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Title: A Mark, A Brand, A Scar
Fandom: The OC (AU).
Pairing: Marissa/Trey.
Prompt: For the "if you were" challenge at 5_prompts: 01. If you were a cowboy I would trail you. Also for this prompt over at Tumblr.
Word Count: 1,036.
Rating: M for strong violence.
Warnings: Will definitely be triggery for some--involves domestic violence; depicts someone's skin being burned and references rape and abuse.
Summary: She doesn't need another nightmare about the look he can get in his eyes, predatory, darkly desirous.
Notes: This is part of an AU I've been working on where Marissa and Trey are involved in an abusive relationship; it's a prequel to the actual fic.

"Funny, when the bottom drops, how she forgets to fight."
Vanessa Carlton


At this point, every part of her aches, a dull throbbing pain she can't imagine will ever go away. Every part of her speaks to some hurt he has inflicted, some lie he has whispered in her ear, some promise he'll stop if she does this one thing...

Breathe in, then cough. Try again, same result. Smoke in the air from his cigarette flowing into her lungs and making her crave the sweetness of the nicotine, although she's been trying to quit. She's got enough bad habits already.

She came home earlier to find him drunk off of whiskey, always his drug of choice before he hits the bars at night, practically passed out on the couch watching some John Wayne movie. She'd never taken him for the cowboy type, but there it was.

Sometimes, she sees it. She'd known almost from the beginning what a shitty childhood Trey had had--that his mother had never been the most attentive, that he'd had to grow up fast. But when she sees him watching a cowboy movie like a little boy who wants to be that when he grows up, she can almost feel sorry for him. Almost.

She isn't sorry for him now. Now, as she has to lie in this bed next to him, naked against the cheap scratchy sheets, her leg muscles sore from clenching, fighting to keep them closed, as a bruise blooms on her cheek from where he smacked her, she isn't sorry. She's just fucking scared.

Breathe in, try again, actually manage to catch a breath this time. Feel the bed shift, his eyes on her, cigarette still clamped between his lips. Hear the inhalation as he takes a drag.

He notes how ragged her breathing is, reaches over to flick a piece of hair away from her shoulder, but a gesture that would normally be innocent and loving is cruel and even painful, his fingers deliberately snapping against a bruise by her collarbone. He leans over to breathe in her ear, his breath hot and still smoky, even after he pulls the cigarette away so he can talk. "Scared, bitch?" he breathes, and she knows this tone, the goading, prodding her towards the answer he wants her to give, towards the satisfaction she doesn't want to give but knows she has to if she wants to get out of this alive.

She doesn't have to fake the tremor in her voice. "Yeah, Trey," she breathes, fighting the urge to close her eyes and just take it, whatever he's going to do to her next. She doesn't need another nightmare about the look he can get in his eyes, predatory, darkly desirous. "I'm scared."

He flicks his fingers against the bruise again, and this time, she doesn't only wince, she whimpers. It's involuntary, but clearly what he wants, because out of the corner of her eye she sees that lazy grin, the one that made her fall for him when she saw it across the smoky haze of a Chino bar at least a year before, tequila clouding her judgment just enough to make her not even notice the look in his eyes the second she accepted the drink he got her. The look that said she was his now, and there wasn't a damn thing she could do about it.

"You were flirting again today," he says, that dangerous edge creeping into his voice, and she fights the urge to close her eyes and cringe, instead keeping them open, needing to see in order to prepare herself for whatever he'll break out next. "You're just a whore, you know that? A filthy whore."

His hand traces along her collarbone and then to her throat, pressing down just the slightest bit, enough to make her willing to obey everything he demands, just so he doesn't go farther and begin to choke her, because of all the indignities she's suffered tonight, that would be the worst. So she agrees. "Yeah, I am," she manages, the fear in her tone very real, very afraid of that hand's ability to take her breath for as long as he wants.

"But the thing about a whore," he says, still playing with the cigarette in his other hand, "is that you pay for her. You own her. And I own you. You hear that, you bitch? You understand? I own you. And I think you need to remember that."

She feels it before she even notices his hand has moved--burning heat between her breasts, the end of his cigarette tracing between them and down, a line of scorching painful heat. The tears escape and she yells something, anything from his name to an expletive--she'll never know--and he gives her another slap to quiet her, and the pain in her cheek does nothing to diminish the pain of the burn but she tries to pretend it does.

He passes out soon after, disinterested and bored, still fairly drunk from the whiskey. When she's sure he won't wake up, she stumbles out of bed, naked and cold in their heater-less apartment, but the burn is still achingly hot and she knows she needs to take care of it. She stumbles into the bathroom, remembering what little first aid she learned in middle school and what she remembers seeing in her days as a candy striper. Wash the burn with soap and water, apply some kind of cream, cover it with gauze. He lets her keep the first aid stuff around--after all, he doesn't want to get found out any more than she wants to tell anyone, so it's in his best interest that she keep these things hidden.

Days later, the pain has faded and all that remains is an ugly scar, visible whenever she wears a low cut top. And because he wants the world to know she's his, wants to show her off like a cowboy who has branded her as his own fucking property, he demands that she come with him to his bar. Their bar, he calls it, mocking, reminding her that she made the choice there to go with him.

And because she has no choice, she follows him.


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