greetings, victorious fans! this is my first story for this fandom, and hopefully it meets the expectations of those who've been reading/writing victorious far longer than I have! jade & beck are definitely the main reason why I watch the show, and I do hope that this story does them justice.

as of now, this story is only planned to be about 4-5 chapters, but who knows? hopefully it's not too long, I already have a lot on my plate!

enjoy the first chapter!

(blanket disclaimer: the author owns nothing that the reader recognizes)

title lyrics lovingly borrowed from Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson


i want to believe in more than you and me

but all that i know is i'm breathing

(all i can do is keep breathing)


Beck messed things up good this time.

He knew that she was absolutely livid, because her pale face was flushed and her hands were clenched into shaking fists at her sides, but what was worse, what was different this time around was that instead of a look of anger on her face, she looked utterly defeated—and that scared him more that her screaming ever did.

He wished that he and Jade could have had this conversation somewhere more private (like his RV, where he could silence her yelling with a hard kiss) instead of this standoff by their lockers, but there was a sinking feeling in his gut that told him that definitely wasn't going to happen (not when he felt so painfully rooted to the ground).

Before he could even open his mouth to explain himself (but he really couldn't—he was flirting with Vega and now he knew how completely foolish it was), Jade wet her lips and stared him down with an unfamiliar intensity.

"Go on, Beck, you're free now."

Her voice was so steady and so soft and so wholly unlike Jade, his Jade, who screamed and stomped and always made perfectly clear exactly how furious she could get. But this… oh… His heart seemed suddenly lodged tightly in his throat and his ribs felt too tight (he couldn't fucking breathe) and he could hear everything around him; all the whispers of the onlookers and the thrumming of his blood in his ears.

Hopelessly he backpedaled.

"Jade, no—"

"You want out? Okay, done. I release you from your bonds."

There was that familiar sarcasm of hers (but it wasn't the same), and she sneered and gestured and looked so completely in her element, that if he couldn't practically hear her heart breaking, he would've been proud of her. But he didn't have the right to be proud of her anymore (not when he just had his fingers tangled in Vega's hair and his mouth on her skin).

"Babe, just let me explain what happened—"

In vain, he tried to move closer, but she raised her hands in front of herself, a stance of self-preservation that was not lost on him. All of a sudden his throat felt too dry for words and his pleas stuck helplessly behind his teeth.

"Jade, just let me—"

Silently she shook her head, and he saw that her eyes were quickly growing glassy. He knew she wouldn't cry in front of him, in front of the gathering crowd—she had far too much pride to let that happen, but he could see how much she wanted to.

Again, he reached out to touch her, and the look she gave him broke his heart (and everything grew so achingly numb).

"You know that I'll always lov—"

"Please, don't say anything."

(oh.)

The situation just couldn't be real (she said please, she doesn't say please) but it was real, and before he could speak another word, Jade was gone in a wave of black lace and the scent of sandalwood.

The people around him cheered ("the Wicked Witch of the West is dead!"); Beck snarled at them and landed a frightening punch on Tori's locker (he was a lover, not a fighter, and the pain that bloomed across his knuckles did little to clear his head). The lights on its surface flickered and faded, the crowd dispersed, and uselessly he ran a hand through his hair. He wasn't prepared for the myriad of emotions weighing down his lungs and tangling in his throat—it was almost dizzying.

There was secret romantic inside him that wanted to chase Jade down, force her to listen, to love him again… but she had always been the uninhibited passion to his practiced lethargy, and with her gone (no no no), he couldn't find the heart to even move from this spot.

But then there was a strong hand on his shoulder, and Beck turned to see Andre's face glowering at him.

"Andre…"

"Look man, I'm not always Jade's biggest fan, but that was a dick move you pulled with Tori on her, pretty-boy."

Beck was sort of taken aback, considering that Andre was one of his closer friends, but the words were refreshingly abrasive (just like Jade's—oh, he was such a fucking masochist) and he found himself nodding.

"I know."

"Then do what you've got to do. Get the hell out of here and find Jade. I'll talk to Tor."

His shoulders slumped a little in relief. There was that kick in the ass that he'd come to rely on. But Beck wasn't entirely daft, he knew that Andre was head over heels for the new girl, and was at least partially vying for a truce, merely for his and Tori's sake.

"You're right. Thanks man."

"Don't thank me just yet." Andre tossed back as he walked towards to Sikowitz's classroom.

Alone in the hallway, Beck tried to brainstorm where Jade may have gone. He was positive that she'd left the school grounds (the slamming of the main entrance doors gave her away), but to be truthful, he wasn't sure where she'd head after that. With the returning sensation of his heart sinking, he remembered that he drove her to school earlier (stealing kisses at stoplights and feigning disinterest when her nails skated down his thighs) in his truck, and there was no way in hell she'd wait and get a ride from him later.

As another guilty sigh escaped his lips, he decided to search for her—on foot in this heat, she probably hadn't gotten too far. Without sparing a glance to the security cameras by the door, he exited the building and bolted towards his truck. At the moment, Beck wasn't feeling particularly nostalgic (not when his mind was set on finding her and fixing them) and he didn't notice all the little hints of her left around the truck, like the spare hair elastic looped around the gear shift or the few scattered pieces of marked staff paper on the floor, even the print of her lipstick on the rim of his travel mug. His proper driving etiquette seemed to fly out of his head and he found himself really favoring the gas pedal.

Jade wasn't one of those girls who had a 'spot' to sit and 'think'; none of that crap with park swing-sets and Polaroid cameras and daisy chains. His mind suddenly clicked; she must've just gone home—there was nowhere else for her to go in the middle of the day. From his current position (stuck behind the only idiot going the exact speed limit) he calculated the quickest route to her house, and pulled violently down a deserted side street.

Immediately, his heart pounded against his ribs as he recognized the bright teal extensions on the brunette walking up ahead. Her step was quick, trying to put as much distance between herself and the school as possible, seemingly paying no heed to her surroundings. He pressed down on the gas pedal, racing forward to match her stride. When he finally caught up to her, Jade whirled around, already aware of his presence, even though he'd made no motions to get her attention.

Her face was set in hard lines, her elegant brows drawn together and her mouth pinched closed, no doubt holding back all the words she refused to say (because speaking to him would be like letting him back in, giving him an opening, an excuse to feel better about himself). With the press of a button by Beck's wrist, the passenger window rolled down and he leaned towards her (she was still walking away from him and he was still inching forward at her speed—a pathetic chase).

"Jade, please, let's just talk!"

He was sort of taken aback (but not really) when she landed a solid kick on the gleaming cherry metal of the passenger door, most likely leaving a long scratch and a possible dent (but he knew he deserved it, and didn't say a word).

"Don't you dare speak to me." She grit out, still walking.

Once again, people around them were watching, casting confused looks at the scowling brunette and the pleading youth in the truck.

"Please, just let me tell you what happened. Don't I deserve at least that?"

Her eyes widened and she stopped. Before Beck could even let it sink in that he'd just fucked things up even worse, Jade let out a sob, one that was quickly silenced when she clapped her hand over her mouth in horror. She looked absolutely mortified, as if she couldn't believe that sound of anguish came from her own lips (and in front of him, no less).

Stunned, Beck took his foot off the gas and the truck slowed to a crawl. The words were trapped in his lungs (but perhaps it was better that way).

"You deserve nothing." Jade finally managed as she returned to her steady gait.

Her sob was still ringing in his ears (you broke her you broke her) and it wasn't until he heard the sound of a car honking behind him that he realized that he stopped in the middle of the street. Jade was nowhere to be seen (how long has he sat there, frozen?), but he knew her house wasn't that far away, and he could still catch up to her.

It was barely two o'clock—he knew her parents were at work—so he wasn't afraid to use his key to get into the house. He knew the security code to the gate and the combination for the house alarm; dating Jade for almost two years awarded him that knowledge (though she always spent more time with him in his RV than he spent with her in her parent's house). When the front door closed behind him, Jade was sitting halfway up the foyer staircase, her eyes locked onto his frame.

Hesitantly, Beck took a step forward, unsure if she was as skittish as she was earlier. But Jade didn't move, instead her gaze merely darkened.

And suddenly he couldn't take the silence anymore, and the words came spilling out of his mouth.

"I kissed Tori. I kissed her this morning. She was… excited about getting that lead part opposite me and she came over to my locker and was just… all in my face and smiling and laughing and I kissed her. It was stupid and wrong and I don't love her, Jade, I swear I don't. But I kissed her."

The words sounded wrong, sounded wrong in his head and even worse out in the open, in the heavy space between them. Jade already knew of his confession, but that didn't mean that it was any easier for her to hear. Visibly she flinched, before schooling her features into a mask (she protected her face to protect her heart).

"So what do you want me to say, Beck?" She asked sharply, after the stillness between them reached an unbearable point, "Do you want me to absolve you? To say, 'Oh, don't worry, Beck! Of course it didn't mean anything!' and let you wash away your guilt? I'm not going to do that."

Heedlessly, he took several strides towards her. Jade held her ground, but still appeared tense, though she disguised it with a languid slouch against the banister.

"I'm just… I know I was wrong. I can't explain why I did what I did, but I know it won't ever happen again. I can promise you that it will never happen again. I love you, I've always loved you, and I'm sorry that I hurt you. I'm so sorry Jade, and I want nothing more than for us to all right again."

"There is no 'us'. Not anymore." Her tone was clipped, frosty—a defense mechanism that he recognized clearly, but couldn't fight against.

His heart sank.

"Please, Jade," he whispered, "give me another chance."

She rose mechanically, her face impassive. Without a second glance, she ascended the rest of the staircase.

"Leave your key on the side table by the door."

Beck was left standing in the middle of the foyer, dumbfounded. It took several moments for him to realize that his fists were clenched, and when he unfolded his palm, he finally felt the sharp bite of Jade's house keys on his skin.

He moved on auto pilot, leaving the key in the ceramic dish by the door (a dish he'd seen a hundred times, it meant nothing and now everything and now nothing) before he let himself out of the house. The click of the door shutting behind him sounded like a gunshot in his ears, a bell tolling the end of a chapter or something equally symbolic, equally difficult to recover from. Standing there on her front porch, he didn't even know what to do with himself, he was too numb to form a coherent thought, let alone drive a vehicle.

But he did, he crossed the driveway and got in his truck and drove away, drove anywhere else. He wanted to go home, back to his RV, but he knew that there was a neat pile of her clothes in his dresser and his pillows still held the fragrance of her perfume. When they broke up before, it was to teach her a lesson, that he wasn't expendable or to be trifled with (and during those days apart it was nice to have her scent still around) but this time, he was the one with the lesson to learn and he wasn't sure if she was going to let him back into her life (and he wasn't sure if he'd ever be able to smell sandalwood again and not think of her).

But even though he was torn about heading home, he did so, driving the familiar journey back to his place from Jade's (though this time his heart was considerably heavier). He wasted no time idling in his driveway, instead hurrying into the RV with a frown marring his features. It was then, alone in his room, that he noticed the little things, the small, insignificant things that he got used to when his life was in tandem with hers. There lay a necklace, one with a long thin chain, on his nightstand that he knew for a fact belonged to her ("Merry Christmas, Babe"), a note with her distinctive handwriting on his message board (Beck & Jade's Rules—NO ROTTWEILERS!), her forgotten song writing journal next to the throw pillows on the couch ("Write me song?" "Sure, write me a check.")

He spent several long minutes lying on his bed, trying to make sense of the entire situation, when his cell phone chirped with an incoming text message. Slowly, he pulled out the device and scanned the message from Andre.

'talked 2 tori, she says she feels really bad and wants 2 apologize 2 u and jade'

Beck's eyes narrowed as he typed away his reply.

'she and I will talk about it later. as for jade, tori should probably stay far away.'

Andre's reply was slow to arrive.

'so u and jade r done then?'

He hesitated. Replying with the answer would make it real (too real), but he figured that the sooner people knew about him and Jade, the sooner they'd get over it and find something else to gossip about. Beck sent his reply with a heavy heart.

'yeah, it's over between us.'

'sorry 2 hear that man. maybe things will turn out all right.'

'maybe.'

The conversation died soon after—neither male had anything left to say—Andre was still irritated with both Beck and Tori, while Beck was too distracted with the reality of his actions' repercussions to send back any messages.

Rolling over onto his side, Beck closed his eyes and tried to imagine his next move. Should he try and talk to Tori, clear up the mess the two of them had made together? Or would cornering Jade and begging for a second chance make more sense? None of the ideas sounded worthwhile in his head, and the sigh that escaped his lips did little to release the tension that was coiled around his heart.


and there's the first chapter!

please please please let me know what you think!

x

fandrastic