Disclaimer: No own, no sue. Lyrics are Boy Caught Envy by Jody Has a Hitlist.


The Lonely Revolution

we're trading in tomorrow for today
things changes so quick they never stick
it sounds so cliché but it's true
the best that I could do was not enough

It's a Sunday night, which is a rebellion in its own way, because Sunday's the quiet day. Erica is drunk and naked and laughing, and the music in the car is so damn loud. That's just fine, though, because that's the kind of place they've come out for tonight – an expanse of empty road that no one drives down any more, a desert wind clipping the mirrors, noise ripping apart the night-silence and the cloying heat of the backseat.

Danny's underneath her, rugged and golden, and he leans up to kiss her neck with abandon. Erica will take abandon wherever she can get it – she loves her life, she never hasn't, but it's hard, sometimes, to be twenty-one and so sure about the rest of your life. It's hard, sometimes, to be so aware of how careful you have to be, when your brain is screaming stuff like you're only young once, and the whole rest of you can't help but agree.

Everything in that space is meant to reek of recklessness and carelessness and youth: getting stupidly drunk with no way home, landing out in the middle of nowhere when anything could happen, forgetting condoms. She doesn't care, just for this night, she doesn't care – she's twenty-fucking-one and intends on living it, just for these hours.

They rise and fall together in the dark and loud night, and Erica laughs and tosses her hair and is ferociously aware of how strong she is, how beautiful she is becoming, and how all the world is lying at her feet. She's got here, and now, and this last shred of reckless abandon, before tomorrow. Tomorrow, she's going to plunge herself into her father's world, she's going to finally take that last step on the road he's been leading her since she was six years old. Tomorrow she grows up, and so tonight, she rebels.

She doesn't get home until late, late, the next day. It's dark again, and she's dropped Danny off, and is taking a slow ride home. She's sticking to all the speed limits, wary of the fact that even if she's stone cold sober the interior of the car reeks of cheap whisky, but a cop stops her anyway. She groans, defeated. He's a friend of her dad, she realizes as he gets closer to the window, and she thinks maybe she can get out of this after all.

Winding down the window, she leans out into the cold air. The cop doesn't take a step backwards, so she guesses that's a good sign the smell isn't too overpowering. He looks pretty tired out, and hell, she thinks, maybe he just stopped her to say hi. It isn't like they don't all know her car.

"Erica," says the guy, and she thinks his name is Michael Green. "Erica, honey, oh my God, I'm so glad we found you."

She realizes, for the first time, Green is shaking. Whatever lingering sense of insobriety has been hanging about her vanishes, then, and she gets out of the car.

"Mike? What's wrong?"

Green runs a hand through his hair, looking sick. "Erica, they found him. Dock and his guys, they found your old man. We've been looking for you since five this morning, when we found –"

Green breaks off, but Erica's having none of it. Her heart is pounding and her blood is starting to chill, and there's some awful, stricken sense of dread pooling in her stomach. Behind it, there's something icy and deadly and terrifying that Erica's been fighting back her whole life.

"What is it? Mike, tell me, God dammit, what's happened to my dad?"

He looks at her, ashen and heartbroken, and she doesn't even need to hear it when he says, "He's dead, honey."

She hears about the torture afterwards. She hears about how long it lasted, and how brutal they were. She sees the body – they have to have her identify it, and she takes the opportunity to look over every cut, every brand-mark, and every bruise. She stares at her father's body, pale and bloodied on a morgue table, until she thinks it is the only thing she will remember clearly for the rest of her life.

She lets Mike drive her home. She listens to a lawyer explain what's going to happen now, and tell her when the will-reading will be. She deals with a quick, harried phonecall from Danny. And then, finally, after what might have been a year, she's alone in her father's house.

She sits, ice cold, in his favourite chair. She stares, empty eyed, at the last paper he read. She crosses and uncrosses her legs, trying to remember what it feels like to be comfortable in your own skin. At maybe one in the morning, she cries.

When Erica stops crying, she has grown up. There's grief to her now, clinging to all her sharp edges and all her dangerous beauty. There's anger to her now; a dam that's finally burst, a dam her father had been masterfully holding back for twenty years. There's purpose to her now, and Erica Reed swears right there and then, sitting in her father's favourite chair, that her life now is getting his killers back.

She's not going to fucking rest. She's had her last night of abandon, she's had her fun, she's had her youth. Erica has had all the moments of softness and pleasure she's ever going to allow herself to have. From here on it, it's goodbye to soft landings, because she is going to fuck. shit. up.

"I'm gonna get them, Daddy," she whispers, and her voice does not crack.

She means it, and she's going to. Like it's the simplest thing in the world.

Something dark and deadly infects her smile. Like it's the simplest thing in the world, she thinks. Thanks to her father, it's going to be.