A/N: This was first written for a "1,001 Deaths of Tom Sloane" thread for PPMB. I don't hate him or anything, but mine was one of the more disturbing entries. Rated M for a reason.

LAYERS

"So, Daria tells me you date quite a bit," Tom said lightly.

"Ohhh, I don't think so," his girlfriend's sister waved a hand with transparent modesty. "...Well yeah."

He chuckled. So this was the first layer of her personality, and the only one most people ever saw. Tom wondered how deep he could go before Daria or her parents got home. Quinn had said they were "out looking at some stupid college." Apparently he marked the wrong day on his calendar for their makeup date.

Oh well. Toying with her younger sister seemed as good a way as any to pass the time.

"So, do you kiss all of them?" he leaned towards her on the couch in a gesture of faux-intimacy.

Quinn's gaze faltered a moment as she painted her toenails. "Um...I don't know. Not all of them. Do you kiss all the girls you go out with?"

"Yes," he replied, truthfully. His gaze never left her.

Quinn wrinkled her nose. "Ech. You can't make it that easy for them. You don't eat all the pancakes. You have to feed some to the dog."

The second layer. A little less shallow, a little more honest. He could do better though.

"True. But you don't have a dog," he said. "I've heard the same thing around school, too."

She paused. Had she picked up on the insinuation?

Yes. She giggled and waved it off, but there was a frosty stare underneath. Third layer. "Oh, Tom. Do you really believe that? That's too, too bad. It's a shame how children spread so many nasty rumors. Even across two different schools that have, like, nothing to do with each other."

"I know. If there were only a way to stop them," he let a moment pass while she went back to her toenails. "Say, did you know Stalin had Trotsky killed with an ice pick to the skull?"

The brush slipped and left a red streak across her foot. "Ewwwwww! Look, Daria's boyfriend, you're making me nauseous. I don't care how Trotskin died, okay?"

"It's just a slightly less brutal version of what you and your friends do, isn't it?" he shrugged. "Character assassination. Reputational homicide. What about Brooke?"

Quinn set the brush down and fixed him with a look as dangerous as it was naive. "What ABOUT Brooke?"

Fourth layer. Tom's heartbeat quickened. This really was fun.

"Daria says you're always trashing her on the phone with your friends. You know, so she doesn't take your spot."

"Daria doesn't talk to you about me."

He faltered a moment himself. That was true. So she wasn't completely ignorant. "Okay, you got me. It's not her. But I know other kids at Lawndale, and they all say the same thing. You cut down other people to build yourself up. Again, character assassination. So tell me...how many people have you killed?"

Fifth layer. Suddenly he found himself looking at a wall, smooth and slippery as polished glass. Everything he said just glided off.

"A lady never tells," she said wistfully, staring off into space. Strangely, the drama did not seem so much like an act this time.

"Ladies tell me everything," he answered. Another truth. "But you won't, because you're not a woman. You're a kid with boobs. And way too many pink shirts. Do those really stay fashionable the whole year round? Or is that just something you tell your pathetic clique at school?"

This was a dream. Much more fun than the games he played with Daria's heart, and much deeper. He should have dumped her for this lollipop a long time ago.

She was trying not to look at him-fumbling with the pink silk scarf she had used to keep her toes apart. But her eyes shifted with his every word. He could just leave her in the dark place he had taken her, or he could remove the last layer and finish it. Of course, Tom always did.

"Do you know why you don't like kissing boys, Quinn?" he whispered. "Do you know why you can't finish? When you try to have fun, alone, in the dark..."

"Yes," she said. That was odd. He'd expected her to deny it.

"It's because you're afraid to let yourself feel anything. And you want to punish everyone who isn't. You're a twisted little mannequin, and it's all you'll ever be. That's the reason."

"...No."

He shifted. Her eyes crept back across the living room to rest on him again. But there was nobody behind them. At least, nobody known to this world.

"I can come," it sounded so incongruous, from her mouth, it was hard to believe she really meant that. She stood up from the couch.

For the first time he regarded her with uncertainty. What was he supposed to say now? Where was the breakdown, the tears? The nice little rush he wanted so badly?

"I just have to wait a really long time," her hands slid into his hair.

"What for?"

Strawberry-scented shampoo and herbal soap couldn't mask the smell of her: an intoxicating spice. Her presence was temptation. Was this what drew all the boys in her school, like flies to the paper?

"...So I don't get caught."

She kissed him. It was not the kiss of a 16-year-old girl. It was wild, almost vicious, and yet so hopelessly inexperienced. Tom had never felt anything like it before. But as a much more familiar sensation rushed through him, he considered giving in. He didn't get what he really wanted, but this...maybe this would be good enough, until he found the real way in.

She was so very close to him now. He ached to touch her.

He was still reaching out when something soft and warm wrapped around his neck.

"Quinn-" was all he could say before the pressure built and words became impossible.

She had snaked around his side and now he felt her behind him, her long arms and legs shoving him off the couch with surprising strength. She landed effortlessly on top of him, holding him down. It was the scarf. The scarf was around his throat. He could not breathe.

He gagged and clawed at it with both hands, but could not get a grip on it. It was soft and clean and left no mark. Nothing less from the girl to whom appearances were everything.

"My turn to use you now," she growled in his ear.

The dead heart of Quinn was exposed, and Tom couldn't put it back. He was dizzy with terror. His desperation increased as he thrashed around, trying to turn over, but she was straddling his back. He couldn't get her off. Couldn't get her off-or was he?

"Oh, yes," she whined. "Just like that. Die for me, Tom..."

He could feel the heat from her body. The knowledge that she was killing him for her own sick pleasure lashed through him like bitter poison, a venom more potent than his. The closer he came to strangulation the more he struggled, and the more he struggled the more she moaned and pleaded and just SQUEEZED, feeling more real than she had in three years. Not even Tommy Sherman was this good.

Chokes turned to rattles, thrashing settled into reflexive twitching, and Quinn did not stop. This was the best part.

"Oh God. So good. Yes...yesyesyesyesYESYESYESYES..."

Now.

She wailed, shuddered violently as joy and horror overwhelmed her. It was beyond sexual. Beyond anything. Tom's body convulsed once more, stiffened; his face darkened from blue to purple, and as the boy beneath her went still, at last Quinn Morgendorffer felt alive.

She gazed up at the ceiling for several minutes and regained her breath. One layer after another was replaced, until the airhead was back.

"Guh-reat," she sighed loudly. "Now I have to re-do my nails!"