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do you remember the yesterday of us?

Author: fadedclassic
Fandom: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Warnings: Bad language, implications of underage sex and (possibly) underage prostitution, implications of child abuse, alcoholism.
Wordcount: ~2000
Notes: For idrisinsummer, the best parabatai ever.  Happy birthday, Rach!  Also, this is admittedly one of the weirdest things I've written, and my attempt at self-destruction is absolutely awful.
Disclaimer: PJO - not my world.

.

She sits on the swing, alone in the park. Her foot drags lines into the dirt, and she stares at it in a sort of fascination, watching the reddish-tan dirt puffing up and settling on her previously white shoes, frilly socks, and the edge of her white-and-blue checkered dress.

“ ‘S wasn’t my fault,” she mutters, staring at the groves she made in the ground before digging the toe of her light-up Sketchers. “Wasn't."

When she can’t scrape further into the ground, she hops off the swing set and wanders over to a pretty meadow of flowers. The other little kids keep their distance from her – she’s just the freaky mean girl whose daddy doesn’t love her and leaves her all alone. They used to try to tease her for that, before she ruined their toys and almost ruined them, too.

She sits in the middle of a particularly flowery area, ignoring the daisies she squashed in the process. Reaching over, she grabs a fistful of green stems, and yanks.

Yellow buttercups and dandelions peer up at her out of her grubby little fist, and she uses both her hands to shred them apart, before throwing them to form a pile in front of her. Pulling another bunch out by the roots, she shreds them as well. The white petals of other daisies join the green-and-yellow heap already on the grass, and with each added load of shredded wildflower petal, the mound in front of her grows and grows until the mass of green, yellow, white, purple, pink, and more white is solitary among the brown of the fresh-turned soil.

It’s… pretty. Maybe in a weird kind of way, but it’s still pretty. She glares at the pile through angry tears. Letting out some kind of wild half-scream, she attacks the little hill of ripped up grass, scattering the pieces everywhere, until there’s no more pretty colors and just a lot of ugly brown, the color of mud and her hair.

After the rage inside her has abated, she sulks in her little circle of dirt, pulling her knees up to her chest in a way that would get her teased by the boys because they could see her pink Disney princess underwear, if they weren’t so terrified of her.

“Hi!” a voice chirps from directly in front of her. She looks up and sees a little boy in front of her, with pretty blond curls and dark brown eyes. “I can see your undies, you know.”

She growls at him. It’s instinctual, really, but it still fails to deter him from plowing on. “I think you’re pretty. And nice, even though you seem kinda scary. Do you want to be my friend?” He holds out a dirt-smudged hand, and grabs hers when she fails to do anything but stare at him. Then he pulls her off and drags her wherever he’s going while she’s still limp with shock.

Apparently someone hadn’t gotten the memo that Mallory Pierce ruined everything she touched.

She didn’t know whether to be grateful or frightened.

.

They sit together on the edge of the roof that they’ve just become tall enough to climb onto from the balcony outside his room’s window. It’s dark – not very late, but later than their bedtimes. Well, his at least, because for her to have a bedtime, her father would have to pay enough attention to her to actually care whenever she was going to sleep.

“Hey,” he whispers, nudging her shoulder with his own fluffy Power Rangers blanket clad one. He’s in his pajamas, little-boy cute and matching. She’s still in her street clothes, a ratty old t-shirt and a pair of stained jeans, both of which are a bit too big for her. “You okay? What happened?”

“Nothing,” she says, and doesn’t mention the grandparents that she visited earlier and how she managed to do everything they hated while breaking most of their stuff.

He doesn’t pry, not anymore, so they sit in silence for a while, just breathing. Her head is on his shoulder, but she can still feel his chest rise and fall. It’s soothing and still in a way she herself never is.

She pokes him in the side, and his eyes flicker to her under heavy lids. “Mmmm?” he hums questioningly in response to the sharp pressure he felt.

“What… what do you think of me?” she asks, chewing on her lower lip.

(“you’re just like her, just like that goddamn mother of yours, always leaving pain and misery behind you.”

his face is screwed up in anger and his breath stinks. she learned to mostly ignore him, but sometimes she likes to pretend that he’s lying.)

“I think you're a nice person,” he says, a bright and innocent smile adorning his still-chubby cheeks with all the sincerity of a child.

She looks across at him - they are the same age, but she feels so, so much older. She wants to scream at him, slap him, make him see the destruction and havoc she wreaks all around her, but instead she mutters, “Well, you don't know me very well at all.”

He pretends not to hear her. She wonders if it’s his selective memory that’s kept him around so long through all the fights, the rages, the wanton devastation.

One of these days, it’s going to break his rose-colored glasses, and he’s going to leave her. When they climb into his room and on top of his bed, she waits until he falls asleep before she slips out of the room and scurries away.

She’s never left him before, but there’s got to be a starting point somewhere.

.

At thirteen years old, she is the gossip queen of the eighth grade.

Anything that happens, she can be counted on to know. And to spread around as fast and as hurtful as possible, creating maximum scandal and drama.

“God, Mal, please tell me that you weren’t the one who told Jack that Lauren was cheating on him,” he says, worry shining in those big brown eyes of his.

“I could,” she said, and a smirk slides onto her face completely involuntarily. “But, you know, then I’d be lying.”

“She was your friend! You don’t just backstab friends like that. That’s just… that’s just messed up. In front of all those people like that? And did you have to call her a cheating slut who’s fooled around with everyone but her boyfriend? C’mon, Mal. Can’t you ever try not to stir up drama wherever you go? Why are you so desperate to alienate everyone?” He’s flailing for words to verbalize whatever he may be feeling while he’s frowning at her. The pucker between his eyebrows deepens when he gives her that I’m disappointed in you stare he has down to nearly an art form, one he tends to give her more often than not.

“Okay, first? I don’t have, want, or even do ‘friends.’ And well, she shouldn’t be running around and kissing Austin, and Stephen, and Cody, and Michael, and every other guy who goes to this school and think no one’s ever gonna find out. I’m just doing my civic duty as a good, observant citizen and outing her for the lying cheater she is.” She flips her hair over her shoulder and starts chewing obnoxiously loud on her gum, tapping her nails on the battered surface of her cell phone. She sees him twitch out of the corner of her eyes at both noises, and a cruel satisfaction wells up inside her at seeing him so uncomfortable, when all of the sudden his frown melts away into a smile.

“It really was too harsh, but I’m glad you told Jack about what she was doing. It was kind of messed up, the way you told him, but you were trying to be a good friend. I still think you’re a nice person, deep down, even though you’ve got a really freakin’ strange way of showing it,” he says, and he’s still smiling.

She doesn’t know how he does it, because right now, all she wants to do is scream, flay him alive with words, destroy him like she destroyed the pile of flower petals right before they met, because he’s so goddamn blind sometimes that she just wants to rip the blindfold off him painfully for being so damn good.

How can he see her like that? Even now? Even after what she said and did?

It makes her sick to see such an at-peace person. She’s going to break him if the last thing she does.

She ignores the little voice that sounds like her six-year-old self screaming but he’s my friend.

.

They walk silently along the pathway that leads to the old Miller park, her stumbling down the raised blocks that make the raised edge of the concrete and holding her arms out like airplane wings for balance. It’s new, even though it looks almost exactly the same as the old one – she burnt the first one down in an accidental fire that no one ever connected to her.

She’s drunk out of her mind, of course. It’s hard to find a time when she isn’t following in her old man’s footsteps of alcoholism nowadays. It pisses him off, she knows – it’s part of the reason why she does it, if she’s absolutely honest with herself (though she rarely is). That’s probably why she opens her mouth first.

“So, baby,” she mocks. “How’s that new girlfriend working out for you?”

He sighs. “C’mon, Mal. We both know that you don’t care about Sophie and me.”

“No, I’m really interested,” she protests. “She put out yet? Or is it just like a strip show, all tease and no touch?”

“What – no! No, we’ve never done anything like that. She said she didn’t want to do stuff like that before she got married, you know? And if that’s what she wants, then I’m not gonna push it.”

She barks out laughter, quick and demeaning. “Oh, aren’t you just so damn chivalrous? You’re so naïve, so nice.” She scoffs, and leans in a little closer. “She didn’t tell you what she did with Anthony behind the bleachers? That she gave him a blowjob for five bucks the first week you two were dating? Or how about when she mysteriously aced that Chem. test last year, even when we saw her fail the lab? And let’s not forget DeNiro’s party. There are some pretty damn crazy stories, you know, and a hella lot involve her. And you really believe she was keepin’ it safe for marriage? God, you’re such a fuckin’ idiot. More than I thought you were, at least. No wonder your parents are fighting over which one keeps the kids if they’re all as smart as you.”

Why is she saying all this? His face is crumpling farther and farther, and she just doesn’t care. She launches another barb as she dances out of his reach.

“‘Course, given your track record with about absolutely everything, it’s a wonder no one’s realized how easy it is to play you sooner. I mean, it was so fucking easy, even back when you were a kid.”

He blanches. “When I was a kid? What do you mean, Mal?”

“I mean me,” she drawls, disdain coloring her words. “Are you some kind of moron? Wait, no, don’t answer that. You think I hung around for the pleasure of your company or some bullshit? I used you, and I did so to ruin you. I mean, granted, it took a hell of a lot longer than I expected, because you’re so squeaky-fuckin’-clean you won’t even sniff highlighters.” She’s quivering beneath the jacket, she’s so strung up, but she has to do this. For her if not for him.

Fuck, Mal,” he growls, and shit, she really is getting to him. He never swears. Not unless he’s really upset. She refuses to turn to look him in the eyes, because she’s sure if she does, she’s going to see tears there (ruinruinruindestroyhurteverythingitouch), and she won’t go through with this. “You… you’re such a…”

“What am I? Let’s hear the Clueless One’s opinion,” she sneers, her lip curling in distaste, as she wraps herself around the metal pole of the swing set like some kind of twisted form of pole dancing. “Don’t you still like me?” Her boots make clinging sounds as she pulls herself to stand precariously on top of the attached monkey bars as he stares up at her. “D’you still think I’m a good person?”

“No,” he says slowly, like he can’t believe it himself. “No, I don’t.”

He turns around sharply on his heel, and just walks away with a finality that breaks her heart, just a little(lot).

Sliding down to sit on the edge of the monkey bars, she taps the metal ladder as she fumbles in her coat pockets for a carton of cigarettes, then pulls one out and lights it up with a trembling glove-less hand. She takes a drag. Tipping her head back, she exhales slowly, watching the smoke blow out in little rings above her head.

“Looks like you finally learned,” she mutters drunkenly. She lifts the hand holding the cigarette and tips it toward the sky like she’s toasting the stars. Once again I destroy everything.

“Here’s to you, Chase. May you never see me again.”

.

(“my mother made me wrong,” she says, one night on the rooftop.

he bites his lip, then reaches to cover her cold hand with his.

“well, i think you’re perfect.”)

.

.

fin.

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