Title: ash angels.

Summary: Cat has nothing left to burn.

Author's Note: Mildly edited as of 2/28/15 to fix some terrible writing (namely, I hate that I mentioned rape so casually) … Aaaand I still feel bad for not putting Cat and Tori together.

/

the good girls are always the first to die.

/

cat valentine is waiting to fall to concrete, waiting to tumble into the cosmos.

she's cloaked in black. the fabric of her dress holds her heart inside her chest. she watches crows fly away, watches how they melt into blue.

she doesn't watch the coffin being lowered to the ground. keeps her eyes trained on the sky because cat's never been good at funerals.

/

she thinks of the nights when she and tori used to play pretend. they were seventeen, threw scarves over the lampshades, giggled as they poured "tea" in plastic cups, and danced around cat's room to fifties music.

tori talked about beck and how lovely and wonderful he was. cat would sigh, clutching at her chest, proclaiming the romance between beckett oliver and victoria vega. tori would swat at cat, losing her breath to laughter as cat's voice would shift to that of a town crier's to a derby broadcaster's.

tori would tell her everything and never ask for cat to share her secrets. maybe tori knew all along, that cat was a bad girl. all bad girls have secrets, you know.

cat has always appreciated tori for letting cat keep her best secret close to her heart. she's always been the tiniest bit in love with them both, but cat never says it, just lets tori talk about beck and wonders if her secret will ever be known.

/

no one knows exactly how tori vega died. the mortician never figured out if it was the fall and the hit of the head or if it was the car after that did it in.

what everyone saw: tori's eyes blank and open, her lips laced with a half smile, her hair absorbing her blood and making it shine red.

what cat remembers: tori dancing across an empty road, hands out to cat, eyes warm and promising, and then, red on her palms.

no one mentions cat in the newspapers. no one quotes the police officer who pried cat off a corpse or cat's favorite shirt with brain matter seeped into the strings.

for weeks on end, the town mourns the silent angel laying on the ground. after a time, interviewers stop asking her grieving for stories. the pictures stop being printed. only the people who loved tori, who held her, who smiled with her, who heard her voice vibrate in their bones mourn.

and even then, most of them heal. but cat never gets right after that.

/

beck breaks up with jade ten days after they had just gotten back together. but this time, no one bothers to give a damn. there's one less seat at the table and there's no laughs or jokes or smiles.

cat holds beck's hand when he tells her, but he looks peaceful.

he turns to her, whispers, "i miss her so much."

cat doesn't say a word, because suddenly, there's two people who are in love and she always teeters on the outside, loving them both.

/

she's forgetting how tori sounds. she's forgetting how tori looks and feels — and, oh god (is there one?), she's forgetting how tori could sing.

where is she? tori, can't you come out to play? sing us a song, let your voice echo.

(why couldn't she have kissed her before she flew away?)

/

beck arrives at her house with alcohol on his breath, bloodshot eyes, burned fingers. he stumbles over everything as she walks him up her steps, and even though there is no one home, she begs him to be quiet.

he kisses cat sloppily on the mouth, whispers, "i was in love with her. all i wanted was her."

he collapses on her furry carpet. she picks up as many blankets as she can find and tosses them on on him. she lays next to him to make sure he's still breathing.

she can't lose him too.

/

tori kisses cat's cheek before she goes out on stage. tori's all bundled nerves and red lipstick and glitter, and cat thinks she should be like this more often. tori sneaks a look at beck, and before cat can realize what's happening, beck and tori are on stage, kissing.

all the air goes out of the room. the script says that this is what's supposed to happen, but somehow, it feels wrong to watch — too perfect, too intimate, like peeking through glass houses.

(jade breaks a mirror and gains seven years of bad luck.

cat closes her eyes so she doesn't have to see.)

/

cat wakes up to beck sleeping next to her, and before she talks herself out of it, she leans into his mouth and brushes her electric mouth across his.

(in his sleep, he whispers, "tori.")

cat runs. she doesn't know where she's going, but she goes anyway.

/

tori brings cat to a senior's party. they drink crappy beer until tori finds some vodka, hidden under the sink. the alcohol makes cat blissfully warm and light all over, and with tori's hand in hers, she wonders if anything will ever make her feel this much. some drunk boy from her pre-calc class asks her a question and then hits on her, making tori wink and glide through the party. she gets away from him, after he slides his hand down her arm, with a classic clutch of the stomach and a i don't feel so great, but doesn't see tori anywhere.

cat wanders aimlessly, asking where tori is, but she only hears drunken boys mutter things about bedrooms or the backseat of some guy's car or the outside patio with mean smirks plastered on their smug faces. cat's stomach starts to roll this time.

cat kisses the boy from her pre-calc class. he has pretty eyes and no personality. but this is just a measure to escape her thoughts that maybe those assholes were right. but his mouth does nothing to ease her anxiety, so she excuses herself from the boy again, this time with no words, walks to the bathroom, and throws up.

cat walks home after that, eyes trained on the the black sky. the north star leads her to her bed. tori doesn't call and cat wonders if this is how life is going to be — enormous highs followed by radio static lows.

/

cat's running from everyone — the boy on her bedroom floor, from the girl laying in her coffin, from everyone's broken eyes, from love that doesn't end after death.

she goes all the way to the train stop, buys a ticket to new york. it costs her practically everything in her bank account, but she knows this is what she needs to do.

she's about to board the train when she sees his face.

he doesn't make a fuss about it, just looks at her in his most heart breaking way. she signals for him to come and jump on the train, but she knows, as she does it, he will never leave. his feet are chained to the platform, to all of his memories, to the ground in which his love is buried.

cat finally really realizes that she will never be what he wants, that he will never really be what she wants. so, she waves goodbye, letting the train take her away from the boy she thought she once loved and away from the dead girl she knew she always love.

.

tori whispers in cat's ear, leaving the faint scent of alcohol and sunshine in cat's ear, "that night at the party, i had sex with someone. but the thing is, i didn't really want to do it."

they had been drinking whiskey from cat's dad's liquor cabinet, telling stories and sharing gossip. but suddenly, knowing that tori has a secret, cat feels sober.

"what are you saying, tori?" she asks urgently.

"i don't know," tori says. "i just... i wasn't sure if i wanted to do it."

ice covers cat's brain as she processes the what if's. someone had touched tori. someone had laid their hands on her — and cat could've found her. cat went home. cat left when tori needed her the most.

tori shrugs and barks out a laugh. she gets in cat's bed and looks over at her dumbstruck friend.

"i'm going to bed," tori must be saying. cat can't hear, but she can read tori's lips like they're fingers miming sign language. "i'm not feeling so well."

tori tucks herself in like she's done it a million times and cat nods, forgetting her friend can't see.

once she hears tori's loud breathing, she runs to the bathroom and throws up.

/

the train ride feels like it's bringing her back rather than forward. every moment with tori swims in her head. certain ones splash into her brain with such force she has to close her eyes.

there's no buoy, no boy, no thing that can keep her afloat, so she gives in and remembers.

/

cat remembers that moment most of all.

/

they're on the swings. tori's trying to grab cat's hands, laughing when they keep slapping each other's hands. cat gets desperate to grab tori's hand and feels a warmth that rises up her belly when she finally catches tori's hands and their swings become synchronized.

"we're married!" tori shrieks, giggling. "what color china do we request?"

cat closes her eyes and laughs to let the warmth circulate through her veins. through her eyelids, she can see the sun.

/

a list:

the way she laughed, the way she makes you feel like sugar plums and rainbows are bouncing in your belly, the way knock knock jokes would make her laugh so hard she'd cry.

the way the sun fell through her hair in gold sheets.

the title of this list…

/

"are you sure you want to do this?" tori asks.

"yes," cat firmly says.

cat falls backwards for only seconds, and yet, it feels like free falling through the sky. she only smiles when she hits tori's arms.

"that was amazing," cat whispers.

tori grins and pouts when her wisdom teeth get in the way. cat giggles and tori asks, "does my pain amuse you?"

cat says as earnestly as the moment will let her, "i never want anything to hurt you."

/

a wave crashes over cat's brain and the blackness behind her eyelids turns blue-green.

she's being dragged to the bottom of the sea. but then, through a patch of seaweed, she feels tori's hand, tugging her to the surface.

cat opens her eyes in the water. her eyes sting at the feel of heavy salt. her two month late tears mix with the water. cat wonders if this ocean is filled with the tears she should've been crying.

tori smiles and bubbles fly out of the corners of her mouth. she lets go of cat's hand. cat tries to reach for her hand, but she misses entirely.

cat's eyes open and her chest heaves under the weight of everything that was and wasn't. she sticks her hands in her pocket and finds the lighter tori gave her for her seventeenth birthday, stroking the safety.

cat knows, now, that there's nothing but ashes left of tori.

but she will always keep them in her pocket.

/