A/N: This is a revised version of a story written for the We Heart It O/S Contest, using a photo prompt of a pair of hands, one near a computer keyboard and the other holding a handful of pills, captioned with "There's just no point in being alive." You can find links to all of the entries at http : / / twilightficzone . blogspot . com/2011_03_01_archive . html
Warning: This story begins with the POV of a very depressed, suicidal teen. Rated M for M/M slash.
Disclaimer: Twilight characters © Stephenie Meyer. This work of fanfiction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. (For more information, see http : / / vampisthenewblack . wordpress . com/2011/08/23/translating-fanfiction-and-the-creative-commons/ )
I've had enough.
I've been tormented, scorned, ridiculed, and even beaten.
What is it about me that's so fucking threatening?
I'm not asking them to convert. I don't care who they want to fuck, so what business is it of theirs who I want to be with?
All I want is peace.
To be who I am.
To love whoever I want to love.
I take another swig from the bottle of Jack Daniels and shudder as it burns its way down my throat.
It's futile, I know. If I drink enough, it will dull my mind and alleviate the pain for a few moments, but then I'll just puke and suffer for the rest of the night.
Some reprieve. The temporary solution is almost worse than the fucking problem. And the problem is that I can't face another day of my so-called life.
I look at the plastic container next to my keyboard, then pop off the lid and pour its contents into my hand.
I contemplate the colorful tablets as if the numbers and letters imprinted on them are runes that hold the key to predicting my future.
There's no need for contemplation; the future is just more of the same: an endless array of suffering because I am who I am.
A boy who loves other boys.
As if I asked to be born gay.
As if I chose this.
They act as if it's something I can un-choose, that all I have to do is say, "Gee, thanks. I see now where I went wrong. Please show me the way to your heterosexual heaven."
All I wanted was him. Somehow I convinced myself that he wanted me too.
Biggest mistake of my life.
Little did I know that it was all supposed to be a joke.
Now they all know.
And him? His scornful expression is seared forever on my soul.
The very soul that's damned to hell.
Or so they tell me.
I've had enough of this.
How did I ever read him so wrong?
I would have done anything for him. I would have loved him forever.
I knew he couldn't love me, yet I allowed myself to hope. All I wanted was for him to acknowledge my existence again, for us to be friends the way we used to be.
Instead, he stuck a knife in my heart and twisted it.
Now I have no blood left. No feeling left.
Or rather, too much feeling.
I feel too much. I have no hope.
The solution is quite simple really. All I have to do is swallow.
I reach for the whiskey bottle, wondering how may pills it will take to send me to a sleep from which I'll never awaken.
There's a knock on the door.
I say nothing, knowing that if it's my mother, she'll come in anyway. I'm glad I have a t-shirt on so she can't see the bruises on my ribs.
Instead, I set the bottle out of sight under my desk and quickly drop the pills back in the container, snap on the cap, and tuck it into my pocket. I like the feel of it there, knowing that I can control this one small piece of my fucked-up life.
Those little pills are mine. Mine to decide where, mine to decide how, and most importantly, when.
Sure enough, the door opens, and she leans in to tell me that someone is here to see me.
I try hard not to look surprised. I'm a pariah at school now, so I can't imagine who it could possibly be.
She raised me right, though, so I'm too polite to ask her to tell whoever it is to go fuck themselves and leave me alone.
I push back from the desk and start to stand on drunken, shaky legs as she ushers my mystery guest into my room.
"Edward," I say, without masking the bitter resignation in my voice.
"Thank you, Mrs. Whitlock," he says, turning to my mother as she closes the door on me and the one who was once my heart's only desire.
I sit back down at my desk without speaking. He wanders into the room, picking up objects, examining them, and then putting them down again.
I watch him move with preternatural grace, as he always does. To anyone else he would probably look relaxed, at home even.
Even in my drunken stupor, I know better. His lithe figure is crackling with tension. I can see the stiff hunch of his shoulders, the slight tilt of his head. I know Edward, and right now he is anything but relaxed.
I wonder how he will hurt me this time.
"Jasper," he says at last.
"What the fuck do you want, Cullen?" I snarl, my voice a tangle of desire, anger, and self-loathing. I watch him as he continues prowling around my room, unsettled, searching for something.
It's not like he's never been in here before. We used to be best friends. We grew up together, kept each others' secrets, spent every waking moment together, had sleepovers even.
I thought about when I discovered that my feelings of friendship had changed into something more, remembering the first time I had a boner while we were wrestling in the family room. I didn't understand it then; I was so confused.
After that, he infiltrated my dreams, his knowing smirk hovering on the edge of my consciousness as I reached for him – and woke up with sticky pajamas.
And then he permeated my waking dreams. I couldn't stand in the shower without wishing he was there with me. My hand became his, stroking me to my release.
But I always arrived there alone, feeling nothing but shame and the futility of this overwhelming desire.
It ate away at me from the inside out. But I put on a smile. I played the game.
Jessica's party was the end of my charade. A round of truth or dare left me with a dare that revealed my truth and doomed me forever. I thought it would be seven minutes in heaven, but it turned out to be a week in hell, with no end in sight.
I watch him as he picks up a book and flips through it. I know he's stalling. He hates Kafka.
"You like it?" I say jeeringly. "Take it. I don't need it anymore." He drops the book and looks up at me, startled. He still hasn't answered my first question, so I repeat it, snarl and all. "What the fuck do you want, Cullen?"
"I just wanted… I mean, I came here because… Fuck, Jasper, I'm sorry." His voice is low, as if he's worried that someone else might hear him.
"Apology not accepted," I say through gritted teeth. Does he think that all he has to say is a few words, mutter an insincere apology, and it will erase all the terrible things that have happened to me during the past week, all because of him?
I turn back to my computer and close a couple of tabs on the effects of opiate overdoses, leaving an insipid, innocuous game on the screen.
"Oh, that's a cool game," he says, leaning over my shoulder.
I can feel his breath on my skin. I shiver.
"I'm on Level 7," he adds with a strange laugh, as if he's relieved to find something else to talk about. Does he think I was joking about his apology?
I lean back in my chair and stare at the screen, spinning slowly from right to left and back again.
Edward takes a step back.
"Okay, you said you were sorry. What else do you want?" I'm not about to make this easy for him.
We're both quiet for several moments.
"I... I want you..."
His voice is so quiet that I'm not sure I've heard him correctly. I continue twisting in my chair, pretending that he didn't just say the most profoundly distressing words I've ever heard.
How the fuck could he want me, and yet still say all the things he had said during the past week?
I've just spun to the left, practically knocking into his knees, when he grabs one armrest, and then the other, effectively bringing me to a halt directly in front of him.
"Are you listening to me, Jasper?" His voice is constricted, his arms quivering as they restrain me from resuming my arc of movement.
When I look up at him, I wish my eyes could launch grenades. I want to destroy him the way he has completely and utterly destroyed me. "Yeah, I heard you. I've also heard what you've been telling everyone else. Now why don't you tell me, Cullen. Tell me how you really feel."
Suddenly he releases the chair from his grip and turns away, but not before I see the tears in his eyes.
Tears? How dare he fucking cry?
I jump to my feet and grab his shoulder. I want to know what kind of fucking game he's playing now.
I'm not prepared for him to turn back and collapse against my chest. I nearly stumble, but then recover and wrap my arms around him.
I feel my anger waver, my heart flutter. I just can't resist. I'll never have another chance like this. After tonight, it won't matter anyway. It's a sweet memory to carry with me into the oblivion I have planned for this evening.
"I'm sorry, Jasper. I'm so sorry," he says into my chest, and I am astonished to hear the sobs behind his words. Now his arms are around me too.
I sigh as I admit the truth to myself. I would stand here holding him forever if I could. Still, the humiliation is too fresh, the reality outside this room is too grim and hopeless to give in now.
I sigh again, and lower my arms, then push him gently away from me before sitting down again in my chair.
"Edward, don't be such a fucking drama queen."
"Okay," he says, sniffling and wiping his face on his sleeve. "Jasper, I'm sorry."
"Why do you keep saying that?"
"I don't know," he admits. "All I know is that I've been feeling like shit ever since Jessica's party, and I needed to make sure you were okay."
"Well, I'm not. So now you know. It's not my problem if you feel like shit. In fact, I'm glad you do."
As soon as the words leave my mouth, I realize how untrue they are. I want him to suffer. And he will. But for now, I'll let him off the hook. He'll have enough to deal with later.
My dry, humorless snort catches his attention.
"What?" he asks.
"Nothing." I sigh. "Okay, you are officially forgiven. Now get the fuck out of here. Otherwise, people are going to start thinking you're queer or something."
His sudden look of distress would almost be funny if it weren't so tragic. Too bad his distress has to do more with prevailing public opinion than concern over my well-being.
"Hey, man, maybe we can get together this weekend..." His voice trails off.
"Lame, but you get points for trying." I stand again to walk with him to the bedroom door, wincing from the pain in my bruised ribs.
He doesn't notice.
Opening the door, I turn back to him for one last look.
He can't help who he is, any more than I can. I will never forget his beautiful face, his clear green eyes shining in the light coming in from the hall, the slight frown of concern creasing his brow.
He accidentally bumps my hip as he turns to go. Then, without warning, he shuts the door and turns back, a strange expression on his face. Before I realize what he's doing, he's reaching into my pocket and pulling out the container that holds my one-way ticket.
"What the fuck is this?" he asks, shaking it in my face.
I listen to the pills bouncing around against the plastic, sounding like lottery balls in their cage before the nightly drawing on TV. My winning ticket is inside. Abruptly I reach for the container, but he's too quick and yanks it out of reach.
"Give it back to me, Edward. Now."
"What are you doing with these, Jasper?" he asks as he reads the label. "Oxycodone? You could get kicked off the team."
Yeah, as if I really give a fuck about soccer anymore.
"It's from when I broke my arm. Remember?"
"Yeah, I remember. That was a year ago. What I don't remember is why you would need them in your pocket tonight."
"It's none of your fucking business. Give it back to me, asshole," I repeat.
"You're the asshole. I should tell your mother you still have these." He moves toward the door. It's like we're six years old again, and he's off to tattle about some nefarious act of mine, like when I pushed him down in a puddle.
"Do it, and I'll tell everyone at school that you fucked me."
That stops him. I see the fear in his eyes again, and I hate him for it. He turns back to stand in front of me, tucking the container back into the pocket of my sweats, and I hate him for that too.
"Jasper, promise me –"
"I'm not promising anything," I interrupt him. "Now get the fuck outta here before you get a bad reputation."
He's still scowling, as if he'll prevent me from doing something by sheer bluster alone. I reach up with one finger and touch the space between his eyebrows, trying to smooth away his frown.
He closes his eyes.
My hand moves to wrap around the back of his neck, pulling him toward me for the briefest of kisses.
His eyes snap open and I feel him pulling back. I knew he was being dishonest, but I still had to check. I reluctantly let go of him and take a step back.
"Jasper, I'm – "
"Don't say it again," I caution him, placing one finger on his lips.
The time for apologies is over; now, only oblivion remains.
I close the door behind him, hear him making his farewells to my mother, and return to my desk.
It'll be as if I never existed.
All that exists is this whirlpool of pain, sucking me down, drowning me in the cacophony of jeering voices, the shoves until I stumble, the kicks after I've fallen, the bruises to be hidden, the blood in my urine...
And I'm supposed to stick around for a lifetime of this?
I take the plastic container out of my pocket and set it back on my desk, just staring at the leftover pain medication for a moment. A year ago, I had taken a few of the tablets for my broken arm. No one knew that I had saved the rest for a rainy day.
I've had nothing but rainy days for the past week. And the forecast is pretty fucking grim.
I take another swig of the whiskey. I like the numb feeling that's filling my chest, spreading to create a fog in my brain. I'm tired of thinking, tired of worrying.
Tired of pretending that it will ever get better.
I look at the computer screen, scrolling through the document I've been working on. It's not profound or anything, but I hope it'll spare my parents from blaming themselves too much. They were pretty cool.
Then again, I never told them. Who knows how they might have flipped out if I had?
It doesn't matter any more.
I print out the document, then erase the hard drive completely so that there's no trace of my passage. No files of my research on drug overdoses. No history of my desperate search for others like me. No remnants of the dozens of Tumblr gifs and videos that I watched, stroking myself until I came all over my chest.
I've looked at the online photos of a thousand guys, standing in bathrooms all over the world, staring at the mirror and holding their little phones or cameras, with erect cocks hanging out of their underwear. But it wasn't the cocks that drew me in (well, not only the cocks), but their eyes. Their deadened eyes, full of despair and defiance. I looked for one face filled with joy and self-acceptance, and found none.
I pop off the lid and pour several of the tablets into my hand. It's easy once I get started. One pill, one gulp of whiskey to wash it down. Another pill, another gulp.
When the container is empty, I wonder how many I've taken. It seems stupid to even bother trying to count now.
Let the coroner count.
I stumble over to my bed and shut off the light.
After that, I don't remember much. My dreams are jumbled, except for his face, hovering over mine, that worried crease in his brow again. He says my name as if it were a prayer.
"Jasper, wake up."
He disappears for a while, but then returns.
I know I must have died and gone to heaven when he speaks again.
"Jasper, I love you. Please don't go."
And then he's crying again, just like he did in my room. I wish things could have been different. I wish I hadn't pushed him away. I wish I'd given him another chance.
I can see only the top of his head now. He's in a hospital room, leaning over a bed with a still figure in it, wrapped in a white sheet from head to toe.
My parents are in the room too, clutching one another and sobbing. I never expected them to be so broken up about this. I never meant to hurt them.
I just wanted the pain to stop.
Seeing them like that, I suddenly wish I could undo all this, take back things I said in my note, but it's too late now. At least they have each other.
I had no one.
I take stock. The acid feeling in my stomach is gone. The choking feeling in my throat is gone. The pain in my ribs where they kicked me is gone too.
My head is clear. Even the fog is gone.
I'd like to be able to tell you that I saw the light, that a choir of angels greeted me with melodic music, that my dear, dead Grandma Whitlock was there, waiting for me with open arms.
But that's all bullshit, and you know it as well as I do.
I am so sorry for hurting my parents, but all I can say now is that I feel unburdened. I'm not scared anymore. There's no homophobia here, no gay bashing.
In my version of heaven, everybody's as gay as they want to be. Or not.
In my version of heaven, it doesn't matter who you love.
A/N: I am very grateful to my beta TruceOver for her support of this story. Significant revisions were made thanks to the insightful feedback I received from mkmmsm.
More than one-third of all teenagers who commit suicide are gay. It's hard to imagine someone feeling as hopeless as Jasper does in this story, but we've seen many similar reports in the news during the past year. The Trevor Project (www dot thetrevorproject dot org) is determined to end suicide among LGBTQ (the Q is for "questioning") youth and provides a 24/7 toll-free crisis intervention/suicide prevention hotline (1-866-4-U-TREVOR).
Another marvelous resource is the "It Gets Better" project (www dot itgetsbetter dot org).
Gay teens aren't the only ones who feel hopeless sometimes. If someone you know sounds suicidal, go ahead and ask, "Are you thinking about killing yourself?" You won't be giving anyone ideas about suicide; they already may be thinking about it, and your caring support may help to save a life.
Another important resource for people of all ages is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It's a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
Once someone commits suicide, their pain may end, but it's the survivors who are left behind to suffer the consequences forever afterward. I'm working on a continuation of this story from Edward's POV. It's not pretty, but if you'd like to see how he copes with Jasper's death, be sure to add an alert.
Reviews would be nice too. Just sayin'...