You break your finger the very first weekend you aren't wasted. It's been a month since his death, a month since the tabloids ran the story through to insanity, a month since Logan stopped talking to you, and a month since the light in Veronica Mars' eyes changed from angry to apprehensive to pitying every time she happened to look at you.

There are only two things you hate in the entire world, and the other is pity, even though Veronica fucking Mars comes pretty damn close. You think about smashing your fist into her as you hurtle into the wall of what was once his bedroom. You haven't changed anything, you won't even let the maid come in and air it out. His bed is even still fucking made from the morning before it happened. Before he could come back and muss it up again. Some nights, you sleep on the floor, here. You don't let anyone see you, and you don't talk about it-there's nobody to talk about it to, but even if there were someone, you wouldn't. There are some things that just can't be said, and the fact that you lay head first in Beaver's sheets every night is nobody's business but your own.

You didn't go the funeral. You think he must be mad at you or something, because you start seeing him everywhere. Sitting on his bed, his eyes peering into yours, on that ledge, even though you weren't there and you're too scared to go up, though you'll never tell anyone that either. They've told you he's a killer. They've all said he's a rapist, they've said; we were wrong, weak little Beaver Casablancas… we knew something was off with him. You could just tell…

Except you couldn't. You couldn't tell, and you're not sure how anyone else could have either.

It hurts your head to think about how they had to scrape him from the car he'd landed on.

It hurts your head to think about how you didn't hear his last words.

It hurts your head that he's gone and there's nothing you can do.

You get 15 stitches in your hand. It would have been less, except it takes you over a week to get to the doctor's. You'd thought that the death of your little brother would get you out of summer school. You'd thought wrong, so you go, even though none of it means anything.

Nothing means anything without him.

"Richard, we understand the severity of the situation, but we'd really like you to attend…" You let their words wash off you because they can. You're not this Richard guy, you're not upstanding, you're not good or smart…you're not anything.

You're a jackass who let your brother get molested and didn't do anything about it it.

You're the loser who didn't try to stop it and didn't say goodbye.

You're the idiot who, even now, even after everything you know and everything that's happened, doesn't want to say goodbye.

Which is ridiculous really, because the guy you thought you knew and the guy he thought he was are two entirely separate things.

Maybe, you think as you float lazily on the water of your pool, your eyes closed against the midsummer sun, Richard and Cassidy don't really exist. Beaver and Dick don't either though, because Beaver was never real and nowadays you certainly aren't either. Maybe you were never here and he never did what they all said, and maybe he's not really gone.

You've just got to find him.