Halloween came in dark and cold that year—it was, by far, the worst Halloween Veronica could remember.
Not that anything had really happened. Veronica was just very… uneasy. All the time. Which, if she were being honest, probably had to do with the three faux-suicides that had gone down not a few weeks before. But it was all good now. Veronica was sure of it. JD had promised her that he’d left all that, uh, murder stuff behind, and now they would just move on with their lives.
And if he broke his promise?
Well, she’d cross that bridge when she came to it.
If she came to it.
Which she wouldn’t.
Shaking her head from those not-so-pleasant thoughts, Veronica dug her hand into the bowl of candy and yanked out a Kit-Kat. She chucked the wrapper just as Drew Barrymore met her untimely end on “Scream”.
Yup. Halloween. Horror movies and eating the candy she was supposed to be handing out to children. Even her parents had gone to some Halloween party.
God, you’re such a loser.
Shut up and watch the movie, Heather.
Grumpily, Veronica chomped down on her candy bar. She should have dressed up, even if she was just going to sit around all Halloween. Maybe she could have been a witch? No, too stereotypical. A superhero, maybe.
With a groan, Veronica scooted off the couch and made her way to the front door.
“Coming!” she said, swinging it open.
“Trick or Treat!” two little children piped up, dressed as a witch and Spiderman. Veronica gave a little laugh. That was kind of ironic.
“Hey, those are pretty cool.” She dumped a handful of candy into both their bags—the one candy a kid rule was bullshit, in her opinion.
“Thank you!” they piped up before running off to their father, who was standing over on the sidewalk. He gave her a wave, which she returned half-heartedly before closing the door. As she walked back to the living room, she dug through the bowl, trying to find another Kit-Kat bar.
“Holy shit!” she swore. The bowl dropped out of her hands, candy spilling all over the floor. JD stood in her kitchen, his hands in his pockets. His face was dark in the shadows, which made him look a hell of a lot like a serial killer.
Maybe because he is a serial killer.
Oh. Well. Whatever.
“Sorry. Came in through the window.” His breathing was short and shallow. He pulled a hand out of his pocket and ran it through his hair.
“It’s okay.” Veronica said breathlessly. She dropped to her knees and began to gather the candy. JD just stood over her, which was really unsettling, but Veronica figured it was better not to bring it up. “What are you doing here, JD?”
“Just wanted to see you.” He crouched down in front of her as she put the last of the candy in the bowl. “You know I love you, right?”
“I love you too.” Veronica cocked her head. “Are you okay?”
JD nodded, but something was still clearly wrong. He spoke before she could ask him again.
“So what is Veronica Sawyer doing this Halloween?”
Maybe distracting him was the best way to calm him down. It was worth a shot.
“Well, Scream right now, and maybe a little Friday the Thirteenth later. Sound like a good night to you?”
“It sounds perfecto.”
She tried to relax back into watching the movie but it became clear very quickly that distracting JD from whatever was on his mind wasn’t going to work. The arm around her shoulders was tense, and he practically vibrated with nervous energy. She realized with sudden uneasiness that he carried the same energy after killing Kurt and Ram.
Right. She definitely needed to say something. As the girl on the screen began to get chased by the serial killer, Veronica turned towards JD.
“JD, be honest with me. Are you really okay?”
“Yeah, yeah.” He said distractedly, his fingers drumming against his knee. “Hey, do you mind if I smoke?”
“My parents would smell it later. JD, you can talk to me, you know that, right?”
“Yeah. Of course. I—I’m fine, Veronica. Just a little stressed. Nothing to worry about.”
Whatever she was about to say flickered out of her mind. There, where his sleeve had rolled up, was the beginning of a hand-shaped bruise.
“JD—” her voice cracked.
He yanked his sleeve down, but it was too late.
“Hey, hey. It’s okay. It’s whatever.” His voice was soothing now, as though she was the one who needed to be comforted.
“Did your Dad do this?”
“We got in a fight. Just a little altercation.” He flicked his hand through the air as if to dismiss it. “Don’t worry about it.”
“Look, you don’t have to talk about it, but,” she took his face in her hands, rubbing her thumbs over his cheekbones, “just know you can talk to me. Okay?”
“I just—I just hate him so much, you know?” He gripped her arm, almost seeming to ask for affirmation. His eyes were wide, and Veronica felt her heart pick up speed.
“I know, JD. I’m sorry.”
Someone in the movie screamed. JD jerked a bit and looked at the screen.
“Huh. She looks like you a little bit.”
“Yeah, she does.” She was still worried—JD looked a bit caged, for lack of a better term. Veronica wasn’t going to push it, though. Leaning in, she kissed him on the corner of his mouth.
He immediately turned into her lips. The intensity of the kiss surprised her, and she instinctively began to back away. His hand went up into her hair and held her there tightly. With one hand, she stroked his cheek, trying to calm him down. Her other hand fell to his chest. Her heart dropped into her stomach when she felt a large, very distinctive lump.
So much for over and done with, huh, Veronica?
Veronica tried to push away from him, really this time, but his hand just tightened in her hair, holding her in place.
“JD, stop,” she said against his lips. JD ignored her, just pressing down harder. With a violent jerk, Veronica twisted out of his arms. She fell onto the floor and scooted away. JD backed off then, staring down at her and breathing heavily. Veronica wiped her lips off and glared at him.
“What the fuck—JD, is that a gun?”
“Come on, Veronica.” JD said, almost exasperatedly. “I’m having a bad day as it is—“
“What is that?”
He looked down at his shirt. There, on the light grey of his flannel, was a splatter of blood. He looked back up at her, his eyes wide.
Veronica rose to her feet and backed away slowly.
“What the fuck, JD?”
“Okay, Veronica, I need you to not freak out.” JD raised his hands complacently. His voice was low and charming. A month ago, it might have calmed her down, but she knew better now.
“Really? Did you really just say that to me?” Veronica said incredulously.
“Who was it this time? Heather Duke? Or maybe Heather McNamara? Huh?”
“Veronica, you’re not listening to me.“
“Or maybe it wasn’t that?” Veronica’s voice was shrill. “Maybe you were coming for me? Is that it?”
“What? No! It was my dad!” JD snapped.
Holy shit, Veronica.
“You—you killed your dad?” her voice cracked. Behind her, the horror movie score picked up in pitch.
“I had to!” Gone was the complacent JD from a second ago. Now he was wild and hysterical. Almost frantically, he began to pace around her living room. “He came up to me today and told me it was time to pack my bags, we were hitting the road for Dallas. He was going to move again! He was going to separate us! I told him no, I wouldn’t leave. Not this time. And then he tried to force me to move, and then…” He stopped there, turning towards her. Veronica just shook her head.
“And then you killed him? Jesus, JD…”
“I can’t leave you. I won’t leave you.” The conviction in his voice was strong and unwavering. “Our love is God, Veronica.”
“No. No.” She was shaking her head now, almost furiously. JD reached out, to steady her, maybe, but she stumbled farther away. “You’re wrong. It’s not. We’re not—we need to break up.”
“You can’t do this—you can’t kill people.”
“You haven’t had much of a problem with it before.”
“Yes I have!” Veronica snapped. “We’re done, JD. Get out of my house.”
“No.” He stood up taller, then, more menacing—she could see now why people were afraid of them. “We’re not breaking up.”
“Yes we are.”
“No we’re not.”
“Yes we are!”
“No, we’re not!”
“Yes we are!” She screamed over him, and he lunged at her.
Veronica tried to back away, but it was too late. As his full weight came onto her, they both toppled to the ground. Her head knocked hard against the floor, rattling her teeth and disorienting her. When she had her bearings back, JD was leaning over her like some rabid dog from a nightmare. His hands squeezed tightly on her wrists, which he had pinned over her head.
“You are not leaving me.” He growled. “I love you. You—you’re the only person I’ve ever loved. I won't let you leave, just like everyone else.”
“Get off of me, JD. Now.”
He brought his lips down to her, all violence and take. Furiously, she bit down on his lip, blood pooling in her mouth. He hissed and drew back, then began to laugh. Veronica was struck with the realization that he had totally and completely lost his mind.
“We are meant to be together!” he said, still laughing. Blood from his lip dropped down on her cheek. “No one’s going to keep us apart—not even you.”
“Oh yeah?” Veronica brought her knee up between as legs as hard as she could. He crumpled down on top of her, and she furiously shoved him off before getting to her feet and getting the hell out of there. Screams from the movie and (oh God) the stomp of combat boots were all she could hear as she bolted towards her front door.
Veronica’s hands were slick on the doorknob as she tried to get it open. She threw it open with abandon and ran out the door, slamming it behind her. She heard it reopen just as she began to run barefoot across her front lawn.
“Veronica!” JD’s voice was hoarse. She looked over her shoulder, trying to see where he was. He’d stopped chasing her, and instead stood in doorway of her house, staring at the small child on her sidewalk.
“Trick or treat!”
Oh God. Oh God. She’d forgotten there were children out. JD wouldn’t hurt a child, would he?
The psycho shot his Dad. Do you really think he has limits?
Heather was wrong, though. Veronica watched in shock as JD reached into the house and pulled out the candy bowl.
“Here, kid. Happy Halloween.” JD handed the bowl over. Veronica shivered in the cold night air.
“Thanks, mister!” The kid snatched the bowl and ran off.
Tension crackled through the air as they stood there in a strange, post-fight stand off. Then, slowly, JD lifted his hand up towards her.
Does he really think you're going to come back? What a pillow case.
Veronica turned on her heel and ran.
Parents and costumed children alike looked at her strangely as she ran through the streets, barefoot and wearing pajama pants.
Where are you planning on running, Veronica? Anyone that could help you is out of town or dead.
Not now, Heather.
Maybe Ms. Fleming. I bet she could sing a song for you.
Heather was right, though. She had no idea what she was doing, or where she was running. She looked quickly behind her—JD was nowhere to be seen. Breathing heavily, Veronica slowed down to a jog.
Right. The police station was probably the place to go at this point. God, would she have to tell them everything? Probably, but did it really matter at this point? JD had killed four people. It was time for this to end.
Veronica jumped when the cell phone in her pocket began to ring. Shaking (with adrenaline? fear?), Veronica pulled it out of her pocket. The caller ID read Jason Dean. She hesitated for moment before answering the call.
He began to talk immediately.
“Veronica, you need to listen to me.”
“No, JD. You just need to leave me alone, okay?”
“You’re not going to like where this is gonna go if you don’t come back.” He delivered the threat calmly—like a fact.
“What’s that supposed to mean, JD?”
The dial tone rang heavy in her ear.
What an asshole.
Veronica looked down at her phone incredulously.
Well, fuck that. Veronica dialed 911 and began to backtrack towards her house. Hopefully, JD would be gone by then.
“911, what’s your emergency?”
God, where could she even start?
“My boyfriend—he’s in my house. He has a gun.” Veronica could feel sweat drip down her brow as she got closer.
“Are you in the house?”
“No, I ran out. I’m on the way back though.”
“Okay, stay where you are, ma'am. I need you to give me your address.”
A child ran by her, screaming too realistically for it to be play. Slowly, she turned the corner to her street.. Veronica realized with sudden, aching dread that she hadn’t been sweating from adrenaline.
Bright, hot orange lights dance furiously in her house--the first floor was on fire. Even from this far away, she could see flames licking up the curtains.
“No!” Veronica screamed, nearly dropping the phone. She began to run towards the house. Her kitchen window burst from the pressure, glass exploding everywhere.
“Ma’am? Are you alright?” the dispatcher said into the phone.
“He—he set my house on fire!” Tears welled up in her eyes. God, what was she supposed to do? The flames were too big to stop now, but she couldn’t just let her home burn down. Veronica stood across the street from her house, awkwardly stepping forward and backwards as people ran screaming around her.
“I told you that you wouldn’t like it.” JD's voice came from behind her.
“Get the fuck away from me, you psycho!” Veronica spun around to face him, crouching down in a hysterical and probably ineffective fighting position. With a blank look, he grabbed her and ripped the phone out of her hands, letting it drop to the ground. Veronica tried to yank her arm out of his grip, but he simply twisted it behind her back and pushed her in front of him. Veronica cried out as hot pain shot up her shoulder.
“Walk.” he demanded coldly.
“Ma’am? Ma’am?” The voice over the phone faded as they got farther away.
Veronica began to struggle as he pushed her closer and closer towards her father’s car.
“Hey, let go of her!” a voice from the street yelled.
She didn’t have to see it to know with horrifying clarity what happened—there was a rustle of JD’s coat, then two consecutive gunshots. The body hit the ground with a dull thud to the sound of panicked screaming. Veronica began to scream too, but JD ignored her, forcing her into the car.
“Stay in here, or I’ll shoot someone else,” he warned lightly before shutting the door.
What could she even do at this point? Her breathing came out harsh and uneven.
Girl, you got yourself into this mess. And me. And Kurt and Ram. And that poor guy on the street.
JD slid into the front seat and backed the car into the street, driving them God knows where.
“Buckle your seat belt,” he said calmly, his eyes flickering over to her.
“You’ve got to be kidding.”
He just shrugged, and then, with more cheeriness than anyone that just shot someone should have, began to whistle a songless tune.
After a few minutes of him driving and her sitting there, trying to figure out what the fuck to do, he reached over and grabbed her hand in his. She tried to pull it out of his grip, but he just gripped her tighter, more painfully, lacing his fingers through his and squeezing. It got too much—she stopped fighting it, and after a second, JD let his hand loosen, just holding it like they were a normal couple. Like a fucking normal couple on a fucking normal Halloween.
Veronica began to laugh hysterically, and after a beat, JD chimed in too. He slapped their joined hands together jovially on her thigh.
“You’re lightening up. Good! I was worried you’d be a buzzkill all night.” He turned to grin at her.
Veronica continued to laugh because he just didn’t get it, did he? He shook his head good-naturedly, as if were all a fucking joke. Veronica had never wanted to stab someone more, and she’d killed three people.
JD let go of her hand and put the car into park, and Veronica stopped laughing long enough to see where they were—his house.
He must have thought her laughter meant complacency—his own fucking fault. The second he unlocked the doors, Veronica bolted out the car, stumbling slightly on her heels before finding her balance and vaulting across his yard.
She didn’t make it nearly as far as she’d hoped before he was on her, tackling her around the legs. As she went down hard on her hands, her wrist twisted at an awkward angle. Veronica cried out in pain—it was sprained for sure, if not broken. Behind her, JD’s hand gripped her shirt collar and yanked her up. His arms wrapped around her waist and his breath was hot on her neck.
“Why are you being so difficult?” he snarled into her skin before kissing her at the crook of her neck.
“Fuck you.” Veronica growled before lifting her foot up and slamming down. Luck was not on her side, though—he moved his foot out of the way in the knick of time. He tsked in the shell of her ear.
“So close. Inside. Now.” He commanded, pushing her forward but still keeping an arm tight around her waist.
Pain throbbed in her wrist, sharp and immediate. Veronica couldn’t help it—she began to cry, just a bit, trying to keep quiet as they walked into his house.
He immediately led her towards his bedroom. She only had a second to glance in the living room, where the body of his father laid bloody and probably cold. Tears began to stream faster down her face.
When they get to the door of his bedroom, he let her go, herding her inside and shutting the door behind him. Veronica sat down awkwardly in the center of his room, cradling her wrist in her hands. JD went to his cabinet and pulled out wrappings. He held a hand out towards her and beckoned her towards him. She didn’t move.
“Come on, Veronica. I need to see your wrist.” When she still didn’t move, he sighed and came towards her, snapping it up into his hands. She inhaled sharply, but then he was gentle, inspecting it before wrapping it tightly in the medical bandages.
“It didn’t have to be this difficult, you know.” He chattered good-naturedly. “I told you we were meant to be together, that I wasn’t going to let you leave me. Now you know. It’ll be easier from here. I’ve got a great plan. You’ll love it.”
“What do you mean, JD?” Her voice was hoarse, and tears were still streaming down her face. Done with her wrist, he began to wipe the tears from her face almost absently.
“I mean about us. We’ve got your dad’s car, or we could steal another one. We can just go. We can do what we were meant to do. There are bad people in this world, Veronica. Me and you, we were meant to stop them. Together.” He leaned forward and kissed her on her cheekbone. He smelled like sweat and gunpowder.
“You mean you want us to kill people. That’s what you mean.”
He hummed in affirmation before standing up and moving over to his things. From the floor, she watched as he began to pack his things.
“I was going to let you pack your own bag, but… well, you know what happened. I hope you don’t mind what I grabbed for you. It’s in the car.”
“I’m not going to kill people with JD. I’m done with that. You said you were done with that too.”
“Things change.” He said simply, zipping up a bag and throwing it on his bed.
Veronica just shook her head.
“Please, JD, you need to listen to me.”
He turned towards her and grabbed her face in his hands. Veronica tried to twist away, but he held it tightly. His calloused hands were harsh on her cheeks.
“This is why I love you Veronica. You’re too good to see that they don’t deserve to live. You know what we have to do.”
“Yeah. I know what I’ve got to do.” Her voice cracked.
He leaned in, to kiss her maybe, but Veronica reeled her head back and slammed her forehead into his nose.
It crunched on impact, breaking, and Veronica threw herself around him, lunging for one of the firearms on his bed. Her fingers wrapped around a pistol just as JD pulled on her ankle, bringing her down on the floor with him. The gun clattered away from them. There was a second of stillness before they both lunged for it, the coldness of the pistol and the warmth of his hand mixing together. Veronica shouldered him in the side, hard, catching him off guard. They rolled over, her on top of him, still struggling for the gun. One of his hands reached up, digging his fingers into her hair, and yanked her head down to the floor. She gasped in pain, but kept her hand secure on the gun. JD pulled her head up again and brought it down again, but this time he brought it down to his own face, his lips smashing at the corner of her mouth. The kiss was violent and bloody.
The gun went off, and they both froze. JD tensed up before his hands dropped from her hair and from the gun. He released a shallow breath of air before going limp underneath her.
Veronica stayed over him, breathing heavily. Sharp pain pulsated in her head and in her wrist.
“JD?” She slapped his face lightly. “JD?”
His eyes flickered at her, at the ceiling, then were still. His breathing stuttered to a stop.
Veronica sat back on her heels, eyes wide and breath heavy.
It's about time, Veronica.
Shut up, Heather. Veronica sniffed and wiped away tears from her cheeks. Slowly, she got to her feet. Sirens sounded from the street as she looked down at him.
What a fucking great Halloween.