one6two6: (tel: skins :: kat - don'tmess)
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To thine own self be true.

It became Naomi's mantra of sorts as the words made a circle in her mind. The amount of play that statement gets just goes to show its reason, plain and simple. You'd think people would know better in this modern day and age, honestly.

She gets up a little too forcefully, crumpling her humungous pink duvet into the corner edge of her bed. It towers, right on the balance of staying on. She grumbles, eyes barely cracked open, but she gets dressed, ignoring the current state of things. Hair fairly short and therefore constantly tame, she doesn’t even glance in the mirror. And any old outfit will do.

When she slams the door closed, her room looks a right mess. She shrugs from the other side of the door, the lasting image running around in her head.

She disregards it after a moment's contemplation. It’s exactly what she enjoys coming home to anyway.


He doesn’t even have the will to try for something different this time.

“Hurry up, gaywad, get a fucking move on already!” Katie calls out.

But that doesn’t mean he wants to hastily get to college come this wonderful time of day either. Both options just seem dreadful. But, as an upside to the alternative, he grabs his brighter plaid shirt--the one less touched.

After buttoning, he presses it smoothly down on his chest. The last fold uncreased, he finishes getting ready and picks up his bag.

He makes it out the door, shoving James out on the way, to come to a disgruntled Katie. “If I knew you’d take forever, I would’ve--ugh,” she scoffs, looking disappointedly at her brother, “at least fix your fucking hair.” She swipes his bangs off to the side and smooths down a cowlick in the back. He lets her. “You don’t have to look like a mong every time you go out, do you?”

“Not fair, Katie, you had like an hour.”

“And that shirt, really?” She looked at it, knitting her eyebrows. “Any tighter and you’d be sporting a corset and dying of lung failure.” She skips away, making him want to completely explode all over the place.

But it’s not much use to protest; Katie’s already in Danny Spongehead’s arms like it was two degrees out and he was the nearest grizzly. Man’s got enough hair on his back to at least be a little ursine in nature. Perhaps Katie refuses to shave it off for him.

One day, he thinks, she’ll get what’s coming to her. No one’s really that unrepentantly mean without a little bit of potential retribution. Until then, however, a free ride everyday certainly doesn’t hurt. Even if it’s from a bear.

Turns out a mouse just doesn’t fit in with so many carnivores.


People in general have a tendency to underwhelm the power of being ignored. There’s lots of legroom to be had, first of all.

Being ignored does not mean being silent. It means endless noise, observing surroundings, and compiling endless opinions about it all. Formulating fantasy upon reality so that real life seems only a step away at times rather than miles--and it only makes it worse when the fantasy is better. He knows that much. He’s not completely impractical.

Emerson compiles these things in his head because, well, he knows he’s a strong person, but sometimes when people refuse to give him a chance, he still wants a nicer place he can resort to.

In the end though, he’s a go-getter. And he’s never been one to mill about too much on what could be for too long. He dwells on regret the least.


He kisses her at a party. Expectedly she runs, just how far he isn’t sure, but it’s far enough he can’t see where to. No one really notices, that is, how badly Naomi is at hiding things. But maybe it’s because it’s his own existence that she’s stowing away that he picks up on it so aptly. Whether they’re all clues or simply just dead giveaways, he can’t distinguish anymore.

Unfortunate trash bins are the victims of his building frustration on his entire way home. He kicks them all, and while James was the one favored for football, the bins would believe otherwise.

He can’t disregard how her skirt moved with the speed of the wind, the wind set forth by her long legs, and her legs themselves, or at least the backs of them, also making an impression upon his mind. Her entire figure actually, gone undefined by her billowy clothing, was still something he fantasized about.

On just the mental side of things, he had that set, too. Everyone knows her to be a prickly girl who, for all her political ambitions and overt feminist agenda peddling to be completely okay with being called homosexual, but that’s a reputation that was made for her and Emerson’s sick of things beind made for him. Why not for her as well? Assumptions never describe the person truly, Emerson knows this, and so he discards them, deciding it was high time to make new ones. Whether she’d also be receptive to that, well. Time will tell on that one.



“Hi.” They exchange identical greetings to each other from the entryway. So much for telling with time; turns out he only needed to wait until the next day to see her mind was set.

Emerson shuffles one foot at a time into the classroom with his hands deep into his pockets and Naomi clutching her bag so close her arms look like they’re a few threads away from screwing completely into her body.

Awkward is one way to put it.

Katie, always miraculously showing up and finding a prime observational seat before everyone else, eyes Emerson down from across the space. Eyeing is actually a nicer way to put what Katie does when she shoots daggers from her face. Emerson undoubtedly, for years to come when asked about it, will always associate politics with an air of scruples mainly for this kind of daily ritual.

Unsettling is another way to put it. He decides to settle on nauseating.

From across the room, Katie manages to whisper and yell simultaneously, “Em, seriously, our dad’s the one with colorblindness--what’s your excuse?” And for a second, Emerson doesn't realize exactly whom she's referring to: himself or his current choice of classmate to sit next to. She snickers to herself, sinks back into her seat surrounded by minions without needing to look around to even know they were laughing along. Beyond them, she’d only see the overwhelming secondhand embarrassment she caused those within earshot. Of course, earshot included everyone. Except for Naomi. He catches her looking significantly more disturbed than everyone else.

"For your information, males genetically have a much larger chance for color blindness, you twit," Naomi spits out, acridity flying everywhere, and leaning a bit forward, a bit like a fighting stance. Katie's nostrils immediately flare in response.

"You'd know, wouldn't you, being all man. Have an extra chromosome tucked away?"

"If you understood genealogy, you'd at least be aware you have an odd one out, eh?"

Katie was smarter than she looked, made visible by how fast she got it. Her fists clenched tightly into balls with white knuckles. The transformation was quick and threatening, neither looking like they wanted to back away.

The tension was not only palpable, it began flying off the walls.

Nauseating just about covers it.

“All right kids, if you’d skimmed through your reading for this week, I believe we can whip right past through today’s course as if it never happened. Hopefully it won’t even be necessary. Think of it as a recap. Of sorts.” Kieran claps his hands. “Let’s get started.”

Emerson takes the little things. He appreciates Kieran’s moments of desperation if only to provide much needed distraction. The temporary, little things, he grows to like.

The shame is that he still hopes for the bigger things.


What denigrates more than knowing someone who hates you is going to school with that person. Every square centimeter discovered and covered by man was walked upon and will be walked upon by not a stranger, not the bleeding Prime Minister himself, but the exact girl whose height and hair length is unavoidable to most humans with eyes.

Emerson finds himself continually running into her at the most unexpected times and sooner rather than later, realizes she hardly has any friends. She’s caught, most often, simply glaring at passersby whilst rushing off elsewhere or interacting solely with their politics teacher behind closed doors. She walks around as if everything’s annoying her and doesn’t even bother to chat idly with the one sharing a locker wall.

He can’t help but find it highly ironic this girl wants to do good by the people. She’d at least avoid a scandal or two this way.

He finally corners her alone when she’s just dropped a book. He immediately stoops down to get it for her. She grabs it from him and says, “Yes? You want something?” And it should be enough to send anyone running for the hills in offense, but he remains rooted.

“Hi. I noticed you’re planning another protest. I’d like to help.”

“How d’you plan on doing that?”

It shocks him for a bit, her glimmer of receptiveness, until it dawns on him that they’re well into the week and planning tends to get a lot more hectic right before the picketing starts.



“To get the word out. Recruit more participants.”

“Good luck with that. If someone else cared, they would’ve joined the cause already.”

“And what is it this week? Expanding upon the tuna ban? From what I remember…”

“No.” She looks as if her next statement is rolling around on top of her head and she avoids eye contact. “Turns out we actually hardly had any tuna supplied to us in the first place.” She establishes eye contact. “No, s'time for Doug to stop trying to get us to say Auggie with him as if we have to align ourselves with a masculine agenda to prove our worthiness to be educated.” Truth is, girl could care less if anyone’s listening let alone caring while she talks, but Emerson remains silent as she continues, “We’re students, not his bloody drinking buddies.”

“Sounds like you almost want to get the man fired.”

“Yeah, a right hurdle that would be.” Naomi manages to make herself chuckle and Emerson follows suit. He remains bashful behind his hair, but tries to get a look at her laughing properly for a change, less mean.

He saves it, knowing how rare it’s been to even catch anything genuine--other than anger--from that girl.

“So,” she states. “Are you on board for the axing of Mr. Megaphone Abuser?”

Em releases one last breathy laugh. It’s alarming how funny she finds this girl, even more so when she decides to be congenial, her current digs at a facult mmember notwithstanding. “I’ll have to think about it.” He pretends to be paused in thought but Naomi remains stoic throughout. She taps her foot a few beats then gets impatient and rolls her eyes. “Yeah,” he replies hurriedly, “I’m all for it.”


“I’ll be your flyer specialist.”

“Won’t be necessary. Just have to show up at the rally.” She straightens her mouth and her back, all set to walk in the other direction.

“Wait, before you go, thought you should... er, come to a party tomorrow night.”


“You know, just have-“

“I don’t do that kind of thing, parties. Surely you’ve figured that out by no?.” The last part isn't a question at all. Her scowl returns, harder than ever, and she turns her back to him, leaps away nearly, with her long legs down the hall like it was waiting to be eaten up by them all this time.

Well, it was worth a shot. He thinks this to himself, followed by a disapproval of his own actions shortly thereafter.

There’s always the next decade.


He decides to go to her house in a meek attempt to apologize.

“And what the fuck do you mean there’s a person in m--” Naomi turns her head as she opens the door to her room to notice Emerson perched on her bed. “Oh.”

“Hello,” he says peacefully.

“What the fuck.”

“Your mother said I should … wait here, for you.” He nervously twitches various parts of his face as he tries to get his point out. “Said it’s too chaotic down there.”

“I could see that,” she says with six tons of attitude and sarcasm. “Clear as fucking day. Doesn’t explain why you’re here though. In my fucking room.”

“Fine, I can leave, I just--here.” He drops down a stack of papers, all in different collated neon colors. “Thought I’d give you these while I stopped by.” He grabs for the door handle and pulls it open like the object itself did something wrong. But it’s just opaque and standing in the way, that’s all it really did.

He stops in his tracks and turns to her, one foot already out the doorway. “I don’t--what I came here for, really, was for the godforsaken rally, one of many you’re going to stage in the future, and if you’d bothered to notice, I don’t have to have an ulterior motive to want to talk to you. I could just want to talk to you, simple as that. Complicated is what you make it when you keep telling me to come and go.” He’s ready to leave, when, as unintentional as it seemed, he phrased his sudden speech as one big impending question that Naomi, now more unarmed than ever, had no choice but to answer.

“Yeah.” In not answering, it would have implied her complacency with him leaving in that state. “You’re right.” She drops her bag and goes to sit on the floor by her bed. She pats the empty space next to her, just once, as a sort of plea.

He nods, just once, and closes the door behind him.

It’s a start.

A start to what however, is unasnwerable. Several hours later, they'd manged to drink through almost a liter of vodka, lying around, and discussing nonsense. Great Britian, as it turns out, only needed solid, sloshed advice from two anonymous teenagers.

Or maybe they just needed a stint on QI in the future, either one.

"And what exactly was it you said about good ol' Gordy again? That you could give him a hairuct?"

"Yeah, he needs it. A little scalp massage here and there, could get the bloodflow going right to his brain."

Naomi snorted. "His brain is the problem, though. A little shampooing won't do the trick to save the country."

"Oh shove it, you just want a woman prime minister, regardless of her policies. You know, need I remind you that this great nation had that and it didn't fare out so well? She had horrible hair. There, it's a factor."

Then neither of them couldn't contain their laughter and let it all out, right on the floor, just rolling around continuously bumping into each other. And why not? They were fifteen and taking the piss, it was only right.

"Oh, fuck's sake, you've been here all day by this point, haven't you?"

"If the day starts for you in the late afternoon," he breathes out, "then yes, I have." He begins to think about it, face tightening in drunk consternation.

"You can stay," she blurts out, looking at the floor and fiddling with the emptying bottle's cap. "If need be."

"Of course, yeah," Emerson lets out a small smile reassuringly. "Can't go home in this state, Katie'll throw a proper fit."

"Er, and your mum?"

"If she notices, you mean," he tells her like he's correcting her. "'Course, her too, sure. Anyway, could I get the right side? I've this weird thing about being closer to the door, what with having been brought up wanting to escape and all."

Naomi blinks at that, perhaps realizing how much of a confession came out of such a small comment, and maybe it's got fuck all to do with the liquor; maybe it's her who's gotten him comfortable. She blinks again, out of her stupor and comes to.

"Yeah. Do whatever." And she rushes off to get cleaned up, leaving Emerson alone with thinking he may have just projected his trust onto the girl of his dreams.

He squirms out of his thick jeans and takes the last swig out of the bottle. The covers are a battle to get under but he manages, boxers and all. He'd had a bit of practice with how a girl's room worked having lived and bossed around in one his entire life.

He falls asleep quickly, not needing to know if Naomi got back or not. She does, and she falls asleep, too, given a little more time.



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June 2016

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