Title: Giving up the Ghost
Summary: Naomi Campbell has always been different. She's spent her whole life hiding how different she and her family really are, but when misfortune throws Emily Fitch in to her world she has to finally learn to trust someone with her secrets.
Disclaimer: I don't own Skins or anything associated with the show.
Rating: M (Language, adult situations, death...well this is Skins)
A/N: I'm in the middle of a fic at the moment and should be concentrating on getting that one sorted but this story has been floating around in my head for months and I thought it was about time I got it written down and posted. My other fic, Stockholm and Other Neuroses is still my priority but I should be able to update this once a week or so.
Naomi Campbell loved her Politics class. It was the only thing that made her time at Round View College remotely bearable. Her teacher was a jaded Irishman who was happy to bum cigarettes off her while they set the world to rights on the stairs behind the college. What she didn't like about the class however was that she shared it with one Katie Fitch. The oldest of the Fitch twins, she was a loud mouth with a penchant for leopard print.
She sat on the table in front of the blonde, with Effy on one side of her and Pandora on the other. She was prattling on about some fit bloke she had pulled the night before. Effy, who was supposed to be Katie's BFF or some bollocks like that, seemed less than interested in what she was saying. Effy was ok. While they weren't all that close they were acquaintances of sorts and gravitated in the same social circles. Effy was smart and she didn't mince her words. Naomi respected that. Her attention peaked as the class room door opened and a small redhead walked in loaded down with books and files. Emily Fitch was the complete opposite to her sister. Though they were both on the short side Emily was a little more slender and her hair was a vibrant red. She was quiet and intelligent with her head always buried in a book. She weaved through the desks and dumped everything down on the desk next to Effy, offering her a flustered smile. "Sorry I-"
Effy didn't wait for her to finish apologising for being late; she pulled the smaller girl down on to her lap and crushed their lips together. Emily Fitch was also Effy's girlfriend. Though they seemed a bit of an odd couple they had been together since the end of their first year at college and with only a few months of their second year left they seemed to make it work. Something kept them together. There had been rumours that Effy had tried to kill herself and Emily had saved her life. The only evidence of this was a small scar on Effy's left wrist, but Naomi had never had the balls to ask about it. "Miss Stonem if you can put the young girl down maybe we can make a start?" Kieran their teacher had followed Emily in and shot Effy a frown as he tossed a tatty briefcase on to his desk. Emily's cheeks were as red as her hair as she pulled away and sat down on her own seat. Effy once again seemed bored as Emily began pulling her things out of her bag. Very few things seemed to hold her interest apart from the little redhead.
"Hey girls, fancy carrying that party on at my place eh?" Cook, Naomi's best friend and partner in crime, leered at the couple. Effy and Katie shot him glares that would have shaken hardened criminals while Emily kept her gaze down on her notebook. Katie caught Naomi looking at them and turned her death glare on to the blonde.
"What the fuck are you looking at Campbell?" Naomi and Katie had never gotten along. The blonde had gone to middle school with the twins and though they had never really spoken Katie had just taken an instant dislike to her. The bad blood between them had only gotten worse once they reached college.
"Not much." She sneered back at the other girl, earning a roaring laugh from Cook.
"Nice one Blondie!"
"Can you little fuckers at least pretend to be interested in learning something?" Kieran snapped from the front of the class. Naomi felt a surge of guilt. Though Cook and Katie and half of the others in the class could care less about college the blonde had every intention of going to university and passing Politics was a key part of that plan. She also kind of liked Kieran, he was nice to her and often listened to her ramble on about her crazy mother. The rest of the class was uneventful and as much as Naomi usually enjoyed the class she couldn't wait to get out when the bell rang. She promised Cook she would meet him after school to go for a pint at his uncle's pub before practically running out of the room. She made it to her locker in record time and dumped everything inside before realising her Sociology text book was right at the bottom of the mess. Sighing in frustration she began rifling through the locker, cursing as bits of paper and a half packet of garibaldis fell on to the floor. She bent down to pick them up and once she was back on her feet she noticed Emily Fitch was standing beside her. It was hardly surprising considering the other girl's locker was only a couple down from Naomi's.
For all they had known each other since the age of twelve they weren't friends. Apart from the odd 'hello' and 'good morning' by their lockers they had hardly spoke a word to each other. So Naomi was a little shocked when the redhead addressed her. "I'm sorry about Katie. She can be a bit of a bitch sometimes."
"Only sometimes?" Naomi snapped back, realising too late her tone was a little too harsh. After all Emily was not the one who had had a go at her. She was only trying to apologise for her sister's behaviour; something she had spent most of her life doing. "Sorry. I guess I can be a bitch too." Naomi mumbled as she wrestled her locker door shut. The other girl shrugged it off as she opened her own locker. There was a colour coded timetable stuck on the inside of the door and all of her books were neatly lined up. It was a far cry from the chaos inside Naomi's.
"Are you coming to Sociology?" The girls shared most of their classes and in all honesty they might have been friends if it hadn't been for Katie and her instant dislike of the blonde. Naomi had wanted nothing to do with the youngest Fitch girl, no matter how many classes they shared. She fell in to step with her as they walked to their last class of the day. It was a warm Friday afternoon and few students had even bothered to turn up for afternoon lessons never mind stick around for their last class. Emily took her usual seat next to JJ, an equally shy young man who suffered with Aspergers Syndrome and clung to Cook like a shadow.
"Hi Naomi." He greeted the blonde pleasantly as Emily once again began unpacking her things for the lesson. There were only a handful of other students in the class and most of them were sitting up front. Naomi's usual seat at the very back seemed ridiculously removed from the rest of the class and the substitute teacher they had been landed with pointed this out as she asked her to move. Even their teacher couldn't be bothered to turn up for class.
"You can sit here if you like?" JJ piped up ever so helpfully. He was probably the closest Naomi had to a friend in the class and so she took a seat at his and Emily's table, sitting opposite the redhead who offered her a shy smile.
"Looks like Gay-J's on the right table." One of the goons from the football team sneered, laughed on by his friends. Naomi and JJ were not especially close, but the vulnerable boy was like a younger brother to Cook and as such Cook felt the fierce need to protect him. When Cook was not around this job fell to Naomi.
"He's sitting with two girls." The blonde's icy tongue snapped as she pointed out he was surrounded by three beefy footballers. "Why don't you lot go fuck off back to the locker room and play hide the sausage?" The rest of the small class erupted in to laughter, leaving the footballer and his friends red in the face.
"Fuck off dyke." He snapped rather feebly before turning back around in his seat.
"Thanks." JJ said sheepishly while trying to sink in to his chair. He hated to be the focus of unwanted attention, particularly when Cook wasn't around to back him up. Emily sat quietly contemplating something as the supply teacher rambled on about Durkheim's Broken Window Theory, something they had learnt months ago. No one was really in the mood to learn anything new and so they let her carry on her lecture and said nothing as she set them off to make notes from the text book. Naomi sat with her phone in her hands as she sent Cook a text letting him know what had happened. She didn't need anyone to fight her battles for her, but she knew from experience that teenage boys would not take public humiliation well and JJ would probably be the target for their revenge. Cook would be waiting outside the classroom to have a word with them before they left.
"Got any plans for the weekend?" Emily asked out of the blue, tearing Naomi's attention away from her phone. She had said more to her that afternoon than she had most of the time they had known each other.
"Not much. Pub with Cook tonight." Naomi shrugged, deciding to engage in conversation with the other girl. There wasn't much else to do. "You doing anything? Seeing Effy?"
"Yeah we're going out with Katie and Panda tonight. Family dinner on Sunday…" Emily trailed off as though she was not looking forward to her weekend.
"Sounds fun." Sometimes Naomi just couldn't help being an unhelpful sarcastic bitch. Thankfully the other girl seemed to shrug it off. "Must be nice, having Effy around so much." She was clutching at straws trying to make conversation.
"She needs me." Emily's answer seemed to surprise them both and the younger girl quickly changed the subject, asking what Naomi was doing for her coursework.
When the bell signalling the end of the day rang the three of them began packing up their things. Emily was the first ready to leave, but Naomi reached out to take her arm as she tried to pass. The smaller girl stiffened at the contact, causing the blonde to quickly let go. "Hang back a minute yeah?" She nodded to the door where the footballer and his mates were walking out. Emily frowned at her, not understanding her cause for concern. Her puzzled expression disappeared a moment later as James Cook appeared at the door, his hand around the footballer's throat.
"You stay the fuck away from JJ, right? See those two?" He spat at him as he used his free hand to point to Naomi and JJ. "They're my fucking family. You so much as look at them wrong and you'll be wearing your nuts as earrings. You get me?" He shoved the bloke as he let go of him, knocking him in to his friends.
Cook had a reputation as well as a temper and the lads quickly skulked off without much fuss. Cook sauntered over to the group and slapped JJ on the back with a grin. "All sorted JJ my lad-o! Pub time!" He shot Emily a coy smile as she nervously shifted her bag from one shoulder to the other. "You and your fine girl joining us Red?" The smaller girl looked startled by the invitation.
"Erm, no. Thanks. I have to go meet Effy. Thanks anyway. See you Naomi. It was nice talking to you." She gave the blonde a nervous smile before disappearing out of the door. Cook watched her go, blatantly eying up her arse.
"What a waste." He shook his head mournfully, as though he ever would have had a chance with Emily if she were straight. "Come on then bitches! It's shots o'clock!"
They ended up staying at the pub until closing before going on to a club. Naomi had kept up with Cook drink for drink and pill for pill. She was swaying as she stumbled off the dance floor, leaving Cook grinding against some blonde with a tan as equally fake as her tits. She took a seat next to JJ, who was nursing an orange juice, and lay her head down on her arms. It was late and she was coming down hard. If she was lucky Cook would pull the blonde and he wouldn't mind Naomi leaving the club before closing. Her eyes travelled across the dance floor, seeking out her wayward best friend. She caught sight of him with his tongue down the other girl's throat and felt safe in the knowledge that she would soon be able to leave.
She blinked as her eyes settled on the door. It was open, revealing the slender frame of Emily Fitch. She looked sad, and her eyes were desperately scanning the crowded club. Naomi felt something tugging at her insides as Emily caught her gaze. She was saying something but the club was too loud and the blonde was too far away to make it out. Getting to her feet she managed to get her unsteady legs to carry her across the club. Emily had disappeared from the doorway by the time she had made her way over and so she pushed the door open, almost falling out in to the cold night air. The street around the club was deserted save for the bouncers on the door and the odd nicotine addicts huddled together just beyond the door.
"Looking for something love?" The smaller bouncer, a middle-aged man with a buzz cut, quizzed as she scanned the street.
"A girl." Naomi answered, her words slurring. "A little redhead. She was just inside." The bouncer with the buzz cut looked to his friend for confirmation as he shook his head.
"You're the only girl who's come out in the last twenty minutes love."
The blonde stared at him with glazed eyes, her inebriated mind unable to process his words. She had been positive she had seen Emily inside, yet it appeared the other girl had disappeared in to thin air. Shaking her head she decided she would ask the youngest twin about it on Monday. As ever the other girl would be at her locker when Naomi rolled in to college and she would greet her with a friendly smile and a 'hello'; and For once Naomi would actually speak to her. She had decided the youngest twin wasn't so bad after all. Giving up on going back inside the club, the bouncer was looking at her like she was stupid anyway after she had vacantly stared at him, she sent Cook a jumbled text telling him she was going home. He would probably notice it sometime tomorrow afternoon when he rolled out of whoever's bed he ended up spending the night in.
It was a pleasant night, or morning depending on how you looked at it, so Naomi decided to walk a little of the way home to save some money on the taxi ride. There were few clouds in the dark sky and the moon's crisp reflection shone on the surface of the water as she walked along the canal. Something caught her eye by the water's edge. A small pale figure perched on the low wall. Naomi's heart jumped in to her mouth as she realised it was a child. The girl was maybe six or seven. Her long black hair hung limply over her face as she stared blankly at the water. Her clothes looked like old hand me downs from the seventies, long flared pants and a hideous mustard coloured wool jumper. What she was doing in the city centre at that time of night was anyone's guess and Naomi was tempted to call child services as she walked slowly over to her. What kind of people let their little girl go wandering about unsupervised, let alone late at night?
"Hello?" Naomi tried to make her tone light and friendly, which was a hard feat seeing as it was usually scathing and sarcastic. The little girl didn't look up at the sound of her voice. She didn't acknowledge her presence in any way. She just kept staring at the water below. The moonlight reflected on her face as the water ebbed and flowed, casting eerie shadows on her pale skin. Naomi stepped a little closer and raised her voice. "I'm Naomi. What's your name sweetie?"
"Rebecca." The girl's voice was little more than a whisper and Naomi had to step even closer to hear her.
"Rebecca? That's a lovely name. What are you doing here Rebecca? It's late. You shouldn't be here alone."
"I can't find my mummy. She said to wait right here…" Naomi was right next to her as she finally answered. She was reaching out to place a hand on the girl's shoulder when her head shot up. Naomi was staring at wide blank eyes. Dead eyes.
She screamed as her hand fell through the girl and she found herself hurtling forward towards the inky blackness of the canal. She hit the water head first and panicked as the darkness enveloped her. The blonde kicked and thrashed, struggling to get back to the surface. Once she finally broke free of the water's icy grip she took a deep gulp of air. Her lungs felt like they were being squeezed and her limbs felt heavy and stiff. She was going in to shock. If she didn't get out of the water soon she would die in it. Her arms and legs thrashed as she tried to make her way to the edge. She had never been the strongest of swimmers and the night air had taken on an icy chill the second she had fell in the water. Her breaths were laboured and the bank of the canal seemed further and further away with every passing second. She hadn't fallen very far in to the water, but her panic had carried her away from the bank of the canal and she was struggling to get back to dry land.
She stopped struggling. For a moment the current pulled her under, but she fought her way back to the surface. She hadn't given up. Not yet. She was too tired to swim to shore and though the shock of the freezing cold water had sobered her there was still a hell of a lot of alcohol buzzing around in her system. Instead of struggling she focused what little energy she had left on staying afloat while she weighed up her options. She had one last chance to save her life. In all honesty it was something she had vowed only to resort to in life or death situations. She hadn't expected to really be faced with one. Her teeth chattered as she spluttered out the water that was continuously getting in to her mouth. The current pulled her under again and as she resurfaced she made up her mind.
The water bubbled and frothed around her, as though it was in a pan and someone had turned the stove on. It welled up higher and higher, pushing her up above the surface. The water continued to rise and rise, until eventually she was hurtling forward, carried by a giant wave in the otherwise calm waters. She landed gracelessly on the grassy verge just below the low stone wall that was designed to stop drunken idiots falling in to the canal. Had she been sober her landing probably would have been a little more graceful, but as it was she was just grateful to be alive. Forcing her stiff and tired legs to work she got to her feet and slowly climbed up the bank until she was sitting on the stone wall. The little girl was nowhere to be seen.
The blonde hated a lot of things in life. She hated bigots and injustice. She hated people who told lies about her and she hated falling in to canals; but above all else Naomi Campbell hated ghosts.
I know there's Emily/Effy, but this is going to be a Naomily fic, I swear!