This one-shot was written for the Jelsa Haven Project of 2020, from the Jelsa Haven Discord server - you can find us by googling or by asking one of the members for the invite link, there's plenty of us and we're friendly as hell!
TW: Suicide attempt, mentions of self-harm, obviously a panic attack.
Monster. Monster. Monster. Monster. Monstermonstermonster—
"Just walk, Elsa," she whispered to herself.
No-good. Terrible. Worthless. Trash.
She stopped. Turning her head, she saw her final destination – the last place she would ever see. The bridge was empty at this hour, rarely frequented as it was. It was all-too-familiar. She took a deep breath and gripped the railing, her knuckles white from the pressure.
You are worthless, Elsa. No one will ever love you. Not anymore. Not ever again.
"Th-that's not true," she shook her head. Deep down, she knew it was. So many people who thought they cared… so many people she cared about. All of them gone, not one left. Her parents, dead for nearly a decade. Her sister, who keeps refusing to speak to her… or maybe it's the other way around. Who knew?
Her life was a string of one toxic relationship after the other… first Gaston, then Hans. Both of them just proving to her what she had thought since the death of her parents. If there was a place for everyone in the world, she was no one. If no one had the scars she did, that was… both of her own making and not.
"For the first time in your life," she whispered, and her voice shook, "don't be a coward."
Elsa squeezed her eyes shut. One foot went over the railing, quickly joined by the other. She was shaking – fear? Adrenaline? A sense of purpose? She didn't know. She didn't care, either.
Her eyes snapped open, and she nearly jumped out of surprise alone. Her head turned towards the source of the voice, noticing the bo—the man standing but a few feet away. She vaguely recalled seeing him a few times on the bridge, neither of them exchanging anything but nods from one runner to another. It was her only source of escape. What was he doing here? What was he doing here now?
"Please, don't," he tried again, taking a small step closer. Elsa gripped with one hand and turned around, now facing the city and the water beneath.
"P-please," Elsa whispered, knowing the man would not hear her, "just leave me alone."
"We both know I can't do that," he said. So, he did hear her, after all.
Elsa shook her head furiously. "No. You can. J-Just leave me alone. Please, leave me alone."
"It's not the answer," he said, his voice coming closer and closer by the word. Elsa's hands on the railing tightened, and she risked a glance at what was awaiting her. The river's currents were mesmerizing, as if the water had a mind on its own. She would be joining it soon.
"You... you don't know anything about me. You don't know me. You don't owe me anything. Let me be."
"Talk to me, then. Tell me why you're here."
He was standing next to her now, only a few inches separated his hand from hers. She prayed that he would not get any closer.
"Leave. Me. Alone." She looked at him properly for the first time. She saw the determined gaze in his eyes, the way he was clenching his jaw. He was a stubborn one, and he would not leave her alone until she gave him something. She scoffed to herself – wasn't he just special? Special… like every other person in her life.
She expected as much.
"Why won't you just leave me alone? You don't even know my name," she said, averting her eyes from him.
"I was there, once. In your place," he began. Her breath hitched slightly, and he continued. "I was there. Standing near a bridge like this, ready to end it all. I mean, why shouldn't I have? My parents were dead, my sister was dead, I had no friends, no money, nothing to look forward to."
Elsa was listening, her grip loosening slightly.
"Before I could jump, though… this man approached me. Told me his story, said it would be okay. That it would get better. Asked me if I really wanted to do it, if I really wanted to end my life. Or if I was just desperate and thought I had no other options. He was there, too. In my place, just like you are now. He helped me, without even knowing my name. He saved me."
"Is that what you're doing? Trying to return a favor? Save a poor soul?" she spat out bitterly.
He shook his head. "No. What I'm trying to do here is to not let another light go out."
Elsa's lip trembled when she whispered, "There is no light. Not anymore."
She closed her eyes and let go, her arms outstretched, ready to meet her end. She started to regret the decision the moment she let go, but she knew it was too late. This would be the last day of Elsa Arendelle, the broken shell of a person she once thought she was.
"NO!" he yelled, diving forward and catching her hand in his. He huffed from pain and effort, desperately trying to hold on to her – to not let her fall. "I am not letting you go!"
Elsa was breathing quickly, her free arm reaching towards him. Seeing her attempt for what it was, he reached out his arm towards her, now holding her with both of them.
"I don't want to die," she choked, "not anymore."
The man smiled, before shutting his eyes tightly and grunting, ever so slowly lifting her up. When her leg touched the smooth pavement, she tried to help him by supporting herself at least somewhat. One of his arms went from hers to her waist, holding her tightly and steadily, helping her cross the railing. She gripped his hand tightly, for a second worried she would shatter his hand from the strength of her hold. She didn't, and when she found herself on the other side of the railing, she slid down, as did he.
Her breathing was heavy at first, but quickly went to fast and uneven when she realized what she had nearly done. She had nearly killed herself. Ended her life. She had entertained the thought for years, but she had never had any courage to go through with it. Not really. Her eyes glazed over and widened, and her breathing quickened even more. The man noticed, and immediately gripped her by the shoulders.
"No, no. Deep breaths, Miss. Deep breaths," he urged.
"E-Elsa," she managed to choke out. "I-I'm E-Elsa."
The man smiled softly, "Good, Elsa. Breathe with me, okay? It's just a minor panic attack. We can get through this, can't we?"
Elsa nodded, assured by his gentle tone.
"Can I take your hand?"
She nodded again. The man gently took hold of her hand and placed it on his chest, letting her feel the strong beating of his heart. "Breathe with me. Deep breaths in, deep breaths out. We'll repeat until you calm down, okay?"
He inhaled deeply, his chest expanding by the second. He held his breath for a short time and then exhaled slowly, his hand still over hers.
"See? Easy. You can do it, Elsa. Just copy me," he said. He inhaled once again, held it, and exhaled. He did it again, and again, and again, until Elsa was able to follow him. Her breaths were slowly evening out, now slower and steadier.
"You're doing great, Elsa."
"Who are you?" she asked.
Before he could say anything, Elsa threw herself at him and buried her head in his chest. Jack seemed surprised, but he wrapped his arms around her after a few seconds.
"Thank you, Jack. You saved my life."
"Always. Now, how about we get some food in you… and you can tell me everything?"
Elsa peeked at him, her eyes alight for the first time in years. "I… I'd like that."
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Elsa," he grinned.