Maybe, Possibly More
Disclaimer: don't own any of the characters or other things you recognize
Authors Notes: something that just came to me as I analyzed the episode. And really, I'm not sure how I feel about this, or about Jori, or about Bade. All I know is that I don't ship Bori and I have a lot of respect for both Jade and Tori, and this episode gave them SO much character development. I loved it.
They're backstage after the Platinum Awards—all of them—and they're hugging and cheering and excitedly chattering about Tori's performance and who got which award and how it's so crazy that they were in the audience. Cat's wrist is bound to Oliver's and Robbie's got his arm up Rex and Jade's huge puffy pink dress is kissing the floor as Tori's eyes glaze with pride and amazement. She actually sang at the Platinum Awards for what could've been a billion people. A billion people could've just heard her voice. And she looked like herself. She was no one's puppet, and she sang the song Andre wrote her and she can barely believe that it just happened. One of her biggest dreams has come true.
Mason is talking a mile a minute, going on about all of the new opportunities that have just opened up and how they need to book her for more gigs and on talk shows and how she's basically America's new popstar. She can barely hear him, though, for she's basically buzzing. Soon though, it all starts to fade away. It gets late, and her friends start to say goodbye. Cat slips out, mumbling something about bibble under her breath, and Robbie and Andre leave when Andre's grandmother calls, her voice screaming into the phone that she's waiting in the parking lot. Tori watches as Jade slips off to change or something. And soon, the only people really around are her and Beck. She's confused, but she lets him take her hand and wrap his arms around her in glee.
"You were amazing." He tells her with a huge smile. "You deserved it and you rocked it. I'm so proud of you." Tori feels the guilt churning in her stomach and so she brushes away the compliment. This is Beck and they're just friends but she can't just completely give him the cold shoulder.
"I couldn't have done it without you." She tells him, because really, if it weren't for him she'd be in a Jellyfish costume with a meat hat. But instead she's just Tori. And she's happy about that. Extremely happy and grateful.
"Nah." He brushes her compliment off. "You just needed a little push."
"Well thanks for pushing." She mumbles a bit awkwardly. "I feel bad, though."
"Why, because of Jade?"
"Well, I mean, yeah. Sure I got chosen first and I wanted it, but they fired me, and it should've been Jade up there and-"
"Tori," Beck gently cuts her off. "Shh." He winks at her and she rolls her eyes, glancing down at her feet.
"I mean what I said." Tori spoke up. "Nothing's changed, okay?"
"Okay." Beck nodded.
"Good. I just wanted to make sure-" Beck chuckled softly.
"Calm down, Tori. It's okay."
They talk for a couple of more minutes until Jade comes back from her changing room. The weird make up that had previously been on her face has been washed off, and she looks exceptionally pale with her clean face. She's changed back into her black skirt with the ruffled top and she has her boots laced up. She looks like a premature Jade without her make-up, though she only looks between Tori and Beck before sighing heavily and saluting Tori mockingly. She walks from the room and goes to leave, though Tori races after her into the parking lot, leaving Beck behind.
"Jade!" She calls, and after calling her name several times, Jade turns around.
"Yes?" She seems so vulnerable, and Tori can't ever think of a time she's seen her like this, except for maybe the time she came running to her after she had broken up with Beck, though Tori tries to forget about that day.
"I just wanted to say thank you." Tori told her, as she caught up to her. She crossed her right arm across her chest somewhat protectively, her left hand tucking her hair behind her ear.
"For… you know…"
"Just, don't mention it, okay?"
"Okay." The girls stayed quiet for a moment, before Tori lifted her head and looked up, searching Jade's normally icy blue eyes for something she couldn't place.
"Did you mean what you said?" Tori asked after a minute.
"About, us, you know… being friends?"
"I never said we were friends." Jade shot back a bit too quickly.
"Oh. I thought you-"
"I said that I couldn't do that to a friend. I didn't say we were friends." Jade corrected her.
"Well I just figured-"
"Don't figure next time." Jade told her and Tori nodded.
"Okay." And once again a semi awkward silence enveloped the two. Neither knew what to say, and so they merely stayed silent. Standing still, heads cast down, arms wrapped around their bodies, and legs crossed gently. Finally, Jade spoke up.
"I saw what you did." Jade murmured so quietly, that Tori almost didn't hear.
"Oh, yeah? What did I do?"
"You guys forgot to turn off your video chat. I saw you and Beck." Jade spoke just as quietly as before, and she watched as Tori's eyebrows rose.
"Oh, Jade, I'm so sorry. It wasn't anything-"
"I saw the whole thing, Tori." Jade murmured. "And, I just wanted to say thank you."
"I guess we're even then, huh?" Tori wasn't sure what she was supposed to say. It wasn't everyday Jade West thanked you for something, or even spoke about her feelings in any way, shape or form.
"Yeah, I guess so. I didn't realize you and Beck were so close. When did that happen?"
"We're just friends." Tori defended.
"Yeah, okay." Jade didn't believe a word. "You two are nearly inseparable."
"Jade, we're just-"
"And it shouldn't bother me, because we broke up, and I don't think it bothers me, but I just can't believe he'd choose you. No offense."
"None taken?" Tori offered a confused look.
"It's ridiculous, I know." Jade sighed. "Everything seems pretty stupid right now, though. I gave up singing for a billion people for somebody I don't even consider a friend."
"But we are friends, Jade."
"You don't believe that." Jade denied her. "Remember, I heard you talking to Beck?"
"I do believe it though. I didn't know what to think, but I'm pretty sure we're friends now."
"Well whoop-de-doo, we're friends!" Jade threw her arms in the air. "So what? So I give up a once in a lifetime chance for a friend?"
"Maybe we're best friends?" Tori offered unconvincingly.
"Shut up, Tori." Jade rolled her eyes.
"I just want you to know that I think we're really good friends. We've been through a lot." Tori told her, and she offered Jade a small smile. Jade sighed.
"Been through a lot?" Jade asked, raising her eyebrows.
"Yeah." Tori nodded. "Break ups and make ups, rogue vacations to crazy countries, girls at karaoke joints with crazy dads, sleep overs at teachers houses-" Jade cut her off.
"We didn't do any of that together. We were only both there because of mutual friends."
"You didn't let me finish." Tori told her. "Plays where our director/teacher made us go on a date for like four hours at some crazy sushi place. Jade, we might not always get along, but we're far from 'not friends'." Tori made air quotes with her fingers and Jade seemed to toss this idea around her head for a minute.
"Okay, fine." Jade relented after another couple of minutes of silence. "So maybe we're 'friends' but what in the world does that mean?"
"It means we don't have to constantly be at odds with each other and that we can like, hang out, without arguing about silly stuff." Tori offered with a small smile. "We have had good times together, remember? Running away from those boys after the play? Beating 'the janitors' car for The Wood? We can be friends."
"Fine." Jade murmured, and if Tori weren't mistaken, Jade's eyes seemed to be an ocean; soft waves of water rolling against her irises. "We're friends. Happy?"
"Yeah." Tori nodded. "I am. You're super talented and pretty and you're good at getting what you want. You don't let people walk all over you, which is evidently something I need to learn how to do."
"It's not like you aren't way talented yourself." Jade shot back. "You didn't get into Hollywood Arts by accident or chosen to perform on this show because you sucked chizz."
"You were chosen too."
"I was second choice." Jade reminded her. "And only because Mason didn't have time to find somebody else."
"Don't say it like that." Tori urged her. "And it doesn't matter because you are such a great actress and-"
"What are we doing, Tori?" Jade cut her off. "Are we just going to stand her all night tossing around compliments that we're only giving to make ourselves feel better? This," Jade gestured between them. "isn't going to be some amazing friendship where we have sleep overs and tell secrets and go hang out at the mall, okay? This is just a mutual agreement to stop pretending we hate each other, nothing more. And I don't want some awkward shit to be between us. We're friends. That's it. And if this weren't already so weird, I just…" Jade trailed away at the look Tori was giving her. "I just don't want you having some ridiculous idea in your head."
"Okay." Tori said for what had to be the hundredth time that night, because honestly, it was just okay. It wasn't amazing or marvelous or exciting, it was just okay. It was like being halfway about something. While she understood what Jade was saying and somewhat agreed with it, there was just something inside her that told her she should beg for something more. That just being friends with Jade would never be enough, that she didn't know what more she wanted but she felt a part of her ache to ask; to ask Jade what more there was between them, and resolve the last bit of tension that was eating the both of them inside and out. She didn't know why she felt this way, and it was scaring her somewhat. She needed to make sure that everything would be okay tomorrow, and so with a last breath to save what was slipping between their fingers, Tori spoke once more.
"I care about you." Jade rose her eyebrows.
"Is that some half ass attempt at getting me to be your 'best friend'?" Jade asked somewhat mockingly.
"No." Tori couldn't tell if she was lying or not. "It's just me telling you what I would tell Cat or Andre or Robbie or Beck. I care about you. That's what friends do."
"Okay." It was Jade's turn to flip the word off of her tongue.
And as the stars twinkled above their heads, and a soft Hollywood breeze bristled their hair, Jade and Tori took one last look at each other before nothing more could be said or done. They couldn't try and say anything more or do anything more. The past couldn't change, they could only move forward, which is exactly what Tori did. Taking a step forward, she wrapped her arms around Jade. Shocked, Jade stood rigid and stiff, though Tori's warm arms felt less like weights and more like a warm blanket. Awkwardly—though she tried with all of her might not to be—Jade lifted her arms and patted Tori's back rhythmically. It wasn't the best hug ever given, but it wasn't the most hostile thing, either. And with a one last fleeting thought, Jade decided that maybe Tori really wasn't that bad after all.