A/N: Yeah... this fic is pretty much demented. And Gia is probably horribly OoC, because writing the comic relief completely breaking? Difficult. Anyway, enjoy the creepy fic. BTW, why doesn't Gia have her own character label thing?
Disclaimer: Not mine. All belongs to Rob Thomas, who would give me a very strange look for this.
She doesn't want to remember him. Not ever.
She's pretty sure she's not alone in that, given everything that's happened, but it strikes her particularly hard. If she could not remember him, she could not remember buses and planes and bombs. She could not remember hotel roofs, visits to the sheriff's department, and drunken bloodshot tear-filled accusing blue eyes. She could not remember baseball and little league and all those boys over the years. She could not remember the way she giggled and missed the click of "send."
Mom won't look at her. Mom won't look period. Mom couldn't see, her mind hisses at her Mom couldn't see and they went to the sea and so you will be lone-el-el-ee...
Mom couldn't see, but neither could she.
And she wonders why her brain feels the need to sing this.
She looks at the picture. She feels like she's looking for something, for the click, for the moment when the story will make sense in her brain. She guesses they're all lucky she's not Veronica Mars, because she can't see a thing that makes it make sense. She can't see him, in the picture. She just draws her eyes over the words.
Mom just shuts herself in her room for days. It's not Dad's room, and Gia thinks she really should have gotten there was something wrong after that. But okay, she didn't. Her parents were distant, it happened.
Gia makes herself look after Rodney. Someone has to, and someone has to ask that question, the one question that's caught in her brain, making her sick. She doesn't ask it when she tucks him into bed, and hugs him as he says he doesn't understand, but she'll get around to it at some point.
It's almost one when he finally falls asleep and she's left alone with her mind.
She's tired and she goes to her room, and she doesn't do anything fancy with her grief – she collapses onto her bed and cries herself to sleep.
His appearance shocks her. She means that literally; him showing up is expected, given this is a messed up dream and he's a big part of how messed up things are. Still, she didn't expect to see him all broken and bloody from his fall. It's not like anyone looked at the body; Dick got to identify him and that was that. She doesn't want to see him and she wants to see him like this less.
"Hey Gia," he says casually, as if he didn't kill her father and as if her father didn't destroy him.
"Cassidy?" she whimpers the name, because messed-up dream or not, he kills people, so he's scary.
He raises an eyebrow at her. "No 'Beaver.' I'm impressed."
She turns her head. She had always thought of him as "Beaver" - everyone had – but now she couldn't. Not with headlines and articles, all about dangerous Cassidy Casablancas, victimized Cassidy Casablancas, psychopathic Cassidy Casablancas, insane Cassidy Casablancas.
"Takes a lot to make media in this town disagree," he smirks, and sits next to her on the bed. "I should be proud."
She looks at him confused. "Gia, this is a dream," he explains like he's talking to a very small child. "I can hear everything you think."
She just stares.
"You're right to blame yourself," he says brightly, and she feels slapped. "You should have known. You should have stopped this."
She takes a moment to respond. "I know. I don't need a dream to point it out. So... why are you here?"
He chuckles. "I live to hurt people," pause. "Or not. Obviously," he gestures at his broken form, and she winces.
"No you're not."
She wakes up crying.
The house is surrounded by reporters on that day. She feels like a prisoner of war, and those are the guards – it's only been a few days since everything happened. They're all still moving in a haze.
She's just talking to Rodney – Mom's still not looking at them, and Gia's starting to get bitter about it – when she blinks a little, and notices the bruise on his forehead. It's faint, tiny, but it's there.
She's slipping and falling and breaking; at this height she's dizzy and there's not enough oxygen.
"Rodney... How did that happen?"
He tells her he fell and she smiles at him, God, she feels like such a cliché. She walks to her mother's door timidly, and raps three times.
Her mother opens the door, looking about a hundred. "Gia, what is it?" She sounds angry, like Gia has no right to be there.
"So, Mom," she pauses, because how do you say this? "So, uh, I was talking to Rodney, and I kinda noticed... he had like, this bruise. On his face," she purses her lips, and she's sure her mother can see the pleading in her eyes.
Mom's expression doesn't change. "Did he tell you what happened?"
Gia looks down. "He... he said he fell," she stammers.
Her mother nods. "He'll be okay, Gia. Don't worry."
Gia accepts that. Her mother was strict, but she wouldn't hurt Rodney.
She accepts that.
And she can see him smiling at her across the hall.
That night, he's not bruised and bloody and broken anymore. He looks like Beaver.
"You suck at this," he tells her as he sits next to her on the bed. She looks at him inquisitively. "Using your trauma to change, to help people? Yeah, you really don't have that down."
She buries her face in her pillow. God, can he go away already? When you throw yourself off a building, your meant to be out of her life.
He shrugs as she refuses to respond. "But you can't go after your mother, can you? She's strict, but after Dad was so bad... You can't just destroy the one parent you have left, can you?"
She still doesn't answer.
"But, of course, this is her fault too. Gia – you hated her, remember?"
Gia turns over and frowns. No. She never hated her mother. She doesn't hate her mother. She doesn't hate her father.
"You don't want to. Well, it's going to show up, because you suck at forgetting things," he explains, and Gia winces. She remembers yelling and dragging Rodney away from the woman. She remembers telling Dad to take care of whatever happened. She feels queasy.
"If you hadn't hated her? Maybe you wouldn't have put so much faith in your dad. Maybe you would have seen something," he tells her, and she feels tears welling. He shrugs; "Or maybe it wouldn't have mattered. Family aside, your generally not Miss Observance 2006."
She hears the click of a cellphone.
She doesn't know why she shows up for the funeral. She knows she can't let anyone see her – she goes OTT with the disguise, black hat, dark glasses, the works. She shouldn't be here, she doesn't want to pay her respects – he killed her father. She doesn't want his memory. She wants to forget him.
Maybe she's here to move on.
She's not surprised the pews are pretty bare. He was a mass-murderer and all. Dick is there, clearly having had a bit of liquid courage beforehand and sobbing his eyes out – it's the first time she's ever seen him upset, and her heart breaks a little for him.
Some woman and her family are there, is that Beaver's mom? There's Logan sitting with Dick, staring forward, and Veronica looking uncomfortable next to him. She surprises Gia, wasn't Meg Manning a friend of hers?
She giggles at herself, given she's Woody's daughter at this funeral, and sits up the back where no-one can see her.
There's also that computer girl, borderline-catatonic and sitting away from everyone, but Gia can't remember who she is or why she'd be there. It's not like Gia ever knew Beaver well. Then again, it's not like anyone did.
Cassidy's dad didn't return or anything for the funeral. She knows he's on the run, but still, his youngest just committed suicide, wouldn't any father return for that? Some part of her stings for the dead psycho.
She guesses she doesn't get family as well as she thought she did.
Once the minister is done and the coffin is buried, they all file out of the church. She walks quickly, before they realize who she is, but it doesn't work, as Dick grabs her and rips her glasses of, and the whack of those things behind your ear, makes them sting.
"Gia?" he says angry, desperate, words slurring. "What – why are you here? Why would... just, showing up now..."
"I know," she cuts him off, not wanting to hear the end of that question. "I... I don't know, why I'm here," she says, trying to keep the lump in her throat down.
Clearly, it was the wrong answer. "You - you shouldn't be here!" Dick tells her. "You shouldn't!" he reaches out, grabs and shakes her, and she doesn't have the energy to back away.
Logan grabs Dick. "Whoa man. Come on, just walk away."
Dick stays staring at her. "Just get out of my life!" he yells. "Get out my head! Just, you and your fucking family, get out of this! Get out my head!" he keeps yelling, and she wishes she knew how.
"I'm sorry," she whimpers, and he gives her the coldest look she's ever seen.
"I don't care."
She's surprised she makes it to her car before she breaks down crying. She's also surprised to see him in the passenger seat.
"Well, you tried," he says, and now – fuck her life with a plastic spoon – he's in his little league uniform. One he should be much to big for. Gia's starting to get her subconscious hates her. "I'm not entirely sure what you tried, but I'm pretty sure this counts as trying."
She groans. "I'm not even asleep, Cassidy. You can't be my messed up dream if I'm not dreaming."
He shrugs. "Hallucination, then. Insanity - it's fun, sometimes."
"And other times it makes you jump off very tall buildings?"
He smiles. "I'm sorry about Dick," he says, and she snorts. "That's sort of just... the way he is."
God, he sounds so normal. It's like she'd expect a conversation to go a few weeks ago, when Dad was alive and respected and Beaver was the sweet nerdy little brother. "He's grieving. A little out of line behavior is excused."
Cassidy laughs. "Grief. Dick. Right."
Gia looks at him angrily. What would a serial killer know anyway? "Yeah, Beav. He lost his brother. He's got grief, alright."
Cassidy shrugs. "He's in shock. He'll get over it – it's not like he cared about me when I was alive, and now he has that "You're evil" excuse. It's not grief. And you reckon I'm the psychopath – I've at least got an excuse. Remember that?"
"Keep trying not to," she replies. "And anyway, you have turned into not-my-subconscious, because that? Is not what I think. Dick loved you, Cassidy. Pretty sure he still does."
"He's not a psychopath."
He pauses too.
"I don't know."
"I didn't know you."
He shrugs. "No-one did. It wouldn't have mattered."
"I miss my dad."
Okay, maybe she shouldn't tell Cassidy Casablancas that. But hey, if he's just her messed-up subconscious, a) he knows anyway, and b) he can't do a thing about it. So she's pretty safe.
"Not exactly unexpected," he tells her. "I can see you, Gia – you're all about family love. You're all sweet and naive."
He disappears as she says: "I know."
There is a rapping on the car window. She wipes her eyes and opens the door. "Veronica?"
The girl responds with a weak smile. "Hey Gia," she says in measured, even tones. "Are you okay?"
Veronica nods. "Yeah... I kind of got that, really."
"Is there anything I can do?"
Haven't you done enough?
She hates herself for thinking it. What right does she have to think that? Still – Veronica found that recording. Veronica made Dad flee on a bombed plane. Veronica fought with Cassidy on the roof. Veronica told him her Dad knew everything, Veronica's dad was meant to be on that plane, Veronica made that plane blow up. Veronica got Gia's dad killed.
And I shouldn't even care.
She doesn't say any of this, she just shakes her head. "No."
She tries to stay composed. She doesn't want to break down and cry again. She's sick of crying, and she's ashamed she's crying for a child molester and a mass-murderer, and the mess they left. She takes several deep breaths, and bites her lip, trying to keep her tears under lid. Veronica doesn't buy it, and simply gives her a hug.
She sees Cassidy over Veronica's shoulder. "Finally," he rolls his eyes. "Putting the weight on someone else's shoulder."
Suddenly she can hear him in her ear. "It's not like Veronica's got too much to deal with herself."
Wasn't Meg a friend of hers?
Wasn't Beaver a friend of hers?
Gia shivers and pulls away from Veronica's hug. "Thanks."
Veronica shrugs. "Logan's taking my car back to my apartment," she explains. "You look too messed up to drive. Let me drive you home?"
Gia shrugs and shuffles into the passenger seat. Veronica takes the wheel.
She bites her lip. "That night, on the roof... What was he like?"
Gia decides this is the best time she's ever going to have to ask this question, and given everything, she needs an answer.
Veronica shrugs. "Evil?" she explains, clearly not wanting to have this conversation. Gia doesn't really want to have it either, but she has to.
"No, I mean," Gia pauses, not quite sure what she's saying. "Did he... play up the victim side? Did he... say much, about my dad?"
Veronica sighs. "No, Gia... he didn't want to seem a victim. He seemed to be sort of... over-evil-ing. He played up his villain side."
"I think he wanted to seem more powerful than he was. More in control. You could see it, sort of – right before he jumped. He was so lost."
Gia buries her head in her hands. "I hate my life."
"Figures he'd play a part to the end. World's best liar," Veronica scoffs. Gia shrugs.
"I guess, technically, he didn't lie about his evil stuff. No-one ever asked."
Veronica's hand go white on the steering wheel.
"Oh, he lied."
Gia looks at her quizzically, wanting to ask what's wrong. But she can't. She can't know what's wrong, she doesn't want to hear Veronica's secret, the one thing that stayed out of the papers. She knows it's something.
Camel, beware of straws.
When she gets home, Rodney has a black eye.
"Oh my god, what happened?" she starts to panic. "Are you okay?"
"I-I-I..." Rodney stammers, obviously looking through his mind for something. A lie.
"Rodney," she takes the little boy's head in her hands. "Was... was this Mom? She do this to you?"
Rodney starts to panic.
"No! No no no no no no! It wasn't her!" he yells hysterically, and Gia tries to calm him down.
"Shh, Rodney, shh!" she takes the little boy in her arms. "Hey, hey, it's okay. It's okay."
The next voice is a different one.
"No it's not."
Okay. What is he doing there?
She ignores him because she doesn't want her little brother to know she's insane. She just keeps talking to Rodney. "Hey, it's okay. I'll talk to Mom, we'll figure this out, okay?"
Cassidy nods and sits on her couch. "Yes, because this can all be easily dealt sorted with a good, rational conversation. Maybe we can bring in some people to do the music, make it swell..."
"Okay, Rodney," Gia says to her brother. "You go up to your room. I'll deal with this," she's talking about her mother and Cassidy at that point, but Rodney doesn't have to know that.
Rodney wanders off to do just that, and Gia sits next to Cassidy on the couch. "Your timing is starting to piss me off."
He shrugs it off. "Well, I'm a figment of your deranged imagination, so you really have only yourself to blame."
She sighs. "I must see a psychiatrist about this."
Cassidy laughs. "Yes, because the daughter of the dead pedophile mayor, becoming all schizophrenic? The tabloids wouldn't love that one at all."
"So, is your new purpose in life – or death or whatever - just to give me terrible advice?" she asks. "Because seriously, there are better uses for your time."
"Gia. Remember. Me – Not real," he explains slowly, and she rolls her eyes. Suddenly his expression changes and he leans closer toward her. "I'll tell you why I'm here."
She looks on, interested.
He smiles. "I'm here, because you need me. You need me to work through all your demons."
It sounds true to her.
He smiles. "I'm flattered," he whispers, and then he's gone.
She's got a second thing to deal with.
"Mom?" she wonders into the woman's room. Her mother looks half dead. She's lying completely straight on her bed, eyes telling she's awake, but she's not moving at all. The only signs of life are the rise and fall of her chest, and a few blinks.
"What is it, Gia?" she doesn't look at her daughter, still doesn't move at all.
"Rodney has a black eye," Gia snaps. "He wouldn't tell me how he got it. I asked him... if you did it, and he... panicked."
Her mother says nothing.
"Mom. Did you do that to Rodney?"
Her voice is breaking.
"Mom, did you?"
Tears are falling.
Gia stands there staring, shaking her head. "What... Mom, why?"
Her mother shrugs helplessly. "I don't know."
Gia runs out in tears.
Okay, she's not quite sure how she finds herself out by the pool. She's not all that surprised by who she finds there, though.
"You know, your life sucks beyond all reason."
She sighs as she sits on the edge. "Yeah. I had figured that out."
Cassidy raises himself with his arms, hanging on the edge . "It's not like this is news, Gia. You've always known your mother. Now you have no way of getting denial, and now you really need it."
She looks at him, tears blurring her vision. Generally, one doesn't ask mass-murderers, or schizophrenic delusions for advice, but she's getting low on options. "What do I do?"
He shrugs. "You deal. Or you fall apart and kill yourself. Suit yourself," he pauses. "Bet you $100 you'll be following my example by the end of the year."
"Do dead people have money?" she responds, but she looks away from him. Some bit of her thinks what he's saying is true.
Cassidy looks up at the house. "I was here before, you know," it draws her eyes back to him. "You remember? You had a slumber party, Dick and I crashed?"
She winces. "I remember. You were so wasted, that night."
"Well, I guess I had my reasons for that," she's surprised that no matter how many times it gets brought up, it still stings. "Do you remember, we all played spin the bottle?"
She nods. "I remember."
Without a seconds warning, he reaches up, grabs her and drags her into the pool.
She splashes around for a few seconds, trying to get her balance. Once she does, she looks at him harshly. "Okay, thanks. Hey, if you're not real, how'd you even do that?"
"I didn't. You mind just thinks I did," this schizophrenic thing is annoying her. He puts his arms either side of her of the ledge, backing her against the pool wall. "Anyway – the thing is, we kissed in that game of spin the bottle."
She nods. "You still haven't told me anything I don't know."
"Well, yes," he says dryly. "I'm you." He sighs, and leans in closer to her.
"Do you think when I kissed you, I thought of him?"
It takes her a moment to respond.
They stay there for a few seconds, until she notices his hand moving – on her. "Wait – Beaver, what the hell are you doing?" she shrieks, and tries to slap his hand away. He just laughs at her.
"I don't know," he responds, his hand on her thigh, moving up up up, until he's rubbing her through her jeans, thumb playing with the button. She shakes her head. My subconscious is fucked.
"Cassidy," she says through gritted teeth. "Stop it."
He stills his hand. "Come on, Gia. Do you really expect me to listen?"
In that moment, he disappears. Gia gets herself out of the pool, tears in her eyes.
She looks back at the water.
She really wants to give him that $100 right now.
She thinks she should get out of Neptune.
She has to go to college and all that, and she's been accepted to some college at least 4 states away. She wants to be gone, and Cassidy Casablancas seems to have decided to piss off – it's been two weeks since they were out by the pool, and she hasn't seen him since.
She wants to be gone. She wants to be out of this town where everything hurts, where everyone knows who she is and hates her. But she doesn't think she can leave.
There's Rodney, of course. Mom's a danger now – Gia guesses she always was, but grief and confusion have made it all worse, and besides, she always used to rely on Dad. Dad could take care of Rodney.
That sentence catches in her mind and makes her nauseous. Nope, it's not going to stop hurting.
But it's not just Mom and Rodney, taking care of everyone. She just doesn't think she can leave this town. She's scared that the whole world knows her, not just this town. She's scared they'll see all that darkness in her, scared they'll hate her just as much, and elsewhere, she'll have to just live with it. She's barely gone out since Dad died, and she doesn't want to be elsewhere and all screwed up alone.
Better the devil you know.
It's kind of funny, because when it comes down to it, she is alone. Dad is Gone, Mom is Dangerous, Rodney Needs Her, her friends are Non-Existent. She can't put this weight of anyone, and she can't carry it, so she's basically screwed.
She didn't mean to run into Dick. Really. She didn't want to be loitering outside Neptune High, she was just going to the shop, and had to go by the old school. Then horrible memories made her cry, and then she couldn't drive. She didn't even know he had to go to summer school, so when she sees him – she's not prepared. And apparently, neither is he.
"Okay, what the fuck man," she hears him say. This will be bad. She just opens the door and gets out, while wiping her face – best confront the problem head on.
"Why the fuck are you here?" he spits out, and she looks away, trying not to cry. "What, you think you're family just has to show up, remind us all, leave your mark?"
"No," she explains. She wants to not be here. "I just needed to buy some things, and this place is on the way there... I started thinking, and got to crying..."
"And you came here for the big reunion comfort scene?" she really didn't know he was so bitter. She didn't know he was capable of being so bitter. But his sentence annoys her – she hasn't asked for anything, so can he not treat her like shit?
"No," she responds, now angry. "Crying made it hard to see, I pulled over because if I kept driving, I'd probably crash and kill someone."
He scoffs. "So Goodmans now care about other people getting hurt?"
"Unlike Casablancases," it was probably a bad thing to say, but now she's pissed.
"I told you to get out of my life," he says, harsh, and she vaguely acknowledges everyone else around them, but cannot bring herself to care.
"I tried, Dick. I didn't want to see you again. Ever," she tells him. "Did you ever think that maybe all this shit is not the most pleasant experience of my life? That I want to forget it as much as you do?"
"I really doubt that last bit."
"Then get over yourself!" she screams. "I have been crying and breaking and going crazy and hallucinating and crap! I can't deal and you are making it worse whenever you can, which isn't even all that often, but it sucks and you don't know how much!"
He sneers. "What? You miss your creepy evil pervert Daddy?"
"Yes!" she's sobbing like a four-year-old, but he doesn't seem to be having that much trouble understanding. "I miss him, okay? And I hate it. I hate I can't just stop grieving! And I know he got what was coming to him, and part of me doesn't care. I want him back."
"You want him back? Then just, make this not have happened, okay?!" she suddenly realize Dick's crying too, not as hard as he was at the funeral, but still. His voice is still angry and screaming and hateful, but she can see something else – desperation. Like she can really go back and make this not true. "He was a freak, he was a sick pervert – why didn't you know?!"
"Why didn't you?!"
Everyone pauses, and she bites her lip. She has to continue now.
"If you have known... If your family, had known... You would have done something. And my dad, would in prison. He'd be safe."
"You haven't heard what happens to child molesters in prison, have you?"
It's not all that much, but it's enough to get her in her car and driving all the way home, forgetting to care she's sobbing so hard she can barely see the road. With any luck her car will crash and she'll kill herself. She's trying to care about others. She just can't right now.
She's a Goodman.
She cannot be good.
She's tired when she gets home, but the house seems to be moving quickly. She can see her mother, who is calling her brother's name outside the door to his room.
"Rodney! Rodney, come out!"
She jogs up to her mother. "Mom, what is it?"
The older woman sighs. "Rodney's barricaded himself in his room. He's hiding from me."
Gia doesn't have it in her to be peaceful. So she snorts. "Big surprise," she pauses. She has to figure this out, take care of Rodney. "What happened?"
Her mother hesitates.
"Did you hit him."
"He won't let me take him..." she trails off, and Gia looks confused. Her mother takes a deep breath, and speaks again. "He won't let me take him... to the hospital."
The one she couldn't ask.
"We have to know."
The one she's getting an answer for.
"So... you thought you could beat him there?" her voice is bitter like a lemon. "Actually, you think it's a good idea to hit someone just before bringing them to a hospital? I don't know much about how to abuse children. But it doesn't seem like a great plan..."
She sighs. She was not built to deal with this.
"I'll talk to Rodney, Mom. You just... go."
"Hey little brother."
Rodney's hiding under the bed. He wouldn't let her in, so eventually she just had to burst through the stuff he put in front of it. It'd be funny if it was happening to someone else.
She lies herself down on the floor next to him, trying to see his face. He looks tiny and pale under there, but he usually looks tiny and pale, so it's not a big shock.
"Mom told me what happened."
"Can you tell me what happened?"
He pauses. "I – I... she wants to send me away. And I don't know why. But – but... it's about Dad. And... I don't know, I'm scared. What are they meant to find?"
She bites her lip, extending a hand to him under the bed. She pulls him up, and they sit on his bed cuddled up. "Rodney, she doesn't want to send you away. She just wants you to go to hospital, just for a few days."
She breathes deeply. Must stay calm. "Rodney... you know about how Dad died, right?"
"That boy killed him?"
Gia nods. "Yeah. But, Rodney, uh... Dad was... well... He hurt that boy. Badly. And... she... we think, he might have hurt you the same way. And we have to make sure Rodney, that he didn't... hurt you."
He says nothing, but sees her crying. She takes in a deep breath.
"Rodney... Did dad ever, you know... touch you, at all?" she closes her eyes as she asks it. "Like... how he shouldn't?"
He says nothing. She pulls him tighter.
"I love you, little brother."
It takes a bit, but Rodney is finally convinced to go hospital. She and her mother are there, of course, but they can't stay overnight. The house is big and quiet that night, as it always is, but worse.
Gia's not all that surprised by him showing up.
"Just figures. You have a bad day and there you are. Using me," he smirks, and it takes her a few seconds to realize where they are. This isn't like usual – she's somewhere now. Cassidy's managed to stick to a dream, but that means he can drag her wherever.
"Wherever" apparently being "the floor of the limo."
She remembers this limo.
She wishes she didn't.
After realizing where she is, she also realizes she's on top of him.
She hates her freaking subconscious.
"What the hell?" she asks him, but she doesn't move. She doesn't feel like she has the power to move, for whatever reason.
He shrugs. "Your dream, sweetheart," he dismisses, and she's surprised when he drags her down for a kiss.
"Wait, Cassidy, stop it-"
"No," and he's still kissing her, and she can't bring herself to stop him.
"Why are you doing this?" he kisses his way down her neck, and then flips them over so he's on top.
"Because it's demented and insane and my dad molested you and we should really just hate each other?"
He laughs, and his hand goes up her skirt. "We don't work like that, Gia. We're broken, so we can have demented ugly dream-sex on the floor of a limo – why not?"
She shivers. This is wrong and sick and screw the tabloids, she needs a psychiatrist. Suddenly she realizes he's taken her phone.
She looks up terrified. He smiles.
"Just need to make a call."
She tries not to sob as she puts the pills on her hand. She's not sure why she was even surprised when they heard – creepy evil perverts will be creepy evil perverts. The antibiotics are working for the infection, so they should just keep going on.
She also realizes she doesn't know where her brother is.
"Rodney? Rodney?!" she calls out, running through the hall. "Rodney, come on, I have your pills!" she keeps looking, "Rodney, where are you?!"
She knows something bad has happened when she sees her mother – crouched up in a ball against the wall, crying. Her mother didn't break. Her mother didn't cry.
"What did you do?"
"Mom... is he okay?"
She looks past her mother, and no, he's not okay.
"Oh god, oh no, no no no no, Rodney, come on little brother, come on, Rodney!"
There's bruises all over his face and blood on his head, she can see what were tears on his face, and lets her own mix with them.
Mom just sits there in the corner.
Gia knows what she has to do.
"Told you," he calls to her. "You're so predictable."
"And you being here was completely unexpected," she bites back at him, and she sits on the edge. "Do you remember that night, Beav? Out here by the pool?"
"We had fun. All of us. We got wasted, we played spin the bottle, Dick tried to get into my pants, you know, whatever."
"I hate you."
He smiles sadly. "You and the rest of the world."
She looks down at him. "Kiss me."
He looks at her strangely.
"Kiss me, and think of him."
He does so, and pulls her into the water. She doesn't fight it.
"You owe me a hundred bucks," he murmurs against her lips, and even in the water, she can feel herself crying.
She can feel him crying.
And then suddenly, she forgets who he is.