Summary: and they hollowed out our insides with scalpels until we were nothing but sharp edges and poison filled cavities screaming fix me (It's the summer they don't talk about and all the days before and they aren't damaged but they aren't healing)
Disclaimer: I do not own Veronica Mars or it's affiliates.
"I just don't know if I should get back together with him," Veronica confesses, her voice soft and quiet as she stares out into the blue depths of the ocean, the waves rising and falling as gently as breathing, turned slightly pink from the rising sun in the sky.
Mac stares out into the ocean briefly as well, but does not see it to the extent that Veronica does. That right there should be a sign, she thinks. She turns to face Veronica. "Do you think you'll be able to stop the train wreck?" She asks and it sounds like a harsh question to an outsider but the truth is that Veronica and Logan know how to destroy each other better than anyone (except for maybe themselves) and one day they're going to push too far and disappear. It's a coping mechanism, it's a technique learned from a long lost friend who blazed too bright and left scars on everyone she knew, including them.
Veronica closes her eyes, aching and painful, but not before Mac can see the shadows dancing in them. They are haunted, as Mac knows all too well. They are haunted together and they are haunted apart and there are somber shadows trapped in their eyelids. Veronica does not answer for a long while, and when she does her response is spoken so softly that it almost gets swept up by the wind and drowned by the ocean. "No."
Mac nods, equal parts compassion and heartache for all things involved. She asks the next necessary question, which would also sound harsh to an outsider, if not insane, but it is necessary because it is risk calculating, even if she knows Veronica might do it anyway. "Do you think this time it will kill him?"
Veronica flinches and the question is definitely harsher than she had possibly intended. Poor little rich boy with a death wish. She only thinks this because she knows that is how Veronica views him. Because Veronica has told her small, measured doses about how Logan once stood on the edge of the Coronado Bridge and nearly jumped off of it. Taking what she knows of Logan, it is an understandable fear to have. But he was strong, during that summer that they don't talk about, the one that broke them and broke them and breaks them still, even today, he was stronger than she was, and stronger than Veronica was, but Mac would not have been surprised if behind that all he had been crumbling.
Veronica opens her eyes heavy and nearly dead behind them. Just like that summer and every day since. Maybe always. Maybe always after. "I don't know," Veronica says but Mac knows what she is really saying.
She is saying she can't be held responsible for how they push and pull on each other and how they leave each other and always return, and how they are so broken and so bruised that she worries some of their pieces are missing and cannot be placed back together.
Mac nods again and Veronica looks at her. "I don't know, Mac," and that sounds like a plea, like a cry for desperation, because it is killing them to be apart and killing them to be together.
Mac extends her hand to Veronica, and clasps their fingers tightly together, as she turns to watch the sun become a full web of gold in the sky. They watch until they can feel the suns tattoo deep down in their bone marrow and they are surrounded by nothing but salt that has arrived much too late to cleanse them.
On her 20th birthday she weaves lilies in her hair and sobs onto the wooden floor until she falls asleep. When she dreams its a cross between a dream dream and a nightmare dream because Lilly's standing with her arms outstretched towards Veronica's, but behind her is the blue blue ocean of Neptune, where Veronica would curl up on a blanket on the sand and watch Logan vanish beneath the water, resurfacing each time stronger, and isn't that what she's running away from?
When she wakes up the lilies have fallen out and have been crushed into the floor. The water at New York isn't blue and no one is ever growing stronger in it.
(Don't forget about me.) (Don't run out on me again, okay?)
(I could never)
"How long do you think it took him to fall and splatter on the pavement?" He is drunk when he asks this. Veronica is not. Mac might as well be.
"Do you think it took as long as my mother?" He is drunk when he asks this as well.
Veronica looks at him with something close to pity. Mac does not. Wallace is asleep on the beanbag chair by the desk. Dick is not invited to these sessions.
"What do you think he thought about?" He cannot for the life of him figure out how to stop talking.
Mac wordlessly passes him the bottle.
He takes a long, deep drink. When he isn't drinking he has to be stable. He is only allowed to unravel when he is shit faced, so that Veronica can believe he is coping. He does not tell Veronica how often he gets shit faced.
"I wonder what my mother thought about. No, fuck that," he laughs, because honestly, he hasn't figured out how to stop laughing. "I wonder what my father thought about."
He drinks some more vodka as it slopes unsteadily down his chin. His hands cannot stop shaking. Mac takes the bottle from him. He lies down, back on the floor.
"Do you think he felt the cold metal pressed against his temple?"
He wishes he could be drinking. Mac turns the light out and crawls into her bed. He can feel Veronica's eyes on him unblinking. Wallace squeaks in the bean bag chair.
"Fuck," he mutters and then he's laughing again. "Fuck!"
He has struck the hard wooden floor. He is surprised Mac's bedroom floor does not have a fist shaped indent. There is a room at the Neptune Grand that is covered in nothing but fist shaped indents.
Veronica turns the light on and hands him the bottle.
"One more sip," she says.
He drinks and it's so much more than a sip. He is drowning in it. The room is soft hues of blue but it feels utterly sterile. Mac is in perfect form, still as death on her bed. Wallace will have a neck cramp when he wakes up in the morning. He is a drunken haphazard mess. Veronica looks carved out of stone. The bottle is taken once more and the lights go out.
Veronica finds him in the dark and curls up with her heavy stone weighted head crushing against his chest.
He is drowning, but at least he is keeping her afloat.
They spend the summer after the summer that they don't talk about at the beach most days, which is where they spent the days during the summer that they don't talk about, just with different people and with a different element because this time their eyes aren't ringed red, faces are drawn and pinched and pasty, and they don't need the waves to lull them to sleep and lull them awake and be their limbo.
This summer they are only on the beach because it's where Wallace and Piz and Parker want to be before everyone goes their separate ways for the summer. Mac would probably be anywhere but on this beach or in the Grand or in this town but she's the only person -besides the person who Veronica is studiously not talking about- who is not leaving this town this summer and will probably never leave this town ever because she's actually in love with it even though it's taken everything and just keeps going.
But they're spending this summer on the beach, in theory, all bonding together and talking together but Mac can already feel the icy distance slipping in between them and they're all sitting right next to each other but their miles and worlds apart and they sit in a type of silence that isn't silent.
Piz talks, rambles more like it, about everything, about his favorite type of pizza, the fish he caught when he was eleven, the radio piece he heard last night, what his sister's favorite color was when she was six, he talks and he talks and he doesn't stop.
She misses the silence from last summer, the one they don't talk about, because even though it was nauseating and desperate and they were oh so hopelessly broken and mended and damaged it was better than this. They spent that summer clinging on to each other for dear life because they were going to drown without it.
Piz is trying to play life preserver, which is how she remarks that he doesn't know them at all, but is instead the ball and chain looping itself around their ankles and taking off at a dead sprint at the ocean.
Last summer, the summer that they don't speak about, in which they played lost and found with their sanity and carved themselves into brittle statues of stone, Veronica would sometimes peel off all of her clothing and fling herself into the ocean as if it was the only thing that might save her. This summer, Veronica regards the ocean as if it's poison as if it's some hostile life force that's going to drag her down to it's watery depths and just keep her there.
Piz does not notice how Veronica edges slowly and slowly further away until she is just sitting there and fantasizing about running into the ocean and submerging beneath it because drowning is okay if it's her own choice and her choices just keep getting taken from her and all her choices lead her down the rabbit hole and Logan is not here this summer to drag her out.
By the time the sky has purpled, Veronica is a marble figure covered by flesh and clothing and her eyes are foggy and filled with tears that don't appear in the form of the water but are there nonetheless.
When the fall finally rolls around Veronica is gone, Logan is broken, and Mac is waiting, but she doesn't know for what.
She is waiting for things to finally get better.
She can't cope.
They almost get back together. They really almost do.
She can taste it. It's the honey he puts into their chamomile tea after they've finished fighting and their throats are raw and they snuggle up to watch random movies that they'll watch so many times they'll both end up knowing how to quote them word for word. It's the safety and encompassing completeness of the sweater her grandmother knit her for Christmas when she was 14 that was four sizes too big and Lilly made fun of, so she let Logan wear it whenever he wanted so that he could get the satisfaction of pissing Lilly off and the days (when Logan and her got into a huge fight, when Duncan broke up with her, when Lilly died, when she was raped) when she felt hollowed she put it on and went to sleep breathing in his warm, safe scent.
It's the rush of butterflies in her belly when she sees him, it's the smile that spreads across her face because she just can't help it. It's the way he puts her first and first and first even when she doesn't know it and even when she hates it. It's the way she has grown accustomed to blood on his knuckles and something self destructive in his eyes because he knows she has those same qualities, only hidden.
It's the way she used to fall asleep during the summer with her head on his heartbeat because that was the only way she knew she could keep the two of them alive.
She can taste it so strongly, so purely, so achingly and they almost make it they really really do. She almost drives to the beach to watch him surf at three in the morning, she almost buys them burgers and fries and plots how to steal half of them from him, she almost she almost she almost.
And then she's in New York alone, in her new small apartment, alone, and she doesn't.
(I don't want to lose you from my life either. You're out of my life forever.) (Still love me?)
This is how it goes.
Four a.m., purple hues and blue colors, like his favorite type of bruise, and there is biting air that sprays stinging salt into their faces and reminds him of cracking leather and blood stained backs that always got covered with crew neck t shirts.
Slipping and falling just a little bit further down alcoholic road because he learned from the best that drinking can numb your every sensation and make you forget you're alive even better than popping pills. It is swallowing and swallowing until you feel your insides swimming in a substance that could kill you and sort of hoping that it does.
Legs spread wide open, nerves bundled on the face that told you this would be her first time. He can remember sighing, and not feeling drunk enough for this, as he obliged the silent plea and ate Veronica out until she did not feel so unclean.
The floor of Mac's bedroom that always seems to remind him of the ocean. Dark, blue, dismal. The floor of Mac's bedroom always makes him wonder if he should jump off the edge of The Coronado Bridge or fuck, maybe even the ledge of The Neptune Grand, just to see what if.
Wondering why his mother gets to be the dead alcoholic in the ocean and Veronica's gets to be the one off the grid.
Laughing until he vomits because holy fucking shit it's just so goddamn fucking hilarious.
It is voicing all of these things out loud between the hours of one and two a.m. on the floor of Mac's bedroom, sleeping for one to two hours with a dead weight constricting his breathing, and then going to the beach at four a.m. to surf in frigid, icy waters and maybe try to drown just to see if Veronica would do something other than watch him.
This is how it went.
Googling pancake recipes and how long to cook bacon because the only thing Veronica can do is sit and stare blankly, even though her father is no longer dead.
Sitting in complete silence on the beach days after days after days after days, standing still in the middle of the ocean, arms spread open playing messiah, asking God if there's even a fucking point to existence, and begging for the ocean to conjure up a wave strong to knock him over.
Dying Mac's hair a solid shade of brown because she cannot stop shaking and every time the dye drips down her wrists it looks like blood spilling onto sidewalk pavement and he'd rather be the one trying to scrub it off sobbing than have her be forced with the reminder.
Staring up at the Neptune Grand ceiling, with Veronica curled up next to him on his side, in a proper bed instead of a floor, hearing my name is Cassidy until he'd thrown off the covers and walked down to the 27th floor, broken down the door to suite 305, and stared blankly at the rug and the couch and the t.v. and all the places where his fathers blood had stuck like a sticky cough syrup residue until they had pegged his death a suicide and someone in a squeaky clean trash bag suit had come and cleaned it all up.
By the time security had been called he'd thrown the glass coffee table against the wall so that it littered the carpet with see through shards just like his life, and he had plaster and blood painted across his shredded knuckles. The walls were bleeding with him, weeping droplets of contaminated blood, and he broke down as they tried to yank him out of the room and howled into the floor and into the ceiling and into the room that had claimed a monster that maybe he hadn't been ready to be gone.
Day after day, night after night, small pieces of life being coaxed back into their faces, dizzying kisses in the hallway of thank god you're alive, and secretive furtive lunch dates where they laughed until they couldn't breathe and then laughed so more because not being able to breathe felt good when it wasn't painful.
This is how it ended.
One phone call from Mac saying, "she's gone" and swimming towards a surface that wasn't there.