Summary: She doesn't want to see him any more. He just refuses to listen. Mac in the aftermath: oneshot.
Disclaimer: If I owned these characters, Cassidy would not be evil.
A/N: Yeah, this invaded my head and wouldn't leave me alone. I just had to write it. Reviews would be greatly appreciated since this is a little different than my usual style.
She stares at the wall.
That's all she seems to do anymore, and she wonders when she became so very boring. It's not like the wall is all that pretty. It's white, and blank, and she almost wants to hate it but she can't.
It's just a wall.
A tidal wave of grief overwhelms her as she contemplates the cracks and crevices in the plaster and she can hear herself crying but she can't feel the tears. She tastes salt water and it seems to dry out her mouth, although how she can tell she isn't sure.
"You know, that's the only blank wall in this room."
Without turning, she nods and folds her arms in front of her chest, defensively. That seems to be all she has left: defense. Too many people are trying to pry, and every single one of them would have her committed if they knew.
"Maybe it's calming," she says softly, shrugs. He laughs and she grinds her teeth together, too fond of false memories to do anything but think.
"It shocks me that in all our time together I never taught you how to lie."
He laughs again and she turns to face him, dry tear paths making her skin tight as she glares at him. "I prefer the term manipulate," he replies. She rolls her eyes and tightens her arms around herself.
Defense. It's all she has.
She sits down on the bed uncomfortably, unsure of the way that the blankets are wrinkled at the end of the bed. The sheet is on the floor in a pile, and the air is thick and smells of something she doesn't quite recognize.
The walls aren't white here.
Sort of a good thing, mostly not, her eyes flicker all over the room as she waits. Always waiting, crying, defending, it's a pattern at this point and she can't fucking stand it.
"Excuse him, he's feeling territorial," Veronica waves absently at the door of her bedroom as she enters. Logan is complaining – loudly – about how unloved he is, and they both crack a smile at his whining. "Are you okay? You seem a little…"
"Oh, I'm fine," Mac insists. She tucks her hair behind her ears, looks around the room again. No white to be seen. It kind of makes her sick, but at least she isn't crying.
Not yet, anyway.
Veronica sighs and flops down on the bed, turning her head to the side. Mac notices the twinkle in her eyes, wants to leave and let her friend be happy, but she doesn't understand and she wants to – badly – and Veronica is the only person she can think of to come to.
"No," she sighs, "I'm not."
The atmosphere tightens until she is almost suffocating, and the concerned expression on her friend's face is enough to send her home to stare at her white wall for a few hours.
"Okay," Veronica nods and sits up, turns until they are facing each other on the bed. "Is this about-"
"He won't leave me alone."
More silence. Too hard, too much, too soon. It's been a fucking month, Mac.
"Lilly…" Veronica trails off, shrugs helplessly. Her fingers pull at the loose strings on the comforter that is crumpled underneath her and she sighs heavily as she rolls her neck to ease the tension. "Lilly was the same way."
"I think I'm going insane."
"Well, save me a spot at the asylum."
Mac smiles, a little, at that. "Wouldn't Logan be jealous?"
"Ah, he's a big baby anyway. If he didn't whine he'd have nothing else to do in his spare time."
"Right," she nods and forces another smile.
And she may not be able to find any white, but when she sees him sitting in the corner of the room she is far from surprised.
Lowering herself to the bed, she keeps eye contact with him as she leans against the wall. He smirks and looks at the carpet, scuffs his toe. She used to find the gesture endearing: she would kiss him and tell him not to be so nervous, smile against his mouth when he pulled her to him and lowered them to his bed.
Now she has to fight back the urge to repeat the routine.
"I thought you were only allowed to walk the earth if you died and unjust death," she raises an eyebrow and settles into a more comfortable position. Her back is to the white and she's still uncomfortable because of it, but she's tired of being made fun of for her staring habit.
Cassidy laughs, "Don't you watch any horror movies, Mac? There are ways to bend the rules."
"Always a rebel," she sighs. He grins at her and she cringes, clenching her sheets between her fingertips as he chuckles quietly and leans against her bookcase.
"Well, maybe break them," he cocks his head to the side. "Thank God Lilly and I ended up in the same place – girl always was resourceful."
The thought of him with Lilly fucking Kane makes her head spin and she bites her lip hard enough to draw blood. Her eyes mist and the tears fall before she can stop them, and he frowns but doesn't say anything to help.
Salt in her wounds – literally – and it stings.
Mac turns to face the wall and when she turns around ten minutes later, he's gone.
"That hardly seems fair, Lilly."
She scoffs and flips her hair behind her shoulder. Drops of blood fly through the air that should land on the wall, but they don't, and Veronica cringes when she realizes – yet again – that her best friend is dead.
Lilly giggles, "And what is fair, Veronica Mars? We have to find our own fun in the afterlife," she wags a finger. "We don't get cable."
"This isn't high school, Lilly, you're not playing some prank on a helpless 02er," Veronica argues. "Mac thinks she's going insane!"
Lilly widens her eyes and lowers her head conspiratorially. She smirks and presses her index finger to her bottom lip cutely. "Oh," she grins. "And her you all thought he was totally innocent." She giggles brightly and falls back on the couch with a contented sigh. "That's brilliant."
Veronica rolls her eyes and picks up her cell phone when it starts to ring. Hesitating when she sees the caller id, she finally sighs and answers. Lilly twirls her hair disinterestedly and rolls her eyes when the ring tone cuts off.
The reception crackles and then Mac is crying, and Lilly disappears with a smile.
"It's white," he shakes his head. "You know, Mac, for such a colorful girl you certainly do like to look at boring things."
"Why are you here?"
"Ah, well, after you meet every dead celebrity you ever wanted to, the afterlife gets a little-" he waves his hand "-dull."
Mac picks up a sharpie off her nightstand and twirls it between her fingers. She nods in understanding and opens her mouth to say something when another figure appears in the room.
"Cindy Mackenzie, well I'll be damned," Lilly grins. "Veronica tells me you've been a little upset with our boy," she pats Cassidy on the shoulder and he watches her with a dark expression.
Frowning, she drops the marker and stands until she is as tall as the blonde girl. "What are you doing here?"
"Keeping Beaver company, of course," she grins. "You didn't really think he keeps coming here every night because he misses you, did you?"
Cassidy leans back against the wall and pushes away from Lilly with a disturbed expression. Mac watches both of them warily, unwilling to consider the possibilities of how else he has been spending his leisure time.
"Aww," Lilly grins and looks at the dead boy beside her. "Isn't she adorable, Cass?"
His gaze lowers from Mac's and he scuffs his toe against the carpet. Mac rolls her eyes and sits down on the bed so hard that she bounces twice.
"Must you do that!" she shouts. "You're not innocent, I get it, so can you stop with the fucking nervous gestures?"
Even Lilly freezes at the outburst and Cassidy's eyes darken before he disappears. Mac lets out a breath and runs a hand through her hair.
Her hand is shaking when she lowers it back to her lap and Lilly lets out a laugh from the other side of the room. She doesn't look up but she feels the faintest brush of lips against her cheek.
They're too familiar to be the dead girl's.
He stops showing up after that night with Lilly, and she almost misses him. And then she remembers what happened, what he did, who he was and how much he lied. She starts hanging out with Veronica more and even manages to get closer to Logan, which is a friendship that is almost too strange to consider.
It's not until she is packing her last box that he appears again.
"Far away from here," she responds. "Sounds pretty damn good to me."
Cassidy laughs and crouches down next to her. "You know, that wall is still white," he gestures to the wall above her bed and she stops what she's doing, turns her head to look at him incredulously.
"Do you even care?"
"All you ever talk about is that fucking wall, Cassidy," she snips. "There has to be another reason you keep showing up."
He smirks and disappears.
Mac sets her jaw and stands up abruptly, stalking across the room and throwing open the drawer of her night stand. Her fingers close around the thick black sharpie and she jumps up on her mattress, impatiently yanking the cap off and pressing the tip of the marker to the wall.
And she scribbles.
Keeping her eyes glued to her textbook, she sighs and gestures absently with her hand. "Whatever you have to say this time, I'm probably not interested."
Mac rolls her eyes and highlights another important segment of the book. She contemplates making a note of the passage on the piece of paper that sits next to her, but decides against it at the last moment. As she moves onto the next portion of the page, someone knocks on her door and someone else sighs from the corner of the room.
She turns around and does her best to ignore her dead ex-boyfriend when Veronica walks into the dorm room. They hug and exchange pleasantries. Cassidy rolls his eyes from the corner and Mac mirrors the gesture.
"Logan and I are going to a concert, thought you'd like to come. Some random local band, but they have potential," Veronica shrugs. Mac sighs and sends a remorseful glance toward the textbook that is sitting on her desk.
"I have to study…"
"One night. I promise, if you fail, I will find a way to pick your grade back up."
Sighing, she relents and walks the short distance to her wardrobe. Cassidy leans against the second door and she ignores him, focusing on the skirts and jeans in front of her until he moves.
"Don't wear white," Veronica comments. The rest of her words are drowned out by the myriad of memories that short-circuit Mac's brain in the next few minutes and she grips the side of the wardrobe while she tries to catch her breath.
That fucking sharpie marker is still there, she knows it.
Cassidy leans toward her and she swears she can still smell his cologne, though he's a ghost so she's not sure how. It's like a broken perfume bottle – scent still lingering even after its demise.
I miss you. And I hate you. I loved you, then, but you ruined that.
Words that mean nothing.
"I'm sorry, Mac."
And then even more. Only they're not in sharpie marker on her once-white wall: they're whispered into her ear in a dorm room that she hates.
There's probably an irony in that. She doesn't really want to know what it is.