Disclaimer: I don't own this show, now leave me in peace.
Dedicated to my own sisters: Andy (LeLeD2010), Sara (readingrainbows), Mad (chasingafterstarlight) and Emily (my very own Trina).
I O U
Trina annoys Tori, like a lot. And Tori gripes and grumbles, she twists her face in displeasure and rolls her eyes, but she would never trade Trina for another sister. Not now, not ever. She owed her a lot, you know? And Tori liked to pay off her dues.
It started like this.
When Trina was almost two, her mother's swollen stomach went down tremendously. Trina missed falling asleep on the large bump in the afternoon. She missed pressing her tiny hands against her mother's tummy to feel the thing that was inside move. She especially missed being the apple of her parents' eyes. She was their only child, she would babble senselessly and they would coo and shoot her their biggest smiles. They didn't mind that she broke all the crayons, and they laughed when she emptied her bowl of mac and cheese on her head. Her dad even took pictures!
But when her mom came home from the "hopstol" as Trina liked to call it, she wasn't alone. And from then on, Trina was never alone either.
"Trina, promise me you'll never stop looking after your sister." Her mother had kneeled in front of a six year old Trina and whispered gravely.
"I promise mommy," Trina never missed a beat. Her mother forced a smile and gave her eldest a kiss on the forehead.
"Now go to bed, Trin." Her mother swatted Trina's behind, eliciting a giggle from the six year old.
That night, a loud wail woke Trina from her slumber. She rubbed her eyes grumpily and tossed around in her bed, but the cries did not stop. Trina huffed as she kicked off her blanket and shuffled across the hall. She stood outside her parents' room and knocked softly. Once, twice, three times; each one louder than the last but she never got an answer. She knelt down and pressed her cheek against the carpet, closing her left eye and squinted to try and see if any shadows were dancing in the crack between the carpet and her parents' wood door, but darkness kissed her cheek until she got up. Tori was still crying down the hall and Trina knew her sister well enough to know that when Tori started cried, she never stopped until she got what she wanted.
Sighing, Trina made her way to her sister's bedroom and pushed the door open with her two chubby hands. Tori was sitting up, her hands fisted as she wept. Her body shook, each teardrop commencing a war. "Tori?" Trina whispered hesitantly.
"I want mommy," Tori said stiffly.
"Mommy's sleeping." Trina had crept unto her sister's bed and gently pushed her aside.
"Daddy then?" Her sister's brown eyes were shining with tears and Trina bit her lower lip.
"I'm here," she offered, shrugging her shoulders.
Tori tugged her blanket and brought it up to her nose, caramel eyes wide with fear. "I…there was…"
"You had a bad dream?" Trina supplied, pulling a stray piece of thread from her pink nightdress. Tori nodded her head furiously, the crocodile tears threatening to fall once more and streak down her face in terror.
"Stay with me?" Tori whispered softly, sniffling as she did so.
"Always." Trina linked their arms under the covers and let her little sister nestle into her side. Usually she hated having to pacify Tori, but Trina did make a promise and everything, and Tori was her baby sister, so she kind of had no other choice. Tori's hair hung limp as she trembled and gripped her sister's hand tighter under the covers. "Nothing is going to get you Tori, you're safe." Trina had heard her dad say these words while on his cell phone hundreds of times. She figured it would work on Tori too.
"Will you sing me a song?" Tori had stopped crying now, and she was shooting her big sister hopeful glances. Whenever Trina sang, her mother always applauded her and her dad ruffled her hair. As she got older, their mother stopped clapping and their father simply arched his eyebrow but Tori had never stopped smiling. Tori had never stopped loving Trina's voice. Well, Tori wrinkled her nose as Trina sang softly, it wasn't Trina's voice she liked so much, but rather what Trina's voice could convey.
Sometimes, all she could hear was Trina's voice.
When Trina turned ten, her parents often left them at their Grandma Abby's house for long periods of time: after school, on the weekends, during summer and once even for Christmas.
"I just need a vacation- sometime to myself." She remembered her mother saying.
"I've got a double homicide to solve." Her dad said once.
"They are just a handful, aren't they?"
"We need a break."
"We need to work on ourselves."
"But remember girls, we love you."
That was all Tori can really remember of her parents in her childhood. When Tori closes her eyes, when she tries to imagine why she was putting up with all of Trina's crap: her crazy facial masks, her fazini boots, her bullying and all the times she stole her clothes. Tori ignores all the times Trina left her home (because she still doesn't have her license) when she wanted to get to school early to stalk some hot senior she had a mega crush on, the time Trina made her shave her legs and pits in the car…
Really, there was a lot to ignore and even more to put up with.
But she owed it to her. She owed it to Trina.
At twelve, Trina was a master at getting her little sister ready for school. Lucky for her, Tori wasn't much for protesting. She would spring out of her bed when Trina would give her a gentle shove and she'd never fail to tell Trina all about her dreams when her older sister brushed out Tori's bedtime knots in her hair. When she slapped a PB&J sandwich together and wrapped it up in foil on their way to school, Tori would grin and say, "yum, I love PB&J" even though she despised jelly. Especially grape jelly.
Their parents were in and out of the house, always taking care of the chores, making sure the house was clean, but never really taking care of their children. No, it seemed like they were old enough to take care of themselves now. The moment Trina was old enough to walk to and from the bus stop, Tori in tow gripping her older sister's hand tightly, their parents seemed to disappear more and more.
In some other universe, maybe they didn't have absentee parents. Maybe in another time, their parents wouldn't always need some time to themselves.
When Trina was thirteen, Tori was growing more clingy than usual. Not only did she insist on holding her hand as they walked to the bus stop- like she was eight again, but she also begged Trina to brush her hair. Trina, who had shot up a head over Tori and was entering high school in a year, pursed her lips but she didn't say anything. She was old enough to know, that if Tori didn't have her hand to hold, then she didn't have anyone's hand to hold.
When her classmate, Jenny, invited her to her fourteenth birthday party, Trina bit her lip and gave her an apologetic smile, "Sorry, I can't go, I've got to look after my sister."
"You always have to look after you sister," Jenny had grumbled.
And that was the end of Jenny.
Later that day, Tori came hopping into the kitchen, all hyped up on cookies Trina specifically told her not to eat. "Where do you think mom and dad go?" She asked, never noticing the way Trina's shoulders would tense up.
"I don't know, why don't you ask them?" Trina mumbled, she was in the process of making Tori's (not so) favourite: PB&J.
"Why don't they take us with them?" Tori asked, making a face at all the jelly Trina smeared across the slice of bread.
"Because they don't want to be with us." The immediate silence made Trina pause and spare her little sister a glance. Tori was eleven now, she was too skinny, her eyes too large and her cheekbones too prominent.
"Don't they love us?" Tori asked innocently, anger of pain void in her voice.
"Of course they do." Trina turned back around before Tori's pitiful eyes could guilt her into the truth. The truth being Trina was over a hundred percent certain that their parents didn't plan to be parents. Maybe they had no problem with Trina, but two kids were apparently too much for them. "You're too skinny, you should eat more," she commented, which made Tori gasp.
"I am not too skinny!" She protested, arms flailing around and voice high pitched.
That night, Trina opened her grandmother's cookbook and vowed to learn some new recipes. They couldn't live off of PB&Js forever, could they?
Tori remembered when she started to pull away from Trina.
She was fourteen and her sister had just turned sixteen. Trina, unlike in all the movies Tori had seen, did not have a big party, a sleepover, a girls night out or anything of the sort. Instead, she cut Tori a slice of an expensive strawberry cheesecake their parents had ordered before they left for a business trip, and together they blew out the candles. Trina was neither bitter nor angry. In fact, she didn't even eat the cake. She just stared at it until Tori put it in the fridge for later.
"Are you okay?" Tori remembered asking.
Trina shot her a particularly nasty look, "why don't you butt out?" Unaccustomed to her sister's abrasive attitude, Tori stumbled away and mumbled an excuse about having an early day tomorrow.
She remembered the way she hadn't bothered waiting for Trina to walk her to school. Instead, Tori choose to sneak around to see what it was that made Trina so wonky. Her sister was the nicest, most caring person she knew. So for her to tell her to butt out- well something to have been going on.
"Have a nice birthday with your friends?" A girl, Jenny, Tori thinks, sneered. "Oh wait, you only hang out with your stupid little sister. You don't have any friends."
"At least my sister cares about me, can't say the same for the idiots you call friends," Tori remembered Trina saying before her sister stomped away with a dangerous glint in her eyes. Tori ran back home and with the help of Betty Crocker, she baked her sister a chocolate cake. Then she grabbed her markers and some old bristle board and made the biggest card Trina would ever have. She dazzled it with glitter and drawings Tori thought her sister would appreciate. Her heart swollen with pride, re-playing Trina's word inside her mind.
Trina nagged their parents to pay her tuition into Hollywood Arts- she hated it in normal school, she had said. I don't belong there, she whined. I hate everyone, she had stomped her feet. She did this until her parents sighed wearily, exchanged a knowing look (one that Tori hated) and wrote her a check.
"Make sure you stay out of our hair," she remembers them telling Trina. Then, they promptly sat down at the kitchen table and gave Tori a sweet smile.
"Don't you have plans?" Her father asked her pointedly and Tori shook her head, a frown etched on her face.
"Come on Tori, let's go for some ice-cream," Trina said and grabbed her hand roughly. Anything to get away from their parents.
"Can I get hot fudge on mine?" Tori asked hopefully, eyes wide.
"You can get anything you like," and Trina was so happy about getting into Hollywood Arts she gave her sister an affectionate pat on the head and ran to get their jackets.
She hadn't done that in years.
The trouble started when Tori turned sixteen and Trina would just never shut up. She never stopped singing with her horrible voice and she never stopped going through all of Tori's clothes- as if she didn't have any of her own! And whenever Tori would ask Trina to shut up because she was trying to do Trigonometry here, Trina would huff and roll her eyes before stalking off- singing louder than she previously had.
"You know, you used to love my singing when we were kids," Trina scowled, her arms crossed.
"Like I had a choice," Tori snorted, "you always snuck into my bedroom to torture me to sleep."
"If that's how you'd like to remember it." And Tori frowned at her words. Trina didn't sing for the rest of the month and Tori felt a deep sort of ache in her stomach and it hurt every night until she woke up to Trina singing in the shower. And although she never said a word about it, she often wondered what else about their childhood she was constantly forgetting about.
Because while she could remember Trina sneaking into her bedroom and roughly shoving her aside, she also remembers PB&Js and Trina asking her about her dreams. She remembered holding her hand at the bus stop and Trina eating a terribly burnt chocolate cake. She remembered soft off-key singing and Trina, with a tired smile on her face listening to Tori go on about her day at school.
But then again, she doesn't because it is Trina and Trina is selfish and rude and a brat whenever things didn't go away.
"Trina, what happened to us when we were kids?" Tori remembered asking one afternoon. Their parents were out- where, they didn't exactly know and Trina didn't care as long as they left enough money for them for food and gas.
"Nothing," Trina said simply, sipping on pink lemonade. She wasn't lying though, was she? Nothing had happened to them. Nothing nothing, nothing at all. Her face was pinched into a frown and Tori saw the ways her shoulders tensed.
"Why don't I remember mom and dad?" Tori persisted, inching closer to her sister who had now rolled her eyes and muted the TV.
"Because they weren't around. Now can you shut up, I am trying to watch SNL here." She snapped.
"Then who took care of us when we were kids?" Tori's eyes weren't watering and they weren't red. She felt nothing at all- nothing for the people she called mom and dad. She wasn't angry, she wasn't hurt and she most certainly didn't love them- she didn't care about them like she cared about Trina or Andre, Jade, Cat, Robbie or Beck. And so when Trina didn't reply, Tori sank back into her chair and fiddled with her glasses on her nose bridge because she felt guilty. Shouldn't children love their parents, no matter what?
"I did." And Trina took another sip of Tori's pink lemonade, her eyes never leaving the TV screen.
"Then I'll take care of you forever, then." Tori jumped at the sound of her own voice as Trina's dark eyes rested on her sister. A small smile worked its way across her face. "Because you did-"
"Let's not talk about it." Trina cut her off.
"But I want to talk about it. You didn't have-"
"I did, I'm your sister." Trina's eyes clouded over darkly, before she started humming loudly to prevent Tori from commenting further. Tori, to her credit, pouted and groaned, but there was a smile on her face when Trina slammed her half-full cup on the table and started singing (off-key) about Chicago being the perfect place to be.
Instead of complaining and telling Trina to shut her trap like she usually did, Tori grinned up at her sister- the only family she ever had and she let her dance around the living room, she let her throw the cushions off the sofas and she let Trina jump from the top of the staircase to the spot near the piano at the foot of the stairs.
For once, she let Trina be something she never got the chance to be- she let Trina be a kid. And she put up with her whining and her tantrums and her impossible demands because she was her sister, and for her entire life, Trina had done the same for her- no questions asked.
After all, Tori did make a promise. She owed her.
Very short collection/oneshot of Tori and Trina moments.. I've been promising this to my pal Emily for a very long time and never got around to finishing it. Then I randomly found it on my laptop and decided to give it an ending. It's nowhere as long as I'd have initially liked it to be. Tori and Trina's relationship is something that has yet to be explored in this fandom. I admit, this was poorly done but somebody join me.