( Cat's POV )
I don't swear a lot. Ever, really. The words just seem so dirty to me and I don't like it. But I can't help myself from at least thinking it. The word 'bitch' exploded in my head when I saw Jade stroll up to Tori and dump chocolate milk on her head. I stood there for a long moment, just staring, and I know Tori is real now, because the fear in her face when she turned around was so tangible I can feel it from where I'm standing and that hurts so much worse than anything else. Even more than the moment I realized Tori was messing around with Jade.
And when I hear the word "Faggot" slice off Jade's tongue, something ignites within me. Something bad.
I bolt across the lunch area, dodging tables, and I can hear them laughing. They're laughing at Tori. My Tori. And I am not going to have that. Because Tori is real and she can feel things just like I can, just like my medicine lets me, and I love Tori and everything is messed up but that doesn't mean I get to be crazy and possessive.
No one is even looking at me before I slam into Jade's body. I hear an 'oof' escape her chest as we slam into the ground and then my fist lands smack into her stupid little mouth, the mouth that threatened my Tori, that kissed my Tori, that hurt my Tori. And I raise it and bring it down again and again and then hands hook under my arms and lift me up but I don't want them to, I just want to beat that - that bitch's face in until it's just a lump of red pulp.
"Is it my turn yet?"
I whip around and it's Trina holding me. She raises her eyebrows and lets me go, pushing the sleeves of her shirt over her elbow. Jade wobbles to her feet and I watch in a kind of weird awe as Trina steps forward. "No one dumps milk on my sister." And then Trina punches her. Hard.
I smile at that because it's just really nice for Trina to do that and then these beautiful eyes duck into my vision. "Cat?" Tori's eyes are wide in disbelief, running over my face. I reach out and snatch her hand because sometimes you just have to forgive some people and I love Tori and she makes me drawn to forgiveness.
"Wanna skip?" And my heart is going so fast, too fast, and I don't wait for her to answer before I'm all but dragging her off the school grounds. Behind us is the chants of a fight and it sounds like Trina's winning from here and, good, because I really hate Jade. I hate her for taking Tori away from me like that.
We run and run and I'm not sure where I'm going but it doesn't matter where I go because I can hear Tori's footsteps behind me and as long as she's with me, I don't care where I go. It isn't until my feet suddenly sink into soft woodchips that I stop, gasping, panting, gripping my side with my free hand and I can hear Tori panting heavily behind me. I squeeze her hand, suddenly afraid to let her go. I lost her once and when she was gone I was gone too, lost in the trap that are my thoughts, and I'm scared.
I don't say anything. I just drag her to the tower. She's wordless and that's okay because I know one of us has to start talking soon and that scares me. I duck into the tower and she follows behind me, holding tightly to my hand. I gaze at the drawings for a long moment and this is where it started, kind of, Tori and I. This was where she slept on my shoulder and I knew she would be mine, one way or the other.
I finally turn and look at her. Her hair is stuck to her face in streams of chocolate milk and she's watching me with this timid look in those eyes. Like she expects me to go crazy on her or something. I cross my legs and start to sit, pulling her with me. I refuse to let her hand go. I pull it in my lap and run my fingers over her smooth knuckles like I have a hundred times before, except she touched someone else with these hands.
I glance up and she's still watching me, offering her other hand. I take it because it's just instinct to do so.
"I'm not ... expecting you to ... take me back," she says slowly, and her eyes drop from mine like she's scared and weak and I don't want her to be. My grip tightens on her hands. "I know what I did was stupid and selfish and ... unforgivable ..."
"No it's not." She snaps her eyes to mine. "It's not unforgivable. Stupid and selfish, yeah. Mean, yeah. Painful to deal with, yeah. But not unforgivable." I look at her hands, at the soft chocolate skin and I try to imagine anyone else's hands there, anyone's. A pair of man hands with little curly hair on the back of the fingers, small hands, large hands, black hands, white hands - and all of them disgust me for even imagining them. Because the only hands that fit here are her's. Tori's. "I get why you did it. Kind of. I know you were scared."
"I still am."
"I know. But you didn't give in to Jade again." I squeeze her hands and look up. "And you knew she would tell the school."
"That doesn't erase the three months of lying I did to you." Her face twists into one of pain and guilt, looking away from me again. "That doesn't make what I did okay."
"I know it doesn't." And I do. I know what she did was wrong but it's Tori and I can reason with Tori. "But it does prove to me that you're sorry. It does prove to me that you've finally realized I'm worth ... social ridicule." I bring her hands to my lips and breathe in that familiar scent of her, the scent of Tori that is more permanent than my own. And then her hands are folding over my cheeks and pulling me towards her.
"You are," she says, and I like the way her voice sounds so determined and real and solid. "I'm sorry."
I crush my lips against hers because I can't just sit and stare at her sad eyes anymore. And I know she broke it but just because it's broken doesn't mean our trembling hands can't fix it. I still love her and this is something we can work on, this is something we can work past. I know that. She knows that. It will take a lot of hard work but I'm ready for that. You always are when you love someone. I'm lost in the heat of her lips for a long time and it's her that finally pushes me away, gasping for air. I am too but I don't care, I've gone far too long without kissing her and I push her back against the woodchips and straddle her and kiss her until I can't feel my lips anymore. I'm kissing Jade off of her and replacing her with me because these lips are mine and aren't up to be threatened.
Somehow, we stop, and we just lay there and stare at the drawings watching us. I'm still holding her hand. "I'm sorry I was crazy for a while."
"You're not crazy, Cat."
"I was. I didn't take my medicine. And it was scary."
Tori props herself up on one elbow and looks down at me, her eyes serious. "Don't do that again, okay? That was - it freaked me out, seeing you like that."
I look away. "I told myself you weren't real, you know. That I made you up."
Tori drapes an arm over my stomach and presses her lips to my pulse point and it feels good. "Don't do that again," she repeats.
"And it was weird because I liked it so much. Too much. I just - I just, I'm crazy, and I need that stuff to keep my sane or God knows what I'll do."
"Cat." She cuts me off, sitting up again. "Stop saying that. You're not crazy, okay?"
"Then what am I?" I glare at her because even though she's made me believe it before, having her away like that was too much for me. I went crazy. I went absolutely nuts and she knows it. And that's just further proof that I'm crazy.
She studies me for a long time, lips pressed in a flat line. "You're Cat," she says finally. "You're unique and beautiful and funny and a little weird, but you aren't crazy."
"What's my medicine for?"
"To keep you here with me." She touches my cheek and that touch is perfect and music to my skin, if that makes any sense. "To make sure you're always lucid and here with me."
I stare at her, lips pursed, because it still hurts to try and believe her. "Okay," I agree reluctantly. "But I'm going to need some more convincing, if you don't mind."
"What method do you choose to help me convince you?" Her eyebrows raise, two fingers walking up my chest.
"Kissing is always good."
"Cat, I love you."
"I know. Now let me get Jade off of your lips for good - I hope Trina gave her a black eye. Two black eyes."
"I can't wait to see her tomorrow. Trina's got quite the punch. Now." She takes my chin and steers it toward her, grinning at me and I love it so much I could just burst. "How about you shut up and kiss me so I can finally convince you that you're not crazy?"
AN: I had so much fun writing this story and as much as I want to just write it forever, I know I have to end it at some point. Thank you so much for the support and the reviews. I hope you all liked it as much as I do. There will definitely be more Tori/Cat stories on the way, and I might even write a few Jade/Cat's to add to the oneshot I've already written. Anyway, yes, thank you for being so awesome.