Title: Let's Just Sit on a Bench
Pairings/Characters: Katie/Effy, Emily/Naomi, Cassie/Sid, Chris, Jal, Sketch, Tony, Cook.
Rating: R for swearing.
Word Count: 4113
Disclaimer: If I owned them there would be no fucking baseball bats, yeah?
Summary: Nine scenes that happened on/near those ever present benches on Skins.
A/N: This is something that I had on my mind for some time now and after the finale I decided to give it a shot and write it. It is a completely non-chronological order but if you watched everything in Skins so far you'll be able to get it. Except for 'Cassie and Chelle', that has some spoilers from their Unseen. A lovely one by the way, you should totally check out. Anyway, this was supposed to be a Five Times fic but the finale got me all emotional and silly so it's a Ten Scenes thing. I know there are only nine, but 'Tony and Effy' belongs to both gens. I like playing with them XD
A/N2: No beta so if you find mistakes please let me know.
1. Cassie and Chelle (366)
"I'm going to miss you." Cassie says out of nowhere, and she can tell that she has startled Michelle. They're sitting on a bench, both still wearing the wedding clothes.
Cassie feels comfortable in the suit, and Michelle thinks the gown is too beautiful to take it out so soon even though it weights a lot.
"What are you talking about? I'm not going anywhere." Michelle says in that condescending tone that people use with Cassie all the time because they think she is crazy. There is affection in those green eyes though, so Cassie smiles before closing her eyes so she can enjoy the wind on her face
It's such a lovely, gray day.
"We're all going to places, Chelle."
Cassie is sure about that.
She is also sure that most of those places are not going to be good. She knows that nothing good can came out of Tony's endless need for attention, or how her heart beats a little faster when she sees Sid's(she does remember him, never forgets him.) dim face and how it bleeds a little bit more(than the usual) when she follows his gaze and all she sees is gorgeous Michelle, being treated like crap by Tony.
"We're all going to places." She says again and Michelle shrugs as if saying Whatever.
"Well, I'm glad we're here now!" Michelle smiles gesturing to the bench they're sharing as if she is showing off a particularly exquisite piece of furniture. Then she takes Cassie's hands on hers and squeezes them for a moment. "And I'm glad you're better."
"Wow, thanks. That's a lovely thing to say. You're lovely." Cassie concludes and watches with some envy as Michelle blushes prettily and rolls her green, green eyes at her.
She is so pretty, Chelle.
So pretty that Cassie can't really look at her for too long without feeling like shit.
It doesn't mean she doesn't like Michelle anymore, of course.
Michelle cannot be blamed for being so lovely. Neither can Sid for feeling so utterly obsessed with her.
(But she does it, though. Cassie blames them.)
She lays her head on Michelle's shoulder and they both watch the sun leaving.
Cassie already misses Chelle.
2. Chris (406)
Chris feels really good as he sits down on the bench that he and Jal sat on the night they first kissed. The memory brings a smile to his face; and he is not even high, that's how much he loves Jal.
He fucking loves her.
And now she knows about his "condition" and she still wants him around. So what if she doesn't want the baby and that makes his heart ache like in those books Tony likes to quote? She wants him and honestly, Chris knows he doesn't really deserve her, Jal is fucking brilliant and she can do so much better than a screw up with a dangerous disease. She could be with a trombone player, for fuck's sake, but she wants him, and that's enough.
He'll tell all this to Cassie later(if he remembers). Even though she and Sid are back he knows that if she gets hurt again she will do something mental and he wants to help her for once, because Cassie hurts too easily and falls so bad and loves so much…
He should talk to Sid.
And maybe this talk will stop him from trying to touch his cock again, it's a win-win situation for everyone. Yeah, he'll talk to Sid, and tell him to take care of Cassie and be there for her and protect her and tell her that everything is going to be okay, because it will.
Because love conquers all.
From a genetically acquired sub-arachnoid hemorrhage from whatever is wrong with Cass. He'll tell her that later.
(Again, if he remembers. Why can't he carry a pen with him like Jal always does? The thought makes him smile again.)
And that even if the pain is almost unbearable sometimes, he will try to slow down with the pills and as soon as he gets better, which is going to be soon because Cass is a great nurse and he is not as stupid as people think, he will get a job and Jal will come to live with him. Or he'll run after her in London in case she gets into that college.
Of course she will.
"My girlfriend is fucking brilliant!" He grins to a lady who walks in front of him.
"Language, you delinquent!" She scowls and keeps walking.
"It's the fucking truth!" He yells and lights up a spliff.
Whatever she decides, fuck it, he'll do it.
He will say yes.
3. Jal and Sketch (711)
Everyday after practice Jal goes to that square and sits on the same bench she and Chris sat together holding hands. It makes her feel somehow closer to him, it's almost like spending time with him before she leaves to London.
She sighs and looks by the corner of her eyes and there she is. Wearing one of those awful dresses and standing just some meters away, like a proper stalker.
Jal turns around and stares at Sketch.
"Can I help you with something?"
The girl has taken a habit of watching Jal playing since Doug allowed her to practice in the Roundview stage. Her excuse is that she doesn't have the silence she needs at home but they both know she just wants to be somewhere who makes her remember Chris.
More than she already does, that is.
Sketch stands in front of Jal, her eyes kind and crazy.
"I'm sorry for your loss. And no, I'm not stalking you. Fine, maybe just a bit."
This is the first time someone tells her that. As in, with this level of formality, like she is family or something. Jal knows it's stupid to care about this but she does.
Sketch doesn't wait for an answer.
"I've been meaning to tell you this before but well, I couldn't go to the funeral and every time I see you you're playing and I don't have the courage to make to you stop so I followed you here."
Jal studies her for some seconds and sighs.
"Sit down then."
Sketch obeys immediately, as if she is thinking Jal will change her mind.
"I really liked Chris." She says like she is talking about the weather, and she doesn't sound afraid to talk about him to Jal like everyone else does.
"You did?" Jal asks and looks at her.
"Of course. When I was with Anwar and all of you were ignoring me because of Maxxie and Michelle he was the only one who talked to me." Sketch says, as she scans the whole square with attentive eyes. Then she turns to Jal with a proud smile. "He said he was a big fan of my performance in our college play."
Jal can't help smiling at that. "He really was. He made me play 'Osama Blew Us Away'."
"Really? Would you mind playing it sometime when you're practicing?" Sketch asks excited, her eyes sparkling.
"I don't know." Jal replies and watches as Sketch's face falls. "I mean I only played that stupid song for him, you know?"
"Oh, okay. It was silly of me to ask." Sketch shakes her head, sounding so innocent that Jal can't blame Michelle for trusting her.
The thought makes her narrow her eyes.
"So that's all you wanted then?"
Sketch hesitates for a second.
"I also thought you might want some company. In London."
"Yes. I had plans of staying here but since mum died I decided to leave Bristol. Turns out there is a place for someone with a voice like mine in London. More specifically in the uni you're going to."
"I don't know what to say to that." Jal stares at Sketch some more. "You do know Maxxie is no longer there, right? He is on tour."
"I'm not doing this for anyone but myself." Sketch answers with her chin high and a firm smile on her face.
"If you say so." Jal shrugs and then sighs. "I still don't know about you and me, though."
"You should give me a chance to prove I've changed." Sketch reasons. "Besides, Chris told me once we should be friends. He said we both love music and you'd love me, just like he did."
Jal doesn't know why but she does believe Chris said that. He probably called them geeks somewhere in the middle as well.
"Well, Chris loved everyone." Jal says.
"I'm sure he loved you the most." Is the answer she gets and you can't say the girl is not smart.
"I know that. And okay, I'll think about it." She says and Sketch beams.
"You do that!"
Jal nods and stays silent. After some seconds Sketch's eager voice breaks the silence again.
"Who knows, someday you'll play me 'Osama Blew Us Away!'".
4. Tony and Effy (475)
Tony sits on the bench and stares expectantly at his sister. When he pats the space next to him with an easy smile Effy doesn't respond right away. She watches the sky taking a long drag from her cigarette, her fourth since Tony invited her for a walk.
Everything Effy does these days is deliberately slow, like she is trying to gather as many memories of them together as possible before he leaves.
It's not like he going away for good and they both know it. It's just that Tony is the only one who's able to get through the wall Effy has built around herself. He knows his departure is not going to do any good for Effy.
But Tony needs to go. It's the next step. People can't just stop. He thinks of Sid, probably lost in New York and smiles to hide his concern just in case Effy sees it through him.
After all, she always has.
"Come on sis, sit." He insists and Effy rolls her eyes before settling next to him. She lets out this annoyed sigh when he puts his arms around her thin shoulders(She is almost as thin as Cassie these days, and that can't be good.) but scoots closer anyway, and after some hesitation she lays her head on his shoulder. It's the first time Effy allows her self to get this closer, to look this caring since he recovered.
Tony thinks of all the times she crawled on his bed to read him stories because he was too scared to fall sleep and dream about the bus. All the times Effy forgot to pretend she didn't have a heart to take care of their mother like she was the mother and Anthea the stupid child.
For a second the image of himself in his boxers, carrying an unconscious Effy towards Sid comes to his mind and he feels nauseous.
Tony takes her left hand with his right and asks, tilting his head to the side, "You'll be fine after I leave, right?" His eyes meeting eyes that are as blue as his, that for once are not blank, but filled of anger, sadness and love.
"Of course I will, you twat."
"You don't fool me, Effy Stonem." He says and hopes for a smile that doesn't come.
"Is it going to change anything saying the truth then?" Effy snaps, her eyes hard. "I didn't think so."
She tries to stand but he holds her tighter, almost enough to hurt and after some struggling she relents. They stay like that until is night and when they get home Effy locks herself in her room and doesn't come out not even when it's time to say goodbye.
Tony lays his favorite bed sheet carefully folded in front of her door and leaves, hoping for the best.
5. Emily and Naomi (461)
The very first thing Emily noticed about Naomi was how beautiful her eyes were.
Since she was twelve she's been dreaming about those eyes. About how blue they are, how they sparkle every time Naomi says something sarcastic, how they narrow when she is in deep thought while she chews on her lower lip, how they used to widen just the tiniest bit when they'd meet Emily's.
Those eyes were the first thing Emily would think of when she woke up, the last she thought before sleep.
They still are.
The difference is that Emily can't think of them without feeling her heart breaking in a million of pieces now. And Emily still thinks about them every second of the day.
Naomi's eyes are rimmed red all the time. She doesn't try to hide it, Emily tries not to care.
But she does.
Every time Naomi looks at her with her eyes filled with tears all Emily wants to do is put her arms around Naomi's waist, hug her tight, with her face pressed against Naomi's neck, blond hair smelling sweet on her face.
She wants to kiss those tears away and take care of Naomi but she can't because all Emily does these days is try to hurt Naomi as bad as she can, she is the cause of all those tears and it kills her, but she can't stop.
Naomi started, so Emily wants to finish it.
It's just that Emily has never learned when to stop.
Now she can't look at those eyes that she loves so much. Eyes that are staring at her.
They sit on each end of the bench, they don't touch at all. It doesn't mean Emily doesn't want to touch Naomi. Doesn't mean she can't feel the warmth coming from her, that she misses so fucking much.
There are those who move on, and those who don't. Emily knows herself too well to pretend that one day she'll just get over Naomi and her eyes. She is one of those who don't move on, who get stuck.
"I still love you." Emily says and she doesn't need to look at Naomi to know that her eyes just got a little bit wider, that she is trying to figure it out what this means now.
Emily doesn't need to look at Naomi to know how sorry she is.
She does look at Naomi then, those blue eyes boring into her, full of sorrow and hope.
"I'm ready when you're ready." Naomi says with her voice breaking and takes Emily's left hand on her right, squeezing for a second before letting it go as if the touch burns.
Emily nods faintly. She knows. She knows all of that. But she cannot forgive.
Not just yet.
6. Katie and Naomi (647)
Katie sees Naomi sitting in the bus stop and thinks only for a second before heading towards her. Naomi doesn't see her at first, she looks far away, her cigarette hanging between her lips, her eyes empty staring at nothing. She looks almost like a painting, Katie thinks.
Not that she'd ever tell that to anyone, of course.
When Naomi notices her she stiffens and her eyes go wide. It's the first time they meet after the barbecue fiasco and Katie still feels an urge to beat the shit out Naomi for hurting her sister, but the blond looks so fucking miserable that it'd be like kicking a dead animal.
"Hey Katiekins." Naomi whispers when Katie sits next to her, her voice ragged and uncertain.
Katie turns to her. "Stupid bitch."
Naomi laughs weakly. "Guess I deserve that."
"I'm talking about Ems." Katie explains as she takes the cigarette from Naomi's hand, just to practice. "I warned her you'd break her heart."
"Yeah well," Naomi starts and stops for a second when tears threaten to fall. "How's being right working out for you?"
"Stop fucking around and be serious Naomi." Katie orders and rubs her eyes. She is too tired for this shit. Tired of that look of absolute pain on Emily's face, tired of how her sister won't smile anymore.
"What you want me to do? I fucked up. It's over." Naomi says and when she tries to light another cigarette her hands are trembling. "The way she looks at me…" Her voice breaks and Katie feels uncomfortable witnessing something like this. "She doesn't love me anymore."
"Don't be fucking mental!" Katie snaps and takes Naomi's cigarette again.
"Stop stealing my fucking cigarettes, you don't even smoke!" Naomi protests.
"Of course she loves you, you idiot." Katie says.
"You don't know that," Naomi's shoulders slump and in that moment Katie misses the arrogant cunt the girl used to be. It's fucking ridiculous what love can do to you. In times like these she is almost glad for not being in love with anyone.
"Fuck you, I know. Emily still looks at you like she used to. I mean, yeah she is hurt; you fucking cheated on her you whore," Katie almost spits, "but I've spent enough years telling her to stop staring at you like that so I know that she still looks at you that way."
"You're not making much sense, Katie." Naomi says slowly, scrunching her face in confusion but her eyes are not completely empty now. "How does she look at me?"
Katie looks at Naomi again and sighs in defeat. Never in a million of years Katie thought she'd be having this conversation with Naomi Campbell but whatever, if that's what Emily wants(and Katie knows that she wants. Too much in fact.), she won't be the one getting in her way again.
"Like the sun comes out of your arse, yeah? As if you need someone to tell you this. So stop being all emo and go try to clean up the mess you made, yeah?"
Naomi at stares at her biting her bottom lip, her eyes luminous with something that looks like hope and Katie gets just for a second what Emily sees in her. "Yeah, okay." She nods and gives Katie a little smile. "Thanks Katiekins."
"And stop calling me that. One last thing, if you ever do something like that again, I fucking swear I'm going to kill you, you understand? I'm not joking, okay?"
"Okay." Naomi nods seeming more amused than afraid. "Since when do you smoke, anyway?"
"Effy taught me." Katie says casually, and she doesn't need to look at Naomi to know how her mouth is hanging open. "Don't look so surprised, I just gave you a fucking pep talk after you cheated on my sister." She shrugs, "Things change."
"Guess they do." Naomi agrees softly.
They sit in silence for a long time after that, Naomi staring her mobile biting her lip with force enough to make it bleed. When Katie gets 'home' that night, things are still complete shit, but for the first time she believes in what she is saying when she assures Emily that things are going to be fine.
7. Cook (395)
"Hey Freds!" Cook screams from the bench he shared with Effy when she introduced herself as Elizabeth. All he gets as reply is silence, the colors of the pound so beautiful that seem to be mocking him.
He laughs. His lungs burn.
"It's got potential, this day." He says and JJ arrives just as he starts sobbing and his mouth is full of blood again.
His vision blurs after that and all he remembers is JJ's panicked voice far away and then, all he sees is Freds, wearing that red hat with his bruised chin, smiling at him like he did in that day where they met Effy.
Before everything went to shit. But Cook knows that they would both do everything again, and the thought makes him happy and proud.
"It's pregnant, Freds!" He yells before pass out for good in JJ's arms.
Somewhere between being unconscious at the Campbell's being taken care of as Mrs. Campbell made sure no one would think she was hiding a fugitive, Cook realizes he was wrong about having nothing.
He's still got JJ, he's got Blondie, who smiles at him so big now that he can't help smile back at her even if the action splits his lip again, he's got Emily that can be so gentle that he feels the urge to tell Naomi to be careful to not break her again.
Even Katiekins helps him when she is around, and while she looks at him with a face that says You're disgusting when he teases her, when no one else is looking her eyes soften and she flirts back rolling her eyes and calling him pig.
He doesn't see Effy because according to Panda she had a huge breakdown when she heard Freddie and John Foster.
Cook hopes she gets better, without a tosser trying to use her problems as way to fuck her because she deserves better than that.
Better than him, he is sure.
He still loves her so fucking much, though.
Cook leaves Bristol as soon as he is able to walk properly; five days later. He is wearing Freddie's best t-shirt and crying like a baby because he's got friends that he'll never get to see again.
But, he is also singing 'Ace of Spades' loud enough bother people, and he is playing with a baseball bat.
'Cause he is Cook.
8. Katie and Effy (1000)
Effy seems taller than Katie remembers.
Katie sees her first, watches her smoking for some seconds before approaching. Effy still stands like she knows every fucking secret in the world, a bored look on her face as she blows the smoke. When Katie walks to her and she tilts her head the blank look is gone and that old smirk that Katie used to hate and then realized she missed when Effy left greets her.
"Katie-fucking-Fitch," she drawls and her eyes sparkle a little when Katie scowls before hugging her.
"Never gonna let that fucking go, yeah?" Katie says, her voice muffled by Effy's shoulder. "You're fucking thin, babes." she completes in a reproving tone and the only response she gets is Effy's grip on her getting tighter.
"Gotta watch my figure." Effy jokes with her hands in her pockets, smiling down at her and fuck, she looks beautiful.
It's not a surprise, Effy has always been disgustingly good looking it's just that nowadays there isn't that thing in Effy's eyes that used to made her look like someone who's drowning; who knows is drowning and doesn't want to be saved.
There is still an unbelievable amount of sadness there, of course, but Effy is better now. Out of drugs, out of her legal drugs. Out of all the hospitals.
She looks taller.
"Where are we going then?" Katie asks blushing a little after staring at Effy for so long.
"What do you mean?"
"You said we were meeting somewhere nice."
"I did. Here we are."
"Here? I thought you meant some nice restaurant Effy. Fuck's sake I dressed up for this!"
Effy rolls her eyes.
"You're always overdressed Katie."
Effy stares intently at Katie, head to toe, making her blush again. "I didn't say it's a bad thing." Then she shrugs and lights another cigarette. Katie takes one. "Shouldn't have taught you how to smoke."
"Yeah, 'cos everything I do it's because of you." Katie snaps but avoids Effy's gaze because they both know Katie has done a lot of shit because of Effy. Some of them pretty stupid. Most of them essential to bring Effy back from her grieving.
"What did you want to talk about then?" Effy asks when the silence is too much.
Even though she's been thinking about this for weeks now, Katie is still not sure this is a great idea. But fuck it. She takes a deep breath and stares at Effy.
"You're out." She says.
"And proud." Effy smirks.
"Shut up. Anyway, since you're out and you know, better, I wanted to tell you that I'm leaving."
The smirk is gone from Effy's face in a second and Katie feels something weird in her stomach.
"You're leaving. What do you mean you're leaving?" Honestly, Katie expected this question coming from her mother.
"London. Ems got me this job where I will put shit together myself instead of following orders like I do with mum, you know? It's great."
"Great." Effy say and that blank expression is back on her face again. "So when do you leave?"
"In two weeks." Katie answers and Effy goes pale.
"What I wanted to tell you, is that I think you should come with me."
"What?" Effy seems so surprised that Katie smirks. It's always good to be one step ahead of the great Effy Stonem.
"You heard me. You're better and honestly there isn't anything holding us here in fucking Bristol anymore Effy."
Effy doesn't need to say anything for Katie to know how scared she is. Katie knows she is thinking about Freddie's buried body, the possibility of Cook showing up again up like he has done so many times asking for help since he escaped from the police but Bristol is no longer their place. They need to move on.
"We need to move on, Eff. There's nothing else we can change here. But we can do better in London, you'll see. I'll be there for you, yeah?" Katie knows she is practically begging but she doesn't care; she is pretty sure that if Effy asks her nicely she'll forget this leaving thing in a second but she needs, they need, to get the fuck out of Bristol.
But she is not going anywhere without Effy.
Maybe if she tells Effy why she needs her so much, maybe it'll be easier and…
No. Forget that.
"Effy? Say something."
"I need to think about it Katie." Effy says and her eyes are apologizing. "Can I have some time to think?" she asks and Katie remembers what Ems told her the other day, if there's anyone who knows how to play Effy Stonem is her.
"Yeah, whatever. You have today to think." Katie says and when Effy nods she sighs. "We're really not going anywhere else, right?"
Effy laughs at that, the corner of her eyes wrinkling and Katie wants to punch Effy for being this beautiful, it's fucking distracting.
"Come on, Katie." She tugs at Katie's hand. "Let's just sit on a bench."
Katie follows her because, when she did anything but?
"You know, there are lots of benches in London too." Katie tells Effy with a cheeky grin that gets a smile, a proper smile, out of Effy-fucking-Stonem.
Effy gets closer then, and tangles their fingers together.
"You'll need more than benches to convince me." She says and her eyes are so intense and she is so fucking close and Katie has been waiting for so long for this moment with Effy that Katie almost forgets her old strategy to make people to do things she wants them to do.
Katie takes one step forward, her shoes pretty much touching Effy's boots and smiles. "We'll talk about that in London." Then she starts to walk, so proud of herself for not tripping because her knees are kind of weak.
"Tease." Effy says and hooks their arms together and Katie laughs because yeah, they are going to London alright.
9. Sid and Cassie (363)
Cassie walks fast, almost like she is running, and Sid follows her. It's pretty much all he does these days. And he likes it.
It's not perfect, what they have. But it's good enough. Sid likes to think so.
He works in a bank now, it's a shitty job but it pays okay, and Cassie is still a waitress, just because she likes the place she works too much to leave it.
They live together in this tiny flat that is a mess but it's okay because Cassie is still Cass, and he would not have it any other way.
She still has hazy days, still has nightmares about Chris, still throws fits of rage from time to time but she still loves him. She has always loved him. Will love him forever, just like she promised.
And he loves her. He makes sure to tell her as often as possible because it keeps her calm. It makes her smile. It makes her happy.
And nothing in the world makes him feel better.
They have just arrived in Bristol with no baggage at all. It's been two years and they look almost the same.
They're not, though.
There are details that can escape a distracted eye. Like the 'NY' in his hat, how Cassie is just a little bit less thin.
How there are these white lines on her wrists from the two times she has tried to kill herself. How there is an angry, deep scar on his wrist of when he tried to kill himself; when she finally decided to give them a real chance.
A lot of shit has happened but here they are: they made it.
Sid smiles even though the sun is almost blinding him now. He smiles because Cassie is already sitting on the bench, on their bench, and the sun in contrast with her hair is nice and the view of Bristol is still as beautifully pathetic as he used to remember.
He sits next to her and takes her hand.
"Hi," he tells her and watches the way her lips curl into this gorgeous crazy smile.
"Hi." She says back and leans in to kiss him.