Disclaimers: I don't own any of these characters. If you have issues with people of the same sex loving each other, or live someplace where that's illegal (in which case, consider moving) please move on.
The falcon landed on Paulie's arm, briefly, surveying the area.
Mary raced up to Tori, frantically hoping that her friend could do something to stop the inevitable.
Tori looked up at the roof, to see her ex-lover standing on the very top, with her arms outstretched and a bird on her arm. Her mind briefly flitted to the falcon Paulie had found weeks ago, before they had broken up. Apparently it had recovered. Then her mind flew back to the girl on the roof.
"Paulie!!" she screamed as the girl allowed herself to fall off the roof. To Tori, those few seconds seemed like hours. The last few months played in her mind, as did images of her time with Paulie, before her sister's discovery had ruined all of it.
While these thoughts were all running through her mind, she was instinctively racing for her love. She heard a sickening crack as Paulie hit the sloping roof on her way down and rolled, infinitely slowly in her mind, towards the edge. Then she was falling again, and time sped up as she fell faster and faster, towards the ground. Tori kept moving, not knowing what she was doing but acting instinctively. She reached her just as Paulie was about to hit the ground, and the last thing she remembered was reaching out and trying to catch the falling body.
Paulie had been unconscious since hitting her head on the roof, and her body was completely limp as she landed on Tori's slender frame.
Mary was still sobbing as the entire field could hear snapping bones. Then the scene was still for a moment before Ms. Vaughn broke the tableau and ran toward the frighteningly still pile of girls.
"Ms. Bannet, call 911!" she managed to remember to call out as she reached the girls.
Paulie had landed mostly on top of Tori, and both girls appeared to be out cold. Paulie's head was falling back at a frightening angle, and she worried about moving either of them. Blood was coming from somewhere, and then she saw Victoria's arm, bent almost at a ninety degree angle. With a fearful heart, she gently reached her two fingers down to Paulie's neck, and breathed a sigh of relief at feeling a slow, but definite pulse. She repeated the process for Victoria, reaching around the sprawled-out body of the first girl to do so, and was again relieved.
A few hours later, Tori woke up in a hospital bed, completely confused about where she was. She blinked and looked around the room, looking down at her right arm, which was in a bulky white cast, and her abdomen, which was wrapped up for some reason. Suddenly the events of the afternoon came smashing back to her and she tried to bolt out of the bed, but her stomach screamed at her and she moaned in pain and fell backwards. This sound apparently notified someone and the curtain around her bed was pulled back by an older woman, clearly a nurse.
"Hi there, how are you feeling?"
"My, my friend, Paulie, where is she?" was the first thought in Tori's head.
"Oh, is that the other girl who was brought in with you? She's still in surgery, I can have someone let you know when they know more. Do you remember what happened?" she asked gently.
"I…Paulie jumped, I had to do something…I ran to her, I don't remember anything else."
"She landed on you, honey. Broke your arm, and injured your spleen too, you're a lucky girl that they were able to stop the bleeding so quickly. I'll go get the doctor to speak with you. Are your parents here?"
"My parents? Oh god my parents…" Tori mumbled, remembering why Paulie had jumped in the first place.
"I'll find out." The nurse disappeared.
Tori tried to relax into her hospital bed, helped by the residual medicine still coursing through her body. Paulie. What was she going to do about Paulie? Clearly the other girl believed that she couldn't live without her, and in the instants of the fall Tori had realized that she couldn't live without Paulie either. But the question was, could she live without her parents? She was still sure that her parents would never forgive her if they knew the truth. Without realizing it, she was crying.
Ms. Vaughn timidly entered the area Tori was in, having been told the girl was awake. She saw the tears on her cheeks and immediately worried.
"Victoria? Are you in pain?"
Tori's eyes flew open. "What? Ms. Vaughn…oh god, no, I'm fine, but…Paulie?" the emotion was plain in her voice as she spoke, and Ms. Vaughn understood the tears.
"She's in serious condition, Victoria, she's in surgery, but the doctors assure me she has a good chance."
She paused, unsure about whether to continue. Tori made the decision for her.
"Oh god, it's all my fault, my fault, and she might die, what have I done?" Tori fretted.
"Oh dear, you mustn't blame yourself, Paulie has been having some serious problems lately, we should have gotten her help long before this."
Tori shook her head. "But it's all because of me!"
Ms. Vaughn sighed, having guessed as much. "Victoria, what happened between you two?" she asked softly, knowing that the girl was in a state of shock, and emotional, but wanting answers and realizing this might be the time to get them.
Tori squeezed her eyes shut. "I told her…we had to stop, had to break it off, couldn't be together, she couldn't take it. Did she think it was easy for me? It was awful, but we couldn't be, couldn't be…my sister…" she trailed off.
"Your sister? You broke up with Paulie because of your sister?" she pressed.
Tori nodded. "She found out…I convinced her it wasn't what, what she thought, but I had to stop, my parents would never speak to me. Oh Ms. Vaughn, what am I going to do?"
Ms. Vaughn was silent for a moment. "Right now I think you need to rest."
Tori gazed at her teacher. "You don't seem shocked by us." She said bluntly.
Ms. Vaughn sighed. "Victoria, I have been at the school for a long time, and these last few months it was clear what Paulie felt for you. I wasn't sure about your part, but it doesn't come as much of a surprise." She said as gently as possible.
Tori frowned. "I mean, you don't seem to care. That we're both girls. Most people think it's awful."
"Oh no dear, not most people. Some people, small-minded people." She corrected her student. She wished she had talked to the girls before this got so out of hand.
Tori stared at her teacher. "Ms. Vaughn….are you gay?"
The teacher blinked. "I don't really think that I am the subject of this conversation, Victoria."
Tori looked down, ashamed at asking the question. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked you. Even if you were of course you would never admit to that."
It made up the teacher's mind immediately.
"Victoria, look at me."
The tear-streaked face looked up.
"I haven't had a relationship in quite a long time, but when I dated, yes, it was women. There's nothing wrong with it, Victoria. There's nothing wrong with you."
Tori sniffed. "But I don't know if I'm gay. I just love Paulie."
Ms. Vaughn smiled sadly. "The name doesn't really matter, what matters is that you're with who you love."
Eight hours later, Tori's parents, her sister, Jake, Ms. Vaughn, and Mouse were crowded around her bed when two nurses entered the room wheeling a gurney. Tori's eyes welled up with tears when she saw that it was Paulie, awake and alive. Jake jumped up.
"What is she doing in this room? That crazy bitch stabbed me and jumped on Tori!"
Paulie's eyes met Tori's briefly, but then she turned away sadly.
Tori couldn't handle that. "She didn't jump on me."
"I said, she didn't jump on me. She just jumped, and I tried to catch her. It obviously didn't work very well."
"Why would you try to catch her? She's crazy, she practically raped you and she's clearly obsessed with you!"
"Jake. I think you should leave." Tori said quietly.
"Why did you try to catch me?" Paulie said, looking back over at the group.
"I-I guess I realized that I couldn't live without you." Suddenly it was if nobody else were in the room but the two of them.
"You seemed like you were doing okay with Jake." Paulie said bitterly, her brush with death not making her any less angry at her ex.
Tori's eyes welled up with tears. "I wasn't, couldn't you see that? You of all people, who knows me better than myself? I wasn't fine, not without you."
"What are you talking about, Victoria?" her mother butted in, worried about what was going on between her daughter and her roommate.
Something inside Tori snapped and she suddenly decided she couldn't lie any more.
"I'm talking about being in love with Paulie, mother. I'm in love with Paulie."
The room erupted into noise as essentially everyone not in a hospital bed started talking at once. A nurse popped her head into the room.
"What is going on in here? These girls just got out of surgery. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you all to leave if you can't be quiet."
Paulie and Tori just stared at each other, not hearing anything that was being said. The nurse saw this and took it as being overwhelmed, and she started forcing the people out of the room. The patients barely noticed.
"Do you really mean it? I was sure you weren't anymore." Paulie said, her cheeks streaked with tears.
"I mean it. Paulie, how could you jump like that?"
Paulie looked away. "If you didn't love me, there was no sense in living."
"Don't say that."
"Why not? Unless you're lying about loving me, are you lying? Are you just saying it because you feel sorry for me?"
"Of course not. Would I ruin my relationship with my parents just because I feel sorry for you?" The magnitude of what she'd just done was starting to hit her.
"Why now? I asked you, so many times. I should have just jumped off a roof in the first place?"
"No. And while we're on the subject, if you ever do something that stupid again, I won't catch you. Hear me?"
"If you love me, I won't ever need to do anything that stupid again."
Tori sighed. "How can I love you so much when you are so crazy?" she smiled to limit the sting of the words, but part of her really meant it.
"Because I'm the luckiest girl in the world?" She reached out her hand and managed to reach Tori's uninjured hand to hold. They just lay in silence for a few moments.
Victoria broke the silence abruptly. "Hey guess what I found out? Vaughn is gay, just like you always said."
Her girlfriend grinned. "Of course she is. Wait, but she told you?"
"Yep. I asked her. She was making me say what happened with us, so I figured it was fair to ask her."
Paulie looked down at their hands. "I guess we are gay too, aren't we."
"I think so. Why is that so hard to say?"
Just at that moment, one of the reasons it was hard to say walked in the door.
"Victoria, what are you doing holding her hand? Your sister told me all about that incident in bed, and your father says she made you dance with her, and now she jumps on you?"
Tori took a deep breath. Paulie squeezed her hand in support. "Mother, maybe you didn't hear me earlier. I'm in love with Paulie. The incident was us sleeping together, she wanted to dance with me because we are in love, and for the last time, she just jumped, I am the one who got underneath because I LOVE HER!"
Mrs. Moller sat down on the bed and forcibly split the girls' hands up.
"Victoria, I am going to say this one time and one time only. Our family does not have those people in it. If you wish to remain part of our family, perhaps we can get you some help, or you can decide on your own to live a healthy life. If you choose otherwise, you will no longer be part of our family. I hope you make the right decision."
Tears were now streaming down both girls' faces; Tori's for the choice she knew she had to make, and Paulie's for feeling guilty about which choice she wanted her lover to make.
Tori's mother stood up, presumably to let her daughter think, but Tori had made up her mind. "I choose Paulie. And you know what? I hate you. I hate you because I do care so much about your opinion. I care so much that I almost lost the most important person in my life. Well you know what? Not anymore. If you don't care enough about me to accept me for who I am, then I don't care anymore."
Amazingly, her mother stayed in the room for her whole speech. When it was clear she was finished, Mrs. Moller just nodded her head and left the room silently.
Epilogue: That was the last either Tori or Paulie saw of the Moller family. Mrs. Vaughn allowed Tori to finish her senior year, and the Mollers pulled Allison out of school and Bruce out of the boys' school. Paulie made it out of the hospital in time for graduation, and the girls went off to college together.