Author's Note: This one's a little strange, guys. Forewarning: very, very mild mentions of suicide. But… there's a healthy amount of fluff, too, so do with it what you will. Just don't talk science to me; I know it doesn't make any sort of rational sense, okay? It just happened!
Also, I highly suggest giving 'Lightening Strikes Twice' by Iron Maiden a listen while you read, but it's obviously not necessary. :P
On Beca's ninth birthday, her dad doesn't show.
He hasn't been around for days, and Beca's worried – but when she asks her mom, the older Mitchell woman plasters on a brave smile that little Beca can only distantly recognize as a lie, and promises that he'll call.
But Beca's dad doesn't call.
She keeps the cordless house phone within immediate reach of her short arms all day long, and tries to be comforted by the fact that all of her presents are signed with 'Love, Mom and Dad.'
(Beca doesn't realize, then, that they're only printed in her mother's handwriting, though.)
By midnight – a bedtime that young Beca is only granted permission for on her birthday, once a year – Beca's dad still hasn't called. And it's not actually her birthday, anymore.
Beca tries not to be upset, but something in her chest hurts and she knows that she's unhappy. She wonders if her dad forgot. And then she hopes he'll bring more presents when he remembers, so Beca feels a little better.
Beca usually spends this time with her mother, anyway – but when Beca creeps down the stairs to ask for a bedtime story, her mom is crying at the kitchen window.
It's weird, and Beca doesn't understand, but it's raining really hard outside, and sometimes thunder roars and makes her flinch. When Beca's mom notices, she smiles softly and bends over to wrap her arms around Beca.
"Sorry, baby," she whispers. "Mommy's a little sad. The weather will clear up, soon."
Beca's only just turned nine, but she's pretty sure those two things don't make sense together. But- Beca's only just turned nine, so she trusts her mom and carefully wipes her mother's tears from her cheeks before crawling into bed alone.
The storm is scary, but Beca's mom is sad, so Beca can read herself to bed.
She's nine, now, and probably too big for bedtime stories, anyway, so she tries not to be sad, too.
The first time Beca remembers it happening is on her ninth birthday.
When it first happens to Beca, she doesn't recognize it for what it is, at first.
It's the night she's been arrested, and Beca is unhappy; she's unhappy with herself for losing her temper in the first place, she's unhappy with Amy for physically, vertically running from the crime that they'd both committed together, and she's nothing but furious with Jesse for concocting the brilliant plan to contact Beca's father.
The sky was clear when Beca was walked into the jail, and it's still clear when she comes out, too – but a distant rumble of thunder echoes from far away when she spies her dad's SUV in the parking lot.
On the drive home – a mostly silent ride, since Beca's dad clearly isn't interested in allowing her the opportunity to explain herself – Beca watches as a couple rain drops patter against the window.
By the time she reaches her dorm, it's pouring down rain, and flickers of lightening are flashing across the sky.
"Stop it," Beca's dad growls.
Beca frowns. "Stop what?" She demands harshly.
… Well, Beca doesn't exactly have a reason to be nice to the man, anyway. It's not like he ever took her feelings into consideration, is it?
"Nevermind," he murmurs, watching Beca with suspiciously narrowed eyes, like he truly can't believe that she really doesn't understand. "Just go inside. We'll talk about this later, after we've both calmed down."
Beca rolls her eyes and doesn't say goodnight.
She feels a little warmer, when she gets to her dorm room and finds the Bellas waiting for her. But every time Amy speaks, Beca still kind of wants to hit her (maybe not with the still-aching fist of her dominant left hand, but- a healthy little slap with her right couldn't hurt too badly, right?), and now she's also pissed at Aubrey, who won't trust Beca's input enough to even listen to what she can do with her music, so whatever warm feelings Beca scrounged up upon entry have quickly abated by the time the Bellas leave.
Well, when most of them leave, anyway.
"I wish it wasn't raining," Chloe sighs theatrically, releasing the curtain from Beca's window and pivoting to drop unceremoniously onto the mattress, curling up in Beca's spot with her cheek smushed against the palm of her hand, flattened against Beca's pillow.
"Why?" Beca asks curiously.
Okay, so she's upset – but she's not upset with Chloe, and Chloe's always such a sweetheart, even when Beca's sarcasm begins to approach rude, so Beca likes the redhead more than most others, who generally take the bite of Beca's humor personally.
"You're upset," Chloe asserts unnecessarily. Because, duh; she just got arrested – of course she's upset. "There's a park I like to go to nearby whenever I'm upset. They have swings. Do you like swings?" Chloe asks, smiling softly and turning onto her stomach, propping her chin on the heels of her elevated hands to observe Beca with eager blue eyes, absently pedaling her booted feet through the air.
"I did when I was nine," Beca smirks.
And then she tries very hard not to think about how bad things were when she was nine.
"Shut up," Chloe laughs, flushing a little and poking her tongue out at Beca. "They're fun! They always make me feel better when I'm sad, but I obviously can't take you there right now, because it's raining," she pouts.
Beca shakes her head at Chloe's childish disappointment, but she smiles a little, too.
"Next time," Beca promises.
"Really?" Chloe beams; she beams like Beca's just told her she won the lottery, or an all-expenses-paid cruise vacation through the Bahamas.
Beca thinks it's sort of hard to stay upset, in the face of that, so she chuckles a little and allows the tension in her shoulders (an almost physical ache, by this point) to slowly ripple away with a stretch and roll of her neck.
"Sure," Beca agrees. "We'll go to the park next time I'm upset and newly released from jail," she adds dryly.
"… Is it bad that I kind of wish you'd get arrested tomorrow?"
Beca blinks vacantly at the redhead in lieu of a verbal reply.
"I really like swings," Chloe grins sheepishly.
Beca laughs, and shoves Chloe sideways to make room for herself on the bed. When Beca plops down, Chloe tucks her cheek shamelessly over Beca's collar and drapes her arm across Beca's waist, humming a soft melody that buzzes gently when it reaches Beca's ear.
Beca doesn't know the song, but it doesn't matter; she'll be humming it under her breath for days after this, too – despite the handicap – until she eventually succumbs and asks Chloe to name it for her.
Either way, the song makes her feel better.
So when it first happens to Beca, she doesn't recognize it for what it is – but if she had bothered to check, she would have seen that the clouds outside had dissolved, clearing way for a vivid night sky.
By the time Beca turns ten, she knows enough about divorce – and her father's method of coping with it – that she doesn't expect him to call, and definitely doesn't expect him to be there.
It's fine, because Beca's had a year to get used to his absence, and she doesn't even care, anymore.
Beca doesn't care, because her dad obviously doesn't care about them, either. If he did, he would have come home after her mom started bringing home those glass bottles of clear liquid in brown paper and black plastic bags; if he cared about them, her dad would have come home after her mom started spending her days sprawled all over the couch, and her nights puking in the toilet while Beca held her hair back and prayed that she wasn't seriously ill, or even dying; if he cared, her dad would have come home after her mom started yelling at Beca for making him leave.
So, when Beca turns ten, she doesn't wait for her dad to call.
But at midnight, Beca creeps down the stairs to say goodnight, and her mom is screaming at the phone, something about 'assholes' and 'fucking abandoning his kid,' but Beca's already tired, so she doesn't ask questions and just waits for her mom to hang up.
Before she does hang up, her mother hisses something that Beca can't hear. And it doesn't really matter, because Beca's too afraid, her eyes widening into circles instead of slants, and she jumps backward when a hot red flame sparks out of nowhere onto the tile of the kitchen floor.
Beca yelps, and rushes forward, flapping a hastily yanked dishtowel over the small fire by her mom's feet so that she doesn't get burnt.
Beca's mom releases a groan and smashes her thumb over a button on the phone to end the call.
"Sorry. Sorry, Beca, honey; Mommy's just mad. This happens sometimes. It's okay," she swears. "Don't be afraid."
Beca is afraid, and she doesn't understand. Not then.
But she's only just turned ten, and she still trusts her mom (when she's like this, anyway; when she's calm and her speech isn't blurry, and she isn't screeching mean words at Beca from across the room), so Beca nods and says goodnight, pressing a hesitant kiss against her mother's cheek before she retreats back up the stairs.
It's the second time that it happens to her when Beca begins to understand.
It starts the night of the semi-finals, after being screwed over by a true – and, for once, heartfelt – attempt to do something good for another person (for Chloe, and even for Aubrey, who both deserve a win that the blonde captain is too stubborn to accept help in order to achieve).
Beca is angry, but she doesn't like herself when she gets that way, so she shoves it back until there's nothing left of it but a cold hatred for all other human beings that somehow feels easier for Beca to cope with.
At least it was, until she storms outside and waits for the cab she called to retrieve her.
Beca doesn't turn around, and she doesn't need to; she knows it's Chloe, but Beca doesn't want to see people right now, and no matter how kind Chloe may be regularly, the redhead didn't have Beca's back in there, so Beca isn't overly thrilled with her, either.
But it is snowing, and it's April, and the news she'd briefly flicked on this morning definitely told Beca that the low today was only meant to be fifty-four.
So, the second time it happens, Beca begins to understand; it's happened enough, throughout the time of her childhood with her mother, that Beca knows not to write off the absurdity of the frozen precipitation that flakes across her left arm, leaving gooseflesh in its wake.
"Yeah," Beca shudders out on a heavy exhale.
She's afraid. She hadn't ever prepared for this possibility, and it was terrifying enough, putting out fires and fairing through storms when it was her mother causing them; Beca doesn't know how to handle it at all.
"Beca, I – "
"Don't," Beca shakes her head. "It's fine. I was never really a Bella, anyway, right?" She smiles coolly. "It's fine. You guys are better off without me, anyway."
It's not really true, but it sort of is, in that if Aubrey is unwilling to see room for improvement, they'll perform better without Beca's constant rebellion against their current song and dance routine. They deserve better, but it isn't Beca's place to say so, anymore.
(According to Aubrey, it was never Beca's place to say so, anyway.)
"We're not," Chloe argues softly, hesitantly lowering herself to sit next to Beca on the curb. "We're so much better with you, and Aubrey can't see it, and I'm a spineless coward who can't stand up to her. But I'm really sorry, Beca," Chloe says, stretching her palm to cover Beca's bare knee. "You deserved more from us in there; I know the other girls thought your addition was great, but Aubrey's- intimidating. It doesn't make it right that we didn't support you, but I am sorry, Beca."
And, alright, it's still a pretty shitty night, but the coldness in her heart melts a little. She's still not happy that they'd all basically thrown her to the wolves, back there, but- humanity can't be so awful if Chloe's here apologizing for it, right?
"It's whatever," Beca shrugs. "You should get going; they'll be leaving soon."
"I'll ride with you," Chloe decides, nuzzling her face into the crook of Beca's neck. "We'll go swing at the park when we get back. It's snowing, but that's not rain, and we probably won't get sick since it's so warm out. Why is the weather always bad when you're upset?" She whines a little pathetically.
Beca doesn't mention it, but she's pretty sure it won't be snowing for much longer.
She feels a little better already.
When Beca turns eleven, most days are bad ones.
Her mom drinks pretty much all the time, and Beca's adapted to the near-bipolar behavior that results.
Before her mom drinks, she's angry, and fires and rain and thunderstorms and blizzards happen all the time. After she's had a couple, though, the fires are replaced with random piles of dirt that make a mess on the carpet, with tiny wildflowers blooming up from the ground, and the depressing rainfall, or sleet, or hail gives way to sunshine and fluffy cumulous clouds.
But on her eleventh birthday, Beca's mom swears off alcohol as a birthday gift to Beca.
Unfortunately, it doesn't even last the day – but that day is one of the best in Beca's memory; they go to the fair in town, where Beca's mom wins her a teddy bear that Beca claims she's too old for, now.
"It's nice out," Beca grins, looking up at her mom with her soft brown teddy bear clutched in the bend of one arm, and a stick of cotton candy folded in the fingers of her left hand.
"Yeah," her mom grins back. "Yeah, it's nice out."
Beca knows, then, that her mother is happy. Because she doesn't understand how it works, and she somehow inherently knows that if she ever told anyone else, they'd call her crazy and probably send her to a doctor, but the weather always tells Beca about her mother's mood.
And it's nice out, the day that Beca turns eleven.
But at midnight, when she crawls down the stairs and peeks out the living room window, there's a heavy fog outside and she can hear glass knocking together in the kitchen. She doesn't say anything about her mother's promise, and kisses her softly on the cheek before tucking herself into bed.
An hour later, Beca's still awake when the lightning strikes and illuminates the blue walls of her bedroom, thunder shaking the foundation of the house, rattling her bedroom window as rain floods the basement, downstairs.
On the night of her eleventh birthday, Beca hides under her blankets, and (even though Beca's still too old for it) she snuggles her teddy bear tightly against her chest, breathing through the noise of her hammering heart until she falls asleep. There's a dandelion sprouting at the foot of Beca's bed, an hour after that.
When it happens next, Beca is holed up in Chloe and Aubrey's apartment, just like she has been for days, working on the new set list with caffeine-riddled veins and sleep-deprived, sandpapery eyes.
They've been doing well, so far, but she and Aubrey still aren't exactly friends, yet, and they still disagree on things. And even though Beca has the pitch pipe, she tries really hard not to throw that in Aubrey's freaking face every time the blonde suggests another stupid song from the top 40s list that doesn't work well at all with the other numbers that Beca's spent the past several days fusing together.
"If it doesn't work with what you have, then change what you have to fit it," Aubrey huffs irately. "That's what you do, isn't it?" She asks expectantly, raising her brows hopefully into her hairline.
Beca inhales a sharp breath and holds it, until she's pretty sure that her words won't emerge with a snap. "We don't have enough time to keep changing it around like that, Aubrey," she explains, her words too evenly spaced to be considered casual, and her tone too belittlingly didactic to indicate calmness.
But it isn't a snap, so Beca's still proud of herself.
"No offense, Beca," read: every offense intended, if it's necessary to make my point, Beca thinks with a scoff, "but if we're going to do this, we're going to go all out and do it, so if we need to change it a few times to get it right, then you will make the time to change it, okay?" Aubrey says, nodding a little with that false, encouraging smile that tells Beca she'll be puking soon if Beca disagrees.
So Beca rolls her eyes, throws up her arms, and declares, "I'm going for a walk."
Beca is barely two steps from the door when Chloe joins her.
"Swings?" She chirps happily, linking her arm through Beca's as she draws her skip to a walk, matching pace with Beca and eyeing the blaze of lightning in the distance with narrowed eyes, as if daring that storm across town to sabotage her newly formed plans for the park. "How is the weather always bad when you're upset?" She sighs.
Beca ignores the latter question and shrugs. "Sure," she answers the former calmly.
"Do you feel better?" Chloe asks with a gentle smile, some fifteen minutes later, curling her fingers around Beca's hips from behind her to slow the DJ's high swings.
Chloe's fingers brush underneath the tank top that Beca's wearing, and Beca shivers, but neither of them comment. Chloe just rocks Beca and her swing to a gentle sway that leaves Chloe's fingers in contact with Beca's skin, Beca's back occasionally pressing into Chloe's front when the redhead pulls her in again.
"Yeah," Beca eventually answers. "Yeah, I do."
But Beca's pretty sure it's not the swings that elevated her mood.
"Good," Chloe nods, and Beca feels Chloe's chin bump softly against the top of her head. "Can I ask you a question?"
"Can you control the weather?" Chloe laughs, burrowing a face that feels warmer than the standard ninety-eight-point-six into Beca's neck, like she's embarrassed by the question.
"That's crazy," Beca says, the corner of her mouth lifting a little.
"I know, but it's just that – "
"Sort of," Beca tells her, interrupting before she loses this chance, or her nerve; Chloe's asking – outright asking – about this power that Beca has, and Beca's never really talked about it beyond those vague sort of mentions to her mother, long ago, so she thinks it could be nice, and she doesn't want to squander the opportunity.
Plus, it's Chloe, and Beca can trust her.
"You're not messing with me to be mean, right?" Chloe asks playfully. "I know it's a silly question, but I'm kind of being serious, Becs."
"Sort of," Beca repeats. "I don't know how it works. My mom did it, too."
Beca isn't sure what Chloe's next intentions are, but she nudges Beca's right hip until Beca's feet drag across the mushy surface of the padded playground beneath her, so Beca follows, and follows, and spins until Chloe has the chain links twisted into a long line of knots. It's shortened the length of the chains until Beca's face is almost even with Chloe's, and when she faces her, the redhead giggles softly.
"That's pretty cool," she bites her lip. "Can I try something?"
Beca thinks it's weird that Chloe would even assume about what Beca can do; she's seen it a few times, Beca supposes, but Beca's pretty sure it took her much longer to figure out what was going on when it had happened with her mother.
But Beca was also nine, when she first started to notice it, so- it's not really her fault that she was slower to realize than Chloe is.
"Sure," Beca nods agreeably, and watches – with amused intrigue – as Chloe's face leans inward, then pulls back, then leans inward again, repeating her actions several anxious times before smacking her lips quickly against Beca's.
It's quick, because as soon as she does it, fire rages inside of Beca.
And outside of Beca, too.
An unfamiliarly blue flame coils around the base of one of the metal poles holding up the swings. Beca doesn't notice at first, taking her time to slowly flutter her eyelids apart, but when she does, Chloe's eyes are wide and excited, and she pulls her hands away from Beca's chains to joyously clap them together.
But she pulls her hands away from Beca's chains, so, after the kiss, Beca's almost literally flying, whirling and whirling and whirling around in her swing with mere glimpses of the burning blue flame melding amongst all the other colors blurring together in Beca's vision.
She almost feels sick with giddiness and the happy tug that the vertigo provokes from her belly.
"The clouds are gone," Chloe beams widely. "And we should maybe- do something about that fire," she adds, giggling again.
"They're usually red," Beca says, still dizzy, and still confused. "My mom made red ones, when she was angry," she explains.
"I think this one's different," Chloe tows her lower lip between her teeth. "I think- Well, love is- hotter than anger, right? And blue fires are hotter than red ones," she whispers nervously, flitting her eyes uncertainly between both of Beca's.
"Yeah," Beca agrees hoarsely. "Yeah, that's true."
Experimentally, Chloe lowers her fingers over Beca's cheeks, bowing her back to tip her mouth softly against Beca's, again.
This kiss is longer; warmer, and more involved than the last, with a gentle tongue that dips across Beca's lip and a happy dance of Beca's own tongue out to meet it, curling tentatively together for the first time.
Beca is a little breathless when they separate a moment later, and when she glances up, Chloe's fingers are white-knuckling around the chains as she stares down at Beca with dilated eyes that seem even more dangerous to Beca in the dark.
"We should definitely do something about that fire," Chloe whispers again, but makes no move to put it out, simply folding her mouth over Beca's once more as the flame to Beca's left (and to Chloe's right) burns brighter and bigger and hotter than before, eating up the playground mat, wafting out a pungent scent of burning rubber, but somehow minding a respectful distance, cheerfully spreading in the opposite direction as the heat between the two of them grows, too.
By her twelfth birthday, Beca's been sent to stay with her grandparents.
Her mom is in rehab (it's been explained to Beca that her mother has to be away for a while to get better, and that when she comes back, she'll take care of Beca better, too), so neither of her parents are around to mark the progression of Beca's age.
It's okay, though, because Beca's comforted by the fact that she'll have many more birthdays with her mother to come – and, maybe (if Beca is lucky), they'll be good ones like she got to have on her eleventh birthday, before that one turned bad, too.
But just before midnight, Beca hovers by the stairs, forgetting about her original intent to bid goodnight to her grandparents and ask to call her mom – because Beca always spends the midnight of her birthday with her mom.
Her Pawpaw is on the phone, and he's very, very quiet. Beca's Mimi is crying – double the tears, Beca guesses, for all the ones that are clouding Pawpaw's eyes but never fall from them – and when she sees Beca, she stoops over and beckons her forward as she sobs into the top of Beca's hair and curls her arms around Beca's waist.
Beca doesn't know what's happening, but she awkwardly pats Mimi's shoulder and looks bemusedly up at Pawpaw for an explanation.
When he hangs up the phone, he kneels down, and – with a croak in his voice – he tells her, "There's been an accident with your mama at the hospital, little B." He pauses, and swallows. "It- your mama- she's been very sad, Rebeca."
She knows that.
It rains all the time.
So Beca knows her mom is sad. But they said she was going away to get better, so she doesn't understand why it's making them so upset if she's gone to the hospital to get happy again.
"She- did something Christians ain't supposed to do," Pawpaw goes on, swallowing more frequently, and his voice collapsing in on itself until the words are barely breaths of whisper that Beca has to really focus on to hear. "Jesus, Jeanie, I don't know how to – " he struggles, glancing helplessly at Mimi with flailing hands.
"She had an- an accident," Mimi sobs out. "She- hurt herself pretty badly, because she's just been so- so sad," she tries, the decibel growing in volume until every sound that parts from her mouth is a high-pitch squeal with a sob for punctuation. "And she- they couldn't save her, baby. They couldn't save your mama."
"She got hurt and they couldn't save her?" Beca frowns, confused. "But what does that mean?"
"It- it means that your mother is – " Mimi breaks off, unable to finish the sentence.
"She passed away, little B," Pawpaw says, a lone tear venturing away from the corner of his eye. "She- your mama died. She passed away," he chokes.
By her twelfth birthday, Beca decides that they aren't worth the trouble of excitement.
They're always disappointing.
"It's storming," Chloe frowns, arm linked through Aubrey's with a little drunken waver in her step.
"I see that," Aubrey nods, grinning widely.
Beca guesses that not even the storm could weaken Aubrey's mood, tonight; they've just won the ICCAs, and Aubrey's arm is curled protectively around the large, shiny trophy of winners.
They're trying to leave the bar, and Beca's basically as drunk as everyone else is, too, but she's not elated like they are, even though she's pretending.
Because they've just won – but it's Beca's birthday, today, so she doesn't share their excitement at all. She's proud of herself, and of the group, but- the overwhelming surge of sadness that always accompanies her birthday is there, too. Along with anger, and deeply rooted resentment, and a fierce desire to isolate herself from most of the world.
"Beca," Chloe whines, "fix it."
Aubrey snorts. "I know you think she's magical, Chloe, but – believe it or not – Beca actually can't control the weather."
"Can too," Chloe pouts, separating from her friend to make her way to Beca, instantly wrapping her in a hug that, despite everything, dulls Beca's raging drunken emotions, just a little bit. "What's wrong?"
This isn't the place to talk about it, and Beca doesn't really want to get into details, anyway.
"Becs," Chloe whispers in her ear, rocking the pair of them from side to side in a way that counterintuitively makes Beca feel less nauseous, somehow.
But Chloe's pretty drunk, and persistent, so Beca hastily grits out, "It's tonight. My birthday," she explains shortly.
"It's your birthday?" Stacie screeches incredulously. "Jesus, we have to go buy more shots! Guys, it's Beca's birthday!"
"Don't," Chloe calls to Stacie softly, pulling away to soothingly rub her fingers over the flesh beneath Beca's ear. Because Chloe knows what happened on Beca's birthday, and why she doesn't acknowledge it, anymore. "Beca's sleepy," she excuses, with a broad, should-be-but-isn't-quite-happy grin. "We're ready to go to bed."
"Together?" Fat Amy snickers.
"Yep," Chloe agrees breezily, popping the 'p,' just for kicks.
The redhead's grin turns pretty genuine a moment later; the furious pounding of the rain dims to a light drizzle.
"Beca's my girlfriend," Chloe announces.
"I am?" Beca asks, heart thumping wildly in her chest.
"She is?" Aubrey echoes disbelievingly. "Aca-scuse me, but how the hell did I not know about this, Chloe?"
"It just happened," Chloe beams, directing that glittering blue gaze directly into Beca's soul.
"When?" Aubrey demands.
Beca thinks the blonde's arms would be crossing imperiously over her chest, but her trophy is in the way, and Beca's pretty sure that Aubrey will fall asleep tonight with her fingers still curling the award in her possession. (Point: Aubrey is unwilling to release it, just to cross her arms in irritation.)
"Just now," Chloe answers, stealing a quick kiss from the edge of Beca's lips. "I just decided."
But, okay- Beca's been given much worse gifts on her birthday.
So she closes her eyes and focuses on the warmth of Chloe's hands on her face, and, God, Beca focuses really hard on her new title – Chloe's girlfriend; she is Chloe's girlfriend – and the rain stops, and the clouds roll away in the gentle breeze that follows, until the sky is clear and the stars shimmer in the sky, and the crescent moon winks down on the still-damp streets around them.
Chloe nods, glances up at the sky, and nods again. Then she kisses Beca again – slower; longer; sweeter – until the girls cheer with glee around them.
"Happy damn birthday to you, Little Bit," Cynthia-Rose smirks.
Beca guesses that maybe her birthday might not have to be all bad, forever. Still, when she and Chloe celebrate their anniversary, Beca will insist that they count it from the date of their first kiss to avoid this day.
On Beca's thirteenth birthday–
When she's locked away in her room and skipping out of school – the curtains drawn, and the room plunged into darkness with the echoes of Mimi's cries ascending up the stairs – nothing happens.
But it rains.
Beca hears it, and swears the sky is weeping in tribute.
It's the Christmas after Chloe's graduation, and Beca is grateful not to be spending it with her dad.
Instead, she's warm beside the fire with Chloe curled up like a kitten in Beca's lap, cradling a mug of hot chocolate in her hand and periodically offering it to Beca as they thumb through the pages of the Beale family photo album together.
They reach a section from Chloe's childhood dedicated solely to the holidays; the redhead looks maybe ten, at most.
One picture, though, strikes hard in Beca's gut, for a reason that she doesn't quite understand.
Chloe's not even looking at the camera; she has one, mittened hand brushing the excess snow off of a freshly-finished snowman's cheek, and the other reaching for the pink hat resting atop her windblown hair, with fuzzy material stretching down to cover her ears.
(The next picture reveals that Chloe generously donated it to her snowcreation's head.)
"Oh, I love that one," Chloe's mom sighs contently, startling Beca a bit when she mysteriously appears from behind her shoulders. "It's been so long since we had a white Christmas, hasn't it, baby?" She smiles down at Chloe.
Chloe nods, touching reverent fingers across the picture, over the opposite side of the snowman's face that picture-Chloe is already touching. Chloe says nothing, but she smiles a little and stares wistfully down at the photo for a very long time before they're summoned to help Chloe's dad wrap the last of the Christmas presents to put under the tree before morning.
When they lay in Chloe's bed that night (a double that fits them both comfortably, but probably only because of Beca's- mildly deficient height), Chloe wraps herself around Beca and falls asleep almost instantly.
Beca is awake for longer.
She carefully extracts herself once she's positive that Chloe's satisfactorily knocked out, and tiptoes down to the living room.
Beca sits on the couch for hours, eyes glazing over as she tries to remember every disappointment that humankind has ever bestowed upon her. She doesn't want to – she's really happy, here with Chloe, and she's desperate for the end of her sophomore year, when they'll venture out to LA together – but it's the only way that Beca remembers feeling the last time that she made it snow, so she tries to remember the feeling again.
It isn't as difficult as Beca thinks it should be (but she's had a lot of very hard disappointments in her short life, so she guesses it shouldn't be that surprising) and by the time the sun begins to light the earth behind the clouds, there's a decent half-foot of snow dusted across the ground outside.
Beca's tired, and she isn't all that happy, but she musters up a smile when Chloe's family begins to join her by the tree, the Beale matriarch casting happy, skittish glances out the window and shaking her head in disbelief that she frequently voices aloud.
Chloe is the last to wake, and when she sleepily rubs against her eyes and blinks toward the window as she descends the stairs, Chloe releases an elated squeal that warms some of the frozen feeling that's shrouding Beca's heart.
"Snow!" Chloe exclaims, bustling to Beca's side and shamelessly putting their lips together with more tongue than Beca thinks should be allowed, given the presence of the redhead's whole entire freaking family, five feet away. "Did you do this?" Chloe whispers softly into Beca's mouth.
Beca offers a jerky nod, still not quite rid of the feelings she'd roused up in order to create the snow.
"There's a tire swing out back," Chloe breathes. "We'll go after presents."
Beca nods again.
And after the wrappings and bows and ribbons have been torn away and summarily shoved into trash bags, Chloe takes Beca to the backyard, as promised, practically shoving Beca into the seat once they trudge through the snow in boots scrounged up from Chloe's attic.
"I can't believe you did this," Chloe shakes her head. "Were you up all night? Brooding?"
Beca should have known that Chloe would remember the last time that she'd altered the weather this way; she should have known that Chloe would remember how cold Beca had been, before the redhead's earnest apology.
"I can't control it well enough," Beca sighs. "But you wanted a white Christmas – I could see it in your face, Chlo," Beca murmurs softly, as Chloe pulls the wheel of the swing backward, Beca's shoulder blades familiarly pressing into Chloe's breasts. "It's- the only way I know how to make it snow."
"You have no idea how much this means to me, Beca," Chloe whispers into the cotton of Beca's beanie. "Thank you."
Beca shrugs, but Chloe rotates her around and kneels to the ground – snow be damned – to lean her forehead into Beca's. "Thank you," Chloe repeats sincerely, eyes glistening with joy and incredulous shock at what Beca had done for her.
Then Chloe pushes her lips into Beca's again, almost like that first time – in a different state, with different weather and a different swing, and a thick rope holding it together instead of twisted chains – bleeding love and devotion into Beca's mouth.
Beca's heart melts.
And a blue flame draws a circle around them – an endless, spinning circle that will later cause them problems attempting to emerge from, but that Beca just can't care about right now.
"You're going to melt all the snow," Chloe giggles.
"Your fault, anyway," Beca grumbles, wrapping her arms around Chloe and brushing her cold nose into the redhead's neck as Chloe pulls her tighter.
"I love you," Chloe murmurs. "God, I love you, Becs. Thank you."
"The snow's going to last all of ten seconds if you don't quit," Beca warns.
Chloe chuckles, and accepts the not-quite-returned-admission for what it is – the unequivocal reciprocation of Beca's feelings – as the sun peeks out from the clouds once more.
And, no more than a foot away, there's a wild, unnamed red flower surviving beneath the circle of flames.
Author's Note: Um… yeah, I dunno. Warehouse 13 apparently did not satisfy all of my supernatural needs, somehow, and that's the excuse I'm going with to justify this. Please review. I might take it down, because this sort of isn't exactly my forte. I just kept playing with it in my head until it demanded to be typed. At least it had a happy ending? *smiles hopefully*