Mountains of Misunderstanding

Author's Note: Based on a possible spoiler I read on a few different postings (where do people find these?), the one preview scene for the finale, and especially, a few stills from the last episodes.

This means: I MADE IT ALL UP! So, don't expect any show canon and it's probably somewhat OOC in places.

Poetic license used heavily, especially in relation to Kat's plans. Just suspend disbelief and go with it. Oh, and Kat's a junior in this story.

Usual disclaimer applies. I only own the idea/plot. No disrespect meant to any person, place or thing mentioned.

[- - - - - ]

Bianca was just about to walk in her room when she caught a glimpse of Kat from the corner of her eye. She stepped into Kat's room. "What's with the Eskimo wear?"

Kat was clad head to toe in warm winter gear including a wool hat.

"Are you planning a trip back to Ohio? It isn't cold there now."

Kat gave her a condescending look. "I know that. Anyway, not Ohio."

"Then where?"



"Nepal. You know, mountains, monks, snow."

"Wait, what? When?"

"Thursday. Well, technically Wednesday. I'm taking the red eye."

"Does daddy know about this?"

"Of course he does. He's all for it."

"Really? Are we talking about the same guy? The man who makes us take urine and breathalyzer tests after each date? That Walter Stratford?"

Kat looked at her with a grin and nodded. "The same."

"But…but…why? What's in Nepal? Besides goats and Yeti?"

"A convent where I can get really intensive instruction on my path to becoming enlightened. And by the way, kudos that you know there are goats and the alleged Yeti in Nepal."

"Convent!" Bianca cried. "No wonder dad's all for it. His wish come true, a daughter sequestered away in a convent! No men for miles..." Bianca placed her hands on Kat's shoulders. "What is wrong with you? Are you telling me you're giving up men?"

Kat rolled her eyes and snorted. "Of course not, Bianca. I'm just committed to exploring and expanding my spiritual and existential horizons. I'm going to, even though it sounds cliché, find myself, if you will." She gave Bianca a self-satisfied smile. "And again, kudos for using sequestered correctly."

Bianca looked back at her with an annoyed expression and said, "Yeah, that word-a-day calendar you gave me for Christmas is really coming in handy." Her brow furrowed and she said, "Wait a minute. How long is this little trip of yours going to last?"

"One cannot put a temporal definition on one's spiritual journey."

"What the hell does that mean?"

Kat shrugged. "I don't know how long. A year. Maybe more."

"A year? Kat, you can't be serious!"

Kat just smiled at her and continued sorting through stacks of winter clothes.

"What about school?"

"What about it?"

"I thought you wanted to get into Brown."

"I do."

"How can you if you skip a year of school?"

Kat looked at her like she was demented. "I'm not skipping school. I'll be taking correspondence courses and keeping up with my classes just fine. In fact, without all the…distractions of a regular high school, I'll probably be way ahead. Holland has already approved it. And I hear the convent has an excellent library," she said, flashing another big smile at Bianca.

"Oh goody!" she said sarcastically, clapping her hands. Then her face changed. "But, what about me? Who's going to occupy half of daddy's time so I get a little makeout time with Joey when he gets back? And who's going to help me keep that weirdo, Ms. Tharp, away from him?"

"Sorry, kid. You're on your own."

Bianca tried a different tack. "What about Patrick?"

"What about him? I told you, it's over." Kat's voice was gruff, but Bianca saw something flash in Kat's eyes.

She crossed her arms over her chest. "Is that so?" Kat nodded and started folding a sweater. "You're really going to stand here and tell me this whole thing isn't about Patrick Verona?"

Kat looked at Bianca. "This whole thing is not about Patrick Verona." Kat paused. "It's about me." She tried to hold Bianca's gaze but the knowing look she saw there unsettled her.

"I don't believe you. You forget, Kat, I live with you. I share a bathroom with you. I see the way you've been pining away for him."

"I'm not pining away for him or anyone else!" Kat spat.

Bianca looked smug. "Sure you are. Just like he's pining away for you."

Kat's head whipped around. "He's pining away for me?" Bianca smirked. Kat quickly composed herself and said, "I mean, nonsense. If there's one person in this whole world that Patrick isn't pining for, it's me."

"You're wrong. I've seen him at school. I see the way he looks at you and the way he looks for you. I've seen you looking at and for him, too."

Kat shook her head. "You're mistaken. You've obviously been inhaling too much hair product."

"You can't tell me you haven't heard his motorcycle go by the house late at night."

"No, I'm sleeping late at night."

Bianca shook her head. "Right."

Kat opened a suitcase on the floor, kneeled down and started stacking clothes in it. "Look, Bianca, think whatever you want. I'm doing this for me. Now, I have a lot of packing to do before Tuesday. Do you mind?"

"You're serious, you're really just going to pick up and leave for a year or so?"

"That's the plan," Kat said happily while she stuffed her suitcase.

Bianca seemed to shrink a few inches. "Oh, okay then." She frowned at Kat's packing efforts. "You're going to have a wrinkled mess if you pack like that. Roll your clothes," she said lifelessly. She left Kat's room and walked into her own, shutting the door behind her. She slumped down on the bed and tried to digest everything Kat had just told her.

Twenty minutes later she walked back into Kat's room to find her still rearranging things in the suitcase. "So, I'll still be able to call and email you, right? And you'll come home for Christmas at least and maybe Thanksgiving?"

"No. There is no contact with the outside world, unless it has to do with my studies for at least six months. If I'm serious about doing this, and I am, I'm going to do it the whole way. That means no contact. No trips home, no email, no phone calls, no Skype, nothing." She heard a sound and looked up to see her little sister silently crying. She felt a tug at her heart. "Bianca…" she said quietly.

Kat hadn't stopped to think what no contact actually meant. She looked at the sweater she had just re-rolled for the eighth time and played with the hem. Bianca and dad annoy the heck out of me, but…not hearing from them for at least six months…not knowing what they're doing…I don't know if… Kat felt her own eyes filling with tears.

"You can't just leave me like this," Bianca said, sniffling. She sank down on Kat's bed. Kat sat herself next to Bianca and stared at the floor trying to hold back her own tears. "I'll deny ever saying this, but I love you and I need you, Kat. You're my big sister and after mom died, you were the only one looking out for me and helping me. I'm not ready to do this on my own."

"I love you, too. I just need to get out of here, Bianca," she said softly.

Bianca put her arms around Kat and they both slowly sank back onto the pillows. "Tell me what happened," Bianca prompted, pulling Kat's head down to her shoulder.

"It's so stupid," Kat began.

"It usually is," Bianca said softly. With that, Kat told Bianca what had happened between her and Patrick while tears streamed down both their faces.

After she was done telling Bianca about their horrible fight, they both lay there holding onto each other. "You can't go, Kat. That would be the biggest cliché of them all; running away, cutting all ties with your family and friends because of some boy."

Kat sighed heavily. "What have I done?" she whispered.

"We can fix this," Bianca said, determination making her voice a little stronger. "You can talk to Patrick, explain your side of things, I'm sure you can work it out."

Kat gave her sister a squeeze then sat up. Wiping her tears, she said, "No, Bianca, I don't think we can. We both said some really terrible things to each other. There's no taking them back. It's over."

Bianca bolted upright. "You can't just give up like that, Kat! I've never seen you happier than you are with Patrick. You, of all people actually found someone who, despite all your crap, is really into you. You can't just throw that away. You may never get another chance to be happy."

"Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence," Kat said sarcastically as she sat back down in front of her suitcase and began rearranging things again. "I don't need Patrick or any man to be happy. "Please, Bianca. Patrick and I are over. You need to accept it like I have and move on. I'm going to Nepal to find some inner peace so that I can refocus on my goals in life. Brown, crusading against injustice, fighting for the little people. All the things I wanted to accomplish before I got…sidetracked by Patrick Verona."

"Seems to me that you were doing all of that just fine with Patrick at your side," Bianca observed as she stood up. "I never took you for a quitter." Bianca figured she'd give Kat something else to think about. "So, don't those monk people shave their heads?"

Kat looked a little alarmed and grabbed her braids. Not my hair!

Bianca stopped at the door, turned to her sister and said, "You know, Kat, admitting you need someone doesn't make you weak or any less of a feminist. It just means you're human." She turned and left.

Kat sat staring at the pile of wool socks in her lap. She's right. When did Bianca become so smart?

Bianca found her father in the kitchen making dinner. "Daddy, what's this about Kat going to Nepal in a few days?"

Walter looked flustered. "Oh, she finally told you? Yes, well. It's a good opportunity. Not to mention I won't have to worry about a certain deep-voiced man boy anymore. Or any boy for that matter. One of the perks of her living in a convent. No access to boys," he said with a self-congratulatory grin plastered on his face.

"Or to us. Did you know that she can't have any contact with us for at least six months? Maybe longer. Daddy, can you really go that long without talking to her or knowing how she is, if she's healthy or happy or whatever? No emails even. Nothing. No contact."

"I'm sure they'd contact me if something happened to her. And I could contact her if there was an emergency. Right?" Suddenly, Walter didn't look so sure of himself.

"Nope. According to Kat, zip. Zilch. Nada. Don't you want her to be happy?"

Walter looked hurt. "What? Of course, I do! She's my daughter. That's all I've ever wanted for both of you, to be happy. And Kat wants this. She asked to do it."

Bianca slowly shook her head. "Oh, daddy. You can't even see how truly miserable she is. She and Patrick broke up. She's heartbroken, that's why she's leaving. Not to find herself or become enlightened. She's leaving simply because she had a fight and broke up with her boyfriend."

"She and the man boy broke up? Why? What did he do to my baby?" Walter demanded.

"He didn't do anything. It was Kat's fault. If you really cared about her happiness, you wouldn't let her run away like this."

Walter was conflicted. On one hand, he was glad she wasn't with that motorcycle riding stud anymore. On the other hand, he didn't like seeing his little cactus hurt.

"But, she told me she's been thinking about this for some time. And she can focus on her studies and maybe get into Brown on early admission. Kat knows her own mind, this is what she wants to do so, I'm supporting her like any good father would."

"So you're not going to stop her? Forbid her from leaving?"

Walter shook his head. "Nope. If this is what Kat wants, it's what I want."

"And if she wanted to jump off a bridge would you support that, too?"


Bianca sighed. "Mom wouldn't have let her leave like this," she said quietly as she turned and started back upstairs. Bianca went to her bedroom, closed the door and pulled out her cell phone.

[- - - - - ]

"I need to talk to you." He stared right through her and continued walking in the direction of the parking lot. "I mean it, Patrick. I need to talk to you now."

He rolled his eyes and turned to face her. "What? I have nothing to say to you and you have nothing I want to hear."

"Are you sure about that?"

"Look, if your sister wanted to talk to me, she could have just called me herself. Or talked to me the past few weeks. She's had plenty of opportunities."

"Kat didn't send me. She'd kill me if she knew I was talking to you."

Patrick looked around at the student-filled courtyard. "Aren't you afraid of getting caught?"

"Uh, in case you hadn't noticed, she wasn't here today."

That's why I didn't have to work so hard to avoid her today, he thought. He exhaled loudly. "What do you want, Bianca? I don't need to hear that I blew it with your sister. Or that I'm no good. Kat made it perfectly clear that she wants nothing to do with me. You can just tell her that…"

"No, I can't," she interrupted.

Patrick stopped. "What did you say?"

"I said, no, I can't," Bianca snapped at him.

"I'd tell her myself if she would listen to me."

"No, you couldn't, either," Bianca said as she sat down on a low wall.

Patrick looked confused. "What does that mean?" He looked at her closely and saw the tiniest hint of tears in her eyes. What the hell? He took a seat next to her.

"I mean," Bianca started, her voice wavering slightly, "That neither of us can tell her anything. Thanks to you totally breaking her heart, which, by the way, she won't admit, Kat is leaving in two days for some godforsaken mountain that doesn't have phone service, let alone a decent mall, and she won't be back for at least a year."

"You're kidding."

"I wish I was. Her plane leaves tomorrow night."

Patrick felt like he'd been sucker punched in the gut. "But, you hate your sister," was all he could think to say.

"Yeah, I do. But, she's the only sister I have and she's always been there for me and I don't want her half way around the world where I can't talk to her or remind her she's weird." Bianca had real tears rolling down her face now. "And who's going to keep daddy off my back? Or help me get rid of Ms. Tharp?"

Patrick was dumbstruck. He stared over at the place he'd first seen Kat. "Where exactly is she going?"


"Nepal? In the middle of the school year? And your dad's okay with it?"

"Yup. She's going to some convent to find herself and focus on her studies. Daddy thinks it's a wonderful idea. He's so deluded."

"A convent? You're serious?" Bianca nodded sadly. "That must have made your dad's day." Bianca nodded again.

"A year Patrick. No phone calls, no emails, no contact. A year," Bianca repeated. She waited for it to sink in. She saw his shoulders slump and knew that he finally got it.

Patrick stared at the ground. It can't be. The he realized that was exactly something Kat would do. And she accused him of running from his feelings. Patrick felt like his whole world was crumbling. "What can I do?" he asked softly.

Bianca faced him. "You care about her don't you? It was all just a misunderstanding, right?" Patrick remained silent. "Right? Come on, Verona, I've seen you two together. You care about her. She's not just another one of your bimbos."

"Did she tell you what happened?" he asked. Bianca nodded. He shook his head. "I don't understand it. She got so pissed off so fast. I mean, I know what I said didn't exactly come out the way I meant it, but she totally overreacted."

"That's what Kat does. Look, there's a reason she reacted to what you said the way she did." Patrick stared at her waiting for an explanation. "Let's just say that what you said was the worst possible thing in that particular scenario with Kat."

"I thought it was just banter, it's what we do. Tell me what I did wrong."

"It's not my place, Kat will have to tell you herself. Make her tell you about Ohio. You need to hear it, it'll help you understand."

Patrick searched her face for some clue. He could see care, concern and hurt in her expression. Jesus, what happened? Now he was really apprehensive.

Bianca took a deep breath and slowly released it. "Please do something, Patrick. I can't lose her, too." She looked him in the eye. "Please, Patrick."

"What do I do? She won't talk to me. She hates me."

Bianca wiped her eyes. "No, she doesn't. She's been miserable since you broke up. She thinks she's hiding it, but she's not. Just talk to her."

"How?" He was exasperated now. "She won't take my calls or answer my texts."

"She'll be here in fifteen minutes to pick me up. Talk to her. Listen to her and make her listen to you. Find a way to tell her what you really meant to say. Tell her what she means to you. Make her change her mind." Bianca stood up. "I'm going to the mall with Chastity. Fix this, Patrick." She placed a hand on his shoulder. "Please."

Patrick walked out to the parking lot. He was going to move his bike so she wouldn't see it. His head was swimming. What happened in Ohio? What am I gonna say? I can't lose her, she means too much to me. He took a deep breath and slowly exhaled. There, he'd admitted it to himself. Now, how will I convince her to stay?

Patrick picked a spot where he could see her arrive, but she wouldn't see him. He knew he'd have to wait until she got out of her car or she'd just speed off the moment she spotted him. A few minutes later, she pulled into the parking lot, the Filthy Souls blasting from her stereo. She parked and pulled out a book while she waited. Patrick couldn't tear his eyes away from her as he was thinking about what to say.

Finally, after fifteen minutes, Kat looked around the deserted lot and decided to go find Bianca. As she approached the building Patrick suddenly stepped out in front of her. She stopped short.

Several emotions crossed her face in quick succession as Patrick took a few tentative steps toward her and said, "Kat, we need to talk."

After weeks of avoiding each other, here he was, Patrick Verona, approaching her, looking her in the eye, talking to her. She was at a loss and her stomach was twisting in knots. The she remembered the van and her resolve hardened. "I think we said everything we needed to a few weeks ago." It didn't come out sounding as strong as she wanted it to. It sounded more hurt. God, I'm so pathetic. Damn his deep voice. And his eyes. And that sexy hair.

"Well I didn't. There's something I need to say to you. Please, just listen."

Kat's eyebrows went up in surprise. Did Patrick Verona just say please? She gestured for him to continue then crossed her arms over her chest, an annoyed look on her face that she hoped was masking her curiosity.

"I'm really sorry, Kat. I am. What I said…that night…it didn't come out how I meant it. I…it…" he sighed and ran his hand through his hair, tousling the curls even more.

Kat felt her stomach tighten. God, I miss running my fingers through that hair.

"I didn't mean it how it sounded. And then, I thought we were just joking like we always do. I didn't mean…"

"What did you mean, Patrick?"

He closed the distance between them and looked her in the eye. She saw his expression soften. "I meant, from that first time I saw you, I wanted to know you. I wanted to be with you." Her expression hardened. "No, I mean…god, Kat! You know I'm not good with words. Why are you making this so damned hard?"

"Because I'm not easy like all your other sluts." She started to turn away.

Patrick grabbed her arm and made her face him. "What I mean is…right off the bat I knew you were special. Not like all the other girls. You challenged me. You called me out. You don't let me get away with anything. You make me think. You're smart and funny and quick and beautiful and…I wanted to hang out with you. And talk to you. And see your eyes light up when you talk about one of your causes. And your brow furrow when you see an injustice. And your smile when you're surprised or happy. I felt a...a...connection with you from the first time our eyes met. And that connection won't break no matter how hard either of us try to sever it."

Patrick noticed that Kat wasn't pulling against him anymore. She had turned to face him with a look of pure wonder on her face.

Might as well go for total humiliation, he thought. "You make me feel…alive. You make me feel like my life is worth something. And even when you're stubborn and self-righteous and angry, I still want to be around you make me happy, Kat. You're the only girl for me."

He shrugged. "And yeah, I want to be with you in the biblical sense, too. I mean, my god, you're sexy as hell and I am a teenage boy. There'd be something wrong with me if I didn't want to be with you. But, that isn't why I've hung out with you all these months and broken every rule I ever had about girls and dating and exclusivity. I just want to be in your life and I need you in mine. Our banter is what makes me get up in the morning. I miss it. I miss seeing your smile and hearing your voice and…everything. I miss you, Kat. And even if you never forgive me, I still want you in my world." He took a deep breath. "That's what I meant to say the other night. It was never about sex."

Kat's eyes were wide. "Wow, that was some speech," she said quietly. She still couldn't believe that Mr. Tall, Dark and Broody had just said all that. "That wasn't so hard, was it?"

He gave her a little smile. "I meant every word of it, Kat. That's why you can't leave. Bianca and your insane father need you, too, you know."

Kat's expression changed. "Bi…Bianca told you?"

"About you leaving for Nepal tomorrow night? Yeah. Kat…" He gently touched her cheek. "You can't go. Not because of me. Not because of what happened." Kat felt her resolve weakening as he caressed her cheek.

"I'm not. I'm going for me." Even she could hear how false that sounded.

"Tell me about Ohio." Kat pulled back from his touch. "Please, Kat. I need to understand why you reacted the way you did that night. I want to understand your side of it."

"Bianca didn't tell you that?"

He shook his head. "She said it wasn't her place, that you needed to tell me and I needed to hear it." He noticed Kat's shoulders relax a bit.

She took a few deep breaths and looked anywhere but at him. "Fine." She told Patrick about Josh and the night before they moved to California. And the Facebook page two days later. She had tears in her eyes and looked crushed when she was finished.

It killed him to see his tough and independent Kat look so broken. It physically hurt him. He stepped forward and put one arm around her neck, the other around her waist and pulled her into his chest tightly. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against hers. "God, Kat. I'm so sorry. I had no idea…" he whispered. He felt terrible when he thought about what he'd said that night and how it must have sounded to her.

He felt his anger building at this Josh person. He wanted to beat him into next week. All he could do was hold Kat and let her know he was there for her. He could feel her tremble a little and knew she was crying. That angered him even more. That some worthless punk had made this strong, proud girl cry. "If I'd known before we…I never would have joked…you should have told me. I'm so sorry he did that and made you feel that way. You have to believe me, I'd never..." he whispered.

"I know," she murmured.

He had never opened himself up to someone like this and he was a little scared at how vulnerable he felt. This must be how she felt in the back of that van. He mentally kicked himself for being such an ass that night.

They stood there for several minutes, Patrick holding her tightly, comforting her. Kat felt relieved that she'd finally told Patrick what happened with Josh. But she also felt a little scared. Maybe he doesn't want me now. But his arms around her, his head against hers told her differently. Don't over analyze, Kat, she told herself. For once in your life, just feel. And what she felt was safe. And happy. All because of Patrick Verona.

Patrick felt her body relax into his hold and slowly her arms came around his waist and she held onto him. "Please don't leave, Kat. Please. I'll do whatever it takes to make you stay here. If that means staying away from you, I will," he whispered into her hair.

"Don't you dare," she whispered back. Kat tightened her hold on him and felt him do the same. She smiled despite her tears. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly then pulled away from him. He had opened himself up to her and now it was her turn. She held onto his arms and said, "I need you, too, Patrick. You make me happy."

"Then I'm forgiven?" he asked.

"If you forgive me," she replied.

He smiled at her and wiped the remnants of her tears away. Then he cupped her face and leaned in for a slow, deep kiss that made their stomachs flutter and toes curl.

Patrick finally pulled away and said, "So, are you still leaving?" He stared into her eyes, trying to convey how much he wanted her to stay.

"And go a year without a kiss like that? No way."

"Will your dad be angry when you tell him?"

She cocked an eyebrow and said, "Not as angry as when I tell him we're back together."

"Oh, we're back together are we?" Kat took a step back, looking hurt. Patrick looked stricken. "God, Kat! I'm kidding. It's what we do, remember?" He saw her relax. He pulled her back into his arms. "We'd better be back together. I didn't do all this talking about feelings and stuff for nothing." He smirked at her.

Kat relaxed into his embrace and slapped him on the chest. "Shut up! You're stupid."

"Stupid for you, Stratford."

"For the record, Verona, you do just fine with words. You should use them more often."

He smiled. "Don't count on it."

This time Kat initiated the kiss. After a few minutes she pulled back, breathless. She opened her eyes and saw Patrick's were still closed. She smiled at the look of contentment on his face. "I'd better go home and break it to dad that I'm not going to a nunnery."

Patrick walked her to her car. "Want me to come with you?"

She touched his cheek. "No, thanks. I think it's best if I do this alone." Kat's face suddenly changed and she looked around. "Crap! I forgot about Bianca."

"Don't worry. She's shopping with Chastity."

Kat looked shocked then realization dawned. "That little she-devil. She had this whole thing planned."

"Yup. Looks like your brains are rubbing off on her." Patrick opened the door for Kat and she climbed into her car. "Call me later," he said, leaning down.

"Nope," she said. It was Patrick's turn to pull back and look hurt.

"I expect you at my window at midnight, sharp," she said. Patrick's expression changed to surprise. Kat started her bio-diesel and added with a smirk, "And bring some of those party favors you picked up at the clinic. You never know when you'll need them."

Kat Stratford drove off leaving one dazed, confused, excited, bemused and very happy Patrick Verona staring after her.

[- - - - - ]

A/N: Hope you enjoyed. Like I said, based mostly on the stills I saw (one in particular), the teaser for the next episode and a random spoiler I read about Nepal. I may want to tweak it more in the future, but I wanted to get it out before the finale. I can't wait to see how the story really plays out, but I'm so sad it'll be over.

Thanks so much for all the support you guys have given me. Work has been non-stop, so I haven't had time to respond to my reviews. Please know that I appreciate them very much and when I get a few minutes, I'll respond. I also want to do some reading in this section when I get the chance.

There will be more Katrick stories from me in the future, I've already written a few others.

I don't care that the show is cancelled-Katrick will live on here in ff and on my DVD player.

And ABCF can still stick it. As of 9:01 pm tomorrow, the channel will no longer be programmed into my remote.