Disclaimer: I most definitely do not own "Veronica Mars."
Before, she'd never been one to have particularly vivid dreams. Every once in a while, there would be a blurred image of someone spilling coffee on her two hundred dollar, snow white Seven jeans, or—God forbid—Don Lamb making out with Veronica Mars, but other than that, she'd never had trouble sleeping.
That was then.
The first time it happens, she's at Neptune High, in her cheerleading uniform. It takes her a second to get her bearings before she notices a male figure sitting at one of those hideous blue plastic picnic tables, facing the other way. He turns his head and she immediately recognizes him.
Generally speaking, the post-Neptune High Madison Sinclair would be unlikely to recognize a former schoolmate of his social status, no matter how rich, no matter how long she dated his brother. Like, that kid was weird, even before the whole mass murdering thing. And she most definitely does not associate with nerds.
But, nerd or not, when a guy's yearbook picture is staring at you twenty-four/seven from the evening news, the front page of the paper, even the cover of People magazine, you kind of know him when you see him.
"What's up, Madison?" Cassidy says, his voice even.
"You really have the icily menacing thing down, Beaver. How neat," she responds, rolling her eyes.
"Yeah, well, you watch enough 'Law & Order' reruns, the whole 'garden-variety creepy' thing is pretty easy to pick up."
"Given that I actually have a life, I'm unfamiliar with that privilege." He looks vaguely offended at her comment; she picks up on his change in expression. "You know, killing like a thousand people kind of makes you fair game for insult."
"A thousand? I think maybe you've confused me with Jim Jones."
"Wait, who? Isn't he, like, a rapper? Is he a serial killer too?"
He shrugs off her confusion. He absentmindedly drums his fingers on the table for a moment before casually responding, "it's not like you gave one person on that bus a second thought anyway."
"Like you would know."
He raises his eyebrows. "Name one of those kids who wasn't totally disposable to you."
She stops to think for a moment. "Meg and I were on the cheerleading squad together," she says quickly, defensively.
"Everyone knows you hated her!" he snorts. "You know, maybe if you and your friends hadn't been so horrible to anyone who wasn't just like you, some of those kids would have been on the limo instead of that bus."
"Okay, maybe. Whatever. That totally doesn't make what you did okay," she counters.
"Duh," he says, "of course it wasn't okay. What I'm asking you is—does it bother you one iota?"
Madison wakes with a start, opening her eyes and wincing at the mid-morning sunlight. For a moment, she can't remember where she is, until it hits her—she's in Aspen (Logan Echolls' hotel bed, to be specific), some six hundred miles from the Neptune High. Nowhere near Beaver Casablancas. Still, she can't help feeling a little shaken up.
"You okay?" Logan asks her.
She doesn't answer; instead, she pins him to the bed and climbs on top of him. She figures if anything will soothe her nerves, sex with Veronica Mars' boyfriend most definitely fits the bill.
The second dream comes about a month later, on the night of her birthday. This time, she's on the roof of the Neptune Grand. It's completely still up there, except for the string quartet from when she turned seventeen, and, of course, Cassidy Casablancas, leaning against a railing.
"Oh God, Beaver? You again?" groans Madison as the quartet starts playing the Beatles' version of "Birthday."
"Nice to see you too," he replies. "I like the outfit, by the way." She looks down at herself—she's wearing her pink prom dress and white satin pumps. "Do you wear that all the time now or something?"
She can't think of a snappy comeback, so she settles for simply glaring at him. He glares back. "So, not that I'm not enjoying our little staring contest or anything, but why are you here? Are you just showing up to be belligerent or what?" she asks.
"Wow, 'belligerent' is a pretty big word for you," he notes.
"I hooked up with an SAT tutor in the fall," she tells him matter-of-factly. "And you didn't answer my question."
"Why am I here?" She nods. "I wouldn't know; it's your dream."
"Do you think maybe I'm like psychic or something? Or could you be like back from the dead to cryptically relay some important message?"
"I hate to let you down, Madison, but realistically speaking, it's pretty doubtful that you're having some sort of telepathic vision."
"I'm not exactly majorly disappointed. Because than I would have to become, like, use my powers for the good of mankind, and become some vigilante superhero, and I seriously have way better things to do," she scoffs.
"Neptune's really missing out, huh?"
"Do you say anything that isn't totally sarcastic? Ever?" snaps Madison. He shrugs, but doesn't respond further. They stand in silence for a moment. The members of the string quartet have long since finished their song, and now sit placidly on the ground, instruments at their sides, watching Madison intently. "So," she says, exhaling, "I'm totally not getting anything out of this whole rendezvous. You're kind of wasting my time."
"You sure about that?"
"Duh," she responds emphatically.
"I mean, it's not like you have anywhere else to be. This," he gestures wildly at their surroundings, "kind of isn't real. You're dreaming," he points out.
"Exactly! You're taking up some major REM time which I could be spending, like, in a dream about making out with Justin Timberlake. Or shopping."
"Wow, my bad," he smirks. "So sorry about that."
And then she's awake. But this time she's alone.
She's dream-free for a few months after that. But mid-May, that changes. Needless to say, she isn't exactly pleased with this development.
Like most of the problems Madison Sinclair has had over the years, it's quite clearly Dick Casablancas' fault.
She checks her voicemail one morning, and among the usual mélange of booty calls and party invitations is a message from her least favorite ex. To make things worse, he's obviously drunk out of his mind. To make things even worse-er, he's crying. Like, flat out sobbing.
She does her best to listen to the whole thing. It's a bunch of blubbering about his dad and his brother—no surprise there—and something about Argentina and something about duct tape and it's all very hard to follow. And, for pretty much the first time in history, he doesn't end the message with a plea for sex.
She can't help but feel a little guilty when she immediately deletes yet another hysterical voicemail from Dick. But not guilty enough to even consider calling him back. Her cardinal rule in life (other than not wearing black and brown together) is to never, ever, encourage Dick's drunk-dialing habit. And so far it's worked it out pretty well.
That night, when she finds herself face-to-face with her ex-boyfriend's dead brother for the third freaking time, she isn't particularly shocked. Really, really irritated, but definitely not surprised.
Still, when she takes in her surroundings, she can't help but be a little distraught. "This is sick," she calls over her shoulder to Cassidy.
"For real. You know, for such a vacuous airhead, you appear to have a pretty messed up subconscious," he responds. "You want to come join me back here so we don't have to keep yelling?"
"Not so much, actually," she retorts, but, in spite of herself, she already has stood up and begun making her way towards the back of the school bus. She sits down next to Cassidy in the last row. "God, where are we, anyway?" she asks, peering out the window. The bus is navigating a road overlooking the ocean. No cars are in sight.
"I'm guessing we're within a few miles of BFE."
"Never mind," he says, smiling a little. They sit in silence for a while, observing the scenery.
"You wanna show some respect for the dead here?"
"Were you scared? The day of the crash?"
"Have you noticed that we've been speaking entirely in questions in the past few minutes?"
She groans in exasperation. "Christ! Do you have, like, ADD or something?"
"See what I mean? You're so…inquisitive."
She flicks him on the temple and says nothing more, giving up on her attempts at conversation.
After a few minutes, he finally speaks: "I wasn't that scared."
"How? I mean, how could you do that?"
"Wouldn't you have done the same thing?" he asks quietly, without the contempt or aggression that characterized much of his earlier dialogue.
"Of course not!" she nearly shrieks, genuinely offended.
"Can you honestly not relate, at least a little, to the circumstances?" he probes, prompting a perplexed look from Madison. "Look at it this way. To put it bluntly, you're not a Sinclair."
"Yeah, and?" She feels fairly indignant that he would bring that up out of the blue.
"What was the first thing you thought when your parents told you?"
She thinks for a second, then responds definitively, "that no one could ever find out. Ever."
"Because they would destroy me," she answers, like it's the most obvious thing in the world.
"Okay, so how far would you go to keep your secret?"
"No way. I am so totally not a psycho," she says emphatically as she finally realizes what point Cassidy is trying to make. "There is seriously no parallel here. Besides, if people knew about…"—she pauses, choosing her words carefully—"…what happened to you, they would totally feel bad for you and be nice to you and stuff."
"And how do you know they wouldn't 'totally feel bad for you and be nice you and stuff'?" he counters, raising his voice a few octaves to mimic her Valley Girl way of speaking.
"Because I just do!"
"Okay, okay, my mistake. I'll leave you alone now," he tells her, half sincerely, half humoring her.
A few minutes later, they round a corner, and a familiar spot comes into view. She doesn't know it from having been there herself, but from photographs, the photographs that always follow Cassidy Casablancas' school picture on the news, in the paper, in the magazines.
She turns to him, unable to conceal the expression of panic on her face. "What happens now?"
She wakes up the next morning groggy, disheveled, and seriously cranky, even after she gets her morning latte from Starbucks. But she knows what she has to do.
She groans as she dials Dick's cell phone number, but figures the chances of him being awake before eleven in this lifetime are slim enough, so she presses send before she can convince herself otherwise.
He picks up on the fourth ring.
"Madison?" he mumbles.
Shit. Caller ID. You can't hang up on him now.
"Hey, Dick," she says, trying to express exactly the right level of disgust in just those two syllables, to tone down her normal bitchiness without relinquishing her power. "Do you, uh, maybe want to talk? About your brother?"