All inspiration for this goes to the wonderful drama 'Six Feet Under' and it's writer Alan Ball.
Mentions of suicide, rather offensive language and smut. There's a reason for an 'M' rating.
So this was it.
The dark waters shined in the city lights, inviting Francis to take the dive. Some small part of him was still demanding that he get off the railing and go fix his problems using the usual bottle of wine and 8-bit porn, but he was really done with common sense and pixel breasts at the moment. It was time to face the fact that his life, despite friends, family and a steady job, was going nowhere. Hell, he hadn't held a steady partner for over five years and he was nominated "Most Likely to Become a Playboy" in high school.
He shifted, his left dress shoe slipping slightly. Despite his conviction, his hand gripped the metal support tighter and he swallowed. The voice of reason was already quickly escaping its bounds, ringing loudly in his mind. Moving a little closer to the edge, he squeezed his eyes shut, imagining that there was a pile of soft clouds and not a raging river below him. As he leaned forward, he wondered distantly if everyone else had such confused thoughts before they finished the job.
"I wouldn't do that." A voice told him, rather uninterestedly. Looking round, Francis didn't move away from the edge, not planning on being talked down. For a moment, he thought he had imagined the voice but the person spoke again, this time in a much more angry tone, "Now. Step down from the ledge." He squinted, turning around completely and finally realized that someone was standing right behind him.
The small blond tugged at he lapel of his fitted black suit, looking innocent as if to say 'What? I didn't say anything, I just happen to be standing here'. For some reason he appeared fuzzy at the edges, as though he really wasn't there, though his bright eyes were clear as day, a dark forest-green flecked with gold. Nice eyes, Francis thought vaguely, he had always preferred green-eyed paramours.
"Oh yeah?" Francis asked, making sure to lean away from the man in case he tried to be the hero and would try to grab his legs or something, "Why not?"
Those emerald eyes bore into him, making his mocking smile falter. "Because," He said, fingers now adjusting his cuffs, "It will mean my visit here would've been a waste and I'll spend the next year doing paperwork, which isn't how I want to spend my afterlife."
The man's strange words were almost enough for Francis to step back off the railing and simply ask the man what in the world he was talking about. However, considering this man could very well be a figment of his imagination, he clung to the metal support. "I don't know what you're talking about," the Frenchman spat, "You are talking crazy."
"This coming from the man about to jump off a bridge?" Carefully, the man walked over, leaning against the railing, bending his shoulder over rail, closing his eyes. A breeze floated up from the ravine, ruffling the sandy blond hair and the bottom of Francis' shirt. The Frenchman shivered, taking his free arm and hugging himself. "Will you get off now?" the man asked again, not opening his eyes.
"Well bloody hell!" the large eyebrows frowned, looking rather caterpillar-ish, "Jump already for Christ's sake! I have a debt I need to pay and you are holding me up!"
Francis almost stepped off at that moment but his curiosity was getting the better of him, forcing him to hold on long enough to find out why the man seemed to be talking in such a ridiculous fashion. "What are you talking about? Afterlife? A debt because of me? I've never even met you!"
"You make a good point, frog, we haven't met." The main opened a single eye, offering a hand, "Arthur Kirkland, your appointed guide from the afterlife, come to turn your life around. At least, that's what I'm told to say when I meet you. I'd much rather say, 'Hello there! You're about the kill yourself and I'm here on a mission from God to stop you from jumping because it's a fucking stupid idea.' Doesn't that just sound much more… convincing than the 'appointed guide' bullshit?" That smirk was comforting and really shouldn't have been.
Francis' knees bent slightly. "What?" He ignored the proffered hand, gazing at it warily. Mark it up to his luck to get the one crazed man in the entire city talking to him at his most vulnerable period, "You're talking crazy."
"What isn't there to understand?" Arthur hoisted himself onto the railing, standing up straight, not even wobbling on the metal. Before Francis could even reach out a hand to stop him, Arthur took a single step forward. "I mean it's simple enough." The Englishman took another step, shoving his hands in his pocket. "I'm here to stop you from killing yourself because God thinks you don't deserve to die." Turning on his heel, standing on nothing air, Arthur grinned at Francis. "Simple."
Rubbing his eyes, wondering if he had smoked something was just unaware of it, Francis kept his hands over his face, slowly lowering himself back onto the pavement. "Sacré bleu…" He breathed, "You didn't fall. How?!"
"When you're on a mission from God, death really is more of an afterthought than anything." Trying to control his breath, Francis look around. Arthur was no longer hanging in the air, but sitting on the railing, leaning against the metal support. "What're you looking at you bastard?" He snapped, sliding onto his the street, glaring down at the Frenchman.
Francis got to his feet, not appreciated being looked down upon by such an outré man. "Francis." He said, folding his arms over his chest, "Francis Bonnefoy. Not frog. Not bastard. Francis." It felt nice to finally release some of the anger and frustration that had building in his heart for over two years.
Smirking, Arthur clapped sarcastically. "Took you long enough." He said, reaching up and fixing his suit's lapel again. "Now, let's get a move on. I'm not expecting to fix your life standing around here." Francis watched Arthur begin walking away towards his home.
It took him a moment to process the fact that the man knew where he lived. "Wait!" He yelled, chasing after the Brit and grabbing his shoulder, "What the hell?! I don't remember inviting you anywhere. And who are you to waltz in and say you want to fix mon vie? C'est une insulte! Tu es incroyablement grossier!" He dissolved into French; his mother tongue feelings unfamiliar on his lips as he realized that he hadn't spoken so much French in over two years.
"I don't speak French." Arthur said, still walking, fixing Francis with a cool stare over his shoulder. "Care to translate for the poor Englishman?"
Letting go of the man's shoulder, Francis took three steps, quickly overtaking Arthur. Walking backwards, he folded his arms against his chest, hunched against the cold. "I said you are incredibly rude. You think you can just fix my life by showing up? Like some glorified social worker? Idiot."
"Just because you say it in a different accent doesn't mean I can't understand the word 'idiot'," Arthur said, stopping at the crosswalk, watching a car roll by before crossing, still heading straight for Francis' street. "And anyway, I'll explain everything tomorrow, saving people's lives is rather tiring, would you agree?" The smirk that had been so comforting was now downright infuriating.
Francis just sighed. "I wouldn't know. I don't save people's lives." Glancing over his shoulder, he watched Arthur stare around, looking at the skyline to their left. Taking a deep breath, Francis began to run towards his home, skidding around the corner, almost smashing into his front door as he fumbled with his keys, forcing them into his lock and slipping inside, quickly closing the door and locking it. He laughed bitterly, sliding down the door and sighing in relief.
His small townhouse was very pleasant, most likely due to the fact that he had a very close friend with an Ikea employee and often got discounts. The warm colours and wooden furniture were unfortunately dark and ominous in the darkness. Giving himself a minute to recover from the last five minutes, Francis decided that it had all been an apparition. A very real, very solid vision, but utterly non-real. Probably made up by his mind in a last ditch effort of self-preservation.
Slowly pulling himself to his feet, he threw his keys and wallet (which he had only brought so they could identify his body) onto the small side table before beginning to feel his way down the front hallway. A staircase climbed up to his left while his kitchen opened to his right. Thinking it would be good to stay off the wine for a few days, he started to climb his stairs, finding his feet dragging and unable to stop yawning.
Once in his room, Francis glanced outside, just to see if Arthur had appeared again and was standing outside his door, but the street was empty. Chuckling at himself for being so paranoid, he kicked his shoes off and fell onto his bed fully-clothed, falling asleep almost instantly.
Apparently near-death situations on bridges = FrUK