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Butterflies or Bullet Holes

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Gasping for breath in desperation, Heather Chandler could do nothing but try to endure the searing pain in her throat. Choking and coughing, her hands moved to her neck in a frantic effort to stop the burning sensation blossoming in her chest.

The faces of Jason Dean and Veronica Sawyer swam before her, goggling at her as if she were an animal in the zoo.

Pale and shook up, Veronica resembled a ghost. Her eyes wide with shock, hands clasped over her mouth, she seemed able to do nothing but stare in a state of horror.

On the other hand, JD's lips curled into a cocky grin; it didn't flatter him, he looked like a goddamn psychopath.

Thick blue fluid dripped off her chin and soaked into the carpet, the stench of chemicals scorching her nostrils. Recognizing it as the distinctive odor of drain cleaner, Chandler started to panic. Why aren't they fucking helping me!?

She grit her teeth, an unbearable stinging arising in the pit of her stomach.

Spikes of pain drove into her neck with each attempted inhale. Doubled over in pain, Chandler was furious that Veronica and JD still hadn't done shit to save her.

She needed to breathe, she couldn't breathe, why couldn't she breathe-

Sweat dripping from her brow, Chandler shot blot up right. Heart pounding, she took a deep breath in an attempt to calm herself. This was her room, this was her bed, everything was okay, and it was all a dream.

But- was it only a dream? she wondered, trembling. It had felt too real. On her tongue lingered an acidic aftertaste, forcing her to flash back to the awful drano (which, she reminded herself, currently resided under the sink in the bathroom).

JD's face, contorted into a ghastly grin, haunted her. Burned into the front of her mind, seared into her memory, Chandler could rest assured that she would never forget it. Dream or not, that look of pure hatred and psychopathic pride would remain with her for the rest of her life.

Her room was painted in pitch black darkness, leaving her alone with her thoughts. Too freaked out to sleep, she had nothing to do but stare at the wall, blank expression etched on her face.

What would they say if they saw you now? Queen bee, scared senseless by a fucking dream, she chastised herself venomously; you'd be a laughing stock.

An alarming thought occured to her as she tossed and turned; she had been calling the boy in her dream 'Jason Dean.' She had never met a Jason in her life.

Chandler raked her fingers through her wavy hair in frustration, pissed that she let herself get so stressed over a dream. She shot an intense glare at the wall, the kind that would easily cause a freshman to cry and/or kiss her ass.

Eyes narrowing dangerously, Chandler clutched her blankets closer to her. Who the fuck is Jason Dean?


At seven thirty sharp, the vibrant red alarm clock on Chandler's desk awoke its owner with a shriek. To her relief, her sleep had been dreamless.

Groaning in exhausted annoyance, Chandler slammed her hand on the snooze button. As the piercing wails silenced abruptly, she pulled the covers off and swung her legs over the side of the bed.

Not bothering to make her bed, she stumbled to her vanity to do her hair and makeup.

Holding the mascara wand up to her eye, Chandler paused. A vibrant blue sweater hanging on her bedpost in the mirror's reflection immediately caught her eye.

Her hand wavered a moment, that particular hue alarmingly reminiscent of Drano. Swallowing, Chandler took a breath and continued to apply the black liquid to her eyelashes.

After a few minutes of precision work, Chandler smiled at her reflection in satisfaction.

She waltzed over to her wardrobe to grab her blazer, a soothing sense of completion sweeping over her as she buttoned it.

She reached for her purse, slipping her makeup bag inside the large pocket on the front. Slinging it over her shoulder, Chandler exited her room and headed to the kitchen.

Her parents weren't home to prepare breakfast, as per usual, which always seemed result in her forced to scavenge.

'Scavenge' usually meant yogurt.

Wrinkling her nose in distaste at the rotting food in the refrigerator, Chandler decided she could safely assume that neither her mom nor her dad had made any kind of meal in a while.

Appetite spoiled by the rancid odor of the fridge, the strawberry blonde closed it without her usual raspberry yogurt.

She slammed heavy oak front door behind her and began her walk to school without breakfast.

Shivering in the cool September breeze, Chandler wrapped her arms around her torso. She trudged along to Heather McNamara's house- or, should she say, mansion- in tranquil silence.

Chandler admired the emerald leaves decorating each tree along the path she walked. The sun reflected off them, creating a glimmer that seemed to brighten the entire street.

Rounding the corner, a smile crept onto her face. A tall, lean girl in highlighter yellow waved at her in excitement. "Hey Chan!"

Chandler felt the corners of her mouth quirk into a small smile. "Hey Mac." Noticing the time, she added, "Fuck, we better get a move on if we want to get Duke on time."

Mac nodded in agreement, golden blonde curls that cascaded down her back bouncing. "Let's go!" Simper on her lips, Chandler rolled her eyes at the other girl's abnormal eagerness to go to school.

The comfortable silence the pair shared soon shattered. Chandler remarked, "It's kind of shitty that Duke's brother took the Jeep to college with him, huh?"

Mac shrugged. "I guess so, but I don't mind walking." Eyes drifting to Chandler's black high heels, she added, "Then again, I wear flats and you wear heels. Heels are a bitch to walk in."

Chandler inhaled sharply. "Oh my god, you have no fucking idea."

Biting her lip, Mac made a feeble attempt at keeping the smirk off her face. "You don't like being shorter than me. No, I get it, I'm very envied."

Chandler shoved the taller girl lightly. "Stop bringing my height into things!"

Mac stifled her signature high pitched, adorable giggle, holding her hand up. "Give me a high five."

Chandler's eyebrows knitted together in confusion, but she shrugged and decided to humor the other.

Slapping the blonde's hand, she instantly regretted it as she shouted, "High five for dwarf inclusion!"

"Oh my god, you dumb fuck, I'm not that short!" Chandler remarked in indignation. "How about a high five for giant inclusion?"

Mac laughed. "You can't pick on me for being vertically inclined, Heather. Five foot seven is hardly a giant. Have you seen Veronica? She almost hits the doorframe!"

Snickering, Chandler had to agree with her. "I guess you're right. Hey, we haven't mentioned that Duke is five foot nothing. That makes her a solid three inches shorter than I am."

Forming an 'O' shape with her mouth in mock surprise, Mac exaggerated, "Wow! That's almost a big deal!"

"Oh, shut it, you're a giant."

"You're a dwarf.”

"I'm average!"

"Dwarf!"

"Average!"

"Average!”

"Dwarf- Oh would you shut the fuck up?" Chandler groaned as Mac grinned in childish triumph.

Granted, the entire "argument" was childish, but it wasn't one Chandler had anticipated losing.

Pointing at a light gray house a few meters in front of them, Chandler quickened her pace. "Come on, dumbass, I can see Duke from here.”

The minute girl on the porch traipsed down the stairs, handbag grasped in one hand while the other fixed her long dark brown waves.

She joined Mac and Chandler, applying lipstick as they walked.

Chandler bit back a smile as she glanced at Duke’s three inch heels, knowing how short she was without them.

Tilting her head, Mac interrupted Chandler’s thoughts. “Hey, is that Veronica?”

She pointed at a tall girl on a motorcycle, hugging a boy wearing a trench coat from behind tightly.

Duke shrugged, petite hands stuffed into her pockets. “I don’t think so. I mean, we don’t know any boys that look like that.”

Following Mac’s gaze, Chandler frowned. Trench coat. Why does he feel so familiar?

She shrugged it off, the sight of Westerberg High distracting her from Bo Diddly.

Duke shivered as her hand made contact with the freezing doorknob, pulling it open to let the other two girls into the hellhole some may know as ‘high school’.

Chandler sauntered to her locker to put her purse away, not bothering to grab her books. She found the idea alone of actually doing her work practically laughable.

By some utter miracle, she managed to pass every class anyway. That says a lot about the teachers.

Loud footsteps snapped Chandler out of her trance, her gaze landing on the cause of the noise.

Huh. It was Veronica, head bent low as she rushed into the girl's bathroom. That's odd, Chandler thought curiously.

Thinking back, the trio hadn't seen her riding the bus that day, either. So maybe that was her on the motorcycle after all.

Turning back to Duke and Mac, she caught a few fragments of their conversation: "penguins have fucking knees, bitch." and "oh my god, they can wear fucking kneepads, bitch."

Chuckling to herself quietly, Chandler rolled her eyes at their quality high school conversation skills.

The book under Duke’s arm immediately caught her eye. Of course she would actually bother to participate.

Wincing as the bell shrieked shrilly, Mac dispersed with a cheerful wave. "See you guys at lunch!"


 Staring scornfully at the pathetic excuse for mashed potatoes on her cracking plastic tray, Chandler stabbed at the vegetables beside them in distain.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

She rested her head on her fist, yawning in exhaustion as students flowed past her like running water. Glaring at the clock, Chandler clicked the toe of her heels against the tile. Jesus Christ, how slow do those three walk?

Tick. Tick. Tick.

She sighed through her nose loudly, muttering, "God, fucking finally-" as two brunettes and a blonde appeared in the doorframe, two holding a tray.

Tapping her red acrylic nails against the table so they made a pleasant clicking sound, Chandler fiddled with the bracelet tied on her left wrist impatiently.

Veronica shifted uncomfortably, taking a seat across from Chandler and offering an all too forced smile.

There was no getting past her robotic movements, the way her smile didn't quite reach her eyes.

Mac, her polar opposite, shone brighter than all them combined. She slipped into the seat next to Veronica, biting her lip in an attempt to keep a giggle in. Being the kind of person to laugh at a joke hours after it died, this wasn’t unusual.

Chandler at last turned her gaze to Duke. The girl in question seated herself next to Veronica, as silent as the latter.

Veronica's eyes began to glaze over as she stared, unblinking, at something in the background. Confusion continued to grow in Chandler, a feeling that she didn't enjoy. "Sawyer, you’re awfully quiet.” Shrugging, Veronica stared ahead of her wordlessly.

The intensity of her gaze hushed Chandler's further questions, and, though she would have liked to, she didn’t press. The sparkling blue eyes of Mac began to flit from Veronica to Chandler with incredible speed.

“Are you okay, Ronnie?” she asked, concern evident in her voice. A frown pushed her smile aside as Veronica kept her lips sealed. Duke glanced to the girl in blue momentarily, the questions in her mind left unheard.

Tilting her head to the side, Mac surveyed Veronica wordlessly with a curious stare. She pursed her lips as her eyes explored the other girl.

Duke twirled her thick dark curls between her fingers, letting the scene unfold before her. A barely visible frown rested on her lips as Veronica wrung her hands anxiously.

Deciding that she absolutely had to know what was going on, Chandler planted her hands firmly on her hips and demanded, “Spill. Now. Or else I-”

“Stop.”

Whirling around to face the voice’s owner, Chandler stared in shock as she met the glare of Heather Duke.

In a dangerously low voice she growled, “What did you say to me?”

To Chandler's surprise, the tiny girl didn’t back down. Or, for that matter, show any sign of fear at all. “I said stop. God, Heather, you act like you know Veronica better than I do.”

Chandler shot back, “Why do you think you're allowed to address me like that? What do you know, anyways? Face it, Heather, it's a miracle you even have the right to talk to me.”

The hint of hurt in Duke's eye didn’t give Chandler any satisfaction, much to her annoyance.

The green clad girl stood suddenly. “I’m leaving.” Her sparkling green eyes met Veronica’s for a brief second. “You can come, if you want.”

“Why don't they ever want to talk to us?” Mac watched the two girls' retreating backs, frown tugging at the corners of her mouth.

Chandler shook her head, eyes locked on the clock. “I don’t know.” Ok, so maybe that wasn’t the whole truth, but, technically, it wasn’t a lie either.

Tick. Tick. Tick.

A horrible sinking feeling emerged in the strawberry blonde’s stomach moments after she spoke.

She had let her best friend down. She was a letdown, and, above all to the one person she cared about most.

Shooting a distraught look at the table, Mac slumped further into her seat. “Oh.”

Tick. Tick. Tick.

For the first time in as long as she could remember, Chandler was speechless.


 "Are you alright?" Duke glanced worriedly at Veronica, standing beside her in the cramped school bathroom.

It wasn’t like her to care, but the way her heart tugged in her chest told her she wouldn’t be able to live with herself if she had kept quiet.

Veronica shrugged, eyes downcast. Her chest rose and fell in rapid succession, alarming the dark haired girl mere feet away. This was so unlike the Veronica she had known in kindergarten, the bright eyed, carefree Veronica.

The feeling that she had betrayed the other began to bloom in Duke's heart for the umpteenth time, making her wish she had stuck by her a little longer all those years ago.

Veronica leaned against the wall, attempting to take deep breaths. She opened her mouth, as if to say something, almost immediately shutting it.

Inching closer to the girl in blue so their arms touched, Duke couldn't figure out how to articulate her thoughts.

After a few minutes of standing together in silence, Veronica spoke. In a small voice, she whispered almost inaudibly, "I just- I need you to stay with me. Please, don't go."

Duke hesitantly intertwined her fingers with the other girl's, the warmth of Veronica's hand flooding her body with pleasant heat. "Who ever said I was going anywhere?"

Sighing softly, Veronica caught Duke's gaze for a split second. She tightened her grip on the smaller hand, holding onto it for dear life. Swallowing, she fixed her gaze on the whitewashed tile floor.

Duke's heart fluttered in her chest as if millions of butterflies were attempting a jailbreak from her heart. She caught her bottom lip between her teeth, hating the person who made the girl next to her break like this.

"I want you to be okay. I l- you're my friend and you should know that I care about you." The words slipped from Duke's mouth before she knew what she was saying, leaving her blushing crimson.

A smile grazed Veronica's face, relieving Duke from her embarrassment. She didn't want to have gone and made things worse.

Veronica dug the toe of her shoe into the floor, subconsciously rubbing her thumb along Duke's hand. Another spark of heat flew up the latter's arm, warming her whole body and causing her to blush harder.

What the ever living fuck is wrong with me?

Veronica tugged at the cuff of her sleeve, letting her eyes flutter shut. A loud crack echoed throughout the room as the back of her head made contact with the wall. "So I met this guy.."

She ran her tongue along the ridge of her teeth, rubbing a hand against her forearm. Hearing Veronica's breath hitch in her throat as heavy footsteps came from outside the door, Duke studied her with curious eyes. What guy? What happened? Did he do this to you?

The color drained from Veronica's face as she heard a harsh "'Ronica!". Fumbling to move, Veronica let go of Duke's hand. "I have to go.." she mumbled, bolting out of the bathroom.

Who is that? Duke frowned in thought. Whoever it was, they're more important than you, a voice in the back of her head chided.

The truth of that thought was a smack in the face; she wasn't important. She wasn't needed. There was always going to be somebody better than her.

Duke couldn't help but shiver at how cold her hand felt without Veronica's in it.

Sighing, she decided that the bell was going to ring soon so she better get a move on. The bathroom door swung open with an obnoxious creak, revealing a sight that caused Duke's heart to plummet.

Goddamnit, I should have stayed with her. I said I'd stay with her!

Smirking seductively, a tall boy with messy black hair in a trench coat grabbed Veronica's arm. He snaked his hand around her waist, holding her like she was his possession. She wouldn't meet his eyes, his nails dug into her side, his eyes gleamed with lusting incentive.

Duke bit her lip, knowing she couldn't tell him, whoever he was, to leave Veronica the fuck alone. As much as she wanted to, it wasn't any of her business. She turned, ready to head to her next class, when a quiet whimper of, "JD, stop!" escaped the brunette across the hall struck a chords in her heart.

What the fuck did he do to her?! I'm going to kill him!

Spinning around to face the pair, Duke stormed over to JD. Veronica was forcing a smile, just like she had during lunch. She couldn't just stand by and watch her shatter like that again. "Hey, dickwad, can't you tell that you're making her uncomfortable?"

Mocking hatred shone on JD's face. "Hey, Heather Number Two, maybe you should stay the hell away from my girlfriend. Can't you see that she doesn't want you?" The small crowd of people clustered in the corner of the hallway erupted in laughter, a burning blush rising in Duke's cheeks.

She took a few steps backward, balling her hands into fists. "Fucktard!" Duke spat, nostrils flaring. The anger coursing through her veins controlled her every move, like some sort of twisted puppeteer.

Loud footsteps echoed behind her, and, turning around, she came face to face with an unimpressed Heather Chandler. Mac was nowhere to be seen.

The strawberry blonde approached the scene, shooting a disapproving glare at Duke. "Maybe you should listen to him, Heather. He is right, after all, she doesn't want you. Awfully stupid of you to think otherwise."

A look of horror grew on Duke's face, mixed with hurt. "Oh my god, are you blind!?" She shouted, "I've known Veronica since kindergarten, and even though you haven't it’s obvious enough that she doesn't like him touching her like that!"

Making eye contact with the much taller brunette, she was certain that her words were the truth. Veronica cowered in JD's grasp, toying with the cuff of her sleeve again as he kept her clamped in his iron grip.

Forcing a smile, Veronica wrapped an arm around JD mechanically. "I'm fine, Heather. He's my boyfriend, he wouldn't.. He wouldn't do anything to hurt me."

Chandler cackled and turned to lock her fiery gaze on Duke. "Why does it even matter to you? Did you honestly think she ever cared about you? God, she has a boyfriend, she doesn't want you!"

JD’s eyes glinted in the light as he clutched Veronica's hand tightly, right, thought Duke, where hers belonged.

The corners of his mouth picked up into a smirk. "Better luck next time, dyke," he muttered under his breath. "Come on, babe," he directed, wrenching Veronica down the hallway towards the janitor's closet. Duke stared vacantly at the place where Veronica had disappeared, void of emotion.

Maybe she's right.

“Like you ever had a chance. Pathetic, honestly.”

The snide voice of Heather Chandler pierced Duke’s heart like a rusty knife, and she whipped around. Tears of anger threatened to spring to the corners of her eyes. “Well maybe you don’t have feelings, and maybe you don’t care, but I, for one, do! So go on, act like you didn’t see what just happened. Go on and pretend like you did the right thing. Go on and live with yourself, I dare you! Because I sure as hell wouldn’t be able to!”

Chandler took a step back, shocked by the smaller girl’s sudden outburst. It was unlike her. “Shut up, Heather!”

"Never!" Duke whirled around, not waiting around for a response. The click of her heels echoed eerily off the deathly silent hallway as she held back the tears.

She knew she would have to pay for what she did, but, quiet frankly, she couldn't care less.

Ignoring the crowd of people gawking at her, Duke began wonder why she couldn't have denied the Heathers when they asked her to join them in the first place. Why she couldn't have been the slightest bit stronger and just said no?

Maybe it was to teach her a lesson. That.. that she wasn't meant for the spotlight. That she was meant to be backstage, watching from afar as someone else performed.

She rounded the corner into an empty corridor, thoughts pounding through her head.

Maybe I am pathetic. Maybe I wasn't meant for anything at all. Maybe I was a mistake.

I really am just a waste of space.

Chapter Text

“Mac, I don’t know what to do,” Heather Duke admitted, sitting cross-legged on Heather McNamara’s bed. “Chandler’s probably really fucking pissed at me.”

Mac twirled a pencil between her fingers as she pursed her lips. “You haven’t talked to her yet?”

“Are you kidding?” Duke laughed bitterly. “She’d rip my head off and have it mounted on the wall."

Mac let the pencil drop to the floor, watching as it rolled to a stop. She stood from the desk chair she was spinning in to sit next to her friend.

“She can’t be that upset,” she consoled, tugging the lime green ribbon out of Duke’s silky black curls.

Sighing in content as Mac began to Dutch braid her hair, Duke couldn’t shake the feeling that she just wasn’t good enough. "You weren't there."

“Listen, you guys have been friends forever. She’s been there through everything, she won’t stop being your friend all because of that stupid outburst you told me about.”

“Oh my god- I’m a horrible person! I fucked up so bad! Fuck!” Duke jerked her head into her hands, earning a disgruntled ‘Hey!’ from the other girl.

“Heather, how are you a horrible person?” Mac asked, undoing the braid and combing her hair out again.

Duke inhaled sharply, eyes frantically flitting around the room. “She’s been there for me through everything! She’s always been there for me, and this is how I treat her?”

“You’re forgetting a few parts,” Mac commented, gently tugging out a knot. “As horrible as she’s been to you, you’ve forgiven her.”

Fighting the urge to run her fingers through her hair, Duke resorted to biting her lip. “But she’s stuck with me through everything, Mac. Do you know what that includes?”

Though she couldn’t see the other’s face, she was sure Mac’s held a confused expression.

“What do you mean?”

“Sophomore year?”

“Do I just sound really stupid right now or did you not tell me about this?”

Thinking a moment, Duke’s mouth dropped open. “Holy shit, I never told you about this!"


 

“Happy birthday, Heather!” Chandler grinned, thrusting an envelope at Duke. “I hope you like it.”

She bounced on the balls of her feet, waiting eagerly for her to open it.

Duke couldn’t keep the smile off her face at the other’s excitement, and she knew she would absolutely adore whatever was in the envelope.

“Oh my god- Heather, you know I can’t accept this.”

“You have to.”

Duke gaped at the check in her hand in disbelief. “You’re joking.”

Chandler beamed, shaking her head vigorously. “Nope! Do you know what this means? No more gender dysphoria! You can finally be Heather Duke!”

Taking a step back, Duke felt tears prick in her eyes. “Heather, I-”

Tears poured down her face as she ran at the other girl, embracing her in a tight hug. “I fucking love you! Thank you so much!”

Chandler squeezed her shoulders, smile daring to rival Duke’s. “I love you too!”


“She got you what?”

“Shush, I didn’t finish. Oh, this next part happened about a month later.”


“So, when are you starting hormones?” Chandler questioned, inquisitive manner shining through.

Duke lit up, waving her hands around in excitement. “Next week! I went to the doctor with my mom and I can start them next week!”

“That’s so awesome!”

Duke was silent for a moment, before locking eyes with Chandler. “Listen, I can’t thank you enough.”

“I kn-”

“No, really. I owe everything to you. Do you know how fucked over I would be without you? I don’t know how to repay you.”

Chandler draped her arm around Duke’s shoulders. “You don’t need to repay me. You deserve this.”

“I do?”

“Of course.”

“..Why do I deserve this?”

“Heather, you shouldn’t have to feel like you’re not you. You shouldn’t have a breakdown twice a week because you don’t get to be who you really are. I want you to just be you.”


“So she helped you transition? She paid for the surgery?”

“Yup,” Duke felt her lips trying to quirk into a smile, but forced them not to. Chandler hates me now.

Mac frowned. "Why didn't I know this?"

"She told me to tell people that my mom paid for everything." Duke pursed her lips, realizing that she still didn't know why Chandler had told her to say that in the first place.

"Oh." Mac paused in her braiding, resting her head atop Duke’s. “Chandler doesn’t hate you as much as you think, you know.”

“How do you know that?” Duke cried miserably, guilt seeping into her every word.

“Who did you come out to first?”

“..Chandler.”

“Who accepted you first?”

“Chandler.”

“Who threatened to kill anyone who purposely misgendered you?”

“Chandler. But that was ages ago-”

“Tell me more,” Mac interrupted. “Tell me how she made you feel when she first called you Heather. You'll realize how much she cares about you.”

Duke sighed. “Fine, but you can’t convince me that she doesn’t hate me. Oh, this was in eighth grade, by the way.”


Swallowing the lump in her throat, Duke felt her palms begin to sweat. “Heather? Can I talk to you?” I can do this. I can do this.

“Hey Heath!” Chandler waved, looking up from her book.

“I- uh, I need to tell you something.” Her heart began to pound in her head, fear rushing through her veins. Wait fuck no abort mission I can't do this, fuck-

Chandler placed her book down on the table, giving Duke her undivided attention. “What's up?”

Panic stricken, Duke wanted to run but she was rooted to the spot. “I- I'm kind of.. scared..”

"You don't have to tell me," Chandler assured her, eyebrows knitting together. "Is something wrong?"

Duke took a shaking breath before blurting out, "I'm- I'm trans." The word felt so horribly foreign, like another language, but Chandler immediately understood.

In an instant, Duke was enveloped in a hug

Chandler’s breath skimmed her ear, warm and soothing. “I still love you all the same.”

She grinned, holding out her hand for Duke to take. “Come on, Heather, we need to go to the mall.”

All her worries were suddenly replaced with a burning excitement. "Really?"

"Definately, the other day I saw something you'd look so cute in!"

Beaming, Duke felt like her face was going to break. "Let's go!"


Mac exclaimed, “That’s sweet! See? She loves you. She might not show it, but she loves you.”

“But she did all that for me and I was so awful to her!” Duke protested, guilt weighing like a rock in the pit of her stomach.

“Listen, she’s probably not mad about what happened anymore. By the time we see her at Kurt's party tonight, she’ll be drunk off her ass.”

“I hope you’re right. I’m still going to avoid her, though.”

Moving so that she faced the other girl, Mac took Duke's hands in her own. "Listen, Chandler will never hate you. She may act like she does, but it's all a show."

"How do you know?" Duke pressed again, hope rising in her heart. Maybe Mac's right.

Mac squeezed Duke's hands, shooting her a reassuring smile. "She's just.. emotionally inarticulate. Trust me, if she hated you like you think she does you would really be mounted on the wall."

"I miss hanging out with you one on one like this."

"I know. Chandler always seems to want to be around me now a days. Fuck, that probably wasn't the best thing to say in this situation," Mac clapped a hand to her mouth, smiling sheepishly.

Duke waved her off. "It's fine, you should be able to talk freely."

They were quiet a moment as Mac crawled behind her to finish her braid, twirling it into a half up half down crown braid.

The blonde admired her work, holding a mirror to show her. "It's crazy how long your hair got," she mused, tangling her finger in Duke's soft tresses.

"It kind of is.." Duke stared at her hair in the reflection, zoning out. "I almost can't remember how it was before."

"It's okay," Mac sympathized. "I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday."

Chuckling, Duke felt her worries begin to melt away. "You really do know how to be comedic relief, don't you?"

She nodded, accomplished smile resting on her lips. "That's what I'm here for. I'm also here to make sure that your clothes don't clash with your hair."

"We have a party in an hour," Duke reminded herself, suddenly becoming self concious of her appearence.

"Yep."

"We look like shit." By we I mean me. I look like shit.

"Mhm."

"..We should probably fix that, huh?"

"..Yup."


"Seriously, this is the worst party Kurt has thrown yet," Chandler huffed, tossing aside the remains of a Jell-O shot.

Nodding in bored agreement, Veronica took another swig of the vodka in her cup. It really was a shit show; sweaty teens swarmed the first floor, horny teens blocked off the entire second floor.

Some dumbass had even decided to jump in the pool fully clothed with a beer bottle suctioned to his dick. Nobody really knew how that happened.

Catching a glimpse of mussed up black curls and a whiff of old spice in the sea of high schoolers, Chandler rolled her eyes. Kurt Kelly.

He strode over, flashing his teeth. "Hey, uh, Heather, you wanna come upstairs?"

Scowling, she retorted, "Oh come on, fucktard, I've seen mozzarella sticks bigger than your dick." Veronica stifled a snicker, covering her mouth with her hand.

"Come on, babe, do you know all the things I could do to you? I know you want me," he persuaded, failing miserably at making anywhere near a good point.

"Full offense, but I feel like a pre-pubescent drug dealing fuckboy is trying to seduce me."

Not taking the blatantly obvious hint, Kurt spun to face the brunette instead. Hopeful grin growing his face, he began, "So, 'Ronicaaaa...”

"Oh right, it's because a pre-pubescent drug dealing fuckboy is trying to seduce me."

Annoyed frown wiping the shit eating smirk right off his face, Kurt whined, "All you girls are so mean! I need relief! It's nature!"

Raising an eyebrow, Veronica placed a hand on her hip. "If it's ‘nature’, why don't you go outside and fuck a tree?"

Kurt flipped them off, kicking a beer bottle across the floor in a wave of frustration. He stumbled away drunkenly, clearly searching for that one oblivious girl he could manipulate into the bedroom.

Covering her mouth with her hand, Chandler shook with laughter. "Fucking hell, Veronica."

Any hope of keeping a straight face was rendered pointless as the latter burst into a fit of giggles, pointing at Kurt.

He sauntered over to Heather McNamara, stumbling slightly in his drunken stupor. "Baaabe, let's go upstairs!" Swaying, he tried to steady himself by leaning against a folding table.

A fucking folding table.

The entire table, food and all, collapsed. Veronica watched wide-eyed as a tray of Jell-O shots flew up, soaring over the makeshift dance floor. "I was gonna have those," Chandler sighed, watching sadly as the rainbow of Jell-O shots got devoured on the spot.

"Are you pouting?"

"I do not pout, Veronica."

"Oh my god you're pouting! Heather Chandler is pouting, Heather Chandler is- oh my god!" Veronica shrieked as Kurt, limbs flying, smashed headlong into Ram and bowled him over.

He didn't stop there, though, and, assuming he had hit a girl, began to grind on Ram's leg.

"Oh my fucking god!" Chandler threw her head back, rolling with laughter. "What the hell, this is better than when Duke spun the bottle an' it landed on my dog!"

Veronica held her stomach, shaking. "No fucking way, she did not- goddamn! I love parties! Turn up bitch!"

Dusting off her mustard sundress as she made her way to the two of them, Heather McNamara wrinkled her nose in distaste. "I don't. The lights make me feel sick, I've already got a sugar high and I'm drunk as hell."

Veronica shrugged, still cackling. "Sounds like fun to me. Hey, did you see your boyfriend grinding on Ram? That is some good shit!"

"Oh right, yeah, he's not my boyfriend anymore."

Gaping, Chandler stuttered, "Wh- what? I- what?" Eyes whizzing from Veronica to Mac, her mouth opened and closed like a short circuiting robot. "What- I- When? What? Explain? Please?"

Mac furrowed a brow, amused smile creeping onto her face. "Can you blame me? He’s a fucking rapist. And I literally broke up with him last week and forgot to tell you."

Snapping her focus back to Veronica, Chandler's mouth hung open. "Wha- how's this not a big deal?"

A knowing grin grew on Veronica's face. "Chan, how much have you had to drink?"

The latter pursed her lips, arms crossed over her strapless red dress. "Wha's that got to do with anything?"

"One, two, three-" Mac counted the Jell-O shot remains scattered around Chandler's feet, eyebrows raising. "Five, six, - goddamn, Heather, are you gonna have a hangover tomorrow- seven, eight, nine- fucking hell- ten, eleven-"

Chandler smirked, rolling her eyes. "And I suppose that you're sober, you good wholesome Christian child. Not a drop of alcohol has ever touched your delicate palate, you rule abiding Good Samaritan you-"

Veronica snorted with laughter, spewing vodka all over the hardwood floor. "Shut the fuck up Heather, I'm going to choke!"

Wordlessly, Chandler held up a peace sign to her lips.

"Heather what're y- oh my god you really are hammered-"

She wiggled her tongue through her fingers suggestively, wriggling her eyebrows up and down. "Don't choke on me, Ronnie," she slurred, smirk growing.

Mac pressed a hand to her forehead, mouth twitching as the drunk-as-fuck queen of Westerburg High thrust her hips at Veronica. "Heather, I think you're gonna have a bitch ass hangover tomorrow."

"Oh, I know I will. I just don't give a fuck."

"Is she always like this when she's drunk?" Veronica turned to Mac incredulously, curious gleam in her wide chocolate orbs.

Observing as the subject of their conversation found another Jell-O shot and downed it gleefully, Mac slowly shook her head. "She's not usually this.. What’s the word I'm going for, giddy? She's usually a bitchy drunk."

Silence from said usual-bitchy-drunk.

"See? If she were acting normal, she'd be bitching at me. 'Heather it's called being ASSERTIVE' 'Heather do I really need to explain what that means again?'" Mac mocked, failing horribly to match the pitch of Chandler's voice.

Veronica sniggered behind her hand, vodka splashing over the rim of her cup. "Who the fuck even is drunk Chandler, no way she uses words like asserti-"

"No, you see, Ronnie, I'm an intellectual," Chandler interrupted, stumbling to the side. She grinned, downing the rest of the drink in her left hand. "And I'm not even that drunk."

"Skin? Cleared. Weave? Snatched. Hotel?”

“..”

“I know you know you want to.”

“...”

“Don’t fight it.”

“..Trivago!” Chandler gave in, ignoring the liquid sloshing out of her cup onto the floor. She tripped over her own foot, almost losing her balance.

Mac leaned on Chandler and wrapped her arm around the shorter girl's shoulder, who blushed. The cause was either the byproduct of such close contact or twelve Jell-O shots, though the actual reason remained a mystery.

Chandler’s breath hitched in her throat as Mac pulled her closer. "What’re you doing?"

"I'm making sure you don't fall over, silly," the blonde responded, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. "I don't want you to get hurt."

"That's sweet an' all, but aren't you drunk too?" Chandler pointed out, nonetheless heart warmed by the effort the other had made.

Mac giggled. "I didn't have twenty Jell-O shots, I had a cup of Vodka."

"..True." Shifting her gaze so she was looking directly behind Veronica, Chandler placed a clawed hand on her hip. "Uh, why she looks so pissed? I mean why does she look so pissed?"

Mac cocked her head. "Who?" Chandler pointed at a short figure standing, arms crossed, in the doorframe. "Her."

"Duke?" Veronica furrowed her eyebrows, watching as the girl seemed to curl in on herself. Somewhat reluctantly, she made her way over to the table Chandler was supporting herself against.

Brushing a strand of dark hair out of her face, Duke fixed her stare on the ceiling. "What do you want, Veronica?"

Surveying her with a frown, Veronica raked her fingers through her tousled brown locks. "I- you look kind of pissed, Heather."

Mac giggled, silencing immediately as all eyes turned to her. "Oh, uh, sorry, I just.. We said pissed like eight times and it's a.. Funny word..” She trailed off, covering her face with her hand.

Hiding a smile, Chandler turned away from the blonde. "You're so fucking stupid, Heather."

“I’m just really fucking drunk, okay?”

“Didn’t you just say you weren’t?”

“I said I wasn’t as drunk-”

"I’m gonna go?" Duke offered, jabbing her thumb behind her towards the hallway branching off from the living room.

Veronica stuck out her arm, preventing the other girl from leaving. "No, listen, we want you here." Duke raised an eyebrow, crossing her arms. "We do! You're part of our group and we love you."

Chandler heaved a sigh, sloshing the alcohol in her cup around in a circle. "You're so fucking depressing, Heath."

Duke spun around, freezing. "..What did you just call me?"

"Uh, Heath? You know, like.. Heath.. er? It's a nickname, dummy."

"Not my nickname," Duke's hands balled into fists. "That is not my nickname that will never be my nickname! Why can't we have a good time for once? Why can't we have fun for once? Why can't we just be normal for once?"

"We don't get to be normal," Chandler scoffed, laughing. "We don't get to have a good time. It's just the way it is, Heather, you're gonna have to live with it."

At that, a frown crept onto Veronica's face. "What do you mean you never get to have a good time?"

Chandler rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Dumbass, how do you expect us to be top of the school without being harassed by eighteen different guys at every party? We need to be on top, so we just deal."

"Yeah," Mac added, jiggling her leg. "Like Heather said; that's just the way it is. But it’s fine, Ronnie, really. We just.. we don't want to risk it."

Duke rolled her eyes as she spun a silver ring on her middle finger. Under her breath, she muttered, "Power, power, all about fucking power."

"What?" The scrutinizing stare of Heather Chandler locked on her, Duke closed her eyes in frustration. "Nothing."

Placing her own cup on the table beside the bottle of alcohol, Veronica asked, "How’re we gonna get home?"

When she didn't receive an answer, the brunette laughed. "Raise your hand if you're even a little drunk." Surprisingly, Duke didn't raise her hand.

Veronica eyed the red cup in her hand, questions emerging in her mind. "What're y' drinking if you're not drunk?"

"Water."

"Oh."

There was a brief pause in the conversation before a quiet voice piped up, "Pussy~"

Mac pushed her lightly. "Oh, stop it, Chandler."

"Whatever," Duke shrugged, gazing into the abyss of her now empty cup.

Worried frown brushing her face, Mac shuffled closer to Duke. "At least the food here is good. That's a first."

Veronica chugged the rest of her drink, nodding. "I mean, at least it's not school lunch."

Duke offered a halfhearted smile. "Yes, but can you even really call that lunch?"

"How would you even know if you don't even eat it?" Chandler stared at her expectantly, tantalizing smirk dripping off her pink tinged face.

Duke's brilliant green eyes grew wide. Catching her lower lip between her teeth, she bit down hard to keep the prideful beam off her face. "I guess you're right."

It was Chandler's turn to back off, confusion etched clumsily on her features. "That's.. That's supposed to be an insult, you dumb fuck."

The hesitation in her words perplexed Duke, but she knew she could never question the other. “Oh."

Could Mac have been right? Does she really care about me?

Chapter Text

The ceiling of Heather Duke's room was painted in pitch black; much like how her heart felt. It weighed heavy in her chest, pulling her down to absolute rock bottom.

Alone on a Thursday. How very.

Horrible, sinking emptiness washed over her, physical pain replacing the ache in her heart. She screwed her eyes shut, a miserable loneliness taking over her mind and shutting out any light.

Pulling the blanket tight around her tiny frame, Duke sighed into the hurt. She stared blankly into the dark abyss of above, breathing staggered and heartbeat accelerated.

Though she knew keeping her feelings bottled up inside wasn't healthy, she couldn't help but acknowledge that not a lot of the things she did were considered healthy.

It was at if the inky darkness was seeping into her bloodstream; traveling into her brain, infecting her heart, making her go insane.

And the worst part, to her, was how Veronica managed to singlehandedly be both the dark and the light.

It's so fucking unfair, she doesn't even know what she does to me. Veronica is absolutely everything to me.

But she tears me apart.

Staring vacantly up, Duke let her dark brown curls pool around her shoulders over the pillow. She rubbed her eyes roughly, yawning as the little radio on her nightstand began to hum a familiar tune.

The song switched to an annoyingly loud rock song. I can't stand rock. The only person I know who can is.. God damnit, of course it's Veronica..

With a quick swipe of her hand, the radio fell to the floor with a crash and fizzled out.

A familiar face floated to the surface for the millionth time.

Veronica. Again. Fuck her.

She's just so perfect. Everybody loves her. I'm not special, I'm not different. And most of all, I'm not important to her.

Why does she get to be so flawless? Why do I have to be the geek? Why, god, why does she get to be so fucking pretty?

She let her hands fall to cover her flushing face. God, I sound like such a dyke.

Is it even ok to think these things about a girl? Like how her lips are probably really soft. I bet they taste like vanilla. That's how she smells. Vanilla and lavender. And I don't know how lavender tastes.

Like how she's the most beautiful person I've ever met in my entire life.

Her body tensed as she realized that she was only setting herself up for a letdown. Veronica would never be hers.

But she's so nice to think about..

Like how she bites her lip when she's thinking really hard. Sometimes Duke would tell her that she didn't know the answer either, just so she could still watch her.

Like how she gets all clingy during scary movies, so Duke always found an excuse to sit next to her when they watched one.

Like how she sleeps all curled up, and she'll cuddle anyone near her. I hate thinking that she does it with other people besides me.

I always leave before she notices, so I don't even think she knows she does it.

Duke bit the inside of her cheek until it bled, angry at herself for falling for Veronica's warm chocolate eyes that felt so much like home and that crooked fucking smile.

She raked her mind for something, anything, anything at all to think about except her.
Duke pulled my pillow out from under her head and slammed it on her face, muffling a soft groan.

Veronica Sawyer, you are fucking up my life and I don't appreciate it.

She can be annoying as all fuck, she can really piss me off sometimes.

But every time she smiles at me, every time she cuddles up to me during a movie; it makes up for all of it.

Duke squeezed her eyes shut tight, hating the conclusion she had come to many times before. I know I can't hide anymore.

I'm in love with Veronica Sawyer, but she will never love me. She will never look at me the way I look at her.

Blinking suddenly, Duke realized that the tears on her eyelashes dangerously close to falling. The lump in her throat only grew, suffocating her.

She watched in horror the walls she had so carefully constructed begin to fall in a smoking landslide of rubble at her feet.

I won’t cry, I won’t cry, I can’t cry-

The heartbeat in her stomach thudded, reminding her painfully that she was still alive. Why am I still alive, I shouldn't be alive, I don’t deserve to be alive-

Duke grit her teeth, tensing up as she began to shake. The tears rolled down the side of her face, pooling on her pillow and absorbing into it. The spots left were cold, wet, unforgiving.

I hate her perfect fucking laugh, her adorable fucking eyes, her goddamn fucking smile.

She squeezed her eyes shut as tightly as she could, curling in on herself and biting her lip. It won't stop. The hurt won't stop. The ache won't go away.

She's taken by another. Jason Dean.

Duke wanted to sucker punch JD in the stomach so hard that he flew right into the next century. (Well, she would if she were strong enough, but just, shut up about it-)

The way his arms snaked around Veronica's neck, the way he smirked when he dragged her into the janitors closet- ugh, it made the brunette want to vomit just thinking about it.

She detested him with every fiber of her body, hated his guts, wished she had never laid eyes on his messy mop of black hair or swishing trench coat. He gave her a bad feeling.

Burning gaze locked on her ceiling fan as it spun, Duke's hands clenched into fists as thoughts of JD flooded her mind. He ruined Veronica. She could barely even talk when he was by her side, she wouldn't even make eye contact with him.

She seethed, punching her pillow so hard that it left an indentation. I wish that was his fucking head.

She screwed her eyes shut tightly, wanting nothing more than to beat the absolute shit of her (goddammit, I finally have to admit it) crush's new fuckbuddy.

He didn't deserve her. Hell, Duke herself didn't even deserve her.

Exactly, the voice in her head screamed, you don't deserve her! You will never be good enough for her! You never had a shot, why would she want you of all people?

Hating that the voice was true, Duke felt fury building in her stomach. Gritting her teeth, she willed the flame she held for Veronica to go out. She knew damn well that that wasn't going to work, but it couldn't hurt to try.

Duke cracked her knuckles loudly, earning a shout of "Heather what did I say about that!?" from her father's room.

Of course, that only caused her already pissy mood to worsen considerably. Chocolate locks spilling over her pillow, she wondered if Veronica ever thought about her.

Does she ever want to talk to me? Does she ever miss me?

The stars shining outside her window illuminated a patch of grass, a single blue petal lay amongst the dew laden blades.

Yanking her blankets over her head, Duke decided that the universe was against her.

That, or I just have fucking terrible luck.

Even with her eyes shut, Duke could see every detail of Veronica's face in almost alarmingly sharp clarity.

Her brown eyes, sparkling with flecks of gold in the perfect lighting. The small dimple she took so much pride in that appeared only in her right cheek.

Her lips. God, her lips-

Biting down hard upon her own bottom lip, Duke brought her thoughts to an abrupt stop. She couldn't continue lusting after Veronica, she would only end up broken and tossed aside in the bitter end.

Clutching her pillow to her chest, though, Duke couldn't stop herself from imagining it as the sweet smelling girl who constantly ran through her head.

She would wrap her arms around Veronica, hold her close, tangle her fingers in her hair and whisper sweet nothings in her ear.

But does she even care?

Duke turned on her side and let her eyes flutter shut. Maybe if I go to sleep I won’t wake up.


“You’re where?” Heather Chandler exclaimed, gaping at the wall as she pressed the phone into her cheek. “Why the ever living fuck are you in the cemetery?”

She was silent a moment before rolling her eyes. “Heather, I really do hate to break it to you, but I don’t think Kurt and Ram asked you to come for a little kiss and tell. And I thought you broke up with Kurt?"

Chandler pinched the bridge of her nose, inhaling slowly. “No, that’s not what normal exes do.”

“Yeah no shit you should’ve known, dumbass,” she hissed. “Ugh, stay put, I’m coming.”

Groaning, she hung up and placed the phone on the dresser beside her bed. “For fuck’s sake..” she muttered, pulling on an old pair of flats.

Of course Heather McNamara, of all people, would believe that Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney could be redeemed in any way shape or form.

Chandler rifled through her purse, grappling for the silver keychain on which her keys hung.

“Here comes fun,” she sighed, slipping out the front door into the crisp September night.

Cringing, Chandler internally cursed how fucking loud her Porsche’s engine could be. She should know better than to sneak out, yet here she was.

Why though? Why is Mac worth it?

Clutching the steering wheel so her knuckles turned white, she ignored the question and instead turned her attention to not getting into an accident.

Once she was cruising steadily along, though, the thought persisted to bother her.

You wouldn’t do this for anyone else. Why her?

Chandler fixed her gaze to the middle of the road, fighting the urge to light a cigarette and smoke away her worries.

It’s because cigarettes will kill me, she told herself, stare laser focused straight ahead.

No, it’s because you know Mac can’t stand the smell of smoke.

Accelerating, Chandler disregarded the voice. Not because it was wrong, actually more so because it was right. Way to fucking right for my delusional brain at one in the god damn morning.

“I don’t need this right now,” she heaved a sigh, mind swirling with drowsy wonderings.

Headlight blazing, Chandler swerved dangerously close to the side of the road as a speeding driver hurtled by.

She flipped him off, frustration intensifying. “Dickhead, watch where you’re fucking going!”

Yawning, Chandler rubbed the sleep out of her eye while the other steered. Why am I doing this again?

She drew a blank, and, smashing her fist against the horn in a sudden burst of anger, realized that she’d forgotten to lock the door.

If her parents came home any time that night- well, morning- there wasn’t a doubt in Chandler’s mind that they’d notice.

Fuck.

She rounded the corner into the cemetery parking lot, headlights illuminating a lanky figure, curled in a ball in the dirt.

Slamming on the brakes, Chandler unbuckled her seatbelt and bolted over to the patch of grass painted in light. Oh my god.

“Mac!?”

Her eyes twitched, obviously unwilling to open. “Chandler?”

“I’m here,” she comforted, unsure of herself as she raked her fingers through the other girl’s loose golden curls.

Heart jumping to her throat as Mac’s eyes threatened to flutter shut, Chandler cradled her head in her arms. “What did they do to you?”

“I- I’m sorry for dragging you out here at two am,” Mac mumbled, head lolling forward.

“What did they do?”

“It doesn’t matter, we need to.. We need to get out of here. But we need to get Veronica first..”

Chandler's eyes narrowed. "Why is Veronica here? What's going on?"

"Veronica and JD," Mac explained, voice wavering. "He gave her a g-gun, told her that the bullets were fake, and he ran.. He ran after Ram and Kurt. I don’t think he got them, though.”

“Where did Veronica go?

“She went running, into the forest.”

Swallowing thickly, Chandler hesitated before asking, “She didn’t.. uh, she didn’t shoot anyone, did she?”

Mac shook her head. “She started crying the second JD shot at them, then she dropped the gun and booked it.” 

Chandler gaped. "Where were you?"

"I was hiding behind-" Mac flinched back into her arms. “H-heather, watch out!” 

A bullet whizzed by Chandler’s ear, narrowly missing her and puncturing a tree on the outskirts of the cemetary.

Scrambling to her feet, she scooped the other girl into her arms. “Change of plans, Sunshine,” Chandler panted, dashing to get behind a gravestone.

She pressed her back against it, clutching the girl in her arms even tighter. It’s worth it because I love h-

“Come out, come out where ever you are..”

Jason goddamn motherfucking Dean.

“Oh come on, Heather Number One, you don’t stand a chance.”

Mac burst into silent tears, trying to hide her face from Chandler.

Although she couldn’t see him, Chandler could sense JD was running out of patience.

“Heather Chandler, surrender now or I’ll kill your girlfriend right in front of you. Do not push me. This is your final warning.”

“No!” Mac screamed, tears soaking into her blouse. “Heather, I’ll go, please, don’t-”

Too late.

Chandler sprung to her feet, the blazing fury in her eyes meeting the cold black pair belonging to JD.

His mouth grew into a Cheshire grin. “Good girl.”

Tears rolling down her cheeks, she held her arms out. “Take me. Take me and do whatever you want to me.”

JD smirked, raising the gun.

“On one condition.”

He pointed it at Chandler’s chest, and, to her surprise, let her speak.

She felt her lower lip trembling, her voice broke. “Don’t you dare come near my girl ever again.”

“WAIT!” Mac wailed, tripping as she lost her footing.

BOOM.

The bullet struck just above Chandler’s hip, lodging in her left arm. She collapsed to the ground, blood pouring from the wound.

“HEATHER!” Mac shrieked hysterically, crawling to her side. She shifted her gaze to JD, hatred coursing through her veins.

She jumped to her feet, ignoring the shooting pain in her ankle. “YOU SICK MOTHERFUCKING BASTARD! WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?”

He tossed the gun into the grass, beaming. “Darling, I do what I can to make the world a better place. There world simply is not wide enough for both Heather Chandler and me.”

Mac broke down, sobbing uncontrollably. “Heather-”

JD turned around, stuffing his hands into his pockets. “Westerberg may finally have peace. Hope you have a horrible time in Hell, Heather Number One.”

His shoes crunched on frosted leaves as he strode into the forest, head held high.

“Heather, open your eyes,” Mac pleaded desperately, coming to her knees.

And the world stopped.

Her world, her entire life, lay before her bleeding out on the grass.

Mac took off her blazer and tied it around Chandler’s arm, hopelessly trying to stop the bleeding.

Chandler gazed up at her through half lidded, panic stricken eyes. "It h-hurts.."

"You're g-going to be okay, it's going to b-be okay," Mac reassured, nearly blinded by tears.

She wrapped her arms around Chandler’s torso, pulling her into her arms. Lifting firmly, she picked up the other girl’s lifeless body. “Please don’t leave me.”

Mac carried her to the Porsche, gently resting her in the passenger seat so that her head stayed propped up.

She jumped in the other side, and, upon realizing that they keys were in the ignition after a moment of panic, slammed the door shut and sped to the hospital.

She can’t die, she won’t die, she’s too strong to die.

Chandler groaned softly, holding her arm. “H-heather.”

“Shh, please Heather, I need you to live,” Mac glanced over to the strawberry blonde, horrified as blood seeped through the yellow blazer.

Chandler smiled through her tears. “I thought y-you were going to d-die..”

How can she still be fixed on that?

“Sunshine?”

“Yeah?”

“I l-love you."


 Brrring!

“Hello?” Duke answered the phone groggily, running a hand through her hair.

She froze, listening to the frantic voice on the other end. “You’re where? Oh my god- I’m on my way.”

Throwing on a jacket, she rushed out of the door with just enough time to grab her dad’s car keys.

Why the fuck is Chandler in the hospital?

It had to be bad if they were willing to wake her up at 4 in the morning.

Duke dashed to her dad’s bright blue Volkswagen, shoving the key in the ignition with the accuracy of a drunk five year old.

She slammed on the gas, eyes wide with fear. All she had heard was “Chandler, shot, hospital, hurry!”

There’s no way she could die.

“Move, fucking squirrel!” Duke spat, running a red light. The only thing she could focus on was the girl she knew laid on a hospital bed at that exact moment.

She’ll be okay, though.

Tapping her fingers against the wheel as she waited for the parade of cars to die down, Duke felt her heart sink.

But she’s going to be fine.

Duke swallowed the lump in her throat, biting her lip as she gripped the gear shift tighter.

She won’t die.

She can't die.

She's going to be okay.

She’s going to live.

Right?


 Mac held Chandler’s right hand gently, running her thumb along the other girl’s knuckles.

“Please, Heather, please hang on. For me.”

Her chest rose and fell slowly, giving Mac a little shred of hope to hold on to.

Slam!

"Heather!" Duke ran in, throwing herself into the blue plastic chair beside Mac. "What the fuck happened!?"

Mac tore her eyes off of Chandler, turning instead to face the brunette. "JD shot her," she spat out his name, anger flaring up once again. Softening, she added, "She was t-trying to save me."

Watching as tears pricked the corners her eyes, Duke wiped them away with the pad of her thumb before they could fall.

Taking slow, steadying breaths, Mac closed her eyes. "She can't die. She- she can't.."

"Is that your blazer?"

Mac followed Duke's gaze to the blood stained remains of her blazer, holding back tears. "Y-yeah. I didn't exactly have a tourniquet on hand.”

Duke sunk deeper into the chair. "God.. How long have you guys been in here, anyways?"

"Two and a half hours," she muttered, sipping a box of apple juice. "I've been drinking this fucking juice since we got here at, like, two in the morning."

"You must be exhausted, getting no sleep and all," Duke commented. "I'm exhausted and I at least got a couple hours."

The other girl frowned curiously. "What were you doing up so late, anyways?"

"I- nothing." Duke wrinkled her nose, remembering exactly what she had been doing up so late. Pathetic.

Mac's eyebrows knit together. "Do you want to talk about it?"

She shook her head slowly. "No. It's stupid." 

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. It's nothing, really."

Mac stared a Duke a moment before letting her gaze rest on Chandler. “I can’t do this,” she cried tearfully, turning to the girl in green.

Duke pulled Mac into a hug, letting her sob onto her shoulder. “It’s going to be okay.”

“How can you be sure?” Mac shouted, tears pouring down her face. “What if she dies? What if I never get to see her again?”

Tears threatening to spring to her own eyes, Duke’s shoulders slumped. “Don’t think like that.”

“I can’t h-help it, I just can’t l-live without h-her-”

Duke rubbed circles on her back, salty tears rushing down her cheeks. “Shh, I know. I know.”

Knock, knock, knock.

“Who’s that?” Mac sniffled, pointing to the shadow outlined on the door’s shade.

Duke’s mouth dropped open.

“Veronica?”

Chapter Text

“Veronica?”

Dirt caked hair swept in her eyes, Veronica Sawyer’s face fell as her gaze shifted from Heather Chandler’s bandaged arm to Heather Duke and Heather McNamara’s tear stained cheeks.

“JD did this, didn’t he,” she whispered, dull brown eyes brimming with tears. “I’m so sorry, I-”

Mac shook her head, silencing the other girl. “You shouldn’t be sorry, he should. He wanted to k-kill her. And me, for that matter.”

Duke gestured to the chair next to her. "Listen, 'Ronica, JD is a dick, you couldn't have helped what he did. He's a fucking wack job."

Veronica sunk into the chair, lower lip trembling as she stared at Heather Chandler's lifeless body. "What did the doctors say?"

"Her arm is pretty fucked over, as you can probably tell, but she's supposed to be okay in a bit." Mac rubbed her eyes, trying to distract herself from the girl laying in the hospital bed.

This is all my fault.

I should have gotten shot, not hers.

I should be dead.

Heather didn't deserve this.

“It’s really isn't your fault,” Duke glanced up to make eye contact with Veronica, simultaneously wrapping a comforting arm around the blonde beside her.

Exactly, Mac swallowed thickly. Because it’s my fault.

Veronica slumped in her chair, burying her face in her hands. “Oh my god, I’m so, so sorry, how did I ever think I could trust him? How did I ever think I could believe him? I should’ve know better, I should’ve-”

"No, this is my fault!"

Duke whirled around, expression stony. "How the hell is this your fault?"

"I- I should be the one who got shot, I should be the one in that bed, I was supposed to be dead anyways," Mac whimpered.

Veronica blinked, unable to form words. She stuttered, "What do you mean you were supposed to be d-dead?"

They're both looking at me, why are they both looking at me-

"Why do you care?" she shot back, trying desperately to hold back another bout of tears. "What matters is that this is all my fault, I should have known it was a trap when I saw h-him!"

Mac caught her breath, heart pounding out of her chest. "What did he even t-tell you, Ronnie?"

“He said.. He said that they were ‘ich luge’ bullets.”

Duke pursed her lips. “'Ich luge’. Doesn’t that mean-”

“I lie.”

“Heather?” Mac whipped around, tears cascading down her cheeks as she met the steely gray eyes of a certain strawberry blonde.

Chandler offered a wry smile, wincing as she touched her arm. “Goddamn, my arm hurts like a bitch."

"I was so worried," Mac scrubbed at her eyes, cracking a watery smile. "I owe you my life, you're fucking amazing."

Chandler flushed red. "Thanks, Sunshine."

Duke's lips tugged into a smile. She relaxed in her seat, relief etched on her face. "Shit, Heather, I was really worried. Never thought I'd see the day."

"What, me getting shot or you caring?"

"Yes."

Mac laughed lightly, placing her empty juice box on the table beside her chair. She frowned, glancing at Veronica. "You're awfully quiet."

Veronica pulled at her sleeves, staring at her hands. Upon the realization that everyone was staring at her, she shrunk back in her seat.

"Are you okay?" It was Duke. Voice void of previous amusement, she was almost disturbingly serious.

"I'm fine," came Veronica's reply, desperate to get the attention off herself. She attempted a smile, showing the other three that she was indeed perfectly fine.

Which is definitely not the case, but who needs to know that?

Exactly.

Nobody.

Duke's eyebrows knit together as she surveyed Veronica, averting her eyes quickly as she nearly caught the girl's gaze.

"How long have I been in here?" Chandler inquired, looking from face to face for answers.

Mac peered at the clock on the wall, and, after a moment, responded, "Three hours. I couldn't stand to leave so I've been here with you the whole time."

She bit her lip, remembering what the nurses had said to her. "You should have come sooner. Her chance of survival is sixty percent, she lost a lot of blood."

Chandler cocked her head in thought. "Hold on, this is considered 'overnight', right? Don't they only let family stay? How did you manage to..?"

"Oh, I uh.. Pulled a few strings."

By that I mean I told them I'm your girlfriend.

Heh. Suckers.

She had gotten quite a few dirty looks, but, quite frankly, she didn't give a shit as long as she could stay by Chandler's side.

Duke shot Mac a curious look, watching her fiddle with her thumbs. She rolled her eyes, turning back to stare at the clock.

"Guess I won't be able to do any school work for a while," Chandler offered a weak grin, gesturing to her injured arm.

Veronica raised an eyebrow, lips quirking into a smile. "Wait, you're a lefty too?"

"Ambidextrous. But nobody needs to know that. Besides, I use my left hand way more than my right." Chandler smirked, mischievous glint in her eye.

Mac froze, eyes widening as she stared intently at Chandler. She choked on her own spit, feeling her face heat up.

Holy fuck.

What the hell.

Shit, this has never happened before, what-

"Sunshine?"

"Y-yeah, Chan?"

"You're staring."

"Oh, shit, s-sorry, I didn't mean to.." Mac trailed off, forcing her gaze to drift away from the light smattering of freckles dotting Chandler's nose and cheeks.

Has she always been this pretty?

Well, duh, but-

Chandler bit her lip, finding her eyes begging to trail across the other girl's body.

Damn, cheerleading must be a workout or something.

Duke stole a glance at Veronica, wondering how the hell she looked so beautiful while remaining a complete and absolute wreck.

Get it together, I'm in here for Chandler, not Veronica.

Mac shuffled closer to the bed, taking a shuddering breath. It’s going to be okay. She’s going to be okay.

“There was a really cute doctor in here earlier,” Chandler murmured, turning on her side.

“Heather, there weren’t any doctors in here while you were awake.”

“..Oh, uh, I-”

"Fuck, Heather, is that normal?"

The amount of panic in Veronica's voice alone was rather startling, and, following her gaze, they all immediately understood what was wrong.

Chandler stared at her bandaged upper arm, watching in horror as blood seeped through.

Mac moved closer to her side, fear clouding her vision. "I don't think so-"

"It's really fucking going, I thought I got shot a long time ago?"

"You did, but apparently you haven't stopped bleeding." Duke's eyes darted from her bandaged arm to her pale face as she spun the ring on her finger.

Veronica dug the heel of her shoe into the chair leg, gripping the armrests tighter. "This isn't good, that means you've been bleeding for like, four hours."

"Once I bled for a week and a half."

"Shut up, we're trying to be helpful."

"You will be once you get that stick out of your ass, 'Ronica," Chandler huffed.

"Heather- you're bleeding out in the hospital? Don't you think we want to help in any way we can?"

"I guess." Chandler shrugged, falling back against the pillow. "..Am I fucking drunk or is room actually spinning?”

"You're going be okay." Mac's voice shook as she spoke, worry flooding her body. "It's going to be okay."

"I'm kind of.. Dizzy.." Chandler remarked. "And you're sure I'm not drunk? I don't think.. I don't.."

She paled, letting her eyes flutter shut. "Fuck everything. Life.. Life sucks."

"Heather? " Mac rushed to Chandler’s side, ignoring the tears welling in her eyes.

Veronica sprung from her chair, rushing to Chandler's other side. "Chan," she whispered, breath hitching in her throat.

"Say something. Please, Heather, you can't die," Duke choked out, on the verge of tears herself.

"I'm getting a doctor," Mac spoke suddenly, the confidence in her words unable to override the ache of worry in her heart. "I'm getting a doctor and they're going to make everything okay again."

Not bothering to wait around for a response, she bolted out the door and down the hallway.

Tears managed to escape the corners of her eyes as she ran, blurring her vision, dripping off the end of her nose, rolling down her cheeks, falling in tiny puddles on the tile floor.

"Excuse me ma'am, are you alright?"

Mac spun to face the owner of the voice, locking eyes with a tall doctor in a white lab coat clasping a clipboard to his chest.

She let her gaze drift down to land on his nametag.

Jason.

Life must really fucking hate me.

"My best f-friend got s-shot, and she's bleeding through the b-bandage and she just p-passed out," Mac stuttered, desperately searching for answers in the others eyes.

Jason glanced down the hall, then looked back to meet the blondes eyes. "What room is she in?"

"Two twenty one." Mac wrung her hands, overwhelmed by the chorus of beeps, the footsteps, the blinding florescent lights, the-

"Come with me," Jason instructed, striding down the seemingly endless hallway.

Mac jogged to keep up, petrified by his somber tone. It can't be that bad, right? She pointed at Chandler's door. "She's in here," she mumbled, tears burning behind her eyes.

He pushed the door open, fiddling with the pen in his left hand. "We need to run tests on her. I'm sorry, but you can't stay."

"What? No, I have to stay, I have to be here when she wakes up!"

"Mac, the doctors know what's best." Veronica stood, holding out her hand to pull Duke up. "They're going to make it okay again, remember?"

Duke nodded. "Listen, kid, I don't want to leave either. I just want what's best for her."

Resignation flooded Mac's senses for the first time that night (morning?) as she tore her eyes from the girl in the hospital bed. "I guess so."

"Bye, Heather," she whispered, eyes glistening in the dim light of the moon. "I'll be back, I promise. Please don't die."

"C'mon Heather, we all need rest. We can visit her after school tomorrow," Veronica reached for her hand, leading her to the door.

“Wait, we still have school?”

“Yes.”

“Well fuck.”

“I mean, I usually go off of two hours anyway so this is actually better.”

“How?”

“Two words. Caffeine pills.”

“Veronica, that’s not healthy-”

“Duke, you don’t have a say in what’s ‘healthy’.”

“Oh, shut up."


Mac ran her tongue alone the ridge of her top teeth. Her grip on the pencil in her hand tightened as she stared at the paper in front of her, yawning.

I hope Heathers doing okay.

She can't die.

No, that's not going to happen.

It won't happen.

Wondering if the class ended soon, her bright eyes wandered to the clock.

No such luck.

Heaving a sigh, Mac turned back to her paper and ran a hand through her hair. She caught her lower lip between her teeth, twirling a stray piece of hair between her fingers.

Vacant gaze fixed on the wall, she began to get lost in thought. The steady tick of the clock matched her absent minded leg bouncing perfectly.

I wonder if Heather's doing alright on her own.

I can't believe they wouldn't let me stay.

I miss her.

It's so unfair that we had to go to school today.

"Ronnie?" Mac rested her head on her fist, turning to gaze at the brunette beside her with wide, questioning eyes.

Veronica shoved her textbook off to the side, eager to give up on studying. "What's up?"

Chewing the inside of her cheek, Mac stared at the floor. "Have you.. have you ever fallen in love with someone but not realized it until it's way, way too late?"

She paused, eyebrows furrowing in thought. "I don't.. I don't think so. Why, have you?"

"I can't tell. Help me, Ronnie," Mac pleaded, golden curls dancing at her shoulders. "I don't know what to d-"

The piercing wail of the final bell startled her halfway out of her skin. Mac's hand jolted, skidding a dark streak of graphite across the paper.

"Bye Ronnie!"

She practically leapt out her seat, gathering her books as quickly as could. She deserted the worksheet and dashed out of the room, eager to visit Chandler.

Duke stepped to the side, nearly knocked over by Mac. "Woah, watch out!"

"We get to go see Chandler now!"

“Hold up, where’s Veronica? Isn’t she in Calc with you?”

“Oh yeah, I forgot. RONNIE HAUL ASS TO THE HALLWAY PRONTO OR WE’RE LEAVING WITHOUT YOU-”


"What do you mean we can't see her?" Mac clenched her hands into fists, staring down the nurse who blocked the door to Chandler's room.

He shot her a pitying look, glancing to Duke and Veronica. "Miss, the bullet she was shot with was not a normal bullet. We're doing all that we can, I'm sorry, but you can't see her right now."

Duke's face fell. She rested her hand on Mac's arm, attempting to calm her. "It's okay, she's going to be okay."

"I need to be alone," Mac croaked, biting the inside of her cheek.

It's too much.

She turned on her heel, and, without another thought, darted down the hall to the nearest bathroom.

Too much.

Mac closed the door behind her with a snap, sinking to the ground.

Crybaby.

Her eyelids grew heavy, soon shutting completely. It was a mystery how the tears continued to pour.

I can't handle this.

Gut wrenching sobs echoed off the tile, bouncing back to her ears to remind her of how fucking pathetic she was.

Can't do it.

Mac caught a glimpse of her reflection in the mirror, cringing at her puffy red eyes, tear stained cheeks, running nose, trembling lip.

Pathetic.

Her chest tightened, ocean eyes overflowing with the salty reminders that she might never get to see her best friend again.

Her smile. Her laugh. Her snarky remarks. Her scent. Her everything. She's my everything.

I can't take it anymore.

Her heart lurched, injecting her brain with worry and pain and fear and dread a mixed into a horrible concoction.

Hold on. Not a normal bullet. Holy fuck hold on..

I need to see her RIGHT NOW HOLY SHIT-

"Move!" Mac shouted, sneakers slapping against the floor as she sprinted toward the hospital room. "Let me in!"

"Ma'am, we can't allow-"

"No! I need to see her, she's dying and it's my fault! Those bullets are posion, the antidote is in my backpack and my backpack is on the chair in there!" Mac cried, on the brink of hysteria. "She's going to die within the hour if I don't get in there right now!"

She pushed past the nurse despite his protests, rifling through her backpack. "This is it."

Duke and Veronica followed her, eyebrows furrowed.

"What the fuck is that?" Duke gestured to the small bottle grasped in the blonde's hand, eyeing it suspiciously.

"H-he has AP Science with me. He asked me for the formula for a poison we were learning about was, so I told him. He put it in the bullets, I know it, it all makes sense now. I have the antidote because he makes me really fucking uneasy," Mac blinked back more tears, holding out the vial. "Take it."

Catching the bottle in her hand, Veronica stared at it a moment before pinching Chandler's nose and tipping the light blue liquid into her open mouth. "C'mon, Chan, you can do this.. Mac you better have understood your chemistry shit properly.."

Mac cracked a smile through her tears as Chandler coughed and choked back into partial consciousness.

"Is she okay now?" Mac gently stroked the strawberry blondes face, cocking her head so her eyes met Duke's piercing green pair and, in turn, Veronica's dark brown pair.

Duke played with her loose golden curls for a moment, providing a temporary source of comfort. "I hope so, Macaroni."

After a couple minute of silence, Mac burst into silent tears. "Please, please say something, anything, Heather, I-"

"I l-love you, Sunshine. Please don't c-cry, I just want you to be h-happy again."

"Heather, I am happy, believe me, I’m so f-fucking happy, you're awake, you're okay.”

“Can I do something I’ve waited a r-really long time for? I don't want to m-miss the opportunity again.”

“Of course.”

A warm hand cupping her cheek, a burning gaze penetrating her heart, and, with a sharp tug, a pair of soft crimson lips moving in perfect sync with hers in an explosion of heated passion.

"I love you, Sunshine."

Chapter Text

She kissed me.

Holy shit.

..Did she mean it?

Heather McNamara began to get lost in thought as she lay in bed, staring at the ceiling in silence.

She sighed, eyes drifting to her dresser just as a colorful square of paper caugt the draft and fluttered to the ground.

Mac rubbed her eyes and, seeing as sleep was an unlikely visitor, decided to investigate.

Is that- no fucking way, I thought I lost that!

Mac traced her finger over a delicate flower doodled on the piece of cardstock, a birthday gift from Chandler in sophomore year.

She marveled at how the careful ink lines intertwined, constructing each petal and each little detail with utter perfection.

Orange. The flower was orange. Orange is such a pretty color, she mused.

When she kissed me, it felt orange. It felt beautiful.

When she kissed me.

She wanted to kiss me.

Mac examined Chandler's signature, squiggled next to the stem. HC. She made a simple HC look so god damn beautiful.

She made a simple smile feel like home, a simple laugh feel like heaven, a simple kiss feel like the beginning of forever.

I'm so cheesy.

But she kissed me!

Holy shit, she kissed me.

Mac laid the drawing on her bedside table, crawling back into under the covers and turning on her side so she could stare out the window at the stars.

I wonder if Heather meant what she said.


Heather Chandler groaned, wincing as another spike of pain shot through her arm for the umpteenth time that night.

Motherfucker, Jason Dean is a bitch.

Her face heated up as her mind drifted to that evening, the singular moment that, by memory alone, could get her flustered to the extent of actual butterflies.

I kissed her.

Hold up. When I think about her, my arm literally doesn't hurt as bad.

What is this fucking sorcery?

..I wonder if she ever thinks about me.

She glanced to a brand new sketchbook beside her bed, eyes lighting up as she caught a glimpse of all too familiar handwriting.

Chandler pulled the book onto her lap, lips quirking into a smile as she read the bright yellow sticky note.

"I know you're running out of space in your others and figured you'd be bored after we left. Love you, Mac."

She dots her i's with hearts.

What did I expect, honestly?

Chandler frowned, scanning the room for a writing utensil. Aha, she thought, spotting a pen next to Mac's discarded juice box. It’s a good thing I draw better with my right hand.

She paused a moment, pen hovering just centimeters over the paper. It has to be absolutely perfect.

The nib of the black pen connected with the middle of the paper, ink flowing out of it in a steady stream.

Damn, hospital pens have really upped their game.

Chandler pressed down hesitantly, soon finding comfort in the smooth lines and precision work of drawing. She craned her neck to get a better look at her progress.

I think I want it to be a buttercup. Those are her favorite.

Dawn slowly approached and, soon, the sun crept through the window and shone its golden warmth throughout the room.

Chandler glanced over with a start, not expecting to see the sun so soon.

After a moment of staring, she turned back to her drawing. I think I'm done. Wait- She quickly scribbled her signature in the corner. There. It's perfect.

Just like her.

Chandler let her arm fall back onto the bed, remembering her current situation with a hint of shock.

She really does make everything better.

Mind tired but body blatantly refusing sleep, Chandler let out a breath of annoyance. Fucking hospital beds.

In her heart she knew that it was someone, not something, causing her loss of sleep.


"I miss her,” Heather Duke mumbled, slumping against the tile wall of Heather McNamara’s bathroom.

Mac’s voice resonated throughout the room from behind the door, breaking slightly as she spoke. “I do too.”

When no reply came from inside the cubicle, she spoke again. “Are you okay?”

“Y-yeah. It’s just hitting me, s’ all.”

The door creaked as Duke pushed it open, wiping her mouth with her sleeve. “I’m fine. It’s just weird.”

Mac nodded, biting her sparkly lip gloss coated bottom lip. “C’mon, let’s go back to my room.”

“Yeah.” She shivered slightly, avoiding the blonde’s concerned gaze.

They trudged down the hall into Mac’s overly decorated room, bright colors covering every square inch.

Mac flopped onto her quilt, gesturing to the spot beside her.

Duke obliged, climbing onto the bed and pulling a yellow throw pillow into her lap.

“Why do you always do that?”

“Do what?”

“That.” Mac thrust her pointer finger at the pillow, earning a confused head tilt from the other girl.

“It’s just a pillow,” Duke hugged it tighter to her body, tone defensive.

“I was just wondering-”

“I’m just cold, okay?” Green eyes darted to the window, fervently chased by a bright blue pair.

Mac moved closer to her, sad smile forced onto her lips. “Alright.”

Duke shifted, running her fingers along the pillow. “Can we talk about something else?”

“’Course, we have all day together.”

“Uh, I’ve been curious, what exactly are you and Heather now?”

Pausing, Mac supposed she should have seen that coming. “I.. I dunno. Girlfriends would be nice, and it could’ve happened if the fucking doctors hadn’t kicked us out to run more tests.”

Duke hummed, doing her best not to get lost in her own thoughts.

“You think she meant it, right?” Mac wrung her hands, gaze drifting to her lap.

“Heather, do you know how long she’s had a crush on you?”

“Wh-what?”

“Seriously dude, I knew before she did. She’s so fucking obvious.”

“I didn’t know!”

“Well, she started liking you a really long time ago.”

“When?”

“Like, seventh grade.”

Mac gaped. “That’s five years! We could’ve been together for five years if she had told me!”

Duke shrugged. “She was scared.”

“Of me? Are you aware of how many times she’s said that when I’m mad I look like a teacup yorkie with a foam pitchfork?”

“When you had cheerleading practice, we’d hang out and she would just vent about you,” Duke recalled, gentle smile playing at her lips.

Mac gawked, mind blanking. “You’re kidding.”


“This is so unfair,” fourteen year old Chandler whined, heaving a sigh. “How do I get rid of feelings? I don’t want them anymore!”

Duke leaned against her shoulder, staring at the ceiling. “Wish I could tell you.”

Her shoulders slumped. “She’s so perfect though, and I’m nothing to her. I’m nobody to her.”

“Heather,” Duke consoled, “You are not nothing to her. You’re her best friend. You’re her number one.”

Chandler wrapped her arm around the other girl’s waist. “That makes it worse. That just makes it hurt more.”

“Makes what hurt more?”

“My chest.”

“Elaborate.”

“It hurts, Heather, it hurts more than when I broke my arm falling off the monkey bars. But it’s not the same kind of hurt.”

“What do you mean it’s not the same kind of hurt?” Looking into her eyes, Duke was horrified to see just how vulnerable Heather Chandler, the almighty, was. How she seemed about to shatter by the slightest touch.

“It feels like I’m drowning, if I take a breath I’ll die. And, as much as I want to breathe, I just can’t bring myself to. Because if I’m underwater, at least I’m with her. And all I want is to be with her. I just want her, and if saving myself means that I l-lose that, if saving myself means I lose her forever, then I’d rather drown for the rest of my life than take a breath once.” Chandler closed her eyes, lower lip trembling. “It’s like all the b-butterflies died.”

Duke engulfed Chandler in a hug, letting her mascara stain her shirt and tears dampen her neck.

“I can’t do this anymore.”

“There’s still a chance she might-”

“No! She will never love me!” Chandler spat, shaking. “She has that adorable fucking smile, those fucking eyes, that fucking- everything! Everything about her is perfect! I’m nothing! Admit it, I’m nothing!”

Duke’s eyes widened. “Heather, I- you are the least nothing person I know! She’d be so fucking lucky if she got to go out with you!”

She choked back a sob. “I have to go.”

“No, Heather, wait-”

“I said I have to go.”


“Oh my god,” Mac breathed, covering her mouth with her hand. “She cried because of me?”

Duke nodded, eyes downcast as she reminisced. “She always said that you were worth it though, because no matter what happened she knew she would always love you.”

“What else did she say about me?”

“She said that you did this cute little thing all the time, that you’d always draw tiny flowers all over your notebooks and papers,” Duke smiled. “You know, that’s why she draws flowers for you, even though you don’t do it as much anymore.”

Mac's eyes lit up. "Last year she gave me a yellow acacia. Look." She sprung up, a contented sigh escaping her as she swung her closet door open.

Duke turned, eyes widening as she come face to face with a closet wallpapered in flowers, pictures, stars, memories.

"It's where I go when I’m upset. See, there's glow in the dark stars, blankets, throw pillows, my journal.." She crouched down and sat on a fluffy yellow blanket. “Sit with me?”

The brunette followed suit, curling her knees to her chest. “It’s nice in here.” She paused. “Can I ask you something?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“Do you think Veronica broke up with her shit boyfriend? You know.. After.. After all he did?”

“Yeah. I mean, I’d assume so.”

A flicker of hope sparked in Duke’s heart, which she was quick to snuff out.

“Why?”

“I was just wondering,” Duke replied, chewing the inside of her cheek. “Uh, do you think she likes girls and boys, or just boys?”

Watching a smirk grow on Mac’s face, she realized her mistake. “I mean, because, uh, I, I’m just, um-”

“..You like her, don’t you?” Mac grinned. “You like Ronnie!”

Duke felt all the blood in her body rush into her face. “Maybe I do.”

“Maybe my ass, you like Ronnie!”

“Okay, okay!” She swatted at the blonde beside her. “Okay, fine, I like her!”

“Duke and Ronnie, sitting in a tree-”

“Heather,” Duke groaned, biting back the smile that dimmed within an instant. “Besides, she doesn’t like me.”

The blonde shrugged, happy disposition threatening to become overwhelming. “Chandler thought I wouldn’t love her.”

“Yes, but you two are perfect for each other and everybody can tell.”

“So? You and Ronnie would be so cute together!”

“Mac, you and Chandler have a love story from a fairytale. I want that, too, but I’ve already accepted that it’s not going to happen.”

“It is not a fairytale!” Mac retorted, pausing as she tried to pry the ghost of a thousand happy endings off her face. “Well, I mean, she is a princess-”

Duke rolled her eyes, blowing her hair out of her face. “See?”

“No, I do not see! Why can’t you have a fairytale ending, too?”

“Because, Heather, did you ever think maybe, just maybe, I wasn’t made for a fairytale? That maybe I wasn't meant for a happily ever after?”

“I don’t know about that,” Mac simpered, throwing an arm around the other girl. “I think you two would make a great princesses.”

“Veronica is perfect.”

“You mean she’s perfect to you.”

“Same difference. The thing is, I’m not even close to good enough for her. Perfect is the only thing good enough for her.”

Mac lifted her head to make eye contact with Duke. “But Heather, what if you’re perfect to her? What if you’re perfect for each other? What if you’re her princess?”

“I’m not.”

"..But you could be."


He’s a horrible person.

But at least he was mine.

He said he wanted me.

He said he chose me.

He said he loved me.

Veronica watched a movie in her mind, eyes screwed shut as she relived the past she never wanted.

The bullet whizzing through the air, the splintering wood as it struck the tree, and the quiet ‘fuck’ as he realized he had missed.

He missed.

He missed the first time.  

Him walking into the woods with the biggest smirk, the dirt stained kiss planted in the center of her forehead.

“He fucking lied to me!” Veronica roared into her pillow, raw throat aching with every word.

He lied to me.

Was all of it a lie?

She let the sound of her own ragged breaths distract her and, if only temporarily, block out the ceaseless noise of the world.

He said it was forever.

He said he would do anything for me.

He went too far.

Veronica hung her legs over the edge of her bed, clutching her face in her hands.

I didn’t ask him to kill for me.

I asked him to love me.

I told him if he didn’t he should stop wasting his time and just leave.

I haven’t seen him since Thursday.

He ran away.

He stopped wasting his time and just left me.

The brunette let out a gut wrenching wail, the crack of her fist connecting with the plaster sending a chill down her spine.

He never loved me.

She struck the wall again, knuckles splitting open.

He never wanted me.

Three lines of blood trickled down the wall, smudged and blurry when looked at through overflowing eyes.

When will somebody want me?

Her body wracked with silent sobs as she punched blindly, aching for something, anything, to make her stop hurting.

Has anybody ever fucking wanted me?

Veronica let her bloodied fists fall limp at her side, shoulders slumping and heart pounding halfway out of her ribcage.

Where does it end?

Does it ever end? 

Her arms trembled as she turned her palms to face the ceiling, staring at her sleeve cloaked forearms.

It’s not worth it.

But I need it.

You promised her.

She doesn’t need to know.

But you promised.

Who’s going to tell her?

Veronica allowed her eyelids, lashes heavy with tears, to slide shut.

Keep your promise.

Keep it because you love her.


 

“Come on, we’re going for a walk.” Mac stood, reaching for Duke’s hand. “It’s getting cramped in here.”

The brunette intertwined her fingers with the other girl’s, wobbling as she was hauled to her feet.

She shivered, eyebrows creeping together. “Why is it so cold?”

Mac frowned as she remembered having turned the thermostat up especially for Duke. “I- uh, it shouldn’t be..”

Duke shrugged, strolling to the bed to retrieve her jacket. “Whatever, I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah. Let’s go before it gets dark, I like watching the sun set.”

They headed out the door in silence, the crisp autumn air nipping at the backs of their necks.

Duke listened intently to the sound her boots made crunching through the leaves, the swish, swish, swish of her jacket rustling as her arms swung by her side, Mac's slow, easy breathing.

I could get used to this.

Mac inhaled slowly, smile grazing her lips as the sun began to lower in the sky. “It’s so beautiful out here.”

“We should do this more often. It feels good being with you, finally getting things off my chest.”

“You can always talk to me, Heather. About anything.”

Duke let her gaze fall, chewing her bottom lip.

She was startled, maybe a little flustered, when a warm hand hesitantly brushed her own and interlocked their fingers.

She locked her stare on the yellow clad girl beside her, watching her cheeks flush as she kept her head down.

Duke turned her attention back to the sky, heart swelling with bliss at the slight squeeze Mac gave her hand.

“Don’t give up on your princess,” The blonde murmured, unwilling to break the silence.

“I won’t.” Duke hummed quietly. "Never have, never will.”

“Good.”

“Look,” the brunette knelt down suddenly, gently cupping a bunch of miniscule yellow blossoms in her hand. “Buttercups.”

Mac fell to her knees, peering eagerly at the tiny golden petals. “Buttercups are my favorite type of flower.”

"I know they are."

The breeze rattled to life, greeted by hundreds of dancing leaves and flowers.

Duke directed her to a bench looking out across the horizon, giving her arm a tug as a signal to sit. “If we wait here a bit, we can watch the sun set. I bet you it’ll be orange.”

“I love orange.”

“I know, dumbass.”

“I love it when you call me that without making it sound mean.” Mac dug her heels into the dirt, shifting her gaze to the star speckled sky.

“I know you do,” Duke rested her head on the taller girl's shoulder. “That’s the point.”

“I know you love me.”

“I know I do, too.”

Chapter Text

A sharp rapping on her window pane immediately caught Veronica Sawyer’s attention. Her head snapped up, eyes narrowing as she caught a glimpse of rain soaked black hair.

Why him?

Why now?

Why couldn't it be Duke, coming to get ready for Ram’s party with me?

Why does it have to be him?

Jason Dead stood outside on the fire escape, waving hopefully. “Let me in,” he gestured to the lock, words muffled.

“No.”

He froze, staring at her with wide doe eyes. “Veronica, please, let me in, I can explain.”

“I said no. You cannot possibly explain yourself or, for that matter, convince me that you’re in the right.” Her breath hitched in her chest as she spoke, voice breaking. “You had your chance with me.”

JD pressed his hands flesh to the window, breath clouding the glass. “I love you, Veronica-”

“Do you, though?”

“Baby-”

“Don't 'baby' me! Did you rip me from my friends because you loved me? Did you pull me into closets to harass me because you loved me? Did you try to get me to murder someone because you loved me? Fucking think about it, Jason! This isn’t love.”

His eyes darkened into endless pits, consuming any light remaining in the brunette’s heart. “I come here, walk here through in the rain, for what? For you to rip my heart out?”

He swung his fist at the window, a loud crack putting a smile on his face for the first time in a long time.

“Jason please stop-”

“Did I come here for you to break me? Like everyone else in my life broke me? Like the world broke me? Is that what you wanted, Veronica?”

“Stop-”

“Is that what you wanted?”

Veronica yanked at her wavy locks, gritting her teeth. “I said stop! Get off of my property, get out of my school, get out of my life! Get out!”

“Fine.” JD let his gaze pierce her a moment more, before turning on his heel and stuffing his hands in his pockets as he left.

"Don't you fucking dare come back."

"I wasn't planning on it."


"I missed your freckles." Heather traced her finger along the bridge of Heather Chandler's nose, gentle smile resting on her lips.

Chandler rolled her eyes, laughing. "It's only been thirty six hours, pillowcase." Her words lacked the usual venom associated with the phrase, instead laced with endearing affection.

The blonde nodded solemnly. "Yeah, the longest thirty six hours of my life." She rested her head in the crook of the shorter girl's neck, trailing her hand over her thigh. "I missed your face, and your voice, and your laugh. And your lips."

"I missed all of you. Everything." Chandler tugged out her blazing red scrunchie, shaking out her mane of strawberry blonde waves. "I guess that makes me a pillowcase, too, but then again I'd rather be a pillowcase with you then a princess with somebody else."

Mac tangled her fingers in her hair, gently pulling out any knots. "You are a princess. You're my princess."

Chandler leaned her head against Mac’s, aching to be her one and only, her rock, her everything.

Aching to just be hers.

“Hey, Chan, can you curl my hair for Ram’s party tonight?” Mac batted her eyelashes, smiling sweetly.

“Sure. You can come to my house and we can get ready together.”

“Yay!” She bounced to her feet, rushing to her closet and throwing the door open. “Which dress should I wear?”

“You.. You kept those?”

Mac followed her gaze to the countless flower drawings that had fallen from their shelf and cascaded to land on the floor.

She blushed. “Y-yeah. I love them.”

Chandler shot her an affectionate smile. She sprung up, a thought hitting her. “Hold up..” she muttered, rifling through her backpack.

At last, she pulled out a piece of cardstock, holding it out for the other girl to take.

Mac reached for it with wide eyes, lips quirking into a smile. “You.. You made me a flower?”

Looking closer, her heart melted. “It’s a buttercup.. How’d you remember that it’s my favorite? I told you that in, like, eighth grade.”

Chandler shrugged. “Everything about you is just so fascinating to me. I guess I've just been in love with you longer than I thought.”

“You’re so sweet.”

“Sh, don't tell anyone.”


“Do I look okay?” Veronica adjusted her tie, turning to face Heather Duke.

The shorter girl nodded, hiding the color in her cheeks. “You look great, ‘Ronica.”

Of course she looks great. She always does.

Beaming, Veronica shoved her hands into her pockets.

Damn. I think Veronica in a suit is going to kill me.

Why is she so fucking hot?

"What dress are you wearing?"

"Hm?"

"Ram's party. What dress are you wearing?"

Duke flushed red, stumbling over her words. "Oh, uh, this one." She pulled out a short dark green dress that, when on her, fell to about mid-thigh.

"Put it on," Veronica encouraged. "We don't have that much time left before we have to go."

She draped the dress over her arm, standing. "Alright."

"Where are you going?"

"To change? In the bathroom?"

"Oh come on, I changed in here. Why can't you? It's not like I'm any prettier than you-" Veronica clapped a hand over her mouth, eyes widening. "I meant.."

Duke furrowed her eyebrows. "What did you mean?"

"N-nothing, I just think it's faster if you change in here. But if you're more comfortable elsewhere than go right ahead."

Duke nodded, eyeing Veronica suspiciously as she retreated to the bathroom.

She locked the door with a sharp click, shrugging off her blazer and pulling her shirt off over her head.

What does she mean ‘it’s not like she’s prettier than me’? Does she have fucking eyes?

Slipping the dress over her head, Duke tugged off her skirt and quickly replaced it with leggings.

She glanced in the mirror, almost satisfied with her reflection.

But almost was good enough.

It had to be.

“You look beautiful!” Veronica squealed as Duke entered, long black curls flowing midway down her back.

She offered a half smile, pretending for once to believe the compliment. “Thanks, Veronica.”

“Is something wrong?” Veronica frowned. “You never call me Veronica.”

Duke shook her head vigorously, the fact that Veronica noticed at all brightening her mood. “I’m fine. Why is the window cracked?”

“I.. I dunno..” the taller girl shifted, avoiding eye contact. “Maybe a tree branch hit it.”

“But there’s no trees- Hey-” Duke tilted her head, pulling a silver chain out of her pocket. “I thought I lost this!”

“Didn’t I get that for you when we were like, five?”

“Yeah,” Duke chortled. “I think you told me you found it in the playground and thought it’d look good on me.”

She goggled at it. “Damn, I haven’t seen that thing in ages.”

Veronica moved the shorter girl’s hair out of the way, clasping it around her neck.

“This is how you put it on me when we were little, except I had short hair.” Duke grinned, eyes drifting to Veronica’s shoulder length locks. “The roles have been reversed.”

“I did have really long hair, didn’t I?”

“Oh yeah. I was super jealous.”


"Heath!” Five year old Veronica dashed over to Duke, overalls muddy and toothy grin out and proud. “Look what I found!”

He looked up, attention drawn from the book in his hand. “What is that?”

The brunette held out a silver chain with a tiny heart dangling in the center, chest heaving as a result of running so fast. “It’s a necklace! I found it in the playground, and I knew it’d look great on you!”

“Cool!” Duke admired it, tilting his head as Veronica gestured for him to take it.

He hesitated. “Do you want me to take it?”

Nodding eagerly, she opened the clasp and motioned for Duke to turn around. “Here-”

She wrapped her arms around his neck, tying the necklace so that it hung just above his chest. “There. You look beautiful.”

A smile spread across his face, and as much as he tried to hide it, it shone brighter than a Christmas tree. “B-beautiful? You mean it, ’Ronica?”

“Absolutely.” Veronica planted a kiss on Duke’s cheek before rushing back to the playground, sneakers slapping against the pavement.

Duke touched his cheek, staring at the place where the other girl had disappeared.

Despite being somewhat of a neat freak, as far as kindergarteners go, he refused to wipe away the smear of dirt Veronica’s lips had left behind.

“Wait, ’Ron-”

“Heath?”

He whirled around, breath catching in his throat. “Y-yes, Mrs. Woods?”

She stooped down, coming to face level with Duke. “Honey, do you remember how kids used to pick on you for painting your nails?”

“Yes.”

As her eyes wandered to the necklace, a frown grew on her lips. “I’m afraid that if you wear that, you may get teased again.”

Duke’s face fell. “S-sorry, Mrs. Woods.”

The teacher nodded, squeezing the small child’s shoulder gently. “It’s unfair, and I recognize that. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”

“I understand.”

Mrs. Woods shot Duke a reassuring smile, standing. “Come on, it’s time to go back inside.”

“Ok.”

He watched her hurry to gather the rest of the kids, clutching the heart in his chubby fist.

Yeah, no way am I ever taking this off.


"I'm not that drunk, Hea- ooh, look! Ram's handing out Jell-O shots!" Heather McNamara turned away from an amused Heather Duke, grinning brightly at a tray of colorful Jell-O cups.

Here we go..

The pink dusting on her cheeks combined with her slurred speech and lopsided smile; you'd have to be deaf and blind to have any shadow of doubt that Mac was more than a little tipsy.

Duke grabbed her arm in exasperation. "Yeah, ok, let's pretend for a moment that you didn't have any alcohol tonight." Mac pouted, her drunken mind trying desperately to formulate an adequate response.

Instead, she chimed in hesitantly, "How 'bout we pret.. pretend that Chandler didn't jus' chug two beers, ha-ha, then.. Then I bet.. What was I saying?"

Heaving a sigh, Duke scanned the room for any signs of Heather Chandler and Veronica Sawyer. She pivoted to face Mac, instinctively seizing the latter's arm as she decided to attempt a crooked beeline to the tray of Jell-O.

“Here,” Duke handed her a cup of water. “Being this drunk isn’t a good thing, especially for you.”

The blonde chugged half of it, pouting. “But Jell-O!”

Duke rolled her eyes, speculating that she would be the only one capable of driving them all home. Sure enough, Mac began giggling hysterically and pointed behind her. "Oh my god, what are they doing?"

Duke whirled around, raising an eyebrow.

Chandler stumbled over, holding Veronica up by the arm. The brunette had Jell-O in her hand, eyes wide as she watched it jiggle back and forth.

Chandler repeated, "Veronica, that's green Jell-O, it has really strong vodka in it, you're too much of a pussy to handle the green Jell-O. Someone tell her that she's too much of a pussy for the green Jell-O!"

After a few seconds of listening to Chandler slur and stumble her way through a half assed warning, Veronica shrugged and crammed the Jell-O in its entirety into her mouth.

Mac covered her mouth with her hand, beside herself with laughter as Veronica sputtered and coughed.

Chandler hiccupped, smirking. "What'd I tell y'?" Veronica flipped her off indignantly as she choked, too drunk to think of a comeback.

"Shut up, I wanted to.. I just wanted to eat the green!"

The strawberry blonde grinned, flicking her tongue between a peace sign formed by her left hand. "Why do you want to eat Duke, 'Ronica?"

Veronica's eyes widened. She thought a moment, smile growing on her lips. "Why did you want to eat Mac, Chan?"

Mac choked on her drink, spewing water dangerously near Chandler's dress. "Wh-what??"

"When did I ever say that!?"

"During lunch! You said.. You said "god I could eat Mac all day.. Yes daddy, harder.."

"What I said was that for once the school macaroni and cheese didn't taste like trash, you lying shit head!"

"That's not what I heard-"

"Why would I call macaroni 'daddy'? If anything, I would call it 'mommy'!"

Duke burst into a fit of giggles, leaning on Mac for support. "Oh my fucking god, Heather, if you knew what you were saying-"

"I do know what I'm saying!" Chandler placed her hands on her hips, swaying without Veronica there to ground her.

"Do not," Duke countered, matching her stare.

"Do too."

"Do not!"

"Do too!"

"Do not, not, not!"

"Double negative stupid-"

"More like you're double stupid, stupid, it's a triple negative which means-"

“Oh shut up-”

“You wanted that macaroni to go harder, didn’t you-”

Chandler stifled a laugh, biting back the smile growing on her face. “I never said that!”

“Mhm,” Duke nodded. “But I bet you wanted to.”

“I will actually throw hands, this is slander, Heather.”

“Joke’s on you, I don’t know what that means!”

Stumbling to the side, Chandler attempted a smirk. “Dumb shit.”

“Heather nO-” Veronica piped up, lunging for Mac’s wrist.

She grinned, locking her gaze on the Jell-O tray mere feet from her. “Veronica don’t stop destiny- look, it’s even yellow!”

“Mac, that’s tequila, that’s even stronger than the green ones!” Chandler insisted, shoving Duke -“Oof!”- aside.

The blonde stared at the cup, lips pursed and with full intent of getting the Jell-O whether Chandler liked it or not.

Deciding that the taller girl’s wishes were absolute bullshit, Chandler grabbed Mac’s arm. “Just- just follow me.”

She felt like she was floating as she pulled Mac into the hallway away from the chaos of the living room, barely able to register her own movements.

“What’re y-? I just wanted Jell-O-”

"Listen, I’ve been waiting for a really long time to do this again.”

Chandler rested her hand on Mac’s arm, breath hot against her face.

The blonde let her eyelids drift shut, warmth erupting in her chest as Chandler's lips moved in perfect sync with her own.

She sighed into the kiss, letting the shorter girl’s body press against her own and her tongue swirl inside her mouth.

Mac pulled away, breathing heavily as she maintained eye contact through heavy lids. "Damn."

"Damn," Chandler echoed. She paused a moment before gripping Mac's shoulder and pressing her lips once more, this time without protest, against the others.

I could get used to this.

They stumbled backwards, unwilling to break apart.

This is what I want forever.

This is my soulmate.

This is my person.

The strawberry blonde reluctantly broke the kiss, resting her forehead against the others as she regained her breath.

Mac trailed her finger along Chandler’s jawline, staring into her eyes like the world had stopped.

It’s just the two of us.

Nobody but me and you.

Just the two of us.

The way it should be.

Two drunken teenagers- no, two drunken soulmates- sneaking kisses in the hallway at a jock’s party.

“I hope I remember this when I’m sober,” Mac giggled, brushing her lips gently against Chandler’s forehead as she turned to leave.

“Heather- Heather, wait.”

“Hm?”

A nervous smile spread across Chandler’s face as she stood, lost in the other girl’s curves, lost in her beauty, lost in everything she adored about her.

“Be my girlfriend?”

Mac’s cheeks tinted pink as she grabbed Chandler’s hair and pulled her into a quick kiss.

She shook her head, murmuring in the strawberry blonde's freckled ear, “Of course I’ll be your girlfriend, silly."


 

"I wonder what they're up to," Duke leaned against the wall, taking a sip from the water in her cup. "It's been like, ten minutes."

Veronica shrugged. "Don’t know. Maybe one of them got sick or something."

Frowning as she realized her cup was empty, the shorter girl pursed her lips. "They're both pretty immune to getting sick. It’s kind of unfair, to be honest."

"Huh." Veronica stared into her cup, sloshing the liquid in a circle. "Maybe they went home. Didn't Chandler say earlier that you would bring me home and she'd take Mac?"

Duke nodded hesitantly. "I'm just hoping if they did leave Chandler didn't crash the car again."

"Again?"

"Long story."

"And she thinks I'm a bad driver."

"Veronica you don't even have a license yet-"

"You know what, I need air," Veronica announced, aiming a sloppy grin at Duke to distract her from her lack of driving abilities. "Want to come with?"

"Yeah, I'd love to." She smiled, taking the other girl’s hand.

The taller girl led the way, cutting through the crowd to the back door with Duke in tow.

"Where are we going?"

"You'll see."

Veronica paused as they found themselves in the middle of a silent, illuminated clearing behind Ram's house.

She glanced around, an odd sense of comfort arising in her heart. "It's nice here, nicer than inside. There's too many people."

"I'd rather be with just you." Duke's eyes flitted to Veronica's lips, across her face, her cheekbones, and at long last her eyes.

The same dark, shimmering eyes that had reeled her in to begin with.

She draped her arms around the taller girl's neck, gazing into those deep chocolate brown orbs for the millionth time.

Veronica placed her hands on Duke's hips, catching her bottom lip in between her teeth as she listened to her steady breaths.

She began to hum a quiet melody, one Duke had never heard before.

They swayed back and forth gently, tripping over their feet as they gazed into each other’s eyes.

Duke let her eyelids flutter shut, getting lost, if only momentarily, in complete bliss.

Veronica spun her, letting her drunken heart figure out what to do for her.

Holy shit, is this what it's supposed to feel like?

Is this love?

Is this what I’ve been missing?

Is this what he was trying to make me feel?

Veronica tugged Duke closer, their chests connecting so each could hear the others heartbeat.

"I don't want this to end," Duke murmured, tangling her fingers in Veronica's short, wavy locks. “Veronica?”

“Yeah?”

"I think I think I might love you."

"I think.. I think I might love you, too."

Duke shivered, melting further into the other’s arms. "I think it's raining."

"I think so too. Here," Veronica shrugged off her jacket, draping it over the shorter girl's shoulders.

Duke grabbed Veronica's hand, giggling as fat drops of water splashed on her nose. “Come on, first one to the Jeep wins!”

"Before we get in the car please don't crash-"

"Veronica, this is why I'm driving, not you."

"Oh, right." She grinned, letting the wind whip her hair around as she ran behind Duke.

This is what it's supposed to feel like.

I’m sure of it now.


"I'm glad my parents are letting me stay over your house." The corners of Chandler’s mouth quirked into a smile as she pulled into the McNamara's parking lot, the familiarity of the huge building comforting her.

Mac nodded. "Me too. And plus, my dad's away, so we have the house to ourselves!" She climbed out of the passenger side of the Porsche, ignoring the flood of memories hitting her.

“Come on, I need to get all this makeup off.”

Unlocking the front door, Mac held it open to let the other girl in first. “God, same.”

She kicked off her black flats, prompting the Chandler to do the same.

Smirking, the strawberry blonde glanced to the top of the stairs. “Race you, last one to the top has to take the other’s makeup off!”

“Oh, you are so on-”

Mac charged at the winding staircase, hot on Chandler’s heels as they scrambled to climb it.

“No!”

Chandler grinned, standing victorious on the second floor. “Ha!”

“Let’s go to my room, I can start taking off all that foundation.”

Mac hopped onto her bed, grabbing the little package of makeup wipes from her bedside table. “Stay still..”

She rubbed the wipe on Chandler's face gently, removing any last traces of mascara, foundation and eyeshadow.

"Awh, look at your freckles.." She mused, ignoring Chandler's protests.

"Why do you always have to point them out?"

"Because they're so adorable!”

"Honestly, just go ahead and dote on my freckles. I'm too exhausted to be upset."

"Me too." Mac pulled out another wipe, removing her own light makeup. “I’ll get you something to sleep in as soon as I get all this off my face.”

Chandler gazed at her with an adoring smile, wondering how she looked so beautiful yet such a mess at the same time.

She snapped back into reality as a small pile of clothes was thrust into her arms.

“Here.”

“Thanks.” The shorter girl stood, lip curling into a smile. “You want to stay while I change, or..?”

Mac shrugged, blushing. “Whatever you want, babe.”

“Okay.” She smirked, pulling her dress over her head. “Honey, you’re staring.”

“S-sorry, I just..” Mac trailed off, unable to tear her eyes off the other girl.

Chandler tugged on Mac’s red shirt and black sweatpants, the scent of her perfume calming any nerves she had previously had.

“I should probably change too,” the blonde suggested, unzipping her dress. She stepped out of it, grinning as the other girl’s face immediately heated up. “Who’s staring now?”

“Me,” Chandler nodded quickly. “I am.”

Mac giggled, pulling on a yellow crop top and matching sweatpants. “Honesty is a good look on you. Could you turn out the lights?”

She switched off the overhead light, smile grazing her face as they were left in total darkness aside from the soft glow of a string of warm, yellow Christmas lights.

Mac crawled under the covers, curling up in the other girl’s side with a contented sigh.

I want this to be my forever.

“Hey, Mac?”

“Mm?”

"Can I be the little spoon?"

"Whatever you want, babe," Mac murmured sleepily, wrapping her arms around the other girl’s torso.

“I love you, Sunshine.”

“I love you too, Chandy.”

Chapter Text

“Hey, Heather?”

“Mhm?”

Chandler wasn’t exactly sure what Mac was going to say -given her loose cannon tendencies with words- but what she definitely hadn’t expected was:

“Do you have any idea why Duke and Ronnie are sleeping outside on the porch in the rain? It’s like three a.m. and I feel like they probably shouldn’t be out there.”

Propping herself onto her elbows, Chandler decided she must have heard her wrong. “I’m sorry, what?

Mac repeated slowly, “Duke and Ronnie. Sleeping on the porch. In the rain. Why?”

“How the hell should I know?”

“Should I let them in?”

“...How hard is it raining?”

“Only a little.. But it was downpouring last night.” Mac tugged the covers off her side and slipped onto the floor with a soft thunk . “I’m gonna go let them in.”

Chandler raked her fingers through her hair, laughing. “Have fun with that, babe.” She smirked when the blonde’s ears turned red. Watching Mac struggle to hide the blush spreading across her face, she added, “Make sure to ask them what the fuck they’re doing out there.”

“Will do!”

“And put some pants on while you’re at it. Not that I personally don’t appreciate it, I just think nude isn’t quite the look you should be going for on such a dreadfully bland morning.”

The blonde nodded, fumbling with the waistband of her sweatpants as the color rising in her cheeks darkened.

“You’re cute when you’re all flustered.”

“I’m not flustered!”

Chandler pulled herself out of the bed and threaded her fingers through the spaces between Mac’s. “Sure, sunshine. Now come on, hobo one and two are probably getting cold out there.”

“Don’t call Ronnie and Duke hobos,” Mac scolded, eyes glimmering with a hint of amusement.

“What would you like me to call them, then?”

“..Hobo actually isn’t that far off.” Mac peered through the window panes on the side of the door as she trailed off. “Oh, they’re soaking wet.”

“Sounds vaguely familiar,” Chandler said under her breath, cackling loudly when the blonde finally registered what she’d said.

“Heather!”

“Chandler? Mac?” A yawn followed. “..Can we come in?”

“Should we let them in?” Chandler muttered, eyeing Veronica through the window.

Mac shoved her lightly and pulled the door open without answering. “Geez, Ronnie, you look like hell.”

“Thanks, Heather,” Veronica rubbed her face groggily and nudged Duke’s sleeping form with her heel, “..This is why I hate losing my keys.”

“You were driving, how did you not-”

“She locked them in the car,” Duke supplied from her spot on the floor.

Chandler bit back a smile. “Of course she did. How did you end up here, though?”

“We walked.”

“I rode.”

Mac and Chandler turned to Duke. “You what?”

“Rode,” she said again, heaving herself to her feet. “‘Ronica walked and I rode her.”

By that point, Chandler was doubled over with hiccuping laughter, stumbling over her words. “You- You rode Veronica? Is that what you just said?”

Blood rushed into Duke’s face as she realized her grave mistake. Shit. She’ll never let me hear the end of this. “Like.. Piggy back.. Yknow?”

Wheezes accompany the laughter.

“I’m never gonna live this down, am I?”

“Over my dead body, Heather, over my fucking dead body.”

“It really isn’t that funny!”

Veronica covered her mouth with her hand and looked away.

“Not you, too. You’re supposed to be on my side!” Duke groaned.

“Maybe you guys should c-come inside and get dry,” Mac finally managed to say through giggles.

“Sure. Anything to get away from these two absolute twats.”

“‘ Ronica walked and I rode her -’

”Where are you two gonna be sleeping?” Mac asked once Duke and Veronica were both given towels and Chandler had been significantly calmed down.

Veronica shrugged. “I mean, I don’t know your house that well. I could take the couch?”

“I don’t know about that,” Mac said, jerking her head towards the girl in red to read her expression. “There’s a spare room beside Chan’s room, but you guys would have to share.”

“Pity,” Duke replied dryly, maintaining steady eye contact with Veronica.

“Oh, definitely. But we’ll live.”

Stopping short, Chandler spun around to face the group. “Oh and by the way, you two decide to fuck, put the sheets in the laundry after. And don’t be too loud, some people enjoy a full -or at least half- night’s rest.”

“Heather, don’t act like they’re the ones who woke up an entire slumber party fucking a family friend in the guest bathroom.”

“Mac, sweetie, the point of this girlfriends thing is that you’re on my side.”

“Fair enough. But you’re dating me , what did you expect?”

“Can’t argue with that.”

Duke grinned, trailing behind them. “Major bottom energy radiating from this one.”

“Whipped much?” Veronica added quietly.

“Do you two have something you want to share?”

“No!” “Nope!”

Duke rolled onto her side, facing the wall and away from Veronica.

What time is it?

She squinted at the clock hanging on the wall across from her. After concentrating on the hands long enough, she decided that it was five fifteen.

Ah, well. There goes any hope for a normal sleep routine.

“Mh.. Heather..” Veronica stirred, throwing her arm across the other girl’s torso to interlock their fingers. “Don’t go.”

Her face softened. “I won’t.”

She turned to face Veronica again, letting her eyes close as her head sunk into the pillow.

“You promise?”

“I promise, ‘Ron.”

Veronica sighed contentedly as Duke inched closer to her, finally settling on nestling in her arms.

“I kinda love you,” Veronica breathed inaudibly, pressing her lips to the smaller girl’s forehead.

She felt a tiny hand gently squeeze her own.

“I kinda love you too. Even when you’re being a dumbass. Maybe more when you’re being a dumbass.”

“But I’m always being a dumbass.”

“Exactly.”

“Do you think they really are going to fuck?”

“No, Mac, I think they’re going to play footsies under the bedsheets.” Chandler pulled the other girl closer to her body. “Whatever they do, they better be quiet. For my sake.”

“What about for my sake?” The blonde tilted her head, eyebrows furrowing.

“Please, Sunshine, there could be an asteroid crashing into your side of the bed and you’d sleep through it.”

“Really?” Mac’s face lit up. “You think I’m a talented sleeper?”

“Yeah, I do. But I think we both could use a little practice. Is now a good time?” Chandler yawned, covering her mouth with her hand.

“Mhm, we don’t want to flunk sleeping finals. Which I would totally ace if they existed.”

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that you would, Macaroni.”

“..Hey, Heather?”

“Mm?”

“I think you make a really good little spoon. It was a pleasure to spoon you.”

“Thanks, Mac. It was a pleasure being spooned.”

“Night, Chan.”

“G’night, Sunshine.”

“I made waffles ! ” Mac shouted up the winding staircase. “If anybody wants a waffle, they better come and get themselves a god damn waffle right now!”

“Jesus Christ, I’ve never woken up to a better alarm.” Veronica rubbed her temple, appearing in the doorframe.

“I’ll be there in a sec,” Duke called from upstairs. “Don’t wait up!”

“Got it!” Chandler followed, hot on Veronica’s heels. “Goddamn am I ready for some fuckin’ waffles.”

Veronica grimaced. “My head is throbbing right now.”

“Your waffles are amazing ,” Chandler remarked as she stabbed one with her fork, “but do they come with a hangover cure?”

Mac shrugged, casting a sideways glance to the fridge. “Nope, but the fridge is all yours if you want to whip one up.”

“Don’t you need one too?”

“Veronica, don’t be silly. She’s immune.”

“To what? Being a teenager? It’s not hard to believe, I mean, look at her.”

Chandler cocked an eyebrow, turning to look at the girl in question. “..You know what, I totally see it.”

“See what?” Mac’s gaze shifted from face to face. “What are you seeing?”

“I’m diagnosing you with an immunity to teenager,” Chandler announced. “You get hungover one out of ten times, you have perfect skin, the perfect body, and you didn’t have that awkward phase where you wore the same hoodie for months at a time.”

Mac giggled. “I remember when you had that phase.”

“We don’t talk about that.”

“Yes we do! I don’t think you took off that old red pullover once in all of sixth and seventh grade.”

Overstatement alert-

“I have pictures.”

“Ooh, can I see?” Veronica interjected, intrigued by the infamous hoodie phase. “I wanna see baby Chandler. She had braces.”

“Oh, zip it, Shoelace Sawyer.” Chandler interjected, grinning at the mildly horrified look growing on the brunette’s face at the old nickname.

“Fuck, people still remember that? It is not that big of a big deal that I learned how to tie my shoes a little later than the other kids!”

“Honey, start of freshman year is not a ‘little later’-”

“Velcro is cool, ” Veronica insisted. “Do you remember your velcro heels?”

Chandler wrinkled her nose. “That was just poor decision making on my part.”

“Poor decision making? Sounds like someone’s talking about me. ” Duke slid into the chair beside Veronica. “God, Heather, you used to wear those things every day.”

“You still had the hoodie phase though, Heather,” Mac pointed out. “That’s almost as bad.”

“Irrelevant-“

“You know what’s not irrelevant?” Chandler started, choosing to ignore the mock pained look on Duke’s face when she realized what was coming. “ I rode her, she walked and I rode her!

The table explodes into a fit of stifled giggles and shut up! ’s before falling into a comfortable silence.

Then, one by one, each of them realized that there was nowhere else they’d rather be than in this kitchen with these people at this moment.

And maybe that was enough.