disclaimer: that which you recognize is not mine.

dedicated to jenny (WIZARDOLOGY) because it's her birthday! happy birthday, jenny!

warning: strong language; also the first part of this was posted on my tumblr a week or so ago, in case you recognize it.


the night:

He didn't come after her.

She'd expected him to. Hoped for it, maybe even prayed for it, and Jade West doesn't even believe in God. But she'd wanted him to come after her. To open the door, to pull her into his arms, to promise her that it was all a horrible nightmare, those nine seconds where she'd imagined he might actually leave her, to kiss her demons away like he had done so many times before.

And he hadn't.

He hadn't.

She steps forward, hand aimed for the doorknob, hesitates. He hadn't come after her. Her head is pounding, her heart is hammering, and all she can think is that he gave up. He gave up on her. On them. On everything they'd built over three years, from the first accidental glance across a crowded hallway to the last precious kiss just a few days ago.

He didn't come after her.

Slowly, she draws her hand back, turns, and walks away.

:-:

He didn't come after her.

Maybe he should have. Everyone expected him to. Tori, Andre, Cat, Robbie…Jade. She'd expected him to, he was sure of it. She wouldn't have lingered so long, gave him so much time if she hadn't expected – hadn't wanted him to come after her. She waited, she wanted him to follow her, to open the door and kiss her and tell her he was making a mistake.

And maybe he was, but maybe he wasn't.

Trina's head is heavy on his shoulder and all his head is full of is Jade, Jade, Jade.

He'd loved her for so long. Three years, ever since the day they were paired up in an acting exercise while applying for Hollywood Arts. Three years of bickering and kissing, fighting and laughing, making up and making out, three years of BeckandJade.

BeckandJade.

Beck and Jade.

Beck.

Jade.

Beck. Alone.

He pushes Trina away and walks out the door – too little, too fucking late.

-:-

one week:

At times, she almost wishes they'd let her sit alone. Almost wishes that would make him realize, make him change his mind, make him understand how much he's hurt her - and she's Jade West; she doesn't get hurt. But he's managed. She almost wants him to know. Almost.

They don't let her, though. Not Cat, not Andre, not Robbie, not even Tori, damn her. She's not sure if this is what friendship is supposed to be like, but it kind of feels nice, sometimes. They take turns, every day, rotating between Jade's table and Beck's table. Sometimes Cat and Andre, sometimes Tori and Cat, sometimes Robbie and Andre, sometimes Tori and Andre, and once even Tori and Robbie (that was a nightmare).

Nobody will let her be alone – but nobody will let him be alone either. Trina's the only staple. (She's also the only one Jade wants to throw a stapler at.)

Somehow, the jealousy hurts more now. It hadn't before. Not when she'd been so sure that he'd never leave her, so certain of their future. But now everything is hazy, upside down, just so damn wrong. He's not with her, she's not with him – they have separate tables, for heaven's sake.

And now, when girls flirt with him, she can't shoot them a death glare and expect him to kiss her for her efforts.

Slowly, the loss of everything she'd held dear for three years starts to hurt more and more and more.

:-:

He likes to pretend he doesn't watch her anymore. That he's put her out of his head, that he's forgotten everything they shared over three long, loving years, that he truly is as calm and collected and detached as he comes across.

But he's not. And he still does watch her.

Despite it all, despite the drama and the heartbreak, she's still so Jade. Still so dark, still so fiery, still so magnetic. Still beautiful. Still stalking around school in her favorite boots, still sniping at Sinjin and bickering with Tori. Still Jade, only not.

He pretends he's more perceptive than he is, but the truth is, it's only with her. Only with Jade does he notice she's added a new dark purple streak in her curls, and she's switched her eyebrow studs for a double-hole snake earring, and she's painted her nails maroon with black zig-zags this week.

Is it because she's getting over him?

He tries not to think about that too much.

-:-

one month:

Lilianna Castle. What a fucking perfect name for such a perfect little princess. A perfect little princess with red hair and blue eyes and pink nail polish who just so happens to be Beck Oliver's new girlfriend, not that Jade would care.

She doesn't, of course. Caring for Beck Oliver is so last month. They're over. She's done. She does not care that he's currently sucking Lilianna's face as if their lives depend on it but (he never kissed her like that – hungrily, loudly, searching for attention).

Tori suggests quietly they go somewhere else to eat lunch. Nobody's sitting with Beck except Lilianna, today. Even Trina's ditched him. The others are crowded around her table. But Jade refuses to leave. It's been a month, and she's tired of hurting.

"We're staying here," she says decisively, then steals a french fry from Andre's plate. "Any questions?"

"I don't think he actually likes her," Cat pipes up while everyone else watches Jade in that horribly concerned silence she hates so much. "He's just trying to move on."

Jade hesitates. Then, "Shut up, Cat," and Andre hands over his plate of fries to her.

:-:

She tastes like honey. He's not sure he enjoys it.

There are critical gazes latched onto them – Tori, Andre, Robbie, even Cat – but not the one he most cares about, so he continues kissing her like she's a lifeline, hands desperately clutching at her thin red curls and wishing they were thicker, darker, Jade.

It gets hard, sometimes, to keep pretending, trying to move on and never quite succeeding. It's harder, often, to catch her gaze across a hallway and find only fury where once there was love. And hardest of all is to call out a hello and realize he's got Lilianna by his side so all she gives him is a sneer as she stalks past.

But hardest of all would be to go back to normal and continue fighting over everything, so he sucks it up and kisses her again.

He runs into Jade, alone, one afternoon completely by chance. He hadn't even realized it was her car he'd parked next to until they find themselves facing each other in the parking lot, a whole universe of memories stretching between their tense, silent bodies.

She breaks it. "Hi."

"Hey," he says, and then, because he's an idiot, blurts out, "how are you?"

"…Fine," she drawls slowly, stomping towards the front of her car. "How's your little girlfriend?"

Beck swallows. "She's – she's fine. That's not important."

"Yeah," Jade agrees, tilting her head. "She's really not important, is she?"

He wonders if this is how she looked, head high and eyes stormy, when she got into her car and drove away that fateful night one month ago.

-:-

one year:

She doesn't mean to kiss Andre. She really doesn't; it's just an acting exercise, nothing was supposed to happen. And he looks kind of surprised himself that it had, so she's not entirely sure how to react or what to say or what to think, except maybe oh, my God.

It definitely does not cross her mind that Beck (and Tori and Cat and Robbie and Sikowitz) are all sitting right there, no, definitely not.

"Sorry," Andre mumbles, jerking apart. "That – that wasn't supposed to happen."

"Yeah," she says meaninglessly, then takes a deep breath and composes herself. She's Jade West and she's finally had a kiss with someone she likes after breaking up with Beck, so she's not going to lose this opportunity to move on. She gets so very few of those these days, especially since he's broken up with Lilianna and is in three of her classes.

"I think we're done here," she announces, hands on her hips, glare trained on Sikowitz who shrugs and nods, waving for them to sit down. With her signature stomp in her steps, Jade walks down from the stage and takes her seat, being careful to shoot Andre a smile while crossing Beck.

She's expecting someone to corner her after class – Beck or Tori or even Andre, but not Cat.

"Why did you kiss Andre?" Cat asks lightly, though her usual ebullience is nowhere to be found.

Jade shrugs. "It just happened. We were acting. No big deal."

"Okay, if you're sure," says Cat, not sounding very sure at all. "But don't be mean to him."

"I wouldn't be mean to Andre," Jade assures her, puzzled at the implication. Andre is her friend.

"I meant Beck."

"Oh."

:-:

He doesn't care. He doesn't, he really doesn't, he most certainly does not care that his best friend kissed his ex-girlfriend (but, God, isn't that against the Bro Code or something?). And he definitely didn't notice that she actually seemed to enjoy it. That she kissed him back. That she smiled.

No, Beck doesn't care about any of that. He's also not glaring at Andre from across the hallway. Definitely not.

"Dude," and suddenly Andre's standing right in front of him, blocking his view of Jade – when did that happen? "Would you stop with the death glares already? They're starting to freak me out?"

Beck blinks. Shakes his head. Glances over at Jade. She's talking to – well, yelling at – Tori. Back to Andre. "I – I'm not glaring at you, man."

Andre rolls his eyes. "I didn't mean to kiss her, all right? She's your ex, I'd never do that. It happened by accident."

"I know," Beck sighs. "I know you wouldn't. I'm sorry. It's just … she enjoyed it."

Andre stares. "She did?"

"Yeah, she did," but how can he hold that against his best friend? "Look, I'm sorry for the death glares, though. We cool?"

Thankfully, Andre accepts his fist bump. "We're cool," and maybe he's not imagining Jade's smile when she looks at the two of them.

-:-

one year and a day:

"We're graduating soon."

She stops. The hallway echoes oddly with his words, empty save for the two of them and full of so many memories, it makes her dizzy. His voice is light, almost casual, as if discussing the weather with an old friend, but oh, she's so much more than that, isn't she?

"I know we are," she says, swiveling around to face him. Her boots squeak on the tiled floor. His eyes are kind, still as warm a brown as she loved before. "What's your point?"

Beck sighs. "My point is, I think we should stop all this avoidance and awkwardness. It's been a year. It won't be long till we're out of here. We won't see each other every day, and there won't be as many opportunities to fix this – our friendship."

Jade rolls her eyes. "It's been a year. Why is this only now occuring to you, Oliver?" she snaps, trying to ignore the bubbling in her stomach as he steps closer.

"I'm sorry, okay?" he says, sounding both exasperated and fond. Like he used to. "I'm sorry for all the fights and the drama and the way we broke up. I don't know if we can fix it, but … but I want to try. I want you in my life, Jade. As a friend, if nothing else."

She takes a deep breath, reaches out, and digs her fingers into his shirt. Then she drags him in and kisses him.

:-:

"So," he gulps, leaning his forehead against hers. She's still so dreadfully pretty, but much less intimidating after she's just kissed him like that, not in the least because he's fairly sure he's not just hallucinating the sparkle in her dark eyes. "Can I – take you for coffee sometime?"

Jade steps back, raising an eyebrow at him. Her hands linger on his chest, and he can still smell the apples of her shampoo. She's got a far more refreshing scent than Lilianna did, that's for sure.

"As friends?" she asks skeptically, finally dropping her hands.

Beck catches them before they fall, twining his fingers through hers. "Whatever you want."

She nods slowly, biting into her bottom lip. It's been a while since he saw her do that, but it's a welcome sight. "Fine. Coffee. Tomorrow, at three."

"I'll be there," he promises, drawing away. Jade half-smiles, then turns to leave.

"You better," she shoots over her shoulder, one hand propped on her hip as she saunters off. "Or there'll be hell to pay, Beck Oliver."

A grin overtakes his face. "I know there will."


a/n: um, so, first victorious fic. hope i did them justice. sorry if this was a crazy mess because i was writing while simultaneously taking history notes and writing an essay, which does not help with fic writing, apparently. but anyway. please review if you liked it? :)

and please don't favorite without reviewing, thank you.