Title: Death Becomes Him (or Five Ways That Cassidy Casablancas Didn't Die)
Characters: Cassidy (cameos by Woody, Dick, Veronica, Logan, Weevil)
Summary: Outright stealing the idea from the LiveJournal "5thingsthat" community, but too late for their first challenge (where this would have fit), five different ways that Cassidy never died.
A/N: This turned out a little darker than I intended.
His plan was going all to hell. No one was ever supposed to find out that Cassidy was the killer. And now that Veronica knew, he had to kill her. He didn't want to, not really. He honestly didn't have anything against Veronica except for the fact she tended to be too nosy for her own good.
He needed her off guard. That's why he told her about the rape. That's why he killed her father. And he nearly had her, too. He had no idea how Logan knew they were on the roof, but he really wasn't expecting to have to kill both of them.
He and Veronica tussled and he thought she was out, but just after he tasered Logan he heard Veronica cock the gun. There she stood, fury and vengeance, with a gun pointed straight for his heart.
Too weak to stand, Logan pleaded from the ground. "No, Veronica, you're not a killer. Don't do this. You're not a killer, sweetheart, you're not."
"He killed my father!" she screamed. "He murdered all those kids on the bus! He raped me!" She broke off into a sob.
Logan tore his eyes away from Veronica and stared at Cassidy in horror. Like he was seeing him for the very first time. Like he never really knew him at all. And maybe he hadn't.
Cassidy looked into Veronica's eyes and recognised the look in her eyes. He'd felt the same thing at the end of every Little League practice. Desperation and anger and helplessness and disgust.
So he couldn't really blame her when she shot two bullets into his chest.
The last thing Cassidy Casablancas saw was the Neptune night sky and Logan Echolls leaning over him trying to stop the bleeding. The last thing he felt was satisfaction that at least he'd managed to take down Woody once and for all.
Dick always teased him about not knowing how to shoot a gun. Guns were for men, and Cassidy would have to be married with three kids before Dick and their dad would even come close to considering him a man. And probably not even then.
The truth was he'd known how to shoot a gun since he was thirteen. A weapons handler friend of Aaron Echolls' showed him and Logan all the types of guns that Aaron would be using in an upcoming movie one afternoon. Then he'd taken them to the shooting range so they could try a couple out. He'd bragged about it when he got home that night, describing in detail during supper the different kinds of guns he got to shoot and how he came within three inches of the center of the bull's-eye on his fifth shot. Dick called him a liar, his father dismissively ruffled his hair and his mother ignored him completely and asked what color theme he wanted for his bathroom. He never mentioned it again.
He had a gun. Technically it was his father's but Cassidy had taken it from his collection three years earlier and Big Dick still hadn't noticed. It sat on the top shelf of his closet in a box labelled "School Supplies" which pretty much guaranteed Dick would never find it. Occasionally he would bring it out to clean it or to feel the comforting weight in his hand.
Once in awhile, he'd pull it down and contemplate killing himself. He'd quit Little League when he was thirteen and had only seen Woody Goodman three times in the two years since. He thought when it was over that life would go back to normal. That he'd go back to being Cassidy Casablancas. It didn't work that way.
Eventually he got used to the idea that he'd never be himself again.
Dick was supposed to drive him home from school that day but Madison had crooked her finger at him and Dick ran off to do her bidding. It was a nice day so Cassidy decided to walk home instead.
As he walked a bubble of joy spread through his body, created by the beautiful weather and his iPod which was playing all his favourite songs. He wanted to laugh. He wanted to run.
Passing Neptune Elementary a softball landed a few feet in front of him. He looked up and a kid gestured for him to toss it back over the fence. "Little help?"
Cassidy nodded and pitched it back to the kid who grinned and ran back to the game. The game, he realised, that was being coached by Woody Goodman.
His first instinct was to run far, far away. But something caught his attention. Woody rubbing the shoulders of a young boy. Cassidy took one staggering step before falling to his knees and vomiting the contents of his stomach.
That's how it started with him. Woody rubbing his shoulders while he waited for his turn at bat. Two years should have rid him of that feeling, the knowing what was coming next. He realised then that he'd never be free. He dragged himself back to his feet, using the chain-link fence. When he looked back at the game, Woody noticed him and waved, grinning like the benign good-guy he convinced the world he was.
Cassidy ignored him and kept walking. His pace picked up until he was jogging, then flat-out running. He made it home in fifteen minutes and headed straight up to his bedroom, to his closet, to the school supplies box and the balm inside.
He tucked it into his waist-band and made sure his shirt covered it, then got on his bike. At the field, the game still went on, but Cassidy could be patient. After practice ended, the boys headed for the change room but he knew that Woody would collect the balls and bats and wait for a straggler. Tonight he wouldn't get the chance.
Cassidy came out from behind the dugout. "Hey Coach."
Woody smiled, turning towards him when Cassidy raised the gun and shot him three times in the chest. He was dead before he hit the ground. After nudging Woody with his foot to make sure, Cassidy put the gun into his own mouth and pulled the trigger.
The last thing Cassidy Casablancas saw was the sun setting over Neptune. The last thing that he felt was regret that he hadn't killed Woody sooner.
All Cassidy needed to do was not hyperventilate. He wanted to throw up and it had nothing to do with the winding Pacific Coast Highway and slightly stuffy limo. His fingers rested on his cell phone. He could see the bus just in front of them. He had to wait for the perfect time.
He watched Dick put the moves on Woody Goodman's daughter. He wondered if Gia knew the kind of man her father was. The kind of things that he did to little boys. The kind of things that he did to Peter and Marcos. The kind of things he did to Cassidy.
A small part of him was sorry that Dick invited her into the limo, despite how sweet she seemed. It would serve Woody right to lose someone he loved. It was his fault that Peter and Marcos had to die. He was the one who drove Cassidy to this.
He was sorry that Veronica and Meg were on the bus. They had always been nice to him and it sucked that they had to be sacrificed. But as soon as Cassidy hatched this plan he knew that there would be innocent bystanders. He'd already made peace with that.
The bluff approached about five hundred yards away. His finger hovered over the "send" button. At that moment a green muscle went screaming by them, mooning the limo. The driver swerved and the entire car rocked to the right. Dick slammed into him and Cassidy accidentally pressed "send".
Ahead of them there was a small explosion and the bus veered out of control but it was nowhere near the cliff. The bus swerved down the highway before running up a small incline on the right and coming to a rest. The Barracuda swerved to avoid it and barely got itself under control before coming to a screeching halt in the middle of the highway.
The limo wasn't so lucky. The driver, trying to avoid hitting both the bus and muscle car, swerved into the on-coming lane directly into the path of a semi. The semi blasted its horn and slammed on the brakes but was never going to be able to stop in time. The limo swerved off the road and tried to stop but to no avail.
Dick said, "Oh shit" just as they went over the cliff and the girls screamed. Dick's arm pinned Cassidy back against the seat in a vain attempt to try and save him. Cassidy didn't know whether to feel touched or annoyed that it took imminent death for Dick to give a shit about his life but he really didn't have time to give it the contemplation it deserved.
The last thing that Cassidy Casablancas saw was Duncan Kane looking surprised but almost welcoming of the fate that was about to befall them. The last thing he felt was amusement at God's sense of irony.
Cassidy wished he had taken a flying leap off the top of the Neptune Grand when he had a chance. Every night since then he cursed Logan for tackling him before he got to the edge. Now he was in Chino, in spite of only being seventeen. Apparently if you murder eleven people, the state of California has no problem trying you as an adult.
Despite the badass swaggering to Veronica, he wasn't that tough. This was the most frightened Cassidy had been since Woody Goodman first cornered him in the locker room when he was eleven. Frightened turned to terrified when he saw five guys walk into the laundry room where he had been working alone. And when he saw the guard leave with a nod to the guy in front he nearly started to cry.
The leader walked up to him. "Well, what do we have here? Poor, little rich boy all on his own. Not such a brave man when you're not riding in a limo, are you?"
Cassidy backed away, desperately looking for a weapon, an escape, anything. "I don't have a problem with you guys."
The leader smiled. "Oh, see, that's where you're wrong. 'Cause we have a big problem with little faggots who murder their classmates just to keep a secret."
He advanced on Cassidy and when Cassidy tried to run away he was grabbed by two of the guy's goons. The leader leaned in so close Cassidy could feel his humid breath on his ear. "I think it's time you find out what prison is all about."
Real panic broke over him and he struggled with everything in him. His pants were undone and forced down to his ankles. By this time he was crying but he didn't care. Not again, not again, not again, not again…
A familiar voice broke into the nightmare. "Leave him alone."
Cassidy had never in his life been so happy to see Weevil Navarro. He'd heard that he was in Chino doing time for taking down Thumper but hadn't seen him.
The leader turned to Weevil. "I don't think so, Chico." Weevil didn't look too concerned, just indicated with a jerk of his head that he wanted to talk to the leader in the corner of the room. The leader followed him and they talked for a minute before the leader looked at his boys and said, "All right, let him go." The goons released him and the gang left Weevil and Cassidy alone in the laundry room.
Cassidy pulled his pants back up. "Thanks, man. I owe you."
"Don't be too quick to thank me, kid."
The sharp edge in his voice made Cassidy take a good look at him and it was then he noticed the expression on Weevil's face. Barely contained rage.
Cervando, Cassidy remembered feeling sick to his stomach. "Look, Weevil, I'm sorry about Cervando. I never had anything against him. I didn't even know he was coming on the trip."
Weevil approached him and the only thing that kept Cassidy from panicking again was the fact that he wasn't holding a weapon.
"Well, you knew he was on the bus when you blew it up, though, didn't you." When Cassidy didn't answer, Weevil grabbed him by the throat and pinned him hard against the wall. "I can't hear you."
"I knew," Cassidy choked out.
Weevil released him and wandered over to some of the machines. "I got my first visitor today. A friend of ours."
Cassidy knew without Weevil even looking at him. "Veronica."
"That's right. She seemed a bit pissed off that Logan stopped her from killing you." Weevil turned and grinned at him and it was at that moment that Cassidy knew he wasn't getting out of the laundry room alive. "Echolls ain't here to stop me."
Cassidy couldn't move, couldn't react.
"See, I was gonna leave you alone in here. I figured you'd get enough trouble that I wouldn't have to revenge Cervando's death and I could keep my nose clean. But then Veronica, the girl who kept me out of juvy and jail, the one who hooked us up so that I could graduate and make my abuela proud, she tells me that you raped her."
Any trace of a grin was gone from Weevil's face and it was then that Cassidy noticed he had a heavy lead pipe in his hand.
"And I'll tell you a secret, Beaver, seein' as you won't be around to tell anyone else. I'm in love with that girl. Have been for awhile now. And the thought of you doin' what you did? Well, I don't care if they put me on death row, long as I get to be the one who puts you down permanently."
The last thing Cassidy Casablancas saw was Eli Navarro swinging a lead pipe towards his head. The last thing he felt was relief that it was all finally over.
Cassidy Casablancas had everything a man could ask for. Beautiful, brilliant wife, thriving business, cute kids, and a bigger mansion than he had grown up in. Of course, he also had an idiot brother and still froze inside every time he saw the Sheriff or a cop car, convinced they had found out what he had done fifteen years ago and had come to arrest him, but nothing was perfect.
He sat on the patio, finishing his breakfast and reading the business section when the morning stillness was interrupted by a shrill voice. "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!"
A small body hurtled towards him and he dropped the paper on the table to scoop up his three-year-old daughter. "What is it, Sweetheart?"
"Mommy said that when you get home from work we're going to go visit Uncle Dick and Auntie Mac and Harry and then go to Disneyland tomorrow!" She hopped up and down on his lap in excitement and he had to laugh.
"Is that right?"
"Yep." Blue eyes reproached him. "Do you has to go to work? Can't we go right now?"
Pushing her curly brown hair out of her eyes, he gave her an Eskimo kiss. "Sorry Princess, but I have to go to work so I can pay for Disneyland. Besides, Max has to go school today." At her pout, he caved a bit. "Tell you what, I'll try and get all my work done early so that by the time Max is home from school, I'll be home from work and we can leave a little bit early."
She threw her arms around his neck and gave him a wet smack on the cheek. "Thanks Daddy!" He watched her scamper off, undoubtedly to tell her brother.
"You spoil her, you know?" Reaching behind him, he grasped his wife's hand and pulled her onto his lap.
"I know." He swept her blond hair aside and kissed her neck. "I figure you can be the harsh disciplinarian and I'll be the hero."
"It is a cunning plan." She laughed as he inched her shirt up and stroked the skin underneath. "Watch it. That's how we got the first two." Her soft hands cupped his face and she kissed him deeply.
He was a second away from saying, "screw work", and taking his wife upstairs, but she put her hands on his chest. "As much as I would really like to see where this goes, you have to go to the office and I need to take Max to kindergarten." He groaned, but gave her one last kiss and helped her to stand up before standing himself.
After five minutes of bustling about, helping her get the kids into their shoes and jackets, he grabbed his briefcase, gave his wife and kids a kiss each as he helped strap them into the Lexus then got into the Porsche.
She followed him as far as the bottom of the hill where she would turn right and he would turn left. He caught her eyes in the rear view mirror and grinned. There were days when he just couldn't believe how lucky he was.
Pulling into the intersection was the last thing he remembered until he came to, pinned in place by his crumpled steering column, smoke and haze obscuring his vision. Someone was screaming his name. His car was smashed against the front grille of a large truck. The grille was about three inches from his face. He couldn't move and it had nothing to do with the steering column. He couldn't feel anything, no pain, and that was probably a good thing, but he couldn't even lift his hands to undo his seatbelt.
He realised the woman screaming his name was his wife and he squinted to make her out, being held back by two men, fighting as hard as she could to get to him. Their eyes met, and she stopped screaming, but he could see her mouth his name silently. He heard a muffled boom and saw her eyes widen.
The last thing Cassidy Casablancas saw was Veronica crying and struggling to get to him. The last thing he felt was grief that he couldn't stay longer.