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Veronica took a deep breath as she held her hand over the handle of a door labeled “Inpatient Care”. Opening this door, at least, in Veronica’s eyes, would lead her down a path she basically considered hell. It would take her through painful memories and regrets, yet a part of her knew she just had to do it.

Veronica took a quick look at herself. She wore a grey skirt matched with a white undershirt covered by a blue coat. She looked almost identical to who she was before everything happened, before hell hit. The only difference now was a blood red scrunchie held her hair together in a loose ponytail. It was, in her own opinion, her battle scar, her way of saying “I survived”.

She took another breath, this time closing her eyes. She didn’t want to look as she yanked the door open. It was fluid, fast movement and honestly, Veronica opened her eyes sooner than she wanted to. She looked down the long corridor that lay in front of her. She sighed and proceeded to walk slowly down the hallway.

“Room 126,” Veronica muttered this to herself as she came across a split. She instantly took a left and continued searching for the dreaded number.

It should be noted that Veronica found her destination a little quicker than she would’ve liked.

Upon looking at the room number on the door, Veronica felt torn. A part of her wanted to rip the door and kill the patient in the room, and the other part of her wished she could just forget everything terrible that had happened. But she couldn’t do either, as she came here to fulfill a purpose, and fulfill that purpose she would do.

She moved her hand towards the door handle but simply stopped. She couldn’t bring herself to open the door; the trauma still too fresh in her mind. She felt a tear drip down her cheek, then another, sooner than she knew it, tears were pouring out of her eyes like rain. She felt her mouth open as she choked out a sob.

Almost as if someone was listening to her through the door, it flew open and in the entryway stood a female with brown hair and green eyes. The girl was easily identified as a nurse, as she wore a white dress with a small little pocket on top of her left breast. Upon seeing Veronica crying she frowned.

“Veronica Sawyer,” The nurse spoke softly, not wanting to upset Veronica beyond what she was right now. “Is everything alright?”

Veronica took a deep breath and wiped away her remaining tears, “Yes, I’m fine, thank you.” The nurse nodded and stepped out of the doorway.

Veronica peered into the dark room, in the middle of it laid the source of all her problems, the reason her life had been so fucked up in the first place. Her ex (Or as she would call him, her ex piece of shit) boyfriend, Jason Dean.

Upon seeing him lying there in the medical bed, his typical attire replaced by a blue and white hospital gown, his black hair laying flatly across his forehead, in a peaceful state of slumber Veronica swore she felt her tears coming back.

“He’s been improving, ever-so-slowly,” Veronica looked over her shoulder to peer at the nurse. “More than physically, too.”

Veronica cocked her head, “How so?” She croaked, the words nearly dying in her throat.

“Once he was awoken out of his state of comatose, he was into several therapies, including one for anger and aggression,” Veronica looked back at JD. There would be no way in Hell she could believe he would ever improve from the terrible person he was, it almost sounded like the nurse was telling a fabricated lie. A fabricated lie that Veronica still listened to. “The therapist says he’s been finding other ways to cope with his grief,” The nurse paused and averted her gaze away from Veronica’s back. “I’ve heard that he really loves you.”

It was this statement that nearly threw Veronica over the edge. JD loving Veronica? Please, the closest thing JD had to love for Veronica would be blood lust, she wouldn’t let herself believe that he actually cared.

“I doubt that.” Veronica muttered, but the sound was still heard by the nurse.

The nurse instantly understood what Veronica had meant and left instantly.

Veronica sighed and shut the room door behind her. She groped the wall to find a light switch, wincing slightly at the bright yellow light that shone down from above.

In the light, Veronica could make out JD’s face more clearly. It wasn’t that she actually wanted to get another look at him, it was just that because in the light, a very noticeable feature was scattered all over his face. Scars. Scars, that no doubt, came from the bomb JD blew himself up with. Despite the fact that Veronica hated him, she still felt a pang of guilt surge through her.

Sure, Veronica could sit down with someone and rant to them for hours about how much she hated Jason Dean, and that if she could get a reset button on her senior year, she would press it with no hesitance, but there was a time where she did love him. He wasn't all murder and violence, Veronica shared many tender moments with him, one of the most memorable ones was after the double date disaster she had been on with Heather McNamara. He came down to the cow field and picked her up, telling her, "Our love is God" and then taking her to get a slushie.

Jason Dean wasn't all bad, and if he had tried harder to control his anger, Veronica could very well have still considered him her lover. But that wasn't what happened, now was it? Veronica shifted her gaze away from his face, not wanting to look at the past any longer.

She took a seat in the only chair in the room. It was a small blue chair, sat directly next to a counter that was on the opposite side of where the medical bed was. She tried her best not to look at JD, it was actually harder than it sounded, so Veronica opted to just close her eyes.

Exhaustion quickly took over, letting her eyes stay closed was an easy task. You see, the few days that led up to her decision weren't exactly easy. Veronica was plagued by insomnia, anxiety, and consistent panic. It wasn't an easy decision, it was just a decision she had to make, and a choice she would make reality. Her lack of sleep lead her to falling asleep rather easily at very inconvenient times.

Let's just say, this small sleep of her's got her a free skip to when JD woke up.

 

When Veronica finally did awake, the first thing she saw was JD wide awake, looking directly at her, analyzing every inch of her. She almost immediately looked away, but it was already too late, he knew she was awake, she now had to face confrontation.

"Well, well, well, out of all the people I would expect to come visit me, the last person I would think of would be Veronica Sawyer."

Veronica swallowed the lump in her throat as she took her eyes off the floor to look at him.

If you focused solely on everything bad about JD, he became really fucking scary. Always so calculated. Always four steps ahead of his enemies and allies. No one would think a loner at school paired with the assets Veronica provided could be so terrifying.

The only thing that took JD down was the fact that he didn't think that Veronica would be witty enough to fake her own death and turn around and try to stop him. It caught him off-guard, something JD is never seen as.

"Long time no see, Jason Dean." Veronica choked out, it was at this moment that her panic was slowly turning into anger, how dare he, how DARE he try to casually joke around with her like he didn't know everything that had happened before him. That level of ignorance, whether or not intentional, made Veronica's anger bubble under the surface.

Apparently Veronica had made a noticeable face of disgust, as the smirk on JD's face went away almost immediately. It was replaced with, instead, a frown. JD leaned his head back and looked up at the ceiling. He took a deep breath before letting his eyes wander back to Veronica.

"So," JD's voice cut through the deafening silence that was slowly consuming the both of them. Veronica looked at JD with an expression of mild disinterest, she didn't necessarily care what he had to say, she was just there to confirm how cruel and heartless everyone said he was. She felt a small feeling of disappointment, although she felt unrelenting feelings of hatred to him, there was a small sliver of hope within her that JD might change his ways, that he might become that sweet, caring boyfriend Veronica once knew. "Just how much do you hate me?"

This question caught Veronica off-guard, it felt like a stab in her heart, it opened up a wound she didn't know existed. Her mouth went dry, her heart pounded, and she quickly looked to the ground to avoid having to stare at JD. He looked so hurt, it made Veronica feel so guilty.

"I see," Veronica looked back up, JD was no longer frowning, but instead, he had a very genuine smile, it was almost like her silence provided some of comforting answer for JD. Veronica swore she could've almost smiled with him, but she simply couldn't. "In that case, I'll ask an easier question, how long have I been gone?"

"Three months." It was a direct answer, Veronica was simply in a state of which she couldn't tag on any hurtful comments or remarks.

"What's the date?"

"December thirteenth."

"Year?"

Veronica could practically hear the smirk radiating off JD's face, she almost felt herself smiling as well.

"Same as it's always been." JD couldn't have cracked a wider and more genuine smile right then and there. Veronica couldn't help it this time, she managed to crack a small grin. JD still had his rather playful element attached to him.

Veronica rubbed her smirk off her face. She couldn't allow herself to feel anything for this man. Although, that isn't to say she didn't enjoy the small moment.

"Well, can I ask one small favor of you, I know you hate me and all and I really don't want to pressure you and,"

"Just get to the point already." Veronica cut cleanly across his words, all the playfulness in her demeanor was instantly replaced with her anger once more.

JD looked slightly hurt at Veronica's sudden mood shift, but continued what he was saying anyways. "Can you go buy me a slushie?"

Veronica gritted her teeth, "And why should I go do this for you?"

"It'll get you away from me for a little bit."

Veronica paused before saying anything, if she really wanted to, she could just buy the slushie for him and give it to the nurse for delivery. That way, she wouldn't have to face him again, and deal with the whirlpool of emotions she felt around him. She considered it before making a decision and standing up and abruptly leaving.

JD smiled as he heard his door slam shut. He wasn't worried in the slightest about Veronica not returning. He knew she'd come back.

After all, she accidentally answered all his questions, he didn't need any more answers.

Chapter Text

Veronica gave a small smile as she averted her gaze from a 7-11 cashier. She instead directed her focus on the counter where she proceeded to place a five dollar bill. The cashier frowned as he took the money. This was way too much for simply one slushie, yet he still passed a blood-red slushie across the counter to her. Veronica practically snatched the slushie away from him and stormed out.

"Ma'am! You forgot your change-" The cashier yelled after Veronica, waving the five dollar bill over the counter.

"Keep it!" Veronica yelled back, she didn't particularly care about change at a convenience store right now, all she wanted was for this day to be over with already.

The ride to the hospital was quicker than last time, and Veronica didn't like it. She didn't like having to return to that dreaded room. To his awful, yet charming smile. It didn't sit right with Veronica, yet there she was, in front of room number 126, slushie in one hand, other hand on the door handle, ready to face her worst nightmare for the second time that day.

JD didn't even need to open his eyes to know that it was Veronica who had opened and slam shut the door. When he did open his eyes he saw Veronica handing him a dark red slushie, he smiled lightly and took the cup. He looked up at Veronica but she didn't return the gaze. She was looking directly down at the floor. She was doing anything she could to avoid having to look at his face. The scars. She simply couldn't.

"I was beginning to wonder if you'd come back," JD took a sip of the slushie. The sweet ice and sugar felt amazing on his tongue, it was a delicacy that he had not been able to enjoy for so long. He swore he felt true happiness in that moment, being able to entertain an urge of his while seeing the only good thing left in his life? It might have been one of the worst days of Veronica's life, but JD swore it was one of his best.

"I forgot to run away," Veronica bit her lip and she tried her best to keep her eyes glued to the ground but she couldn't, her eyes flickered up for a second to peer at JD and he stared back right back at Veronica with a look of uncertainty.

Had he heard her right? Did she really say that?

JD couldn't have smiled wider, that was the nicest thing he had gotten out of Veronica all day.

Veronica didn't need to be a psychologist to know she had fucked up by making that statement. She felt her gut tighten as her face heated up. She knew exactly where this was going, yet she was frozen in place.

Everything happened at once; her eyes leaked with tears, her mouth croaked out sobs, and she felt the panic rising in her chest. She couldn't hear anything over the pounding of her own heart.

JD had looked away for only a couple moments to admire the fact that Veronica had remembered his favorite flavor. When he went to take another loving gaze at Veronica, he found something very troubling.

Instead of Veronica's usual lack of eye contact with JD, her eyes were glued to him, crying. Her body was stiff as a board, yet her mouth choked out soft, quiet sobs.

The slushie fell to the floor. It's lid instantly popped off as its contents splattered all over the floor.

"Veronica? Veronica, are you alright?" JD was filled to the brim instantly with concern and worry. He had no idea what was going on and importantly why she wasn't responding.

Veronica could barely breathe at this point, her surroundings were going black, she was going to pass out. Pass out in front of a murderous sociopath. Oh God, that thought alone made her panic amplify by a tenfold. She felt so lightheaded...

JD couldn't lie around and watch this any longer. He had to do something, he just had to.

He shoved off the covers of the bed and slowly stood up, he took a step forward and instantly felt the pull of all the wires. The wires felt like miniature hands, trying to hold him back from Veronica, yet he pushed onward.

The wires protested violently against JD's pulling, yet he did not stop. Most of the wires plucked themselves off of him upon reaching their maximum length. A few others were so stubborn that JD had to tear them off himself.

Everything went black and Veronica collapsed.

JD barely managed to catch her before she hit the floor. He let out a small sigh of relief upon realizing that she didn't actually end up on the floor. He took a moment to analyze Veronica. She appeared to be completely unconscious. He brushed his thumb across the skin of her cheek, it felt so smooth.

JD sighed again before he slowly started dragging Veronica to the chair. He set her down carefully, as if she were a porcelain doll that could break and shatter at any given moment. After he set her up comfortably in the chair, he smiled. He rubbed his thumb across her cheek before leaning closer and kissing it.

"Sweet dreams, Veronica." He whispered softly, almost as if he thought she could actually hear him.

 

When Veronica finally awoke, several hours had past. She woke up with blaring vision and a horrible headache. She couldn't remember what had happened before her blackout, hell, with her white vision she couldn't even tell where she was. However, a certain voice spoke out among all the silence and gave her the literal answer to where she was.

"Veronica, are you awake?"

She didn't need to see him to know where she was. In the hospital. Veronica had passed out in the hospital, in the same room as JD. Her mind instantly started roaming to places it didn't need to be in. She shivered at all the possibilities she thought JD might've have done to her while she was unconscious.

Her vision slowly cleared and she was able to make out her surroundings. She was sitting in the chair with her draped around the counter. Veronica didn't remember exactly what happened when she did pass out, but she did know enough to know that she didn't magically pass out perfectly into the chair. Was that what JD had done with her? He put her in the chair? There was no way, right? JD was a soulless, horrible monster, or was he? Veronica didn't know what to think.

"Veronica, you're okay! I was so worried that you had gotten physically hurt and-"

"What did you do?" She cut across his words calmly.

"What do you mean?"

"You know what I mean, Jason Dean, now tell me what did you do to me?!" She yelled at him, letting out all the conflicting emotion inside.

JD was a little taken aback by Veronica's sudden anger but didn't let it get to him.

"You weren't responding when I called your name and then you passed out. All I did was move you into the chair." Sure, JD had warped the truth slightly, yet it was still mainly what happened.

Veronica gave no warning as she instantly stood up and darted out of the room, letting the door slam shut behind her. She couldn't think clearly right now. Could it really be true that JD, the guy that had "destroyed" Veronica's life had only attempted to help her while she was vulnerable?

Could it really be true that everyone else was making him out to be worse than he actually was?

Veronica swore she was going to start screaming if she thought on the subject matter any longer. She needed something to ease the pain. She had an itch, and upon receiving this itch she knew exactly where she needed to go.

 

Veronica didn't share any kind of smile or eye contact upon taking the cigarettes and the lighter from the cashier's hand. She didn't need to, her day had been bad enough, the last thing she needed was any type of banter with a random stranger.

She rushed out of the store and didn't even make it to her car before a cigarette was hanging out of her mouth and lit. She inhaled and removed the cig from her mouth, exhaling all the smoke out of her mouth. She knew her parents would chew her ass out for smoking, but she couldn't care less. She was too young to drink, and self harm would just send her straight back to the psyche ward.

She knew smoking wasn't the healthiest coping method out there, but it was an urge she had to satisfy, and if you had asked her why she had smoked, when she promised everyone else around her she would quit, her only reply would've been, "Fuck it,".

Chapter Text

Before Veronica swore she even blinked, the weekend was over. Instead of sitting in her room and smoke moping, she was sitting at a lunch table with Heather McNamara on her left and Martha Dunnstock on her right.

It had been a tough decision for Veronica to make. She so desperately wanted to tell someone that JD had done something good, and that maybe everyone was stereotyping him more than they needed to.

Veronica sighed and looked at Heather McNamara, the decision was made, her mind was made-up.

"Well Ronnie, what is it?" Heather gave Veronica a look of pure sympathy and understanding, one that made Veronica almost want to tell the truth, but she didn't.

Veronica shook her head and pursued her lips, "It's nothing really, just a dumb thought."

Heather and Martha exchanged glances.

"Are you sure about that? I mean," Heather locked Veronica's hands with hers. "You seemed pretty anxious to tell us," Veronica looked away from Heather. Heather was too good of a friend for her. How could she possibly confess that she had visited the guy her murdered her friends? How could she even tell her that she thought JD wasn't as bad as everyone thought he was? She couldn't do it.

Veronica tugged her hands out of Heather's and looked at her lunch tray. "I'm fine, Heather, it's really nothing."

Heather nodded and averted her gaze back to her tray as well. "Alright, fine, I won't push any further, but please do know that me and Martha are here for and would be your friends through anything."

Veronica smiled and nodded her head, she already knew that would end up being a lie.

. . .

Heather Duke sighed as she took her seat at the table. Ever since Veronica took control of the school and fixed the elitism problem within Westerburg, life had become very miserable for Duke.

You see, she was used to two things; taking orders and being in control.

When Heather Chandler died, Duke was ecstatic. Finally, after so many years of being belittled and silenced by Chandler, Duke had the opportunity to rise up and be powerful. Let's just say, she got a little too out of hand with her power.

Heather Duke and Heather McNamara's relationship was complicated, to say the least.

Duke had first met McNamara when she joined the Heathers. At first, Duke thought McNamara was rather silent and weak in comparison with Chandler, but that was soon subject to change.

October 6, 1987 was one of the most important dates in Duke's life. Her mother died, Chandler started to bully her, and she felt like a complete and total loser. Although she self-loathed more than one can imagine, she could never bring herself to actually self-harm.

Well, at least, until she found out she was bulimic.

Duke found so much joy in binge eating, in was quite disturbing. Anytime Duke felt fat or disgusting for downing a bunch of food, she would simply puke it back up. It wasn't as bad as cutting or as life-risking as drinking, but it still was a very self-destructive habit.

During this time, Duke felt completely in the dark and alone, as if nobody cared about her well-being and wished for her to be dead. Well, that statement was partly true, until Heather McNamara found out about what was happening.

Heather McNamara was a very silent yet very observant person. Although not as bright as Veronica, she could still read people's emotions very well.

It was small signs that McNamara noticed first. Duke's lack of enthusiasm, sudden need to go to the bathroom more, and most important of all, her sudden lack of wearing make-up. McNamara at first took this as Duke simply going through phase, but after eavesdropping on a conversation Chandler and Duke were having, she realized what was really going on.

The conversation between Chandler and Duke went something along the lines of this:

"Heather, we need to talk,"

"Yes, Heather, what's wrong?"

"I've noticed that for this past month you've refused to wear make-up or put in any type of effort to look decent,"

"Oh, I'm sorr-"

"I don't want to hear your pitiful excuses for answers. I let you into this clique because you showed potential, potential to be powerful and beautiful, and what are you doing? You're being a pathetic weakling who apparently doesn't want to be in an exclusive organization that almost no one gets the chance to join!"

There was a pause. Loud sobbing was easily heard.

"Oh would you quit your whining, please, you're so pathetic when you whine!"

Another pause, the sobbing became quieter.

"Listen to me, Heather Duke, I'm giving you one last chance to be what you need to be, not a pathetic, crying loser, but a beautiful girl who wants to be at the top. Now if I catch you pulling shit like this again, there won't be another talk like this, your ass will just be off the team! Do you hear me?"

"Y-yes Heather,"

"Good, now go out and do something. Preferably going and buying new clothes, the ones you're wearing look absolutely dreadful. Tootles."

The clanking of high heel boots against a marble floor indicated that Chandler was leaving. After the clanking soon became nothing more than just an echo, the sound of a door being open and then hastily shut was heard. McNamara didn't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out what all this meant. She quickly slipped into the bathroom after Duke.

It wasn't hard to find Duke once inside the bathroom. There were only three stalls, and loud sobbing happened to be coming from the last stall.

Heather McNamara lightly knocked on the stall door.

"Who's there? Go away! You can't see me like this!" Duke choked this out from underneath her mountains of sobs.

"Heather, it's me, it's okay,"

"Heather?" The stall door creaked slightly open so Duke could peer through it to see if it actually was McNamara.

Upon seeing that it was McNamara, Duke pushed the door open and allowed her to come through.

"Hey," McNamara reached out slowly and put a hand on Duke's shoulder. "I heard the conversation you and Heather had, I'm so sorry."

Hearing this, Duke burst into even more tears, not only had Chandler told Duke to man up and get over her depression, but McNamara had also heard about it.

It was at this point that McNamara couldn't stand to watch Duke suffer any longer. She pulled Duke in close for a hug. Duke was a little confused about the gesture at first, but soon found in endearing and hugged back.

"Shhh, everything will be alright, just calm down, okay?" Hearing McNamara say all this felt very soothing to Duke, she felt her sobs and tears lessen every time McNamara ran her hand up and down her back.

It was a rather tender moment between McNamara and Duke, and it was the event that sparked McNamara and Duke to have a closer and more interpersonal relationship. During the day, McNamara and Duke were merely business partners and their boss was Chandler, but after school, they would go to McNamara's house and bitch about life.

Duke spent more nights at McNamara's house than her own all through-out her Sophomore year. It was just the simple fact that when Duke was around McNamara, she didn't feel like she needed to put on a facade like she did when she was around Chandler. It was this sense of security that helped Duke learn how to stand up to Chandler.

However, midway through Junior year was when things changed. Duke stopped visiting McNamara on the regular and stopped telling her literally everything. She tried to spend more time with Chandler, and it became more and more clear that Duke was trying to suck up to Chandler.

McNamara was hurt by this of course, but didn't let it consume her. She thought that she had helped Duke so much that she wanted to get to know Chandler as well as she had gotten to know McNamara. So McNamara didn't think anything of it.

By the time Senior year rolled around Duke and McNamara's personal relationship was almost completely forgotten. After all, Senior year was the year of Heather Chandler's death and Duke's rise to power.

It was only after Duke's rise to power that McNamara felt something had drastically changed.

First it was Duke mannerisms. Duke started to have better posture, would wear high heels as opposed to the converses she once preferred, and she started replacing her green attire with red attire. But it wasn't until Duke took Chandler's scrunchie that McNamara finally realized what happened.

Duke had become so obsessed with being just like Chandler, that she literally became Chandler. She actually became worse than Chandler if one could believe it. Not only was Duke a narcissistic megalomaniac with an obsession for personal gain, but she also happened to literally be the reason McNamara almost committed suicide.

It was Veronica Sawyer being the wake-up call everyone needed that brought Duke off her pedestal and reminded her that she was no better than anyone else.

Things had changed since Veronica turned the school around. Major things had changed.

Even though Duke completely deserved to be shunned, nobody did so, rather, they found reasons that could justify her actions. The school had become very forgiving that almost anyone who was guilty of being a jerk in the past was given the opportunity to redeem themselves. Even Heather Duke was given this option.

However, while everyone else gave Duke a second chance, McNamara did not.

You could ask literally anyone who attended Westerburg and they would tell you that McNamara was about the sweetest person you could meet. Well, she'd be the sweetest person you'd ever meet unless your name was Heather Duke.

Duke put her hands into a cup that she laid her forehead into. Everyone forgiving her was nice and all, but it really reminded her of Sophomore year, when nobody forgave anybody, and the only person that accepted her was Heather McNamara.

Duke had been coming up with plan for several weeks now to try to talk to McNamara. She simply wanted to apologize and more importantly, get her friend back. Yet she knew it would be a difficult quest to conquer, yet it was an journey she could not give up on.

Her plan was as the following;

1. Talk to Veronica Sawyer
Find some interval or time of day when Veronica was free and speak to her for a moment.

2. Hand Veronica a note
While talking to Veronica, hand her a note and tell her about the plan to apologize to McNamara.

3. Find a chance to talk to McNamara
Find some period of time where she is free and talk to her.

4. Apologize
Apologize for everything wrong you have done to her.

Duke thought it was a stupid and very mediocre plan, and that it would fail before even hitting step one, yet she still went through with it.

Little did she know, the plan would be more successful than she would've hoped for.

Chapter Text

Heather Duke paced anxiously outside the cafeteria as she waited on Veronica.

While eating lunch with others, Duke had abruptly stood up to leave the lunchroom. When the others asked her where she was going, she simply responded with, "I have that urge to purge,". Most of the students reacted to this excuse with sympathetic stares and phrase of, "I hope you're okay," while others tried to give her a hug. While she still accepted the hugs, she tried to make them last as quickly as possible.

Once outside the lunchroom, she let out a sigh. There was no possible way this plan was going to work.

She could envision it now; Veronica would burst out laughing at her note and would tell her to fuck off, students gathering around and looking at her while she silently starting crying, and mocking her for ever thinking she could be friends with Heather McNamara again.

Gees, she was really starting to get paranoid.

She inhaled sharply and straightened her posture, holding the folded-up piece of paper close to her chest. At any moment now, Veronica would come bursting out of the cafeteria, she'd wave goodbye to McNamara and Martha. Once she was done saying goodbye to them, Duke would yank Veronica over to where she was and would talk to her.

It was a small plan, but it was a definite start, at least for Heather Duke.

The bell rang, indicating that lunch period had ended. The cafeteria doors burst open and out bustled numerous amounts of noisy students.

Duke squinted into the crowd but still couldn't find Veronica. She tapped her foot impatiently as she eyed the crowd. Typically Veronica and her crew were out before everyone else. What was going on?

The crowd slowly started to die down and Duke was starting to get worried. What if Veronica already knew about her plan and had managed to leave the lunchroom before she did? How did Veronica find out?!

The cafeteria doors slowly started to shut and Duke was about to lose all hope until the doors burst open once more.

Standing in the doorway were the forms of McNamara, Veronica, and Martha. McNamara and Martha seemed to be doing some sort of group hug around Veronica. One would normally expect that Veronica would have a look of pure euphoria on her face. However, instead of a look of pure happiness, Veronica's face was devoid of any emotion whatsoever.

It was kinda creepy, actually. Seeing her friends faces warped into the emotion of happiness while Veronica looked purely empty inside. It was almost like she had done something she deeply regretted.

The trio stopped hugging a few steps outside the cafeteria. McNamara and Martha said their goodbyes and walked one way, Veronica nodded and walked the other. Duke didn't do anything until McNamara and Martha were out of sight. Once they were out of sight, Duke wrapped both her arms around Veronica's right arm and yanked her over.

Veronica had no clue to what was going on when she randomly felt a tug on her. The first thing that came to mind was that they released JD early and he was doing this as some sort of sick joke. She let out a scream, scared that her thought was reality. A hand hastily muffled her scream, feeding her paranoia even further.

Veronica had to fight back in some sort of way, she couldn't let JD hurt her again. She bit down on the hard over her mouth. Hard enough that she felt blood leaking into her mouth from the bite.

"Ow, what the fuck?!" Wait, Veronica recognized that voice, it wasn't JD's but rather..

"Heather Duke?" Veronica spun around to look at a wounded Heather Duke.

"Why did you bite me? Are you some type of fucking animal now?"

"What did you expect me to do? You can't just yank people anywhere you want them to be then muffle their screams and not expect a violent reaction!"

Duke opened her mouth to shout out some snarky comment, but quickly closed it upon realizing that Veronica was right. "Alright, fine, you're right, I'm wrong, whatever, can we just get to the point?"

"You tell me, you're the one who dragged me over here,"

Duke sighed as she wrapped part of her blazer around her hand as a make-shift bandage. "Fine, just, here!" Duke shoved the folded-up note into Veronica's hands.

Veronica eyed the paper suspiciously, Heather Duke was notoriously known for pulling rather cruel and complex schemes on people. Nonetheless, she still opened up the paper and nearly started laughing at what it said.

"Dear Veronica Sawyer,

I know you're going to laugh at this, but I still want you to take this seriously. As seriously as you can at least.

So, I know you hate me and everything, but I have closer ties with you than I do with Martha, so just bear with me.

For the past couple months, I have been realizing how badly I messed up when it comes to me and Heather's relationship. Ever since you made Westerburg a more forgiving and friendly place, it's reminded me of the days when Westerburg was a horrible place and Heather was my only real friend. I really do miss our friendship.

Look, I know you don't trust me whatsoever, but can you at least do one thing for me? Can you please tell her that I'm trying to be a better person and I just want one more opportunity to speak with her again?

Thanks a lot.

Heather D."

Veronica took a long hard look at Duke once she finished reading the note. "You seriously think this is going to work? I mean-"

"I knew you were gonna take it as a joke, I'm being serious here, I really want her back as a friend!"

"Can you let me finish, please? I was going to say that there's no way in Heaven this plan is going to work. I mean, Heather literally hates you, you do realize that right?"

Duke slowly nodded.

"And you do also realize that it's gonna take a lot more than a quick apology, right?"

Duke slowly nodded again.

"And you do also realize that you literally ruined her life, right? If you think there's anyway in Hell I'm going to let you weasel your way back into her life just to destroy it again, your wrong." Veronica shoved the note against Duke's chest. "Sorry bud, but I say no to your plan." Veronica turned around and slowly started walking away.

Damn it, Duke didn't want to have to resort to this, but she was going to do anything to get Veronica to work with her.

"Sure, say no now, but what will you say once I tell Heather all about your little secret?" Veronica stopped dead in her tracks, how could Duke possibly know? "So, do you want to try this again?"

Veronica turned around, her face was morphed into an expression of pure fear. She slowly shuffled back to where Duke was standing. "How do you know?"

Fuck, she was going to ask those types of questions. Duke took a deep breath in, she needed to keep her composure and give vague answers. "Oh, I know lots of things about you, Veronica," Veronica looked even more troubled at this statement.

"Alright, fine! I'll follow your stupid plan as long as you don't tell a single living soul about it, do I make myself clear?" Duke smiled as she handed Veronica the note back.

Duke smiled even wider as she watched Veronica's figure disappear into the distance. She didn't even know what Veronica was so scared of her telling everyone, but she didn't care. Her plan was set into action, and that's all that mattered.

. . .

JD gave a niche smile at the nurse checking his vitals. Not a lot of the hospital staff assigned to check on him liked him that much considering the fact that he came rather close to killing hundreds of people, but that was besides the point. He had gone through so many anger treatments and therapies, if he did have any anger left in him, it was probably soon going to be replaced with medicine.

Honestly, he didn't even know why he bothered anymore. His world had become so warped and confusing ever since he met Veronica. You can say she changed his life as much as he changed hers. Okay, maybe he changed her life for the worse, but again, besides the point.

JD was actually very happy waking up to see Veronica Sawyer in his room. He thought that she would be completely done with him, and honestly, he wouldn't have blamed her. He was very abusive and manipulative to her, and their relationship in general was incredibly toxic. He thought she had every right to leave him out of her live and move on, yet she still came back.

He killed her friends.

He forced her to kill people.

He basically made her fake her own suicide to get away from him.

Yet she still came back.

Someone with that amount of loyalty (Or stupidity, give or take) in them was incredibly special to JD. He had been given a second chance, and this time he wouldn't fuck up this opportunity.

First he would have to show her he really changed. It was easily said than done, everyone around her, including herself, had been feeding her this paranoia, this belief that JD would come out of the hospital as the same person when he came in.

He didn't blame her for her paranoia, Hell, he was the reason it was even brought on in the first place.

The sound of a door slamming shut took JD out of his thoughts. He sighed as he leaned back and laid his arms over his eyes. How on Earth was he possibly going to win back the trust of Veronica? Nurses who didn't even know him personally, or weren't even there when everything took place hated him, how was he supposed to convince Veronica that he had changed? Not to mention that everyone around Veronica literally wanted him dead.

It was going to be a long and hard journey, that was all he could say.

The sound of his door opening jarred him again from his thoughts. Had he really been in his thoughts for that long? That it was already time for another check-up on his vitals?

JD peeked through his arms to see a disgruntled Veronica dumping her school bag onto the floor.

Veronica flopped down into the chair and looked at him. The look she gave him was hard to describe. It wasn't full of hatred or anger, it was just void of any emotion whatsoever. It felt peculiar, to say the least.

"Greetings Veronica," JD gave her a small wave. "What brings you back here?"

"Trust me, I wouldn't want to be within a twenty mile radius of you, I'm just here to get some answers," Oh dear God, answers about what? How he built a bomb? Why he tried to kill everyone Veronica knew? Why- "How does Heather Duke know that I visited you?"

JD had to get a proper look at Veronica to make sure he was hearing this right. She didn't have any questions for why he done any of his violent crimes, but rather she had one for a petty person like Heather Duke? Now he felt like he should be the one asking questions.

"Uh, what?"

"You heard me, how?"

"Last time I talked to Heather Duke it was to get her to get students to sign the petition to," JD frowned. "You know,"

"Then how does she know about me visiting you?"

"Listen, I swear to you that nobody had visited me except for you," Veronica bit her lip. "Now can you please tell me what's going on?"

"Heather Duke came to me today, telling me about her plan to win back Heather McNamara as her friend, and when I said I wouldn't help her, she threatened to tell everyone about my secret," JD gave Veronica a sympathetic look.

"Veronica, are you sure she didn't just say that as a way to scare you?"

Veronica opened her mouth to reply, but quickly shut it. She lost herself in thought for quite a few moments. When she did come out of her thoughts, it was tagged along with the pleasant line of, "That bitch,".

JD chuckled, "Veronica, you have always been one to fall victim to poorly made schemes," Veronica eyed him carefully. "Hate to admit it, but it's true."

"Oh yeah? Just like how I fell scheme to your plots to kill my friends?" JD stopped smiling almost immediately, she was right. He did lie to her so she could kill more people. God, he needed to watch what he said. "That's what I thought, goodbye."

Veronica hastily started picking up her things and headed for the door. She hated every visit she made to the hospital. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

"Hey Veronica," Her name being called stopped her dead in her tracks. She whipped around to face him, her eyes peering straight into his soul. He quickly averted his gaze. "I wanted to say, uh," Great, now he was stuttering. "I'm sorry," Veronica gave him a questioning stare, he was never one to give genuine apologies. "I wasn't thinking and it slipped, have a nice day." He looked down at his arms with an expression of pure misery.

And there in was, that small pang in Veronica's heart. The small pang that told her that JD had changed and was now a much kinder person. She didn't like this pang, she liked thinking he was a monster, it was easier that way.

"Thank you," The words slipped out right before the door slammed. JD smiled upon hearing that.

Veronica felt her body itch. Her heart was pounding, her mind was in a disarray, they were all signs that she needed a smoke. She sped up her pace significantly upon realizing this.

Upon exiting the building, Veronica immediately started digging in her bag for her package of cigarettes. She hastily pulled one out and sloppily put it in her mouth. She lit it and took a puff. It felt very calming.

"Hey, you do know it's really bad to smoke, especially at your age, right?" Veronica exhaled a cloud of smoke before replying.

"Hey, you do know it's bad to get into other people's business, right? Because I can guarantee that it'll be your one way ticket to having my foot up your ass, now fuck off." Veronica didn't even get to see the horrified face of the man she dissed. She didn't really care, stressful and bad situations call for stressful and bad coping methods.

At least, that's how it was in her eyes.

Chapter Text

Ever since Veronica's last hospital visit, she had smoked quite a bit. She was consistently stressed and smoking was the only thing that gave her ease, helped her relax. so, of course, with the consistent stress being piled onto her, she quickly became a chain-smoker.

Veronica's life was slowly falling into disarray, and it was very evident too.

Her hair was always messy, she had lost the effort to brush it.

Her clothes were always either tousled or dirty, she didn't have the energy to look for clean ones.

And not to mention, she reeked like a smoke factory.

On the day Veronica was to help Duke set her plan into action, Veronica smoked almost a whole pack of cigarettes before arriving at school. The situation was very stressful to Veronica, leading her to obsessively smoke more than usual.

Apparently the smoke stench radiating off of Veronica was so horrid that even Duke crinkled her nose in disgust upon getting a whiff.

"Ugh, Jesus Christ, are you smoking again?"

"Chain-smoker, baby, best way to get people I don't like away from me," Veronica gave Duke the widest shit-eating grin upon pulling out another cigarette.

Duke rolled her eyes, not wanting to have to deal with Veronica's passive-aggressive attitude, "Whatever, let's just focus on the plan, okay?" Despite saying this, Duke kept her distance. "You know what you're supposed to do, right?"

Veronica blew a cloud of hazy smoke into Duke's face. "Talk to Heather, tell her you're reformed, yada yada yada," She haphazardly put the cig back into her mouth, letting it hang on the edge of her lip.

"Veronica, please take this seriously, I really do want my friend back," Duke gave Veronica an almost pleading look.

"Yeah, well, what if I tell Heather you're a manipulative little shit?" Another puff of smoke.

"We've already talked about what will happen if you disobey," Another step backwards.

"And what if you don't actually know anything, and you just managed to trick me? What about that? Huh?"

Duke gulped, somehow, Veronica figured out her bluff. She had two options at this point, to either get down and beg for forgiveness, or to retaliate, and do the plan all on her own. She was still in the midst of making her decision when she was brought out of thought by severe coughing.

The coughing was obviously coming from Veronica, as she was leaning on her knees, nearly hacking up her lungs.

Despite wanting to keep her distance, she couldn't let Veronica suffer. Duke rushed over to her side and helped her back up. Once she was back up, Duke lightly patted her on the back, in hopes to get whatever was in Veronica's system out.

It took a few minutes, but the coughing soon subsided and Veronica was finally able to breathe properly again. Duke carefully backed away from her and watched in horror as Veronica reached for yet another fucking cigarette.

She couldn't watch it any longer, she dashed over and snatched the entire pack out of Veronica's grasp.

"Heather, what the fuc-"

"I can't stand here and watch you burn your goddamn life away, Veronica, this shit is going to kill you! Don't you realize that?! You literally just had a coughing fit!" Duke quickly pocketed the cigarettes.

Veronica paused and pursed her lips. Duke was never this caring before, was she? All of Veronica's memories of Duke were incredibly negative, as all she remembered of Duke was the fact that she just as power-hungry as Heather Chandler. In a way, Duke was a mirror copy of Chandler, they both wanted power, and didn't care who they used to get it. There was no clear difference between them until now.

Heather Chandler was made out to sound more like a caring and complex person than she originally was.

Heather Duke was actually trying to make herself a better person than she used to be.

Oh.

Duke was actually trying to redeem herself.

Veronica didn't know what to think upon realizing this. Were she and Heather stereotyping Duke to the point that they thought she couldn't ever change?

She sighed before looking Duke dead in the eyes. "Alright, look, I'll help you, but give me back my damn cigarettes," Veronica extended her hand, waiting for Duke to place them there.

Duke smiled upon hearing that Veronica was actually going to help her. She gave Veronica a sheepish grin as she yelled, "Thank you," and ran off.

Veronica almost chased after Duke, she should've seen that coming, after her lecture on smoking after all. She sighed as she shuffled her way to first period, she would just simply just buy some more after school.
. . .

"Hey Heather," McNamara raised her head from the book she was reading to glance at Veronica. "We need to talk,"

McNamara nodded as she closed the novel she was reading and put it down. She slowly stood up and nodded, "Alright, let's talk,"

Veronica motioned over her shoulder, "In private,"

"Oh! Of course!" McNamara waved at the teacher monitoring the room and motioned towards the door. The teacher nodded as a sign of her approval; McNamara and Veronica took their leaves.

Veronica dragged Heather to the ever-so-remembered bathroom that the Heathers used to skip class. She sighed upon entering the bathroom. Painful memories.

"Uh, Veronica, is there something in here you want to show me or?"

Veronica rubbed her face and turned back to McNamara, she desperately needed a smoke, yet she knew if you was seen with one, everyone would get so concerned and worried, and honestly, Veronica wasn't in the mood to deal with that shit.

"Uh, no, I actually have to talk to you about something," Veronica rubbed the back of her head.

"Well, is it something personal, I mean, take your time, honestly," McNamara reached out for Veronica's hand, but it ended up getting slapped away.

"It's absolutely nothing personal, just, a certain someone requested that I tell you about them,"

"Well, who is it?"

Veronica paused, she so desperately would've loved to trash Duke's plan and watch her suffer, but yet she couldn't stop thinking about how fast Duke had reacted to helping her. She frowned, maybe Duke did deserve a second chance. She inhaled sharply before interlocking her hands with McNamara's.

"Alright, bare with me here, I know it's gonna sound like I'm joking, but a couple days ago, Heather Duke pulled me aside as we were all leaving the lunchroom,"

"Oh how wonderful, it has something to do with her," McNamara rolled her eyes, she couldn't care less for anything involving Heather Duke.

"Hey, I said bare with me," Veronica gave her a small glare. "But anyhow, she pulled me aside because she said she had this plan she had been working on for awhile, and uh, well,"

"Just say it, Veronica, I'm not gonna like it any way you put it,"

"Alright then," Veronica pulled her hands away from McNamara's and shoved them into her pockets. "The plan was about you," She briefly paused to see how McNamara was going to react.

"What is she going to do, kill me?"

"Okay, let's not get her mixed up with uh, him," Veronica sighed. "And no! Of course not! If she was going to do that, I would've stopped her before she was able to pull anything." McNamara nodded.

"So, what is it?"

Veronica inhaled sharply once again. "She said her plan was to try and earn your forgiveness. God, that feels good to get out!"

McNamara almost instantly started to laugh uncontrollably, it was almost as if she thought this were a joke.

"Oh my God, that's too good, oh God, that's too funny,"

Veronica smiled sheepishly, "Right, but uh, it's not a joke,"

The grin on McNamara's disappeared instantly, "Wait, you're being serious, oh my Lord,"

"Yeah, basically, with how Westerburg has become less of a shit hole she said everyone forgiving her reminded her of the past, where you were her only friend and no one forgave her, and how she really misses you and wants to prove she has changed into a better person,"

McNamara froze, she knew exactly what Veronica was talking about. Sophomore year. The year Duke got yelled at by Chandler because she couldn't keep her shit together. They spent a lot of time together, shared many precious memories, and had built a very close friendship. Than, of course, Duke had to throw everything they had together out the window during Senior year. Was it really true that Duke wanted to be her friend again?

There was a brief silence.

"I'll consider talking to her, thank you for telling me, Veronica," McNamara was staring intensely at the floor, she had the oddest feeling in her gut and didn't know how to react to it.

"Oh, you're welcome, I'll see you at lunch, okay?" Veronica stretched her arms out for a hug. McNamara immediately took it and held on tightly.

The embrace broke and they both walked off to their separate classes without saying a word to each other.

. . .

Another day, another trip to the hospital. Veronica swore these were slowly killing her, yet for some reason she kept making them. Almost as if she liked poking at her own misery.

She sighed as she stopped outside that miserable room-number. She gripped the handle and pushed forward, shoving the door open. She dropped herself into the chair and let the door slam itself shut.

"Hello Veronica, glad to see you back here,"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, cut the sappy shit, I'm here to complain," Veronica held her hand out to silence JD.

"Alright then, rant,"

She inhaled sharply, her body ticked and itched, she once again, needed a smoke, yet it was against the hospital regulations to do so. It pained her to have to resist her urge.

"Alright, so today I helped Heather Duke with her little plan to earn Heather McNamara's forgiveness, and to my surprise, it took off successfully, and I don't why, but it simply doesn't feel right at all. Like, Heather couldn't barely say a word to me after I told her about Duke's plan, and I guess it's because of the fact that they have a really in depth history together, but still. I just don't want anything to go wrong, life has finally become normal, and the last thing I need is for things to fuck up,"

"I see," JD softly spoke. "I don't know what to say, but, it's a good you're remaining calm and level-headed, that's the best way to deal with stressful situation like that,"

"Are you being serious or is this some cruel prank?"

"Uhm, what?"

"Out of all the people I would think of to tell me to calm down I would not think of you,"

"Oh, well, I mean, I've seen the error of my ways, and I know that violence isn't the answer anymore, that's all,"

"You make me sick," And with that statement, Veronica stood up and left.

She ran as fast as she could out of the hospital. The way JD was telling her to stay calm and not using her as a pawn for horrible crimes bugged her. It didn't bug her, actually, it downright disturbed her.

Everything was changing, and she didn't like that one bit.

The past brought her comfort, and if she needed to, she would go back there.

Chapter Text

As much as Veronica hated to admit it, her life was slowly falling into utter disarray. It wasn't like she tried to hide it either, she had lost the motivation to do anything whatsoever.

This became more evident, as her favorite thing to do was to sit in her room and smoke.

Although it had been a challenge to get Veronica off cigarettes, she knew she would return to them in one way or another. Self-harm lead to hospitalization and drinking was illegal, so she smoked.

Originally, Veronica picked up the habit from JD. She thought it looked somewhat cool and picked it up as a, "I only do it to stand out" sort of thing. Let's just say that after everything went down, Veronica continued smoking for reasons other than, "It looks cool,".

Veronica's parents were not unaware of what she was going through. You see, Veronica normally had these small bouts of depression, typically lasting no more than a few days. During that time-frame, Veronica would lock herself in her room and get over the problem herself. It was because of the fact that she could independently solve her own problems that her parents didn't intervene.

This situation was different, however, as not only had the bout lasted longer than normal, she also picked back up her smoking habits.

The journey to get Veronica off smoking started with several visits to numerous anti-smoking courses and ended with Veronica's mother bursting out into tears while talking to her.

Veronica's mother had been through her own fair-share of shit as a teenager. She suffered from depression, self-harmed, and smoked. This lead Veronica's mother to relate to her on more personal level.

Veronica could still remember the conversation they had in her room.

"Veronica, sweetheart, look, I know things are really hard right now, and," Her mother briefly paused to grab one of her hands. "I know everything just seems monochromatic to you, but it's not!" Tears swelled at the corners of her eyes. "Everything will get better, you just have to leave the past behind, you need to leave your smoking behind," More tears started pouring from her eyes. "I can't loose you, I love you so much, Veronica, you don't understand!"

And then her mother burst out sobbing. It appeared that Veronica had broken her mother and with this very speech, her mother had done the same thing.

Veronica had hurt enough people, she didn't want to harm the ones closest to her, so like that, she quit.

It was difficult at first, almost every stressful situation felt like Hell with no smoke to take, but through support of her friends and family, she quickly got over it.

So, for her to have started smoking again meant that she was dealing with something larger than she had imagined, which meant it was time for her parents to intervene.

Veronica was simply sitting in her room, glaring at the wall with a lit cigarette in her hand. There was a knock on her door, and not knowing any better, Veronica just yelled, "Come in!".

Upon seeing Veronica with the cigarette, her mother almost burst out crying.

"Oh, honey," Her mom rushed over to wrap Veronica into a hug.

Upon hearing her mother's voice she realized her mistake. She dropped the cigarette to the floor and shoved her mother away from her.

"Mom? Dad? What are you doing in my room?!"

"We knocked and you said we could come in!"

Veronica's eyes widened slightly. She was so deep into thought she hadn't even realized that it was her parents at the door. She shoved herself against the back-board of her bed.

"Why do you guys always do this? You always intervene when I just need some time alone!"

"Veronica, this is a situation where we have to intervene, I mean, look," Her mom picked the lit cigarette up off the ground. "You've started smoking again! You're obviously dealing with something you can't control!"

"I have everything under control, you just don't know when to quit,"

Ouch. Veronica's words stung like acid. Her mother instantly started crying and her dad appeared to be fairly disgruntled at his daughter's sudden aggression.

"Veronica, your mother is just trying to help you, we just want to know what you're going through!" Veronica's stared at her dad with a look of pure hatred. "You obviously can't handle what you're going through, if you could, you wouldn't have started smoking again. You know the effects that stuff had on your mother!"

For a split second, a look of pure sympathy flashed across her face as she looked at her sobbing mother. Veronica's addiction had caused her a lot of pain, it simply wasn't fair to the poor woman.

However, Veronica's anger almost immediately overcame her sympathy as she snarled out another insulting line at her parents.

"God, with parents like you, why didn't I try harder to kill myself?"

This line stunned both her parents. It was almost as if a knife manifested in the form of Veronica's words and pierced both of them directly through the heart.

They were both in too much shock to even bother trying to stop their daughter as she hopped off her bed and walked out of the room.

. . .

Yet another fucking visit to the hospital, because you can fix your problems by returning to where they started, right? Anyhow, Veronica knew this was a stupid idea, she just had an argument with her parents about how she couldn't handle whatever she was going through, and here she was, at the root of her problems.

Veronica inhaled sharply as she twisted the door handle and pushed forward.

JD did not expect a random visit from Veronica at almost 9 P.M. on a Wednesday night, but it wasn't to say he didn't brace himself for the incoming attacks Veronica was obviously here to land on him. I mean, every visit she made, each one ended with a different insult. It was getting to the point that JD was beginning to feel hopeless in ever winning back Veronica's trust.

So, of course, this visit he expected no different, yet a huge difference came.

Almost as soon as Veronica shut the door, she was in his face. It was at this distance that JD realized two things, Veronica was a very obvious chain-smoker and she was very angry.

"I hate you," Were the first words Veronica snarled at him.

He was prepared for it, but his heart still winced. "Yeah, I know, anything new?"

This comeback startled Veronica, she was expecting to him to show fear and instead he showed resilience, almost as if he was used to this statement coming from her.

She backed up and felt most of her anger drop instantaneously. She looked down at her hands, which were currently in tightly clenched fists. She took a deep breath and opened them. Her skin was red from how long she had held her fists like that. And suddenly, everything hit her at once.

Her parents were trying to help her and she basically told them to fuck off. She had shoved the ones closest to her away. Not only that, but it just hit her how cruel she had been to others around her.

Heather Duke wasn't trying to be friends with Heather to have her back as a lapdog, she genuinely wanted to be friends with her again.

And JD had basically just admitted that he was use to hearing, "I hate you," come from Veronica.

She was being worse than Heather and that was not a good feeling.

She felt her chest tighten as tears started to drip from her eyes. Her hands started trembling and her vision blared, she was having another panic attack. She felt like everything was about to go dark when a voice called for her.

"Veronica?"

The darkness around her shattered as she looked up to see a concerned JD carefully watching her. She slowly put her hands down and kept staring at him.

"Is everything okay?"

Her chest loosened up a bit and she felt like she was able to breath again.

Slowly, she walked over to JD and looked him dead in the eye. Tears pouring from her eyes and sobs erupting from her lips she calmly spoke.

"Why did you take the bomb from me?"

JD was confused at first, but his eyes widened at the realization. He so desperately wanted to reach out and grab her hand, and hold it tightly, let her know she wasn't alone, yet he knew he wouldn't be able to. So he did the best he could with his words.

"Isn't it obvious? The world needs more people like you, Veronica. The brave people, the ones who don't take any shit. The ones who snap back and aren't afraid to hold their ground. The world needs fighters like you, you're absolutely needed and wanted Veronica, by more people than you think. You're a hero, and no one can take that title away." Sure, the speech sounded fairly basic, but everything that came from JD's mouth was the genuine truth. Veronica could be a hypocrite sometimes, it didn't mean that she wasn't willing to throw everything away to save others. She was an incredibly strong fighter, and kept pushing forward despite all the shit life threw at her.

Veronica smiled slightly as she quickly closed the space between her and JD. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and pulled him into a tight hug. It was unexpected, but JD quickly wrapped his arms around Veronica's torso in response.

Among all the quiet sobbing and hiccuping, Veronica muttered a small phrase JD would soon get to hear more of in the future.

"Thank you,"

He smiled and he tightened the hug.

"You're welcome,"

Chapter Text

"Miss Sawyer?" A soft, yet fairly high-pitched voice pierced through the thick darkness that surrounded Veronica.

"Miss Sawyer?" The voice tried again to wake her, Veronica moaned softly in response to it. She tried to move but instead found pain. A lot of it, in fact.

It was this pain that made Veronica open her eyes. Of course, when she opened them all she could see was white.

"Where am I?" Veronica yawned, she tried to stretch and immediately stopped upon feeling how sore her back was.

"You're in the hospital, you spent the night in Jason Dean's room, however due to the fact that we need to take him down to therapy, we cannot let you stay in here after he's gone, that's just policy,"

Veronica's eyes snapped open as she leaned forwards immediately. She could barely see the form of the nurse yet managed to grab her shoulders. "What?"

"You spent the night in Jason Dean's hospital room? It's not that confusing, Miss Sawye-"

"What is the time?"

"It's approximately 7 a.m., why do you ask?"

"Oh no. Oh no no no no no no,"

Veronica practically leaped out of the chair she had just spent the night in, she quickly wiped her eyes to get her vision to clear before she shoved the nurse out of the way.

She dashed out of JD's hospital room and sprinted down the halls of the building, her anxiety fueling her the entire way.

She ran through the parking lot and almost ripped the door of her car off trying to get in it. Her panic was rising every single second. The main thought in her head that was causing her so much panic was, "Oh fuck, I'm gonna be late for school,"

The second thought was "Why the fuck was I in that hospital room overnight?"

There was another reason Veronica was panicking, yet she couldn't quite remember what it was.

She paid no mind to the forgotten memory as she drove like Hell out of the parking lot.

Veronica's mind was currently running like her car; it was going non-stop. Her car had to finally take a break once she hit a red-light. Once her car stopped, her mind finally stopped too.

Instead of focusing on the fact that she was going to be late, she tried to focus on the forgotten reason she went to the hospital in the first place. She wasn't upset over anything that Duke had done, and McNamara and Martha were fine. It must've been,

Oh.

Oh shit.

That fight she had with her parents.

That was the reason why.

Veronica's mind completely stopped at this realization. She had completely walked out on her parents when they were trying to help her. Actually, in her fit of rage, she insulted them. Not to mention they probably had no clue where she was.

She had to get the problem with her parents resolved as soon as possible, yet her anxiety rose just thinking about the confrontation.

Her mind was split, she could either go to Westerburg and deal with her parents later or deal with her parents immediately. Her anxiety didn't like either option.

The light turned green, someone honked at Veronica. She pressed down on the gas pedal; her decision had been made. She was going to Westerburg.

. . .

Veronica's drive to Westerburg was very law-breaking, to say the least, and despite breaking probably every speeding law known to mankind, she still managed to be late.

Veronica was in such a hurry to get inside, she didn't even bother to lock her car, or to notice that she didn't have her school-bag with her. It was only after she got inside did she realize that she was missing her bag.

"Shit," Veronica swore loudly, not caring if anyone heard her, the hallways were empty after-all, weren't they?

Well, that's what she thought until she heard a pair of high-heeled shoes clanking down the hallway at a rapid rate towards her.

"Veronica!" Was all she heard before she was engulfed into a tight hug.

"Heather?" Veronica gripped McNamara by the shoulders and slowly tried to push her away.

McNamara let go of Veronica upon feeling her push her away, but instead opted to cup her hands around Veronica's face.

"Oh God, I was so worried about you! Where have you been?"

"I'm fine, what's going on?"

"Oh, it's terrible, Veronica! Police showed up saying they thought you killed yourself!"

Veronica's expression morphed into something unreadable. She felt her anxiety steadily increase by tenfold and she suddenly found it very hard to breathe.

She knew exactly who sent those police; her parents.

"Oh shit,"

"I mean, I'm so glad you're okay, but we've all been very worri-"

"Heather, I need you to promise me something,"

"What is it?"

"I need you to promise me that you won't tell anyone that I was here, okay?"

McNamara pulled away from Veronica, she wrapped her arms around herself and directed her gaze towards the floor, "I don't know if I can promise tha-"

Veronica grabbed McNamara's face and forced her to make eye contact with her, "I need you to do this, just for me, please,"

McNamara sighed, slightly averting her eyes, and bit her lip. After a moment, she regained eye contact with Veronica. "Okay, just for you, but try to stay safe please!"

Veronica wrapped McNamara up in a hug, "I will, I promise!"

McNamara smiled and waved as Veronica ran out of the building.

Veronica dashed out into the parking lot and ripped her car door open, she had just got the car started and was about to rip on out of the parking lot when a hand slamming down on the hood of her car stopped her.

Veronica gulped as she saw who the arm was attached to; Heather Duke.

Duke looked severely pissed. Veronica gave her an awkward smile as she rolled her window down.

"Hey Heathe-"

"Cut the crap, Veronica, do you realize how much shit you're in?"

"Uh, yeah, kinda?"

"You do, huh?" Duke's expression didn't change in the slightest. "So, you know why police are surrounding the school searching for you?"

"Yeah, because my parents thought I killed myself, look I'm on my way to get the entire situation resolved, so if you could kindly removed your hand from the hood of my ca-"

"That's not the reason they're here,"

Veronica paused, looking Duke straight in the eyes to make sure this wasn't a prank. "What do you mean, that's what He-"

"Heather said? Yeah, and tell me, Veronica, when have the police ever gotten themselves involved in a suicide case at this school?"

Veronica paused for a moment, she wanted to blurt out about the cases of Heather, Kurt, and Ram but didn't upon remembering that they weren't victims of suicide, but rather of murder.

"Veronica, police are here because your parents thought you got yourself involved again with Jason Dean!"

Veronica's panic skyrocketed upon hearing this, she directed her gaze onto her steering wheel. How did they know? How did they find out?! "What?"

"Veronica, don't play dumb with me! I don't want to have to pull anything drastic, but in favor of the safety of everyone at Westerburg, I will do what I have to!"

Veronica's panic slowly turned into anger. Why couldn't her life just be hers? Why did everyone have get so involved in her personal life? It was HER life, not Heather's, not her parents', and not anyone else's. She looked Duke dead in the eyes with an expression of pure defiance.

"Heather Duke," Duke felt shivers go down her back upon hearing how calm Veronica spoke, her expression wavered slightly, "Take your hand off of my car,"

"Oh no, you are not running away from me, you little bit-" Duke didn't get the chance to finish her insult, however, as Veronica pressed down on the gas pedal and sped out the Westerburg parking lot, leaving only an angry, yelling Heather Duke to remain.

. . .

The drive back to Veronica's parents happened to be a little on the short side. Veronica recalled pulling onto her neighborhood street and thinking, "Wait, I'm already here?"

Veronica decided to park her car next to the curb a couple blocks down from her house rather than pulling into her house's drive way. Her thought process for this action went something along the lines of what would've happened if the confrontation with her parents went sour. She thought it would be much easier to escape from them if she didn't have to back out of a drive way.

Veronica sighed as she marched up the steps of her home. She knocked three times on the door and tried to plan together in her head what she was going to say to them. Her mind couldn't really form anything coherent, but she knew that she was going to lie to them by telling them how she was fine and that she wouldn't dare visit JD.

The door swung open and almost instantly a pair of arms were around her. It caught her off-guard and she instantly tried to push whoever was hugging her away. The person didn't seem to get the memo as they hugged tighter.

"Oh, Veronica, don't ever scare us like that again!" Veronica's mother pulled away to cup her hands around her face.

"Mom?" Veronica grabbed her mother's hands and shoved them away. Her mother looked visibly hurt upon being shoved away and backed-up slightly.

"Veronica, honey, please come inside, we have a lot to talk about,"

"Like how you called the police on me?"

"Honey, we were worried you might've hurt yourself, we both feared that you tried to kill yourself,"

"That's not what I was told,"

"Veronic-"

"Why can't you just let me live my life? I'm almost out of high-school and I'm almost eighteen, you've got to learn to trust me more!"

"Please come inside, Veronica, and we'll talk more,"

"No, I am not coming inside, you'll just lock me up in my room like you always do!"

"Veronica, please, I'm begging you," Veronica was going to protest once more, but looking at her mother's pleading face, she decided to reluctantly agree.

"Fine," Veronica muttered as she followed her parents inside.

It took everyone a couple minutes to get situated. Both her parents sat together on the couch and Veronica chose to sit in an arm-chair that sat the farthest away from her parents. She felt very uncomfortable, like this whole thing was a trick, as if they were planning to pull something horrible on her. But she told her instinct to chill and that she had a way to escape if things did turn sour.

"Well, where do you want us to begin, sweetheart?"

"Veronica, and let's start with the whole assumption that I went and got myself involved with JD,"

Her parents exchanged glances, Veronica noted immediately then that Duke wasn't lying about what she said.

"Well, hon-er-Veronica, we noticed that you had gotten yourself involved with something drastic, I mean, you're a very capable young woman, it's just," Her mother paused, unable to find the words to convey what she wanted to say.

"It's just what?"

"It's just that, you're able to handle most of your problems without resorting back to destructive habits, but in this case you instantly went back to smoking. There aren't many things that trouble you as much as JD did, so we were just worried,"

"Well, you're worrying needs to stop because I'm fine," Veronica made sure to increase her voice upon saying "fine". "And I'm not getting myself involved anywhere near JD!"

"Then what's bothering you, de-Veronica?!"

Veronica paused, she needed to come up with something convincing, something that she could sell. Honestly, the fact that she was having to lie to her parents in the first place made her anger bubble. Weren't they supposed to love their daughter no matter what? Why wouldn't they support her even if she was seeing JD?!

And before she knew it, words came flooding out of her mouth.

"What's bothering me is the fact that I can never ever just be seen as normal by my own parents. I'm fine, honestly. Sure, maybe I like to smoke and sneak out for a night or two, but that's all things that normal teenagers like to do! You keep treating me like I'm some sort of monster! Keeping me under lock and key, never letting me have a life! And that's what I'm so upset about, the fact that I can't have competent parents!"

And instantly, upon letting all that out, Veronica's anger drained away. She looked at the faces of her very hurt parents and immediately realized what she had done.

She stood up and tried to take her leave, but felt a tug on her arm. She tried to pull away but couldn't. She turned around to see her father gripping onto her arm.

"Veronica Sawyer, go to your room,"

"No,"

"What was that?"

She didn't know what the hell was going through either her or her father's mind, but she knew it couldn't be good. She gave her father a sarcastic smile. "I said, no,"

"Veronica, we're trying to help you, now go to your room,"

She felt her anger coming back, her rage and aggressive were back for more, "I said, no!" She screamed, slapping her father.

Her father, stunned upon having his own daughter physically harm him, let go of her arm. Using this opportunity, Veronica made her escape.

She ran and ran, and didn't stop until she reached her car. She opened the door and hopped inside, not bothering to look back until her house was far behind her.

She only stopped once she hit a red light. It occurred to her at this moment that she had no place to go. Westerburg was under lock down with police officers and she had just pissed away her parents. Where else could she possible go?

Then it hit her, there was one place she could find some sort of comfort. Sure, it was uncomfortable comfort, but seeing as how she had no other option, she took off on her way to the hospital.

. . .

Heather Duke was pissed, to say the least. Not only was Veronica toying around with the guy who nearly killed all of them, but Veronica had also just broken her arm.

You see, the sudden movement of Veronica's car hitting Duke's arm broke it almost instantaneously. And although Duke would've liked to have lied in the parking lot crying and screaming, she knew she had to do something.

So, despite the absolute agonizing pain Duke was in, she still managed to pull herself off of the hard ground and and get herself inside Westerburg.

Once she was inside, she nearly collapsed. The pain in her arm was so excruciating, she swore she was gonna pass out. She needed to reach a police officer, she needed to tell them that Veronica was, in fact, getting herself re-involved with JD.

However, Duke didn't make it that far.

No, she barely made it past the cafeteria doors before she collapsed. She screamed out in pain as she fell down onto her broken arm.

Her cries for help, however, managed to be answered, just not by the person she would've thought.

"Oh my God, Heather, are you alright?" Duke saw a blur of yellow come running to her side. She instantly knew who it was; Heather McNamara.

"No," She groaned. "I'm not okay,"

"Oh my goodness, what happened?" McNamara quickly tried to help Duke up to her feet, she wrapped her arms around Duke's torso and tried to lift her up. She only managed to get Duke to sit up before Duke was swatting her away.

"Your little buddy, Veronica" Duke spat out Veronica's name with such poison. "Fucking broke my arm,"

"What, why would she do that?"

"Because I confronted her about why the police were here and she got pissed off and broke my fucking arm,"

"Wait, why did you need to confront her about police being here?" McNamara had a look of pure confusion on her face, Duke felt bad for her, she didn't know anything about what Veronica could be like.

"Heather, can you drive me to the hospital? I have some things I need to tell you about Veronica,"

McNamara nodded before wrapping her arm around Heather's back and helping her up.

Little did Duke know, this would be the first step in gaining back McNamara's trust.

. . .

JD did not expect a visit from Veronica after her spending the entire night there.

Honestly, he didn't expect her to stay the entire night. Or to finally give him another chance.

He had no idea what Veronica was going through, but he was thankful that she didn't hate him as much.

Anyhow, JD was doing his normal routine; lying in bed and thinking when the room door burst open.

It surprised him, to say the least, but seeing Veronica in the doorway, he shivered a bit. She looked mentally exhausted.

"Hey Veronica,"

"Hey JD,"

JD cracked a massive grin at hearing something other than, "I hate you" come out of Veronica's mouth.

Although JD tried to keep his grin as private as he could, Veronica noticed it and found it rather cute. She shook her head and plopped down into the chair, she reached over and pulled her bag into her lap.

Throughout this whole situation, Veronica had been going through some of the worst fucking cravings for a smoke, yet she knew she couldn't take one as her cigs were trapped in her bag.

She pulled out a cigarette and lit it, closing her eyes and inhaling and exhaling.

It was the best feeling in the world.

"Hey, uh, Veronica?"

Veronica's eyes snapped open as she remembered JD was in the room with her.

"Oh shit, I'm sorry," She chuckled. "I just really need this,"

"I understand, I could go for one too, actually," He smiled.

"Oh, I can give you one-"

"Veronica, I'm joking, I don't smoke anymore, and besides, the nurses would chew my ass out for it,"

"Oh, okay then," Veronica leaned back. "Just don't tell them I was doing it,"

JD chuckled, "I won't, I promise,"

They both shared innocent laughs and the room quickly blanketed itself in quiet.

Veronica finished her cigarette and was about to reach for another one when JD broke the ice.

"So, what's got you so stressed?"

"Hm?"

"Last I checked, you didn't smoke,"

"Oh, it's just," Veronica laughed, "I'm in deep shit, JD, my parents have the police on my ass, and considering how I abandoned Heather in the parking lot, she's probably gonna get the school on my ass, I'm just so tired," She was on the verge of actual tears. This situation was so fucking tiring and stressful, and wasn't going to be easily resolved.

"Why did your parents send police after you? Are they afraid their picture perfect daughter can't walk herself to school?"

Veronica smiled as tear slid down her cheek, she hastily wiped it away. "They think, know, I don't fucking know, that I visited you and apparently I can't control my own life so they called the police on me after I spent the night here," Tears were streaming out of Veronica's eyes; she had lost the effort to brush them away. "Heather told me that the police were there because they feared I killed myself, then Heather told me that the police were actually there because I got myself involved with you,"

JD got a little confused with all the "Heathers" but brushed it aside. "Veronica,"

"Look, don't blame yourself, I brought al-" Veronica struggled to get words out through her sobs. "All this shit upon myself, it's okay, I'm just so done with everything,"

"I understand, this sounds very serious, I wish I could better support you somehow,"

"You're doing enough just being here, right now," Veronica finally felt her sobs subsiding. "I have no home anymore, it's just another fucking insane asylum, and Westerburg is fucking hellhole," She paused before looking JD straight in the eyes. "Maybe being here with you isn't so bad after all,"

JD felt his cheeks heat up, he quickly averted his gaze. "I'll always be here for you, Veronica, I care about you,"

"Veronica smiled, "Thank you, JD,"

JD nodded and leaned back, the room fell back into it's quiet. It felt comfortable.

"Hey Veronica,"

"Yeah?"

"Can you promise not to hurt yourself?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I noticed that uh, well, this situation's stressful, it might've driven someone weaker than you to consider suicide, I just don't want you turning to that option, you know?"

Veronica paused, sure she was giving JD some slack and not giving him all the pent up hatred she had before but was she really hearing this right?

It took Veronica a couple moments to even process his request. Did he really care about her that much? Was the nurse actually telling the truth? Was JD actually reformed? Her mind was swarmed with questions. She was broken out of her state of mind by JD.

"Veronica?"

She looked him dead in the eyes, her decision made, "I promise,"

"Great, thank you,"

"You're welcome,"

Chapter Text

Duke and McNamara's drive to the hospital was interesting, to say the least.

To say that McNamara didn't still hate Duke at this point was lie, although, her hatred was slowly fading away.

I guess one could say this ride to the hospital was important for both of them.

On that very day, Heather McNamara and Heather Duke rekindled their friendship.

Well, part of it.

McNamara did not have a car, Duke, however did.

Upon getting into the car with McNamara, Duke felt slightly guilty. After the deaths of Kurt, Ram, and Heather, McNamara had no one to drive her to school, and Duke would just downright ignore McNamara when she asked for a ride.

Duke wanted to break down and start apologizing on the spot the second they entered the car, she almost did in fact, uttering the words in her mind of which she wanted to say.

Once the both of them were all strapped in and on the road, McNamara broke the silence.

"So, are you ever gonna explain this?" McNamara motioned at Duke's broken arm.

Duke exhaled sharply, she had promised to explain what was going on with Veronica in the car. "Basically, Veronica's a bitch,"

McNamara cocked her head and focused her attention on the road, "And why do you say that? I mean, she's one of my good friends-"

"Heather, she broke my fucking arm and she's got the police after her, do you really think she's doing all good?"

McNamara paused for a second, contemplating what to say next, "What are the police after her for?"

Duke inhaled, here it was, the moment of truth. In all honestly, Duke felt bad for telling McNamara about all of Veronica's misdeeds. Whenever you reveal to someone about how bad their friend is, it kinda hurts. "Heather, they're after her because she's interacting with Jason Dean,"

The car slammed to a halt. Duke flew forwards a bit, getting restrained by her seat belt. She hissed out a line of profanities as the seat belt jutted into her broke arm.

McNamara turned to Duke with an expression of bewilderment, "What?"

"She's been talking to Jason Dean, you know, JD? The kid who nearl-"

"Yeah, I know who he is, but why? Veronica would never do something like that,"

"Well, apparently you don't know Veronica as well as you think you do, now drive,"

McNamara started driving once again with an unreadable expression on her face. It mirrored the one Veronica had walking out of the lunchroom a few days prior. Duke felt really bad.

"Look, Heather, I'm really sorry, I know how it feel-"

"It's okay, Heather, thank you for bringing this to attention,"

"You're welcome, Heather,"

And just like that, Duke and McNamara were acquaintances once more. Although, their friendship was based solely off Veronica being stupid, it would soon grow to be something more.

. . .

"Oh, Veronicaaaaaaaa," A familiar voice pierced through Veronica's ears. It was a voice she had grow to fear and hate at the same time. A voice she thought she'd never have to hear again.

She opened her eyes as she saw her worst nightmare; Heather Chandler.

"Heather?"

"Hello, Veronica,"

"But it's been so long,"

"Indeed it has, I thought you could use a break after your little, attempt," Chandler had a difficult expression on her face, it appeared as if she was trying to be sympathetic but couldn't. It honestly looked more pathetic than anything.

"Why are you here?"

"To offer some kind advice,"

Veronica exhaled sharply, Chandler's advice was always terrible no matter what situation it was applied to.

"You need to stop visiting Jason Dean,"

Veronica rolled her eyes, first her parents, than her friends, and now her dead colleague were all criticizing her life choices. She really couldn't live her own life, could she?

"And why should I take your advice, Heather?"

"Because if you continue down this path, things are only going to get worse,"

Worse? What the hell did Chandler mean? Things were already at their worst. Police were after Veronica, for God's sake, what 'worse' could their be?

Veronica bit her lip, it was unusual for Chandler for be this nice, sure, she wasn't being too terribly kind either, but at least she wasn't calling Veronica all sorts of names.

"Veronica," Chandler's voice pierced through her thoughts. "You're not listening to me, are you?"

"What?" Veronica muttered.

"Veronica, listen to me, Veronica, Veronica, you're not listening, Veronica!" With every 'Veronica' Chandler's voice seemed to get louder and more aggravating. Veronica couldn't even think, Chandler's voice was overpowering her thoughts.

"Veronica!"

"Shut up, Heather!"

"Veronica!"

Veronica instantly sat up straight, she started panting, she felt like she couldn't breathe, then the coughing came.

This coughing fit was not your usual coughing fit, it was horrible. Veronica swore she was unable to breathe properly and her lungs felt like they were going to explode.

Through-out the fit, Veronica could've swore she heard someone calling her name, however, it was muffled by her wheezing.

When the coughing fit finally subsided, Veronica slumped back in the chair.

Wait, the chair?

Oh fuck, she had spent another night at the hospital. Veronica rubbed her temple as she realized this.

"Veronica?"

"Hm?" Veronica didn't even bother to look up, she was too busy brooding.

"Are you okay?"

"What do you mean by 'okay'?"

"You were tossing and turning in your sleep, when I called your name you started screaming, and then your little coughing fit,"

Veronica smirked, "I'm fine," JD gave Veronica an expression of 'Sure, you are'. "Really, I am," Veronica dropped her hand to her side.

She inhaled sharply and tried to swallow, and that's when she noticed how extremely dry her throat was. She needed water, like desperately.

Veronica leaned forward in her chair, "Do you know where a water fountain is?"

JD raised an eyebrow at Veronica, "Down the hallway on the left, why?"

Veronica didn't bother to answer his question; she stood up and left.

Every step Veronica took down the hallway, she found something else to complain about. Her back was sore from sleeping in a chair. She had a severe migraine. Her throat burned from being so dry. She hadn't had a proper meal in a couple of days. She hadn't showered in a couple of days. Her teeth felt slimy and gross. She desperately craved a smoke but she was out. Her hair was probably matted by now, she hadn't brushed it in like a solid week.

She sighed as she neared the corner. She was about to turn the corner when she heard footsteps and voices coming from the hallway around the corner.

"Honestly, Heather, I'm hoping that too,"

Oh shit.

"Yeah,"

Oh fuck. Veronica needed a place to hide and quick. If she was caught, it would be all over for her.

"You know, after I get a cast or whatever, you wanna go out somewhere, like to take your mind off this situation?"

She quickly analyzed her surroundings, there was no place she could run to without being seen.

"I would honestly like that,"

She thought about running back to JD's room, but realized they would catch her on the way back.

"Yeah, let's go grab something to eat!"

She started thinking of an excuse for why she was here. Oh fuck it, Veronica was ready to give up.

Until she noticed one of the room doors was slightly ajar.

Wasting no time, she quickly ran in and slammed the door behind her.

Duke and McNamara had just turned the corner when Veronica slammed the door. It caught both of them off-guard, causing them both to jump. Duke accidentally tried to move her arm, causing a new string of profanities to come from her mouth.

"What was that?" McNamara took a step towards the door.

"I don't know, Heather, but what I do know is that I'm in a lot of pain, so can we please fucking move it along?!" Duke snapped, she didn't mean for it sound as harsh as it did, she was honestly in a lot of pain and didn't want to stand there suffering while McNamara checked out some random room.

McNamara nodded and they both proceeded down the hallway.

As Duke passed the room, she tried to peer in to see if she could spot something. She couldn't stop anything though; the lights in the room were off. She made a mental note in her mind to check back by that room once her arm was taken care of.

Veronica could barely breathe as she kept herself pressed next to the door. She could not believe what had just happened. She narrowly just evaded having her entire scheme blown, and it was already hanging by a thread.

She slowly cracked open the door and peeked her head out. Once she saw that McNamara and Duke were gone, she left the room.

She quickly raced back to JD's room and slammed the door tightly shut once being in his room again.

"Veronica, are you alright?"

Veronica turned back to look at him, "No, I nearly just ran in with Heather and Heather and if I had gotten caught things could be lot worse then they already are,"

JD nodded.

There was a brief moment of silence.

"If they're here, don't you think it would be a good idea to leave?"

"What do you mean?"

"Well, go out and do something, I know your parents won't let you back in, but that doesn't mean you have to stay here,"

Veronica bit her lip, what JD was saying made a lot of sense. Instead of staying at the hospital and having a risk of getting caught by Duke and McNamara, she could go out and maybe get a bite to eat and pick up some more cigarettes.

She nodded; her decision set in her mind.

"I'll be back in a couple of hours,"

JD nodded and waved her off, smiling as he knew he'd finally gained her trust back.

Veronica practically sprinted out of the hospital. She hopped into her car and headed for the first restaurant she saw. Maybe today could actually be a good day for her.

Chapter Text

Veronica's trip from the hospital was probably the most fun thing she had done all week. She didn't feel the need to break down crying because she was visiting her ex, or to pass out from anxiety of having to deal with her parents. She felt calm, cool, and collected. She liked feeling this way.

Veronica went back the corner store and picked up about six packs of cigarettes. She knew to the outside eye it would appear as if she had a problem, but only she knew how relaxing smoking made her feel. I mean, as bad as the cigarettes were, at least she wasn't doing drugs.

After picking up her smokes, Veronica decided to finally have an actual meal. She didn't want to go to any upper class restaurant, as she knew how awful she looked, so she opted to go to a small diner instead.

She knew being out in public and looking this bad wasn't the brightest idea, but Veronica proceeded onward.

Upon entering the diner, almost everyone stared at her. Her ragged appearance was so unusual for such a high-quality town.

Every person that stared at Veronica, she responded back by staring daggers at them. They all looked away instantly, and went back to minding their own business.

Veronica took her seat in a booth. A waiter came by and Veronica ordered what she wanted. The waiter chuckled as Veronica ordered herself a ginormous plate of food. What could she say? She was pretty fucking hungry.

Veronica sat there for a while, looking out the window at the highway. Somehow, watching all the cars drive by, watching them speed away from whatever, was very calming for Veronica. If only she could do that herself.

Veronica sighed as her put her face into her hands. How did she even get here? It all happened so fast. Too fast. If Veronica had just been given a moment to breathe, she could've easily found a way to resolve this damn thing.

If she could only prove to everyone else how much she hated JD.

Wait.

JD was basically healthy, right? They said his body had been healing well and that the only therapy he went to was for his anger, right?

Wouldn't that mean that he would be discharged soon?

Yeah, if he was discharged, that meant he would be back in the public eye. If she could just get JD to a place public enough and do something to prove she hated him, maybe it would change everyone's point of view. She could totally end this situation by herself. All it would take would be knowing JD's date to discharge.

Honestly, it would be easy if they would just let him back into Westerburg.

Well, actually no, that's not true, they would probably admit him back into Westerburg, but he would probably be under extremely surveillance. He would probably also be kept as far away from Veronica as humanly possible.

She groaned, this was going to be a lot harder than anticipated.

After a few more moments of waiting, the waiter came by again, she handed Veronica her food and walked off. Veronica smiled as she looked at her massive plate of food. She had ordered pancakes, scrambled eggs, and bacon, along with a side grits. Veronica took no hesitance; she dug in right away.

Veronica felt absolute bliss with every bite she took. She had not had a decent, or for that matter, actual, meal in several days. This felt like literal heaven to her.

A short while into Veronica's food escapade, she heard the door open. She at first paid no mind to it, as several people had entered and left the diner in the time she had been there, no, what made her pay attention were the voices attached to the door opening.

"Well, let's grab a booth,"

Veronica leaned back and groaned; it was McNamara and Duke.

Veronica didn't even bother to try and hide herself, I mean, why would she bother? It was perfectly normal and not suspicious for her to be eating at a local diner. Veronica felt her shoulders ease as she realized this fact.

As Duke and McNamara approached closer, Veronica saw something interesting on Duke's arm; a cast.

She was confused. How in the hell did Duke break her arm within 24 hours? Veronica shrugged it off as the pair came closer.

Duke passed through the busy diner, trying to find a booth for her and McNamara, when she saw something she didn't think she was going to see; Veronica Sawyer.

Why was Veronica here? Duke had several questions upon seeing her there.

She grabbed McNamara by the arm and pulled her over to Veronica's booth. They both quickly slid into the opposite side of the booth.

"Veronica, what a pleasant surprise," Duke gritted her teeth.

"Heather," Veronica eyed Duke with a look of pure annoyance. "And Heather," Veronica turned to face McNamara, but noticed that McNamara couldn't even be bothered to make eye contact with her. She knew right then and there, that she had fucked up her relationship with McNamara.

"What are you doing here,"

"I could ask the same to you, Heather," Veronica sarcastically smiled, "I'm eating, what else would you think I would be doing?"

"Getting yourself involved in a shitty situation?"

Veronica shrugged, "Well, yeah, I'm in that too, but right now I'm trying to fucking eat,"

Duke nodded and noticed how McNamara seemed to be having a staring contest with the floor.

"Heather," Duke spoke, McNamara perked up immediately and looked her way. "What would you like to order?"

"Oh," McNamara paused. "I'm not gonna eat anything, I'm not that hungry,"

"Are you sure?"

"I'm fine, Heather," There was moment of silence as McNamara returned her gaze to the floor. "Thank you,"

The trio was almost instantly blanketed in an awkward silence, as all they heard was the background ambience.

"So," Veronica shattered the silence, clearing her throat. "How the Hell did you break your arm?"

"I don't know, Veronica, you tell me," Duke spat back.

Veronica was extremely confused, she hadn't done anything recently that would've resulted in Duke getting a broken arm. She paused trying to retrace her steps.

"You fucking broke it with your car, you idiot!" Duke exploded, Veronica gave her a look of surprise. Even McNamara was startled at the sudden outburst.

"I did?"

"Of course you did, you got pissed off at me and drove off!"

"Oh, yeah, that," Veronica muttered.

Another silence, once again.

"Heather," Veronica started. "What is it going to take to prove to you that I'm not getting involved with JD?"

Duke scoffed, McNamara looked absolutely hurt.

"It'll take actual proof, that's what it will take,"

"When the time comes, you'll see, Heather, you'll see," And with that statement, Veronica stood up and walked out, leaving her bill for the pair to pay.

. . .

"JD,"

Veronica's voice and the opening of the door caught JD extremely off guard. He looked up at her.

"Yeah?"

"When do you discharge?"

"Why do you need to know?"

"It's very important," Veronica walked into the room and shut the door upon realizing this wasn't going to be a short conversation. "It may or may not be the solution to this whole cluster-fuck of a problem,"

JD nodded, "I see,"

"So?"

"I get discharge in a couple of days, Veronica. They haven't given me an exact date, but I know it'll be soon,"

Veronica nodded.

There was a brief silence as both parties thought to themselves.

"Do you think they'll admit you back to Westerburg?"

JD scoffed and shrugged, "Veronica, I was a minor when I committed those crimes, the most they'll do to me is put me under extreme supervision. I might even be taking class away from all the other students. It just depends on how dangerous they think I still am,"

"Okay, good,"

"So, are you going to tell me how to solve the mess you're in?"

"I'm thinking that if I publicly declare my hatred for you in front of everyone at Westerburg, no one will actually think I'm talking to you. They'll just think I'm mad that you were allowed back,"

"Wait, so do you hate me or no?"

"It dropped to dislike, consider that a compliment,"

JD gave a goofy smile. He felt a small blush creep up his neck.

Another silence.

"Veronica," JD broke through it. "Don't you think you should spend the days leading up to my discharge away from me?"

Veronica cocked her head at him, "What do you mean?"

"Well, you know, go make things up with your parents and stop skipping school. Go back to being normal. It'll look less like you're plotting something and more like you were a rebellious teenager who ran away for a couple nights,"

Veronica considered his plan. It made a lot of sense, actually. If she just nodded and obeyed, maybe she could reverse some of the damage she had done. Although, the thought of having to deal with her parents gave her pure anxiety, it was the best course of action.

"I guess so, I'll see you around, JD,"

"See you at school, 'Ronica,"

And with that, Veronica set off, determined with a plan in mind to make things right.

Chapter Text

The days Veronica spent away from JD seemed to last forever. Each one just dragged on and on. It wasn't that she was in love with him again or whatever, it was just that his company, his presence, was very alluring. Maybe that was why Veronica kept coming back to him.

Over the three days Veronica spent away from JD, she managed to repair things with her parents and had received another visit from Heather Chandler.

Renewing things with her parents was not easy.

Veronica remembered her drive back to her own house. Her anxiety evident by the way she gripped onto the steering wheel for dear life.

Her parents were less than enthusiastic to see Veronica.

Knock knock.

"Honey, will you get the door, please?" Veronica's mother called out to her father.

"Of course," He slowly opened the door to reveal a shocking sight. "Veronica?"

Veronica gave an awkward smile, "Hey dad," She leaned to look around her father. "Hey mom," She gave a small wave.

Veronica's father grabbed her by the arm and yanked her inside, closing the front door and locking it.

Veronica was a little scared at the sudden action, but she wasn't surprised, she knew that her parents were going to do something like this.

Veronica's father turned to face her, "Go to your room and do not leave it. Me and your mother will call you down in a bit. There are some new rules being made after this little situation," Veronica swallowed all pride she had and nodded her head.

And that was the story of how Veronica sat into her room for a solid three hours, waiting patiently for her parents word.

When her parents did call her down for their meeting, it went exactly like how Veronica's expected it to go. With her mother sobbing and choking out fragments of words and her father yelling at her. The new rules honestly weren't anything new.

Rule 1: Anytime Veronica was facing a problem, she was to tell her parents about it, immediately, as she was no longer capable of handling things on her own.

Rule 2: Veronica, under no circumstances, was to the leave the house without a reason, or to sneak out.

Rule 3: If Veronica was going out, her parents needed to know in advance, and they would need confirmation from the person she was going out with.

Rule 4: A police officer was to escort Veronica to and from school until her parent felt they could trust her again.

Rule 5: No cigarettes. If she had any with her, she was to throw them out.

Rule 6: When JD was released, she was to stay the fuck away from him.

All these rules would do for Veronica, would be to give her another reason to sneak out.

Veronica knew it was going to take a lot for her parents to trust her again. She just hoped that she could have their trust back before she was too old to care about it.

On Veronica's second day back home, she received a visit from Chandler.

"Veronica,"

Veronica's eyes snapped open. Here she was again, stuck in the void with Chandler's ghost.

"Oh God, what now?"

"You think you're really smart, don't you?"

"What do you mean?"

"You think this little plan will get you unfucked?" Chandler's ghost raised her eyebrows; Veronica just shrugged. "Veronica, if you go through with this, you're only going to be more fucked,"

Veronica arched out her back. She was dying for a smoke, as her parents had found all six of her packs and thrown them away. "Can you stop being cryptic for once?"

"I only have one thing to say, Heather Duke is not easily convinced,"

Veronica paused, "What?"

Chandler opened her mouth as if to say something, but instead of words, out came loud beeping noises. They kept getting repeatedly louder and louder.

Veronica covered her hands with her ears, the noise was almost unbearable.

.

.

.

Veronica lurched forward, panting intensely. She took a moment to analyze herself and saw that she was covered in sweat. Her alarm clock was blaring beside her. She turned it off and flopped backwards. She sighed. Just two more days.

. . .

Beep Beep Be- Veronica slammed her hand down on the off button of her alarm clock. She nearly leaped out of bed. What could she say? She was somewhat joyful, she was finally going to get herself out of this gigantic mess!

Veronica pulled on her usual outfit and headed downstairs. Her parents were sitting at the dining table, engaged in quiet discourse. Upon seeing Veronica, they were rather surprised. Usually they had to drag her out of bed.

"Morning mom, morning dad," Veronica walked over to the fridge to find something to eat.

Her parents were quite surprised at Veronica's friendliness. Usually, she acted like a fucking demon in the mornings. "Good morning, Veronica," Her mother slowly sipped her coffee while watching Veronica, scanning for a reason as to why she was so happy.

Veronica pulled out an apple and started eating it. She leaned on the kitchen counter looking at her parents.

"So," Veronica's mother put her cup of coffee down and turned to look at her daughter. "What's got you so excited?"

"Oh, you know, I had a moment of spiritual awakening, I decided that I'd rather live a life where I look to the positive instead of the negative," Veronica's parents were both giving her a confused look. "What I'm trying to say, is that I'm turning over a new leaf, that's all,"

Veronica's mother gave her a warm smile, "Oh sweetie, that's wonderful news,"

"You're still not going to school by yourself," Her dad interjected.

Veronica rolled her eyes and smiled, "I know that, dad,"

Her dad smirked and went back to reading the newspaper.

All was quiet and all was good in the Sawyer household.

. . .

"Goodbye, officer Debree, thank you for the ride," Veronica waved off a brown haired female police officer. She sighed as she walked into Westerburg, today was going to be eventful.

She just had to wait.

. . .

After what felt like forever, Veronica had finally made it lunch period. She had sat through math and science, two exhaustively boring subjects, unable to focus because of what was coming up.

It was very obvious to Veronica that JD had been let back into Westerburg, I mean, the second she entered the lunchroom, almost everyone's heads snapped to her and then back to their trays.

She knew exactly what they were looking for, her reaction. They were waiting for how she was going to react to him being back. She inhaled deeply and kept her cool, scanning the lunchroom for JD.

It didn't take very long for her to find him. He was sitting in a corner by himself. Their eyes locked for a second and Veronica crossed her arms, they both knew exactly what to do.

Veronica walked off to get a tray of food, she came back and sat down at the end of a sparsely populated table. She locked her eyes on JD, watching every single movement he had.

He stood up and started walking towards the trashcans. Every student eyed him carefully. Slowly, Veronica stood up and shuffled towards him. She felt everyone's eyes on her.

Quicker than she would've liked, she was behind him. JD knew she was behind him, he embraced himself for what was to come.

Veronica cleared her throat, "JD,"

JD turned around and-

Wham.

JD's head was suddenly on his left shoulder. He looked at her with an expression of hurt.

Veronica looked at her own hand, than back at JD, she felt so bad. She shook the feeling of guilt off quickly, she had a job to finish.

"No one wants you back here, and if you try to pull anything, trust me when I say that I will shut you down, and this time," Veronica inched closer to JD, pointing her finger in his face. "I won't hesitate to kill you,"

And with that final statement, she walked off.

. . .

"Heather! Heather!" Duke raised her head to look at whoever was yelling her name. She saw McNamara running towards her, waving her hand in the air. "Have you heard the news?" McNamara was smiling so widely, Duke swore her face was going to break.

"No, what's going on?"

"Oh, it's wonderful, Heather, wonderful!" Duke smiled at McNamara's enthusiasm.

"Alright then, so, what is it?"

"Veronica went up to JD in the lunchroom and punched him!" Duke looked at McNamara and started chuckling. "And then she threatened to kill him if he tried to do anything to anyone,"

"Okay, Heather, and why is this such marvelous news?"

"Because it proves that Veronica wasn't talking to JD like we thought!"

Duke stopped laughing almost immediately. McNamara couldn't be serious, could she?

"Heather, that doesn't prove anything,"

McNamara's smile disappeared immediately. "What do you mean?"

"Well," Duke scratched the back of her neck. "You know how Veronica used to forge things for us?" McNamara slowly nodded. "It's very possible this could have been staged, that's all I'm saying,"

McNamara sighed, "Look, I know you hate Veronica because she broke your arm, but you don't have to be so damn skeptical about everything!"

And with that statement, McNamara walked off, leaving Duke absolutely stunned.

Was she really being too paranoid?

No. No way. She just needed to prove her claim. And she knew she could do that. She just had to keep a close eye on Veronica.

Chapter Text

When Veronica's parents had heard about her punching JD, they were beyond thrilled.

They, of course, reprimanded her for causing physical violence, but deep down, they knew they could trust Veronica again.

Anyhow, it had been a week since Veronica fixed everything. She had taken notice to the fact that her parents had dropped her going to school with officer Debree and the fact that they were letting her go out on her own again.

Of course, she needed to let them know in advance where she was going, but she noticed that they were letting her slide past that rule.

Veronica smiled as she made her way downstairs. She found her parents sitting in the living room. She smiled at them, they smiled back at her.

"Mom," Her mother's head perked up. "Dad," Her dad nodded to acknowledge her statement. "Can I go out to 7-11?"

Her mother paused and her dad eyed her cautiously. "What for?" He asked.

"There's nothing more rewarding to a young high school senior after a long, hard day of work than a shitty 7-11 hotdog. Also," Her parents seemed entranced, Veronica knew exactly how to run circles around them. "I want to pick up some corn nuts,"

Her mother and father exchanged glances. They whispered to each other before turning back to Veronica; their decision made. "Sure, honey, just be back before 10," Her mother gave her a warm smile. Veronica nodded and walked out.

Veronica knew JD would be at 7-11. He loved freezing away the fact that he had basically nothing going for him more than he 'loved' Veronica, of fucking course he would be there.

She smirked as she pulled into the 7-11 parking lot. For once, she didn't feel anxious heading into 7-11, but rather, excited.

As soon as Veronica entered the 7-11, she was hit by the smell of cheap 5 dollar hotdogs and minimum wage. She scanned the store quickly, looking for that familiar black trenchcoat.

Actually, his trenchcoat wasn't that familiar anymore. Instead of looking like a regular trenchcoat, it had singe marks all over it and several tears. Veronica felt incredibly guilty, knowing that his trenchcoat was so damaged due to the bomb.

She couldn't seem to find JD. She sighed, if he wasn't here, where would he be? She knew for a fact that his father moved away and school had already let out. Where the fuck else could he literally be?

She sighed and gave up. Feeling rather disappointed, she grabbed herself a blueberry slushie and shuffled her way over to the cashier.

What shock Veronica faced when she looked up and saw the face she was looking for.

"Well, well, well, if it isn't Veronica Sawyer,"

With this statement, Veronica was jolted out of her thoughts. She freaked, dropped the slushie on the ground, and nearly collapsed into one of the isles.

JD chuckled, "Guess you're glad to see me,"

Veronica smiled awkwardly and took a moment to analyze JD. Taking a gander at him, she instantly knew why she didn't recognize him; instead of his usual black attire, he was dressed in a 7-11 employee outfit.

She chuckled as JD made his way around the counter to clean up her mess. "Since when do you work at 7-11?"

JD chuckled and shook his head. "It wasn't my first choice either, I was just trying to buy a slushie when I struck a friendly," JD air-quoted 'friendly'. "Conversation with the cashier. Surprise, surprise, this cashier knows me as, 'the guy who nearly blew up a school' and is only talking to me to get answers as to why I did it,"

Veronica nodded. Deep down, she felt so terrible. "And what did you tell 'em?"

"Everything, the whole shebang, and I even tell her how fucked I am in my current situation, and somehow," JD looked at Veronica and smiled. "That changes her entire perspective on me, in her eyes, I fucked up majorly, and am now paying dearly for it. So, she talks to her manager and convinces him to hire me, and long story short, I now live in the backroom of a 7-11 store,"

Veronica chuckled. "Well, if that isn't the saddest fucking thing I've ever heard, you're living back there?"

JD nodded and stood up, "Yep, I sleep on a random spare mattress they have,"

"That is so not okay, damn," Veronica pursued her lips.

JD shrugged, "It's much better than being on the street or living with my father,"

"JD, it's the back of a 7-11 store, you're not exactly living, you know?"

"Yeah, I guess so, but unless you can propose a more suitable living place, I'm stuck here, Veronica,"

Veronica pursued her lips again, suddenly an idea popped into her head. A really stupid fucking idea, granted, but it was an idea nonetheless. "What if, you were able to live in my closet,"

JD paused, took a moment to look at Veronica to see if she was being serious or not, and burst out laughing. "Are you serious?"

"Have you seen my closet, it's humongous, it's almost as big as Heather's although granted I don't use it mainly for clothes, and my parents never really come into my room without knocking first, and I could bring you food," JD stopped laughing and just looked at Veronica with an emotion she was unable to describe.

Swiftly and suddenly, JD had pulled Veronica into a hug. He chuckled and put his head on top of her's. "Oh, Veronica, I love you,"

Veronica was speechless. She felt a slow blush creeping up the back of her neck. She chuckled and returned the hug, but didn't say she loved him back.

After a few moments, JD pulled back and looked at her.

"So, are you on board with my plan?" Veronica gave him a cheesy smile.

"It's a stupid idea," JD pursued his lips. "I'm willing to do it as long as we, you know, actually plan it out,"

Veronica blushed, "Of course,"

"Then I'm on board,"

"Great, I'll come by tomorrow with more details," JD nodded. "Goodnight JD,"

"Goodnight Veronica,"

It only hit Veronica after she had left the store that she had reopened her worst wound.

She had fallen back in love.

Chapter Text

"Veronica?" A voice snapped Veronica back into reality. She was sitting at a lunch table with Martha Dunnstock and Heather McNamara. She had drifted off into her thoughts, one could say.

"Huh?" Veronica turned to face McNamara.

"I asked what you're thinking about?"

"Oh," Veronica chuckled. "It's nothing,"

"Are you sure, you seemed pretty entranced by whatever it was," Martha cut in.

Veronica bit her lip. It had only been a single fucking day since she visited JD at the 7-11 and now she couldn't even get her fucking mind off him. She couldn't even think about their plan, all she could think about was him. But it wasn't like she was falling in love, right? I mean, JD was just very alluring and enjoyable to be around and Veronica was just very lonely. She just enjoyed his presence. That was all.

Yeah, she could tell herself that all she liked, she knew there was no denying the truth.

"I may or may not be thinking about a certain someone," Veronica gave Martha a devilish grin.

McNamara and Martha's eyes widened collectively. "Woah, that's huge, I thought you swore off dating after, you know," McNamara motioned with her thumb towards JD. Veronica blushed lightly upon getting a glimpse of him. She coughed quickly to cover it up.

"Yeah, well, things change, you know?" Veronica turned her attention back to her tray.

"So, are you gonna tell us who this certain someone is?" Veronica turned her attention back to McNamara. She gave her a devilish grin.

"No, I would rather you guess,"

McNamara and Martha both raised a collective eyebrow. "Guess?"

"Yeah, I'm not just going to break down tell you that easily,"

"Hmm," McNamara thought to herself for a moment, there was nobody at this school that Veronica would like in the romantic way. Well, of course there was JD, but Veronica literally threatened to kill JD, there was no way she'd be attracted to him at all, right?

The lunch bell tolled and Veronica dashed out. McNamara and Martha stood there confused. What was Veronica in such a hurry for?

. . .

Duke's life was slowly falling into disarray. She felt paranoid, like every corner she was going to turn, she'd find JD and Veronica hatching some scheme to blow up the school.

She knew what Veronica pulled in the cafeteria wasn't authentic, she knew Veronica, she knew how well Veronica was capable of manipulating the outside eye, of how capable she was to find a solution to every problem.

So how could anyone trust that what she did in the cafeteria was authentic?

Duke didn't have an answer. But, boy, did she need some.

And luckily, she would get those answers, just not by the person she would've liked it to come from.

"Hello slut," An eerily familiar voice called out to Duke among the darkness.

Duke's eyes slowly flickered open, she was in some kinda of void, it was entire black around her. And if that wasn't bad enough, she was face to face with one of her worst nightmares; Heather Chandler.

"H-Heather?"

Chandler's ghost smiled at her. "Heather,"

"What's going on? I don't, what is this pla-"

"Shut up, Heather,"

Duke looked morally wounded. She hadn't been told to shut up in so long, it didn't feel too good.

"Feels weird to have me back, huh?" Chandler noticed her reaction. Duke solemnly nodded. "Alright, listen, I know your skeptical about Veronica's little, stunt," Chandler sneered, as if she had already had a talk similar to this one. "But you are correct in your suspicions about it,"

Duke squinted, "Wait, so she's been interacting with JD?"

Chandler nodded.

Duke felt like she was going to collapse. Everything around her started spinning. She had to stop them. She needed to prevent them from doing any more damage than they had already caused.

"Heather!" Duke snapped her attention back to Chandler, who looked fairly annoyed. "God, you're such a pillowcase," Duke rolled her eyes.

"How do I even know you're correct about this?" Duke crossed her eyes.

"Well, Heather," Duke gulped, she knew exactly what was to come. "Maybe it's because she fucking killed me, and no matter what I fucking do, I'm permanently attached to her back!" Chandler growled, she took a moment to regain her composure and smiled at Duke. "So, now, do you believe me?"

"How do I catch them, how do I find pro-"

"You can catch them interacting around 7-11," Chandler cut Duke off. Duke looked slightly annoyed, but didn't say anything.

"And why do you care to tell me this?"

"Because unlike you, apparently, I care about Veronica,"

Duke snorted before bursting out laughing, She gripped her knees to keep steady. She could barely breathe as she choked out words.

"Y-yoo, haha, you c-ar hahaha, care about Ver-onica?" Duke took a moment to regain her composure. "Oh God, that's the funnie-"

"Shut up, Heather," Chandler cut Duke off.

And then Duke woke up. She looked around her room. It was still pitch black outside. She knew exactly what she had to do, she had a visit to 7-11 to make.

Chapter Text

"Well, well, well, Veronica Sawyer," JD smiled as the small brunette placed her bag on top of the 7-11 counter. She chuckled and looked at him.

"Jason Dean," He smirked, feeling rather jubilant. It was working, he was finally winning back her trust. It felt nice, to be around Veronica without her constantly scowling at him, insulting him, it just felt nice to be her presence, just to be with her. Her aura, her happiness, her personality. Fuck, JD could go on for days about the things he loved about Veronica.

"Did you get all that?" Veronica looked at him, JD looked down at her with a surprised stare.

Had she been talking the entire time? Was JD really that zoned out to where he didn't hear any of what she said?

JD smiled and shook his head. "Sorry, Ronnie," Veronica blushed slightly at the nickname. "Could you repeat it for me?"

Veronica sighed and started again. "Okay, the plan is that one of these upcoming days, I'll come here like I normally do, grab a slushie, maybe some corn nuts, the only difference is that you'll," Veronica blushed light before reaching out and placing her hand on top of JD's. "Be leaving with me,"

JD blushed at Veronica putting her hand on his. "Okay, and when we get to your humble abode?" He asked, his voice thick with sarcasm. He knew how large Veronica's house was.

Veronica snorted lightly before shaking her head and continuing. "I'll go inside and distract my parents with some poetical bullshit about how meaningful a 7-11 hotdog is to a high school student while you slip on inside, an-"

"Hold on," JD laughed softly. "Is that how you convince your parents to let you come here? You give them some poem about 7-11?"

Veronica snorted then burst out laughing. "Yes! And the punchline is that they believe all my nonsense!"

JD and Veronica both shared a collective few laughs before letting silence fall between them.

JD took this opportunity to cover Veronica's hand with his. Veronica looked down at her hand and back at JD. "Now, where were we?"

Veronica looked down at her hand and back at JD, her face was practically red. She quickly turned away and coughed into her hand. "Ahem, right, uh, so, while I'm distracting my parents, you still know how to undo the lock on my window, right?" JD nodded solemnly, the thought of opening her window brought back some unpleasant memories. He must've made an obvious face about his distress because Veronica proceeded to use her other hand to cup his cheek.

"Hey, it's okay," She smiled. "I forgive you,"

JD's heart pounded upon hearing that. Veronica, forgave him? Wow. He was honestly speechless. He felt small tears leak out of his eyes.

Veronica smiled and wiped them away.

"Veronica," JD could barely pull his voice above a whisper. It seemed almost unordinary when the euphoric expression on his face shifted to something else. It shifted to something along the lines of fear?

Wait no, Veronica recognized the look on his face, it wasn't of fear or sadness, it was of anger.

Veronica started to panic, had she done something wrong? What had she done to make him mad? It wasn't until she noticed that he staring behind her did she stop panicking.

JD gripped Veronica's hand and pulled her close to him. "Veronica," She could feel his hot breath on her ear. "We need to leave," He whispered.

She didn't understand why, it was 9 P.M. on Wednesday night, who the hell would be out by a 7-11? She was confused, but didn't resist when she felt JD tug at her arm and lead her out of the store.

They both walked to her car and Veronica unlocked it. They both got inside, JD taking up the driver's side.

It was only after they had long left the 7-11 did Veronica snap out of her dazed state.

"Hey, what the fuck was that?" Veronica looked at JD. His grip on the steering wheel tightened as his expression changed from blank to mad.

He sighed, stopping at a red light. "Look, I don't know who I saw, but someone was outside the 7-11, I think trying to take pictures of us,"

Veronica shifted over in her seat to get a better look at JD. "Oh shit, really?" JD nodded. She sunk into her seat. She knew exactly who it was, and if Duke had actually gotten photos of them, she could be seriously fucked. They both could be, actually.

"So, what do we do?" Veronica looked up at him.

"Well, I figured, if they really wanted to snag some evidence that we were together, they would do anything to find it," Veronica eyed him curiously. "That would include following us,"

"Ah,"

"So, I figured, we lure them out of town, somewhere secluded, pretend we're gonna have sex," Veronica blushed. "And I'll take care of the rest,"

Veronica paused for a moment. 'Take care of the rest'? What was he implying by that? She felt her chest tighten. JD wasn't going to do what she thought he was going to do, right? I mean, the nurse said he'd gone to several anger therapies. He had a psychological reevaluation, there was no fucking way he was going to resort to something violent, right?

"JD, I really don't think we should do this," He eyed her. Something in his eyes seemed different. It wasn't that typical look he gave her. She shuddered, it was the look he gave her when he knew she was onto him.

"Why not?" He turned his attention back to the road.

"JD, please, just turn the car around and take me home, this getting ridiculous,"

"Veronica," He snarled. Oh fuck, there was no going back now. "The last time someone said that we were interacting, you nearly fucking broke,"

"I did not!" Veronica cut across his words.

"Yes, you did, you were in tears, I'm just going to fix the prob-"

"No, you're not fixing shit, you're resorting back to harming people, that's not what I wan-"

"It's what you need, Veronica," He growled at her.

Tears brimmed the edges of her eyes. "I thought you changed,"

"I am changed, I just want to protect you,"

"You want to protect me? You want to fucking protect me, than turn this fucking car around and take me ho-"

"Veronica, I'm doing this in your best interest so-"

Both of them were engaged in their fight, they didn't notice that JD had swerved off the road.

What happened next could only be described as horrifying. Truly horrifying. The car crashed into a tree. The force knocked both of them unconscious.

While in the crash, both of them were harmed, yet Veronica was a lot worse for the wear. You see, when they crashed, Veronica didn't have her seat belt on. While JD was slammed against the steering wheel, Veronica crashed directly into the windshield.

. . .

When JD finally awoke, he was in serious pain. He felt like he broke his back and his other limbs weren't much better off. He couldn't seem to remember how he got here, I mean, last he recalled he was in 7-11 with Veronica.

JD managed to lean back into the car seat when he noticed something horrifying. It was Veronica, and her head looked like it had been smashed into the windshield. He started panicking immediately, did he crash the car and kill Veronica? No, there was no way, she had to be alive. He needed her to be alive.

Adrenaline rushed through his veins, he pushed open the car door and tumbled out. Every inch of him ached and he longed for a rest, yet he couldn't, he needed to get Veronica to safety, he needed to prove to himself that she was alive.

So he limped along the car to the passenger side, he opened the door and took a moment to analyze Veronica. She had several cuts on her face and arms. She was seriously injured, JD thought she might've even broken her leg, considering how bent it looked. Yet despite how damaged Veronica was, she was still breathing.

JD let out a sigh of relief, Veronica could not die on him. He couldn't live with himself if he knew he was the reason she died.

They couldn't just stay here and wait for someone to find them, Veronica medical help, and fast. So, JD inhaled sharply and leaned into the car. He gripped Veronica tightly and lifted her out of the car in a bridal-like style.

And so began his ever-lasting trek back to Sherwood. He couldn't tell how far he drove out town, but he hoped it was so far enough that Veronica couldn't get the help she needed.

Despite everything, despite his body feeling like it was on fucking fire, despite his legs aching more and more every step he took, he still preserved through, all for Veronica.

About an hour and a half into his seemingly endless journey, Veronica awoke.

When Veronica awoke she nearly screamed, every inched of her body was in pain and she was able to feeling every individual cut on her face. Despite not being able to feel anything but pain, Veronica was able to tell that she was moving, somehow. Then it occurred to her, her legs weren't even on the ground, she was being carried.

In the darkness, she couldn't really make out JD's face, yet she still knew it was him. He was the only person she was last with before they crashed of course it had to be him. She wanted to squirm her way out of JD's arms, especially considering the fight that got them into this mess. She didn't even know where he was taking her! That was just more reason to fight back.

Veronica tried to lift her arm, to do anything to stop JD, but her attempt was futile as she could barely lift it from the position it was currently in. However, attempting to move her arm did allow JD to realize she was awake. She felt him stop moving entirely.

"Veronica? Are you awake?" His voice was so hushed, as if he knew that saying the wrong thing would break her somehow.

She was silent for a moment, debating whether or not to answer.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm just fucking peachy,"

JD chuckled. In the darkness, Veronica couldn't exactly make out his facial expression, but something about the way he laughed told her that he was somehow scared.

"I'm sorry about the mess," JD whispered, Veronica felt him start to move again.

"Mhm, where are you taking me?" Veronica's throat burned.

"I'm taking you to the hospital, you really need medical help,"

"Yeah," Veronica trailed off.

"Veronica?" JD's voice cracked, it sounded like he was crying.

"Yeah?"

"I was really scared that I lost you, I-I," Veronica's heart pounded with guilt. "I'm sorry,"

"Shh, it's okay," JD inhaled sharply, in the dark, Veronica felt something wet hit her face, she assumed it was one of his tears.

Both of them stayed in silence as JD walked.

. . .

It had taken 2 hours of walking for them to finally get back into Sherwood. JD let out a sigh of relief when he saw the city limit sign. It wouldn't take too much longer now.

"Veronica? How are you feeling?"

"I'm still breathing,"

JD smiled. "Good,"

The hospital wouldn't be too far away. Hopefully. JD felt like his legs were going to break.

And so JD walked for a good 15 minutes before he knew he had to stop. His legs burned, they ached, the stung, and they were slowly starting to go numb, and that's when he knew he needed to stop, if only just for a few moments though.

"Veronica," JD's voice was laced with pain.

"Yes?"

"Can you stand?"

"I don't think so," Veronica had tried to move her legs a while back, they both were unresponsive. "I can't move my legs,"

"It's okay, look, I'm just going to set you down for a bit, alright?"

"Why?"

"Veronica, my legs are a little on the worse for the wear,"

"Ah, okay, please be careful,"

JD nodded. Slowly, he bent over and put Veronica on the ground. JD quickly let himself lie down on the ground.

On the ground, Veronica was able to easily take in the smell of dirt and grass, it was a rather pleasant smell, for all this journey all she could smell was her own blood.

JD enjoyed laying down and not using any part of his body. He also enjoyed being in Veronica presence. Well, more like, he was grateful that Veronica was still alive.

"Veronica, I'm really sorry about this,"

Veronica's expression morphed into one of sadness and confusion. He had gone all psychopathic in the car and now he was back to normal. It felt, weird, to say the least.

It wasn't that she didn't trust him, I mean, he literally had been trying to carry her to a hospital for the past 2 hours, it was more like she just wished he would trust her more. He needed to control his wish to keep her safe. Sometimes, she was in greater danger with him than anyone else.

"It's alright, I just really wish you would trust me more,"

JD paused. "What do you mean?"

"You act like I can't protect myself or get myself out of difficult situations, and then you try to step in and most the time you just make things worse," She coughed. "Take an example, this situation,"

JD sighed, Veronica had a very valid point. He just couldn't control himself when it came to her. There was such a primal feeling that JD had whenever she was hurt. He never wanted her to get hurt. He just wanted her to be happy and safe. Granted, he did let himself get out of control when it came 'protecting' her. So much so that it became less about protecting her and more about making a world he thought fit to suit the both of them.

"Hey JD,"

"Yeah?"

"Can you make me a promise?"

"Depends,"

"JD, please, this is serious,"

"Okay, sure,"

"Can you promise to just trust me, and let me deal with things on my own?"

JD bit his lip, he wanted what was best for Veronica. If this was what she considered good for her, than he would do anything.

"Of course, Veronica, I promise,"

Chapter Text

Duke didn't know what she witnessed when she saw Veronica's car crash into that tree. She didn't even know if Veronica was alive. She knew for a fact now that JD and her were interacting. From the way they interacted, it seemed like Veronica was in love with him.

Duke shivered, what the fuck had Veronica gotten herself into?

Duke had followed Chandler's advice, she grabbed a camera and headed to 7-11. Her plan originally was to snap a picture of JD and Veronica and head to the police department. Her plan changed when she saw JD staring at her.

She knew from the second that JD stopped looking at Veronica and starting looking past her that she had fucked up. She quickly ran behind the store where her car was parked. She quickly prepared herself to get socked in the face or even killed, but her fears of dying went away when she heard Veronica's car start up.

She knew what she had to do next, so she hopped into her jeep and slowly trailed behind Veronica. She didn't trail so far behind them that she lost track of Veronica's car, but she made sure to stay out of her line of sight.

She followed Veronica out of town, and that's when shit hit the fan, she witnessed Veronica's car crash into the tree. Duke couldn't believe her eyes when she saw the wreck, she actually stopped her car and got out to get a closer look.

And surely enough, Duke's fear was correct, she had crashed.

She didn't know what the fuck to do. She didn't want to try to pull out Veronica's body for fear of actually seeing her own friend dead and she didn't want to call the police for fear of being blamed for the crash.

So, she got back into her car and headed back into Sherwood. At first, Duke was just mindlessly driving around, trying to forget what she had seen. After a while, she decided her best action would be to talk to Veronica's closest friend, so she drove to McNamara's house.

. . .

Heather McNamara was not happy to see Heather Duke at her household around 11 P.M.

Duke gave McNamara a sheepish grin once she opened the door. McNamara nearly slammed the door shut in Duke's face before she quickly spoke.

"Look, I know you're mad at me, but I need to talk to you about something important,"

McNamara rolled her eyes, "What is it, Heather?" She wasn't in the mood to deal with more of Duke's paranoia with Veronica.

"It's Veronica," McNamara inhaled, she was ready to go off on Duke. "I think she might be dead,"

McNamara stopped for a moment. She looked at Duke with an expression of, 'For real?'. Duke simply nodded.

McNamara felt tears forming in the corner of her eyes. There was no way Veronica could actually be dead, right? I mean, that was her best friend, she saw her everyday in the hallway and they ate lunch together. How would she ever fill that void?

McNamara quickly wiped her tears away and stepped aside, motioning for her to come in.

McNamara's house was huge, like larger than a mansion type huge. Duke smiled, remembering when she used to spend countless hours in her house.

McNamara lead Duke up two flights of stairs to her bedroom. Once they were both inside, McNamara locked the door. She sniffled slightly and barely managed to collapse into Duke's arms before she was pouring out tears.

Duke frowned and rubbed McNamara's back, she didn't actually know for sure that Veronica was dead, but from how bad the crash looked, she wasn't too positive she was alive either. She pulled McNamara closer to her and wrapped her into a hug.

And together they sat there, for several moments, with McNamara sobbing into Duke's arms and Duke trying to comfort her. It actually mimicked how McNamara used to comfort Duke in a way.

Finally, after a while, McNamara's sobs subsided. She pulled away from Duke and sighed, "What happened?"

"Well, okay, I know you said to give it up with thinking Veronica and JD were talking, but I couldn't, so I tracked them down at a 7-11 and like I thought, they were talking," McNamara looked slightly disappointed but didn't say anything. "I think one of them saw me because Veronica then proceeded to leave the store, I trailed behind her in my car and came across Veronica's car wrecked into a tree,"

McNamara looked at Duke and bit her lip. "Do you think there's a possibility that she's still alive?"

"I got out to look at the wreck, but I didn't check inside to see how badly she was injured,"

The look in McNamara's eyes changed from sadness to hopefulness in less than a second. "Do you think you could take me to where she wrecked? Please?"

Duke smiled at McNamara. "Sure, Heather,"

And so, both Duke and McNamara headed out into the night, hopefully to find Veronica, and not her corpse.

Driving with McNamara was surprisingly peaceful to Duke. Granted, every moment she spent with McNamara she felt worse and worse, considering that she had yet to give her an actual apology.

"Hey, Heather?" Duke piped.

"Yeah, Heather?"

"I haven't really had the time to, you know, apologize to you for all the shit I've done to you? I just feel terrible and originally, before this whole Veronica situation, I just wanted to have a moment with you to let you know how I feel," Duke stopped the car at a red light.

McNamara inhaled slowly, this was different, to say the least. Granted, McNamara felt slightly bad as well, after all, when Veronica told her that Duke really felt bad she did laugh. Although, what Duke did to her sucked.

"Yeah, what you did to me kinda sucked," McNamara quietly replied.

"I know that, and there's probably not a moment I spend knowing that I almost caused you to," Duke sighed, she felt her eyes get slightly wet. "Kill yourself," She felt a tear fall down her cheek. "And I don't believe there's anyway to justify the misery I've caused you," Tears were slowly streaming down Duke's face, she could barely hold them back. "I just really want to thank you for being there for me in my sophomore year, and I really want to say I'm sorry for the way I treated you this year,"

McNamara pursued her lips, this was the most genuine thing she had probably heard Duke ever say. Granted, when she heard Veronica say that Duke wanted to apologize to her, she thought Duke was just going to give her some half-assed apology so she could get back her lap-dog. But apparently, Duke was really choked up about this. McNamara was very touched by her apology, maybe her and Duke's relationship could go back to how it was, all those years ago.

McNamara put her hand on-top of Duke's hand, Duke glanced at it momentarily. "I forgive you,"

Duke's car came to a screeching halt as she turned to look at McNamara. "Really?" Her voice wavered slightly.

McNamara smiled and nodded. Duke proceeded to lurched forward and wrap McNamara in a hug, finally breaking out into full on sobbing.

"Oh God," Duke breathed in between sobs. "T-thank you,"

McNamara smiled and hugged Duke tighter.

After a while, Duke finally let go and started driving again, with absolute hopefulness that Veronica was maybe alive.

. . .

It took a solid thirty minutes of driving, minus Duke stopping, for them to finally reach the area where she had crashed.

"This is it,"

McNamara gasped at the sight of the wreck. It was terrible, how could've Veronica survived that? She quickly leaped out of the jeep and ran over to the driver's side. She didn't bother to notice the fact that both of the car's doors happened to be open.

McNamara leaned down to look inside the car, to hopefully find Veronica, alive and well, but instead found nothing.

"Heather?" McNamara turned her head back to stare at Duke. "Where's Veronica?"

Duke cocked her head at McNamara and walked over to the door. Upon looking inside, there was nothing. Like the car had crashed on it's own without any occupants.

Duke started retreating away from the car slowly. JD saw her at the 7-11, he looked so angry, when Duke hid, she didn't see who got into the car. Did JD get into the car with Veronica?

Was JD driving? Is that why they went so far out of town?

Was he planning to kill her?

Duke had backed into a tree, she could barely breathe. She wrapped her hands around her throat.

JD was dangerous, he was delirious, he was unhinged, he would do anything to get his way.

Did he..

Did he kill Veronica?

Chapter Text

JD didn't know how, but he had done it. He had managed to carry Veronica at least over 5 miles back into Sherwood and to it's hospital.

He collapsed upon entering the ER. Veronica slammed to the ground and let out a bloodcurdling scream as her body ached violently. JD desperately wanted to crawl over to Veronica, to wrap his arms around her and tell her it would be alright. He wasn't even able to lift his hand off the ground before he saw Veronica being carted off in a stretcher. He felt his own body being lifted before everything around him went black.

. . .

"Veronica, sweetie, please wake up, oh God," A voice echoed in Veronica's mind.

Slowly, Veronica opened her eyes, it felt like hell to do so, her eyelids actively felt like they were yanking down.

After she opened them, she honestly thought she should've kept them shut.

"Veronica Sawyer," Chandler's ghost looked her up and down, looking at Veronica's scarred face. "Did Jessie James do this to you?"

"What do you want?" Veronica rolled her eyes.

"I want you to have some common goddamn sense, Veronica!" Chandler screamed before immediately turning around and upchucking drain cleaner.

Veronica almost smirked at the action, it was always fun to see someone with so much power powerless. "I have common sense, Heather,"

"Veronica, please," A different voice echoed through the darkness. Veronica looked around to see where it came from.

"Don't bother looking, they won't see you," Chandler muttered.

"What?"

Chandler let out a small chuckle. "You're in your own subconscious, Veronica, those voices you hear," Chandler paused as another voice echoed. "Those are your parents,"

"Wait, am I dead?"

"No, you idiot, you're unconscious but you're not sleeping, that's why you're able to see me and hear them,"

Veronica inhaled sharply. "Alright, so, where am I?"

Chandler looked at Veronica the same way she did when Veronica wanted to resign from the Heathers. Veronica peered at the ground to avoid it. "You're in the hospital, your precious boyfriend put you here,"

"He's not my boyfriend," Veronica muttered, her face slightly red.

"Oh really? Because last I checked you were all defensive about him," Veronica looked at Chandler. Chandler had this unreadable expression on her face, almost as if she genuinely cared about Veronica's well-being. "You're in love with a killer, he is psychopathi-"

"No, he's not!" Veronica cut cleanly across Chandler's words. Chandler gave Veronica a look of surprise.

Chandler's ghost floated towards Veronica and stared directly into her soul. "You don't know what you're getting into,"

. . .

Veronica awoke in a panting sweat. She could hardly breathe and her chest felt extremely tight. Was this how every interaction she had with Chandler was going to end? She stopped panting and took a moment to observe her surroundings.

She was in a hospital room, with an IV stuck to her arm. Before she could observe further, however, she felt something jump on her. Before Veronica could scream or try to push it off, the something spoke.

"Oh Veronica, I was so scared that you had died," It was her mother. Veronica internally groaned as she imagined Chandler's smirking face after watching Veronica forget that she was in the same room as her parents.

"Hey mom," Veronica croaked, her throat was dry and she could barely get her voice above a whisper.

Veronica's mother pulled back from the hug to cup her hands around Veronica's face. "Oh baby, I was so scared, they called in saying that you got into a car accident?" Veronica's mother eyed her curiously, as if the story she had been told wasn't 100% true. Veronica nodded slowly. "They said somebody carried you here," Veronica's face paled. "They didn't tell me who it was however, as apparently they got admitted right after you," Her mother smiled.

Veronica felt like shit. Was JD okay? All she remembered was the fact that he carried her all the way here. Fuck, she needed to see him.

"Also, I'm sorry your father isn't here, he wasn't allowed to leave work, despite him desperately begging to,"

"Mom," Veronica's voice cracked. "When do I leave?"

"They said they would run a check-up test on you in a few days, and if you were feeling better you'd be discharged," Veronica's mom gave her a warm smile.

Fuck. She needed a way to get out of this hospital room, now. She needed to see if JD was okay, she needed to thank him, she needed to tell him how glad she was that he was alive, she needed..

She needed him.

A loud beeping noise took Veronica out of her train of thought. She looked at her mom who was on the phone. Her mom shut the phone close before turning back to Veronica. "Sweetheart, I have to go, but I promise I'll be back tomorrow, okay?" Veronica nodded slowly. "Stay safe," And with that, her mother quickly left, shutting the door behind her.

Being in this room, Veronica wanted to tear her fucking hair out. She hated feeling trapped, she hated this fucking hospital and it's stupid smell. She needed to find a way to leave this room.

Veronica took one try at moving her leg and decided that leaving wasn't a good idea.

. . .

"You know, you don't have to see her if you don't want to," Duke said reassuringly to McNamara. They both slowly walked down the hallway. They had both found out Veronica was in the hospital after McNamara received a call from the hospital. She was phoned as she was on the list of Veronica's emergency contacts.

Duke figured that after finding out that your best friend was missing, one might not want to be alone, so Duke spent the night with McNamara. She was awoken by McNamara immediately after she had received the call. From there, it was straight to the hospital.

"It's not that I don't want to, I just, I just," McNamara put her face in her hand and started sniffling.

Duke frowned and grabbed her hand. "It's okay, you don't have to see her today, I'll go in and see if she's alright," McNamara slowly returned the grip on Duke's hand, making Duke's face go slightly red. "You go wait in the lobby, okay?"

McNamara looked at Duke, "Okay," Duke smiled softly and pulled McNamara in for a hug. McNamara wrapped herself tightly around Duke. Things had been rocky the last few days, and it made McNamara feel better to know that she at least had someone she could rely on.

Duke made sure McNamara had turned the corner before she continued walking.

What happened with Duke's suspicion that Veronica had been murdered was to stay out there in that empty field.

After thinking that JD had most liked killed Veronica, Duke had a severe panic attack and nearly passed out. Veronica Sawyer, of all people, was dead. How could that even be possible? Veronica seemed like the type of person to evade death and cause it, but never become a victim of it.

If Veronica could be killed, then there was no hope for anyone else.

Duke tried to shrug off her anxiety that death was inevitable. But it kept crawling back to her in some sort of way. Whispering that she could die one of these days, and that her entire life would be incomplete. She shivered. She didn't have time to think about this, right now, she needed to see Veronica.

. . .

Knock Knock.

Knocking at the door jarred Veronica from her almost state of sleep. She shakily yawned and croaked for the person at the door to come in.

She was expecting her dad.

She was not expecting Heather Duke.

Upon seeing Duke enter the room, Veronica sneered. "What do you want?"

"I wanted to see that you were alive, first of all," Veronica rolled her eyes. "And second of all, are you okay? I thought you died last night," Veronica eyed Duke wearily. With how exhausted and guilty Veronica felt, she wasn't really in the mood to deal with good-guy Heather Duke now.

"I didn't die, Heather, I just crashed, and I'm not even that badly injured," Duke eyed her, curiously. "I'm fine,"

"It's okay, Veronica, you don't have to justify it, I was just, really scared that you died," Veronica raised an eyebrow. Duke sighed and sat down in the chair next to the bed. "Look, I don't know if you know the amount of power-er, strength you have, I'm just saying that if you had actually died, it would've been a tragedy to this whole town,"

"I don't follow?"

"Look, Veronica, you're like unkillable, I mean, you single-handedly took JD, it's not something to take lightly," Veronica pursued her lips. "Look, my point is, is that I really want you to stop seeing JD," Veronica opened her mouth but Duke raised a hand to silence her. "Not just for my sake, or Heather's, or Westerburg's, but for yourself, he's just, too over the line,"

"Maybe that's because you know nothing about him,"

"Veronica, he almost killed the both of you,"

"Accidentally," Veronica flung her hands up in the air. "Look, if you're going to keep lecturing me on how to live, you can just go," Veronica pointed at the door.

"I don't want to resort to the police, I don't want a mess, I got everything I wanted, I got my friend back, I'm doing this because I care about you, and so does Heather," Veronica's stare softened upon hearing mention of McNamara.

Veronica had no doubt that Duke was a good person. She had no doubt that Duke was just a regular person who messed up majorly and wanted to fix things. She understood that Duke was actually very kind and genuine. What she didn't get was why Duke was so on her ass about JD.

"Did you know that Heather was so choked up, she couldn't even bare seeing you?" Veronica gazed at Duke. Had she really hurt McNamara that much?

Goddamnit. Why couldn't they all just understand? Why couldn't they see that JD, too, was just as flawed as they were? Why couldn't they believe that he had changed? Veronica's anger boiled, and before she knew it, she burst.

"Get the fuck out," Veronica muttered.

"What?"

"I said," Veronica cleared her throat. "Get the fuck out!" She yelled, feeling her scratchy throat burn with every syllable.

Duke's expression morphed from fear, to disappointment, to anger.

Before Veronica knew it, the only thing indicating that Duke's was gone was the gust of wind being blown in her direction from the door being slammed shut.

. . .

"Oh hey, Heather, how's Veronica?" McNamara stood up and followed after Duke.

"She's just fine, she's bedridden though," Duke kept her focus ahead on the parking lot. "But apparently her mouth still works," She growled.

McNamara sighed, friendship dramas were just the worst.