I usually start my stories with the intention of making them a one-shot. Somehow, I always get talked into making them longer. Lol the ideas just flow, and my reviewers are so wonderfully, creatively awesome that it isn't very hard. Well, this really is a one-shot. Please take note. I have about 432784927 other stories that I need to do, but I just want this idea to leave me alone so I can get back to work lol. But I do hope that you'll read my longer CI story "Breaking the Broken"…

Summary: When there was a choice, Kathryn had always opted to see black. The color of her clothes, her shoes, her soul. But now that he's gone, she doesn't have a choice.

This is a Kathryn-oriented story lol. It could be looked at as a stand-alone, or a prequel to Breaking the Broken.

Fade To Black

------------

Life it seems, will fade away

Drifting further everyday

Getting lost within myself

Nothing matters no one else

I have lost the will to live

Simply nothing more to give

There is nothing more for me

Need the end to set me free

Things not what they used to be

Missing one inside of me

Deathly loss this can't be real

Can't stand this hell i feel

Emptiness is filling me

To the point of agony

Growing darkness taking dawn

I was me, but now he's gone

No one but me can save myself, but it's too late

Now I can't think, think why I should even try

-Metallica, "Fade to Black"

----------

A pristine, satin, pure white dress had been laid out across her pale pink bedspread. The light fell through her sheer curtains, causing the garment to shimmer delicately. This was the dress that had been selected for the young Kathryn Merteuil to wear to her mother's gala, exquisite and tasteful, and perfect for the angelic young child. The tiny eight year old, curled up on her vanity chair and frowning softly, wasn't as sure.

Porcelain skinned with electric green eyes and shiny dark hair, Kathryn was like the doll every girl had always wanted. That was exactly how Tiffani Merteuil treated her only child. Someone to pick up and play with, to show off when the need suited her, and to cast aside when she was done. Poor Kathryn had always mistaken this for love, until she had had a fateful run-in at the park while out with her nanny.

The small child was positively disgusting, in Kathryn's opinion. Covering in dirt and scratches, she bawled her eyes out in the sandbox. Confident that the girl was about to get scolded, the young beauty watched with keen interest as a woman with an unnaturally stiff face, a skirt suit and high-heeled pumps make her way to the child, running as fast as the outfit would allow. Her little jaw had dropped in surprise when the elegantly dressed older woman dropped to her knees, smoothing the mocha hair of the child and asking where it hurt.

"Kathryn, get up. Don't make a scene!" her own mother had snapped when the young girl had fallen off the monkey bars, tearing her tights and cutting her knees. Intentionally, she had let her tiny hands slip. A test was what this whole thing was, a test that Tiffani had failed miserably.

Sitting on the padded pink cushion, Kathryn wondered what the color of hatred, disgust, disappointment and heartache were. That would be the real color she should wear to her mother's party.

------------------------

She hadn't thought much of it when she told Holly Townsend that she'd tell Miss Pritchard about her kissing Tommy in the cloakroom if Holly wouldn't let her be first in line. There was no intentional descending into evil, no one spot to pinpoint when the darkness in her began to grow. There was no one day when Kathryn Merteuil woke up and said, "I think today I'll destroy someone's life." There was a day when she woke up and said, "I think today I'll wear black."

He had at least a head on her. He was tall, he was blonde, he had the prettiest eyes she had ever seen. He was Sebastian Valmont, and he was beautiful. A transfer student with a knack for trouble, he was gone after only two months, but Kathryn never forgot him. He was a grade above her, and had never spared her a passing glance, but she would spot him all over. In the cafeteria, on the playground, in the courtyard. Always with a cunning smile, and always with a pretty girl. Cute little Kathryn was the darling of the second grade, but being a big third grader, Sebastian was a little too advanced for her. He aimed higher, more along the lines of sixth grade. There was no girl Sebastian Valmont couldn't have, and that included Kathryn Merteuil. At that tender age, Kathryn realized that she was in love with him. She loved his hair, and his eyes, and his smile, and the way she felt like she would melt just because he looked at her. The only problem was that he still had no idea who she was.

He had never lasted very long at any school on any other continent, so there was no reason for him to extend his stay at Shady Brook Academy. His mother was long gone. There were many stories about her, including that she had run away with a European viscount, or that she was in rehab, but no one knew for sure and Sebastian sure wasn't telling. The point was that his mom was gone, and his father was ready to set out again. Girls all over the school were in mourning as his final week was drawing to a close. That Friday was a day that changed it all.

"I think today I'll wear black," she had murmured, porcelain fingers a stark constant to the dark material they were clenched around. Sliding off her white cotton undershirt, Kathryn slid on the black shirt and looked in the mirror. She wasn't quite sure how she liked it. It made her eyes stand out and her skin a bit paler, but more than that, it made her feel different. While white had made her feel pretty and sort of innocent, black made her feel powerful. Invincible, even.

She had looked around for him all day at school, but he was never alone. That hurt her more than she would ever admit. Resigning herself to the fact that she would never speak to Sebastian Valmont, Kathryn Merteuil had headed to the vacant school library. If she was going to wallow in silent self-pity, she might as well get some homework done. So one could imagine how surprised she was that as she reached for the book on the seventh shelf, standing on tip-toe and swaying slightly, a large hand grabbed that exact book.

"Did you need this?" a decidedly masculine (though prepubescent) voice whispered into her ear. Though he had never spoken to her before, she would know the voice anywhere. Turning her head slightly to look him in the eye, Kathryn decided to play it cool.

"Yes, thank you," she responded with the air of a well-bred society girl. He smiled at the challenge.

"Sebastian Valmont," he said, extending his hand, his own pedigree showing through.

"Kathryn Merteuil," she shook his hand. They each held on for a little longer than necessary. With a small lurch, she realized that and pulled away. He was grinning, but she was unreadable as always. A few moments passed in silence as each child sized up the other.

"So Sebastian Valmont, what brings you to the library? From what I hear, this really isn't your scene."

"Well Kathryn Merteuil, I'm actually here hiding from Holly Townsend. Ick, she's annoying. But, as you might know, your reputation precedes you as well, and finding Miss Popular in a room all by herself is most unusual."

An internal struggle began in Kathryn. She couldn't tell whether he was for real or not, or whether or not she should be real with him. Most people, she automatically put on her good girl face for, but there was just something about him that made him seem different. Her lonely side won out, and a bond was formed between Kathryn and Sebastian.

"I like your shirt," he said into the silence of the library. This time she couldn't prevent the tiny grin from forming on her lips. "You look beautiful. Black's really your color."

She said nothing, but looked at him intently. Slowly, his grin seemed to fade as he inched towards her.

Sebastian had been her first kiss, her first crush, and her first love. He left that day with an, "I'll see you, Kat." She had no doubt about that, because even though he left New York with his father that weekend, she had the feeling that that wouldn't be the last she'd see of Sebastian Valmont.

------------------

Naturally, she was right.

The party was enormous, and anyone who was anyone would be there. Of course, the Merteuils had to put in their appearance. Even on the brink of divorce, Tiffani and Victor would do anything to keep up their reputation. Outwardly, the happy family arrived together at the soiree. Inside the limo, Victor sat on the right, arguing loudly with a business associate. Tiffani sat on the left, muttering ominously. Kathryn sat as far from them as possible, gazing aimlessly out the window, smoothing the fabric of her dress. Tiffani cast a forlorn look at her fourteen year old's attire, but it was no use. When there was a choice, Kathryn would always pick black, as evidenced by her floor-length, black silk gown.

Only a freshman, Kathryn Merteuil already owned Manchester Preparatory School. It was only natural that she had stepped into the role that her mother, and her grandmother, and even her great-grandmother had played. The older she got, the more she realized that there was a hidden Merteuil legacy, a legacy that she was growing into quite well. Kathryn had known for a long time that there was darkness inside of her, but now she knew that she wasn't to blame—the bad seed inside her had been cultivated long ago, and now she was just reaping what her ancestors had sown.

The ball was going as expected. Kathryn had made the rounds with her parents, so they could brag about her accomplishments. Having played the role of perfect daughter, she realized it was time to slip into debutante mode, and attached herself to the arm of Court Reynolds. They had been dating for a few days now. He was handsome, athletic, and rich. Very All-American, and the perfect arm candy… though he thought of her the same way.

The night had gone as expected. Gazing idly around the large hall, Kathryn wondered how much longer she would have to stay, as Court rattled on and on with his football buddies. Suddenly, her eyes locked with a pair of blue ones that she hadn't seen in years. He had at least a head on her. He was tall, he was blonde, he had the prettiest eyes she had ever seen. He was Sebastian Valmont, and he was beautiful. And he was smiling in that familiar way at something the man next to him had said, but he was looking intently at her. Kathryn's heart was in her throat, and she wondered if he even remembered who she was. The host announced that it was time for dinner, and a sudden surge of the upper class broke their eye contact. When they were gone, so was he.

Standing on the balcony, gazing out over the river, Kathryn stood alone. She was waiting for him to come to her, because somehow, she knew that he would. Strong arms wrapped around her tiny waist, and she tensed for only a moment.

"I told you black was your color," he said, placing a kiss below her ear. Kathryn couldn't hide her smile. He had remembered, after all.

"Sebastian. Nice to see you again," she turned, wrapping her arms around his neck.

As their eyes made contact, a feeling shot through Kathryn, and she knew that this was the man that she would marry. This was her soul mate. This was her equal, in every sense. This was the man she was in love with. His kiss seemed to say that he loved her too.

--------------

Kathryn had always secretly dreamt of being in a wedding with Sebastian. But the bitter sixteen year old had never imagined that the wedding would be her mother to his father. With a feeling of impending doom, she looked around the beautiful chapel, trying hard to keep the tears from her eyes. This was all wrong.

"This doesn't change anything," Sebastian had whispered to her.

"This changes everything," Kathryn had hissed in response.

For some reason, Kathryn had always felt that at her wedding to Sebastian, she would be wearing black. It felt like it would be the right thing to do, and neither was particularly traditional. She found herself standing in the church in pink so pale it was practically white, and cursed her mother for tricking her into the colors of her youth. Clutching Sebastian's arm for dear life, Kathryn and her soon-to-be-stepbrother made their way down the aisle, both Maid of Honor and Best Man thinking about the mistake that was about to be made.

The ceremony was under way. The tension was palpable and Kathryn bit her tongue so hard it bled as the elderly pastor said, "If there is any reason why these two should not be wed, speak now or forever hold your peace." Sebastian looked as if he were struggling with words, and Kathryn hoped in spite of herself that he would speak up, because she knew she never could.

"I love you," he had mouthed across the pulpit to her, and her heart soared as her eyes filled with tears. Typical Sebastian, she thought. They always took one step forward with two steps back. She knew now, that she could never give in to him. She loved him, and she wanted him, but he loved and wanted her too. She needed to keep that hold on him, because she knew now that she could never live without him. She could never let him move on.

----------------

Court had dumped her for Cecile Caldwell. It was no big shock that a beer guzzling jock asshole like Court would cheat on his girlfriend. The major blow was dealt to Kathryn's pride, but even then, she had bigger fish to fry.

Sebastian had, just as she had known he would, grown up to be Manhattan's favorite playboy. He could have anyone he wanted—except for Kathryn. He didn't know that even though he couldn't have her body, he had always had her heart. She had never had the courage to tell him.

She had been wearing purple when Court broke up with her. She was fuzzy on most of the other details, like his cruel words, and her humiliation, but remembered distinctly the dusky purple dress that she had had on.

A week earlier, she had been looking at herself intently in the mirror, carefully scrutinizing her outfit. It was midnight blue. Not a major departure, but it still made her worry. Sebastian must've sensed this when he came in, because he didn't say anything. He merely wrapped his arms around her in that familiar way, and placing a kiss to her temple, told her that black wasn't her only color. Since then, she had been branching out slightly. Emerald greens, rich burgundies, dusky purples and ice blues had found their way into her closet.

Kathryn was comfortable with colors, but after the Court incident, she went back to mostly black. Black had never let her down.

------------------

She was blonde and perky and "cute" and wore way too much white. Kathryn hated Annette Hargrove from the start. She was condescending and Bible-thumping and fascinating to Sebastian. Kathryn was not an idiot. She knew that her gorgeous stepbrother had only entered into the bet so he could have her, and she was flattered. But she knew that somewhere along the line, he had started to care for Annette on some level, and yeah, she would admit later on, she was threatened by that.

When he turned her down that day, that was the final straw. All her time spent pushing him away was for nothing. Sure, she had just been with Ronald, but Sebastian had to have known that Ronald was nothing to Kathryn. He was amusing, because he was challenging. Neither stepsibling could ever turn down a challenge. Sebastian turned down Kathryn that day, and the rejection burned deep. It was war.

----------------

There were times when she would've given into him. Times when she was so turned on by him, or so overwhelmed by her feelings for him, that she would've caved if he had pushed just a little more. Sometimes she felt too much, and she knew he did too. So they pretended they just couldn't feel at all.

Annette had taught him that it was okay to feel. It was okay to feel for Annette, but you have to be icy with Kathryn. When put in those terms, the brunette had no questions as to why Sebastian would've left her like that, why he would've given his life to save Annette. But she still couldn't forgive him.

She would think back to second grade, where she decided that she loved him, and to sixteen, when he had decided that he truly loved her back. She would think of their games and their flirtations and manipulations, and the blackness of her heart and his deeds and how none of it was worth it in the end, and then to fourteen where her heart almost burst from emotion just seeing him again, and now to eighteen where her heart broke because she never would again. Her mind would dwell there, on the steps of the church where Sebastian's memorial was being held. She could still feel the crisp pages of the journal; recall the exact phrases he used. She could still feel the tear sliding down her porcelain cheek, not because she had been outed or even because that's what he said about her, but because it was his beloved journal she was holding. There were thousands of copies floating around the campus, and Kathryn knew that that would never be possible if Sebastian were still around. He would never let his journal get out like that. People would read it over his dead body, he once told her.

--------------------

Now she sits alone and dwells for hours at a time, because everyone knows that she isn't stable enough to be disturbed. She's been there for seven months, at the Methadone Clinic, at Shady Brooke Institute and black is all she sees. No one has said that this couldn't possibly help her, because nobody knows that the institution shares the same name as the place where she first met Sebastian Valmont. She's the most popular girl at the clinic, by far, but now she knows that none of that matters. There's been little change, and few visitors, and no one who cares enough to really reach out.

She knows that Sebastian is gone, but she can't shake the feeling that he's still around. He lives in her dreams at night, sometimes memories and sometimes fantasies. She wonders why she never slept with him if she'd lose him anyway, and she wonders why he had to go at all. She wears only black now, the color she identified as one of hatred, disgust, disappoint and heartache, but she knows now that she'll wear green on the day she's released. On that day, she'll wear the color of her eyes and his car and the color of envy. Black is all she sees now, but maybe one day it won't be. She knows that on that day, she won't be on drugs but she won't be cured, because she'll never be "okay" with him gone.

As per usual, she tosses and turns in her bed that night, waiting patiently for sleep and Sebastian to come. It's at these times that she wonders why she goes on at all with him gone. It's at night as she lies there awake that she plots meticulous revenge on Annette and Cecile and Court, and everyone else who has ever hurt her or him, knowing that it was all on her now, and he would never again share in her triumph. She had to succeed for both of them now.

As the feelings of hopelessness and heartache overtake her again, her face is impassive as usual as she begins to drift off to sleep. As her world fades to black again, she revels in the color and sees one person in her mind's eye. He had at least a head on her. He was tall, he was blonde, he had the prettiest eyes she had ever seen. He was Sebastian Valmont, and he was beautiful, and she would love him forever.

------------

Humm… well, I planned that to be a small drabble, but I guess I got a little carried away lol. Anyway, that might not have made a lot of sense, but it was just a few ideas that played around in my mind that I wanted to try and get out. I hope you liked it, but please review!

Xo Sam