A/N: So this was written for the 100 Theme Challenge on Deviantart, Number 5 - Seeking Solace. This took me AGES to write, I tried different ideas, went back and forth between fanfics and original, had like ten different ideas, none of which worked, until I finally settled on this. A story of friendship and unrequieted love, and a girl who is not used to being the one who 'needs to talk'. Just a short piece; hope you enjoy.
It's open. It's open. It's open.
Her door was always open. Metaphorically and literally. She never had it shut, and her friends took full advantage of it. Not that she minded. She kind of liked her role here; therapist, confidant, Agony Aunt. Whatever you wanted to call it. She was there, someone who could keep secrets, who didn't flinch at rants, who listened patiently when something was wrong or someone needed a shoulder to cry on.
The point was, she was there, for all of them, and she had no doubt that when she needed them, they'd be there for her, too.
"I don't believe her! This is ridiculous!"
Trouble at home. She sat back, folded her fingers together and turned her gaze Liza, who was now pacing from Jayne's window to her door, frustration bubbling over as she ranted about what a bitch her mother was.
"She always does this!"
"I know," Jayne let out a sigh, standing up and crossing to her friend. "But you're not going home for another month, are you?"
"No," Liza shook her head, before becoming still except for the slight pout in her lips. "It's not fair though! Why can't she treat me like an adult?"
"Because she doesn't want her little girl to grow up."
From the spark of light that appeared in Liza's eyes, Jayne knew she had got through to her. She watched as the tension disappeared from her friend's body, her shoulders becoming more relaxed.
"Yeah. Yeah you're right. Thanks Jayne."
"No problem," She grinned. "S'what I'm here for."
He was perhaps the only one who didn't come to her for help or advice or a just a rant. Mason would just turn up in her room, sit on her bed and demand that a DVD be put on. Or he'd just chat. Sure, he had problems, and of course he sometimes unloaded them on her but....
But not in the same ways the others did.
She couldn't help the way her heart fluttered every time he came in, couldn't help the way her hands would shake after he was gone. The way that, if she just bumped into him wherever, the person she was speaking to would have to put up with slightly speeded up speech after he'd disappeared.
Then it happened.
"Jayne!" He cried, standing outside her door which, for once, was locked. "Jayne let me in!"
"Hang on," She called back, hastily rubbing her towel over her back before throwing on her clothes.
"I've got something to tell you!"
"Alright, alright! Man you're impatient."
She didn't even have time to dry her hair. Leaving her towel thrown over her shoulders, she pulled open the door to see him standing there, eyes ablaze with excitement, brown hair dishevelled and messy. He pushed past Jayne, who couldn't help but laugh at the sight of him.
"Let me guess, they've just announced the new Iron Man movie? Or Justice League?"
"Hm," She folded her arms, watching him carefully, head tilted to one side. "Batman?"
"Nothing to do with comics Jayne. You'll never guess!"
"I've met someone!"
Their words tumbled out at the same time, so it took a few moments for it to really register in Jayne's mind. When it finally hit her – a ton of bricks crashing down – a small voice told her to keep smiling, look how happy he is!
"Are you alright?" He took a step towards her, frowning as he gazed at her face. "You look a bit pale."
"I need some food, s'all," Nonchalance came way too easy as she shrugged. "So, what's she like?"
"Aw Jayne! You'd love her! She's just like you, you know..."
The words hung in the air, imprinting themselves in her brain.
She's just like you...
"You know, into comic books and her favourite film is Watchmen, she's got great taste in music..."
The list went on, and with every different thing all she heard from her own mind was why isn't it me then? But she just smiled, congratulated him.
"We're going out next Saturday...."
"Have you met Mason's new girlfriend yet?"
"Jayne! You'd love her! She's awesome..."
"You're ill, again? Sure you shouldn't go to a doctor?"
Jayne stretched her legs out on the bed, eyes fixed on the ceiling. Three weeks after Mason had told her the initial news, and out of all their friends who lived in their Halls, she was properly the only one who hadn't met Alicia. Every time it came up she either had 'work to do' or was feeling 'under the weather'. These nights, when everyone else was out, she did some reading, or work or talked to her friends back home.
The pain was unbelievable.
Like constant stomach cramps. That was the only way she could describe it.
She didn't want to meet her. She didn't want to see this girl who made her friend so happy. She was scared she'd actually like her.
As it was, she'd rather stick to the illusion in her head – Alicia was a bitch, Alicia was nasty, Alicia was way too beautiful with long blonde hair and huge tits and legs that stretched down to the floor. (Imagining her as ugly hadn't helped; it just made her mind jump to the conclusion that she was way too ugly for Mason.)
Then it happened. The picture appeared on Facebook, it came up on her news feed. The pair of them together. She wasn't 'too beautiful'. She was pretty, really pretty, and Mason's huge smile in his profile picture was something that was real, and genuine. What made Jayne squirm, however, was the choppy red hair and bright green eyes. The cut was similar to Jayne's, the difference being in the colour – electric blue versus crimson red.
He was dating a girl who could have been Jayne's sister.
Jayne decided she had been stupid. Beyond stupid; she had been downright dumb as shit. She had taken signs of friendship as signs of something more, had fooled herself into believing he liked her, and now she was paying the price.
"Jayne! Can I come in?"
She opened the door, sliding back to let Liza in. The door had been locked for a while now, and most people hadn't bothered coming to see her. But here was her best friend, and Jayne actually felt better at thinking someone cared enough to come see if she was alright.
"Jayne, what's going on? Why haven't you come out with us?"
"I don't think I could stand being around Mason and Alicia," Her voice was blunt, honest as she fell back onto her bed, shifting her body against the wall and leaving enough room for her friend. Liza let out a sigh, before sitting, staring hard at Jayne.
"I know its hard sweetie, but you're going to have to meet her sooner or later. She's really nice you know – you'd like her."
"That's what I'm scared of."
Liza reached out, drawing her friend into a hug. "Why didn't you come talk to me about it?"
Because I'm meant to be the strong one.
"You've got your own problems to deal with."
"Doesn't mean I don't have room for yours."
Jayne's eyes dropped, staring at the floor. She hadn't even told the girls back home what was happening; like Liza, they had stuff of their own to sort through.
"Aw Jayne!" Another hug, Liza holding the girl tightly. "I know you like to think you're the only one here who can play Agony Aunt, but you're not. If you're upset, or angry, or anything like that then come see me, OK? It's not right for you to keep it all bottled up like this."
Seconds ticked by in silence, Jayne's arms holding onto her friend, slowly realising that her words were true. What had she done to herself? She'd locked herself in her room, hadn't seen the people she cared about, made herself ill by not eating...
"Jayne, baby, are you crying?"
"No," The sniffle was enough to convince Liza that her friend was lying, and slowly she peeled her away from her body, a soft smile lingering on her face.
"I'm here for you Jay, any time, day or night."
Jayne chuckled at her words, the exact same ones she'd said to Liza not long after they first met.
"I know it's hard, but Mason's your friend. You need to come out and meet Alicia."
"You're right," the girl whimpered, wiping tears from her eyes. "I really don't want to though."
"I know baby, I know."
So she did it. She dragged herself to the shower, got dressed and knocked on Mason's door. Her friend was dressed in a new t-shirt and a new pair of jeans, and he grinned when he saw her there. The pair went to the pub, where Alicia told her how much she'd wanted to meet her, how Mason had told her so much about her. Jayne returned the pleasantries, unable to ignore the smile on Mason's face as he saw his best (female) friend talking to his girlfriend. She'd done the right thing, and as the night went on she found herself actually liking the girl.
It still hurt though, and the pain didn't go away. She walked back to the Halls on her own – Mason was staying at Alicia's. When she got there, she didn't go straight to her room to mope.
Standing outside the door, she hesitated. Finally, knocking gently, she whispered; "Liza...I need to talk to you."