Cat always knew that she was destined to have an atypical love. From the time when she was five years old, she knew this fact of her life.

When Cat is five, she discovers a dead butterfly in the school's yard during recess. She picks it up very gently, and looks down and cries. A boy named Beck (at least, she thought it was Beck, she was too busy thinking of rainbows and red velvet cupcakes to pay attention to everyone's name) asked her what was wrong when he saw she was crying.

"It's so beautiful, but it won't fly away anymore!" Cat cried out in desperation.

And Beck Oliver doesn't know what to do except hold her while she cries (but then the bell to go back inside rings and Cat remembers that there's cupcakes for snack today!).

It's ok for a little while.

{&}

In retrospect, Cat muses, that was when she began to fall in love with Beck. Thirteen long years ago, back when drama was defined as a dead butterfly or someone taking the crayon you wanted.

Cat wonders how the incident with Beck and the butterfly made her realize that nothing in her love life was going to be normal. She decides that it takes a certain kind of person to cry over a butterfly, and another to hold the first. Maybe so-called normal people don't cry over the loss of beautiful things, but Cat appreciates the beauty in everything around her.

That's what makes her different.

{&}

Cat is seventeen when she injects herself with heroin for the first and last time. She giggled (even more than usual), and saw rainbows in the darkness.

She remembers going over to Beck's that night and giggling over his concern for her. He called Jade and asked her what she gave to Cat (he always knew where Cat was going to be, didn't he?). Cat remembers there was arguing and it resulted in Jade hanging up on Beck. After that, Beck just laid her in his bed and sat in his chair, and just stared at her, his eyes betraying his concern.

Later, she'll realize that there was disappointment in his eyes standing next to the concern.

{&}

Cat things everyone can learn from a crayon box. It doesn't matter what color or how odd another crayon is- all the crayons learn to live in the same box.

Take Jade, for example. Jade would be a deep purple, or a black. She would be the crayon people would use when they wanted to ruin the innocence of white paper.

Or Tori and André. They'd be complementary colors, colors that were meant to go together. They'd be red and blue- the two colors mix to make violet. People might use violet to make things bloom, or when they wanted to represent truth and serenity. Just like Tori and André's relationship.

Cat wonders if she and Beck would be complementary colors. She decides that, if they were, they'd be magenta and green. Love and fate. The two often intermingle, just like Beck and Cat do.

Cat wishes that Beck would want to be her complementary color.

{&}

When Beck is thirteen, he sees Cat's new hair color for the first time. Rather than have a freak out like everyone else

"Little Brown, why'd you change your hair color? I'm calling you Little Red now, but red makes my grandma panic".

"Your hair is too vibrant for my taste. Change it."

"Girl, why you look so crazy? Go fix yourself".

"REX!"

he just goes with the flow. He's known Cat long enough to know that she's not normal. There was probably a very logical reason, in her mind, for changing her hair color.

Beck won't admit it for a while, but he likes Cat's hair color for more than one reason. She shines more brightly than anyone else now- even when Miss Tori-perfect-Vega comes along.

{&}

When Beck and Cat are sixteen, they're both dating. Just not each other.

Beck's not sure why, but he was jealous when Cat was dating Danny. The fact that Danny had Cat, the most vibrant creature to walk the earth, while Beck had dark Jade, may have caused it.
It doesn't really matter why Beck was jealous, though.

It just matters that he was.

{&}

Beck's sitting on the roof of his RV one summer night with Cat when it happens. Jade calls him, and her statements are very simple.

I know you and I aren't in love anymore.

I've found someone else.

I'm sure you'll find someone else too, soon.

Goodbye, Beck. Danny's calling me now.

Beck doesn't know what to do except turn to Cat and say "That was Jade".

She just nods, and then says "What did she say?"

"She broke up with me. It's for good this time".

There's an awkward silence for a moment between the two, and then Cat says:

"I'm sorry. I have to go now," and then she slides off the roof of the RV and starts running.

Beck doesn't notice it's not toward her house.

{&}

Cat had just wanted to run that night. She didn't care where she went. She just needed to get away from everything for a while.

From Beck.

From her feelings.

From her missed opportunity.

Rather than focus on her screwed-up affections for a boy who just broke up with his girlfriend, Cat tries to focus on the shopping she has to do for college. That fails when she remembers she and Beck are both going to the same performing arts college.

Cat curses in her mind for the first time in her life.

Shit, she thinks. I'm never going to escape him, am I? But then again, maybe I'm not supposed to. I'll just give him time to get over Jade.

So she does.

{&}

It's two weeks later when Beck calls her, and practically begs for her to come over. He misses her, and he just wants to talk to her. Won't she let him? She's been ignoring his texts and e-mails.

She gives into the begging and goes over to his RV. They talk for a long time, but manage to skid around the topic they need to talk about the most: them.

Suddenly, Beck kisses her, and Cat's kissing back gently, but then he pulls away.

"Cat, are you sure you want this?"

And for some reason, her eyes and heart say yes, but her mouth says no.

And she dies a little on the inside when she sees the look on his face.

She runs again that night.

{&}

Cat and Beck don't talk for three weeks. This time, she gives in first and calls him. Surprisingly, he answers.

"What Cat?"

And she cries just like she did over the butterfly- she fears something beautiful may have died.

"Beck…I'm sorry…please…can we try again? I was scared and didn't know what to do…"

Beck sighs, and responds:

"Cat, you hurt me. I know you didn't mean to, but you did. If we're going to work past that, then we'll have to take baby steps in this relationship. I've loved you for a long time- I see that now. But all the love in the world doesn't mean that things will work. We'll have to work at it. Are you up for that challenge?"

Cat bites her lip before answering:

"Yes, with all my love and heart".

{&}

In this happy little house, the fire's here to stay.

~Fin~


A/N: Infinite thanks to Ava (Lovely_Amelie, go read her stuff if you haven't yet, it's amazing) for the prompt: Searching for love, counting steps as we go. The quote at the end is from Amanda Seyfried's Little House.

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