A/N: Written for the glee_angst_meme; the prompt: "Artie, I just sort of feel like dying today." Beware possibly triggery suicidal thinking.
YOUR EVERYDAY SUICIDAL FANTASY
When he woke up that morning, he had one distinct, rather bizarre thought: I want to kill myself.
He couldn't say why – the thought passed too quickly for him to even try fighting it. It put a sick taste in his mouth. He didn't want to, really – his life wasn't exactly what dreams were made of (wheelchair), but he wasn't that bad off. He was fine. Why would he kill himself?
But the image was fixed in his mind from that point on; as he pulled himself into his chair, as his 'good morning' elicited a grumpy grunt from his mother – never a morning person, that one – as he prepared himself for the day ahead. It didn't matter what he saw; the razors in the bathroom, the painkillers on the kitchen counter, even the gas dial on their oven – about a million different nightmare-fantasies planted themselves in his head, every one of them ending in his still and gone, slumped in this chair, done with fighting the slings and arrows like Shakespeare said.
His very thoughts made him shiver. Can you blame him for not being able to force all that much down for breakfast?
He still hadn't shaken all that off by the time he arrived at school, even by the time Tina was greeting him with her sweetest grin. "Hey," she said, gripping the handles of his chair and leading his through the Magical Fairy Tale wheelchair ramp at the main gate (seriously, how was it there? Who paid for it? He didn't have to give the bus money for the end, so did he get a fairy god mother and just not notice?)
They walked in a comfortable silence, until he heard the background noise. Someone was going "Me love you long time," at the retreating couple, and Tina was doing a very bad job of hiding the hurt look in her eyes. It was funny that, even if Artie had been without any use of his legs for about half his life, his first instinct was still to walk right up to those guys and punch them all in the face. Hard.
Tina started walking a little quicker, but in a masochistic moment, he leaned back further on the chair, trying to make the weight heavier so it would take more time to get away. He wanted to hear the rest.
"Eh, guess it's good for them, y'know? Freak for a freak. Ain't many girls who'd like cripple boy; he isn't going to correct her English or anything. It's always those quiet-kinky ones, y'know? Bet they've found all sorts of places to put those wheel spokes-"
The guys burst into an uproar of laughter, mixed with "Dude, that is so wrong." Tina looked like she might have just died of embarrassment. Artie felt a little sick, but didn't even notice how hard he was gripping the wheel of his chair until Tina frowned in concern.
"Artie, are you okay?" she asked, and he looked down to where his knuckles were turning white from, his grip. "You look kind of..."
"Yeah," he said, and forced himself to let go. "Don't worry about it. Those kinds of guys are just..."
"Yeah," she said, neither of them sure what exactly she was affirming. She wheeled him away, and the silence this time wasn't so uncomfortable. He started to think. He was making it harder for her and he knew it. The prejudiced assholes of McKinley High School would never exactly be great with any minority, but plenty of racial minorities (wow, PC language much)had wormed their way up – they did have Mike and Matt and that Azismo-or-something on the football team after all. But he was something different, and being with him was bringing Tina down. She loved him and he would never doubt that. He just didn't have a clue why. He was, after all, a burden with his stupid disability and stupid disability-induced-whining – hell, he even needed her to push him around like a baby in a pram! He wasn't even all that nice to her. Not after the crap he had said about her look, or faking the stutter, or a million tiny things he didn't even remember. If he wasn't good on the surface, and he wasn't good deep down either, what the hell was she sticking around for?
He decided she would be better off if he would just do it. Somehow – a slice of the wrist, or a bullet to the head (not that he had access to a gun, but whatever), or pills, or gas, or whatever he could find really. It would be done and finished; everyone would cry for him. She would cry. She would probably storm and rage at him for leaving her, not even noticing how he had set her free. Set them both free. He would usually try to explain to her, but being dead, that would be a little difficult. Eventually, she would have to notice though. Notice how she had so much less responsibility without him; she could live like a normal sixteen year old, as she was meant to. She'd never be able to admit it, but somewhere deep down, no matter how much she loved him, she would be glad. Glad it was done, and she didn't have to save him anymore.
As if she could tell what he was thinking, Tina gently squeezed the handles of the chair harder. He looked up, and the small almost-smile on her face proved she didn't – he was actually kind of disappointed. He wanted her to be able to tell what he was thinking, and talk him out of it – prove to him why it was worth being here, and why she was better for having him in her life.
With a sudden lurch of his stomach, Artie realized all he had just thought – holy crap, what was wrong with him? He didn't want to die. At least, he didn't want to want to die. But the image of his own corpse, still and restful in the chair wouldn't leave his head, and he just couldn't force himself to hate it.
He looked closer at Tina, watching the way her eyes crinkled when she was upset – what those jackasses had said got to her, and Artie knew it. She would cry for him, if he did it. Maybe she would honestly be better off in the long run – only a psychic could really tell that – but in the short term, it would hurt. It would break her for a while, if not forever, and Artie knew he'd do anything to avoid hurting her like that. Including living, and maybe that was enough to force himself on.
He had one of his mandatory sessions with Ms. Pilsbury that afternoon. He hadn't wanted to start having these sessions after the spectacular embarrassment that occurred with his hopes for those new therapies – occasionally, he was a idiot – but everyone decided that the combination of his absolute certainty he could start walking again soon, and how he had pushed himself to the brink with those crutches, proved he was screwed up enough that he needed professional intervention. Annoying, but what can you do?
Okay, given he had been contemplating scenarios for his suicide all day, maybe they had a point. But whatever.
Ms. Pilsbury was absentmindedly polishing a sharpener when he rolled himself in. "Oh!" she said. "Artie, hi. You're a little early."
"Sorry?" he offered.
"It's okay," she said. "So, is there anything you want to talk about?"
"No," he said honestly. She nodded uncertainly.
"Well, uh, okay. Are you telling me the truth about that, or is it just, you feel uncomfortable?"
"Does it make any difference?" he asked, and she frowned.
"Artie, I don't think you should..."
And then the conversation degenerated into some sort of generic school counselor talk that he didn't particularly care to listen to, so he zoned out. It wasn't really fair to Ms. Pilsbury – she was sweet, and just trying to help – but it wasn't really like listening to her could make anything better. He could barely figure out his own thoughts most of the time; how was an obsessive compulsive woman he barely knew with zero similar experiences to him meant to get it? She just didn't understaaaand and insert-more-self-pity-here. God, he made himself sick sometimes.
"Artie, are you listening to me? Artie?"
"I've wanted to kill myself all day," he blurted out before he could stop himself. He listened as Ms. Pilsbury gave a little gasp she couldn't quite hide, and he looked down. "I don't know why," he murmured.
"Okay," she said shakily, and he looked up in time to see her swallow. You weren't expecting that one, were you? he thought, more than a little bitterly. Maybe he was sick of being okay.
Then Ms. Pilsbury shook her head a little, reaching for one of her many glossy pamphlets. "So, do you want to talk to me about this?"
"No, but I don't think you'll give me much of a choice."
"Quite right," she said as he read the title on the cover of the booklet. Killing Yourself is Bad.
It made him crack up laughing, but they had a point.
"Please tell me the ridiculously direct title was on purpose, so the message would sink in or something?"
"I think so. That, or they just couldn't think of a title," she mused. "But seriously, Artie, if you think of suicide. You need to talk. That's why I'm here. Will you talk to me?"
He sighed deeply. What did he have to lose? He may have been many things – hopeful idiot, bad boyfriend, beloved friend, resident cripple, varying levels of sane – but hopefully, he was worth not giving up on. If not to himself, to someone.
"Okay," he said.