Laughs With You

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Laughs With You
by templemarker

For honeymink in [info]femslash10. Jal & Cassie discuss night-time things; set in series 2, before episode 8. Rated PG-13, 1000 words. Originally posted here.


Jal wasn’t normally a smoker, but sometimes she made exceptions.

She and Cassie were the first ones to leave this party, not because it was a shit party or anything, but Jal had her private tutoring lesson in the morning and Cassie had jumped on the excuse to leave. Jal hadn”t asked why. Sometimes Cassie needed an out from them, from people. Sometimes Jal gave her an out.

You’re not supposed to smoke when you’re pregnant, but Jal tried not to care in that moment. No one had noticed that she’d given up drinking, or smoking, or the occasional hit off a blunt. She had never been much for any of that anyway; more than once Jal’s been surprised to find herself in thick with a group of mates who define themselves as much by what they do in college as which party they are planning to attend (or create) next. Poor influence, her mum might say if she hadn’t run off. Poor influence, you smoking, you getting pregnant. What were you thinking, Jalander?

No one ever used her full name, not even her dad. Not even when he was angry with her, which wasn’t all that often. He might be angry with her if he knew she was up on a roof off the high street, smoking a poorly rolled cigarette whilst spending time with a girl she’d taken in to hospital for nearly dying last year.

Then again, maybe he’d just ask whether she was going to be around for dinner or not. She never knew when he was going to bother taking an interest in her on a given day.

“I’m pregnant,” she said into the chilly Bristol air.

“I figured,” Cassie said after a deep inhale on her cig. “It was either that or someone was dying.”

Jal turned her head to look at Cassie, who was tracing the sky with a bony finger thrust in the air. “I wasn’t too obvious, was I?” she said. Cassie was occasionally the most perceptive person in the room, which is inconvenient as she was often also the least likely to be listened to. Just because she had noticed didn’t mean others had. Didn’t mean that Chris had. A lorry would have to hit him full-on for that news to penetrate.

“Nope,” Cassie said. “But you usually have chips with vinegar, and you ordered mushy peas at the chip shop the last three nights out. It was a tell.”

Jal closed her eyes. For Cassie it was a tell. Jal hadn’t even noticed herself, but the peas had looked better than the chips.

“What do you want to do, then?” Cassie asked, flicking the remains her of her cigarette away towards the edge of the roof. She sat up and pulled paper for a new one. Jal’s was burning down towards her fingers, unsmoked, so she ground it into the cement and sighed. “Dunno yet.”

“Are you going to tell Chris?”

“I didn’t even know I was going to tell you until the words were out of my mouth,” Jal said with a frown.

Cassie paused, setting her tobacco and papers aside. She turned to face Jal, took Jal’s hand in her own. Cassie’s hand was cool to the touch, and Jal could feel the bones rest carefully in her own hand. Cassie felt as fragile as she looked; as fragile as Jal felt.

“I don’t know if you actually need this or not,” Cassie said, eyes roaming over Jal’s face and around the rooftop and into the sky before coming back to meet Jal’s eyes. “But you should know that I will be there for you if you need me. I’m not terribly good at this supportive business,” she said, a smile wavering around her mouth, “but for you, Jal Fazer, I will figure out how to do it well enough.”

Jal swallowed; it meant something to hear that, to know that she wasn’t alone with her thoughts and her fears and the growing worry that she’d fucked up her entire future by saying agreeing to say “yes” for Chris instead of her instinctual “no.” And something else, to hear Cassie say those things when it wasn’t so long ago she was watching Cassie burn herself out like a bright star in a far-off sky.

“Okay,” she said. Her lips felt dry and she licked them, hoping she wasn’t going to do anything terribly embarrassing like cry in front of the one person with whom she wouldn’t lose respect. “Thank you.”

Cassie leaned down and placed a careful kiss on Jal’s lips; there was a smile on her face when she pulled back. “I’ve never gotten to say something like that before,” she said, a little surprise in her voice. “How odd. I think I like it a bit.”

Jal laughed, a small sputter. They were still holding hands, and Jal wanted another cigarette, and everything was still really fucked up. But it was a little better, with someone else knowing. The knowledge wasn’t as much of a weight on her chest anymore. She looked into Cassie’s eyes, which were rolled upwards towards the stars, and gently squeezed Cassie’s hand. Cassie wasn’t going to break, and neither was she, no matter the appearances.

Cassie slipped her hand out of their clasp and finished rolling her cigarette, resting it in the sharp turn of her mouth as she pulled another paper out. “Another?” she asked Jal, and Jal hesitated a moment before shaking her head.

“The one was bad enough,” she said, and turned her head towards the stars again. She heard Cassie shift and move to lie beside her, and Jal reached out her hand again and took Cassie’s. They watched the stars move over the sky of Bristol and let quiet reign, until tomorrow.

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