His mother used to read him fairy-tales. Before she left. She was always the one who pretended she actually cared behind the plastic smile; the one who played the good mother. Back when he and Dick shared a room, and Cassidy was still a stupid kid who believed his mother loved him and worshiped the ground she stood on. Dick would always interrupt with off-color jokes about what those princesses must get up to, locked in their towers all day. He was only ten, and Cassidy nine. Cassidy would yell and Dick to shut up, and their mother would blush and hiss that Dick shouldn't say such things. Dick never paid attention and no-one could ever be bothered stopping him. That was the way of Dick; get away with everything.

Then their mother would continue with the stories; dragons and kingdoms and witches and princesses, and heroes. There were always heroes that could save the day, take the princess to a faraway land where she could never be hurt again (Later, Cassidy somewhat ironically thought of the sexism in this). Cassidy knew even at the time that the stories were lies; that the world didn't work that way. He didn't care, because they were nice to hear anyway.

Maybe he should have cared, because maybe that would have made easier to learn. And he learned, but not in the way of classrooms and book and blackboards that he was so fond of. No, this was a different type of learning. A type of learning about hands and mouths and tears and pain; a type of learning that made him sick, made him bleed, made him wrongwrongwrong.

He begged his father to be allowed to quit the team; he hated baseball anyway. He had only joined because his Dad forced him to do something physical this year (Cassidy later realized that his dad was worried about his eleven year old son becoming a fag, just as a kid. That was kind of ironic too). But when Dick Casablancas Snr. (and Jnr.) has an idea, there is no doubting it, no going back, no disobeying. He was ruler of this kingdom and Cassidy was a suffering subject, it was that simple. He couldn't ask his mother, because she had been gone for months, and she could never get through to her husband anyway. Dick would just laugh; laugh and laugh and laugh until his head split open like an orange quartered.

He demanded his own room because he couldn't bear to change with the possibility he could be being watched; couldn't stand the feeling of being revealed to others. Nobody cared. Cassidy locked himself in his own secluded space, and it was a little like having a private tower in this castle. He thought this was more like the prisoner's place, but what can you do?

He looked at her on the bed, fast asleep and smiling. Maybe she still had sweet dreams (Cassidy hadn't had sweet dreams in years). Despite the things he had heard about Veronica Mars, mostly from Dick – bitch, whore, slut, freak, traitor – who couldn't bring himself to believe any of it. She looked like Briar Rose there, although he was pretty sure kissing her wouldn't be a good idea. She looked sweet and whole like a princess; Dick was gone, she was asleep, he could do anything to her and no-one would ever be any the wiser. He knew what he should do. He thought of that fairy-tale Prince Charming who could save his perfect princess; dance off into the sky with her. A righteous hero could protect such an innocent victim-

It caught in his mind; made him gag. Innocent. He hated the word; hated the entire concept. What was the point of innocence? There was no such thing; it wasn't a boundary from making you sticky and bruised and broken. Those fairy-tales were lies; he always knew that. Veronica should have to know it to.

Looking at her was like looking at some sort of disgusting, time-traveling mirror where things pretended not to be covered in muck and grime. She looked pure and perfect and the sight burnt his eyes; god, he needed to break her. So he did it. He used up this pretty, sweet victim just like he had been told to. He got his filth all over her and she didn't even notice; it was like having his own personal (kissingfuckingsavingbreaking) punching bag. After, he looked at the fractured shards of a girl he had left on the bed and his stomach clenched. He threw up on Carrie Bishop's shoes; she looked so self-centred, like a noblewoman. Cassidy sneaked home before Dick could possibly find him and ask him what he'd done; Cassidy didn't even know what the preferred answer would be.

He cried a little, then. It was pathetic and stupid, but he couldn't help it. He realized what he had done to her, and it felt like a metamorphosis. His death. And he grieved for himself, because nobody else would. However, the tears of sorrow turned to ones of relief; like he had been freed of his unbearable burden. The crushing weight of being good; of not destroying the things around him.

Dick didn't ask the next day. Maybe he was a little scared of the answer (Cassidy was). Eventually, the whole thing was forgotten, especially by Princess Veronica. But not by her monster; not by her Prince Charming.

When Marcos and Peter came to him, it was like some kind of nightmare. They opened their mouths and sounded like hyenas; all they wanted to do was talk. To the school, the town, the courts, the families, to Veronica, every single fucking person listening in on their personal hell.

Cassidy couldn't stand it; the whole idea was brutally incomprehensible to him. People couldn't know. People laughing, poking, prodding; testing them like scientific experiments, let's see how much they can take. He shook his head and said no; again and again and again, and it was funny because they were just as bad at listening to that word as their big bad wolf was (Veronica never got the chance to say no, but Cassidy doubted it would have mattered if she had).

Cassidy felt justified in what he was going to do to them. Self-defense. They could tear down his walls and strip his soul bare; bleeding and red and uglyuglyugly. They would take his life and hence, he could take their lives. He knew he was the bad guy in this, that his reasoning was irrational, but he didn't care. It was easier to be the bad guy; to build his tower out of bone and gristle.

It was funny, becoming this Medieval monster – with his self-phone. Cassidy knew his whole situation was quite humorous; he was a funny guy. He dug his nails into his palm at the sight of the bus going over, just to make sure he wouldn't burst out laughing (or possibly crying).

They stared at the place the bus was just a few seconds ago, as if this staring was a magic ritual that could bring it it back. Cassidy didn't want it back. He saw Veronica run into frame; into Duncan's arms (the real Prince Charming; always and forever) and wondered why he was even surprised. She was the hero, the victim; of course she'd make it through.

Cassidy watched as people stared and gasped, as Gia cried (if only she knew the truth), as Duncan clutched Veronica like he couldn't believe she was real. And yeah, he went "mwahaha" a little inside.

He knew from the start that she would never do it. He was the villain and she was the hero, it was that simple, and no matter how much a villain had hurt a hero, the hero could never kill. Cassidy had tried. He had gloated and taunted and tortured her; he had ripped away the one thing that mattered the most to her – eliminating his personal monster at the same time, but he didn't want to think of that. He had given up being the victim a long time ago.

He had tried with everything he had to break her; to make her like him, and it just wasn't enough. He wasn't strong or powerful or clever enough to make himself an evil creature that could be killed; not strong or powerful or clever enough to cut out this victimization in him, festering like a tumor. He could see in Logan's eyes that he was being pitied. Logan didn't even know what was going on, and he could feel the weakness coming out of Cassidy like a radiation wave that was going to poison them all. Veronica dropped the gun and fell into Logan's arms; he wasn't Prince Charming, but that was okay because she didn't need that. She didn't need to live in some fairy-tale she loathed.

Cassidy climbed the railing because what else was he meant to do? He knew he had to end this dead, but he couldn't be killed. Couldn't wait for his karma. He had a job to do; and obligation. Logan called out to him; he used the wrong name and couldn't give a reason why, but he tried. Cassidy felt sorry for him. Maybe Logan was following a fairy-tale script too, because the hero was meant to offer a hand to the villain dangling off a ledge.

It didn't matter. He was a shell and a villainous role with a maniacal laugh; the only things to miss were lies, or had been gone for years. He thought of Mac, naked and alone in her hotel room, and just for second, regretted everything. He had loved her, as much as he could. He wanted to be something she could love; one of his many masks.

He pushed the feeling down after a second. It would never have worked anyway. Something sweet and whole like Mac could never stay with him in any world; he knew that.

Jumping was relatively easy. Like that time Dick had forced him onto the roof of their shed to get a ball that had gone awry; then stolen the ladder so Cassidy had to jump down. He had hurt himself, but no-one cared if Cassidy ever got hurt, so eventually he learned to stop caring too. Jumping off that roof was just a bundle of nerves; like jumping off this one.

So he jumped. The villain died, and they all lived happily ever after.