AND THE LANGUAGE OBSCENE
Cassidy gently drums his fingers on the table, letting Madame Rousseau's droning float through his ears. He knows all this crap anyway; the same basic French they've been teaching morons again and again for the last five years or so.
Being in this room always makes him think of them; after all, this is where they sealed their fates. He grimaces when he thinks of the moment – you'll thank us later – but doesn't let anybody see.
This room seems filled with the last remnants of them, far more than any of the posters or news bulletins or crying people in the hallway. That might just be because he's self-centered though. French was the only class they all had together; most of the time, they went out of their way to avoid the others. Looking at someone else who had been through what you had – and knew it – was just too much of a reminder.
He vaguely remembers before that, however. When he was a bored ten-year-old kid with no friends of his own and no real place in the world he was born to, desperately trying to escape the smothering hold of his family and brother. He somehow fell into friendship with another bored ten-year-old; the guy who freaking worshiped his family. Marcos trusted them like they were gods, and Cassidy never could understand why. It wasn't that important, however.
Of course, when Cassidy's dad nagged him into joining some sort of sports team that year, of course he forced his best friend along with him. Cassidy knows Marcos always blamed him for what happened; years ago, he felt guilty. He doesn't care anymore.
They couldn't stay friends after that, of course. Looking at each other was like looking at a million horrible, disgusting sights; they were both all too happy to let the other drift away. In a few years, no-one even remembered they were once friends. Cassidy gave up on escaping that stranglehold, and in a weird way, it made him feel safer. He knew he was lying to himself to think that his place could keep him safe from anything, but it was a comfort.
When they all wound up in the same French class, Cassidy saw Marcos look away, and Peter give a brief, derisive, humorless snort. He barely even remembered Peter, really. He knew he was one; everyone always knew another was one. It was kind of an open secret in that team, and no-one who was one could ever tell you anything else about another one.
Still, even in the same class for the first time in years, they all mostly avoided each other. When they could. Once, Madame Rousseau yet again, excelled in that sadism she was so famous for. It wasn't that much; she assigned everyone to a particular partner. Assigning him with Peter made him really angry, like he wanted to punch her – and it was a funny reminder that nobody else recognized one as one.
They didn't talk about it. Cassidy could barely bring himself to look at Peter; too many memories that made his wince. Peter didn't act like it was affecting him at all, and Cassidy just hated hated hated him for not caring. He knew he was being irrational, and Peter was probably thinking about it too, but he wasn't going to acknowledge that.
So he tried not to think about it. He spent so much time during that assignment thinking of ways to stop thinking, that he was near certain they were going to fail. They got a B, which pissed him off, but Peter admitted it was the best mark he'd ever gotten in French.
In his head, Cassidy blamed Peter for the mark. Because of the reminder. Maybe it was part of a long and proud tradition of them all blaming each other for things.
They all went back to ignoring each other after that; there wasn't any reason not to. Cassidy felt himself slipping into the backdrop, and he couldn't say why he hated it. He never liked to analyze his own thoughts too closely. Maybe he was scared; maybe being hidden in the shadows made him feel that if something ripped him away, no-one would notice (it happened before, after all).
After December, when he wasn't stuck in the shadows anymore (after her), sometimes he swore he could see them looking at him in French. And they were angry. Like they knew somehow; like he had betrayed them. He wasn't being paranoid and he knew it; he had made her like him (or maybe he hadn't, depending on your definition), but she wasn't one.
He tried to shrug off his own delusions; he convinced himself that they weren't any better. Hypocrites would do the same. He knew it was a lie at the time, but he forgot to care and eventually, everything faded into the background again.
It came to the foreground when Goodman – bastard – announced he was running for county supervisor. Cassidy could tell they were staring at him them, and this time, he knew he wasn't being paranoid. He just wanted to disappear again, but somehow it didn't work.
It took awhile for them to ask him, in this very same room. So much time trying to build himself up and they made him pathetic again in a matter of minutes; that hurt. They were so self-satisfied, so angry, so righteous that it stung. And stupid, scared little boy that he was, he begged. He begged them to leave him out of it, and it made him feel sick to hear the words come out of his mouth. They didn't listen. It struck Cassidy as dreadfully, bitterly ironic – for all they said, they were just as bad at listening to the word 'no' as the bastard they wanted to hurt was. Cassidy tried – and still tries – not to think of who (her, her, always her) would say no to him.
He never really wanted them dead, but it hardly took a lot of convincing himself either. He wasn't going to let them – selfish, self-righteous freaks – destroy the carefully orchestrated world he was building for himself. He had to shut them up, and if this was how, so be it. He felt a little twinge of something – guilt, understanding, just old fashioned loneliness? – when he pressed send, but he wasn't going to think about that.
He almost misses them. Not so much as people, but as concepts – it was kind of nice, knowing that someone else was there and dealing with what happened at the same time he was (so he could force himself to believe it wasn't his fault). He kind of remembers being ten and when Marcos was his friend; on his more stupid days, he wonders what would have happened. If they could have stayed friends; if somehow, things would be okay.
He tries not to think about it much though. In the end he didn't really know them; it was fairly easy to send them over that cliff.
This room always reminds him of them, but the funny thing is – it doesn't really hurt.
They had it coming, after all.