i believe in you and me

summary: i promised my grandmother i'd never be a bad person. candre. andre-centric.
disclaimer: victorious isn't mine.

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Andre's grandmother dies on March 15, 2012.

He arranges her funeral, writes out invitations and emails to send to his friends and distant family members far, far away who haven't spoken to him since he had chosen to watch over her instead of sending her into a home, and tells mortician that she had always said to cremate her, because she was afraid of being locked up in a coffin for all eternity (and Andre always knew she still craved adventure, even if her brain told her it wasn't safe). He does all of this on his own, and even when he calls his father to tell him the news, he says he can't make it to the funeral, because work in Manhattan is keeping him just as busy as it always has.

He gives his condolences and hangs up, leaving Andre alone in his grandmother's household, his household, to mourn on his own.

;;

The funeral is held on a mountain top a week later, on a bleak day where the sky is streaked with grey clouds and empty promises of rain. Andre finds it wildly appropriate, and as a pastor reads the words that Andre had written down on paper, a girl with hair as red as roses touches his arm and offers a smile.

Andre has never seen Cat in black before; it doesn't look right. It's too jaded in comparison to her bright, hopeful eyes and her lovely, petal-colored lips.

"You're crying," she tells him softly, taking his hand and giving it a brief squeeze. Andre sniffs, tilting his head away from her eyes as if he's planning to hide. He wipes at his eyes with the back of his hand and wills himself to stop, but now that it's been pointed out, the tears continue to leak onto his dark cheeks.

She stands up on her tiptoes and kisses them away as the ashes are released over the mountain, the wind catching them and leading them somewhere new.

;;

"When I cried, my mom always kissed the tears away until I stopped," Cat explains after the funeral is over and Andre is sitting down on the ground as people mill about, unsure of whether to stay and offer kind words or to leave him be, "It always made me feel better."

Andre's lip tugs upwards, slightly, but he doesn't much feel like answering. He's much more content listening to her voice weave significance back into his mind.

Cat bites her bottom lip and leans her head on his shoulder.

"I'm sorry for your loss," she tells him in a voice as soft as silk, as soft as the petals of a rose, "I know you loved her more than anything."

Andre lays his head atop hers. "I'll always love her," he says, "I love you, too, though."

She smiles. Something stirs in his heart and he thinks he has already begun another song.

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The first two weeks without his grandmother there are the worst.

He cleans up her things and packs pictures with their frames into boxes and moves them to the attic. He donates her old clothes. He stores her old jewelry and expensive trinkets into the safe in the back of his closet. He strips her sheets from the bed and throws them away, dismantles the furniture that he needs to take to the junkyard, and mops the wooden floors.

Her smell lingers, he notices. The smell of kitchen spice and flowers. It stains the walls and sinks into the crevices of the floor and soaks all of her old furniture - especially the old rocking chair in the corner of her room, where she used to knit.

On the last day of the two weeks, Andre ventures back into her room and inhales. The smell is so strong that tears spring into his eyes, that his mouth opens in a sob, that his whole body shakes. He has to lean against the wall for support so he doesn't fall to his knees.

"Grandma," he manages, squeezing his eyes shut and pretending that she's in the rocking chair, knitting him a scarf, "Remember that time...when I promised I'd never be a bad person?" He asks the empty room; he can see her, in his mind's eye, blinking and confused. He knows she wouldn't have remembered. She had lost her mind a long time ago.

"And you said," Andre laughs, "You said, 'I'm not worried about you, Andre. Your father, on the other hand...'" Andre pauses, lips trembling and threatening to break into a smile, "I think - I think you're right, grandma, you don't have to worry about me. But, if you could look after my dad, I think he needs it more than I do."

Andre locks the room from the inside and leaves.

;;

Cat comes over a few days later, bearing a pizza and some movies.

"I thought you could use a friend," she tells him with a smiles. He steps aside and lets her into the house. It has seemed empty in here for a good amount of time; the quilts and things that his grandmother had left have been taken to the attic, and the pictures of her have been turned facedown. Andre doesn't have the strength to look at her face - not yet.

Cat sets the pizza down on the table and looks around, seemingly perturbed by the coldness of the home, and then promptly picks up an overturned picture and holds it up so she can inspect it.

"Is this you?" She asks, and Andre, despite every part of him wanting to ignore her, goes to peer over her shoulder. It's a picture from when Andre was nine and standing with his grandmother and mother in the park. "And that one's your grandmother, right?" Cat asks, pointing to her.

"Yeah," Andre says, swallowing. He points to the second woman, "And that's my mom. This was taken a few months before cancer got her." Cat turns to give him a pitying look, then turns her eyes back onto the picture, her fingertips outlining the faces of the people inside.

"She was beautiful," she whispers.

"Yeah, my grandma used to say that my mom was brighter than the sun," Andre says with a small smile, "She also used to say that I resembled my mom a lot, and I used to think that she was comparing me to a girl. But I realized, you know, being like my mom isn't a bad thing."

Cat sets the picture down upright and smiles at him.

"Your grandmother was a wonderful person, wasn't she? Before..." Cat trails off, unsure about finishing her sentence, "Let's watch those movies, okay?" Cat says, taking Andre's hand and leading him to the couch.

He slings his arm around her and figures that his grandmother might have called Cat beautiful, too. Brighter than the sun, just like his mother.

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Andre picks the lock to his grandmother's room a month later and takes in the box of pictures he had once put in the attic. He places them on the bedside tables, hangs them back on the wall, puts them on the dressers.

He thinks it looks a little warmer in here now that his grandmother's smile is back.

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fin.

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a/n: short idea for a story that popped into my head upon re-watching "jade gets crushed". andre's line about promising his grandmother he'd never be a bad person really made me appreciate him more as a character. and cat is there because i like candre. what up. thanks for reading! please review with more than "sad" or "i liked it".