HOUSE OF CARDS
There was no real moment when it started that Dick could identify; he just sort of knew it started existing at some point. He remembered a lot of moments about this glass dome he lived in, but he couldn't remember exactly when he moved in.
The first moment he remembered was, surprisingly, their mother. It had been five months, approximately, of screaming, threats and accusations, and then suddenly she was gone.
Dick was nine, and didn't care.
His mom was always a bitch, after all. He wouldn't be glad to see her go; he always knew that she was having sex with someone who wasn't his father. Didn't really care, no-one really cared. Not even Dad.
Beaver cried. He was like that; stupid kid would cry over anything. Naive little brat probably didn't even see this coming; Dick didn't waste any time feeling sorry for his little brother. Because they lived in Neptune where things like this were unavoidable; where nobody cried over anybody else, not really.
He wasn't going to miss his mom. Really.
The next moment he remembers, he was thirteen and it was the middle of summer. It was way too hot, even for Dick, and he and the Beav were languishing around the Casablancas pool.
Dick was swimming excitedly, eager to show off, but Beav just sat there on a deck chair. Dick couldn't say why, because it was boiling, but the Beav wouldn't even take his shirt off poolside. Dick felt a little confused, and watched how Beaver held his body stiff, like he was nervous, and waiting for something. Dick splashed at him a little.
"Dude, come on in. It's fucking boiling out there!"
Beaver looked a little annoyed and rolled his eyes. "No thanks, Dick. And don't do that."
Dick just splashed at his some more, watching as Beaver's face twisted and he ran over to the side of the pool to splash the water at Dick, smiling against his will. The water fight turned silly; Dick reached out and grabbed Beaver's wrist to drag him in. Beaver's face flooded with fear, just for a second, and he actually fucking screamed as he plunged headfirst into the water.
Dick couldn't help but laugh as his little brother struggled to reach the surface. "Dude, you are such a girl."
Beaver gripped the side of the pool until his knuckles turned, staring at the water hard. He wouldn't look at Dick. "Don't do that," he said quietly, and Dick frowned.
"Geez, sorry. Whatever dude," he dismissed, and reached a hand across to pat his little brother on the shoulder. Beaver's head ripped up as his entire body shied away; Dick saw him look – just for a second – as stricken as if Dick had punched him in the face.
There was an uncomfortable silence as Dick looked for something to say, while Beaver forced that expression down and crawled out of the pool.
Once Beaver had settled on the concrete – Dick thought that must be hot in the sunlight, but whatever – he gritted his teeth. "You are such an ass," he said. Dick could hear the lump in his throat, the slightly choked tone, but he just shrugged it off and kept swimming. Whatever Beav's issue was, he could deal with it himself.
That night, Dick was sure he heard muffled sobbing coming from his little brother's room – he'd heard it before. The sound unsettled him, but he shook that feeling away. It wasn't going to be anything. The Beav was the Beav, and he was always finding something to cry about.
Dick knew that; he knew nothing would happen when he left him in there with her. He wouldn't claim to be like, Mother Teresa or anything, but he wasn't evil. He wouldn't want something that bad to actually happen to Veronica, even if she was a bitch and a whore. Beaver wouldn't have done anything. He was Beaver; like made of innocence and puppies and loser. He wouldn't have done anything to her. He must have known Dick didn't mean it, right?
Beaver avoided his eyes for a little after that party, but Dick just shrugged it off. He guessed Beav was still pissy about Dick leaving him there with her – it was a kind of mean joke. Beaver got over it in a few days anyway, because one of the Beav's things was that he pretty much always forgave his big brother – even when Dick didn't deserve, which if he was being honest, was often.
When he saw Veronica, it was kind of a worry. She cut her hair; she didn't wear the same sorts of clothes anymore; she didn't flinch at the things they said anymore – she just bit back, harder. It made Dick feel a little sick, but he pushed it away. Nothing happened. Beaver wouldn't – couldn't – do anything.
He tried to remember that party. He was drunk, so nothing registered very well. But he poured the drinks down her throat, watched her make out with Shelley, saw the damn salt lick. And he got it. She was pissed; they had pretty much proved how little they thought of her. Hell, maybe she was more sober than they thought – maybe she knew when they dumped her in that room with Beaver. She was probably upset at the fact they would let it happen; stupid bitch wouldn't get that they hadn't expected anything to happen.
And nothing had, so Dick stopped thinking about it.
Over a year later, Veronica seemed to have missed that 'nothing happened' memo.
She asked if he drugged her – the fuck? And she happened to have the wheels of her shit car over his prized board, so he felt righteously pissed.
He didn't drug her, and he denied it to her face. Batshit crazy bitch didn't believe him; she was looking for an excuse to blame him for... whatever (nothing happened, nothing happened), and he wasn't going to validate her bullshit.
Then she said she knew he brought her into the guest room for Beaver. And he froze, but he couldn't say why. He knew nothing had happened, but somehow he couldn't bring himself to tell her exactly what happened. He told her what he could.
He said he had more or less found her there – not quite true, but she was wasted and they had to put her somewhere she could sleep. He said she was coming on to Beaver – he vaguely remembered her flirting through her booze-induced haze.
She didn't believe him, and it made him angry, more angry than it really should have. He wanted – needed – her to believe it, she didn't, and he had to remind himself this was Veronica fucking Mars and she was a bitch and a slut; he could do anything to her and she'd deserve it. He told her it was her own fault; that she shouldn't go blaming him because of her own drunk whore-dom.
He missed that she still had her car over his surfboard and saying that was probably a really bad idea. She destroyed and that pissed him off so bad he didn't feel the need to ask Beaver a thing. It got worse when he found out the bitch had sunk her claws into Logan; managed to make Logan kick him out, even.
Veronica Mars was a whore and a bitch and a slut, and the angrier he got the easier it was to forget the whole question.
He wasn't going to miss his dad.
This time, even Beaver was acting like he wasn't going to miss Dad – that kind of surprised Dick. Dad treated the Beav like shit and Dick always knew that, but he was surprised that Beaver, in his infinite patheticness, let that actually make things change. Maybe the Beav had a pair after all; he'd be picking up that copy of King Lear from the monkeys any day now.
Logan fucking his stepmom was annoying, but he'd deal. Like he hadn't thought Logan's mom was hot, like he hadn't thought Kendall was hot. It didn't matter; hooray for Logan, nailing the hot chick!
It was a kind of stupid situation, when he thought about it. His dad was a corrupt, greedy piece of shit – who exactly did this surprise? Not Dick. Not the Beav, even, and when you managed to break through Beaver's naive puppy-dog mental walls enough to make him realize you were a son of a bitch, it meant you were bad.
And so what if his dad was on the other side of the world by now and didn't even bother to say goodbye and would never have considered taking them with him? So what if the whole foundation of wealth their lives relied on was in danger? So what if even he could see his best friend was imploding a little, even if Kendall was hot? So what if pretty much everything he once knew was disintegrating? So what if he was scared of how calm his little brother seemed to be about all this crap?
Who cared? Not Dick.
If he thought Veronica Mars was a bitch? Jackie Cook was about a trillion times worse. Plus, there was that added murderous gene that made her worse.
She was a bitch even before this whole thing hit the fan; it was no surprise that her Daddy Dearest was a psycho. She deserved everything she got from everyone pissed off about the crash – he was pissed off about the crash. He didn't think about Betina much, but she was an okay chick and a decent lay and didn't really deserve to die.
Sometimes, when they saw the case come up on TV, Beaver would point out to Dick that Terrence Cook hadn't actually been convicted of anything yet. Dick just rolled his eyes at that. It was painfully obvious to everyone in Neptune that Cook was just another OJ – or Aaron Echolls, given the whole Lilly thing. But Logan wasn't like Jackie, Dick would rip the shit out of anyone who tried to blame Logan for what Echolls Snr. did.
Jackie wasn't so lucky. One day, because Dick was bored and there seemed to be something going on with the crash in the back of his head – something he couldn't identify – he found her.
"Yo, Jackie!" he called out with a predatory grin. He watched her turn around, resigned.
"What is it, Dick?"
He shrugged. "Just wondering, you know. If your dad's in prison, and your mom is like, miles away and doesn't give a shit – where do you go? Do you get to like, run away and join the circus so we can all throw rocks at you? 'Cause I would totally pay."
He sees her flinch, and he feels satisfied. "Like you can talk," she says, hardening her face. "You know which Caribbean island full of whores your Dad's on now?"
"Dude, so not the same thing."
"Then leave me alone."
"Dick," he hears from behind him, and turns around to see Beaver, looking... apprehensive?
"Just – just leave her alone, okay?"
Dick looked from Beaver, to Jackie, to Beaver, to Jackie, like something on a sitcom. Then he raised his shoulders in an over-exaggerated show of indifference, and he wandered off.
It occurred to him what day it actually was – Betina had once been kind of pissed, but unsurprised, at him for forgetting it. Her birthday. Shit.
He might have heard something weird when Beaver told him to leave Jackie alone. But he didn't think about it. Jackie Cook was a bitch and a murderer's daughter; he didn't have to think about anything he did to her.
It was all a mess of sirens and screams and blood – so much blood. Then he was sitting in the Sheriff's department, shaking his head. He might have been crying; he couldn't really tell. It couldn't be true; any second now he was going to wake up and this was all going to be some crazy nightmare.
Because Beaver wouldn't – Beaver was a good guy, he wasn't a psycho. He wouldn't kill those people, wouldn't hurt Ghost World by leaving, wouldn't try to kill Veronica (and possibly do something else, Dick didn't really know), wouldn't ever throw himself off that ledge, and if something like... that had happened, wouldn't Beaver tell him? Wouldn't he know that Dick would crush any bastard who hurt his little brother like that into a million tiny pieces?
Dick wanted to believe it wasn't true, but the world around him – Logan's awkward presence by his side, Veronica's anxious lip bite, the way Mac shied away from him – were beginning to convince him otherwise. It felt like some sort of weight in his stomach.
Eventually they called him in, because Beaver needed to be identified or something. Dick stared, and he was definitely crying by that point.
He looked at what had once been his little brother – Cassidy, his name was Cassidy – and he saw a lot of things. He saw the world he had created for himself; shiny and rich. Nothing bad happened there.
It looked as broken and warped and shattered as Cassidy's corpse did. And Dick let out his breath for the first time in years. It was a relief to watch his perfect life break.