“Black Lines” (a “What If?” remix of “The Bars”)
He'd always meant to ask Lilly what exactly she saw in Veronica Mars. What it was that kept them joined at the hip, past even the BFF vows and the thrill of doing each other's long blonde hair and the matching coats of nail polish on their toes.
Typical that Lilly would give him an answer only when it was the last thing he cared about.
Veronica Mars, in her bright pink shirt and pale green hoodie, looks like the first slice of summer vacation watermelon, like the best of both sides of a box of cherry/lime Nerds spilled out and glinting waxily in the palm of his hand. He wonders when she and her fuck-you hair started to look so tasty.
He's been wanting to devour her for months now, ever since the leaked tapes started circulating; the first day they hit Pirate cyberspace, he couldn't get the image of Lilly's bludgeoned, bloody head out of his mind, and Veronica's crocodile tears were like arrows pointing to where he should tear the flesh off her, mockeries of the ones he wouldn't let spill from his own eyes.
It's one thing to realize that she's actually hot, now that she doesn't have the heavy veil of Barbie hair to hide dull eyes behind. But this - feeling the first prickles of excitement since his lifeblood spilled out of Lilly's smashed skull - is just unacceptable. He's in a fucking jail cell because of Veronica Mars and her pet stoner and their ridiculously classy bong. He lies down on the narrow bench and lets the wood bite into his back. It's good to feel again instead of stumbling through life like he's high on some insidious drug he can't remember taking. Shit. Wait. Dad's movie wrapped two days ago; the great man's zipped his fly and is probably on his way home right now. His shaky smile broadens until he's grinning wolfishly at the ways he'll make Veronica pay for her shitty timing, for the bright stripes that will soon decorate his skin.
That night he fantasizes about watching lines fall heavily across her pleading face. They're the shadows of thick iron bars. It's his steady hand that slides the cell door home.
He wakes the next morning feeling on top of the world, not caring that he has to peel his clinging sheets, tacky with blood, away from his back.
He remembers being an onion in the summer camp play, the only vegetable that could make you cry, but the script had given him nothing to work with. The melodrama with Caitlin and Chardo feels a lot like that, just with less nutritional value. 100% RDA of stupid posturing and unfaithful girlfriends and all the rest, but the thing that sticks with him is how little he cares about any of it. How the only thing he really notices is that Veronica is somehow mixed up in all of this, that even while she's super-sleuthing her way through his life, she's still got time to melt at the sight of Duncan, her zombie prince. Duncan, he remembers, was a carrot. Duncan, he remembers, used to be fun.
The first time he went down on Lilly she sobbed and locked his head between her knees. He was standing on the steps in her pool and she was spread out on a towel on the concrete. Everything in her was concentrating fiercely on his mouth and he closed his eyes and drank deep.
He sank under the surface of the water, prolonging the temporary deafness triggered by the smack of her sweet thighs against his ears. When he stuck his head out of the water, Lilly had eyes only for him, and Veronica looked up from spreading sunblock on Duncan's square shoulders to follow her gaze. One pair of eyes stayed steady and held; the other wavered and fell, surrounded by a tide of pink.
Now those eyes flinch from nothing, not even when he slams the cell door shut.
If Veronica wants to swipe her sharp tongue into Troy's willing mouth, that's fine with him. He doesn't need her color commentary on his vast array of crimes and misdemeanors. If she wants to close her keen eyes when Troy leans into her, he's all for it. If he had to watch her incisive gaze soften as it roamed over his irregularly textured skin, he'd drown himself in a bucket.
Veronica in the daytime is as much of a pain as Veronica late at night. He can’t say he’s surprised.
The dream just keeps repeating. Not expanding, not diminishing. Just him and her and the bars in between. Black stripes painted over her. Over him too, if he looks through her eyes.
Really, he wants to shout, what’s the point? And he would, he absolutely would, except that he doesn’t know if anyone’s listening. Except, of course, for Veronica.
He wouldn’t know from personal experience or anything, but he supposes that being four foot seven and having the girliest eyelashes this side of Disney could cause a guy to act like life is a casting call for The Wild One. And keep what amounts to an army at his back. He bets that feels pretty good.
But he’s had a few opportunities now to get a good look at this Weevil kid - when he was having his face smashed, when he was having an oddly civil conversation about the disposition of Chardo, now in detention - and he thinks maybe Weevil’s life is as rollicking as his own. He chalks the guy’s silent misery up to being a satellite sucked into Veronica’s orbit until he sees the tattoo on his back.
Lilly might not be a stand-up girl, but she can be pretty obliging. Whenever she comes around these days, she kisses him first thing, settling herself in his lap, winding her soft arms around his neck, stroking his tongue, smiling against his mouth. He can hold on as tightly as he likes; the pressure of his fingers on her face or hips or breasts is like the weight of water, unable to mark her.
He lays her down and she parts her legs and then wraps them tight around him, cradling him until he could sink into her, into oblivion, and just let go. Their clothes have melted away and the blood oozing from her head splashes down on her scented flesh and his bruised skin. He tries not to think about what it could mean that it hits him at just that spot, on his back near his left arm. She shudders beneath him, rubbing her blood into him, giving him a tattoo of his own. She rolls them over and leans down to look him in the eyes, her gaze as unwavering as always. Blood pours out of her, rains down on him. Her sweet weight is dissolving and for once he doesn’t clutch desperately at her. The lines she’s left on his skin, soaked completely in, are so darkly red they look black.
He feels like he could throw up at any minute. The couch is insidiously soft beneath him and the lights twinkle gently, and he doesn’t know how long he’s been sitting in this hotel lobby, if he’s even awake or asleep. Veronica swims into his view and the day must be done because this is nighttime Veronica, dressed in darkness with black bars shimmering around her throat like she knows his dreams and is taking them on. How she got into his head like that is a mystery to him; how she got in and crawled out intact is a fucking wonder. But she’s smiling at him, her eyes shining, and when he’s sobbing in her arms, he doesn’t know if the crack he hears is the breaking of his heart or the bars that stood between them.
(again, spoilers only through 1x15, "Ruskie Business").
If the spirit moves you, let me know what you think!