a/n: Hello! I was introduced to Skins last week, and I'm hooked. Cassie is my favorite, of course. This is my first Skins fic, but nowhere near my first fanfic, I'm usually found writing Harry Potter romances. I hope I did alright!

Word count: 1457

Pairing: CassieSid, but mostly just Cassie.

Time: Season 1, Episode 7ish

no air

"I just want to be lovely for you, that's all," she says. He hears her words and vaguely recollects that he's supposed to say something, a perfect something, that'll make her feel beautiful. He doesn't know what that something is, so he stays silent.

"It's really not that big of a deal, anyway," she continues after a moment of expectant silence, "I mean, who really needs food anyway?" Her voice is high pitched, he wants to tell her that he can hear the lies and false reassurance in her tones, that he knows that she isn't telling him the truth. Again, though, he stays silent.

They're in the corner of the large room, the party he came for wild and crazy around them. He catches sight of Michelle and his heart drops. She's in a black slinky dress that cuts low down her chest and ends high on her thigh. Cassie follows his gaze, looking over her scantily clad once-best-friend as the girl in question drops down low against Tony's legs and grinds her way back up. Tony spins her to face him and the couple kisses passionately.

"Oh wow," Cassie's murmurs, now facing Sid. His eyes are still glued to Michelle, even as Cassie stares at him.

"Do you think she'll ever love me?" He asks, finally turning his gaze on the dainty blond, "ever love me like I love her?"

Cassie tries to choke out an answer, but the words don't come, so she just stands there and opens and closes her mouth, like a fish. Sid turns away to find Michelle in the crowd, she and Tony haven't broken apart, their mouths moving in practiced synchronization. She can't take it, can't handle his eyes watching Michelle's tiny waist and glowing skin. "She is lovely," Cassie finally says, before spinning around and rushing out of the room.

She needs somewhere that she can breathe, the room is too jam packed with people and they're all writhing against each other and sucking in all the air until there's no oxygen left for her. Her head spins and she thinks it may the alcohol, or maybe the lack of air, she doesn't know which.

"Cas," he calls after her, halfheartedly. She'd turn around and run back towards him, press her lips against his and let him take her right there, on the dance-floor, if she knew that he wasn't calling her name and turning back to the lovely Michelle, but she knows him and she knows that he isn't watching her retreating form.

As she moves, quickly and fluidly, the hem of her dress hitches further up her thigh. The dress is gold, made from a slinky material that feels soft and liquid against her porcelain skin. The lights dance over her form, patches of red and blue dying her skin in alternating patterns, like stained glass windows. Somebody offers her a bottle and she takes a large drink without looking at the label. The room tilts and faces blur and she thinks she might be able to fly off into the clouds if she were any smaller. But she's not, and she curses that because from the floating she's doing now, the night sky seems tantalizingly close.

She opens a wooden door, disgusted to hear moaning coming from a dark corner of the room. She turns her heel and leaves, still in search of an unoccupied place that she can fill with white light and breathe in. It takes her a few tries, but she finally locates an empty bathroom.

The sink and toilet shine white. They're flawless; nobody else has discovered this corner of the house, so the mess from the mass of people hasn't dirtied ever centimeter of these white walls. "Lovely," she mutters.

She presses her lips to the back of her hand, biting hard the skin that comes in-between. Pain shoots up her arm and she relishes in it, delighting in the sensation of something that isn't as perfect as the rest of this room. Pain is real, shining, flawless white isn't. When she withdraws her hand, a print of red lipstick is left, evidence of the waxy make-up she had applied earlier. She rubs at the stain with her fingers, but it won't budge. She rubs harder, an animal need commanding that she rid her white hand from the ruin of red lipstick. She keeps rubbing harder, harder, using the pads of her fingers until she forfeits that idea and begins tearing with her nails. Each pass leaves four lines, and she continues to drag her fingers across, applying enough pressure to break the once-flawless skin, until the lipstick is gone and her hand is bleeding.

She falls against a wall, sliding down its length until she's sitting on the floor with her back slumped and her knees hugged to her. The gold dress isn't covering anything much anymore, but she doesn't fix it. She starts crying and she can't stop.

He walks in. He almost doesn't notice her, but then he does because everything is so white and perfect and she's a stain of a girl huddled against a wall, dirty. He stands awkwardly above her for a few heartbeats, unsure of what to do. "Cas," he finally mumbles, bending his knees until he's able to talk to her face to face. She has no words and no air, even though not many people are in the room using up all the oxygen. Her head spins and it may the alcohol or it may be him. She's still crying, her tears dripping inky black mascara down her fair cheeks.

He finally sits down next to her. Still slow and gangly in his movements, completely unsure of what to say and do. He pulls a pristine white washcloth down from a higher rack and offers it to her in the silent hope that she'll wipe her eyes. She doesn't take it, probably because she doesn't see it or him, her eyes see through the walls a million miles away to the sky and the stars and the clouds. When it is fully clear that she won't take it from him, he takes it upon himself to press the soft, white cloth to her eyes. The moment it contacts her skin, she starts. He retracts the offending washcloth, pleased to have gotten a reaction but confused as to what it meant. Her eyes search his face, and for a long moment he can't breathe. She looks down at the crumpled towel in his hands, observing, with horror, the black stains from her running make-up that stain the once-flawless white.

And that's it. She screams, her face turning blotchy as humiliation and anger and sadness and so many feels that she thinks she might explode course through her veins. "It's not lovely! It's not! It was, but now it isn't because you bloody used me to stain it! Ruin it!" and she's screeching, which pains her throat, but she doesn't care because the pain feels so, so good. "You used me," she finally whispers, drained of all fight.

"It's fine," he offers, brows knit together with confusion, "they'll just wash it."

"It's not that," she snarls, and stands up to stalk out of the room. But she rises to her feet too fast and the floor tilts. Her stomach churns in protest and she can't help but be sick all over the white tile floor.

"Oh wow," she says, eyes wide on the disgusting splotch, "I ruined it. I did," and she runs out of the room, because she can't stay there anymore. Not with him. She breaks through the crowd, wobbling on her feet from lack of oxygen, alcohol, and the dizzying effect he has on her.

Once she's outside, she tilts her head up to face the stars in the sky. They twinkle back, but it feels like a reprimand, not an approval. "I just wanted to be lovely for him," she justifies. They don't give her an answer, "I wanted to be lovely like she is,"

Even here, though, there's no air because there are so many people. So many people! They aren't crawling all over the grassy lawn, but they're out in the world, and so many of them are lovely. And besides, even if there aren't a lot of people, there are a lot of stars. So there's no oxygen for her, and her world twists around and spins faster, faster, faster.

And then she falls.