Title: Ghost World
Characters: Dick and Mac.
Word Count: 3575
Rating: R for language
Summary: Dealing with life post Not Pictured
Spoilers: Up through Not Pictured
Fucking Logan and his fucking complicated entertainment system that he had imported from Japan or some shit. All Dick wants to do is hook up the XBox, and he doesn’t even know why it was disconnected in the first place, but he can’t even find the stupid secret compartment where the jacks are hidden cause they can’t just have a normal television, god damn
“They’re underneath.” Not
Veronica’s voice, and for a second he can’t believe that Logan would cheat on V until he turns around and it’s her
. Ghost World, in his
“The component jacks,” she replies. She’s wearing pajama pants that he’s pretty sure belong to Veronica and her freakshow makeup is halfway down her cheeks.
Dick shrugs. It sucks having to do all this shit for himself; Beav was the one that knew how to do all that shit. Before…Before.
“You, uh, want me to?” She steps toward him like she’s sneaking up on a sleeping monster or something, tip-toe steps across their plush carpet. Like he’s gonna attack her or something, at 9 in the morning when he’s sitting on the floor in his fucking boxers.
She pops some panel, he doesn’t even know how, and suddenly there’s three jacks where solid chrome used to be.
“Huh,” he says.
“You just need to plug them in and put the TV on auxiliary,” she says.
Dick just grunts in acknowledgment. She’s just freaking standing there, all gothed out in Veronica’s pink pajamas (maybe they got wasted and hooked up
) and watching him, the same way Logan does when he thinks Dick’s engrossed in cartoons or something and finally he snaps, “Is there something I can help you with?”
Dick expects her to turn tail and go back to bed or whatever, but she just bends and picks one of the games off of the floor.
“Is this yours?” she asks quietly, picking up one of the games he’d scattered across the floor. “I love this game.” One of the Game Cube ones, that stupid fruity system that he hadn’t wanted to buy at all, but always ended up playing when he was high cause there wasn’t a whole lot of things funnier than beating the crap out of Pokemon with a sword.
“No,” he says shortly, and flips on the Xbox. She’s still standing there, looking at the back of the box. “There’s coffee in the kitchen if you want it,” he says, and focuses all his attention on the game.
“So, are you going to call him?” Veronica asks as she surveys the stack of pancakes on her plate.
“Call who?” Mac’s got French toast, but she’s almost afraid to eat anything solid.
“Mr. Covering Up His Insane Hotness With Emo Glasses,” Veronica replies. “You know, that hot piece of geekery that you were talking to last night when I wanted to leave and get pizza.”
Mac’s having a difficult time remembering anything about last night, really, but she has a vague recollection of sitting on a coffee table and rambling about how sweet her computer setup was. It was possible she had told him to stop by and check it out. She groans. “No,” she says as she pours maple syrup all over her plate, uneasy stomach notwithstanding. “Besides, I think he said he had a girlfriend.”
“Look at you, cutting a swath through the hearts of Hearst’s engineering department,” Veronica teases.
“Um. I guess.” Mac blushes a little. It’s sort of weird to have Veronica tease her about guys again, especially since- “How is Dick doing?”
“Wait, what? Is today Non-Sequitur Day and I never got the memo?”
“I ran into him this morning before you and Logan got up,” she answers. “He looks…” (like Beaver
) “like he’s lost a lot of weight.”
“I guess,” Veronica answers. “Logan makes sure he eats and drinks. We turn him toward the light every once in awhile, make sure he isn’t putting down roots. I guess he’s doing okay. You know Dick, he’s just…”
“Dick,” Mac answers.
This game is fucking ridiculous, Dick thinks, as he resists the urge to toss the crayola-bright controller into the television. He already owes Logan enough money, he can’t afford to replace their plasma screen too. He’s looked around this room with all the fucking plants a thousand times, and he keeps falling off the bridge and into the poisoned water and now he’s almost dead. He’s spent waaay too much time reading shit and looking around and not enough time killing things. There’s only one gun, for fuck’s sake, and Jesus fuck
if he miscalculates that jump one more time…
“Ronnie!” he yells.
After a moment, Logan pokes his head out from his bedroom. “She’s not here, dude. She does occasionally go back to her dorm room, you know.” He kind of wrinkles his nose. “Have you been sitting there all day?”
Dick realizes he has no idea what time it is. “Is there something else I should be doing?” he asks. “I don’t remember
my secretary saying I had any important meetings today…”
“What do you want from my girlfriend?” Logan asks.
Dick smirks. “If you’re offering…”
“I’m not.” Logan scowls.
“Forget it.” Dick turns back to the television. “I’ll ask her later.” He can probably find what he’s looking for in the box under his bed where he threw all of Beav’s personal shit, but fuck if he’s gonna go rooting around in there with less than a pharmacy’s worth of narcotics in his system. On his fourth try he manages to get the stupid character across the bridge without falling off. “Yes!” he shouts, pumping one fist in the air, but Logan’s already gone back into his room and there’s no one to witness his moment of victory.
“How long, and I’m talking the exact number of days here, does it take to die of sleep deprivation?” Mac asks conversationally at 2:37 AM.
“I think we’ve already died, and we’re experiencing some sort of Jacob’s Ladder where we’re having a massive hallucination of not being able to sleep even though we’ve already died from not being able to sleep.” Veronica answers from underneath her pillow.
“I’m not… did that even make sense?”
“I have no idea. I’ve lost all higher brain function,” Veronica answers and groans. “Remember when we were all excited about living in the dorms and we were going to have, like, the cutest room ever?”
“How young and foolish we were then,” Mac answers. “There’s got to be some law against using a karaoke machine after midnight.”
“You’d think,” Veronica agrees. “You want me to see if Logan’s still awake?”
“Normally I’d say no, but if I don’t get some sleep soon, I’m going to go insane and ki-,” Fuck.
“I know what you meant,” Veronica says quickly. She does the same thing too, says stuff like If I have to study another second longer for this test I’m going to jump out a window
and then she and Mac kind of stare at each other in horror. It sucks. “I’ll call him.”
Twenty minutes later they’re shambling through Logan’s door in their pajamas and Mac hopes to God she got all her face mask off on the car over, because hello, embarrassing
. “They were singing Madonna
songs,” Veronica says to Logan as he lets them in. “Off-key.
“How bourgeoisie,” Logan says and waves Mac inside. She already knows where to sleep and wants to get as much in as possible before her 10 AM Materials class. She’s thinking of how she’s going to have to get a large coffee before the lecture, or else she’s going to pass out, right there in the front row.
“Hey,” Dick says from the living room, startling her.
“Hey,” she answers, and hurries past to the guest bedroom.
“Rough night, Ronnie?” Dick leers when Veronica stumbles out of Logan’s bedroom the next morning.
“Coffee?” she croaks hopefully.
“Your goth girlfriend made some before she left,” he says, eyes on the television screen. Veronica wonders what he’s thinking, if he’s thinking anything at all. He seems more interested in rolling some sort of ball around on the television screen, controller in hand. Doesn’t take much to keep his attention, she thinks, and then feels guilty.
“Logan’s taking me to class in an hour,” she says. “Is there, um, anything you need while we’re out?”
Dick looks up at her from his spot on the floor, and for the first time she sees a little bit of Beaver (Cassidy
) in him as his mouth turns down at the corners.
“As long as the liquor cabinet is full, I’m good,” he replies. Veronica starts for the kitchen, for the tasty wonderfulness of coffee. “Hey, Ronnie?”
“What’s Mac’s cell number?”
Veronica gapes at him. “I’m sorry, what? And did you just call her by her real nickname?” And then she winces, because nicknames are another one of those weird, touchy topics around here now.
“Or I could just steal your phone and get it myself.”
“I’d like to see you try,” Veronica answers, but it’s more by rote than anything. “Remind me to give it to you before Logan and I leave.”
“Thanks,” Dick says, and Veronica begins to wonder if maybe she’s just dreaming this whole bizarre exchange. Dick just shrugs and goes back to his video game.
Mac slumps over her desk in Materials. It’s a good thing she read ahead in the textbook, because she’s too tired to decipher her professor’s accent at the moment. She wonders if Logan will let her move into the guest room until the karaoke parties on their floor finally cease. She can’t remember the last time she got an interrupted amount of sleep. She’s about ten seconds from that whole embarrassing head-nodding, drooling state when her cell phone vibrates against her hip, startling the crap out of her. Her professor is doing that irritating thing where he mumbles his lecture to the blackboard while he writes, like it isn’t hard enough to understand him already
, so she slips her phone out to check the message. fucking plant bitch keeps knocking the dishes back in place help dick
It takes her a second to comprehend the aphasic sentence in front of her and the she starts to laugh. In the middle of class. It isn’t even that funny, really, but for some reason the thought of Dick Casablancas trying to puzzle his way through Metroid
of all games and asking her
for assistance sets her off. She claps her hands over her mouth and puts her head down on her desk, trying to giggle as silently as possible. When she’s calmed down a reasonable amount and her classmates stop giving her dirty looks, she flips the phone open once more. stun it first, knock the dish up, roll to the next one, stun it again, hit the next dish, etc
she types back. When her phone asks her if she’d like to add the contact to her phone book, she starts to laugh again.
“What are you doing?” Logan asks.
“Trying to figure out how to get up on that ledge,” Dick answers. He’s tapping his foot absently to the beat of the game’s music.
“In general, Dick. When was the last time you went outside?”
“Outside’s overrated,” Dick says.
“Let’s go to the beach or something, you’re turning into a houseplant.”
Dick pauses the game and looks up at him. “Maybe tomorrow.”
“You can’t stay in here forever,” Logan says and sits next to him on the couch. “It’s not healthy. What happened to Mr. Get Drunk, Get High, Get Laid?”
Dick blows a piece of blond hair out of his face. “Well, Logan, that guy’s brother killed twelve people, raped Veronica, and jumped off of a fucking building, so he’s decided to stay indoors and play video games for a while, if that’s okay with you.”
Logan doesn’t say anything, just watches as Dick jumps circles around some sort of icy warthog type thing onscreen.
Dick sighs. “Fine. Let’s go surfing tomorrow.”
“No, let’s go. Beers and bikinis, man.” Dick’s face is, as usual, inscrutable, the television screen reflecting off of his eyes.
“Are you sure?”
“Got nothing else to do. Tell Veronica. We’ll have fun.”
“No, you can’t go in there yet,” Mac says into her phone during computer lab, pushing her notes toward her lab partner. “Because most of the ship is underwater. You need to find the gravity suit first.” Peter gives her an impatient look that she ignores. She’s tired of getting saddled with prospective CS majors that barely know their way around html. “No, I’m not telling you where it is. Find it yourself!”
Dick whines a little bit, and then sighs in capitulation. “Hey, are you coming to the beach with us later?”
“To the beach
?” Mac asks. “That place with all the sand and sunshine?”
“We’ll bring an umbrella so you don’t burst into flames,” Dick says. “You do have a bathing suit, right?”
“I… think so,” she answers. Peter is making urgent throat clearing noises.
“We’re leaving at noon, be here,” Dick commands.
“Okay,” she says, but he’s already hung up.
“You’re going to the beach?” Peter asks. “We’ve got a ton of work to do, Cindy, you can’t just leave.”
Mac pulls her lab notebook out of her backpack. “I already did the assignment. Copy it if you want, I gotta go.” Peter makes pissy noises, but she ignores him. She has just enough time to get to her parents’ house to look for her suit and then get to Logan and Dick’s.
“I’m pretty sure I told you to put on some sunscreen,” Veronica says as Mac lays carefully on the rug in Logan’s living room.
“I put on sunscreen,” she replies. “And then I put on some more, and I sat under the umbrella, and I wore a hat. Why do you people enjoy going to that horrible place again?”
“Funny, I recall you saying that you were doing all your studying at the beach from now on,” Veronica says. “And then you dragged me into that icy water to go swimming.”
“I think you’re exaggerating,” Mac grumbles good-naturedly and wriggles a bit on the rug. “Ow.” There are angry lines all over her arms and legs. “You know, Veronica, you’re not a very good applier of sunscreen.”
“I was out that day in kindergarten,” Veronica replies. “Besides, Dick offered to do it for you.”
“I’d rather not end up with ‘Ghost World’ or ‘Geek Girl’ burned into my back, thanks.”
Veronica slants a strange look at her. “I don’t think you need to worry about that.”
“Where’d everyone go?” Mac asks. Dick fails to make it across the lava-filled chasm for like the tenth time. “She can’t make that jump, Dick, just go around.”
He looks over at her. “She
“Where have you
been? That’s a girl you’re controlling.”
“It is not,” Dick scoffs, as if the entire idea is inconceivable.
“It is too!” she says. “You can see her face when you go down an elevator, and you hear her scream when you die. Which you do, by the way, all the time.”
“So how do I get her suit off?” Dick asks.
“You don’t,” Mac replies. “Go around
“First you tell me it’s a girl, and then you tell me I can’t get her clothes off? What the hell kind of game is this? No wonder Beav liked it so much.” Mac feels her jaw drop and is more than a little surprised when Dick’s does too; he makes this horrified face like he can’t believe what he just said. “I didn’t mean it like that,” he says quietly.
“I know,” Mac replies.
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he says again. “I just meant he always liked games that make you think, you know?”
“I know,” she says, and gets up to find Veronica.
Her watch says it’s 3:45 in the morning when she realizes how thirsty she is. Mac pads out of the guest bedroom (which is starting to feel a little bit like her
bedroom) and heads for the kitchen.
The television is still on in the living room. “Are you still up?” Mac asks before she realizes that the game is paused, that Dick is asleep on the couch. Or was asleep, anyway. He sits up and blinks at her. “Sorry,” she whispers. He shrugs, picks the controller up from off the floor, and unpauses the game.
When she returns from the kitchen with a glass of water she sits down next to him on the couch. “There’s an missile expansion in this room,” she says, watching as Dick navigates his way through a ruined temple.
“How can you possibly remember that?” he asks.
“I didn’t,” Mac replies, fingers itching to manipulate the controller herself. “I can hear it.”
“What are you, like, a cyborg or something?”
“No, the power-ups make a noise,” she says. “Can’t you hear it? It’s like… wavy, or something.” She expects him to make fun of her, but he just kind of cocks his head.
“You wanna watch porn?” he asks after a few moments. “We get a bunch of channels.”
It startles her into laughter. “No,” she answers. “Thanks anyway, Dick.”
He shrugs again, as if to say suit yourself
, and finally figures out how to get to the missile expansion. “Sweet,” he says, and then holds his palm up. “Up high.”
“What?” Mac is confused.
“High five? They do teach that in geek school, right?”
“Sorry,” she says, and tentatively slaps her palm against his. She tries not to think about how weird this all is, and how weird it is that she’s grown kind of used to it.
“You know what?” Dick asks, eyes still on the screen.
“What?” she bites at her fingernails, dark blue polish flaking off onto her lap.
“I’m the one who started calling him Beaver.” He taps the jump button impatiently. “Cause he had buck teeth when he was little. That’s all it was, at first.”
Mac doesn’t know what to say to that, really, not at first. She watches as Dick smoothly avoids enemy fire, and dispatches two space pirates with a wave-beam/missile combo. He’s getting much better at this game. She might, kind of, miss it when he stops calling her every two hours for help. “Wanna hear something crazy?” she asks.
“Is it, like, science-y?” he asks. “Cause then my answer would be no.”
“It’s not science-y, or math-y, or anything like that,” she answers. “I was switched at birth with Madison Sinclair.”
” Dick gapes at her, and it’s a little weird that she never even told Beaver
that, but still.
“I’m serious. Her parents are really my parents. We have the same birthday.”
Dick closes his eyes as if it hurts his head. “Woah.”
“I know,” she answers.
“That’s fucked up… you’re not fucking with me, are you?” Dick tilts his head, narrows his eyes at her. Considering
“I’m serious. Ask Veronica.”
Dick whistles quietly. “You were almost, like, my girlfriend
“That’s me,” Mac replies, but it doesn’t come out bitter at all. Almost teasing.
“Can I call you Mad?” he asks.
“I’d have to hurt you,” Mac answers. “Is there any more beer?”
“In the fridge,” he says. “Get me one while you’re up.”
“Ice beam! Hit him!” The sound of Mac’s voice startles Veronica awake.
“What the hell?” Logan’s voice is barely above a whisper, but it still sets Veronica’s head to pounding.
“I’m trying! Get it off me! Fuck!” That’s definitely Dick.
“I am going to kill them,” Logan mutters, and he isn’t even awake enough to feel guilty about it.
“I’ll go,” Veronica says, and peels herself out of bed, shielding her eyes from the horrible, horrible sunshine.
“You need the X-Ray scope!”
“I tried that!”
“No you didn’t! You used the thermal scope!”
“I’m gonna kill this bitch.”
“Not like that, you aren’t.”
Dick smacks Mac’s arm.
Mac smacks Dick’s arm.
Veronica turns around and goes back to bed.
“Did you tell them to shut up?” Logan asks from somewhere under the covers.
“I did not. There was… like… play-hitting going on. And… banter.” Veronica snuggles back down under the covers. “Also, I think they’re drunk.”
* im at the last guy now
Mac grins a little bit. good luck
she types back, and flips her history textbook open to the Progressive Era.
Wallace smirks at her. “Do you have a secret boyfriend?”
“Of course not,” Mac answers, and wonders if this is the first time any of her friends have said boyfriend around her since-
“Then who are you texting?”
“My, um. Sister.”
“Liar,” Wallace says, but Mac realizes why he’s Veronica’s best friend when he drops it completely.
“Okay, so, the Populist Party?” But her cell phone buzzes again, and she has to snatch it up quickly before Wallace takes it for himself. Maybe he’s not as content with being on a need-to-know basis as Mac thought. gonna wait 4 u so u can see it, come over after class.
“I am gonna find out what’s going on from Veronica, you know,” Wallace says, and starts taking notes.
“I know,” Mac says. be over at 4,
she types. see you then.