Title: Standing by the Ocean’s Roar (The Beach, Boys Remix)
Summary: Weevil, Gia and Logan cross paths on Dog Beach the summer after Season Two.
Rating: R for language
Fandom: Veronica Mars
Spoilers: Through 2x22, “Not Pictured”
Title, Author and URL of original story: The Beach, Boys by dark_roast
Thanks to: My lovely beta, soundingsea
It isn’t sneaking out if he was never in. Weevil usually makes it home in time for breakfast, in time for his grandma to look at him with sad eyes and ask if he slept good. Yeah, Grandma, great. Already made my bed and everything.
Weevil sleeps during the day because it works out better. He’s gotta stay up on things, be seen, be felt. He may not have the PCHers anymore, but he’s still got a role to play. He’s responsible for things. Someone’s eventually gonna step up into where he stepped down, and it ain’t gonna be another Fitzpatrick. He’s gotta move fast, be everywhere. Nothing can go down around here without him knowing about it. Not again.
He keeps an eye on things at night, crashes every morning after Grandma leaves for whichever filthy 09er house is offering her peanuts this week. The kids don’t bug him anymore, not after the first week, and he manages to grab a few hours of sleep before heading to the garage in the afternoons. Some days he thinks he’s never gonna get the grease off his hands. He’s never felt so tired in his life.
He’s on his way home, doing one last sweep of Dog Beach, when he catches the yellow X-Terra out of the corner of his eye. Echolls. He can spare another minute.
He strides over the sand and cases the beach, but Echolls ain’t hard to find. He’s sitting on the shore looking out at the water, and that green board stuck in the sand next to him glows from a mile away, even in the almost-dark. “Hey!” calls Weevil. “Pendejo, how many times I gotta tell you? Keep your pasty 09er ass off my beach!” Darkest tan in the world ain’t gonna make that boy any less white.
Echolls is ready for a fight and his face lights up as he gets to his feet. “You got up early and came all the way out here just to tell me to fuck off? I'm touched, Weevil.”
At least one thing in his life is predictable. “Surf decent?” he asks. Like he cares.
“No. It's shitty. As always.”
Can’t please an 09er. “Feel free to go anyplace else. Please.”
“And miss out on annoying you? Perish the thought.” Echolls holds a hand to his chest, fluttering those girlie eyelashes of his.
Not the only girlie thing about him, either. Weevil shakes his head. “Echolls, you are so gay.”
“Finally. An expert opinion.”
Weevil has to swallow a smile at this. Echolls is on his game this morning.
“Enjoy your two weeks in Chino?” Of course, the guy can’t resist bringing up the jail time, just like any other day. You’d think with an old man like his he’d be more careful about throwing stones.
“All your husbands kept saying how much they miss you,” Weevil tosses back.
“That's so sweet. I've really gotten behind on my conjugal visits.,” says Echolls with a smirk.
Yeah, predictable. Weevil can’t hold the glare anymore and lets the smile break through. He ducks his head, at least, and at last notices the pair of legs stretched out on the sand, like they’re growing out of Echolls’ board. What the hell? He leans forward to look behind the board and follows the legs up a not-bad body to a pretty face. Sad, but pretty. She’s got big dark eyes, staring at him with that 09er nervousness, probably waiting for him to mug her or something.
Hang on, she’s not just any chick. He looks closer. She’s the mayor’s daughter. Goodman. Gina? G-something, anyway. A thousand headlines fly through his head. Scandal. Abuse. Abused. Sicko. Murderer. Crash. Escape. Explode. Death.
He remembers now. He’s seen that white face on TV, ducking behind bushes and closing windows. Blinking as cameras flash at it. Never crying, not for them. Just those dark eyes staring straight ahead. Poor kid. “Hey,” he offers.
“Hi,” she says quietly.
“You're the, uh …”. Nice start, Navarro. She’s the what?
She takes pity on him. “It's okay. Nobody knows what to say. I don't.”
You’re the Daughter. You’re the Story. The Event. You’re the Daughter of the Mayor. Daughter of the Sicko. Daughter of the Deceased. Daughter of the Widow. Would you care to comment? “I hate this fucking town,” Weevil mutters.
He gets a small smile from her on that, and a laugh from Echolls. Fuck this. He can’t talk to her with that guy standing around. He holds his fist out.
Echolls takes the hint, taps it with his own and turns to warn the girl. “You never saw this. It never happened. Got it?”
“Sure,” she answers, still wide-eyed.
“Okay, enough with the awkward moment,” announces Echolls. He yanks his board out of the sand and takes off back toward the waterline.
Weevil stands awkwardly for a moment before seating himself next to the girl. He watches her pick up sand and let it fall through her fingers, and wonders if he’s supposed to talk first.
“I’m Gia,” she finally says. “I mean, you probably knew that already, but ….”
“Yeah.” She can go ahead and think that. He was just going to call her ‘G’. “I'm Weevil. Eli Navarro,” he adds a second later.
Which one? Nobody asks that. Then again, how many people even know his real name? Why did he tell her? “Either one,” he shrugs. G., the Sheriff, and Grandma can call him Eli.
“Were you really in prison?”
He can’t help but laugh. Nobody asks that. “Just a hint – that's not the best 'get-to-know-you' question.”
She doesn’t even look embarrassed. “I'm sorry. I'm usually a lot better at small talk.”
“S'okay. I don't blame you for being off your game, considering. So, how do you know Wonder Boy there?” He jerks his head toward the water.
“Logan? He was in my Journalism class.”
“Ah.” An answer that didn’t include the names ‘Veronica’ or ‘Mars.’ What a concept.
“He's a very interesting person,” Gia says earnestly.
“That's one way to put it.”
She does that girl thing where she puts her arms around her knees, like she’s posing for a picture or something. He wonders if girls are posing all the time, just in case.
“I think he's going to be a famous writer someday,” she says, all dreamy.
“Echolls?” Is she serious? Is this some chick thing, hoping that their guy is, like, totally deep? “You like him?” he can’t help asking.
She looks thoughtful. “He seems like he's difficult to really get to know. What do you think?”
“I don't think about him that much.”
“Guys are like that, I guess.”
Weevil looks at the way she looks at Echolls and shakes his head. ‘He’s damaged goods,’ he wants to say. ‘Broken on the inside.’ ‘He’ll clean you out.’ ‘He’ll make you cry and then chase you when you try to run away.’
In the end, he goes with, “He’ll break your heart.” Girls get that, at least. “You can do better,” he says. “Echolls belongs with some sixty year-old cougar who chain smokes and wears White Diamonds. He told me that himself.” Over a bottle of Jack and a night of Grand Theft Auto. They’d also decided that brunettes and redheads were the way to go.
“I don't actually like him that way,” she claims, almost as though she believes it. It’s kind of cute.
“Never mind, then.” No point in pushing.
“How do you know Logan?”
See, this is what comes of public conversations. “Long story for another time. Like when I'm not sober.” So many of his stories go better that way.
She doesn’t push either, just nods quietly. “Where should I go?" she finally asks. "You don't want 09ers on your beach. What's another good place?”
“Aw, no.” For some reason, he doesn’t want to make those dark eyes any sadder. “I was just talking. Even Echolls knows I don't mean it. Most of those 09ers don't deserve a stretch of sand and good waves, but Logan's okay. And you're okay. You're sitting here talking to me like a normal person, not like I'm some rabid dog you're afraid is gonna bite you.”
She doesn’t get it, doesn’t know how people look at him, talk to him. He doesn’t want her to get it.
“You're not treating me like that, either,” she replies, surprising him.
“Why would I?” She doesn’t look at him. “Because of your dad?” There’s stuff he wants to say. Stuff about dads that fuck up and disappear. Moms that sleep through it. Little brothers who stop talking. Dads you’re not supposed to care about anymore – just flip the switch and turn it off. There’s stuff he wants to say, but he doesn’t. “I don’t know what to say about that. I mean, sometimes there just ain’t anything to say. People are always trying to talk shit out. Me, all I know is sometimes it helps to sit around and have somebody distract you with stupid stuff.”
“I don't think you're stupid.”
He’s thrown for a second, shakes it off. “Yeah, but how am I doing with the distracting?”
“Not bad, so far.”
“Good. Well, look. This beach needs more pretty girls, so you come sit here whenever you want. Nobody's gonna bother you – I'll make sure about that. All right?” He can do that, at least. Guy puts in the hours he does every night, he gets to decide who hangs on his beach.
“All right.” That’s that.
She just nods and looks down, brushing sand off her skirt. Weevil tries not to notice how the movement slides the fabric a little higher up on her leg. He’s doing the Sensitive Guy thing here. He forces his eyes back to her face and sees her bite her lip before speaking.
“I didn't used to come here at all,” she starts haltingly. “But since my dad... died, and everything... I don't sleep very well at night. I like to come out here and watch the ocean. It's always here, and it's always the same. Everything else can turn upside down and inside out, and the sand will still be here for me to sit on. Do you know what I mean?”
He thinks about his bike, how the engine always works the same way, the pieces always fit together. How much that ocean fucked them up. He’s gonna fix it in the end, and they’ll fit together again. “Yeah. I know exactly,” he says.
Suddenly she's grabbing his arm and pointing out to the water. “Oh, look!”
Then he has to stand there watching Echolls show off, riding some wave. She acts like there’s nothing more exciting than watching some white boy manage not to fall over for minutes at a time. He does fall, of course, right into the water, and doesn’t come up right away. Gia jumps to her feet, her sad eyes turning worried. Weevil ain’t worried, but now he looks pretty stupid, sitting in the sand by himself, so he heaves himself to his feet too. Echolls comes up for air after a minute or so, once he’s sure he’s got her attention. Such a fucking show.
“I thought for sure he was going to drown,” says Gia in that Girl Drama way.
“Nah. He's too stubborn.”
Echolls drags himself out of the water after that, hauling that ugly excuse for a board behind him. As he gets closer, he shakes the water out of his hair like the girl he is. “Did you guys even watch me, or were you too busy making sweet, sweet love with your eyes?”
Weevil glares at him. Guy acts like they’re in the fourth grade. Got no cool at all.
“No, we saw you,” insists Gia, eyes wide. “You're really good!”
Like it takes any skill. Weevil can’t believe she’s falling for this act. “Pansy-ass excuse for a sport,” he mumbles.
She’s still fawning. “Are you going out again?”
“Nope. Tide's turning. I'm going back to bed. See ya on the flip side.” Echolls actually leaves them alone then, heading for the X-Terra, and Weevil blinks after him. Maybe a little cool.
Weevil's got her full attention now, at least. She looks him over, taking in the leather and the boots now caked in wet sand. “You don't surf, I guess,” she ventures.
“No.” He tries not to be offended at the idea. “I ride a motorcycle,” he explains. What more does she need to know? It’s just … who he is. He might be driving a car around right now, but that’s right now. His bike is in pieces on a garage floor, but it’s going back together. He thinks maybe Hector left it in the shallows on purpose. Wasn’t so hard to push it out once he found it. Only took a few days of searching, salt stinging in every fucking cut on his body. Didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to abandon it there.
“You could ride with me sometime,” he's surprised to hear himself say. “If you want.”
“Sure,” he says, nervously adding up hours of labor. He could ask his uncle for help, but he wants to do it himself. He can fix this.
“You're not just asking because you feel sorry for me?”
“I feel sorry for all you 09ers. Especially the chicas. What with that sad, sad dating selection you got. At least you're smart enough not to go after Echolls.” He swallows and watches her carefully. “So? You gonna let me keep on distracting you? Yes? No? Take the cash, go for the curtain – which one?”
She smiles, and he can’t believe it. “Yes. Please.”
“Ah-ha. I was wondering how I'd get you to do that.”
“To come riding with you?”
“No.” He reaches toward her and she doesn’t even flinch. He goes for it, chucking her lightly under the chin. “Smile.” He holds his breath, waiting for a reaction. That hadn’t sounded quite so cheesy in his head.
She just smiles again though, shyer this time, and looks away, out into the water. Sun’s almost all the way up now. He kind of likes the way it looks on her hair, like there’s color in there with the black. After a minute or so, she sits down again and looks back up at him, raising an eyebrow.
He looks down at her and runs a hand over the back of his head. Glances at the sun and winces. Breakfast soon. Finally, he shrugs and plunks down into the sand again. He doesn’t really feel that tired anymore.