Beck Oliver, Beck/Jade
He glances up, tries to figure out who is speaking. Tori, he determines after a moment, pretty Tori with the dark eyes and the cheekbone. It is sad how this pretty girl annoys him now more than anything else. He nods in response, says "Yes", then wants to slap himself because he has no idea what he's saying.
"I, um, don't think that's a real response to someone greeting you, but okay," Tori says brightly, smiling at him. With a frown, he wonders if Tori ever stops smiling. For a moment he wants to reach out and slap the smile off of her face, and he wonders if this is what it's like to be Jade.
He nods again, not really hearing what she's saying, not really caring. "Thanks," is his response now. He thinks that really his vocabulary consists of five words at this point - 'thanks', 'yes', 'no', 'hi', and 'okay'. Short words, to-the-point words, words that get people to leave you alone, words that make people figure out that you don't want anyone talking to you and could they please leave. Those are the words that Beck takes advantage of these days.
Tori comes back into focus. "...the beach this Saturday?" she squeals, and her voice goes up a few octaves. His first reflex is to cover his ears, but he just winces a little, trying to take her feelings into consideration, if at least a little bit.
"No," he tells her. It feels good. After years and years and years of only saying yes, he likes to say 'no' as much as possible to make up for lost time. He likes the way it rolls off his tongue. "No."
She looks like she's going to start complaining, so Beck walks off, tuning out her whining and humming softly to himself. He tightens his grip on his coffee, closes his eyes, and then turns the corner, running smack-dab into Jade West.
The worst thing about having Jade as his ex is that she still knows everything about him, and she can tell from one glance what no one else has figured out yet. Instead of yelling at him, she raises an eyebrow, and he thinks that maybe it would be better if she yelled at him instead. Her silence is the final scoop of dirt that cements his grave.
They stand there for a moment, just staring at each other in complete and total silence, kind of like a battle of wits. She speaks first. "Why?"
"No," he says mechanically, like he is a robot - and at this point, he thinks, he might as well be. "Okay. No."
"You're not making sense," she hisses, and despite the anger in her voice, he can sense sadness in her eyes. For a moment, he considers the notion that she cares a lot more about him than she lets on. "I need you to talk."
"Class," he tells her, patting her on the shoulder softly.
"You can't even function," she mumbles, all of her defensiveness gone. "You can't do anything, Beck; how are you going to go to class?"
He'd be offended, but it's actually very true.
He nods, tries to make himself smile, then turns and walks away, trying to stop the unnatural throbbing of his heart. (He thinks it could quite possibly be something akin to love, but then again, he wouldn't know.)
During lunch, he mostly keeps to himself, listens to the blabber coming from Tori and Robbie and Andre and Cat, blinks and nods so that he doesn't look suspicious. No one notices, and he likes it that way.
There was never really a point in Beck's life when he was particularly talkative, but this, he thinks, might actually be an issue.
"You look tired," says Cat as she glances over his way.
"You're awfully quiet, Beck," says Tori.
"Beck, man, is everything okay?" asks Andre.
He starts eating alone later that week. He tries to make it as gradual as possible so they don't even notice. During lunch, he hides in a stall, pulls his knees up to his chest, places his head on them, and then stares at the words. I wish I was Beck Oliver, he reads. All the girls love him.
He wants to scream. Do you, he thinks. Do you really?
After ensuring that no one is outside of the stall, he wets a paper towel and slips back in, then scrubs until the letters are all gone. Then he feels a bit like he's going to throw up.
"No," he says to the door. "You don't."
He's not entirely sure what he used to do with his spare time in the time before, but it was definitely not this. There's something oddly peaceful about this quiescent time, when he lies on his bed and stares up at the ceiling. When he was younger, he'd stuck glow-in-the-dark stars all over every crevice of his RV's ceiling, so when he turns the light off, his room is illuminated, and it's almost like he's sprawled out under the stars again. He counts them -one, two, three, four - and wonders how many stars are in the sky. It'd be poetic but it's really not.
His phone vibrates with another text, but he ignores it, just like always. It's a gradual descent, he thinks, the slipping away, and soon enough, all of them will forget he ever existed, and then finally he can be nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. He just wants to not exist.
Not existing is peaceful, he determines, staring at the stars and the metal ceiling. Not existing is not painful.
(He has a feeling, though, that one person will not forget.)
I miss you.
You don't, he wants to say.
You're my best friend.
I'm not, he wants to say.
I thought you liked me! You wanted to kiss me! And now you want nothing to do with me?
I wanted to teach Jade a lesson, he wants to say.
He switches his phone off.
The door opens. He lies still on his bed, thinking that maybe if he doesn't move, she won't try to speak to him, but it doesn't work, it never does. She slips over to his bed and glares at him until he sits up at last.
"Hi," he says, trying to smile.
"No," she replies, a perfect imitation of his favorite word. "What are you doing?"
The words are so helpless, so filled with desperation that it makes him actually feel sort of sad, an emotion he hasn't felt in days with all of his non-existence. He wants her out, and he wants her out now, but he can't bring himself to throw her out. Stupid nostalgia, he grumbles in his brain as he says, "Not existing."
"That's not possible," she hisses. "You exist, Beck, just like I exist. You've got a brain and a heart that still work. See, Beck, see?" She grabs his hand, presses it to his thrumming heart beneath his hand, and he smiles slightly, much to his displeasure. Her hand is warm.
He simply nods.
"Stop it!" Her words are strangled, her face twisted. "Stop this right now!"
It kind of hurts. He knows just what he's doing. In a twisted way, he wants to hurt her, wants to pay her back for everything she's done to him. That was why he'd purposely left the webcam on back when Tori had the whole Platinum Music Awards fiasco. But now, seeing her face, seeing her pain - it makes his insides curl in an uncomfortable way. He stares at her blankly.
"This - this emotions thing, Beck," she babbles, her eyes dark. "You... whenever something happens and you don't want to deal with it, you retreat inside yourself and try to become this blank person, this monster. And you might be able to shoo off everyone else, but you'll never drive me off. Never."
"I hurt you." It's the first real sentence that he's said in ages. He supposes it's appropriate that she should be the one to get it out of him.
"Yes, you did." Her words are slightly soft now. "You hurt me a lot. That doesn't mean I don't care about you."
He stays frozen as she picks up her bag and walks out the door. He swears that he can hear her teardrops as they hit the ground, despite the fact that she's a long ways off by now.
(Something twinges in his chest.)
He doesn't know why but he finds himself hovering over her number in his phone. He frowns, sets it down, tells himself that he can't do this, that he can't care about her.
He can hear her voice reverberating in her head. "You love me again?"
Biting his lip, he puts the phone down. He shouldn't be feeling this way. He shouldn't be feeling anything at all.
"Beck, I miss you!"
"No." It's automatic; it always is. He stares at her, slips away, and goes to sit on the other side of the classroom in a corner that is his own.
Sikowitz just stares at him like he's insane. "Is everything okay, Elvis?" The words are harmless, Beck knows, or at least they're intended to be that way. He nods his head mechanically.
"Funny thing; I don't remember assigning Beck to act like a robot," Sikowitz says with a reverberating laugh.
"You didn't." Jade's voice breaks through the laughter, breaks through his wall, shatters all of his expectations. Throughout their dating life, it had often been him standing up for her, and he thinks it's rather ironic that it should happen this way now. "Stuff like this, Sikowitz - it's no laughing matter. And now if you'll excuse me, Beck and I are leaving."
She holds out her hand to Beck. Like a child, he takes it, and he wonders if this is a beacon of her apology and forgiveness. Once they get out, he feels so worn out from the emotions that she has started to evoke in him that he nearly falls on the floor. With a frown, he says, "I'm sorry," and they're the first two words he's meant with all his heart.
"I know," she replies, and the tears are sliding down her face now too. "I know."
His arms find their way around her like he never stopped holding her, and her head ends up buried in his chest, snuggled against him. He finds himself pressing a kiss to the top of her head - more out of habit than out of love, or so he tells himself.
"You need to see someone," she whispers. "Talk to someone. This isn't normal, Beck. This isn't okay."
"Okay," he repeats. "I'm okay."
"You block everything painful out," she informs him. "You... I might be a stupid, vengeful ex-girlfriend, but I still worry about you. A lot."
"Yes," he says with a nod. Yes, she does, he knows that, and somewhere along the line, he's stopped wanting to teach her a lesson and started caring about her again, which may have been his biggest mistake, all things considering.
"I'm sorry too," she tells him at last. "Will you tell me what happened?"
"No," he responds. No, he won't.
(He tells her anyway and starts to wonder what the point of 'no' is if it really means yes.)
"Beck!" Robbie's voice is obviously worried. "Beck, Jade says there's something wrong with you, and we want to help. We're your friends, or do you not remember? Anyway, we're coming over; we'll be there in five - "
He throws his phone, hauls it as hard as he can. It crashes against a gravestone and shatters into a million pieces, which oddly enough is the most satisfying thing he's ever seen. He smiles, then replays it in his head. Yes, breaking things is such fun.
His eyes land upon his father's gravestone, pure and grey and simple. It's very obviously new. The letters are freshly carved, and the ground is freshly dug. He walks over to it and contemplates if he could destroy this too. If the gravestone isn't there, then maybe his father won't be dead. Deep inside, he knows it doesn't look like that.
It's there that he breaks, that all the emotions he's bottled up come rushing out like an erupting volcano. He weeps, burying his head in the dirt, curling up in a ball like a little child, and maybe that's what he is.
She finds him there a half-hour later. (She always manages to find him.) "You weren't answering your phone," she says darkly, and when she sees him, really sees him, sees the circles under his eyes and the dirt covering his body and the tears sliding down his face, she pulls him into a hug, not even caring that she gets dirt all over her body. Turning on her heel, she takes in the grave and strokes it, like it's actually his father and not just an empty piece of stone.
"It's okay," she whispers, pulling him up to his feet and wrapping an arm around him. He knows that she's just saying that (and she hates when people say that, so he guesses it should mean something). "Baby, you can't keep this bottled up anymore. Come back with us. We'll take care of you. We're your friends, remember?"
He has never before been so acutely aware of how much this girl, this dark, terrifying girl, cares about him. Nodding gratefully, he leans down to kiss her cheek.
His heart thumps erratically. His first reflex is to block it out, but Jade counteracts this by placing a hand on his chest.
"You're still human," she murmurs, taking his hand and putting it on his heart, then covering it up with one of hers. "Still so very human. Emotions are a part of being human, y'know. Even though I hate them."
"Me too," he responds. He thinks that maybe they have this in common, and that's why she's so good at helping him. "They make life hard."
"There are good ones, too," she points out, her voice a little bit harsher now. "You can't just give up everything because life gets hard. It happens to everybody."
"I know." He bows his head. "I'm sorry."
She squeezes his hand. "I believe you."
(His heart twinges in his chest again. He doesn't fight it.)
A/N: I have no clue rn. I'm so sorry. This was written on a whim, and I... it's a bit rushed, I know, and I'm sorry.
Please read and review. Don't fave without reviewing. All of that.