A/N: I've been meaning to write a story for this show for awhile now and I've finally made the time and effort to get one posted. I identify so much with Naomi that seasons 3 and 4 had me bawling because even though she's a fictional character, someone had to conjure up her qualities meaning someone had to understand what it feels like to be a person of that nature. It's crazy and lame and I'm an absolute loser, but this girl that doesn't exist gets me and I've never shared such a profound connection with a television character before. I didn't even know how to deal with being exposed like that (exposed to no one but a screen, mind you), so I cried.
I'm just really glad I finally finished watching this show. It reached places in me that nothing ever has.
Naomi has hardly crawled beyond the light clouds of sleep and the movement of her limbs is sluggish and delayed when she rolls onto her back and blindly gropes the empty space beside her. The cold fistful of sheets shocks her eyes open - the clouds shift to a black so dark she's not sure if she's awake - and her other hand joins the first one in a fruitless search for warm skin. Instead, they're bitten by cool, rumpled sheets and the bright glow of the morning makes her eyes sore, so she squints and sits up in a panic. Jolted awake by a sudden crack of thunder within her as she turns her head to find a fuzzy image of no Emily.
It hits her, then. That this is what it feels like. It hits her with such a force that she immediately feels exhausted, like she's been rattled around in a room of upturned nails and the wounds specifically around her chest are being pried. Her ribcage is being compressed by the lack of air, but she can't breathe. She can't let the air invade the holes in her chest because the rush of too much oxygen will surely cause a fireless explosion that she'll have no way of extinguishing.
The prickling starts at her toes, it feels as though her veins are caught in a cycle of freezing and thawing every second. Bristol's been struck with a terribly frosty winter and Naomi thinks the entire bloody British climate has taken refuge underneath her skin until the ice painfully melts again when perhaps Mexico moves in for a brief stay. Broiling her blood until she's uncomfortably hot and then wintry England is back for its visit. Mexico, of all places, because she and Emily had traveled for months along the southern coasts of North America, fucking on every beach they could find and hiking every "mountain," to put the term boldly, in sight.
Her skin sports an unhealthy shade of pink, though she's hardly concerned because obviously the seasons of the planet have decided to wreak their havoc on her small body. It's not phasing her, not really. There may as well be a dry iceberg sitting on Emily's side of the bed because Naomi won't touch it. Dry ice, after all, will freeze your fingers and burst them into tiny solid shards that had once had blood pumped through them.
She's not trudging through territory that vitally must be left as it was.
And then she starts thinking. Thinking is a deathtrap to her and thinking has done nothing but ruin her, and she can't stop it once it's started. The thoughts continue rolling around in the confines of her mind, gathering insecurities upon one another until it's a horrific avalanche that she can only either run from or be completely consumed. Not one to ever relent control, Naomi runs. She always runs and it's cost her Emily too many times for her to count. She's eighteen years old now and in the six years she's known of love, she's had to dodge it for four of them.
No one's name rolls off her tongue quite the way Emily's does and no one steals the breath from her the way Emily does. No one can make her question the purpose of her existence just by up and disappearing from her bed the way Emily can.
She's terribly used to this sort of pain because she's inflicted it upon herself again and again, leaving Emily as she sleeps with nothing but a kiss she doesn't remember or feel. Naomi's stepped on her, crushed her beneath bridges she couldn't (wouldn't?) hold up any longer, and Emily was always back with a hammer, ready to repair the damage. Always ready to fix Naomi.
But Naomi burned her. Set flame to the broken bridges and Emily caught fire - but really, she'd been burning for such a long time and she expected it.
Naomi had been haunted by red in ways she'd never imagined.
She couldn't wash the blood off of her shoes. As hard as she scrubbed, it wouldn't come off and it only spread, burrowing underneath her fingernails and giving a new shade of red to her own fingerprints. The fire burned and she couldn't walk away from it because she would not allow it to take the whole forest down as much as she told herself she didn't care. She'd kept a safe distance and simply watched, the bucket of water dangling from one of her bloodied hands while the other uselessly reached for what she wanted, but wouldn't allow herself to have.
So Emily burned.
It took her awhile, months even, to toss the water and douse the flame. By then, for a reason she understood but wasn't willing to admit, she was the ugly one even though Emily had been steadily burned, again and again and again, seemingly wanting more. Naomi's the revolting one because she'd had the weapon all along to kill the fire and she chose to let Emily turn to ashes. Emily was still flawless and achingly pretty in the way only a girl can be, and Naomi wore the scars that were rightfully hers.
So then Emily had grown and she had the fresh glow of starting over, but she wasn't green with naivety and she didn't make the same mistakes.
She was done letting Katie walk all over her and done obeying her mother because she was "young and didn't know what she was" even though she's known she was gay the moment she kissed Naomi when she was twelve and everything started to get messy. She was done believing in happy endings and she was done trying so hard.
But she wasn't done loving Naomi, because really, that girl has been everything to her since before they even said hello, way before they kissed and Naomi ran from her for years, way before Naomi admitted that Emily makes it hard for her to breathe and then took five more steps backwards.
She never really stopped burning. Naomi put out the fire the best she could, but she didn't catch the raging embers that begged and begged for her to love Emily back, to kiss her and hold her the way she'd been dreaming of since primary school. The moment she'd picked up on the smoke, she was back, still lurking too far for Emily to grab her hand and pull herself off the charred ground, but close enough to watch over her. Close enough to choke on the smoke.
Naomi suffocated for awhile and when she looked down to see the blood still on her shoes, she decided she couldn't take it anymore.
The avalanche of memories and regrets starts to lock up her brain, slowing it down. She's freezing again, runs her hands up and down her arms and her lungs are expanding with too much air as she takes rapid breaths and doesn't allow herself to exhale.
She gathers the sheet that has pooled around her bare torso and draws it up to her face, and finally allows herself the luxury of breathing both in and out. Emily is there, woven deep into the fibers of Naomi's sheets and she's quite literally about to sob at the realization that Emily is everywhere and nowhere all at once when her eyes happen to flicker over the entrance to her bedroom.
And there she is.
With the way their eyes meet in slow motion, Naomi swears the cogs of the Earth must have gotten jammed. But there she is. One foot in the room as the other lingers behind her, toes touching the hallway floor. Her fingers are curled around the doorframe, her body liberated of any clothing other than underwear and a flimsy t-shirt that Naomi recognizes as one of her own. Warm brown eyes stare back at her in concern and confusion, and it's then that Naomi realizes she's crying. Wanking Mexico, she thinks. Melting the ice too quickly but not staying long enough to evaporate the flood, so where is it to go other than out the floodgates of her own eyes?
"Nae," Emily whispers and that second foot crosses the threshold into Naomi's room. Naomi almost can't handle her presence, but she can't handle the lack of it, either, so her stiff fingers drop the sheet back down to her waist just as Emily climbs into her lap and settles on Naomi's hips. The weight of her body is calming, though Naomi's heart is beating so fast it could shatter her - frozen, melting, frozen - ribs. "Naomi," Emily whispers again, palms delicately holding Naomi's jaw and tilting her head back a bit. Definitely melting, Naomi decides. "Christ, you're freezing," she adds softly, skimming her hand along Naomi's arm and arrests her wrist. Pulls the arm over her own shoulder so she has easier access in sharing her body heat, wrapping Naomi up in a tight hug.
Naomi's nails scrape down along Emily's ribcage through the thin material until she can grip the hem of her t-shirt in both fists. She makes no move to lift it off, she only pulls it forward enough for Emily to get the hint to lean down and kiss her so deeply Naomi nearly melts into the mattress and dies. Evaporated by the heat that's returned to her bed.
Naomi hates herself for the fact that Emily knows exactly what's going on, understands it too well and doesn't need to ask any questions. That she can comfort her in the way that Naomi never did for Emily.
Emily leans back, "I wouldn't leave you," she hesitates, slowly massaging a hand into the hair on the back of Naomi's head. Hesitates because even after all this time, she has this fear that being so openly unconditional will drive Naomi away again. "I don't know how to make you understand. I just need you all the time. I'm not going anywhere."
Emily was always the clingy one, so to have such a strong need pulling and pushing within her, such an attachment, is still foreign to Naomi. She's not accustomed to unashamedly needing anyone, not even her own mum.
"I'm such a needy tit," Naomi mumbles, grazing the back of her hand beneath her eyes to catch the gradual trek of tears from reaching her cheeks. She doesn't need to waste time wondering why they haven't frozen in place. The slow stretch of Emily's painful smile does little to let up on Naomi's fear and the one fist that's still clenched onto the t-shirt Emily's wearing tenses. The tight, careful expression on her face tells Naomi what she needs to know and she loves Emily even more for leaving it to actions rather than words. Naomi doesn't think she could handle hearing "I won't do what you did to me."
"I was hardly gone," Emily says softly, playing her fingertips over Naomi's cheek. "Went out to check the mail because it's nearly after noon and Katie called while I was sorting through it downstairs. Just got caught up a bit, you know how she talks. I didn't mean to scare you, Naoms."
"Yeah, 'course," Naomi says offhandedly, her blue eyes a little distant as she dissects the irrational thoughts she was having. "Mail, yeah. I mean, it's Saturday and we don't do much on Saturdays. Lay in bed a lot, mostly. Specially in the winter so I guess I got a little nervous…"
"Yeah, a little," Emily mutters, meaning it as a joke even though it doesn't leave her mouth that way because before the entire sentence has even been said, she's kissing the dry salty trail one or several of Naomi's tears has left behind on her cheek.
Naomi's eyes flutter closed, nimble hands smoothly pressing into Emily's lower back. They travel along the waistband of her knickers, then lower still. The moment doesn't last long, however, as a second later her eyes snap open just when Emily has taken a liking to Naomi's neck.
"Ems, you're not wearing pants."
It's not an elegant way to break the comfortable silence and it runs mostly parallel to the depth of the conversation they were only just having, but she finds it necessary to say.
"…No," Emily leans back slowly, supporting herself on Naomi's thighs. "Not really a strange occurrence in this house, Naomi."
"I know that, smart arse," Naomi replies, raising an eyebrow and Emily mockingly mirrors the same expression. "But the mail…and it's snowing. My neighbors are decent, babes, but not that decent."
Emily flicks Naomi's shoulder.
"Postman's already seen my tits, I thought I'd save my southern dignity and put on some proper clothes before venturing out into the arctic. 'Cause, you know, I totally would have gone out there bare legged if the weather called for it. Jesus, you. It's boiling in the living room, and I was planning on running up here to grab some shorts, but Katie was going on about something and even though the speakers on my phone are tiny, it's Katie. She's loud and you were sleeping," Emily's sarcasm and playful tone drifts off into something else as her thumb softly strokes over Naomi's collarbone. "So yeah, I haven't got any pants on. Consider it a sacrifice I've made for you."
"Sacrifice, eh? I don't think you're healing the sins of the world as much as you're contributing."
"Gosh, yeah. You're such a fucking saint."
"Disturb my virgin ears, why don't you. You've got a well proper mouth on you, don't you, Ems?" she inwardly cringes after she says it; it hadn't occurred to her how easily Emily could (purposely) misinterpret those words.
Surprisingly enough, she doesn't take the bait. She snatches a different hook altogether.
"Darling," Emily hangs her head just to the left of Naomi's, every husky word spoken directly into her ear. "Not a single part of you could manage to figure itself into the definition of that word."
Before she can even figure an educated response, Emily's well proper mouth is working on her neck again and it produces a hushed groan from Naomi. "I'm so in love with you, it's unreal," she manages as her hand finds the base of Emily's head and tangles in the fiery hair there.
"Oh, it's real," Emily retreats after making an apology in the form of a kiss on the rather angry looking love bite she's branded to Naomi's neck, then kisses her on the mouth. She smiles. "It's well fucking brill, Naoms."
Well fucking brill it is.
Suddenly struck with a gripping episode of sentimentalism, (Naomi thinks it must be the smell of the sheets and just perhaps the weight of the girl on her lap) again Naomi's literally about to cry at the realization that Emily's everywhere. She's here and she's there and she's inside of Naomi, inside of her thoughts because spending all this time with her has led to changed thinking habits. She's more conscious than she used to be simply because Emily is. She's nicer, more thoughtful. Still has her coldfront, - because what's an ice queen without the ice - but she has a sense of compassion she never bothered with before. She can't escape her anywhere and right now, at this moment, she realizes with absolute certainty that this feeling of being trapped, being overwhelmed, of her chest being too tight because two hearts can't fit inside her, is something she doesn't want to run from.
She wants to stand still and be consumed by it. She wants to feel the choking pressure of this love that she's been cautious of for so long. She wants every second to be spent with a held breath like she hasn't got the time left to waste. And then she can exhale and Emily will be there, smiling at her because she's stronger inside of this kind of prison, and Naomi will know she can continue breathing and Emily can keep stealing the breath away from her.
"You alright?" Emily says, waving a hand in front of Naomi's face. As she expects it to happen, Naomi looks up and she can't breathe, just the way she wants it. Mexico's blazing within her and she thinks she could change the entire season of the western hemisphere if she were to step outside. The snow isn't a match for this kind of fire.
"I'm good, Ems. Real good."
"Good," Emily says, purposely redundant because she's clever like that. "Know what else is good?"
Emily shifts on Naomi's hips and runs her hand down the smooth skin of Naomi's neck until she reaches her shoulder, then perches it there. Her mouth moves behind Naomi's jaw, just under her ear and she becomes hyperaware of Emily's realization before she says it. "You're still naked."