AN: This oneshot is inspired by the finale (bleeehhh I can't believe we have to wait an entire year to find out what happens!) and Divya's whole I'm-having-an-arranged-marriage-woe-is-me thing. Not that I'm downplaying the extreme suckiness of an arranged marriage (for me at least, I'm sure it works beautifully for some people). I'm also pretty sure Divya is Hindu, but just go with how I write it in the fic.

Summary: Failure tastes like salt.

Characters: Divya and a little bit of Hank, Evan, and Raj

Pairings: None, well kind of Raj/Divya, but not really.

Rating: T

Warnings: Spoiler alert for the season finale (episode twelve…? I think)! And I'm sure once the new season comes out next year most of the info I made up will be proved wrong. Also, I have no idea if my nuclear chemistry thing is right or not (well I know what it is isn't really possible but whatever) – I definitely had a D test grade average last year. If it's horribly wrong, just let me know and I'll change it.

Disclaimer: I don't own Royal Pains or any of the characters nor Their Eyes Were Watching God. I am making absolutely no profit of this.


Divya always liked to think that she lived in two realities.

In one she's twenty-seven and engaged to a man she's pretty sure she doesn't love (but to be optimistic that doesn't mean she never could). Her days are sunrises and a blur of medicine and needles and silver spoons and there's nothing she wants to do more than to lie down and wake up when this apocalypse is over. But she can't sleep and spends her nights at the ocean; her hands are gripping the steering wheel, the sky her confessional, and the salt her Hail Mary.

This is what failure tastes like, she thinks. Salt.

And in the other, she's five again, feeling the mud squelch between her toes, the rain tastes like the ocean, the earth is opening its gaping mouth to suck everything down, and gravity can condense the entire universe into her backyard. When she's five, she's not burying fish hooks under a man's ribs to save his life, she doesn't own two cellphones (so she doesn't accidentally mistake her parents for clients – because god what a disaster that would be), and she is most definitely not engaged to someone she remembers taking baths with when she was four. She's a pirate, an astronaut, a supermodel, a doctor who saves animals in her free time, and whatever the hell she wants to be.

The horizon (the world's dreams and wishes) was untouchable and the world's eyes were laughing and Time was moving in Gordian knots.

But wishes are wishes and dreams are dreams and neither have a place in her technicolor, magnified existence.

She imagines ripping her ring off and throwing it down the drain, leaving a small not to Hank and Evan (her only friends), and disappearing. She imagines hopping in her car and driving, not stopping until she hits California. Then when her parents are gone and Raj has returned to his law office in London and the vertigo leaves, she'll show up again. It'd be early, around four (mornings were like the first chapter of a really good book – quiet and mysterious and full of untold promises). She'd walk into Boris' guest house and Evan would be sleeping on the couch, with the TV muted on some horrible MTV show, and Hank would be sprawled out on his bed, resolutely alone. And the next morning she'd find out that Jill was still playing the Hank-Charlie-Hank-Charlie juggling act and Libby was still diagnosing every sneeze as Ebola or SARS. Tucker would have crashed his dad's Ferrari again and desperately try to fix it and his dad still wouldn't care. Boris would've found some new crazy animal cells to inject himself with and Hank would keep trying to be Atlas and Evan would keep sticking his nose in places it didn't belong. The Hamptons would still be imperfectly charming, a modern Gilded Age in a not-so-modern world.

Her laugh is hollow and she calls herself a coward.

She vaguely recalls telling Hank that this was the time she was finally going to put her foot down and stop the crazy cycle of her parents demanding and her unwillingly obeying.

She should have known her horizon would slowly choke her.

Instead she buries her face in her pillow, but she can't make the tears come.

On one hand she feels like a human embodiment of nuclear fission. Her fingertips are breaking off into tiny alpha particles, lost in the yellow immensity of everything she thought was true.

And on the other hand, she sits in her bathtub until the water turns cold and promises herself the moon.