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My 11th high school

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J.D.

So here I was. First day of senior year (again) at a new high school. My twelfth high school.

Never thought I’d get to say that number. When I stood on the lawn of Westerburg High School, clutching a bomb to my chest, I thought that was my end.

I’ve been through ten high schools and this one will finally end me.

But if there’s no bomb blast, what are you meant to die from?

Yeah, I shouldn’t really been surprised. It was me that Veronica shot, but the bullet hit the bomb too. And who even knows if the fucking thing would have worked anyway…

I don’t think about Westerburg. What ( who ) I left behind.

Here we are. Even though I’m eighteen and long past high school, considering we’ve practically been homeless for a year, I was enrolled at St. Madison's high school anyway.

When I walk through the front doors, I’m almost taken aback.

Because it’s Westerburg, well it’s not, but the people are the same.

The three head bitches, I quickly learn, are Hailee, Hannah, and Heather.

Yeah. Fucking Heather.

I mean, there’s no yellow scrunchie, but she’s practically the same person.

Is the world trying to drive me to suicide?

 

Veronica

It’s all so normal.

So right .

I work in a coffee shop. I hang out with Martha and Heather, and surprisingly I’m happy.

I don't want to go off to college anymore. I'm happy to just be here. 

Until somebody comes in wearing a trench coat and then I’m drowning in floods of memories…

Heather choking on the drain cleaner…

Ram definitely not being just unconscious…

Kurt’s screams…

Martha lying on the hospital bed…

JD’s bloodstained hands clutching my face…

The bullet that I shot ripping through his body…

His face as he clutched the bomb to his chest…

The bomb that never went off.

And then he left. Who knew where JD was now? And do I care?

That’s a question impossible to answer…

But what would I do if he came back?

Thank fucking god he hasn’t.

 

J.D

No exceptions to my rule this time. I don’t learn the names, don’t bother with faces. When everyone brands me as the ‘no name kid’, like they do everywhere, I don’t bother correcting them.

St. Madison's is like any other high school, I tell myself.

Well I stand corrected.

Today, the H’s (as they’re known) indoctrinated some girl named Megan into their clique.

Today, two jocks harassed some outsider until he shot two blanks at them.

And no, that person was not me.

But it could fucking well have been.

So I’m not staying there. I’ll get a job, somehow, anything to stop living senior year again and again.

I throw open the door. I don’t bother telling him I’m home (over the last year we’ve avoided speaking to each other so much that now we’re practically strangers living in the same house, like we weren’t anyway). But I stop short when I don’t nearly crash into the stack of boxes in the hallway.

There are no boxes in the hallway.

No duffel coat thrown over the chair.

No passed-out man lying on the coach (he turned to drowning himself in booze and to be honest I can’t blame him. We were gifted this house by my newly-deceased aunt, and no, I didn’t kill her.)

I throw open the door to our shared room (not that he sleeps there) but there's no bags, no boxes except the black rucksack I randomly stole last year.

 

That bastard .

Chapter Text

J.D.

 

He’s gone. That dick has fucking left me.

Again . He’s left me again.

He did it once, a couple months ago. I was sleeping on a park bench for a few nights until he stumbled out of the fog drunk and kicked out of a hostel two miles from where he left me.

And I stayed with him. Because, well, I don’t even fucking know why. Maybe I feel obliged to. Maybe it’s memories of good times.

Maybe I just have nowhere else to go…

But I get the sense he isn’t coming back this time. Can’t blame the bitch, it’s less to pay for. It’s also obviously why he enrolled me at Madison’s, he couldn’t give me a good reason and I couldn’t be bothered to argue anyway…

“You’re going to school tomorrow.”

“Why the fuck would I go back to school.”

“Why not?”

Anyway, it was my half-arsed logic that’s got me here, walking on a dirty road to god-knows-where, sticking out my thumb when any car goes past even though I know nobody in their right mind would pick some teenager walking alone in a black trench coat at seven in the morning.

I’ve been doing this all night, just moving without a destination in mind. There’s only one place I’m avoiding, for obvious reasons.

But I doubt I’ll end up there…

I would kill for a slushie, but there hasn’t been a 7-11 for miles and I’m not in the mood to try my hand at thievery anyway. I’ve only ever mastered one crime, and I’m never trying that again.

I’m sure, even though only one person knows what I did, that most would just brand me as a complete psychopath without a second thought.

But I’m not. I didn’t show it, but I never enjoyed the killing…

I did it all for Veronica.

Maybe I’m pretty fucked up, but we all are if you dig deep enough. Or somebody else digs deep enough…

Veronica…

 

You’re planning your future, Veronica Sawyer…

Love this dead girl walking…

You are the only thing that’s right about this broken world…

Our love is God…

I worship you, I’d trade my life for yours…

 

The shittiest part is I know I still would.

I didn’t let myself think about Veronica. Let myself miss her, because -

There’s a car coming up the road. I stick my thumb out and to my surprise, it grinds to a halt. A black jeep, it seems familiar, bit considering the amount of people who must have a black jeep I don’t think about it. The driver door opens and whoever’s in the car walks round, coming to the front of -

Red blazer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Red scrunchie round her wrist.                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Red heels.

“Well, if it isn’t Mr No-Name Kid. Long time no see baby,” Heather Duke smirks and leans on the car bonnet, pushing her tongue up against her teeth.

Of all the people in the world, I’m picked up by Heather Fucking Duke.

 

Heather Duke

 

So I was just driving, right, and -

No that sounds stupid. Childish. Cliche.

I was heading down the road  -

Ok now I sound like a fucking poet. Why can’t I ever think of the right thing to say?

You could have done it. God, you always knew the right thing to say. To wear. To do. You could have done this. Heather Chandler, the megabitch and demon queen of high school. Red, always red.

Oh fuck it. I stop trying to compose a torture speech and look over at the boy, man really at this point, slouched in the passenger seat next to me. I’m not a charitable person, like, I’m a bitch and proud of it, so I would never normally pick up a hitchhiker. But damn…

When did Veronica’s freak boyfriend get so hot?

Ok, sorry Heather, I know that was kinda gross, sorry. But whatever, I don’t need your approval so fuck you.

“Thinking about Veronica?” I jeer at JD (Was that his name?). He sort-of does this weird blink-jolt thing that people always do when they’re shocked you’re speaking to them, you know, I would always do it before you helped me Heather. Then sneers, at me , and rolls his eyes.

He’s not the only one thinking about Veronica. God, I wish you could write stuff down whilst driving, I would have the perfect thing to say to her then.

Can you see it Heather? I can, god you’d be proud. I’d be cold as fucking stone…

 

The red blazer flashing through the doors, everybody looking at me, no green now, always red only red I’m your queen now. Veronica would stop serving coffee and I’d watch her face slowly fall into fear as I ripped her apart with words just like you but only better , made her feel terror knowing that freakshow was back in town, ready to -

 

“Watch the road.” JD sniggers, whoops I did it again, Heather it’s your fault. How to be popular rule number ten, always blame somebody else for your mistakes.

I jerk the jeep back onto the road, not that there’s much of a road anyway, and decide if I can’t torture Veronica maybe I can torment JD.

“You didn’t answer my question jackass, thinking of Veronica?”

“Why would I bother wasting my breath on you, you’re just Chandler but lesser .” 

Then he sighs. “How is she?”

Oh shit, what do I say to that Heather?

“She’s still the same old whiney megabitch you left behind. Thinking of going to visit?” I place my blood-red nails on his forearm and he flinches. “I can drop you off.”

I smile the way you never let me Heather, and hey look at that I made someone hurt! Haven’t done that in a while. Kinda missed it.

“No. No Duke, just drop me anywhere. Not Westerburg.” And normally I would comply darling, but I did so want to see Veronica hurt, like she made me hurt.

"Don't you, like, have a dad or something?" See Heather, you poke and prod with no barriers. And it worked, see that bitch! His eyes narrow, just for a second.

"Not any more."

"Oh no, did your big mean daddy abandon you? Poor little baby..."

"Just fuck off Heather." He leans against the window, turned away from me, and I start to think...

Revenge is a dish best served cold eh? Or in this case, no, I was never the one for the wordplay. That was you or Heather, hey, I could drop in and see how she’s doing, I do kind of miss her, she was loyal, honest, chubby, everything a queen could want in a loyal sidekick.

Oh who am I kidding? I would love us to be friends again, to be the Heathers again, except you wouldn’t be invited to the party because I hate your fucking guts.

This is getting good now…

 

Veronica

 

“Sawyer! Your break’s over, get your ass back in here.” My 50-year-old manager yells through the closing doors. I heave a sigh, say goodbye to Heather and Martha, and get back to my counter.

Everything falls into a blur when I’m working, hours passing like days but also like seconds. I serve drinks, count change, and never get a moment to think.

It’s better that way.

Eventually, the store closes, and I’m getting out my key so I can lock up when a black jeep stops in the road before me.

I’ve seen that jeep before - wait.

That’s Heather Duke’s car.

What the fuck is she -

Then every muscle in my body freezes, my heart clenching and unclenching like it’s about to explode, and I’m pretty sure I fall back against the wall.

Dirty black trench coat…

Ruffled black hair…

JD. He’s back.

I can’t hear what he says, he only leans on the window, probably asking where the fuck he just got dropped, because why would he ever come back here?

I can’t hear what he says, but I can hear Heather’s response, and the cruel, mocking tones of her voice snap me back into reality…

“Just look behind you darling…”

He stiffens, and he knows where he is now.

Our eyes meet.

Again.

I throw open the doors (thank god I didn’t lock them) and slam down the blinds, curling up into a ball against the cool metal frame.

He’s back.

Why is he back.

He can’t be back.

Why can’t I ever escape from high school?

Chapter Text

J.D.

 

You know how in movies there’s always that really slow walk in the rain when everything goes wrong? Hair stuck to their head, drenched clothes, walking aimlessly?

This is my walk in the rain.

I don’t even have the effort within me to insult Heather, let alone punch her. I knew where I was when the cruel, mocking words left her mouth, but to add insult to injury, she was there.

Veronica . Seeing her, it really did feel like the bomb had exploded and my fragile body had broken in two. Just the look in her eyes hollowed me out, so thank you very much Heather for ripping open old wounds.

Veronica .

I never suspected the sight of her would hurt me so much.

I know she still hasn’t forgiven me, well who could blame her?

 

“I just killed my best friend.”

“Or worst enemy.”

“Same difference.”

 

I don’t know where I’m going until I end up standing in front of my old house. We never sold it, actually, I have no clue what we did, everything happened too fast and I just wanted to leave.

But the shithole looks empty. Abandoned.

How fitting that an empty house should house an empty person...

 


 

 

“And I should hire you because?” The rheumy-eyed 7-11 manager is most definitely high on something, but he’s still sober enough to be suspicious of a random kid walking into his store asking for a job. Great.

There’s nowhere else in this town I would ever get a job at, plus they’d never hire me anyway.

“Because I need money. Because I’m a good worker. Because I’m that kid who came in here every single fucking day for a slushie about a year ago. Take your pick.” Jesus christ, just hire me. It’s not like this is a formal interview, we’re conducting it over the crisps aisle for god’s sake.

“Fine, you’re on the job. Work this shift.” He walks away and I kid you not he literally grabs a needle from the counter, apparently you’ve gotta be careful where you put your hands in this place.

This is gonna be the best way to make money. The till isn’t locked, so if I need some cash or the bitch forgets to pay me then I’ll take what I can get.

Besides, now I can steal slushies.

 


 

I work for a couple of hours, mindlessly serving people whilst inflicting brain freeze after brain freeze on myself.

But then the clock chimes midday and the door slides open. I drop my cup and the blue liquid oozes across the counter.

Veronica . She doesn’t see me at first, but then she turns to the slushie machine and our eyes meet again.

I’m honestly taken aback when she walks to the counter. “You missed a spot.” She gestures at the spill with a flat voice I’ve never heard her use before.

I roll my eyes and grab a rag from under the counter, pushing a plastic cup into her outstretched hand. She slides over some coins then grabs her cup and leaves.

When she reaches the door, I call out “Veronica?”

She turns. We hold each other’s gaze for a moment too long. Veronica opens her mouth to speak but suddenly yellow nails close over her wrist.

Heather McNamara.

I didn’t even see her come in.

 

Heather McNamara

 

I was just walking past the petrol station when I saw Veronica frozen in the middle of the linoleum aisles. So I pushed open the door -

And I was not expecting to see her staring at JD I didn’t even know he was back. I mean, I would have questioned why she was at the 7-11 if I didn’t already know she went for a slushie every sunday.

But JD? Veronica never told me and Martha what happened, only they broke up when she pulled the fake suicide act and he left, which evidently wasn’t a permanent move.

So I closed my hand around her wrist (and at that moment I was suddenly aware I had yellow nails, a yellow scrunchie holding my blonde hair in a loose bun and yellow heels, it’s hard to break habits) and that made both of them jump.

“Veronica?” Her mouth closes. I turn to the boy behind the counter, he’s actually grown kinda handsome in this year, more of a rugged look, I can see what Veronica saw in him…

But that doesn’t mean I’m ever gonna let him hurt her again.

“Veronica?” I gently shake her arm. “Are you ok?” She blinks a couple of times, seeming to snap out of a daze.

“Yeah, Heather, I’m, I’m fine. Let’s go.” She raises the straw to her mouth and slurps, but then JD moves from behind the counter and approaches us. My eyes narrow.

“Veronica, please, I just, I want to talk.” His voice is soft and if I know Veronica he’s just got through to her, but I’m not standing for this.

I am not letting my best friend get hurt again by this douchebag, even if I have no clue what he did to her.

So I step between them.

“You wanna leave her alone now Jason Dean?”

“I just want to talk to her Heather.” He raises his palms in an I-surrender gesture.

“And if you think I’m going to let you talk to the girl whose heart you broke you’ve got another thing coming. Leave Veronica alone J.D. because she’s done with you.”

He sighs. “ Please Heather.” But I’m not swayed.

“Now I don’t know what you did to Veronica, but I do know that I was the one who provided a shoulder to cry on whilst you were god-knows-where. So stay the hell away from my girl and get the fuck out of town Jason Dean, we’re done with you.” I slip my arm through Veronica’s and lead her through the plastic door.

“Did he bother you?” I turn to her sharply as soon as we get to the main road. She shakes her head distractedly. “No Heather, no , I’m fine.”

We turn to walk back down the road, I’ll take her to my house and we can watch a shitty sci-fi together, but then I hear heels clicking behind us, so I turn.

The red scrunchie shines out from her brown hair. The red blazer glows against her pale skin. Red boots scrape on black tarmac.

Apparently I’m not the only one who has habits.

“Heather.” Heather Duke smiles at us. “And Veronica, how are you?”

I stare passively. She looks up the road, sees the 7-11 behind us, and something flashes in her eyes. “Oh, have you just seen Jace? I dropped him here yesterday, Veronica saw us didn’t you?”

I’m still rendered speechless by Heather’s belief that she rules over us. First of all, Jace? Oh honey, give it up. And second, Veronica knew he was back?

Why didn’t she tell me?

“Heather, can you just, like, go away please. Back to wherever you were. I’m not in the mood.” Veronica’s voice shocks me, but I nod along anyway and smile at Heather. We turn away and walk, but she grabs my arm and pulls me from Veronica’s grip.

“Heather, darling, please. We were friends, you and I, and I don’t like the way we left things. I know we ended high school on the wrong foot -”

“No kidding Heather.”

“But I’d like to make it up with you. How about I buy you a drink some time, unless you’d rather avoid alcohol.” I stare at her, taking in what she just said, hang on, did that bitch even try with me? Oh Heather sweetie, it is on .

I take my arm out from under Veronica’s and pull the yellow scrunchie out of my hair. It sits in the palm of my hand for a moment before I toss it into the path of some passing car. Heather flinches but I don’t care, I’m not yellow anymore, I’m just me.

“Heather.” I try to keep my anger in check. “I don’t want to get a drink with you, in fact, I don’t even want to speak with you at all, ever, so just pull a Chandler and fuck right off out of my life please.” She opens her mouth but I’m not done. “This is isn’t high school anymore, and you don’t want a friend, you want an entourage. Well we’re big girls Heather dear,” I reach forward and pull a fake red nail off of her index finger. Her eyes go wide. “You just filled her her fucking shoes, I’ll never bow to the queen of a long-gone high school.”

Chapter Text

Heather Duke

 

How very dare that bitch just reject my offer? Doesn’t she remember anything from high school, oh you may have fooled the world McNamara but you can’t hide anything from me, you’re still the same depressed loner you’ve always been.

You’re going to die alone Heather, just like you did Heather, I was the only one with guts out of all of us, green, well, I’m not green anymore.

My red nails have cut into my palm. I unclench my fist, I’ve been sitting on my bed for three hours, so I fall black against the red pillow, looking up at my red light that shines out on my red ceiling and red walls. I’m lying on a red duvet, with red clothes in - ok so yeah my room is red Heather don’t start with me.

You’d say I was trying to prove something. You’d say I was just trying to be a copycat pussy who can’t make anything for herself.

But why would I bother trying to write my own song when there’s a beautiful pair of shoes just waiting to be filled.

So thank you Heather darling, you made it all very easy for me. And red so does suit me better than green.

Red is stronger . You weren’t strong enough to wield that power Heather, I mean, come on, that suicide note? The hell was that?

A terrified girl who clings to her pillow and cries? Yeah right, I’ll give you this Heather, you were stronger than that. And at first, the note did bug me, it just didn’t sound like you, at all.

But obviously we ‘couldn’t see past your rockstar mystique.’ Ha.

And then come on, look at Heather, yellow and childish, she would be nothing without us, how could she turn me down?

I just wanted a friend…

But now I guess I have to throw you to the sharks. It’s nothing personal my dear, and it will be easy, because all I’ll have to do is push you over the edge, one tiny shove at a time.

And unlike you Heather, I have the strength to do it…

I don’t know why you kept her around. I guess she was a good sidekick, but she was too weak. It’s a remarkable feat that we even let her in…

Ah well. I don’t care about you anymore. I’ll do this my way.

But I can almost see you there, sitting on the edge of my bed, maybe you are really there..

“Hello.” I call out. You turn towards me.

“I was wondering when you would begin to notice me.”

“Heather.” My voice is hard, cold, “Get out of my head.”

“Who says I’m on your head? I’ve got to entertain myself somehow, god, Heather, my afterlife is so boring. If I have to sing kumbaya one more time…”

I stand, and so does she. We walk in unison over to the mirror, but she isn’t in there beside me. “See!” I raise my finger to her “You’re not here, now go away.”

“So you’re planning to take revenge on Heather.” She sits back at the edge of my bed. “You might not want to burn your bridges whilst you’re standing on an island darling.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?”

“Who will you have left to rule over?” And just like that, she’s gone. I fall back onto my bed and grab the pillow, hugging it closer to my chest.

“Heather, my love, there’s a new sheriff in town.”

“You just filled her fucking shoes, I’ll never bow to the queen of a long-gone high school”

That was what Heather had said earlier. The fucking bitch…

But she was right. Heather Chandler was right. Veronica was right. They were all right.

High school was over. Nobody cared if they looked at me funny anymore, because what could I do to them?

High school was over…

Nobody cared about me anymore. Nobody bowed to me, pledged allegiance to me, the most I got was a glance from some loser geek who would always and forever be a pussy.

But that was it .

“You’re not even that pretty, if I’m honest.” Heather sat cross-legged in front of me, like we were twelve again. “More average,” She continued, “Like, you would never outshine me.”

I frown. She vanishes. But the frown wasn’t to her…

“No no Heather come back! HEATHER!” I scream up at my ceiling and I think I can hear my parents below me, but fuck them, “Heather please!” I suddenly sob, which I wasn’t expecting or trying for, but I can’t stop myself.

Tears pour down my cheeks. “I’m all alone, please Heather, please!” My voice cracks, but the demon queen doesn’t answer my call.

I’m all alone…

Nobody knows me, likes me, notices me…

I want them to notice me! To respect me! To bow down again!

They respected you…

There’s a bottle of sleeping pills on my chest of drawers. Mum gave them to me a couple of years ago, but that was a dark time that passed quickly and I never took more than three.

They still remember you now. Still talk about you, heck, they still fear you, even though you’re as far away as can possibly be...

I reach for the bottle, red nails scratching as I pull off the lid...

Maybe I should just do what you did and join you in the glorious afterlife…

 

Veronica

 

“Oh, my god, I feel like a kid again.” Heather tipped back her head and threw a piece of popcorn into her mouth. “I really needed this.”

We were camped out on Martha’s living room sofa, her parents out for week on a “well-deserved get away.” I was curled up in a blanket with Martha, Heather on the armchair opposite, and we were watching some old crime movie I wasn’t paying attention to.

I hadn’t been paying attention to anything today. I had only been thinking about J.D.…

“Veronica?” Martha’s voice broke through my thoughts. I focused on her, lying next to me chewing on a chocolate bar like a squirrel. “Do you want to change the movie? You haven’t really been -”

“No, no, I’m fine Martha, don’t worry.” I waved my hand at her, grabbing a square of chocolate. But Heather narrowed her eyes.

“Still thinking about JD huh?” I rolled my eyes at her.

“I can’t believe he’s back…” Martha’s voice normally gives me comfort, but now it just sounds childish and pathe -

What is it about JD that converts me back to what I was like a year ago, ready to turn on my best friend just to be friends with the Heathers?

We settle back into a comfortable silence only broken by the sound of somebody chewing. The movie comes to a close, and the credits are playing when the phone in the kitchen rings madly, making us all jump.

“Who would that be?” Heather heaves herself up and walks over, and I can’t help but notice she’s in yellow slippers…

“Hello?” Martha and I turn over the back of the sofa to look at her. She’s frowning in confusion, but then suddenly that gives way to fear and the phone slips from her fingers, bouncing on the wire and smacking against the wall.

“What is it?” We both jump up and Martha puts the phone to her ear.

“Heather?” I lightly tug on her arm. “Who was it.”

Heather swallows. Looks down at the floor. “That was Mr and Mrs Duke.” She raises her eyes to meet mine.

 

“Heather tried to overdose. She was hospitalized an hour ago.”

Chapter Text

Dear world,

 

I don’t really know what to say here. Maybe it’s because I never actually imagined this is something I would ever do…

So if you read this, as cliche as it sounds, I am obviously dead. Or at least, I hope I am, because otherwise this was just a fucking waste of time.

You may be wondering what drove me to this. Or you might not be. But I know that at least my parents will worry, so this is for you and anybody who cared:

Do you remember Heather Chandler’s suicide note? I do. I still have a copy, and not because Miss fucking Fleming handed them out like invites to her birthday party.

I have it for two reasons. First, contrary to what you may believe, Heather was my best friend. Sorry Heather, but based on our last conversation I can’t imagine you would argue with me. But second, she was right.

I thought that I was the one who suffered. The one who bit her tongue until it bled and apologized for speaking out of turn after every word. The one who could do nothing right, the one who had to wear the right outfit every day, and I could never be red.

But then suddenly my pole star choked and died, and then I was on top.

At first, I was exhilarated. Finally, it was my time to shine. I would be the demon queen of high school.

But because, normally at least, only one person gets to sit on the throne, nobody ever knows how alone you are…

So I did this for a lot of things. Heather, McNamara that is, was right. She called me ‘the queen of a long-gone high school.’

And I thought about that for a long long time today, and yes Heather my love, you were right. My kingdom is long gone, high school is over.

Time to wake up.

I’m sorry Heather Chandler. I’m sorry I never understood your pain. I’m sorry I hated you, sorry I resented you, and most of all I’m sorry that I was the shittiest best friend I could have been. You needed love, you needed somebody to say “I’m here for you Heather, I don’t want you to die. You don’t need to commit suicide.” But I never did that, I never supported you, and I am so sorry my darling friend.

At least I get to see you again. Or, at least, I hope so.

I’m sorry Heather McNamara. I’m sorry I was so cruel, so unloving, I was a bitch, no, I was worse than that, I wasn’t even human. I was truly the ‘demon queen of high school’ and I even tried to make you kill yourself. Well karma’s a bitch I guess. And I am so so so sorry for that Heather, and I wish we could have been friends. I wish I was your friend.

But you are so much stronger than me. You’re a survivor my love, and keep fighting.

I’m sorry Veronica Sawyer. I am so so sorry about what I, what Kurt, Ram and I, made you suffer. Perhaps this is our punishment. But still, it was cruel. And a lie. To anybody reading this, anything I said or that Kurt and Ram said, it was a lie. And this ties into my next apology as well, but I am sorry for what I did outside that coffee shop, or what I did on what I guess is the last day of my life.

You didn’t deserve it. I hope you can find a way to be happy. Somehow.

Now this one will probably shock you all, and only two people know what I’m talking about, unless she told anyone else. I’m sorry JD, or what I did, all that I did. I shouldn’t have done it, and being bitter was no excuse.

I should’ve left you walking down that road. Maybe this wouldn’t have happened if I had.  

Now for my final apology. I’m sorry to everybody I hurt and bullied and bitched on and did all that shit to. I hate that there are so many of you, that there are too many of you to name. I am sorry to you all.

Oh and to my parents, I am sorry. And I didn’t forget about you. I wanted to end saying sorry to you, to make it clear that you did nothing wrong. It’s not your fault, you raised me to be kind and good, except I could never be kind and good. So it’s not your fault.

Goodbye all. Maybe I’ll see you in heaven, but I doubt that’s where I’m going.

 


 

Veronica

 

We went to the hospital that night. Her parents didn’t let me or Martha in, only Heather, I take it they assumed that they were still friends.

We’re sitting on the blue plastic chairs, and Heather walks out of the door in a bit of a daze. Martha and I stand up immediately.

“She’s still unconscious. The doctors say she’ll be fine, but if she hadn’t taken the pills one at a time, well..” She doesn’t need to finish.

“I can’t believe it, I mean, Heather just - “

“She left a note.” My head snaps up and I notice the laminate folder in Heathers hand. I snatch it from her fingers, drinking up the words she wrote with shaking hands.

Then I fall back onto the chair.

I wanted to know why, I needed to understand why, what could possibly have led to her to try and take her own life?

But now I know.

And it was my fault.

Mine. JD's and I.

She did this because of Heather. Because of what she thought Heather said, what she thought Heather felt like.

Except she never felt like that.

We just, no, JD didn’t write that note, I did.

It’s my fault.

The whole night is dominated by those two little words eating away at my brain.

Your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault.

They swim inside the tears that finally fall from my eyes. They scream in my ears on the drive home and I’m digging my nails into Heather’s car seats and I just. Can’t. Breathe.

I haven’t felt like this since, since, since that morning. The last morning Heather Chandler ever saw.

Because that nearly happened all over again.

Your fault.

“Stop.” I choke out. Martha and Heather both turn to look at me, curled up in the back seat biting my nails. “Please,” I continue, “Pull, pull over.”

“Are you alright Veronica?”

“Do you feel sick?”

“Does your head hurt?”

But all I hear is “It’s your fault it’s your fault it’s your fault.”

We’re still an hour away from Westerburg. Adam’s Hospital, where Heather is placed, is two and a half hours away by car.

We’re so far away from home, Heather is so far away from home...

Your fault.

I push open the door but stay in my seat, letting the night air cool my face. Martha and Heather watch me in concerned silence.

It’s not my fault.

She never actually said that the “suicide” note influenced her choices. It was a combination of many different -

“You can tell yourself that all you want darling, but it doesn’t change the truth.”

I feel the colour drain from my face. I turn in dread, but she’s not on the seat next to me. Frantic, I twist and turn, looking for her, no no she can’t be here, she can’t be -

Then I see her. Heather Chandler, wearing the same red clothes she died in, leaning on the side of the car. She smirks.

I slam the door.

“Veronica?” Heather’s eyes are wide in concern. But I shake my head and hold the door handle down with all my might.

“Just drive Heather, drive drive drive and keep driving.”

 


 

My bed used to comfort me, my bedroom was my place, the place I was safe. Then J.D. broke in, and he stole that safety for a while, along with the mocking voice of Heather Chandler, but they both left, and slowly, piece by piece, I rebuilt my safe place.

But now my eyes are wide, nails drawing blood from my palm, as Heather Chandler stands at the foot of my bed, wearing a red dress and red heels, something you’d wear to a party.

Or knowing Heather, something you’d wear to a funeral.

She sits on the bed and lies on her stomach, head almost touching my feet and propped on her elbows whilst she blinks her green eyes up at me.

“Did you miss me baby?”

I gulp, pretty sure that I’m shaking, I know my hands are. But I scramble as far away from her as I can, pushing up against the headboard with my knees to my chest.

Heather sits up, crosses her legs, and cocks her head at me.

“Are you afraid? Of what I’ll say to you? Oh bitch please , I’m not about to say anything you’re not already thinking.” She chuckles, then smiles her evangelical smile at me.

“It’s your fault.”

“It’s not my fault.” I shake my head and squeeze my eyes shut, maybe if I close them for long enough, she’ll go away.

There’s a long period of silence. I tentatively open one eye…

Heather’s nose is a centimeter away from mine, looking my dead in the eyes.

I scream, and she once again throws back her head and laughs.

She laughs because she just scared me. Because that’s funny to her.

“But all jokes aside slut, I’m as confused as you are?”

“Confused?” I blink. She rolls her eyes.

“Of course, I mean come on Veronica, for starters, do you REALLY think Heather ever believed that suicide note you wrote for me. I doubt it, because that thing was a fucking bore.” She yawns, and then stands up, beginning to pace around my bedroom.

“And then second, do you believe her note? I know you were never red, but still, you must understand what her game is, please tell me you, oh my god Veronica, jesus fucking christ!” She walks round to the side of my bed and shakes my shoulder. I jump up, trying to get away from her.

“SHE’S COPYING ME! Fucking hell,” Heather rakes a hand through her loose blonde curls, “ Do you really believe all that I’m-so-sorry bullshit?”

“No, I don’t.” I cross my arms across my chest and lean against the wardrobe. “But that doesn’t mean other people won’t.”

“Now you’ve got it.” Heather smiles, like she’s genuinely proud, and it makes me feel sick.

“But still,” She blinks, and begins to fade away before my eyes, but I can still hear her voice, singing softly even after she’s gone.


“It’s your fault.”

Chapter Text

J.D.

 

Heather Duke’s suicide didn’t surprise me. Or fool me. I know what she wants, attention, and I know a liar when I see one.

What did surprise me was her suicide note.

Not the bullshit about apologies. I’ve watched somebody write two fake suicide notes, so you could say I’m an expert when it comes to forging one, even if you are forging one for yourself.

But her apology to me…

No, that was a lie too. She chose to drop me back here, to try and fuck with my life all over again. My life, and Veronica’s…

Veronica.

What surprised me was the apology that came before mine, what surprised me was Heather Duke.

Who knew she could be so clever?

Because if I know Veronica, and to be honest I probably know her better than anyone considering I’m the one who made her kill three people, she’s blaming herself.

Currently, I’m pretending I couldn’t care less what she thinks. How she feels. Pretending that the thought of Heather Duke still managing to hurt her even with no power left doesn’t make me both sick and heartbroken.

That it doesn’t make me want to kill Heather Duke myself.

 


 

There’s something about working in 7-11 that makes you aware to people, and I know that sounds really fucking stupid, but you know that any old man coming in looking secretive is there to buy alcohol or cigarettes, and any teenager in a hoodie and cap is here to buy drugs from the manager.

Kids are only there for sweets. Parents with a child in tow are there to buy snacks for a cinema showing or a long journey.

Veronica comes in to buy a slushie every sunday.

She does not come in to buy cigarettes. Or cans of beer.

And she never comes in looking drunk as fuck.

But that’s her today.

She staggers up to the counter and gestures at a pack of cigarettes on the shelf behind me. I don’t think she even realises it’s me.

I hand them to her and watch her stagger back out of the store.

Then I sprint to Heather McNamara’s house. It’s at the end of my old street, so I saw Chandler drop her there most days.

I knock on the door furiously, but she’s obviously not home, because her mum answers the door curiously.

“Hello?” I suddenly falter, because what the fuck am I meant to say to this woman?                                                                                                                           

“Erm, I’m, err, a friend of Heather’s. From high school.” Well that could have been worse…

“She never mentioned you. What’s your name? Heather sort of only ran in one circle…” “Yeah, erm, I was dating Veronica. Sawyer. I’m J.D.”

She sighs. “Ah, right, you need to talk to her about Veronica yes? She’s, well, mentioned some stuff. Heather’s at the cinema at the moment,” She disappears into the hall for a few moments then reappears holding a sheet of paper that she hands to me, “Call this number in a couple hours, she should be back then. I’ll inform her of you.” I want to argue with that, but what reason would I give?

I’ll just have to hope Heather is as worried as I am…

 


 

Two hours later, I’m holding a public phone to my ear and realise I’m literally bouncing

I stop bouncing.

The phone ring, and rings, and rings and rings and -

“I take it this is Jason Fucking Dean.”                                                                                                                                                                                         

“Heather. It’s JD, not Jason. It’s about Veronica.”

Silence. I take a breath. I think she does too.

“What do you mean? Veronica’s fine.”   

"Heather, when Veronica is fine, she doesn't stagger drunk into 7-11 to buy cigarettes."

"Cigarettes? Oh christ..."

"Heather, tell me what's going on!" She sighs, and there's a long silence again.

"JD, you've, well, you've heard about Heather?"

"Obviously."                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Heather McNamara

 

“JD, you’ve, well, you’ve heard about Heather?” His voice is cold enough to freeze hell over as he responds “Obviously.”

I don’t know what to tell him. What does he want to hear?

I don’t even know what to tell myself, so what can I tell him?

“Veronica, she, she took it hard.” Ok, there we go. That was an ok lie, maybe I should pretend we took her out for a drink yesterday and dared her to buy some cigarettes, rather than, than…

“I gathered, since it was - ” He stops, and I can hear the panic in his voice, what did he almost say? “Nevermind,” He continues, “Just tell me what’s going on Heather. Please!”

It’s the please that gets me. Does, does he still care? Heck, I don’t even know what happened between them, but Veronica broke up with him, I think, or I don’t know, these two have the most confusing relationship and I’m not exactly a goddess of love…

Should I tell him? Heather would, and so would Heather, but they would do it for the wrong reasons, and Martha? Well, I don’t know, but I don’t think she would…

But they’re not me. And who am I? The loyal one? The one who keeps your secrets?

What would Veronica want…

“She’s drinking and smoking and probably doing drugs and ignoring all of us and going to parties and - “                                                                                                     

“Woah, woah, slow down Heather, what do you mean?” I take a deep breath, but the tone in his voice reassures me that I’m doing the right thing…

“I’m only gonna say this once JD so don’t interrupt me. When Veronica read the suicide note two weeks ago she blamed herself, I don’t know why because she won’t talk to anyone. She started drinking and smoking and who knows what else, to be honest, I don’t want to know, then going to parties and she’s, she’s…” I stammer. I don’t know what else to say. Veronica hasn’t been the same since, since it happened, and I want to stop her but I don’t see how, I don’t see why she’s, she’s -

 

“She’s lost herself JD, and I don’t know how to help her."

Chapter Text

Veronica

 

They couldn’t understand, how could they understand? This is another tally to my body count, shit, I shouldn’t even have a body count.

Your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault your fault

It never leaves my head. Heather tells me it every night. I can see it in the eyes of people who pass me on the street. They tell me it as I hand them their coffee.

I have to block it out .

So I turned to alcohol at first. Drinking my problems into the caverns of drunkenness and then leaving them there.

But they don’t stay there forever.

I have to block it out.

Then I picked up a cigarette. And another. And soon I was addicted but that was better than being addicted to anything else.

JD was right. The easiest way to block out the pain is to freeze your brain…

I have to block it out…

 

J.D.

 

Have you ever just walked down some random street in the middle of the night, when the clouds are hanging low and the air is thick? It’s calm. Peaceful. You don’t get many moments like that nowadays.

It’s silent…

Or at least, it would be silent, if there hadn’t been a raging party going on down the street from the street for at least five hours.

But it’s almost three o’clock and the music has died down, so I push open the front door and walk down the road.

I need to clear my head.

Veronica.

I don’t know what I’m thinking. Does it scare me, what Heather said she was doing, what I know she’s doing because if you see her in the street it’s obvious, and should it scare me? Why would it scare me? Is it bad that it scares me? Why would it scare me? It scares me… I don’t want her hurt, just the idea of her hurting herself, of somebody else hurting her, makes me sick. And what’s even worse is that there’s no way I can help her, that I can stop her doing this to herself, but it’s not like she would ever listen to me anyway… There’s nobody who can stop her. Heather said she tried, but she doesn’t know how, well there’s no way she could know how, I’m the only person in the living world who knows why she’s blaming herself and still I can’t help her…

See why I need to clear my head?

I walk past the house that was alive with drunk fools only a couple hours ago. Now it’s empty, a couple of people passed out in the front lawn and only one couple making out in a bush, I was expecting more.

I didn’t want to walk past here, I didn’t want to be reminded of that night…

“Get your ass in gear make this whole town disappear.”

I don’t want to remember that - well that’s a lie, I do, if it’s all I have to hold on to then I want the memory to never fade…

But I don’t want to remember the party. I didn’t go, but Veronica told me about it.

I don’t want to remember how angry I was when Veronica’s so-called ‘friends’ abandoned her.

Yet here I am, looking up at a dark, seemingly empty house. Because something Heather said to me was stuck in my head all night…

“She’s drinking and smoking and probably doing drugs and ignoring all of us and going to parties”

Was Veronica there ? At the party? She wouldn’t have been, she’s not that much of an idiot, to go and get wasted with a bunch of teenagers.

Right?

I turn and walk away. Not heading home, I’m not ready to face the emptiness yet, just down the street, hoping that this night will end in peace…

Or not.

There’s something going on in the alleyway next to me. I don’t stop, I don’t want to stop, until a high-pitched voice screams out and all the blood in my body freezes in place…

Veronica.

I’m almost frozen, turning in horror to see two jocks, or at least they looked like it, they practically looked like Kurt and Ram, for a minute I thought it was Kurt and Ram, with their arms trapping someone, trapping Veronica .

They lift up her skirt and try to rip open her top and one of them is kissing her and her arms are weakly pushing him away and it’s Veronica Veronica my Veronica Veronica.

The other one knocks her head to the floor and that snaps me out of whatever daze I was in...

I sprint down the alleyway, in control but not in control, and I need to get to Veronica, I need to help Veronica, I definitely punched somebody and I think I knocked somebody into the wall but nothing is going to stop me, nobody is going to stop me until I reach her and then suddenly she’s in my arms and I just hold her and I wouldn’t be surprised if I was sobbing and for a moment she’s safe and that’s all that matters until I think about who I’m saving her from…

They’re standing, leering, ready to beat the life out of me, until I pull a gun from under my coat, I learned the hard lessons a long time ago, and shoot it, the bullet flying between them.

They turn and run but I couldn’t care less about the idiots who just ran from a gun with no more bullets (it’s old and I can’t afford new ones) because Veronica Veronica Veronica Veronica Veronica

I’m there but not there as I carry her home. I never thought I would ever feel this again…

 

The anger .

The love .

The pain .

 

But the anger scares me the most…

I practically carry her back down the dark street, and I keep closing my eyes, because maybe if I keep them closed for long enough then this will all be a nightmare and Veronica won’t have been hurt and I would give anything for her to have been safe even if she forgives me after this and like me after this I would give my life just to keep her safe…

We reach her front door, and I root around in my pocket, throwing the two cigarettes and burnt-out joint behind us until I finally find the keys. I’m quiet as I take her in and lay her on her sofa because if her parents woke up the that would be extremely awkward.

I lay her down, and cover her with a blanket, pushing her hair up behind her airs, then kissing her forehead. I step back, look at her lying there, peaceful, and shake my head.

“God Veronica,” I mutter, turning to the front door, “What have you done? You’ve become a dead girl walking…”

I almost leave, in fact, I’m pulling the door closed behind me when I realise she’ll want some kind of explanation to this.

So I pull two sheets of paper out of a notepad on the coffee table and find a pen in one of the drawers.

Then I sit on the sofa by her feet and try to work out what the hell to write…

I don’t want to write, well, what happened, because I don’t want her parents to find it.

I don’t want her to know…

And I know that’s fucked-up, but I need her to get better, to stop torturing herself, and she won’t stop if I say, if I tell her…

In the end, I write two notes. I’m no forgery master, that was Veronica, but I manage to imitate Heather’s slanted handwriting…

Mr and Mrs Sawyer,

I was just going on a walk, around about midnight, when I came across a party. I wasn’t going to stop but then I saw Veronica staggering into the house. I took her back here (the keys were in her pocket that’s why the front door is open) and she fell asleep instantly. Don’t worry, I know she’d been at the bar for a few hours, but she was only arriving at the party when I got her.

Heather M

 

I leave that one on the coffee table next to the sofa, and tuck the other into her blanket, where they hopefully won’t find it.

Then I leave.

And I just, just, just go home.

Because if I’m honest, I’m scared what I might do if I don’t...

Chapter Text

Heather McNamara

 

I knew that Veronica was going to that party. I tossed and turned all night, and now here I was, staring down at a bowl of cereal trying to reason with myself.

It wasn’t working.

I told myself that even if I’d gone to the party, Veronica wouldn’t have spoken to me. She wouldn’t have listened, wouldn’t have let me take her home.

But the voice in my head just laughed

And I swear, it sounded exactly like Heather Chandler.

I blinked once, then twice, then dropped my spoon.

Red nails reached over, picked it up, and dipped it into the bowl of cornflakes.

Heather Chandler smiled around the spoon in her mouth from across the table.

“How’ve you been Heather darling?”

I stood up, knocking my chair away, and ran into my living room. No no no no no not again she’s not back no no no I thought she was gone I thought I was done after that night…

Desperately pulling at my hair, trying to curl it, trying to be her, trying to keep her memory alive. Mourning her even though I hated her and looking at Heather smiling and wondering why isn’t she mourning too? The days of pain and depression and bullying and when it couldn’t get any worse it did because Heather Chandler was there every night, whispering in my ear, like she always had been. Telling me I wasn’t pretty enough, I was too fat, too lazy, too dumb, I could never be anybody special, I was about to be thrown right over the side, drowning in the raging black ocean.

But then Veronica saved me. And Heather never came back…

“Well I’m back now. Did you really think I was gonna spend my days in chorus choirs and bonding circles? You know me Heather…”

I turn to the girl, to the demon , that ruled my life for years, until she was finally gone.

I sneer. Let my face grow calm. Let my hands drop to my sides. “You should be rotting in hell Heather.”

She smiles. “Well you’ve got stronger. Don’t let that bitch get you down Heather, I already did that. And for once, I’m not back to torture someone.” She takes me by the arm and sits me down next to her on the sofa, brushing a tendril of hair behind my ear.

“I did always like you, you know? Laugh, cry, go on, because I know it never seemed like it, but there were those rare times when you would laugh and the sun would catch your hair and your eyes, they would actually glow because you were happy , and I would think to myself what is a girl like that doing with the Heathers? Because you were strong Heather, you survived. Better than the rest of us, anyway.” She lets out a hollow laugh.

“Who would have thought that yellow would come out on top?”

And with that, she fades away. And I’m left with three thoughts going around my head; I need to get to Veronica’s house and see if she’s ok, I need to probably call Martha too. And then the final one.

What. The. Fuck. Was. That?

But I push Heather Chandler out of my brain, call up Martha, and head over to Veronica’s.

And it’s on the walk there that I realise something.

I don’t hate Heather Chandler anymore.

 

Veronica

 

I don’t remember anything about last night. I don’t even know if anything happened last night, but based on the reaction of parents when they found me passed out on the sofa, I guess I went to the party.

The party…

I remember some boy coming up to me, offering a cigarette (which I took) and inviting me, oh fuck where did he invite me?

I don’t know, but I think it was a party…

But if I did go to a party, then what the fuck is Heather’s note about? Maybe I didn’t go to a party?

But maybe Heather didn’t write the note…

I just lie on the couch for a while, staring up at the ceiling, just thinking…

Then the front door flies open and I see Heather, with Martha in tow, standing in the doorway.

“Erm, hi.” I croak, and they both rush over, Martha sitting at my feet (why do I half-remember feeling somebody almost sitting on my feet?) and Heather kneeling down beside me, concerned.

“Right bitch, let’s get you up and at ‘em. Where are your parents? Are you ok? Did you go to the party, well obviously you did your breath stinks of tequila, but who brought you home? And -”

I swing out of the blanket and stumble over to my kitchen counter. “Christ Heather, I’m fine. My parents left a couple of hours ago for work.” I rake my hand through my hair then turn to face the two of them, giving Heather the stink eye.

“And you brought me home you motherfucker.”

She pales in confusion, and I don’t see her, I see perfect Heather Chandler with her perfect skin and perfect hair and perfect clothes and fucking perfect expression -

This is what a hangover does to me. I sigh and fall against the counter. Heather walks over and picks up the note that she was meant to have left there.

“Mr and Mrs Sawyer, I was just going on a walk, around about midnight, when I came across a party. I wasn’t going to stop but then I saw Veronica staggering into the house. I took her back here (the keys were in her pocket that’s why the front door is open) and she fell asleep instantly. Don’t worry, I knew she’d been at the bar for a few hours, but she was only arriving at the party when I got her.” She looks up at me, forehead wrinkling.

“But I didn’t write this Ronnie, I promise.”

“Did you just call me Ronnie? Fucking hell…” She smiles at me through her teeth as I roll my eyes. “Yeah, and since it appears to piss you off badly I’m gonna call you that now, but bitch, I’m -”

“There’s a note in the blanket”

We both turn to Martha, who’s holding a sheet of white paper between her fingers, and there’s something in her eyes as she reads, and I know then, I know what that note will say.

I know who brought me home.

Martha clears her throat. “Veronica. I brought you home because I found you fucking wasted at a party full of high-school burnouts, oh it’s J.D. by the way. And I wasn’t at the party, so I’ve got no clue what happened to you, but you weren’t hurt or high, so I’m pretty sure you were just drunk as fuck. And I know your parents, so I left a note pretending to be Heather McNamara, so if they call her and blow your cover I’m sorry but it was the only thing I could think of, which, well, if you read this you’ll have read it so I won’t bother. Hopefully your parents don’t find this one either.”

Martha stops reading, but the paper is completely full, so I know she’s stopped. I lunge for the sheet and snatch it from her grasp, and sure enough, she didn’t read the whole thing at all.

 

Veronica,

 

Fucking hell, you need to be more careful. I brought you home because I found you fucking wasted at a party full of high-school burnouts. And I wasn’t at the party, so I’ve got no clue what happened to you, but you weren’t hurt or high, least that I could tell (oh there will be a bruise on your thigh because you fell off the coach) so I’m pretty sure you were just drunk as fuck. And I know your parents, so I left a note pretending to be Heather McNamara, so if they call her and blow your cover I’m sorry but it was the only thing I could think of, which, well, if you read this you’ll have read it so I won’t bother. Hopefully your parents don’t find this one either. And Veronica, I’m serious, you need to stop. Don’t go back down the road we took about a lifetime ago, because it’s not any different, this time you’re just killing yourself. And I know that you don’t trust me, but please believe that I’m only trying to help you, because contrary to what you may believe, I do still care about you, and I don’t want you to get hurt.

 

Please, stay safe. I can’t always be there to save you, even though I wish that was possible.

 

JD

 

I let the slip of paper fall to the wooden floorboards. Heather snatches it up, but I don’t care, I couldn’t care less, I can’t even think about anything about J.D…

JD

He, he cares about, about me ?

Do I care about him?

I have to see him…

I race upstairs, and when I open my closet the first thing I see is the red blazer that Heather Duke gave me at graduation…

 


 

Martha and Heather race up the stairs after me, they must have talked for a few minutes, because I meet them halfway and they gasp.

I’m in a red blazer over a black shirt that I normally work in. There’s a dark blue skirt belted around my waist and black fishnet tights snug in a pair of dark red heels.

Blue no longer. Young no longer, innocent and peaceful no longer. I’ve seen too much and done too much to be wise and good and true, if everyone expects to be the sheriff, then I may as well obey. I’ll be queen .

Heather Chandler and I smirk together as I push past the two of them, heading to the door. “Veronica!” Martha yells at me, “Where are you going?”

I whirl around to face the two of them, so full of concern and I just. Can’t. It. Anymore.

“I’m going to see JD, I’ll see you some time.”

“Veronica, wait!” Martha grabs my wrist. “ I know that the suicide note affected you, but this, whatever you’ve decided you’ll do as a distraction, this isn’t the answer! Please, listen to me. Don’t go to JD, I don’t know what he did to you but he’ll just hurt you again Veronica.”

“Holy shit Ronnie,” Heather chimes in, “He’s a walking bomb ready to explode and take us all out with him.”

They almost had me. They almost made me what I once was…

But I’m not seventeen any longer.

 

J.D.

 

I take the opportunity of a break to grab a slushie and get some fresh air. I don’t know what I’m expecting; trust, forgiveness, I wouldn’t even care if she didn’t act any different to me…

That’s a lie.

But then she walks up the road and I swear to god I thought she’d been possessed by Chandler…

Red blazer.

Red scrunchie round the wrist.

Red shoes.

“JD”

“Greetings and salutations.”

And we’re seventeen again, in a world that I’m not quite sure isn’t a dream…

God, I want to be seventeen. If I could go back and just listen , just have a life with her, I would. I would have thrown down the gun and let go of the anger.

I want us to be seventeen. And to do that, I need to keep Veronica safe. On my side. Happy. I need to do that, because that’s all I can do.

Let’s be seventeen Veronica, even if we don’t have the right…

Veronica

 

Dear Diary,

Wow I haven’t done this bullshit for a while. I tore up the pages, that, well, erm, contained, stuff, because if anybody ever found those…                                     

Anyway, today, I, erm, I went to see JD, and it, it actually went pretty well. He was nice. Sympathetic. He understood. For most of my life, all I wanted was somebody to help, to teach me how to thrive. But being with him, I don’t feel like I need to be the person everyone expects me to be, the person that the Heathers “helped” me into becoming.                                                                                                                

That didn’t make much sense, but it’s hard to get across how I feel. Martha and Heather didn’t want me to see him, but to be honest, well I do care, but it’s easier to be stone-cold to their concern. I really channeled Heather today. I needed to be the perfect mythic bitch, and here we are, not really sure if I’m falling back into a trap.                   

This doesn’t really make sense. Sorry. But I’m in a weird mood.

Maybe I’ll, erm, write in this again,

V. Sawyer

 

Dear Diary,

I met with JD again today. Slushies, like we used to do. And I can’t help feeling like I’m tearing open a scar by letting him back into my life, but I can’t help it.                  

I still want him to fight for me. Because I know I would, I’d fight for him.

And is that bad? Good? But there’s just something about him, it takes me back to a better time, when I really thought there was hope, that life could be beautiful.         

I’m not a child anymore, thank the heavens. I’m not a naive little girl who has dreams and wishes on shooting stars, I know the bullshit we call home.                

But I’m scared. Because when I’m with JD, I don’t feel that. I feel like I’m home. Really home. Safe.

 

I’ll write again tomorrow

V. Sawyer

Chapter Text

Heather, Heather and Veronica

 

Dear Heather Chandler,

 

Hey, it’s Heather M here, at your grave. Laying flowers, which I don’t think I’ve ever done but times change, don’t they? I sort-of wish you’d come back, come and see me, because I need your help Heather, I need you to help Veronica.

 

Erm, Heather, it’s, it’s Veronica. I was, oh who the heck am I kidding, I don’t even know why I’m here at your grave, staring down at some yellow flowers that look fresh, but I didn't know Heather still cared.

 

Bitch. It’s Heather Duke. Just wanted to ask a question, since I’ve got nothing better to do. Did you ever have a crush? Like, on somebody who was taken? Well I mean you stole boyfriends, like weekly, but you never cared. Right?

 

I don’t know how to help Veronica, I don’t know if I need to help her Heather, god, I don’t know why but I wish you were here. To offer advice. Though you didn’t ever give me advice on anything except how to be more worthy of your friendship, but I really need any advice I can get.

I’ve been seeing JD, and not like you think, we’re just friends. And I don’t know why I’m telling you this because all you’d do is laugh.

 

I have a crush, I think. No, not a crush. Crushes are for children and I’m not a baby. More like somebody that should be with me, but he isn’t.

 

Should I be concerned? Should I try to stop her? Is it helping her? Christ, I know that sounds stupid but she’s stopped, well, all the other stuff, and they don’t seem to be more than friends, but what is they still want to be more than friends?

 

I know what you would tell me. He’s as freak and you’re an honorary Heather, you can do better. But I don’t need your approval.

 

What would you do if you were here Heather? Take the man? I know you would, because you’re a bitch. Should I do that though? Should I take him?

 

Help me Heather, please…

 

Leave me be Heather, please…

 

Teach me Heather, please…

 

J.D.

 

I can’t even control myself when I’m around her. I let things slip. Let secrets fly.

That’s bad.

Because, and I know this sounds stupid, I don’t want her to know. Know that I was abandoned. Know that I’m alone.

I don’t want her to worry.

So I’m trying to work out how to keep it in.

We can be fake-alone together baby...

Chapter Text

Heather Duke

I’ve been floating. High on painkillers, buzzed out on meds, etc etc. And though most of the time I’m completely spaced, there are gaps, like, five minute gaps, where I’m aware. Where I can think .

Mostly, I think of you Heather. How you would help me. How you would save me. Even though I know you wouldn’t, you’d just laugh.

As clarification, you epically failed at being a best friend.

And I’d like to say more, but I can already feel myself slipping away…

Wait wait before I go hey HANG ON HEATHER ok good, You’re listening. So, erm, can you do, wait, do me a favour.

Get Sawyer to come and see me. I want to fuck with her for one last time.

Thanks.

 

Veronica

“No way in hell would I go play pretend-friends with that motherfucker!” I growl at Heather. She holds the phone to her ear, and I know what will come next.

She’ll lower her voice and tell Duke’s parents that of course she’ll go and see her. Out of guilt, fear, heck I don’t know.

“Mr and Mrs Duke, I don’t know if Heather would be most pleased with a visit from me right now.” She waits, and I can hear crackling on the other end of the phone. “Oh, well if she requested, then I can possibly make a visit - oh no, of course, if she only wants, yes, yes, ok I’ll see you Mrs Duke, thank you for calling.”

Heather lets the phone drop and bounce around on it’s plastic coil and falls back against the wall. “What do I do Ronnie? I mean she wants to see me, and only me, don’t worry, but -”

“Christ Heather, what do you owe her?” I run my hand back through my hair. “I don’t think it’s important to fulfill the wishes of someone who literally told you to go kill yourself because you weren’t worthy.”

We’d been arguing about this for ten minutes before the phone ran. And no matter what I said, I knew her view would never change.

At least she wasn’t dragging me along. But Heather knew that I’d rather choke myself to death on corn nuts than go see that bitch. But I don’t understand what H thinks she owes Duke, the pain she caused her was far worse than the pain she caused me.

No, I won’t think about that pain. I won’t let that happen again.

Martha, at least, is on the same page as me. “She’ll just use you like a tool over again, another stepping stone back up to the position of power she craves so badly.” That was what she said to me over the phone earlier, and what she told Heather yesterday when they showed up at my work announcing that Heather was awake.

Sometimes the fact that they’re all called Heather is so fucking confusing I just want to march into a legal office myself and get their names changed.

My parents agree with me too, when I arrive home. “You’ve experienced enough trauma without having to care for somebody who mistreated you.” My mum told me over the dinner table. But I didn’t really take her words into consideration, because then she wasn’t talking about Duke, she was talking about JD and how he mistreated me.

JD

I didn’t see him today. But now I’m lying on my bed clutching a pillow and wondering if I should have, even though he told me he was busy, or something.

I can already feel myself slipping back into how it was before. I was too obsessed, too blind to see where all we did was going to get me.

“Better not be blind again bitch. We could end up with another dead body in our hands.”

Oh fuck not this again.

“Hello Heather.” I sit up and she’s there, stretched out at the edge of my bed, twirling her hair round her ring finger, smiling her evangelical smile at me.

“My dear Veronica, shouldn’t you be in a car with Heather, driving back from the hospital?”

“I’m not going to see Heather Duke? Are you fucking crazy?”

“I don’t think you’re crazy. I just think you’re a pussy.”

I stand straight upright at that. “What the hell Heather?” She stands too, facing me.

“I mean, come on Veronica! Are you scared?”

“I am not scared of Heather Duke. She’s a little whiny bitch who needs to grow up and accept she’s just a nobody from some random town in Ohio.”

But Heather only rolls her eyes. “Don’t play games with me little girl. I know you. What’s the mean bitch gonna do to you that I haven’t done already?”

I lie on my bed, tucking my feet away from her, and squash my face into the pillow. “Just go Heather. I’m done. I’m not seeing her. I’m not even hearing you.”

And, amazingly, she begins to fade away. But before she goes, she mutters. “If you want to fuck with eagles, you have to learn to fly Veronica. Your parents are small underachievers who never confronted their fears and look where it got them? Where’s the brave talk by yourself, alone in your room, gonna get you? I’ll tell you where, it’ll get you fucked. Lying in a hospital ward high on painkillers and wishing somebody would come and visit you.”

I open my eyes and I feel like her words have cut a knife straight through the center of my soul. I can’t stay here, in this room with these ghosts and the poisonous air that’s slowly choking me alive.

I need to see JD

So I slip downstairs and out the door, breathing in the cool air. I find myself leaning against the wall of some random house and crying except I’m not really crying; it feels like tears should by all rights be falling down my face but there’s nothing. There’s always and forever only nothing.

I’m nothing.

Heather’s right. I’m just some pussy who can’t go and confront her demons even when those demons are out of it in a psychiatric ward.

Because I’m weak. And empty. I feel like I’m just falling and falling and then every time a ledge shows up I grab it only to find it knocked out of my hands by the words of a girl who isn’t even alive.

Is this all I’ll ever be? A coward?

Maybe I should go and Heather. I mean, what do I have to lose? Maybe Heather Chandler would leave me alone if I toughened up and faced my fears.

I should go home. I should just sit there and let her words poke holes in my skin until I’m nothing left but a beat up toy for her to play with until she gets bored and throws it out. Even from beyond the grave, Heather still manages to truly fuck up my life in the most epic way.

All the Heather’s ever did was fuck up everybody’s life. Heather Chandler tore them apart, Heather Duke picked through the remains and Heather McNamara thought burying them was kind but it was only crueler.

If somebody is gone, lost, torn apart, you just have to let them deal with it. Because mercy killing is still murder.

My parents tried to stop these kind of thoughts when JD was still, well, when that was still going on.

There’s a doctor in Cleveland, we’d like you to talk with him.

Psychiatric.

There’s no shame in getting some help.

I’d rather stay here, crying against a brick wall and avoiding my room because in my room there lies ghosts and demons of my past that won’t seem to fade away.

Heather Chandler was probably right about me. I will just end up drugged up on painkillers in a hospital ward praying that somebody will come and see me, but that somebody is leaning against a wall in the middle of the night crying.

The circle goes on and on…

 

J.D

I didn’t want to see Veronica today. I told her my dad needed help, she still doesn’t know and I’d rather keep it that way, but I didn’t want to deal with the pain.

We talked like friends. She told me about her life working in the real world and I told her about my life homeless. She told me about this boy that once asked her out at the cinema then stood her up for Martha, who realised and took the boy on a second date to the coffee shop she works at. I told her nothing.

She told me about her parents trying to get her into an arts program at some college far from Ohio, but she wasn’t ready to leave yet, so she camped out at Heather M’s house until they stopped bugging her. I told her about nobody.

What am I meant to say?

Where is this even gonna get me? I’ll tell you, drugged up in some insane asylum because I let her into my heart again and snapped like a psychopath, going on a killing spree of everybody who ever hurt her.

Now, the only place it’s getting me is sitting on a metal bench in the park in he middle of the night, watching water slowly fall from the sky.

I wonder where Veronica is. Probably home, happy. Maybe she’s writing in her diary again, or maybe she never gave that up. I wonder what she’s writing about me. I would bet anything it’s along the lines of Dear Diary, that weird kid I dated who killed everybody is talking to me again, and I’m only talking to him out of pity.

I know she’ll never love me again. I know that I blew it. I wish we could turn back time to the good old days where all I’d done was fire blanks at two dickheads in the cafeteria.

Could you imagine if I’d never done anything Veronica? Where would we be now?

Maybe we’d still be together...

Chapter Text

Veronica

 

Well I never thought I’d be doing this.

When I asked Heather if I could hitch along with her on her next visit to see Duke, she must have thought I was insane.

I know she thought I was insane. I know that I’m insane.

But here I am. Sitting in Heather’s car, heading up to the hospital in which that girl that hates me most resides in.

I’ve been sitting here trying to work out if she’s the girl I hate most. Because I do pity her, and I always have. Living in Heather Chandler’s shadow for your whole life would not be pleasant. And I imagine thats what made her the way she was. But the things she did to me and to Heather McNamara were far harsher than anything Heather Chandler did, well, I’m only speaking for me I guess, because I have no desire to delve into Heather’s dark past.

The sound of the car grinding to a halt shakes me from my thoughts. Heather looks over at me.

“You, you don’t have to do this Ronnie. You don’t have to feel, I don’t know, pressured, or anything…” Her voice trails off and I can see her nails squeezing into her palm.

I remember the first day of freshman year. The Heather’s were the head clique in grade school, obviously, but that year, everything changed.

Before, in the lower grades, it was their backpacks. Red, green and yellow. As we grew, it moved to the small things; nail polish, scrunchies and occasionally one item of clothing outside of school.

Then came high school. It was like a colour prison. Even Heather Chandler locked herself in it, woe betide if the demon queen herself showed up in any other colour than red. But it was easier for her, if Heather or Heather came in any anything but green or yellow, they were shunned. But not just for the day, no.

I remember that day. June 6th. The day Heather Duke wore a red hairband.

Yeah, a fucking hairband . That was all it took. She wasn’t a Heather anymore. Not at least until she convinced some girl that had pissed off Chandler to get drunk and have sex with some unknown senior, then that girl got pregnant and she dropped out.

The next day, Duke was back at the center table. But I’ll always remember that every single day of that month, she still wore green. Green nail polish. Green everything.

I stand by the term colour prison.

 

Heather McNamara

 

“Do, do you wanna come in with me, or…”

“No Heather, I’ll talk to her after you.” Veronica turns away from me and sits on the red plastic chairs of the waiting room. I turn away as well, walking down the linoleum corridor.

I don’t know why she’s here.

But I can guess who made her come.

I would look over at Veronica, forehead pressed against the foggy glass of the passenger-seat window, open my mouth, and then close it again.

What was I supposed to say?

Oh hey Veronica, just wondering, has Heather Chandler, you know, the DEAD girl, been appearing in the middle of the day and torturing you?

I would sound stupid. Childish. Pathetic.

I look over at a nurse, walking down the corridor with a clipboard. She smiles at me, and I blink, prepared to smile back, but then I’m screaming.

Heather Chandler’s eyes stare back at me from a round, freckled face.

The nurse rushes over to me. I think she’s talking, but I can’t hear. Her ginger curls are falling in my face.

And then it’s like a fog lifts from my brain and I can stand. Heather is gone. “I’m fine” I mutter, and push the nurse away, heading down to room 373.

The first time I saw Heather, I wasn’t prepared for the sight. She wasn’t all wired-up and everything, but her eyes were hollow. Her face empty.

Though I must admit, I was so fucking happy to see her eyes light up when I walked in.

They do it again now. She pats the side of her bed, and I can’t help but notice pale red eyeshadow brushed over her eyelids. But I don’t comment on it, these things keep us stable.

“Hey Heather. How’ve you been?”

“Ha, same old same old Mac, same old same old.” She hasn’t called me Mac in forever, back in sophomore year Heather Chandler told us we couldn’t use nicknames. But she called me that the first time I visited and now she uses it regularly.

I must admit, I kind of love it.

“Heather, somebody, erm -”

“Veronica’s here isn’t she?” Heather sighs. “Not gonna lie, babe, I kind of wanted to see her too, I need to talk to her.” Heather grips my hand. “Could you bring her in?”

I smile, but it’s a sad smile. “Yeah, sure.” I stand up and brush down my black trousers. I notice Heather’s eyes flick over to my yellow blouse, but she doesn’t comment either, and I realise that she truly has changed.

Veronica is waiting outside the door.

 

Veronica

 

Heather’s eyes are closed when I walk in. Her face is so empty, but there’s the ghost of a smile dancing upon her thin chapped lips. I perch on the end of the bed.

“Hey Heather.”

“Hey Veronica.”

“Are you ok?”

“Do I look ok?” Her eyes snap open and she sits up straight. Her hands knot into fists. “No Veronica, I’m not ok. I’m really not ok. My note was true, everything I said was true, and that makes it ok right? Because then I’m the same as Heather and that’s the only place I belong, isn’t it? That’s just how you see me. A clone. And I am so so so much more Veronica, so much more. I want to be so much more.” Her voice breaks, and the look in her eyes crushes both my anger and my heart into a million pieces.

“My kingdom’s long gone Sawyer, and what’s a queen without her people?”

I make some noise in my throat, and that’s when I realise I’m crying. Heather is crying too, and I don’t know what comes over me, but I lean forward and squeeze the trembling girl into a hug.

“It’s not ok Heather, but that’s ok.”

She breaks away. “Did you crave her approval too? Heather Chandler’s I mean? Because I did, and for some fucked-up reason I’m still craving it.”

“Yes Heather, I craved her approval too. Who didn’t?” I take a shallow breath and the words that were buried so low come flying out of my heart. “I craved her approval since the first day some boy stole my chocolate bar in fourth grade and she stole it back because she wanted to copy my spelling test for the rest of the year. I craved her approval ever since seventh year when she backhanded that bitch that cracked Martha’s glasses on purpose in basketball because she hated the bitch and wanted to use my math notes. I wanted to be like all of you , seemingly-perfect, solid teflon. I wanted to be a Heather so bad it hurt.”

She pulls me back into a hug. “Do you know why I became the new red queen? Because I was too scared. I couldn’t play the grieving girl and lie Veronica, because I didn’t miss her. And it scared me, so fucking much. I was her best friend, and I, I failed her.”

We’re looking into each others eyes, but it’s like looking at a mirror. Tears pouring but you’re not entirely sure why, empty glazed expression.

You’ve seen too much and its too much for you now.

I clutch Heather’s hand. She lies back down and closes her eyes, but keeps talking. “I was jealous of you, you know? Heather feared you, I wanted that. But it was more. You were really fucking pretty and then you became popular so you were all of a sudden better than me in Heather’s eyes, and then you fucking fell in love and unlike me that person actually loved you back. You were perfect.”

I bite back on the words that danced to the tip of my tongue. This may possibly be the deepest, most truthful conversation I’ve ever had with anybody, but you still have to be careful.

You still can’t spill the secrets that could bring punishment.

Instead, I try to steer the conversation away from the dark places.

“Who wouldn’t love you back Heather?”

She laughs, but it’s hollow, and tears begin to worm their way down her cheeks again. A silver droplet slides over her red lips and falls from her face.

“Heather.”

For a moment, I’m confused. Heather Chandler? But she just said…

And then I get it.

The bullying. The torture.

The only way to combat love is hate.

“Mac?”

She smiles, and it’s bitter. “She’s, well, she’s fucking perfect. And I wouldn’t be if I told her.”

Her lips part, and it seems like she’s about to say something else, but then she shakes her head back slightly and fixes me with that I’m-popular-and-I-know-everything-about-you smile she sometimes wears. “But I’m not the only one in love, huh Veronica?” I start to rise, wary of where she’s going with this, but then I remember what happened to her and where I am right now, so I sit.

“I don’t know what drug you’re on Heather, but -”

“Oh please!” She sits up, then lies back down as if it’s too much for her. My heart clenches. “It’s obvious. When the wedding date is announced, I expect to be a bridesmaid considering I’m the reason he’s back here not hiking down the road -”

“Wait, what?” I fly up from the bedsheets and she stares at me in confusion, eyebrows knotting together.

“You know, his dad, abandoned him. And he hitchhiked. And then I picked him up and he was like don’t drop me at Westerburg but I -” She stops, and she doesn’t know what she’s said.

She doesn’t know.

I don’t know…

“He didn’t tell you?” Her hands fly up to her mouth. “Oh god Veronica, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry…”

But I barely hear her, because I’m tearing down the corridor.

JD didn’t tell me why didn’t he tell me why why why…

Why?

Chapter Text

So, as some may know, this story has reached 1000 hits (idk the exact number now) and I'm literally screaming. I mean, how?! How did this happen? How did something that I, a year 9 student getting ready to take GCSE's in a little corner of England, reach 1000 people and more? And yes, I am aware that compared to other stories on A03, 1000 hits isn't all that much, but to me it is because this story doesn't seem like it should be that famous because, I mean, come on, it's just my little Heather's story, it's not that good or that clever or anything, at least not to me. But 1000 hits, well, kinda proves otherwise, I guess? I don't know, I just wanted to write this little thing to thank everybody for reading and commenting and leaving kudos and just generally (at least I hope so) appreciating this story cause, well, that feels pretty fucking amazing. And I'm gonna do my special thanks thing here, so thank you to @Amelie_jas for being the first person to hear the plot of this fic as we walked to form that one morning, and for your continued support of anything I've written, couldn't have done it without you <3. And thank you to @apple_cidre for again your continued support, you were basically the reason I knew how many hits this fic had got because I was too scared to look for myself and then you'd spam me every time it passed a hundred mark. And also many thanks for the spam when I reached 1000 because yeah that was a nice thing to wake up to and then scream about before promptly passing out again cause I'd just been dragged out to see Endgame after getting back from camping. 

In conclusion, thank you everybody. Thank you so so much for enjoying ma story <3