Okay, new little story, may be a one-shot, may be more, let me know if you're interested. It might get more serious later on.
And yes, I know I made a big thing about the janitor's closet in Meta 1, but I promise you no lips were harmed in the making of this fanfic...
Jade West sat in the library, making notes for her History test. She became aware of a hovering behind her. It was an insistent hover, a hover that craved her attention, so she did her best to ignore it as long as she could.
"Vega," she said eventually, when she couldn't stand it any longer. The other girl slumped gratefully into the chair opposite.
"Hey," she said, brightly. "Whatcha doing?"
Jade looked pointedly at her pen, then at her notepad, then at the open book in front of her, then back at Tori.
"I'm pony-trekking in the Andes. What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Oh, right. Sorry. Well, the thing is," Tori said. "I wanted to talk to you."
"Okay." Jade put down her pen and waited patiently. Tori opened and closed her mouth a few times, as though practicing what she was going to say.
"I was just wondering," she said, finally, "what you wanted to do after school."
"I'm busy," Jade said, flatly.
"It's just that... What?"
"I've got revision to do for this last exam, and then Beck needs me to go over to help him rehearse for some stupid audition."
"No, I mean after school, school. We graduate in a few weeks, Jade."
"Really? Man, I have got to get me a diary, and make a note of this kind of thing."
Tori sighed. "Look, I just wanted to know if you were, you know, planning on staying in touch. With... everyone."
"I guess," Jade shrugged. "I'm pretty sure Beck's going to, so I suppose I'll have to put up with them all once in a while."
"Oh." Tori picked at a fingernail. "Right."
There seemed to be something more. "Am I missing something, Vega?"
"No, it's just... I was really wondering if you were planning to... I mean you don't have to, obviously, but-"
"I wondered if you wanted to stay in touch with me."
Jade was a little taken aback. She widened her eyes into an expression of bemusement. "With you?" she said, in mock horror.
She wasn't sure what she'd expecting from Tori, a little bit of comeback maybe, but she wasn't prepared for the look of absolute devastation on the other girl's face. Tori looked as though she'd been slapped. The chair scraped back and hit the floor, and she was gone.
Jade groaned. Despite what everyone believed, she didn't like to see Tori upset. She liked it when she was angry, or confused, or embarrassed. She even had a soft spot for 'sad' Tori, with her puppy-dog eyes and long face. But she didn't like to see her genuinely hurt - particularly when, it could be argued, it was entirely Jade's fault. "Hey, Vega!" she shouted, grabbing her notepad. "Vega? Damn it, Vega, wait up! Tori!"
She finally caught up with her in the hall. Tori was furiously shoving books into her locker, from where they slid untidily back out onto the floor. Undeterred, Tori picked each one up as it fell and rammed it back in. She ignored Jade's approach.
"Look, Vega," Jade said, after watching Tori's ongoing battle with the locker for a moment. "I-"
"You could have just lied, you know," Tori said, blinking back angry tears and picking up another escaped book. "That would have been the decent thing to do. The humane thing. You could have just said, 'yeah, sure,' and forgot all about it. But you couldn't do that, could you? You had to be a total... bitch about it."
Jade was shocked. She'd been prepared for 'gank', but 'bitch' was ratcheting it up to a whole new level. "I'm sorry," she said. "It was just a joke."
"A joke?" Tori slammed the final book into the locker. "No, Jade," she said. "A joke's where you say something funny. Not when you tell someone who's tried to be your friend for the past two years that you never want to see them again."
"I didn't mean it." Jade became aware that they were drawing a crowd, and her voice dropped to an urgent hiss. "If you want to stay in touch, we'll stay in touch."
"Well, that's big of you." Tori snapped, oblivious to the onlookers. "Don't do me any freaking favors, will you?"
"Come on, Tori, don't be like that," Jade said. Tori didn't respond, she just stood, arms folded, glaring at her locker. "You just took me by surprise, that's all. I didn't think that..."
"Didn't think that what?" Tori said.
"I didn't think," Jade said, "that you'd want to stay in touch with me."
Tori started to waver, her eyes flickering back and forth between Jade and the locker. "And why would you think that?" she said.
"Well, you know... why don't you just fuck right off!"
"Jade!" Tori's whirled in horror, only to find that Jade's fury was directed at their growing audience. She could see the other girl's eyes scanning the hallway, searching for sanctuary, and almost automatically held out her arm. Jade grabbed it and whisked her off into the janitor's closet.
Tori stood there impatiently, as Jade barricaded the door. "Well?"
"Okay," said Jade. "I'm going to be totally honest with you. Lay it on the line. Cards on the table. Sometimes I feel that, all in all, at the end of the day, taking everything into consideration..."
"Is this National Cliché Day?"
"Shut up. What I'm trying to say is that, when all's said and done-"
"You're doing it again."
"Fine. Okay. Right." Jade took a deep breath. "I thought that maybe, given everything that's happened over the last couple of years, you know, with you, and me, and the blood, and the fights, and the bush-daisies, and the setting fire to Ryder's car..."
"...And the pushing me off the balcony, and the framing me for... Wait, what was that about Ryder's car?"
"Doesn't matter. The point is..."
"Whoa, whoa. It does matter. What about the car?"
"Um," Jade shuffled, uncomfortably. "I set fire to it."
"You did what?" Tori stared at her. "When?"
"After he tried to trick you that time. You remember? You did your little song and dance, and he was all, boo-hoo, I'm so embarrassed, and then I kind of... set fire to his car."
"Oh, my God."
"Not all of it," Jade said, virtuously. "Just the flammable parts."
"But, but..." Tori spluttered. "Why?"
"Because he screwed you over," Jade said, simply. "And nobody screws over my friends. Except me, obviously."
Tori was still staring.
"Anyway," said Jade, when Tori didn't seem capable of doing anything else, "what I'm trying to say is, I know that, maybe, given everything that's gone on between us, I haven't been much of a friend..."
"You set fire to a car."
"...and I know it's kind of late in the day to fix that..."
"You set fire to a car."
"...but if you really wanted to, you know, be friends after we..."
"Will you stop that," Jade said, irritably. "I'm not proud of it. I mean it was fun, and everything, but..."
"You caused thousands of dollars worth of criminal damage just for little ol' me."
"And you're not supposed to be proud of that either," Jade shook her head, disapprovingly. "Honestly, Tori, sometimes I wonder what's wrong with you."
"Me?" Tori laughed. "I'm not the one who burnt someone's pride and joy to the ground just because they were mean to their best friend."
"Hey, nobody mentioned best friend."
"So how many other friends have you committed arson for?"
"Well, none," Jade said. "Yet."
Tori looked at her for a moment. "There's no middle ground with you, is there?" she said. "One minute you're trying to put me in hospital so you can steal my part in some stupid play, the next..."
"Look," Jade said. "I admit I haven't been that great at the whole friend thing, and sometimes I've been a bit of a gank..."
"Okay, a lot of the time," she said, grudgingly. "But if you still want to be friends, I can change, you know? Try and be more like Andre, and Cat, and... well, not Robbie. But we can hang out, do girlie stuff, paint bits of each other, that kind of thing."
Tori considered this. "No," she said.
Jade looked crestfallen. "What?" she said. "You don't want to be friends now?"
"Yes, I do," Tori said. "I just don't want you to change."
"Okay," Jade said, slightly confused. "I suppose I can do that, too." She frowned. "In fact," she said, "that's a whole lot easier, now I come to think about it. But I thought you'd want-"
"I've got all that, Jade," Tori said. "I can paint my nails with Cat, I can listen to Trina going on about boys. I can hang out at gigs with Andre. I've got all those kinds of friends. But what I haven't got is a friend like you. A friend who'd do... crazy stuff, who'd look out for me, a friend who'd torch someone's car for hurting me." She paused. "A dangerous friend," she said. "Maybe I need one of those."
"Really. So..." she bit her lip, coyly. "Do you think you could be that?"
Jade let a slow smile spread across her face. "I think I could be that," she said. "I could totally be that."
"Then it's a deal?"
"It's a deal."
"Yay!" Tori grinned like an idiot and flung her arms wide. "Um," she prompted, when Jade didn't move. "This is the bit where we hug."
"Dangerous friends don't hug," Jade said, sternly. "That's something you need to know."
"Yes, they do."
"No. Absolutely not."