A/N: Takes place durning the Vile VIllage. Well...this is kind of dark and gloomy but what do you expect for ASOUE fanfiction? I adore the books. Don't read this unless you wish to weep. If you do (which you shouldn't), R&R.

Jacques Snicket sat alone in the dismal little cell. A rusty bench was the only piece of furniture. He sat on it with his face buried in his hands. The stars that filtered through the barred cell window were the lone sources of light. He tried to draw comfort from their gentle luminescence, but they seemed cold and untouchable. Jacques fought off his despair and tried not too think of the fate that waited for him in the coming morning.

A sound of jangling keys suddenly filled the silent jail cell. Jacques turned his tearstained face toward the noise, although he knew perfectly well whom it was. Èsme stood at the cell door twirling the keys carelessly between her fingers. Under her arm she held a black bag. On her face was a slight smirk as if she found Jacques' predicament amusing.

"Èsme." Jacques said wearily suddenly feeling like a fly in a spider's web. She opened the metal door and closed it behind her with a dull clang.

"I'm here for business, Snicket," the woman said, her red lips still curled into a cruel sneer. Jacques didn't look at her.

"What else could you possibly want from me? You won." He ran over all the horrible things that had happened to the people of VFD ever since the schism, even people who had nothing to do with it. Beatrice…Lemony…Monty…the Quagmires…the Baudelaires…their children…

He recalled when he was dragged before the Council of Elders, when they accused him of being the very man he and the VFD fought against. Jacques had tried to defend him self. Oh, how he had tried. But sometimes people refuse to listen to something when they don't want it to be true. The people of the village wouldn't even hear him out. He remembered how the Baudelaire orphans had stood up and defended him. He was so relieved to see them…that they were still alive…

For how long, now?

"Of course we won." Èsme's cold voice broke through his thoughts. "We won from the beginning. You and your little VFD friends didn't get it." Jacques turned violently toward her, looking her in the face for the first time. "Then what the hell are you here for?" The despair that had covered him like a gloomy blanket was replaced by an angry fire, which seemed to rise from the center of his heart.

Èsme seemed slightly taken aback. "Snicket, be careful and don't yell or scream. Keep quiet or I'll make this more painful than it should be."

A singsong voice suddenly sang in his head:
When we drive away in secret

You'll be a volunteer

So don't scream when we take you

The world is quiet here

Jacques forced his fear down at Èsme's words. "What do you mean by that?" he asked through gritted teeth. "I mean," she answered, "That Olaf sent me here to dispose of you."

"But why?" Jacques asked and couldn't help but feel a morbid curiosity rise.

"Why not kill two birds with one stone? We kill you and blame your death on the Baudelaire brats." Èsme said and began rummaging around in her black bag. Jacques sat frozen in horror, trembling in fury and exhaustion.

"Aren't you satisfied yet?" he spat angrily. Èsme's sneer faded slightly. Her cold eyes gave way to something unrecognizable. Was it pity? Resentment? Jacques couldn't tell or care at the moment. But he couldn't seem to stop himself from talking.

"Why do you obey Olaf's every whim and wish? You could get out of this Èsme. You don't have to listen to that man."

In a sudden motion she harshly struck him across the face. Jacques reeled back and slumped off the bench. In normal circumstances he could have defended himself, but he was too weak from the ruthless way Olaf and his troop had treated him. Now he can only watch helplessly as Èsme advanced toward him.

"I won't be satisfied until I have what I want," she hissed. Jacques recoiled slightly at the look in her eyes. She pulled from her bag a slender silver object that glinted from the light through the cell window. It was a syringe.

"You should be thankful, Snicket." Èsme went on. "Olaf wanted me to dispose of you in a much more…painful way. But I convinced him out of it. Your screams might have woken up the village." To his surprise Èsme's face softened. Not by much, but it did.

"I do feel slightly regretful of this." She adjusted the syringe with the deadly liquid inside. He would die just like all the other volunteers. Suddenly the image of his siblings filled his mind. Kit's smile. Lemony's gloomy humor that almost always amused Jacques. He could only hope that they were all right.

Jacques felt the tip of the needle at his neck. He locked eyes with Èsme. He didn't need to voice his question. Why, Èsme?

"Because I love him," she answered. Then she emptied the entire syringe. Jacques shuddered and fell forward onto her. She gently laid him down and rummaged through the black bag to apply the false evidence to his body.

When she was done, she silently made her way out of the jail cell. She took a long look back at the body of Jacques.

"Don't take it personally," she whispered. There was a hint of regret on her face.

END