right. I’ve heard great things about French food." Then he pulled a face. "Not so much about English food, though."

That made her laugh. "Well, I’m sure they’ve got McDonald’s and PB & J there, same as everywhere else. I’m sure you’ll make do."

"Peanut butter and jelly?" John asked, appearing incredulous. "You overestimate me, Veronica. I mean, what even goes into that?"

She laughed. "I used to know, but I lost the recipe."

A flight attendant announced the first in-flight movie just then, and their conversation was cut short, though they did have a few more opportunities to chat during the flight regarding the quality of the films (both agreed they did little more than pass the time), the food (not bad, but not great), and the pluses and minuses of drinking on a flight (they agreed it was fun in theory but terrible in practice). Veronica learned the man was formerly a detective in Gotham City and she regaled him with her brief stint as an intern for the Feds. Both laughed over how quickly their long-planned careers had ended, though neither had gone into what they were currently doing.

Once the flight landed in Heathrow, John stood and pulled Veronica’s carry on down for her from the overhead before she could get to it, they deplaned together. Once in the terminal and out of the way of the foot traffic, John rubbed the back of his neck.

"You have a layover here?" he confirmed.

Veronica nodded. "Right. I don’t fly into Milan for another five hours." She laughed feebly, not looking forward to holing up someplace until her flight.

"Well, I don’t have any appointments until tomorrow. You want to grab some dinner? I... I could use the company." He cleared his throat, standing a bit taller. "I’ll bring you back well before your flight."

Veronica considered accepting, but then thought better of it. "I’d love to, John, but I think I’ll just stay. I don’t want to have to do the whole security thing again."

He looked disappointed, but smiled anyway. "Well, it was nice meeting you, Veronica. If you’re ever in Gotham, look me up, all right? We’ll have that dinner."

Veronica smiled. "I will. Definitely. And if you come to San Diego, do the same."

John turned from her, shouldering his carry on. He’d walked a few steps before Veronica called to him. When he turned, she said, "I never caught your last name, John. How can I find you in Gotham?"

The man dug in his pocket and produced a card. R. John Blake it read. Chairman, Martha Wayne Foundation. "You can reach me at that number or e-mail, usually. If not, my assistant will let you know if I’m not in town." He smiled, looked a little sheepish. "And yours?"

"Echolls," Veronica said firmly, touching the ring on the fourth finger of her left hand with her thumb discreetly. "Veronica Echolls." And while that wasn’t what was on her passport, by the time she got back to the US, it would be her legal name. That was, if Logan would still have her.

John wrinkled his forehead for a moment, then seemed to think better of whatever question was forming. He extended her hand to her. "Nice to officially meet you, Miss Echolls."

"Missus," she corrected, shaking his hand. "And the pleasure is mine, Mr. Blake."

He nodded and turned to go.

"Good luck with the food," she called after him.

"Thanks!" he replied. "Safe travel to Italy!"

Veronica nodded, though there was no one to see, then went in search of quiet place to make a few phone calls.

-

Featuring: Veronica Mars, Keith Mars, Logan Echolls, and Robin John Blake
Rating: PG
Prompt: Peanut butter, passport, starline
'Verse: Extra canonical
Word Count: ~1500

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