Title: "Tropicana Twister" 1/1
Author: monimala
Fandom: Veronica Mars, a few surprise x-overs
Character/Pairing: Veronica/Weevil
Word Count: 1875
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters.
Summary: A response to the Veronica/Weevil Ennui Challenge at the Head Tilt LJ community. Weevil does everything by the book. Except check the car battery.
Spoilers/Warnings: General references to events in seasons 1 & 3. Language, humor, crossovers, and some ethnic stereotyping.

He runs the trip by his parole officer. He gets permission from his supervisor in Maintenance. He buys a giant sized bag of Hershey's miniatures to keep V. pacified while he drives one of Angel's sedans. He does everything by the book. Except check the car battery. Go figure. He's a whiz under the hood and it slips by him. Bites him in the ass just sixty miles out of Vegas while Veronica pops a Special Dark in her pretty mouth and laughs.

What follows is the worst hour possible… flagging down cars in the heat… nobody stopping 'cause of his ink… V. throwing Mr. Goodbar wrappers at the back of his head. But, then, miracle of miracles, they end up riding in the back of some crap-ass Japanese car driven by two Japanese guys.

The passenger is the one feeling all Samaritan-like. Pointing at them and grinning and saying something that sounds like, "No problem. We take you to gas station." His buddy in the driver's seat is less than thrilled… until he sees Veronica.

Then, it's all bright smiles and friendly introductions. "I'm Ando. This is Hiro."

"Veronica. Weevil," she returns, cheerfully buckling herself and her dwindling bag of candy right in.

Ten minutes of trying to get his name pronounced properly ensue. With the Hiro guy calling him "Weever," so many times he practically has an urge to buy a loom.

Ando says something to his buddy in lightning-fast Japanese and Weevil's talked enough shit with his boys about gringos right in front of them to know it ain't good. Maybe the innocent "no speak-y Engrish" act is just a racket and they're going to chop him up and steal his girl. They look kinda tiny, but it's probably his luck that they know Kung Fu or some shit.

Not that V's his girl. Yet. But, see, that's what he was hoping this little "I ain't got nothin' going on and Chardo wants me to come see him," thing would lead to. A little quality time on a road trip. Some fighting over the radio dial. The good old "one motel room left" scam. And by the time she was calling him on it, he'd have enough balls to actually make a move.

Instead, he's got her flirting with two guys who… okay; they speak better English than half the hombres in the bike club. Who's he kidding? But she's smiling and leaning forward to dump a whole handful of Krackels in Hiro's lap and that just gets him all bent out of shape. Who the Hell actually likes the Krackels?

Besides Hiro. "Thank you!" he says, sounding honestly delighted. "You very kind. Also very pretty."

"So are you." This makes him and Ando laugh uproariously. And Weevil might be smiling but he ain't gonna admit it. "Thanks for picking us up." Veronica elbows him after she says this, as if she's abuela reminding him to be polite.

"Thank you," he sighs, trying to sound sincere. "We appreciate it."

Hiro beams brighter than headlights. "You have many tattoos. Maybe I get one in Vegas? Like Superman 'S'?"

"Hiro, no!"

This leads to another round of arguing in Japanese and Weevil really tries hard not crack up. So much for them being serial killers or something… who'da thought that Driver-San had an abuela voice, too?

"Cute," Veronica observes, "and way more entertaining than Letters From Iwo Jima. Though probably not as Oscar-worthy."

He steals a Goodbar out of her bag. "I'll have you know, I'm very Oscar-worthy, V."

"Only if you're talking De La Hoya, Champ." She feints a couple of punches at him.

"For real," he chuckles. "'Cause that de la Renta in my closet makes my ass look huge."

They laugh at that for a few minutes and he defends his joke with the reminder that he's got loads of female cousins and a grandmother who always insisted on watching every award show ever. "She even watched the Blockbuster Entertainment ones, V. I'm tellin' you… maybe I should go into fashion design 'cause I know my Versace from my Lagerfield."

"Now you're scaring me. What's next? You're going to reveal that Chardo is actually a showgirl now and we're going to meet him at the Tropicana?"

"How'd you guess? He was with Caitlin Ford 'cause he loved her shoes."

All of their cackling from the peanut-and-chocolate gallery reminds their two tourist friends in the front seats that they've got company. Ando peers back at them and Weevil not so subtly flips him the bird. *Get off this, Man. She's mine.*

It must be a look that transcends language and cultural barriers because Ando immediately pulls back into his seat and faces forward. "Look," he says, pointing out the windshield at a couple of approaching signs. "Gas station. We will drop you there. You get tow."

"That's fine, Man. That's all we need."

"That and love," Veronica quips. "Don't forget the Beatles."

Of course it's just his luck that Hiro and Ando love the Beatles and a ten minute conversation about Abbey Load (okay, they said "Road;" he's just feeling cranky) versus Sergeant Pepper's ensues…causing them to miss the gas station entirely. This is *his* road trip, Man, and he has the feeling it's been totally co-opted.

Why Vegas, huh? Don't they all go to Disneyland or something?

Veronica stops singing "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" long enough to elbow him. Hard. He rubs his side, going. "Hey!" and she gives him a look that his grandma *had* to have taught her before she died. "I know what you're thinking and, as an oppressed minority yourself, you should be ashamed."

He grins. "V., you can oppress me anytime you like."

That earns him an eyeroll but no more elbows. "I'm watching you, Navarro," she warns.

He goes for a Special Dark and takes his time, dragging his arm back slowly across her chest. "I could think of other things you could do, but I don't wanna traumatize our friends up there."

Weevil actually hears her breath catch. It's this sexy little gasp of surprise and he pretends to look out the window and casually eat his chocolate even as the sound goes straight to his cock and introduces itself.

He catches Ando's eye in the rearview and this time, the dude kind of smiles at him. Like he knows the score. And he sees an elbow go into Hiro's side and then Hiro's eyes meet his in the glass, too…followed by an enthusiastic thumbs up.

When the talk turns to the Beatles again, he puts his vote in for the white album and settles in for Sin City. It's not until they're about a mile outside the city limits that he remembers Angel's sedan.

Shit.

**

Veronica starts laughing when he has Ando drop them off at the Tropicana. "You were serious?"

"No!" he guffaws. Though the mental picture of Chardo in full drag is totally priceless, his cousin knows a guy who knows a guy and landed himself a job as a dealer on the casino floor.

They wave cheery goodbyes to their Good Samaritans after getting their bags out of the trunk, with Hiro calling a last, "Bye, Weever!" out the window before the Nissan's headed towards the Montecito. He hates to admit it, but Veronica's instincts about the guys were right. They were okay. Solid. He hopes the good ol' U.S. of A doesn't eat them alive.

Once they're inside the massive lobby, he calls a tow and a couple of the local "friends of the PCH bike club" to take care of Angel's car while V. calls and checks in with her dad. Just as he's sliding his cell back into his pocket, he gets clipped by a couple of guys rushing through the lobby doors. Peripheral vision tells him the jackets are dark, maybe they say "ATF" or something like that on the back… so he doesn't go with his usual instinct to yell "Watch where you're fucking going!"

He leaves that to Veronica, who winds up walking right up to one guy while he's still finding his balance. "Hey! Watch it!" She smacks the cop on the back. Weevil can now see it says "Forensics."

"Sorry, Ma'am," the guy drawls, distracted, waving the hand that isn't attached to a cell phone.

"It's okay, V. You ain't gotta fight my battles." Weevil can't help but grin as hombre keeps walking further into the hotel, following the black dude who was carrying some kind of box. Probably with all their crime scene gizmos.

"But I like fighting your battles. It makes me feel manly." She flexes those cute, little, puny arms as proof.

He shakes his head… and ends up catching a glance out the doors. Well, what do you know? A couple of cop cars and a meatwagon. "Man, I wonder who got whacked?" he murmurs before he can think better of it.

Knocking into him was incentive to go get in some guy's face. Saying the magic word, "murder," (or at least implying it) is like… catnip or something. He watches Veronica's whole face light up. She actually looks like she's going to start glowing as she thoughtfully taps her lip. "You know, Eli... I think that man owes you a *proper* apology."

"You think so?"

"Uh huh. I think we should find him and give him a lesson in manners."

"Really?" He ducks his head, scuffs at the totally unscuffable and expensive floor. "I gotta tell you, Veronica… I asked you on this trip and all you been doing is chasing after other guys. It's gonna give me a complex."

She squints at him, her nose all crinkly and speculative-like. "Why *did* you ask me on this road trip, Weevil?"

Shit, he's actually blushing. Barely two years out of a gang and he ain't got no cred left at all. So, he just owns up to it. To the whole thing. The chocolate bribe, the bullshit story about Chardo, and "The motel trick. I was absolutely gonna pull the single room scam somewhere on the highway."

"Knowing I'd see through it?"

"Yup."

Veronica gasps, shaking her head. "Well, I'll be damned, Eli Navarro. I didn't think you had it in you."

"Well, to be quite honest, Veronica, I ain't had it in me yet. And I'd vastly prefer it be in you first."

Her mouth drops open in shock. Fortunately, he has one last Goodbar he bogarted in the car and he takes the opportunity to unwrap it and pop it in. She chews it on autopilot, staring at him like she's seeing him in a whole new light. Hell, she probably is. And he knows that following the CSI guys is no longer the foremost thing on her mind. Thank God.

What follows is the best hour possible… kissing her right there in the middle of the Tropicana… picking up their bags and practically tripping as they head to the concierge's desk… improvising the perfect con about their lost reservation. And, miracle of miracles, there's only one room available.

V. tastes like chocolate all over. And she laughs when he tells her… "In case I forget to tell you, Baby, I totally dig your shoes."

--end--

February 26, 2007.

e-mail mala.