Author's Note: This was supposed to be Christmas fluff but it ended up being Christmas... whatever this is. Sad, but still fluff in a way. But not very Christmas-y at all other than the fact that it's set on Christmas Eve. So... Enjoy anyway. I'm actually really proud of this. The song lyrics that Cat sings at the end are from I'll Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie, which is basically the perfect song for this fic, so it might help if you listen to it while reading this. This fic was inspired by A Christmas Tori, because that episode had me fangirlling all over the place for every ship possible and I had to write something, and I thought it was gonna end up Christmas-y and fluffy but... This is how it ended up. I hope you still like it. Don't forget to review and stuff!
Disclaimer: I don't own Victorious. If I did, you would know, because Jori and Cabbie would be canon by now. Trust me.
Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas is supposed to be spent with friends and family and people that love you. Christmas is supposed to be the time when you remember why everyone in your life is there, and when you don't have to convince yourself that you're important.
But when to one friend you are a perky little redhead that needs to be slapped, and to all the others you are nothing more than the cute little stupid one, and your family seems to have forgotten all about you after your brother tried to eat the turkey bone at Christmas dinner and they had to take him to the emergency room and left you at home, your Christmas is anything but wonderful.
And you do not understand. You do not understand what you did wrong. You know that you are different, but you don't understand how. No one does, really. They see you as no more than you are. They see you as stupid and slow and annoying, as overly optimistic and lost in your own little world. And yet that is all you are. Perhaps that is all you ever will be.
You cannot stay here, on this unusually lonesome Christmas Eve, after such an unusually painful Christmas dinner. As you watch your parents speed off towards the hospital, your father driving frantically and your mother comforting your choking brother in the back seat, you cling to the small possibility of hope that your Christmas will return to normal before tomorrow morning, and you find yourself venturing out of the house. And you do not even know where you are going, but before you know it you find yourself on Robbie's doorstep.
You have only been to Robbie's house once before, and it was by car from Tori's house, so you have no idea how you managed to walk there without even realizing it now. Nonetheless, you find yourself ringing the doorbell, rocking on your heals with your hands poised behind your back as you wait for someone to answer.
It is a man that answers, taller and older than Robbie, and not quite as awkward looking, and you recognize him as Robbie's father. He was here last time you were over at Robbie's place.
"Hey, Mr. Shapiro! Can I talk to Robbie?" You greet cheerfully, grinning widely and lifting a hand in a childish wave. Mr. Shapiro blinks.
"Um... Cat, is it?" He cocks his head slightly.
"Yeah! That's me, Cat Valentine!" You giggle, fondling your hair as always.
"Yes. Well, Cat Valentine. It's nice to see you, but... It's eight thirty on Christmas Eve. Surely you should be home with your family?"
"Well, I would be, but my parents had to take my brother to the hospital, because while we were eating Christmas dinner he decided to try eating a turkey bone and it got stuck in his throat so he started hacking and then-"
"Robbie! Your friend Cat is here to see you." Mr. Shapiro cut off your story, calling over his shoulder for his son. You giggle excitedly as you wait for Robbie, grinning widely at him as he appears in the doorway and his father steps back.
"Cat? What are you doing here?" He asks, clearly just as puzzled to see you as his father was, and you are beginning to doubt ever having come. Perhaps you should turn around and run now before...
And it is too late now; your legs have decided to follow whatever little thought popped into your head just now, and you are now running across Robbie's lawn, onto the sidewalk, and out into the seemingly empty street until-
"Cat!" Robbie screams, and that is the last thing you hear. A skid of tires, a flash of light, and then darkness.
"Cat! No!" You call again, your breathing heavy as you run out onto the street. "Mom, Dad! Get help! Call 911!" Suddenly you are by her side, checking her pulse, holding her limp hand. Your parents are rushing out after you, your dad with a cellphone in hand, speaking briskly to whoever is on the other end. The passenger of the car that hit Cat gets out, a petite blonde lady that looks about your mother's age, holding her hand to her mouth and apologizing profusely, exchanging worried looks with your parents.
In the distance, you hear the sirens. Your face is stained with tears, and you are still at her side. "Why, Cat? Why couldn't you just tell me why you came? I wouldn't have judged you if you didn't have anyone to spend Christmas with... I would have let you spend the evening with my family. We have plenty of Christmas dinner left... You didn't have to run off. Please, Cat... Please be okay." You are sobbing profusely now, pressing her limp hand to your face, kissing her knuckles, praying and wishing and stroking her bloodstained hair gently, the red of the blood mixing with the magenta of her dyed hair, reminding you of her silly little video in which she said that she had decided to dye her hair red because of the color of blood.
You never thought it would hurt so much to see red mix with red. Her blood stains the sidewalk as the paramedics lift her onto a stretcher, a million men in suits surrounding her, trying to push you away. "No," you insist. "I'm not going anywhere." And so they work around you, hooking her up to tubes and oxygen supplies and bandaging the worst of her, all the while the siren droning on, a painful reminder of everything, your tears still blurring your vision as the ambulance speeds towards the hospital.
And there is a hustle of nurses and paramedics and everything else, loud voices and waiting room chairs that you are shoved into. As it turns out, the Valentines are already in the hospital; Cat's brother had just finished getting a chicken bone taken out of his throat. And now you realize why Cat came to you in the first place, and now you wish that she hadn't, because one accident simply lead to another. And now the three of them are in the waiting room with you, Mrs. Valentine resting her head in her hands, and Cat's brother hopping around worriedly (yes, hopping, like an anxious rabbit, and it reminds you of that time Cat had bouncy shoes, and you wish that it didn't), Mr. Valentine making a few frantic phone calls.
Everyone waits. Suddenly you wish there was no such thing as waiting. You want to know whether or not Cat will be okay, and you want to know now. The lingering moments between the two possibilities simply make everything so irrationally painful. You dry your tears and remind yourself to breathe, still hoping, clinging onto memories and feelings. Of earlier that week when she wrapped her arms around you and kissed you on the cheek, which was nothing but pure bliss. Of that kiss you shared months ago, at which point you decided that the kiss with Trina had been nothing but a stage kiss, but the kiss with Cat had been so much more, and she would never understand that. She would never know how much she meant to you if everything ended now. And you can't have that happen. You just can't.
"Mrs. and Mr. Valentine?" A doctor's solemn voice calls. You look up, as do the Valentines, and Cat's brother ceases in his hopping. "I'm afraid that Cat is in a critical state, and it's uncertain how much longer she has to live. She's unconscious, and she's likely to stay that way for a few more hours until she passes." He pauses, bows his head. "I'll let you say your goodbyes. I'm very sorry." As he steps aside, the Valentines rush into their daughter's hospital room. You wait, blinking at the doctor.
"I never told her," you whisper to yourself, lowering your head. "I never told her that I love her."
"It's not too late, you know," the doctor replies, giving a small smile. You look up again at him in surprise.
"It's not? But you said she was in a critical state," you say, confused.
"Love can do anything," he replies simply, walking off to help the next patient.
You allow your mind to wander, thoughtful and solemn, pondering the doctor's words as you anxiously wait for the Valentines to return from their daughter's room. And they do, several minutes later, all sobbing, even Cat's dysfunctional brother. It is your turn now. And so you take a deep breath and step into her hospital room.
Her lifeless body is attached to tubes and monitors of all kinds, bandages over a million places, the faint rise and fall of her chest the only sign that she is still with you.
"Cat," you stutter, coming over to her and sitting down in a little chair that was left by the hospital bed. "I'm sorry. I know that if I hadn't said what I said, you might not have run off onto the street, and this never would have happened, and you would be back at my house eating Christmas dinner with me and my family now. I'm sorry that I don't always take you seriously. I'm sorry that people at school are so hard on you sometimes, and I know that I'm not much better. But I try to understand you, and I think I do. I think that I know who you are, the real you, and I think that's the part of you that I love the most. And I can't let that go. I just can't. Please, Cat, please hold on..."
"Dance with me." A voice. Her voice, strained and weak, but there all the same.
"Cat?" Your eyes widen as you look up to see her face, eyelids flickering open, beautiful brown eyes staring around weakly. "Cat! You're awake!" You could cry, but you gulp back tears, forcing yourself not to lose it just yet, to keep yourself composed and speak to her; for there is no guarantee on how long she will be with you.
"Dance with me, Robbie," she repeats. "The one thing I've always wanted to do is dance with you, and now I might never get the chance if I d-"
"Don't say that, Cat. You're not going anywhere," you insist softly, taking her hand in your's, bringing it to your face and kissing her knuckles softly, the same way you did on the street earlier. And right now you want nothing more than to give her what she has always wanted. So you lift up her other hand in your's, holding both her hands, and begin to sway on the spot, lifting her hands up and down in your's on either side of you. And she sings softly, her voice raspy and angelic as you sway along slowly to the tune, her body rocking back and forth in the hospital bed.
"Love of mine, some day you will die, but I'll be close behind; I'll follow you into the dark. No blinding lights or tunnels to gates of white, just our hands clasped so tight, waiting for the hint of a spark. If heaven and hell decide that they both are satisfied, illuminate the NOs on their vacancy signs, if there's no one beside you when your soul embarks, then I'll follow you into the dark."
Slowly you bring your face down to meet her's as the slow fragment of a song ends, your lips brushing over her cheek.
"I'm sorry, Cat," you whisper. "I'm sorry I let you go."
"I'm not going anywhere," she replies, repeating the very words you spoke to her moments ago.