Disclaimer: I do not own Degrassi. The title of this fic belongs to Fistful of Mercy. The lyrics in this chapter belong to Mumford & Sons. I only own an insane amount of books and CDs.
Author's note: Another attempt at a happier fic. It will be a combination of the tone used in Momentum and Recollection. Also, this is AU but I will try to remain as IC as possible. This will be more of an Eli/Clare/Adam friendship fic but it will also focus on Eclare because I love them ok? Haha. I will eventually write a sequel for Vices, I just need to do some research on that one. Thanks to ArentYouSophiaLoren-8887, for giving me a last name for the therapist in this chapter. Go read her stuff now, it's brilliant!
Important note: Eli is 21, Clare is 20, Adam is 18. That's all.
"I've nowhere to stand and now nowhere to hide. Align my heart, my body, my mind… to face what I've done and do my time."
Dust Bowl Dance, Mumford & Sons
"When you wake up in the morning, what's the first thing that crosses your mind?"
The therapist looked around, waiting for people to speak. Everybody was quiet, the usual shyness of a fairly new support group, with people still having difficulty opening up.
Eli Goldsworthy blinked slowly, trying to stifle a yawn. The rest of the people in the circle seemed deep in thought, and he decided to focus on his sneakers instead. He looked up and looked over at Dr. Berlasky, who was writing down some notes on his notepad.
The first thing that crosses your mind…
Fuck, I'm still alive. That's what crosses my mind every single day.
A middle-aged man, Ronnie, raised his hand and the therapist beckoned him to speak. Ronnie gulped nervously as he stood up to address the rest of the group, wiping his sweaty palms on his jeans.
"The first thing that crosses my mind when I wake up… I'm so lucky to be alive," said Ronnie in a small voice, and the group muttered in agreement.
Eli rolled his eyes as the group started clapping at Ronnie's words, and he glanced at his right arm. The vertical scar was still painfully visible, even though his suicide attempt had occurred almost a year ago.
"Elijah? Do you want to share?" asked Dr. Berlasky tentatively, and all eyes fixed on Eli, making him feel uncomfortable.
"Nothing. Nothing crosses my mind when I wake up."
"Are you sure?" insisted Dr. Berlasky. "Elijah, this group is meant to help you open up, to find the reasons behind your actions… you need to speak up."
Eli glared derisively at the therapist and crossed his arms, staying put on his seat. "I have a very boring mind, it's always blank. Therefore, I never think of anything when I wake up. It's quite lovely actually."
He could feel the hate in everyone's eyes, but he didn't care. He thought that the whole idea of attending a survivor group was ridiculous, but he did it for his parents.
Eli stood up, not being able to stand the tension in the room anymore. He knew that his fellow suicidal comrades hated him, they hated him because he was so young and apparently had everything going on for him, and yet, he had tried to kill himself.
They didn't understand. No one did.
"I need to go to the restroom" he blurted, taking his jacket from the back of the chair, and the therapist waved his hand dismissively as another patient stood up to speak.
Eli walked out of the room, looking around nervously. Bullfrog had dropped him off, but he had cash with him, so he knew that taking a cab was no problem. As he exited the building he noticed a lone bicycle sitting in the parking lot, and he looked around once again.
He thought of Julia, and gulped as he walked over to the bike, his heart racing. Eli touched the handlebars with his hands, and he stole the bike, pedaling away as fast as he could.
He needed to escape.
"Do you remember when we used to hang out here? We always had a great time, didn't we?" he muttered, glad that the place was abandoned.
Eli walked on the railroad tracks, smoking his cigarette slowly as he admired the landscape surrounding him. He remembered his first date with Julia, how they had escaped to the tracks without hesitation, sharing a first kiss under the moonlight.
He arrived to the part of the tracks where a river ran underneath, and he looked down tentatively. The height made him nervous and he smirked when he recalled a certain scene…
"Look, Eli, I'm dancing on the tracks!" mocked Julia, spinning on her feet.
"Julia, if you fall you're going to die," said Eli uneasily. "Plus, the current is insanely strong…"
Julia smiled at him and stopped moving, standing in the middle of the abandoned tracks. "I've heard the stories. People jumping off the tracks into the water and dying at once. A beautiful, poetic suicide. Would you miss me if I died?"
"Probably," shrugged Eli. "But you haven't kissed me yet, so I'm not sure of that."
"Come over here and I just might," purred Julia coquettishly.
"I think I will stay here. Yup."
"Eli Goldsworthy, are you afraid of heights?"
Eli cocked an eyebrow at her and his smirk became more pronounced. "Just a little. I'm more afraid of you, actually."
Julia frowned playfully and walked closer to him, swaying her hips as she did so. Her bright brown eyes shined under the moonlight and her thick dark hair contrasted beautifully with her pale skin.
Eli really liked her, she made him nervous and anxious, but goddamn, he liked her.
"Don't be," she breathed, and kissed him on the lips.
Eli blinked, waking up from his haze, and he noticed that he was standing at the very edge of the tracks, the dark water running underneath them, several feet below. He glanced again at his scar and winced as he recalled his botched suicide attempt. If Cece hadn't arrived home from work an hour earlier…
He dropped his cigarette into the water and watched it fall, the height dramatically obvious, and drew breath. His head was pulsing as he walked closer to the edge, as he closed his eyes, the sun burning the back of his neck.
"Should I jump, Julia?" he yelled, although he knew that he would get no response. The wind messed up his hair and he could feel the tears stinging his eyes as he considered what to do.
His parents would be okay. They would report him missing but the police wouldn't take them seriously since he was suicidal. His case would be dismissed after a few months, and his body would be eventually found. It was all about closure, and his parents would have it. He was just being a burden to them, he was aware of that. His mother would check on him constantly, call him at his job every single hours, making sure he was doing okay. His father raided his room in search for anything sharp, and every time Eli wanted to shave, he had to do it in front of Bullfrog.
All those unnecessary precautions, to save a life that wasn't really a life. Eli felt almost ghost-like, living for the mere sake of living, breathing just because his body refused to stop doing it.
"Julia, I know it's been almost three years… but I still miss you," he whispered, and closed his eyes, ready to jump.
He felt when the tracks disappeared from under his feet, the wind slapping him hard on the face as he fell, the fall lasting an eternity. He thought of his parents and Julia, and opened his eyes just in time to see the water getting closer and closer.
Eli hit the water face down and panicked as he felt the pain sear across his face. He was still alive, and the water was flooding his lungs rapidly, the current taking him down fast.
Eli opened his mouth to breath, a stupid move, and more water entered his lungs. He tried to reach the surface, but the current kept pulling him down, and he closed his eyes, expecting to stop breathing at any was dying, a slow, painful death, and there was nothing he could do about it. But at least he was dying, and this gave him a sick sense of comfort.
"Eli… I love you."
He felt Julia's arms close around him, but his eyes remained shut. He was drowning, and he couldn't help but smile as everything started to fade away…
His lungs were still hurting, but that was probably normal…
The soft sound of grass and rock crushing underneath his weight...
Julia was coughing next to him, and this struck him as odd...
Warm lips on his…
Oxygen down his throat…
Eli opened his eyes and started coughing uncontrollably, water spilling out of his mouth as did. Oxygen started filling his lung, making them expand painfully, the water trying to find a way out.
"Thank God. You're alive. Where's my bag, oh God, I need my phone, oh God, oh God."
Eli blinked confusedly, still coughing up water, and the only thing he could see was someone's silhouette on top of him. He blinked again and saw a pair of blue eyes staring back at him as he groaned in pain. Everything was spinning around him, the light fading away once again, and the silhouette spoke in an almost-angelic voice before he passed out.