Disclaimer: No, it's not mine.

Nothing scares Effy Stonem.

She hears whispers as she takes another step into the classroom. The voices drop down once she's inside. She lets her bag fall to the ground, before making her way out of the room. She knows they're talking about her, and while most other girls would try to put things right, Effy isn't like most other girls.

She likes when they gossip about her.

Sordid secrets and make believe surround her every time she's in class, but she doesn't care. They make her life seem so much more interesting than it really is. And if that's all that's needed to keep them away, she can deal with it.

Nobody knows how screwed up her life really is.

Oh, they've heard, of course. Who hasn't? Effy Stonem's perfect older brother being hit by a bus? It's old news now. But they don't know the truth, and there's no way she would ever want for them to know the truth.

She takes a cigarette out, her hands shaking, and puts it to her lips. It takes a while for the lighter to work, but finally, it does, and she inhales, exhaling a plume of smoke that swirls around her before disappearing.

She hears the rumours, and this time they cut more deeply than ever before.

Before, they were just about her. And that's all they were. Rumours.

But now, they're about him. Tony.

Tony, who's putting his life back together one step at a time. Tony, who's starting over from scratch. Tony, her brother. And that's enough for the burning to get under her skin. That's enough to make her feel like scratching someone's eyes out whenever she hears his name.

Because her brother deserves so much better than this. He's better than all of them. He's trying, and she can see how hard it is for him. She can hear him crying sometimes, and it's times like that when she wonders if he'll ever be her big brother again.

Nothing scares Effy Stonem.

Well, except for maybe one thing.

But she's going to make sure she fixes that.

A/N: I love Effy. Who doesn't? So, I figured, before the new season started up, I might as well write something...so this is it. It's short, but I was bored at the time, and just needed something to keep me occupied. I especially like Effy and Tony's relationship. And figured that even Effy has to have moments like this sometimes.