Think of this as a gift to those who are patiently waiting for me to get over my writer's block on my other Veronica Mars fics. I'm not sure where this came from, but thank you to all those who encouraged me to start this, to continue with it, and to finish it. Never would have gotten written if it wasn't for you guys!
Reviews are always nice.
The door to his suite unlocked once it recognized the correct room key was being placed in the slot, and Logan Echolls walked into his dark room. He left his room at nine that morning and he was now only returning, past midnight, over fifteen hours later. The suite was quiet, and Logan involuntarily shuddered as an eerie sensation came over him. He sighed, knowing that his hopes for a peaceful night were going unanswered once again.
"I need a drink," he mumbled to himself. Though he had just come from a bar with Dick, already slightly buzzed, Logan still headed to his kitchen. He opened a cabinet full of liquor and grabbed the first bottle he touched: half a bottle of Jack Daniels.
He closed the door and turned away from the cabinets, only to come face to face with the ghost of Cassidy Casablancas leaning against his fridge, his arms crossed.
"Hi Logan," he said.
It all started the day of the funeral. Neptune protested giving him a proper funeral; after all, wasn't he just the messed up kid who killed their children? But Cassidy was an 09er, and in the end, a funeral was held for him. Not like many people showed, though. A couple of outside family members, Dick, Logan, Mac, and a couple of 09ers that knew Cassidy were the only few to attend. Veronica even went too, to support Logan and Mac, though she did not stay long.
He remembers shedding a few tears for Cassidy. Cassidy, the same kid who constantly followed him and Dick around as kids, the same kid who he has repeatedly challenged in video games, drank with, and saw as his own little brother, was the same kid who killed all those innocent people.
He remembers when he first saw him. Or what was left of him. As Cassidy's casket lowered into the ground, Logan was sure he was someone off in the distance. A closer look and Logan was almost sure the boy starring back at him looked exactly like Cassidy. He turned to Dick to ask if he saw the boy, only to see how much pain was visible on Dick's face, and decided against asking.
That same night, Logan found Cassidy Casablancas waiting for him on his couch. He blinked a couple of times, asking himself if this was even possible. Cassidy didn't say anything that time, only smiled, before disappearing.
He's returned every night since.
"What? No hello back?" joked Cassidy, grinning. When Logan ignored him once again, walking to his living room to sit down, Cassidy followed. He took a seat on the chair opposite of Logan. His starred at him, waiting for him to reply. It was the same routine; Cassidy appeared to Logan, and Logan went on trying his hardest to ignore his presence. Cassidy would talk endlessly, about sports, about what he missed about being alive, and what didn't, about anything that crossed his mind, only to have Logan never answer him.
But tonight? Tonight was different. The dead boy was bored of the same routine. He wanted Logan to reply back to him, to acknowledge his presence, and Cassidy wasn't going anywhere until he did.
Logan could sense something was different tonight after ten minutes of pure silence. Maybe it was the unusual way his dead "friend" was quiet, or maybe it was that he had too many swings from the Jack Daniels, but Logan finally spoke the one word that had been on his mind since the night of Cassidy's funeral: "Why?"
"He speaks!" said Cassidy, letting out a chuckle that sounded far from normal. "What was that again?"
Logan lifted his head, meeting Cassidy's blank and glistening eyes for the first time. "Why? Why are you here? Why are you making my life miserable? Why me?"
Cassidy grinned, a grin that made Logan feel sick. This definitely wasn't the Cassidy he knew starring back at him. But, then again, maybe the Cassidy he knew wasn't the real Cassidy after all; maybe the fake one was the Cassidy Logan knew and loved like family. "Why not? You were the one who asked me not to jump, right? I thought you'd be happy to see me."
Logan knew it was a waste of his time asking; why would Cassidy give him a straight answer, rather than just keep toying with him. What did a dead boy have to lose? He sighed once more before taking another large sip from the bottle of whiskey.
"Drinking won't make me go away, Logan," said Cassidy, a mix between amusement and a serious undertone. "Neither will the pain you feel when you look at me."
"Is that why you're here?" Logan asked, his confidence clearly present because of the alcohol. "To be a constant reminder? To make sure I'm never happy?"
"Never happy? From what I see, you're quite happy these days, Logan!" Logan looked away from the dead boy. He could already sense what Cassidy was hinting it, and whether Logan wanted to talk about it tonight, he knew Cassidy would get his way. "I mean," the spirit continued, "you live on your own, in a suite with, tons of money; what kid wouldn't want that? Okay, sure, you're on your own 'cause poor mommy killed herself, and good ol' daddy is a murderer, but still. At least there's no curfew!" Logan took another large sip from the Jack Daniels as Cassidy let out a dark chuckle at his humorless attempt at a joke. "And you still have your buddies from high school by your side! Okay, so Duncan had to flee the country, and many kids don't really want much to do with you, but hey, there's still Dick! That is, of course, if he's done with the whole self-destruction routine and starts talking to the guy who saw his brother last alive again."
Logan turned back to face Cassidy. "He's only on this self destructive path because of you."
Cassidy's smirk dropped. "He's on that path because of his own faults. I may have been the reason his sanity snapped, but I wasn't the only cause. Dick was broken well before my death."
Logan shook his head. "No, Dick wasn't broken until you fucked him up."
"It was his choice, his and my father's choice, to torment me my whole life. He's feeling guilt over my death because he helped cause it, and he knows it. I never told him to make my life a living hell; it was his choice, and now he's living with the backlash of it all." Cassidy's eyes seemed darker; it was the first time Logan's seen his spirit show any type of emotion.
"You're telling me you feel no remorse of what scars you left on the people you left behind?"
"Do you think any of them feel remorse on the scars they left on me? What this town doesn't want to admit is that they're the people, every single one of them that drove me to insanity."
Logan shook his head. "No. Woody, your father, they drove you to insanity…not Dick, not me, not those kids on the bus. There may have been something terribly wrong with you, Cassidy, but nobody forced you to kill all those people; nobody forced you to-" Logan stopped mid sentence and closed his eyes; he could not bring himself to say it.
That wasn't stopping Cassidy. "What? Say it, Logan. Say it. Nobody forced me to rape Veronica." Almost like reflex, Logan winced, his eyes still closed, pain clearly visible on his face. "Is that what you were going to say, Logan?" Cassidy disappeared for a moment, only to reappear a second later, this time sitting right next to Logan.
"Stop talking," Logan whispered.
"Why? You don't like what I have to say suddenly? And here I thought we were finally opening up to each other!" Cassidy smiled a sadistic smile. "You know," he started again, the sadistic smile still present on his lips, "She may not remember much of that night, but I remember it. I remember everything that night." Cassidy stopped for a moment, closing his eyes as his sadistic smile grew. He knew how badly this was bothering Logan.
"Stop," Logan said again, this time his voice holding more aggression. He couldn't hear about this right now. He couldn't hear about it ever.
But that wasn't stopping Cassidy. He was a dead boy with nothing to lose. "Does it bother you that I got there first? That Veronica got to feel me inside her-"
"Please," Logan begged.
Cassidy continued as if he didn't hear him. "Well, of course she was passed out, so I don't know how much she felt-"
"Shut up!" screamed Logan, throwing the almost empty bottle of whiskey in the direction of Cassidy. It went right through the dead boy, shattering as it made contact with the wall behind him. The noise was bound to bring up an employee of the hotel to make sure everything was fine in his suite, but at that moment, that was the furthest thought from Logan's mind. Knowing Veronica was drugged with GHB, something Logan brought to the party, the night she was raped, was enough to fill Logan with an unbearable amount of guilt and pain. No matter how many times Veronica assured him it was not his fault, that he did not plan for it to happen, it didn't change the remorse he felt, the blame he placed on himself. He often questions what he could have done to change the outcome of that night, only to be answered with a list of things he did that ultimately led to Veronica being alone in that room, unconscious and venerable. His goal may not have been for anything to happen to that Veronica that night (regardless of the anger he felt towards her back then, it didn't mean he'd ever wish that sort of harm on her), but it would always be partially his fault that it happened.
Logan's hands started to shake, unable to lift his bowed head to look at the shattered glass. His attempt at any sort of composure was quickly shattered as unbearable pain and self-loathing overcame him. He wasn't sure why he decided tonight would be a good night to confront his dead visitor, but Logan was quickly regretting it. He should've known any conversation with the spirit of a serial killer, a rapist, boy he once knew would never end well, a boy he saw as family, would never end well.
Logan's backlash and visible pain only caused Cassidy to grin. "I hit a soft spot, didn't I? Careful, Logan, your emotions are showing." Logan dares to lift his head, taking a glance at his unwelcomed visitor. He recognizes the boy's physical being, but not his mental. Either Logan and his friends were blind, or just too uncaring to notice, or Cassidy hid his mental sickness well, but it didn't change the impact Cassidy left on everyone around him. Cassidy moved closer, only mere inches from Logan on the couch. His voice drops to a low whisper. "Does it bother you more that you brought the drugs that Veronica ingested, or that my superb brother's and your actions set her up for it all?"
Logan felt numb. He had nothing else to lose that night. He was sure he was going insane for even being able to communicate with a spirit, so why not continue to push it? "You speak about that night as if you weren't there, as if you didn't do anything."
"I didn't do anything that I wasn't pressured into doing."
"No," said Logan shaking his head. "Like I said, nobody forced you to rape Veronica!" his voice was far from steady when he spoke. It was too painful to even say those words out loud.
"Nobody forced Woody to molest me either, but that didn't stop him," said Cassidy in a deadpan, flat voice.
Logan flinched. Everyone in Neptune was quick to label Cassidy as a villain, a murderer, even Logan himself sometimes. But they seemed to forget that while Cassidy was a murder, was too messed up for his own well being, he was also a victim. There was that underlying thought, a theory, that Cassidy was a villain because the villains of this town made him one.
"Hurting others won't change what Woody did to you, Cassidy."
"Well lucky for you, I'm not hurting others anymore. I'm dead, remember?" Cassidy let out a low, dark chuckle.
"Cassidy…" Logan wasn't sure why he was trying to get through to the spirit of his friend. Didn't he just bring up Veronica to spite Logan? Despite everything, Logan felt as if he owed it to Cassidy, to give him a chance to explain his actions, even if it meant his attempts would turn out as failures.
"So it's Cassidy now? No longer Beaver?" inquired Cassidy in a mocking tone. "Are you starting to realize Beaver and Cassidy are two completely different people? That Beaver is nonexistent?"
"No," Logan said, shaking his head. "I refuse to believe that Beaver didn't exist. He wanted to exist, to be free and happy so badly, but Cassidy wouldn't let him! Cassidy wanted to dwell in his own pain, to make innocent people suffer with him rather than the person who hurt him, the one person who deserved to suffer." Logan was sure he wasn't making much sense in his alcohol-induced state, but it wasn't going to stop him. He was going to get through to Cassidy, even if it was pointless now.
"Beaver died a long, long time ago. Back when I was a kid." Any humor in Cassidy's voice was long gone.
"I refuse to believe it. I-"
"Refuse it all you want," said Cassidy cutting him off, "but it's the truth." Logan looked over at Cassidy, holding his stare for a moment. There was so many victims to come out of Neptune, so many scars that the town held, but along with the obvious fatalities, there was those who were less obvious, but who suffered just as much. Cassidy Casablancas was one of them. Just looking at him now, Logan could see the suffering behind his shallow eyes, how fragile the boy looked-how he looked much younger than he actually was. There was a lot more to Cassidy than first glance gave away, and it filled Logan with guilt for just noticing that about Cassidy now.
Cassidy could sense Logan staring for far too long. "Well look at the time," the boy drawled. "As much fun as tonight's been, I better let you get to sleep. Gotta let you rest up before that nasty hangover you'll have tomorrow attacks!"
Logan could see though the dead boy's attempt at humor. No matter how hard he tried to hide it, Cassidy was done talking to Logan because the conversation turned to him and his childhood, his decisions, and his crimes.
"Cassidy, wait," Logan tried, but once he turned his head Cassidy was gone. Any indication he was there long gone too.
Logan sighed, his head dropping once more as silence surrounded him. He desperately wanted to know what drove Cassidy to insanity, what his breaking point was, but he knew he'd never get his answer. Why did have Cassidy have to defend his actions, anyways?
Why waste his time explaining what drove him to harm those around him, when he could be spending his time haunting those that survived?
What did a dead boy have to win?