To Sock it was just a normal day on the job.
He didn’t notice that there was something off when they Sock tailed Jon around at school. Well, he was quieter than usual but Sock attributed it to his counterpart’s fatigue or boredom of his excessive jokes and storytellings. But earlier today Sock had to report to Mephistopheles to discuss how his case was going, which meant he had to leave Jon for a few hours.
“Are you gonna miss me?” Sock asked flirtatiously as he floated near Jon, who sat at his desk with a notebook and pen out and tapping the cap on the blank page.
Jon rolled his eyes and gave a breathy laugh that was typical of him. “Pft, no.”
It wasn’t until later, after his meeting with his boss, that Jon became really silent. He hardly acknowledged when Sock came back to bug Jon in his room and hardly said a word. It reminded Sock of when he first got assigned to Jonathan, back when Jon was convinced that the demon was just a figment of his imagination or his suicidal thoughts decided to manifest itself in the form of an annoying, cute, fashion-disaster-eque boy. To Sock it seemed almost like Jon was….distracted.
Jon had sat at his desk the entire time, scratching away at the notebook while Sock rambled on about whatever came to mind. He must be doing homework , Sock guessed and fell back against Jon’s bed, continuing his ramblings.
“And so I said to Tom, ‘there’s no way you killed that dude with a bar of soap and a broken mop.’ And then he said-- or well, he didn’t say anything but he gave me that look , you know? Like ‘try me.’ But I believed him anyway so-”
“I think I want to do it.”
“Do what?” Sock asked absentmindedly.
Sock broke off mid sentence, his hands that were previously making invigorating gestures to tell his story now frozen above him. He turned his head and looked at Jon. His back was still facing him. Sock stared at his counterpart’s back with an odd mix of emotions stirring within him. Most were common reactions he figured other people would feel when hearing someone announce they wanted to die-- like fear, surprise, anxiety-- but there were some abnormal ones too, the main one Sock was most familiar with was excitement. But all of these mixing, churning together within him made him feel more out of body than possible when you don’t have a physical body anymore.
Sock sat up so fast his hat got thrown forward a bit. “Really?!” he exclaimed. “I-- Jonathan, are you sure?”
Jon was silent and didn’t look at him.
“It’s just…” Sock tried to put his mixed emotions and thoughts into words. “...I’ve waited for this moment for a long time, and…” Sock took a deep breath and stood up from the bed.
“I know.” Sock barely heard Jon’s voice. It was a low mumble. And as Sock approached him he noticed small crumpled balls of paper scattered on the desktop and the way Jon’s shoulders were slumped and his back hunched over his notebook. He then looked over Jon’s shoulder out of curiosity. “Whatcha doing?” he asked and looked at the one visible page when Jon finally moved to show him.
It was a black, inky mess of scribbles and so many things crossed out it was starting to look like modern art. But he could still read some of the stuff, despite the strike throughs. Suddenly Sock’s anticipation was getting replaced with sadness. The same kind of stillness that fills a room after its occupants acknowledge that something bad has happened or been said and fear breaking the silence.
D̶e̶a̶r̶ ̶M̶o̶m̶,̶ ̶I̶'̶m̶ ̶d̶e̶p̶r̶e̶s̶s̶e̶d̶
I̶'̶m̶ ̶s̶o̶r̶r̶y̶ ̶
“Jonathan…” Sock whispered and looked at his counterpart.
Jon’s gaze was averted, fiddling with the ballpoint pen in his hands still. He seemed like he wanted to say something but each time he opened his mouth nothing came out and he would shut it and repeat the motions all over again.
After a few minutes he lifted his head and stared at Sock. The demon saw redness staring back at him, those blue eyes he loved to see light up in laughter and were well acquainted with from many times when Sock would comfort Jon during a breakdown-- the latter a weird, ironic situation, both of them knew. Who ever heard of a demon meant to promote suicide practicing self care with their counterpart?
Jon gave a small cough. “I, uh, was thinking maybe an overdose?” he said, coughing again when his voice wavered. “Mom keeps some sleeping pills on her dresser and I think we still have some of dad’s old meds in the bathroom cabinet. I mean, it would be easier than trying to get ahold of a gun.”
“And we don’t have any rope. And, uh, I also read somewhere that sometimes hangings go bad and you don’t die immediately.”
Sock took another glance at Jon’s scribbled notebook and the crumpled balls around it that most definitely held similar starts of a suicide note. An unsettledness came over him. “Jonathan.”
Jon brought his eyes back up. “Yeah, Sock?”
Sock paused, not knowing exactly what he wanted to say. ‘Hey Jonathan! I don’t want you to die!’ Surely something like that would earn some sort of private talk from his boss and he definitely didn’t want to get his privileges stripped away and tortured. But on a more important matter, some part of him wanted him to stay alive. Just for now, at least. And besides-- his boss didn’t put a deadline for his counterpart’s death.
“Jonathan, are you sure you want to go through with this?” Sock asked again.
Jon seemed to think this over, but then moved his gaze away from Sock. “Please don’t ask me that.”
“I’m serious, Jon! Death is permanent. You can’t just flip a switch when you want to be alive again.”
“I know that!” Jon glared at the floor, but Sock could’ve sworn he heard his voice waver.
Sock sighed and then got on his knees, so he could look up at Jon. It reminded him of the way his mom would would talk to him when he was sad and he felt a pang where his heart should be. If he still had a beating one, that is.
“It’s just...this seemed to come out of nowhere. You never actually agreed with me on something before now, and I wasn’t really expecting that to be, well, this…” Sock gave a small grin, trying to be reassuring. Jon just seemed to stare past him, his nostrils flaring every so often. “What I guess I’m trying to say is it doesn’t have to be now, Jonathan,” Sock continued and placed his hand over Jon’s, which was clutching his office chair’s armrest. His hand would just pass through, but he let it rest on top of Jon’s anyway. “You can take all the time you want and think it over. I’ll still be here.”
Sock searched Jon’s face-- any sign that he was going to agree with him and Jon would live for the time being. But the two stayed in their positions for a few minutes, in silence.
Finally, Jon gave a ragged breath and returned his eyes to meet Sock’s gaze. Fresh tears started welling up and threatened to spill over Jon’s flushed face, which he tried to hide by folding in on himself and wiping his eyes.
“Dammit,” Jon croaked, his voice breaking. “I, I’m sorry--”
Sock understood and stood, then wrapped his arms around Jon the way he liked it when Jon had his slumps. “Shhh,” he whispered.
“I don’t want to die yet,” Jon whispered back, choking back his sobs.
Sock wasn’t sure what to feel. Happy? Because Jon gets to live another day? Anxious? Because he knows that one day Sock will be one of the reasons why Jon decided not to live to the next day? Listening to Jon cry in his arms made him push all those conflicting thoughts to the back of his mind for now. Right now it was all about Jon.
“Shhh, shh, I’m here for you.”