Disclaimer: I do not own Victorious, it belongs to Dan and Nickelodeon. Not my sandbox, just my sand castle, =D Also, this chapter's inspiration: directly from Disney's Hercules 'I Won't Say (I'm In Love) by Susan Egan.

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Chapter 16: Calm before the Storm

Thanksgiving had been . . . a messy affair. When Jade had spoken about two families, she had meant her mother and brother, and then the troupe of misfits she hanged out with. Yes, her father and that idiotic blonde of a new wife weren't included.

Against all odds, their group had won the Halloween special, which was dinner at Maestro's. Everyone was reluctant and glaring at Robbie, quite attentive at his orders and making sure he didn't exceed himself with the caviar. This gift was sprung on them a day before Thanksgiving, forcing Jade, Cat (and her side companion) and Tori to cancel the musketeer banquet in order to fully use the invite of the gift.

"I just hope we don't run into trouble this time," André sighed with worry.

"I said I was sorry!" Robbie stated.

"Yeah, all that expensive sh —"

"Rex!" The ventriloquist was scandalized. "I'm sorry, as of late, he began using obscene language."

"I'll show you — !" Razor edge of certain scissor was placed on the puppet's mouth.

"I'm in no mood for you, dummy," clear blue eyes made the threat sink and Robbie swallowed; the toy in his arms wasn't as smart.

"You're never in mood!" He exclaimed and she took the puppet after everyone inhaled.

"Rex!" But Robbie couldn't take it back; they were shocked as the girl trashed the mechanics inside the thing.

"Jade . . . ." They might not be an item, but he still had some sway. It wasn't enough.

"If I hear this . . . thing speak again . . . ." But before she could damage it beyond repair, a tanned and small hand was placed on her arm. She tensed, froze, then with a sigh, passed it back to the boy who almost began crying in relief. "But I mean it, Shapiro; one more word from that . . . ."

Robbie fled the scene and everyone scowled at the pale thespian. But she ignored them; left elbow on the table, she perched her chin on her left hand and looked away. The hand that had been resting on her right forearm rested on the hand, and they held onto each other beneath the table. It was a precarious hold.

Tori had no idea how to deal with the fact that yes, she wanted to lace their fingers, and that yes, she was enjoying the pale thumb as it rubbed her hand in circular motion and, in a simple way, she was simply enjoying the attention. My dad is gonna kill me, she thought as she kept a conversation with Sam, Cat's new roomie; her parents had taken Jeremy to be institutionalized and she was left with her grandmother. Who had left for some elderly home. She tried to find the sense in this, while Beck tried to get Jade back in the game, and Trina is gonna go ballistics, while my mom is probably going to consider it incest as well.

She began blushing, but she couldn't help herself, she didn't let the hand go, and she suddenly stopped talking. This made her companion turn and look, and once the thumb massage stopped, she turned. It was a perfect moment, there was no one around but them, the others' entire attention focused on each other and even Robbie, as he approached sans puppet, got their friend's attention. It was perfect . . . their hands seemed to move on their own, fingers moving to be laced . . . .

"What are you kids doing here?" The moment was jarred by one mad-looking psychologist; Calvin inquired as he approached the girls and they suddenly let go. "You okay?"

"Yeah, but why are you here?" Jade asked, turning to look at him, face stoic but eyes flooded with a feeling quite unusual; soft desire mixed with patience and frustration; quite a unique blend.

"We had chosen this place," Pablo replied, "to surprise you, the kitties and Vicky."

"Oh," they looked around in wonder and noticed Dan giving Beck a hard glare, "how about we all join up?"

"Are you mad?" Kat whispered, looking at the girl with some horror. "Pablo and Danny won't leave Beck alone!"

"Then you just got to sit beside him, right?" Jade asked in a dull tone, but it was loud enough for the other to hear.

The debate got so, that in the end they did end up sharing a table. The sitting arrangement became: Beck, Jade, Tori, Calvin, Cat, Sam, André, Danielle, Robbie, Samara, Pablo, Kat and back to Beck. Sic arrived, turning to look at the window, and hissed. They turned and watched Sinjin running off in fear.

"You sicced Sic on Sinjin?" Tori asked, incredulous while the musketeers laughed.

"I told you it was training," Jade replied dully again, enjoying as the kitten got to her shoulder and began rubbing her face with his; she stretched her arm in a delicate and fluid motion, guiding the cat towards the Latina, who smiled warmly at the feline and began caressing him, "see, too easy; you've forgiven him."

"He doesn't know what he does is wrong," she countered, giving the thespian a mild glare, "so I can't be mad at him, but I can be mad at you."

Their bickering kept up.

"They look like parents discussing their child's progress," Calvin remarked, looking critical and the others laughed.

"Well, I guess it's good that they're planning for the future," Beck said, and the musketeers stared, "what?"

"Really, it's not like they made it hard to not see," Katarina chuckled, looking at her friends in a fond manner; they were too immersed with their debate that was far too pointless to hear, "maybe it's going too fast?"

"For all we know, it's been going on since they met," André pointed out and taking a bite of bread. "Lil' Red, you okay?"

"Yeah, why wouldn't I?" Cat replied in a mild daze, gazing at her friends as though for first time. "You guys think they are together?"

"No," André replied as everyone looked at him, he frowned, "we're just saying they should."

"Hell, if they aren't, I'm actually Freddie," Sam commented, still stuffing her face.

"I like her — Cat," Dan began with a smirk, looking at the blonde, "keep her."

"'Kay 'kay!" She replied with a smile.

"Hey, I'm not a pet! If anyone is a pet, is the girl with the animal name!" Sam began with a growl then motioned to the oblivious and obvious couple. "Any thought on that pair?"

The redhead now looked at everyone with shiny eyes and a dreamy sigh. "They would be so cute together!"

"Whom are you guys talking about?" Tori asked with a peachy smile as the kitty purred on her neck; Jade was looking away and acting as though she was mad but clearly she was pleased about something. Yes, they were back to holding hands beneath the table.

"Oh, just that —" Cat began but she was pushed a bit by Calvin and landed on Sam, who had been told to look at the redhead by Dan (and pushed a bit by André); they kissed. "I forgot . . . ."

Everyone, even Robbie, laughed at the antics, especially when Sam blushed and began sputtering nonsense. Jade was the one who told her best friend to 'give the blonde another kiss and get it over with!' and Cat did just that. Food came and they gave thanks for friendship and family; everyone was having some kind of fun. Well past their meal, and quite into the dessert, did trouble begin. Robbie was free of blame, but then again, he was being well controlled by Danielle.

Murmurs began all around, some waiters began asking if a woman had lost their child. Jade received a text, 'She was expecting you, I think she's looking for you!' that said enough. Without hesitation, she forwarded to the musketeers as she gave the phone to the tanned girl besides her, standing. Looking everywhere, she frowned at her lack of visibility, when she noticed why everyone was whispering about. She quickly noticed a group of waitress surrounding someone and closing in. Figuring that was where her target was, she snarled and pulled them away.

"Just, how did you find me Kia?" She asked, an exasperated sigh escaping. He girl, who had been shaking, finally seemed to relax and approach the teen. "Never mind. Sorry I couldn't go by today and drop your favorite ice cream."

Dani was up and besides her friend, glaring at any stranger who even tried to intrude. Tori, of course, had to be besides Jade, while one curious kitten jumped and went to the child. Sniffing a bit, he immediately made himself at home on the girl's neck. By then, the pale teen was kneeling in front of the child.

"You know, this is a pretty fancy restaurant," it was a conversational tone, even if it was mostly a monologue. Pale hands were extended, and anyone else would have taken it for a hug gesture. "I think if you'd been wearing your penguin pjs, it would have been better. I guess you felt foxy today."

It was hard to tell if it was a joke, but she child simply extended a hand and placed it on the offered palms.

"We are not playing puppy, so there's no treat for begging." No one could tell if Jade was joking, but her close family. "Guys, I have to take her back."

"Kia, you're a lovely kit!" Cat called, smiling widely. "How bushy is that fancy foxy tail?"

The girl turned and displayed the white-tipped tail, an odd contrast from her black-tipped triangular ears. Everyone stared in awe at the display; the child began pulling towards the piano. She looked to be nine, when she was turning twelve soon. The child was a puzzling creature, to say least.

"Kia, it's bed time, not piano time," Jade reprimanded softly, clearly not liking what was going on. "Come on, you're ready to sleep!

"Is she with you?" Another man, this one quite big, inquired with a frown.

"Touch her, and you'll need paramedics," Danielle said, frowning as she cracked her knuckles.

"We do not wish to cause a scene!" Samara began, standing as well, and another woman joined them, clearly the manager.

"Excuse me, but the child cannot be here without a legal guardian," the woman began, and she recognized André and Tori, "oh, would you play a song again?"

"We leave you in good hands," the boy remarked with a shrug, pointing at the child as she began playing the piano; Jade growled in annoyance as the child managed to sneak past.

The woman frowned. "She could break it —"

"Your piano is lucky to have her play it," Jade said with bite, and approached the child with a sigh, "Kia, I won't sing . . . I'm not feeling it . . . ."

But the child shook her head and stubbornly began playing a tune.

"Ugh, I'm not feeling that song!" She hissed, but her long lost childhood friend gasped.

"Oh, but I love that song!" Tori remarked, and Cat also jumped in joy, making the other girl seethe.

"Why am I not surprised you're a chized Disney Princess," then she sighed even further, "I'm starting to hate our childhood . . . ."

Cat giggled at that, but seemed to want to leave the Latina in the spotlight. She was busy with her new friend anyway.

"If there's a prize for rotten judgment,
I guess I already won that!"
Tori declared, then frowned softly when the child stopped playing, her face betrayed nothing; Jade sighed. She understood without need for words.

"No man is worth the aggravation . . ." Jade complemented, and the child began playing again, not skipping a beat. "That's ancient history . . . ."

"Been there," the Latina sang with passion, while her friend appeared bored as they both sang. "Done that!"

"Who you think you're kiddin'?
She's the earth and heaven to you!
Try to keep it hidden, honey we can see right through you!"
Cat grinned at the surprised looks.

"Ohh nooooo," the Latina said with some apprehension.

"Girl you can't conceal it,
We know how you're feelin' —
Who you're thinkin' of!"

"Ohhh," now, they were scared with the choir they got.

"No chance, no way, I won't say it, no no . . . ." Tori began.

"You swoon, you sigh . . . .
Why deny it, uh oh!" This time Sam sang, showing plenty of the nymph's cheeky attitude.

"It's too . . . cliché!" Jade remarked, looking appealed. "I won't say I'm in love . . . ."

The choir went: Oooooh ooooh oooh!

"I thought my heart had learned its lesson," Tori remarked, "it feels so good when ya start out . . . ."

"My head is screaming get a grip, girl!
Unless you're dying to cry your heart out!"
Jade snapped back.

"Ooooh oooh!" They sang together, feeling slightly awkward.

"You keep on denying
Who you are and how you're feelin'
Baby, we're not lying,"
This time, Samara and Danielle joined, shocking the two girls.
"Hon we saw ya hit the ceiling!
Face it like a grown up;
When ya gonna own up that ya got, got, got it bad?"

"Woah!" They felt suddenly overwhelmed by the gang up. "No chance, no way, I won't say it, no no!"

"Give up, or give in . . ." they all said.

"Check the grin, you're in love!" Cat sang.

"This scene won't play," Tori replied in mild fear, "I won't say I'm in love . . . ."

"You're doing flips," Dan went as far as to smack the back of the girls' head, Sam taking her lead, smacked Cat's and the goth's, "read our lips you're in love!"

"You're way off base!" Jade snarled. "I won't say it . . . ."

"She won't say it . . . ." Everyone else in the restaurant joined in, "no!"

"Get off my case!" Tori remarked as Samara pushed the thespian and the ditz pushed her. "I won't say it!

"Girls don't be proud, it's okay," the pushing girls said, drawing the two girls closer, "you're in love . . . ."

"Ooooooh," Dan and the two Sam sang, surprising everyone.

"At least out loud," they continued, this time looking at each other, "I won't say I'm in . . . love . . . .

"Sha la la la la la . . . ." The three girls said softly, because Sam went back to her food, but since the pianist never joined, they sighed sadly.

"Kia, I'm taking you home," Jade said, turning and leaving the hazel orbs that bored into hers. "Come along kid."

The girl only took a small booklet out, looked around until the goth pointed to the clock; the girl yawned and rubbed her eyes. Looking very sleepy, she extended her arms. It looked as though she wanted to be picked, but she simply slid on to the pale teen's back, cuddling into the neck and back, and exhaled.

Jade didn't bother with her car, and none else bothered to accompany her. Well, it was more that the musketeers knew she wanted that time, and the rest wanted to continue to enjoy the ambiance since they were done with dinner.

Except, of course, Tori. She kept watching her friend, and the girl on her back.

"She's a musical prodigy, a genius, but with a high degree of autism." Jade offered, sighing a bit. "Sunshine, why are you here?"

"Because I want to know more?" She was puzzled. How was she supposed to answer that? "I thought I knew you well, but every time I find an answer, something else happens and brings so many other questions!"

"Shoot." Tori wanted to question it, but knew it would only get her Angel to close off.

"Her name is Kia, right?"


"How did you meet?"

"She was looking for someone, I happened to pass by and she found me interesting." A frowned marred that lovely pale face. "In her foster house, they were used to her following strangers who looked like her family, of course they didn't take it kindly to my harsh words.

"I quickly realized she didn't see the world like everyone else and became interested. She motioned to her booklet, stating that she ought to be fed a sandwich and fries." Now there was a smile, clearly the memories were good ones. "Lluvia de Café was close by, and I took her there."

"When was this, exactly?"

"Back when I was still skipping boring classes?"

"How did you learn she liked music?"

"She showed me herself," another shrug. "Pedro was off to see Samara and offered to take us. I'm not sure if you noticed, but Sam has a huge tail piano in her quarters."

"Let me guess, this sly fox began playing it," Tori teased in good nature, earning a snort.

"Very funny Vega."

"Hey, it's either Tori or Sunshine for you!"

"But, I like calling you Vic," she whined, then began laughing. "If only I had a camera, I would take your picture! Priceless!"

"I . . . guess I could get used to Vicky," she replied, clearing her throat and trying to calm her blush. "Besides, I don't think I can persuade our family to call me otherwise."

"You're remembering," Jade smiled at that, then shook her head. "I'll stick to Tor, Vic or Sunshine."

"One isn't like the others," the Latina replied with a roll of eyes.

"I still like Sunshine best, not to worry," a mew later, and yellow eyes appeared from the hoody. "Sic is right, Vic sounds too much like his name. So I guess I'll only call you that when the three of us are alone,"

"Now I feel like his parent."

"I thought you were his mother already?"

"Co-parenting a cat!" Tori faked her surprise and began fanning herself. "I never thought I would see the day —!"

"Stop it, you klutz!" But Jade was laughing, earning a grin. "You're too much Vega."

"Hey, I'm yours."

"Really?" The conversation was suddenly serious. "You're mine?"

"We're friends, right?"

"You know what I mean!" The prominent scowl didn't help. Tori wasn't any closer to figuring out what she had said that was so maddening.

"No, I don't." But clearly, the blue-haired teen didn't like the answer and turned to scowl in front of her. "Please Jade, I won't know if you don't tell me."

"I want to adopt Kia."

"How was I supposed to get — so this is about her?"

"No, this is about us," for the first time, those eyes looked green, green and vulnerable. "But I need you to know, I want to help her. She needs a better home, and once I graduate, I'll write to my heart's content and I'll take care of her.

"I'm sure you'll want to go into acting, I want to adapt into screen-writing, be for tv or movies," it was surprising so see someone so young and so sure of their dreams, and capable of making them. "I'll likely have to promote my own work as independent, until I can make it big. And even if I want to direct, I'll work with her closely."

"Like Tim Burton and Danny Elfman."

"Yes." She adjusted the child as she seemed to stand tall despite the weight. "I want you to be my Helena Bonham Carter."

Tori was speechless. But, it was okay. The only answer she gave was a soft press of lips to the pale cheek. Nothing else was needed, and the silence was nice, soft and lulling. The girl was fast asleep, and fortunately the house wasn't far. The trip back was done in equal silence, but as they held hands. Even if the question was never answered, they both knew what it was.

It was that saying out loud would and could, change everything. The shift was caused since they knew it already, but the permanence of the spoken word was something that just couldn't be given up. It felt it was too soon for that.

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