She sat on the edge of the roof, bare feet hanging down and swinging carelessly through the air. Underneath the sixteen-story building, the streets were empty. Litter swirled around with the breeze, making a quiet crumpling noise that nonetheless carried up to her. She could hear his footsteps from behind her, though she made no move to turn around. She waited for him to sit down next to her, talk to her like she was out of her mind - God knew everyone else was - and then stare at her with concerned eyes. He hesitated at the last-minute, just like everyone else. No one wanted to approach the crazy one.
She could feel his eyes piercing into the back of her head. He began to walk again, and he plopped himself down next to her.
"Hi," was his impressive ice-breaker.
Her gray eyes flashed, but she didn't meet his gaze. "Hi," she finally replied forcefully - usually, using that tone is the hint that means 'go away' - and determinedly stared back down at the street, over a hundred feet down.
It was quiet for a moment after that. An intensely awkward quiet.
"So...how are you feeling?"
She glared back at him, looking him full in the face this time. "I hate all of this."
He looked back uncomfortably at her. He was the one having trouble meeting eyes. "What is it? If you would just talk to us about it..."
He abruptly stopped speaking, seeing her expression. He didn't get up as she thought he would; instead, he did the most peculiar action: he closed his eyes, hiding the baby-blues, and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Before you give me the death-glare, why don't you hear me out?"
The only answer to his question was silence, which he took as a 'yes'. "You're outstandingly hostile, short-tempered, aggressive, and - "
"Cry about it. I don't like you, and you don't like me. Okay? I know I'm being rude and unfair, but at least I know. Is that alright with you? It's not personal. Why do you all try to talk to me about it? We're all going to die eventually."
He decided to ignore this last statement, at least until he got the answers he really cared about. "Yeah, I know it's not personal. It's mutual. I don't like you because of your shit attitude, but I don't know why you don't like me, or anyone else for that matter. That's why I came to talk to you - hell, that's why everyone comes to talk to you! They're all scared out of their minds you're going to pull out that crossbow of yours, because you're so damn aggressive! All we'd like is a little explanation."
"No, 'we' don't. You do, apparently. And I what I find just so goddamn amazing is that you haven't figured out a reason why."
"...that's not entirely true. We know exactly why. We just don't like to jump to that conclusion, because it's going to make everyone worry that you're going to throw yourself off the building. That's why no one has put you in your place."
"Yeah, I figured that. Because let's just ignore everything, pretend it's all okay."
They were quiet a moment. Eye contact was no longer a problem, they gaped into each other's faces; both of their brows furrowed so their eyebrows knit together. His gaze abruptly softened, turned tender. "Were you really going to do it?"
She turned away, letting her jagged, chin-length curtain of dark hair hide her pale face. "No."
"Then why did you go so far?"
"Because you were letting me."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
She sighed. It was a tough, defeated sound, and avoided the question, simply because she didn't know how to answer it. "It's not right. I've been positively screaming on the inside. How we can we just...act like everything's alright? There are these things everywhere; and yet we try every day."
"It's better than dying."
"Is it? Honestly, does discovering an afterlife not sound better than being on pins and needles the rest of our lives, where we're most likely going to become a diseased, disgusting cannibal?"
"Well...that's bringing what you believe is after death into it - "
"But that's not what I'm trying to say," she replied, her eyes pleading. "Please, just listen to me."
He was surprised at her sudden desperation, and closed his mouth, not planning to interrupt again.
"Had I been alone, no one there to stop me from throwing myself off a building, o-or slitting my wrists or whatever, I wouldn't have done it. I threw a fit because I got caught into it. I thought about how much I wanted to stop living this hell, and started towards it. I knew it wasn't going to work. I knew you were all there. I...I'm a coward, you see; I wanted to get my point that I didn't want to live, but at the same time I can't. Because I know that I have to. That it's what's right. That's it's wrong to want to die, and being faced with literal death, I wouldn't want to die at all."
"I...I don't know how to respond to that."
"It doesn't really make sense, does it?"
"No...well, some of it does. The words coming out of your mouth make no sense whatsoever, but I can see what you're trying to tell me. Sort of."
A corner of her mouth briefly turned up. He smiled at her in return. Her face darkened again. Her eyes flashed at him, wide and worried. "Have you ever thought about why?"
"Why it's wrong to want to die. I mean, it's like what I said earlier: why do we just pretend everything's alright?"
He shrugged, and on impulse, put an arm around her thin shoulders. "I wouldn't question it," he replied, and paused before continuing, "but I suppose that's just pretending again. But it's natural to want to stay alive, right? Live a little...though that's not as easily applied to life as it was before." He sighed. "I don't know what comes after death, but I'd prefer to stay alive - maybe we want to stay alive because of that. No one can really know - though they might have all the faith in the world - about what comes after. Being hesitant? Really though, I think it's just that most of these people still have something to live for."
"Something I don't have." Her shoulders slumped with shame underneath his long arm, shame for everything that's happened since that stupid attempt that she knew would be in vain in the first place.
"Well, maybe you can make one."
It was quiet after this. And they sat there, until their group called them back to the fire they'd built for the night. By then, his arm had tightened around her, and her head had begun to rest on his shoulder.
"Well, maybe you can make one."