CHILD

It strikes him as kind of silly, really. He's not even all that sure why. Stupid, fucked-up things happen in this town and everyone pretends not to notice; that's the way it works. He's not sure who should even be surprised when it turns out he's as nuts as everyone else they fucking know, but he kind of expects everyone would act like it was such a big shock.

Okay, none of that directly accounts for however he wound up on his knees in the Echolls' poolroom, sucking his brother's best friend's father's dick, but he doesn't care all that much.

Aaron Echolls is a bastard of all sorts and Cassidy knows it – Logan hides it under mountains of sarcasm and "Oh poor me, poor little rich boy", but Cassidy's smarter than that. Logan's father has hurt him somehow, and if Cassidy were a different sort of person, he'd care. But he's not that sort of person; he's him and he gave up on caring a long time ago.

Aaron's fingers pull on his hair; firm, rubbery and impatient. It strikes a chord; memories vicious, apparent, and surprisingly clear given it's been over three years now. He shoves them back down, because he knows what he's doing. He has to know that he knows what he's doing, right?

Neither of them had pretended anything – Aaron had wanted something, and if that something wound up being the token 'innocent' boy and a friend of his son's? All the better. Cassidy... okay, he doesn't really know what he wants out of this. But at least he's being upfront about that – he's fucked up and hasn't a clue why he's doing this.

Aaron had looked at him in this funny way, something he wasn't used to (even from – no, let's not go there). It had almost been like he was seeing Cassidy as a kindred spirit, and all Cassidy could think was Pathetic.

The fingers dug into his hair are short and blunt, with sharp nails that bring him back to reality. He takes a breath in through his nose, and just stays there, eyes closed and focused on the task at hand. Aaron might be saying something - "Suck it, dirty slut, stupid fag, oh yeah, right there" - but it's all white noise offsetting the pounding in his head that he can't explain.

Aaron comes quicker than Cassidy would expect, and he's not sure whether to say that's just his skill, or Aaron being pathetic again. Cassidy draws his mouth away, wearing a sardonic, unaffected smile that he's finding a lot harder to keep that it should be. But he keeps trying, because if you can pretend no-one's affected you, they never have.

The older man croaks and wheezes like he's coughing up a ton of smoke, which is odd, because the Great Famous Aaron Echolls couldn't smoke. Bad for his image, you know? This is Neptune and image means everything; Cassidy understands that better then this egotistical self-important wreck of a person could ever understand. Cassidy just looks at him, and he seems near-ancient; all cracks and wrinkles and weather marks.

Aaron laughs; a booming, throaty sound that's just enough to hurt Cassidy's eardrums. Cassidy doesn't let it show, because as long as he makes Aaron see he's in control and he knows what he's doing, Aaron cannot possibly use it against him. "Wow," Aaron says, breathlessly. "You really are a deranged little fag."

Cassidy can't help but return the laugh. "If that meant to be your cutting post-sex putdown?" he asks, and watches as Aaron raises his shoulders a little, as if he can't even be bothered putting in the effort to shrug properly. Cassidy just turns around and walks out, readjusting his clothes a little.

It strikes him how loud and happy everything is out side. Dick is drunk as telling some lurid joke to his equally drunk buddies and a gaggle of giggling girls. Logan and Duncan are immaturely having a water fight and getting in everyone's way. Veronica Mars is shrieking and trying to avoid getting splashed by them; she always looks so innocent and breakable. Lilly Kane is just lying on a deck chair, serene smile on her face, making teasing comments every once in a while.

Aaron comes out after a while, observing the scene like any responsible parent. Logan's back stiffens a little under his father's gaze, but the movement is so imperceptible that Cassidy is the only once who notices. He thinks of Aaron and how he always seems to be trying to damage people, particularly his son. Aaron Echolls is miserable at heart, and will not be happy until everyone else is miserable with him, but everyone refuses to be, and that pisses Aaron off more. He can't hurt people anywhere near as much as he needs to.

I could do better in my sleep, thinks Cassidy.

He sees Aaron's eyes flicker towards Lilly, catching on her like she's a fascinating exhibit. She just opens her eyes like she knows she's being stared at, and flashes a sunny grin back. Cassidy is struck with the urge to laugh again, which he resists because it would look insane, and when he thinks about it, it's not really funny.

Lilly and Aaron's eyes meet like they're the real kindred spirits; selfish, stupid, broken, fucked-up people who won't be satisfied until they've wrecked everyone around them. Cassidy probably falls under that description too, but he doesn't actually care, and doesn't think about it.

Neither does he think about the fact he's a stupid little boy and Lilly Kane is a stupid little girl; he's let himself be taken advantage of again and she probably will too. He doesn't think about things like that; he never has.

He just wipes his mouth on the back of his hand, and jumps into the water like he's expected to. It's a party; he might as well enjoy it.