Author: Rant samirant
Characters/Pairing: Mac, Troy
Word Count: ~1,560
Rating: PG (language)
Spoilers: Through 2x22, but nothing specific.
Summary: With him around, how could chivalry be dead?
Disclaimer: I don't own anything when it comes to Veronica Mars, I just follow where the bunny leads.
Update! Now sequeled with lots of Mac/Troy fun (well, mostly fun, a little drama, too). Amend, Amend
Dear Hearst - Your insulation sucks.
Mac mashed the pillow over her head and groaned. The cloth and stuffing only slightly muffled the music and did nothing for the pulsing of the walls and, to a degree, her bed. Something rattled and fell off her desk; wincing, Mac checked that nothing of significance had broken and buried her face in the mattress yet again.
Usually she was nothing if not a quick learner, but she'd honestly hoped that these parties wouldn't be a weekly occurrence. Once people got used to college life, Mac had thought they'd calm down a bit and realize that it wasn't a 24/7 orgy, that partying wasn't the only means of socializing. It had to die off eventually. And this was the result.
One heavy sigh later, Mac stood from her bed and pulled an overnight bag from the top of her closet. Her mother would be happy to see her, at least, and she could try tracking Veronica down at her place if she wasn't busy. She'd even put up with Logan if she had to, anything to get out of the dorm and experience a calm weekend.
She tidied up only a little, picking up the framed photo of her little brother, Ryan, off the floor and packing up her laptop in one go. That would be indication enough for Mac's roommate that she wasn't intending to come back; Mac guessed she was deep in the crowd of students trying their best to wax prosaic while more than a little tipsy and she felt no pull to find the other girl and say she was leaving.
From the moment she opened her door, Mac could barely find a breath that wasn't directly escaping someone else's body. They tried their best to trap her from all sides, but she resolutely held tight to her bag and shoved through. The red exit sign at the end of the hall beckoned to her and Mac found herself gazing helplessly at it when she was pushed back a few steps.
"Excuse me." Mac accompanied the politeness with an elbow to someone's side. "Coming through - no, thank you, no, I'm just trying to get through."
Mac glared at a boy who grazed past her a bit too intimately for her taste, his chest shoved full in her face. "It's called deodorant," she snapped when he gave her an inviting smile. "A foot of space, people, that's all I'm asking for!"
None paid her any mind and Mac was left to swim through the crowd for at least five more minutes before she got to the end of the hall. Her hair, not always a prize of Charlie's Angels proportions, fell limply in her eyes and a sheen of perspiration was light across her forehead.
"About time," she grumbled loudly. But when she pushed the latch on the door, it remained tightly shut. "You have got to be-"
"Here, I gotcha." Two hands joined beside hers and gave the door a hard shove. The metal gave a little and Mac pushed her weight into it again. "Need a little air?"
"Something like that," Mac replied. The door suddenly sprang free of their hands, revealing a flustered couple on the other side. They gave her a look of resentment, but Mac merely returned it and said, "In a building full of rooms, this is where you choose to screw around?"
The girl gave a huff of disapproval, but Mac was already walking away. Intent on taking the steps two at a time, it was a few moments before she realized that there was someone close on her heels. Simultaneously turning and pulling a small item from her bag, she said, "I've got mace and a high tolerance for pain, so don't think I won't use it. Do you really want to start something?"
The boy - she recognized him as the one who'd helped with the door - stopped in his tracks and gave her a rather affronted look. He recovered quickly, though, and said, "Kind of trigger happy, huh?"
"I've had a bad night," Mac replied shortly.
"I've got it on good knowledge that parties tend to lift one's spirit." He pointed a thumb back toward the dorm. "Care to give it a try?"
"That," Mac said, pointing her finger in the same direction, "is my definition of a bad night."
"Well, that's a pity. I was rather enjoying it myself."
"Then go back," Mac said without bothering to mask her annoyance.
"Can't do that." He paused and looked expectantly at her.
Mac gave him a purposefully blank look and remarked, "And this is where I ask you why, I suppose."
"Excellent question." Matching her stride when she began to walk to the parking lot, he said, "See, the combination of a dark night, lonely parking lot and a single girl could equal-"
"-a potential stalker who won't go away?"
"I was going to say a dangerous situation, but that works, too."
"Funny how that adds up," Mac said dryly.
The boy stopped directly under a lamp and - against her desire to escape quickly - Mac stopped, too. "Look," he said seriously, "there's been a lot of messed up stuff going around here lately. For my part, I really didn't think you should be out here by yourself... even if you do have a high pain threshold."
He gave her an open look and even placed his hands behind his back. Mac found herself softening slightly when he added, "It takes maybe two minutes out of my day to make sure you get to your car safely and then we can both be on our way. Will you just let me?"
"You could have said that from the beginning," Mac pointed out.
"Well, I had to get past the hostility first. And the mace."
Mac snorted lightly, but gave him a timid smile. "My car isn't far."
"Humor me," he answered.
Replying only with a shrug, Mac turned on her heel. He stayed beside her, but there was at least a couple feet of distance remaining between them. They were drawing near to her Beetle when he made a funny noise and said, "I swear, you look so familiar to me."
"Well, we have a history, you know," Mac said. "The door, the steps, the sidewalk..."
"No, no, I mean from before that. Do we have a class together?"
Mac shook her head. "Probably not. You don't have the computer geek look to you."
He chuckled lightly. "Nope, I'm in Business. Wait... did you go to Neptune High?"
Drawing up to her car, Mac first unlocked the passenger door and then gave him a good once-over. Disappointed by her quick review of the expensive shoes and trendy clothes, she half-jokingly said, "Oh, you were an 09er, weren't you?"
"Technically, yes, but it was long ago. Many moons have passed since then and I never really embraced it, anyway."
"Did we graduate togeth-"
"No, I was only there a few months during junior year." He stopped and shook his head, chuckling again. Reaching out his hand, he said, "I'm such a tool, sorry. The name's Troy. Troy Vandergraff."
"Mac Mackenzie," she replied, taking her hand in his and giving it a shake.
"Mac Mackenzie," Troy repeated. "I'm going to venture a guess that that's a nickname."
"You venture correctly." Mac threw her overnight bag into the passenger seat and then more carefully placed her laptop on the floor beneath it.
"Well, Mac Mackenzie, you have made it to your car with nary a hair on your head harmed. I'd say my mission was an astounding success."
"Break out the bells and whistles." Mac softened the sarcasm with a more sincere smile than before. "It is nice to know that there are still some decent guys around here."
Troy waved his hand a bit. "I dispensed of the not-so-decent stuff pretty early on in life. This is all I've got left."
Mac shrugged, "Could be worse, I suppose."
Through she skirted around the front of the Beetle and unlocked the door, Troy was the one to open it. He swept his right arm to indicate the seat and gave her a slight bow. "Your carriage, milady."
"Corny, but sweet."
"I was going for well-intentioned. Perhaps knightly, if that isn't aiming too high."
"Hey, we all need goals."
Troy waited until she was fully behind the wheel before closing the door. When Mac rolled the window down, he asked, "Sure you don't want to come back inside? It'd give me practice at escorting from the parking lot to the building. I hear it's a completely different experience."
"Parties aren't really my thing." Mac was relieved that she only said it with a slight degree of tightness.
He seemed to accept it at just that and lightly tapped his palms on the door before stepping back. "Well, here's hoping I see you around campus. Though, I have to say, you don't have the computer geek look to you, either."
Mac took off the parking brake and gave him a sly glance out of the corner of her eye. It startled her how easily it came, but she let her voice get playful anyway. "That's because you haven't seen me in action."
Troy whistled and smiled. "Challenge accepted. See you around, Mac Mackenzie."
Her spirits decidedly higher than before, Mac grinned and said, "Until then, Mr. Vandergraff."
Please leave a review - I love to hear what you think, no matter what it is. My brain is itching to do a follow-up Mac/Troy fic, but you have to convince me to do it. Yes, that's blatant manipulation for more reviews. :D