Disclaimer: Victorious does indeed belong to me... in an alternate universe. v_v

It's not easy being with Cat. I wasn't stupid enough to think it would be. I know it's not easy to be with me either. She's like an abused animal, cowering and scared, and I've got my hand stretched out to her, voice soothing, promising her safety, promising her love. And she slowly, slowly approaches, sniffs at the back of my hand, lets me pet her before skittering back. But she stays a little longer each time, and I can see the day where she won't run away at all. And she'll always be a little wary, she'll still flinch when I raise my hand, but it'll be a reflex, quickly forgotten. Something she can't help, that doesn't mean a thing. A scar that twinges, and nothing more.

Those first few days were grey, were awkward. We'd gone so far in such a short time, too far. A long rush followed by a sudden stop, and we were still trying to clear our heads from the crash. She'd take my hand tentatively, and let it go at the slightest movement. When I kissed her, it was slow, cautious, and her hands stayed against my shoulders, always ready to push me back. She was keeping herself apart, and maybe it was for the best. She needed time to heal, and so did I. I'd taken the slightest flickers of my heart before, and ramped them out of control, because it was the first time I'd felt anything, since I'd felt a stirring in there at all. I'd been waking up slowly, and I'd jolted myself out of it, instead of letting it happen naturally.

It's hard to start again. There's a lot of the past in the way. You think just because you did things before, you can do them now. You forget that things are different. I can't say I love her anymore. It makes her freeze, makes her shy away and stammer awkward things. I don't know if it's just because she doesn't believe me, or if she doesn't love me anymore, but can't bring herself to say so. I'm hoping time'll fix that. It's supposed to heal all wounds, and this is a gaping one. Part of me likes this... doing things properly, honestly. I'm not pretending like I was never bad, like I never hurt her, I see that in her eyes every day. But it makes me feel good when I see it fade a little more each day. I'm getting to do all the things you're supposed to do when you start dating someone. It's... normal, and it's something Cat's never had; a normal relationship. I've even taken her out to dinner. Sure it was just pizza, but hey, we both like pizza.

Tori still watches me like I'm some snake, writhing in Cat's hand, getting ready to twist my flat head round and bite her, and I can still feel Beck's eyes on me, on us. He's trying hard, but there's always a slight hesitance in his step before he comes over, still a gap between his actions and his emotions. I have to hope that time'll fix those too. But really, I couldn't give a fuck. I want Beck to be happy, sure, but he's not my priority anymore. And I've pretty much told Tori she can get fucked if she tries to poison Cat's mind. She's the snake to me, not that I'd really think she'd do something like that. She wouldn't be that stupid, or that mean. But I'd be lying if I said I was all high and mighty and benevolent and ever so sweet. No. I'm still me, and I still get jealous as hell. I've accepted the monster in me, but I'll never show it to her, I'll never let it control me again. Venom's in my blood, but it's not always a poison. They make antivenom out of snake venom, after all. It's good in small doses. When I was with Beck, he was a balance, but with Cat, we're both out of control, we both tip over the edge so easily, and we're barely strong enough to pull ourselves back. It's a lot of effort to be with her, to keep us together, but it's a good thing, to try for something you love. To have to fight for it, and I have to believe it'll pay off. That if we can't fix the cracks in each other, we can at least cover as many with our hands, our lips, our skin, as we can.

Sometimes, it's not so hard. Like this afternoon. Sometimes, I can forget about trying, and just relax with her. I can be the best part of myself, I can make myself vulnerable. Talking. It's how we spend most of our time when we're alone, filling the silence with words about anything, about ourselves, or... in Cat's case, fluffy, cute, sweet things. And if it was anyone else but her, I'd hate it. Hell, I used to, and I'm not gonna lie, I don't listen to everything she says. But I watch her, I listen to her tone, and I hear a lot more than I used to. But this afternoon, the talking stutters to a stop. We're both lying back on my bed, hard music playing softly, and I'm watching a spider dance it's way across my ceiling in quick bursts. It takes me a minute to notice that Cat's soft voice has stopped, and I look over. Silence with Cat is usually not a good thing. When she gets lost in her thoughts, it's hard to find her again.

"Hey. What's wrong?" I turn on my side towards her, reaching a hand out to stroke her violent hair. I've always liked that shade of red, for my own morbid reasons.

She shifts onto her side, a little furrow in her brow, eyes shadowed by her lowered lashes. She shakes her head a little, and I take my hand away. "Nothing."

"Cat..." I raise my eyebrows at her sceptically.

She looks at me, chocolate eyes wide, that furrow disappearing. "No, I mean... nothing. Nothing is wrong, Jade." A soft smile spreads across her lips. "Nothing's wrong."

And I don't know what to say to that. If I can even say something. All I can do is match my smile to hers, and realise again how everything was worth this. Cat leans over, licking her lips, and this too, was worth everything. If nothing else, I want to feed my addiction, and kissing her is an awful lot like a drug. For a while, I was forced to quit, and it made me realise how much I needed it. It's controlled now, our kisses stay short, sweet. Chaste, even, and while my mind appreciates why, my body is less understanding. Still, I've always been into the good kind of pain.

Cat pulls back with a quiet sigh, fingers tracing their way down my arm to find my hand. "I know I'm not easy to be with. And you're trying so hard. But it's not working. I don't want this." It's like a slap, harder and crueller than the one her mother gave me. Everything is wrong. It snaps my neck and paralyses me, and my tongue is trying to form the words of protest, to even just squeak out a no, a stop. Cat's eyes move from where they're studying our hands, her fingers playing with mine, to lock onto my face, coffee coloured eyes sombre. "I want to be like we were Jade. Being careful is no fun. I want it to hurt a little. I want it to be like that movie we saw. I want to be scared. I want you to be you, not half. I like your claws. Remember? You said they were sharper than everyone else's."

"Y-you remember that?" My tongue is clumsy, mangling the words, ripped out of rhythm by my heart. I'm listening to her more than I ever have, because the words are incredibly important, but they're streaming right by me, and I'm desperately trying to grab at them and pull them into order.

She nods. "Mhm. They're sharper, but you don't use them on me. You're like a kitty now." She brings her hand up, curling her fist into a paw. "You pull your claws back, and you're not Jade. Your words are all sliced and grey, and they're nice, they are, but they're not you. You're holding yourself back. I want... I want you. Everything. It's okay if you scratch me sometimes, I'll heal. I... I want it to be like it was."

I know this is a good thing. I'm sure it is, but it's terrifying. But the whole point of being with Cat was that I'd finally stopped holding myself back, hiding my feelings. And, stupidly enough, that's what I've been doing, because I've been so scared to lose them. I've been holding it close to myself, and coddling it, not... I've been playing it safe again. And while that's fine, that's probably what normal people do, we're not normal. We're shattered messes, we're not supposed to keep things safe. We're chaos, and we were never supposed to have a normal relationship. It's nice, it's predictable, but it's not us. I'm not nice, and Cat's not predictable. But I'm so scared to fuck this up again. I want it to be like it was too, and maybe she's right. Maybe I have to be a little bit more like I was, and not tread so carefully.

My lips find Cat's easily. I'm pretty sure I could find them in pitch black darkness by now. My hand slides onto that curve in her waist, just before it becomes her hips, resting in that little hollow so perfectly, like it was made for my hand to fit. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about... about the first time we had sex. I think about it a lot. Usually at night, when I can... act on it. And despite how everything ended up, I don't regret it. I don't think Cat does either. We moved fast, but it only made it better. We're not supposed to creep. We're the relationship equivalent of streaking; dangerous, stupid, risky, but fun. Memorable. The kind of relationship we had only ends two ways; it crashes and burns, or it soars. But since we got back together, I've been too scared to even take it off the ground. I have to at least try, to loosen my restraints and hope that if it feels wrong, I can pull back, and chain my hands to my side once again.

Cat's lips taste like pineapple lipgloss, and she smells like some soft, girly perfume with a name that's an adjective, but underneath everything, I can taste her, I can smell her. She's what makes my head swim. Her lips are so soft, so yielding, and she makes a soft sound in the back of her throat when I shift closer, lean into her more. But her tongue meets mine with just as much passion, her hands are the first to creep onto my breasts, even as I push her onto her back, straddle her. Part of me hopes she can feel how hard my heart is racing, how hard it is for me to take a full breath. I can feel her heart speed giddily against my lips when I touch them to her throat, I can hear how her breath shudders, feel it feather my face, and it feels so good to feed my addiction. To take my fill of her, and breathe her into my lungs, my veins. This is what this started as; raw, animal attraction. Wanting Cat before I even wanted her. Before I ever felt anything for her, there was this, every time we kissed. Like two magnets snapping together. Every time I got close to her, I was fighting it. It's something I've never really experienced with anyone else, this loss of control. It's dangerous, but it's beautiful.

Somehow, my hand's already crawling underneath her top, skating over the smooth, hot skin and feeling Cat's muscles shiver with her uneven breath. I stop over the lacy material of her bra, breaking my lips away from hers. "Are... are you okay?"

Cat's nervous. I can feel it in the way her breath is short, too short, the way her eyes skitter over me and her lips tremble, but she nods. She wants to be scared. And it's not that I'm brave, that I'm not nervous; it's just it's so hard to think around her. She overwhelms me, and makes it impossible to be scared, and even if I was, I'd be hard pressed to stop. Not when she feels so... not when she's... she's Cat. It's impossible to describe why everything she does makes me... makes me so much myself and not at the same time. It's just Cat.

I kiss my way along her jawline, finding my way back to her lips, and she shuts her eyes tight, breath catching, hand tangling in my hair. My fingers trace along the cup of her bra, lace tickling my palm, drawing the contours before they slip underneath to touch her directly, to feel that hot, soft flesh that rises and falls with her breaths. I can feel her nipple hardening under my palm, and I move to brush my thumb over it, Cat jerking, my name slicing out of her lips, cut in pieces by her teeth. I wonder for a moment if I'm dreaming, if Cat's soft voice lulled me to sleep, and this is just some pent up fantasy that seems super real. I'm not sure whether I'd prefer that or not. No, actually, I'd much prefer if it were real. I always forget my dreams.

"Hey." Cat's voice is soft, a little huskier than normal, her fingertips tilting my chin up, eyes scanning me. "Is something wrong?"

My fingers twitch from where they've stilled in their caresses, the elastic of Cat's bra marking the back of my hand. Now she's the one asking me. Our roles always feel like they're reversing, like we're never stable, but at least that means we can always be what we need each other to be. "Are you sure?"

Cat smiles softly, long, dark lashes shading her eyes. "It's you."

Cat can talk for ten minutes and never say a thing, but she's said a wealth in just those two words. And my heart hears it so much better than my head does; it's almost painful, the way it lunges, knocking the breath out of my lungs. I'm all shaken to pieces around her. I can't stop my fingers from trembling as I slip them out of her top, skating down over her stomach. A skirt. Why is it always a skirt? It makes it so easy to... to touch her, and I shudder as my fingers creep along her inner thigh, pushing her skirt up. Cat's breath catches in her throat, and I press my lips to her throbbing pulse, feeling her swallow hard, lips parted. If I could I'd make it like the first time. I'd hold off and make it perfect, not some rushed, quiet thing done before my parents get home. But I know how good it is, how good it feels, and it's been far too long. I've lost control, but Cat's there to catch me, to reassure me. I still find it incredible that I can make her feel this way. She's my favourite instrument to play. I stroke over Cat's panties, feeling the heat radiate from underneath the damp cotton, and, as always, it feels so much better than memory.

Cat lets out a soft moan as I rub over the material, her hands hard on my waist, and that sound... it always freezes me, always stuns me. It's so vulnerable, and just... just so... goddamn hot. It drives me crazy, makes me impatient, makes me want to strive to bring more forth, and I know that if I rub harder, if I rub faster, they'll come pouring out of her. But I keep my strokes light, keep her twitching and shivering against me, and it's as much an exercise in control as it is to tease her. Only problem is; it's teasing me as well, and I've never been a patient person. Some part of me is telling me to slow down, to make sure she's still okay with all this, to make sure I am, but that part is small, and drowned out by Cat's breathy moans.

There's still enough doubt left in me to hesitate at the top of her panties, fingers dipping just under the waistband, barely touching her, and I think again of asking her if it's okay, if she's sure. That is, until she looks at me, her pupils huge and dark, cheeks flushed and lips shining. All it takes is one word, "Please." and the last vestige of control is ripped from me. And then I'm touching her directly, fingertips growing hot and wet with her, and Cat's hands are gripping me so hard, fingers flexing. Just the way she reacts, the way her skin flushes and her hips move underneath me, the way her muscles shiver and her lips part... it stirs something hot and visceral in me. She cuts to the very core of me, strips it bare and strokes it with a velvet touch. And honestly, I'm not sure if this is the right thing to do or not, but I'm starting to learn that maybe that doesn't matter. Maybe I shouldn't be overthinking everything, and wondering if it's wrong, or if it's too soon. Maybe if it happens, if we both want it, then it's enough. Maybe I'm not supposed to be sure with her, to always know what to do. If I get too comfortable with her, maybe it means the excitement is gone, the passion... I sink into a rut like I did with Beck. I should be uncertain.

Cat's breath grows thick, heavy, her hips moving up against me, and my fingers rub her harder, hand shaking, lips trembling against her neck, feathering it with short breaths. Right now, in this moment, I'm not thinking. She consumes me, I'm filled with nothing but her, in this one moment. It chases everything else away, and her soft, ragged pants drown out anything that tries to pry it's way into my head. Cat's hand finds my cheek, fingertips under my chin, tilting my head to hers, and she meets my lips with her own quivering ones. And somehow, that kiss means so much. It's soft, and shuddering, and broken, but she wanted to kiss me. She broke through the building pleasure in her to do so, and even now she's starting to tense, a muffled moan escaping from where her teeth are sunk into her lower lip. I flick my fingers in short, quick strokes, trying to tip her over the edge, to make her breath burst free from her, carrying my name on it. Cat's back arches off the bed, hips pushing into me, but it's a soft sound she makes, that melts my heart, like her voice is a flame flickering across my ribs, lapping at me. When she says my name, it's steady, it's a statement, it's not a nameless question begging me for something. It's just... Jade. And if I try hard enough, I can almost hear what she wants to say after it. What she's scared to say, because last time she did, it tore her apart. But for now, it's enough. It's enough to know that there the words are still there, because I was so scared she didn't love me anymore. Even if this was a mistake, what we just did, even if it was too soon, at least I know now. At least I know I'm not trying for nothing. And the day when she says those words again; they'll mean everything.

I'll wait forever to hear them.

A/N: Voila, le final chapter!

I realise things aren't wrapped in a neat little bundle, but... life never is. It's confusing, and messy, and I've tried to replicate it even to the smallest degree.

And now that this... mammoth fic is over, well and truly, I do hope that you'll review, even if it's just to pet me on the head and say, "That'll do pig, that'll do."

Then I'll use mice to sing the passage of time; Three Weeks Later~

I got sidetracked... please review ^_^