A/N: The song "Tangled Up in You" is by Staind. This is a one-shot that takes a look at Cat that came from an idea that I could not incorporate into the "Bored Now" Universe. There will be a lot of disclaimers and notes before the actual story.

This is NOT an accurate representation of physiological issues, IED, OR any other disorders. Again I repeat NOT ACCURATE. Read with caution because while I doubt there are triggers, there might be.

Also, Jade is also OOC, for reasons that will be (hopefully) understood and implied as to why she is the way she is in the show.

Disclaimer: I don't own the song inspiration or the Victorious characters. Nickelodeon and Dan's Bakery do.

Tangled Up in You

You've always had "episodes", at least you think you have because you can't remember a time that you haven't. You suppose that "episode" might be a terrible way to describe it but at least "episode" is less grating on your ears than some of the other labels you've heard and if you try really hard you can pretend you're talking about a show. You do remember that they were bad, well "bad" being relative to now. You don't think you'll ever be used to them but you've had them enough that you can break them into four different categories. Cold, pain, confusion, and blackouts. At least the first three you could account for where you were the entire time but you really hate the last one. There were the times when you would lose days, instead of hours. Sometimes, you would wake up in the middle of your room; everything torn or broken and sometimes your knuckles would be bleeding. They had to proof your room like they would a small child. Precautions had been taken; the door locks from both directions. One from the outside so you don't get out, and one from the inside, in case your brother is in a mood. But it doesn't fix you.

Your parents tried everything, you tried everything; therapy didn't help, pills made it worse. To try to make them as few as possible you made "The List". "The List" was simple, because it watered down to three things.

One: Do not get seriously upset.

Two: Do not get badly stressed or stressed for a long period of time.

Three: Do not be near your brother when he is having a bad day.

It was the only thing that made you feel like you had some control helped and it managed even then you weren't even sure if it worked them fairly well. But it was better than nothing, although sometimes all it did was feel like it only delayed the inevitable long enough to allow you at least to get home or lock yourself away.

It wears though, day after day, being on guard, exhausting. it was at the point where you didn't want to be around people, didn't leave the house. You knew when they were coming and the blackouts are becoming less frequent. It was a comforting idea and incredibly lonely that everyone else was safe. But it was anything but fun living in fear of yourself and in the worst moments you wondered if everyone would be better off without you they're better off without you. Your house became a haven prison, your room was a safety net nothing more than a nicely decorated cell. It's a vicious cycle, one that you need to follow want to leave but far too afraid to step outside the house.

You were content you wanted to die. When she showed up.

(You wish you could remember the first time you met her. You'd even settle for the second or third. But you don't. You only know about them because she told you. But the fourth time you met her, you remember that.)

There was a tentative knock which was accompanied by an equally cautious, "Cat." It's your mother, when you don't answer, she continues, "There's someone at the door for you." You say nothing. "I'll tell her to go." You listen to her leave, logically you should just stay in your room but your curiosity gets the better of you. You haven't had much contact outside of your therapist or your family and you definitely do not remember meeting anyone who would try to find you. So, you silently unlock your door and you creep down the hallway to hide near the top of the stairs. You hear voices, the slightly higher pitched one is your mother's, who sounds exasperated at the person she is addressing. The other is definitely female and sounds to be about your age, there's a steeliness in her tone as she refuses to leave that should scare you but the richness undertones of the same voice drowns it out. It makes you want to run. It makes you want to know this stranger.

You slowly inch down, trying to catch a glimpse of your mysterious visitor.

She has dark hair, and pale skin. It's hard to figure out her height from your perch on the stairs. Before you can make anymore observations her eyes catch yours and you dive behind the protection of the upstairs wall.

"You might as well say, hello." The girl says, you can feel her eyes boring through the wall you had taken shelter behind. You peek out slowly. "Hey, Cat. My name's Jade."

"How do you know my name?" It comes out little more than a squeak.

"If you come down, I'll tell you."

It comes down to whether you're more curious than you are terrified. Terrified you are definitely terrified but not of yourself for once of someone else. You're upset and on edge. An episode could happen any moment now, but you want to know. You force yourself, carefully concentrating on the floor so you don't fall, you take the first step down the stairs, nothing, Another step, nothing. Two, three more. Still nothing. You make it successfully all the way down, and the first thing you think when you look up is that she's shorter than you thought. In fact, you're looking down. And then you realize that the front door is still open, and the panic descends.

Cold… open...help...freezing… door..cold… can't….shiv-er…cold…door. You can't think, you can't move. And you're helpless to stop it. It's almost as if time has stopped, part of your mind registers that your mom is moving to close the door and preparing to clean up after the fallout because there is no stopping this. For a moment, there is no movement from the person in front of you, then just as your mom's hand reaches the door, the girl ducks under the arm and kicks the door shut behind her. You flinch as it slams shut and she's coming toward you. Your mother moves to stop her because there's no telling what you are capable of next. It doesn't matter if you can barely function right now because your condition is hardly predictable once it begins. Your vision fades for a second, so you don't see what happens next between them but you do hear Jade clearly say "Back off."

"Cat," it's soft and comforting, as she turns back toward you and all you can see are her green eyes. You notice a hint of blue and you see a surprising amount of warmth there. "Don't be afraid," she says and you feel her hands then her arms as they encircle you and pull you into a hug. Heat runs through the points of contact and into your body. Soon, you can breathe without your teeth chattering, and gradually you stop shivering. Everything is telling you to run because you don't understand. She had just done the impossible and you need to understand, you don't want this to be the rest of your life.

"Do you want to come up to my room?" The question comes out of your mouth before you can stop it, it sounds hesitant yet hopeful to your ears. She backs off, creating an arm length of space between the two of you. And your cold again, not badly but the lack of warmth is fading. There's a thoughtful look on her face. Panic gnaws at you with each painful second that passes; she's the first person you've talked to that's around your age for so long. What if she says "no"? Or worse, what if she says "yes"?

She takes your hand, "Lead the way." You turn toward her because you can't believe the words that came out of her mouth. "Or.." Her mouth twitches upward, "we could just stand here and let your mother gawk at us until she's bored." Oh right, you had forgotten about your mom.

"It's this way," you tug her up the stairs to your room.

"Wow, it's exactly as brightly covered as she described it."

"She?" Who is this she?

Jade smiles apologetically, "Sorry, habit." She doesn't elaborate. There's an uneasy pause because the room feels weird with someone else in it. "May I?" She gestures to the bed. Your throat is dry and your response is some kind of raspy choking sound. It's quiet enough that she probably took it as gaping shock, so instead you nod yes. She sits and looks at you, waiting. It's the kind of look that you recognize from your therapy of extreme patience until you want to talk.

"Why are you here?"

"I came to return the shoes."

"What just - how did – why – where did you get my shoes?" It was the first question out of your mouth but not the most important one that is burning in your mind.

"They were left in the park." She shrugged as though was the most obvious answer in the world. But you don't remember going to the park.

"I don't go to the park," you retort.

Jade looks at you a long second, "No, I suppose you don't." The emphasis not lost on you. "But she does."

It dawns on you that she's talking about the blackouts you occasionally had, you've never thought of them in that way. "And you're not hurt? You're not afraid?" A thought occurs to you, "You were never here for me were you?" And the feeling that accompanies that is crushing and you can barely breathe again.

"I was here for you." Her hand touches your knee and just like your lungs no longer feel too small in your body.

"My mother had the same thing," Jade says quietly, "more or less."

"What happened to her?" Maybe there was a trick or something to deal with this.

"She killed herself." Or not.

Months pass by and you're getting better, you weren't sure at first but it's the little things. You don't flinch when your family touches you, you can carry on a conversation with your brother in the room, and you've been out of the house. The blackouts were less frequent, and had gradually faded into only a rare occasion. You've been noticeably happier, perhaps overly so, if the looks Jade's been giving you when you skip down the street are any indication. But you can't help it.

Because you feel alive.

Unfortunately, everything comes crashing down sooner or later.

One day, you came to in your room disoriented and unsure exactly what happened. Even though your eyes were unable to clearly focus it's obvious enough that your room was a mess, secondly your hands hurt. It comes back to you in a rush, Jade was here, where was she? Did you hurt her? You hope that you didn't but when your eyes finally focus you see her. She's standing there with a look on her face, not one of pity or boredom, just one of waiting, like a person weathering a storm they've gone through before. As though this has happened many times before, but it hasn't right? Your episodes had decreased since meeting her and since starting high school near disappeared altogether. Right?

It makes you question everything in the last years. Thinking about it, you think that you've always known. There were weekends when Jade was occupied and it was fairly close to the few times you had relapsed. When you were young, you thought nothing of it. But lately, you think you've always known, you just didn't want to see. Especially, when Jade claimed Tori had hit her and then proceeded to apologize for lying. When you knew full well Jade had been spouting a bruise on her eye and while the makeup she had done covered it up, you still manage to spotted it. She had said it wasn't Tori, so you had to ask.

"Did I do that?"

"No," she had said firmly. And you believed her. Maybe because you wanted to so badly that you fooled yourself. But there is no way you can do that now.

"Jade?"

You can see a small smile that manages to break out on Jade face and it's then you notice that she's holding she's holding her arm and when she takes a step toward you, she winces. You reach up because you can't believe that it could be real but before you can touch it, she looks at you in the eyes, and you flinch away.

You feel horrified and betrayed. "You lied to me. How long have I been doing this?"

"You haven't," she says it so honesty that if the proof wasn't in front of your eyes, if it wasn't painting a purple fist on her face, you might have believed her.

"Jade-"

"Cat." She interrupts you and tries to grab your hands but she's slower than usual, and she can't catch them as you back away to the other side of the room. You'd run out the door but you'd have to go past Jade and you don't want to risk hurting her again in your attempts to escape. She comes toward you slowly, and you wonder if this is how animals feel when they are cornered.

"Cat," she says again, more gently this time. And it takes all you have not to flinch as she takes your hands in hers. She shouldn't touch you. Not after this.

"Cat, look at me." You don't want to but you owe her that much. "This," she gestures around the wreck that is your room, "Is nothing." She points to herself, "This, is also, nothing." You start crying, she pulls you close, hugging you like your life depends on it, and for a moment in time it does.

You wonder if Beck knows just how lucky he is.