Coffee kept her awake. It made her senses buzz. It made electricity surge through her body, through the veins. It flowed with her precious blood, and it made her feral – a panther on the prowl, white-knuckled grip trying hard not to crush the styrofoam cup. It made her an animal, blue-green eyes trained carefully on the prey.

Poor little goody-goody Tori Vega. The unfortunate victim of the restless panther.

Jade cocked an eyebrow, and brought the rim of the cup of coffee to her lips. She took a sip, and watched her prey from across the hall. Helpless, oblivious to the predator that eyed her every step. She could smell Tori from far away, and she longed to get a taste.

Scratch that. Just a taste wouldn't suffice.

A normal, perfectly sane person would deny someone like Jade entry to their home if and when she came to their residence uninvited. At around midnight.

But Tori wasn't a normal person. It wasn't to say that she was insane. It was just that she was too good to deny help to anyone in need. Especially if they were her friends. Only, Jade wasn't exactly Tori's friend. She terrorized her and antagonized her, and tried to destroy her plans every moment she could.

Still, when Jade rang and rang and rang the doorbell, and when Tori peeked out of the window to see who it was exactly that was shattering the peaceful night, the youngest member of the Vega household didn't hesitate (much) to open the door.


"Congratulations," Jade said, "you're not blind!"

A sarcastic remark and an suspicious grin, but Tori Vega was unfazed. Of course. She was so used to Jade's predictable behaviour and contemptuous attitude towards her that she couldn't even dig inside the deepest recesses of her humanity to feel afraid.

"What are you doing here? It's midnight," Tori pointed out, and yawned, as if to emphasize her point.

"Oh, you know… Just hanging out," came the reply. Tori just nodded wordlessly (uncertainly), stepping aside, unknowingly inviting herself to her doom. So to speak. Jade stepped through the doorway, giving Tori a once-over and a wink.

Of course, the effect was immediate. Tori stared at the swaying hips, the perfect figure, whatever protests she was about to say lost to an unknown, unexplainable force.

Jade smiled to herself, as she sank into the couch and heaved a long sigh. Baited.

She searched the couch and found the remote.

Tori shook herself out of her reverie, and found the protest poised at the tip of her tongue. "You know, you couldn't just invite yourself to someone's house at midnight."

"I just did, didn't I?" There wasn't anything snarky in Jade's tone. If anything, there was the subtle hint of amusement, and Tori began wondering what Jade's motives were.

She didn't look defeated, or sad, or murderous. In fact, Jade looked perfectly happy – if a little unusual. Anyway, Tori was out of options. Jade wanted something from her, and although she didn't know what, she knew better than to stand in her way. Or, in that case, send her out back into the night. So she submitted herself to the fact that Jade would be staying there for a while, and she might as well get something to eat or drink while they were both there.

Jade succeeded in unnerving Tori in a number of ways that didn't quite include murder, blood, or disturbing images. As Tori moved through the kitchen, preparing a cup of cocoa for herself and a cup of black coffee for Jade (Tori never actually knew what kind of coffee Jade drank, but she assumed it was black – maybe just like Jade's soul), blue-green eyes alternated between watching the TV and watching her unwilling host try to prepare steaming, hot drinks for the two of them. Each time Tori met her eyes, she made sure to lock their gazes for a few seconds, before looking away to the TV again. And when they looked at each other for the fifth time and when Tori accidentally put some salt in her cocoa, Jade knew she had her caged.

Baited again.

Tori was both scared and fascinated of Jade's mysterious behavior. For one, the girl was almost never civil with her. For another, Jade doesn't just check out someone in a deliberately flirty manner. Most especially if said someone was her mortal enemy.

Tori thought Jade hated her. Jade knew Tori didn't hate her. She just got a kick out of seeing Tori react to different things Jade would do. Jade was playing with her, and unlike the others, Tori didn't run away, terrified, wetting her skinny jeans. Tori stood up to her, and fought back. Jade liked prey that fought back.

Jade most especially liked prey that brought her black coffee.

"So," Tori began uncertainly, as she handed the cup of coffee to Jade, who made sure that their fingers would brush in just the slightest, before Tori relinquished her grip. "Did you actually come here just to hang out?" Tori asked, which was a stupid question and which was begging for an equally stupid answer. But Jade wasn't to make fun of chirpy Tori.

"Is there something wrong with that?" Jade asked. She brought the cup to her lips, and sipped, her eyes fixed on Tori.

"No, no. It's just that… I always thought I'm not really the kind of person you'd want to hang out with."

And Jade knew what was going on Tori's mind that moment, as Tori drank her cocoa. Images of Jade, and scissors, and screaming, terrified victims of her uncontrollable rage caused by the smallest, most trivial of things. Jade smiled.

"Oh, but you are the kind of person I'd want to hang out with."

"I am?" Jade saw the confused look cross Tori's face. "But aren't you, like, always terrorizing and threatening me? Don't you hate me with all your twisted little heart?"

"And I can't have the chance to redeem myself?" Jade retorted, eyeing Tori with a look of mock bemusement. She rested a hand on her chest, right above her heart. "You do me a great disservice with that, Tori."

"It's not what I meant," Tori defended, "but… It just kind of seems surreal that you, of all people, suddenly come here on a Friday night, just to hang out."

"So you're okay with me staying here for a while?"

"I… guess so," Tori answered tentatively. Firstly, Tori wasn't completely sure if she wanted Jade to be there alone with her. Secondly, she didn't like how Jade was acting very, very suspiciously – just so very kind and smiley and un-Jade-like.

After that, the exchange ceased, and both turned their attention to the completely uninteresting TV show playing out before them. Tori flipped through channels, and decided to stop changing only when Jade exhibits the slightest bit of interest in whatever was on. But it was either Jade decided to let Tori pick whatever they should watch, or she wasn't at all interested in watching the TV in the first place, because she started scooting closer to Tori and snuggling up against her, until Tori could almost certainly feel their exchange in body heat. She sat rigidly, her thumb still absently pressing the TV remote.

Jade felt Tori's sudden stiffness. She grinned. Pinned.

Finally, Tori stopped flipping the channels and settled on a late-night family movie that she was certain Jade would completely diss on. She almost relaxed, but suddenly stiffened up again as she felt fingers twine through hers, followed by a strong grip, and she was almost certain she felt a warm breath against her neck.

"J-Jade, what are you doing?" Tori stammered, turning her head to look at her supposed friend, who had just pulled her into an uncharacteristically intimate position. She wasn't sure what was happening, but she also wasn't sure she didn't like it. Not that she's ever thought of being in a position like this before, with Jade, of all people, but…

As they locked gazes, Jade cocked an eyebrow, and slowly moved in for the kill, her lips dangerously close to Tori's. The other girl closed her eyes shut, anticipating the bite, and Jade let out a long, distinctly seductive breath that baited Tori and made her react accordingly. Tori leaned in, throwing all caution to the wind because, really, how was she supposed to react to Jade? The snake was too sultry, too tempting, too seductive to-

Tori's eyes fluttered open, realizing that Jade hadn't moved in for the kill, hadn't pressed her lips against hers. Instead, her guest watched her with an amused look on her face, her lips curled up, as if she was about to laugh. Tori blushed fiercely, and she tore away her gaze and willed herself to stare at the TV, or at the coffee table, or anywhere, really. Just not Jade.

"Wow, Tori," Jade said. "I always knew you didn't hate me, but I never thought you liked me like that."

The color was vivid on Tori's face, as she searched for a witty retort. "I—You—". And failed miserably. Tori realized that her fingers were still locked in a grip by Jade, and struggled to free them. To no avail.

"And you're not exactly denying it, are you, Vega?"

Jade was having fun. She was teasing Tori, stripping her down to the core, and was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was something inside Tori that didn't entirely fit her pure, goody-two-shoes image. There might actually be an attraction for Jade there, and Jade was taking advantage of it. And really, it wasn't because she wanted to wrap Tori around her finger. It was just because she was fascinated that the feelings were actually mutual.

And while Tori was trying her best not to look at Jade, she didn't exactly resist when Jade's hand lifted her chin, so they could see each other eye-to-eye. And Jade's eyes were, indeed, too much of a suggestive come-on.

"You're making it too easy for me, Tori," Jade said. "I always get what I want, but with you, it looks like I don't even have to try."

And, like a good predator, Jade growled, and snapped her jaws, before leaning in and striking for the kill.


Note: My first shot at a Jori/Victorious fanfic. :) I hope I did the pairing some justice, since I'm not really sure how to write about them yet. But I love Jori, and I had a lot of fun writing this, so review, yeah?

Disclaimer: I don't own Victorious.