Disclaimer: None of it belongs to me.
A/N: This was an experiment in style; I'm still unsure of whether I liked the end result, so your thoughts on it would be greatly appreciated. A huge thanks goes out to Rurouni Star, my beta and sound debater of all things literary. She may beat me for posting this.
A Success, of Sorts
The first time she saw him, so many months after it all had finally ended, he was lying in a pool of blood. The origin of the scarlet puddle flowed from his wrists, the marks roughly shorn through his skin. The dispassionate thought to leave him there occurred the once in her mind, but selfish curiosity over-ruled it. She had questions that he alone could answer, and a dead man told little to no tales.
She healed his wrists, threw him onto his bed of straw and linen with blatantly absent gentleness, and waited for him to wake. He did so, half a night later, with a hoarse curse. She ignored it and waited three minutes more for him to gather his wits.
“Come to say your farewells?” he asked, bitingly weak. She inclined her head.
“I’ve said enough of those, thank you.”
He tried to move, but the motion proved too much for him, and he sank back once more to rest against the makeshift headboard. “Then to spit on my grave? Seems you’ve made it to the front of the line, Granger.”
“I healed your wrists,” she informed him and watched as his sallow skin lit with flushed anger.
“You- it’s none of your business if I live or-”
She interrupted him. “Why not?”
He became silent. She leaned forward, her chin finding support on the palm of her open hands. “I have some things I’d like to ask you.”
He said nothing, only regarded her with sunken eyes and heavy gaze. She crossed her legs. “You see, I had wondered why you refused to come back after the portrait began to speak. Your name was cleared, to the Order at least. Why not return to your home?”
“That place was no home.” He cleared his throat, a rough sound grunting forth from his throat in response. “Water,” he demanded.
She obliged with a dig into her pocket. She unscrewed the plastic lid and passed him the bottle, her fingers careful to not touch his own. He drank deeply, and the mundane action unnerved her. She stood abruptly.
“If you want to do a proper job of it, I suggest cutting lengthwise. Good night.” Her Apparation made no sound, leave the crunch of plastic in a tight grip.
The second time found him in another puddle, a pale viscous one that stank of bile. The bottle he had chosen to down lay beside him, having fallen from his hand. Sleep Rite said its label, and she wondered briefly why he had chosen still another Muggle method to kill himself. Her wand removed the vomit and she checked his pulse with reluctant fingers.
The morning was wasted on waiting, and when once again he woke, having been thrown onto his bed, she had a styrofoam cup of blistering hot coffee ready for him. His eyes gazed at her, bleary, and perhaps blind.
“Your stomach’s not used to taking pills,” she told him. “You’d have been better off with a potion.”
“I do not make potions.” Another cup returned his vision to him. And his voice.
“You used to. Rather well, you know.” Her Ministry robes felt coarse on her arms, and she itched at the cloth without thought.
“It makes no difference if I did it well or not.” He sounded very calm for a man waking from a failed suicide.
“A man is only worth the work he produces.” His lax grip dropped the styrofoam cup, and her foot prevented it from rolling under his now straw free bed.
“Quoting dead men, are you?” he asked. She shook her head.
“Oh no, that’s mine. A man’s words only go so far; ideals are kind and beautiful, but still, they’re nothing but thoughts without a man’s work behind them.” She shrugged, hand upraised. “ Like I said, you made potions rather well.”
He closed his eyes. “You had questions.”
She bent forward, chin to palm like before. “Why didn't you come back?”
“I did not want to.”
“But why?” she pressed.
He opened his eyes. “My vow was complete. There was nothing to keep me there.”
She bowed her head, her hand rising to cup her forehead as it wrinkled in thought. She lifted her eyes to his, gaze intent. “For fooling one of the most accomplished Legilimens of all time, you’re a lousy liar, Snape.”
Her chair scraped the floor loudly as she used the door to leave this time.
The third time came when she was at her most impatient. Rain fell, the wind blew too coldly, and his choice of self death was a locked garage and a running car. She wondered at her ability to find him, always, when he was trying to die. She filled his lungs forcefully with oxygen and then let the rain wake him.
He stared at her, from his sprawl on the sidewalk, with only passing interest. “I imagined the devil to be less feminine, Granger.”
“I imagined you to be slightly more intelligent. Tell me, Snape, why not use a gun and be over with it? You seem to like Muggle methods, so why not one with guaranteed success?” She was angry, and he made no move to rise from the pavement.
“Perhaps if you minded your business, there would be no need for any of this.” He seemed to find the situation funny and his laugh came short and breathless.
“Why did you help us then?” she demanded, towering above even as the rain drenched her.
He laughed again. “I never helped you.”
“I am not an idiot, Snape. There’s more than one way to track where a letter comes from.” She glared down at him, and still he made no sign of wanting to leave the ground.
“Bravo, Granger. You know the mysteries of a p. o. box. I grant you an ‘E’ for Exceeds Expectations.”
“Tell me why, though.” She dropped down to her knees, eyes imploring.
“Why do you want to know?” he asked, his voice never before so pleasant.
“I just do.” He turned over, as if shifting about in a bed. He snickered into his elbow.
“I don’t tell secrets in the rain, Granger.”
He was still laughing when she Apparated, her coat left behind to cover him.
The fourth time, she barged through his door and then stopped, unsure. He sat at his table, a take out dish of Chinese in front of him, and a distinctly speculative look on his face. He greeted her entrance with upraised chopsticks that then gestured to a chair opposite. She took the seat, unsure of what had brought her to him if not another suicide attempt.
He used his chopsticks to clamp onto a piece of sesame chicken. “You look confused, Granger.”
Slumping slightly, her brow furrowed. “I am confused. I thought I’d find you sprawled on the ground again, perhaps this time after a failed attempt at hanging.”
He considered the glazed piece of chicken thoughtfully. “I would hardly go to hang myself without testing the rope’s strength.”
“A broken beam would do it,” she pointed out. He turned his chopsticks over, the chicken still uneaten.
“No questions for me this time?” he asked, almost encouragingly.
“Why did you send the letters? Why tell us anything at all?” It was simple to remember her purpose once reminded of it.
The chopsticks twirled lazily in his fingers. “A vow is ended with death, but a promise lingers beyond such finalities.”
“So you had promised! But why? Why promise Dumbledore-”
His hand landed firmly on the table counter. “Don’t say his name.”
“Why promise him then?” she amended.
“I still fail to see how this concerns you,” he said. His avoidance was so obvious, she was momentarily put off balance. “What I did and why I did it are no business of yours. It’s finished now. You should return to your happy little life and quit interfering with mine.”
She watched as he deliberately forced the now cold piece of chicken into his mouth. His lips closed over the piece, and then she knew. “You’re allergic to chicken,” she accused.
“Sesame seeds,” he said even as he began to swallow another piece. “A rather severe allergy. Breathing should become difficult in another minute. If you’ll see yourself out the door, Granger, I’m afraid I won’t be able to escort you as etiquette dictates.”
Behind the plainly insincere politeness she sensed a heavy desperation. She made no move toward the door and watched, numbed to it, as his hands began to claw at his throat. Spluttering gasps escaped from his mouth as he struggled to find air that was now unreachable. Her hands began to take apart a pen from her pocket.
In another thirty seconds, she had freed his lungs to oxygen and then healed his punctured throat. She slapped him twice, hard, and when his eyes shuttered open fleetingly, she lowered her lips to his ear, careful to enunciate each syllable.
“Why do you try to kill yourself if you wish to live so badly?”
She vanished the take-out with a tight move of her wand and then vanished herself, the door slamming shut behind her.
“I told you the beam could break,” she said after directing a well placed hex to said beam’s center. He came crashing to the ground, glaring at her and yanking at the noose around his neck. His fifth attempt, to her knowledge at least, but definitely their fifth meeting.
“The rope, however, did not fail,” he rasped, struggling to his feet. “Your timing is incredibly inconvenient, Granger. Do you never sleep?”
She pointed to her nightgown with its ridiculous flower trim. “That was my intention before you decided to fail at suicide again.”
“It wouldn’t be a failure if you stayed put,” he spat out hoarsely. “I take it you’ll have another go at me, then.”
She yawned and crossed the kitchen to his ice box. “First I need some milk.” She rummaged through the many bottles and half eaten containers. “For a man bent on his death, your fridge is remarkably well stocked,” she observed.
He opened a cabinet to her left and pulled down a parmalat box. “Your milk.” He reached up again and came back with a tea bag. “Your tea.”
The tap ran for thirty seconds as he put his open mouth beneath it, his free hand massaging his now bruised throat. She watched, while sipping from the mug she’d found in another cabinet. “Why are you trying to kill yourself?”
He pulled back from the faucet and flashed her a horrible, stain-toothed grin. “A man needs a hobby, so why not suicide?”
“That’s hardly funny.” She frowned and retreated to the small table. He sat across from her.
“I know what you want to say, Granger. I doubt you’ll let me get on with dying until your curiosity’s satisfied, so come on with it.”
She drank from the mug slowly, her eyes watchfully on his features. For someone on the brink of death so many times in such little time, he appeared remarkably healthy. She pushed back from the thought. “You still haven’t told me why you sent those letters. Why you continued to help us- why you did anything.”
“Boredom.” She nearly dropped the mug at his short reply.
“Boredom?” she repeated.
“Boredom.” He inclined his head and splayed his hands in a lazy gesture. “I was bored in my retirement. Freed from one of my masters, I no longer wished to be with the other, and so I decided to do what I wanted for a change.”
“And what you wanted was to help Harry?” she asked, her skepticism heavily toned.
“Does it matter, Granger? I passed along some information, your Boy Wonder saved the day, and as a return, my other master was taken care of. It was a profitable exchange.”
She brooded, glowering over the top of her gripped mug. “You were never this glib before,” she muttered, petulantly.
“Seriousness is overplayed, I think,” he said, his scratchy voice pondering in quality. “When the world is at war and you’re in the middle of two sides, it’s difficult to find reason to laugh. I’ve wasted half my life in seriousness, Granger. Might as well try to make it up now.”
“Which of course explains your poor attempts at suicide. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Professor, but black comedy normally ends in tragedy.” He glanced toward her mildly.
“I haven’t been your professor for close to four years, Granger.”
She pushed over the emptied mug. “I have another question.”
He leaned back from the table, a hand once again massaging his throat. “Nothing I’ve said has stopped you yet.”
She gathered as much dignity as possible while wearing a nightgown and placed a hand on her hip. “Why wait four whole years to start killing yourself?”
His lips frowned, and she left feeling strangely depressed for someone having saved a man’s life five times over.
“You’re an idiot,” she announced as she locomotored his unconscious body into the running shower. He moaned from beneath the spray, a hand rising feebly to block off the cold water. “A complete idiot. Drinking yourself to death? You did little aside from getting yourself sloshed.”
He tried to move out from under the cascade but was interrupted by his body’s natural inclination for survival. Most of the vomit remained in the tub with his body, but a small amount landed on her brand new shoes. She sighed and tossed aside her shoes, paying little mind to the ruin her silk gown was undergoing as she leaned over him in the shower.
She pushed aside the hair caught in his mouth. “Snape, open your eyes,” she ordered. Only after two or three heavy handed slaps did he begin to blink back into consciousness.
She sighed again and gave him another snap to prevent his dozing off. “Don’t close your eyes. And get some of this water into you. I need to see what sort of starches you have lying about.”
She ran to his kitchen, tearing the hem of her dress along the way, and found a packet of saltines stuffed in the back of a breadbox. The hem tore again as she jogged back and found him sitting up, mouth gapping, and eyes blinking furiously.
She crammed a saltine into the opened mouth. “Chew,” she commanded. He obliged docilely.
Once he finished the whole pack and drank enough water to suit her, she turned off the shower and leaned back on her heels. She considered his drenched form thoughtfully. “You couldn’t have thought it would work.”
“A man is only worth his work. A failed work is a failed man.” His words slurred painfully on her ears.
“Poor logic from you,” she said with a frown. “A failed work is still work, and it’s certainly better than no work at all. A dead man is worth nothing. You’re better off sticking with living.”
He said nothing but tried to stand. She caught him before he fell too far. His weight landed heavily on her shoulder and she wrapped her arms around his body to prevent both of them crashing to the floor. Gently, she led him out from the tub.
“Come along now, Snape. Step with me.” With some effort, she managed to drag him to his much improved bed. Six months of time had given it a new mattress, a change in sheets, and what looked like feather filled pillows. “A closet hedonist, are you?” she murmured more to herself than to the man lying face down on his bed.
She gave her third sigh of the night and pulled off his shoes. “Like I said before, Snape, if you’re serious about doing away with yourself, then really, you should stop giving yourself loopholes like this. Death is a serious business, you know. One oughtn’t take it so lightly.”
“Why the fine dress?” she heard him ask, his voice muffled by the pulled back sheets.
“I was having dinner with a friend,” she answered shortly.
He turned his head away from the sheets and regarded her with an unreadable stare. “Just a friend?”
“Thanks to you, probably less than that now,” she said harshly. “I’ll have no social life at all if you keep trying to kill yourself like this. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you’re doing this to keep me coming around.”
He turned his head back to its former location. His laughter was dimmed by the sheets. She yanked roughly on his shoulders and glared at him in annoyance. “What was that?”
He laughed again. “Ten points to Gryffindor, Granger.”
Six suicide attempts, six meetings, and six exits, all in six months. It was enough to make one believe in fate. Or conspiracies.
She said nothing after his seventh attempt. She disconnected the gas, opened the windows in the flat, and once again returned his lungs to their normal job of breathing. She waited until he awoke much as she had done twice over before, and even as he stared back at her, expressionless, she said nothing.
Her silence appeared to bother him. Still weak, he barely made three steps from his bed before landing painfully on his knees before her. He swore and she stayed silent.
“You can stop looking at me like that, Granger,” he sneered. “I’m immune to guilt trips and all those other ploys your kind like to try to inflict upon me.”
He gave up his struggle with the floor and rested back against the side of his bed. “It wasn’t intentional last time, not consciously,” he admitted after a time.
He reached under the bed briefly and came out with his wand. He wiped the dust off it before drying himself. “I don’t normally drink,” he said, his eyes not quite reaching hers. “My memories, however distasteful, are still my own. I don’t drink to forget.”
Her continued silence encouraged to speak more. “I drink to remember. The difficult ones- they’re only remembered when I forget to not remember.”
“And this time?” she asked. His head shot up and her eyes met his steadily. He looked away first.
“I’m tired of this,” she said. “Do you want to die? Truly? Because I’ll stay away. If you want me to stop,” she stumbled over the words. “. . .stop stopping you, then I will. Only say it to me now.”
He managed to stand and after five minutes of no reply, she left.
When the urge came, the knowledge that he was up to it again, she forced herself to ignore the compulsion. For twenty-three minutes, she stared at her computer screen, her half written email staring back at her incomplete and impatient. When at last she could stand it no longer, her imagination having created any and all variances of previously tried scenarios, she abandoned the email and disappeared into thin air.
She reappeared in his kitchen. She checked first his bedroom and then the study. She popped her head out of a window to check the sidewalk below, and then dashed down to the car port. She returned to his flat more bothered than she felt he warranted. After all, once something was done seven times, there was hardly call for surprise.
The bathroom had escaped her mind’s considerations, so naturally that was where she found him. The tub was filled with ice, and his blue tinged body lay beneath the pile of them, his purple lips barely reachable to the air. “Well done in the creativity department, Snape,” she said shakily to the tiles, and then whisked out the ice with a jerk of her wand.
She felt for his pulse- a threadbare beat met her forefinger. She ran the tap again, careful not to make the temperature too warm. Too much heat too fast would send him into shock. Off went his shirt, and off went her own jeans and sweater. Clothed in her bare essentials, she slipped into the water and began the job of restoring warmth to his body.
For minutes that went without measure, and then into hours or perhaps never at all, she could make no sense of it either way- she kept to the rhythmic massaging of his skin. She pinched gently at his cheeks and plied into the muscles of his stomach and the stretched sinews of his scarred back, never pulling back far enough to take her body heat way from his. His eyes opened long before she realized it and even then, she made no move to stop her motions.
“You’re naked, Granger,” he greeted.
“Not entirely,” she corrected.
“Then I’m naked,” he amended.
“No, you’ve still your pants,” she corrected again.
“And yet we’re in a tub together.” His confusion bothered her.
“You tried to kill yourself again,” she pointed out. “Your best attempt thus far, incidentally,” she generously mentioned.
“And yet we’re in a tub together,” he repeated, and she pulled away from him.
“You said this already, Snape.” His hand stopped her from moving beyond a slight straightening of her spine.
“Where are you going?”
She shook off his hand. “I’m getting out of this tub and back into my clothes. I suggest you do the same.”
She felt his gaze wander away from her naked stomach and back to the tiled walls as she stepped gingerly from the tub and threw her clothes back on. Shivering slightly herself, she took a careful seat on the commode and watched as he skimmed a hand lazily over the water’s surface.
“Have you ever killed a man?” he asked idly.
She shook her head. “No.”
“Neither have I.” At the sharp turn of her head, he went on. “I’ve certainly tried to. Many times in fact. The curse was always ineffective in my hands. Do you know why?”
“You should get out of the water. I’ll fetch you a robe-”
“He told me once that a man can only hate as much as he has loved. ‘Great destruction is only possible to those who have greatly loved. . .’ or something like that.” He gave a dramatic wave of his hands. The movement pitched him forward. The plug was caught in the motion, and the tepid water began its escape noiselessly.
“I could not kill as I had not loved.” His voice was rich with irony.
She shifted uncomfortably. “Had not?”
“It was part of the reason for my lack of success as a Death Eater. What use was a minion if he could not kill?” He still did not leave the tub, even as it now stood emptied of all water and his bare feet lay exposed to her. She shied away from the intimacy irrationally.
“You could still brew potions.” He gave a short laugh at her words that grated on her ears and made her shut her eyes.
“Terribly inefficient, though. The killing curse was far less timely.”
“I-” Her words drew short. She shook her head. “Come on, get out of that tub. You’ll catch the death of you if-”
“That was the point of it.” She had nothing to say to that.
“I have work waiting for me,” she said after a moment. He nodded from inside the tub. She hesitated in the doorway, hair still damp. “You will get into something warm, won’t you?”
Again, he nodded, and that was that.
“Can only hate as much as you love- do you expect me to buy that?” she demanded upon entering his bedroom and finding that he had taken her advice, having used the razor lengthwise for his ninth attempt. She gave him no time to recover from the blood loss before launching into her interrogation.
“Voldemort killed scores of people, and surely he never loved. Explain that.” She strode over to the chair she’d used times before and collapsed into it, her mind wearied and pounding.
He stared at his wrists, lips expressionless. “He must have loved at some point. He could never have hated enough to kill otherwise.”
“By that reasoning, then at this moment, I’m more capable of killing than you are.”
He gestured to his wrists. “But not from lack of trying.”
“You didn’t answer my first question.” Her hands gripped at her own wrists, her headache near unbearable.
“I don’t have to,” he said, his voice irritatingly reasonable.
“You don’t have to,” she repeated, the words incredulous. “You’re completely right. You don’t have to. But you’re going to. You’ll tell me why because you owe it to me.”
“I owe you nothing.” She stared at him, surprised by the tone of his voice, having not heard it from it since that first stalled death attempt. He continued. “You interfere in my life with no consideration to my wants, demand from me things that are mine alone to know, and then presume to act as if I should be thankful.”
He staggered to his feet. “Understand this, Granger, I owe you nothing. I haven’t asked for your help; I do not want your help. Take your good intentions and send them elsewhere.”
“Fine.” She stood as well and brushed past him brusquely. “You’re completely right. I’ll not bother you again.”
His hand gripped her elbow painfully, and she wondered how he managed such strength after a brush with death. But then again, since it was his ninth attempt, perhaps his body had adapted to the whole experience. “I have a question of my own, first, one that I should like an answer to.”
“I’m not obligated to tell you anything,” she stated flatly. His grip tightened.
“Why do you continue to come? I’ve answered your questions. I know of nothing else to cause you to act with such-”
“You’re hurting me.” Trigger fast, he released her arm. She rubbed at the sore skin, that pain taking predominance over the ache in her forehead. “Act with such what?” she prompted, lingering despite her intention to quickly exit.
“To act as if you care,” he ended. His eyes found hers, and she skittered away from the knowledge in them.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she murmured before escaping from both his words and gaze. Her own thoughts, though, were hardly escapable.
She could not find him. Three months had passed without incident- without any foreknowledge of possible incidents, at any rate. Then that feeling had hit her; she needed to get there now, that very instant. Her mind had given her no chance for other thoughts, and she ran for the public bathrooms in a dizzy blur of motion. With the stall door locked firmly, she’d Apparated.
But the flat was empty. The car port as well. She checked each room carefully, running spells against glamours, and peering behind furniture spaces, ignoring the irrationality of her rationale. The feeling continued to persist, and with an almost desperate energy, she at last tacked down to her stomach and sought out the last hiding space she could think of. From beneath his doctored up bed, she saw what had to be an hours old corpse. It was his, she saw immediately.
She inhaled sharply, a gasp of breath that gave her a taste of the air. Almonds, she recognized; cyanide, she realized. The gasp was repeated, and then again, until it became a full attack of closed lungs and harsh pain that clung to her throat and stung her eyes. She had been too late. It was with a sense of the ironic that she began to cry: like so many times before, he drove her to tears.
The word uttered met her ears without comprehension. It took the pressure of his blood driven hand on her cheek to give it meaning. Not suicide then; she staggered to her feet.
“A boggart, Granger. Only a boggart.”
“Promise me,” she demanded more than plead. “Promise me you won’t try to do it again. Never again.”
“I promise nothing,” he said, voice resolute.
She stepped away from him, her body weak, and dully, she nodded. “Right,” she said for lack of any other response.
“Right,” she repeated and began straightening her clothing. Absently, she realized she’d left her purse at the store’s check-out. She lifted her eyes to say her farewell, and his gaze unsettled her.
“Did the idea bother you so much, then?” he asked, his words tempered with an unknown quality. His coarsely skinned finger touched her damp cheek briefly. “Enough to cause tears?”
She did not answer. Instead, she stepped beyond his reach and fled.
She crept up on him as he slept, scant hours later. His front door had been left unlocked and there were no wards to speak of. She stood, still as death, still as his replicated body had lain, and watched as his chest rose and fell. A steady rhythm that meant existence, that meant life. She rested her palm atop the motion and felt the gentle thrum of his heartbeat. Further proof that he lived. That he lived still.
“Tell me,” she whispered. He awoke with no other sign than the opening of his eyes. “Why do you want to die?”
“It’s never been my intention to die,” came his answer, however illogically.
“Then why do you do it?” she pressed, more than wanting to know. She needed to know.
He sat up in the darkness, a grey form overdrawn by the greater shadows of both bed and wall. “To test my freedom. To know if, finally, I belong only to myself.”
“I don’t understand.” He shifted slightly to allow her room to sit, and perch she did on the edge of his bed, cloaked as he was in the shadows of the room.
“A vow ends with the man’s death, but a dead man’s vow lives on. Or so it seems.” His words rang with mockery. “He decided that I shouldn’t kill myself, and death doesn’t appear to have changed his mind.”
His fingers were cool against her own. She closed her eyes despite the darkness. He spoke again. “Potions have no effect on me anymore. Curses have no point to them; I seem to lack love enough to manage the deed, magically at least. Muggles ways were the only options left.”
“So that first time-” He quieted her with a sigh.
“That was the fourth, actually. The first three times were foiled by malfunctioning hand guns.”
She allowed the silence to sit between them, allowed her thoughts a chance to sort and order themselves. She found herself angry once it was finished. “So in order for you to know whether you’re no longer bound by Dumbledore’s vow, you’ll have to actually die.”
He answered calmly to her fury. “Yes.”
“You’d prefer to just die, then?” she cried, trying to wrench free her hand from his grasp. He held on still, but did not answer. “And what about me? Am I just some tool being used?”
Still he did not answer. His lack of response angered her further. “I’m not easily manipulated. I have a mind of my own, Snape. It’s mine, and I make my own decisions. Nothing is making me come here time after time.”
“You’ve been tricked all the same, silly girl.” His hand rose to her hair, a freedom granted him in the absence of light to do as he pleased, as he would never have done otherwise. “It has tricked you into believing you care for me.”
“And you- it somehow tricked you, too?” she demanded.
“Does it matter?” he asked. His hand fell from her hair.
She felt the urge to laugh. “It should.” She claimed back her hand and stood as she had done nine times over. “But perhaps it doesn’t. Perhaps,” she said wonderingly, as if discovering a new truth, “it doesn’t matter at all.”
A handful of minutes later: “This would be the part where you make a grand exit.”
“I know.” She turned to face him and gave into the urge, the laughter escaping from her lungs painfully. “I don’t think I will, though.”
She shrugged. “You might be successful one day.”
“One can only hope,” he said.
“But in this,” she smiled, “I’d prefer you a failure.”
His own smile was missed entirely in the darkness. “A failed work is still work, Granger?”
“Something like that.”
And really, perhaps it was.
A/N: Thanks for having read this short story of mine. I wanted to add, after having thought about it a bit, that suicide obviously is never to be taken lightly. Do not take this one-shot as an encouragement to end your life. It is not meant to make fun of suicide; so please, in turn, don't take suicide in fun.