I lied when I said Aethon was next. It's my story and I'll write what I want. I'm also intoxicated, so usual content warnings apply.
It happened too fast for comprehension, only reaction. The ranga corpses were slow, shambling in uncoordinated shuffling jerks and jarring twitches, but they closed in on the short soul en mass with the clumsy eagerness of two drunken virgins exploring new terrain. The red-dead horde made no sounds, saving the scuffling of decaying feet and the soft swish of weathered fabric. Ara lashed out with a brutal recklessness that can only come from desperation and the bitter knowledge of certain doom. She resisted with foot and fist, striking viciously with elbow and not hesitating to use tooth and nail against the waves of her lifeless attackers. Still, they pressed onward, pushing her closer to the edge and the lethal fall that awaited.
“You should have stayed away.” The deathly legion halted as those words, separating to form a path. Sweat and blood obscured Ara's vision, but she could make out a definite feminine shape approaching her with the slow ease of a confident gait. Whoever this bitch was, she was powerful and she knew it. Ara was okay with that, strangely enough, better to be defeated by a queen than by a swarm of pawns.
“Or...maybe I never should have left.” Ara panted in reply, struggling to wipe the fluids from her eyes. Her efforts only brought her more salty stinging and her vision dimmed to a pink hue cloud of foggy figures. She knew she must look ridiculous, blinking rapidly in what could only be a temporary lull in the graphic violence, but she needed to be able to see to take this new bitch down. It was hard to miss when your target is a wall of purified flesh around you, single combat would prove more difficult.
“Then your story would have ended along with his, and you would not have gotten the chance to return for another.” Ara had no time to decipher the riddle, the woman closed the distance between them without warning. A savage elbow drove the breath from her in a single punishing blow. Ara blocked the next blow by instinct alone, striking with her an open palm against the backhand that followed the elbow assault. Ara didn't see the punch that ended the bout, her world erupted into a crimson blossom of searing pain between her eyes and she felt the ground abandon its hold of her. A desperate grasp for the ledge only won the tease of grass slipping between her fingers as they failed to find purchase.
As she plummeted blindly to an ended that was rapidly approaching even as time stopped in tribute, Ara thought of only one thing. In this dire moment, she thought of her time with Rani.
“Why don't you ever talk about what happened with Pinky?” Rani rolled away from the question, hiding his frown. He sat up, breathing out his frustration slowly. He didn't look over his should to acknowledge Ara's question, and instead scanned the floor under the pretense of looking for his clothes.
“Do you really want to talk about this now?” He replied, after he slipped his boxers back on. He glanced over at Arali in time to see pale breasts retreat beneath the security of the sheets. Good, they really didn't need to be talking about this while both nude. Somehow it didn't seem right.
“I just want to know what happened. What really happened. One minute you guys are fucking in reality and the next she's written out of the story with barely a mention. Is that what's going to happen to me one day?” Insecurity was not her color, and Rani did not recognize on Ara in the bedroom. That was normally an area she excelled in.
“No risk of that, Aerie. Our realities will never intertwine.” Ironic that their characters always found intimacy, yet their creators never would. Star-crossed characters that found each other time and time again across the multiverse, written by two people that couldn't agree on anything long enough to share a state.
“So what's next, you're going to screw Sabine and Shemo while I hook up with Aethon and Salem?”
“For the record, I think Donut is more likely than Salem, since he doesn't hate your guts. Oh, and it's already happened with Sabine – and as her other regular Malina. Interestingly enough, Shemo and I haven't been in the same story long enough to take it there. Attention span and all.”
“Just answer the damn question. You're not going to sidetrack me.” Close, but no cigar. Ara was not going to let it go.
“Pinky had to go because real life became too much like the stories we weave. Do you know what it feels like to fall for your best friend? And watch them continuously choose someone else over you time and time again? It was hell, and every time we were almost free she would drag us back in.”
“You're right, I have no idea what that feels like. I can't imagine something like that. I wonder what it feels like to have to get naked to get someone's attention.” It was a low blow, but Ara didn't care. Rani and Ara were extensions of their creators, after all, and sometimes it was hard not to blame one for the other's mistakes.
“Your creator set the rules for that game, not mine.” Rani rebutted, having no choice but to believe it himself due to the loyalty written into him. The fourth wall was crumpling rapidly, and he didn't like what was spilling into his story.
“The rules didn't matter when he wouldn't play the fucking game. Why couldn't they just have what we have?” Ara didn't know what words were her's and which were written for her, and she didn't care. This conversation was a long time coming.
“How long are you going to keep torturing yourself, creating this scenario over and over in your head? Rani is dead. You couldn't bring him back. You can write this scene as many times as you want, but the fact remains that Rani wrote his own ending.” The words brought fresh pain, as they did every time she remembered the truth. She had created this fantasy to cope, and her shattered mind only found it believable if they were fucking and fighting. Rani was gone, and she couldn't change that.
Ara opened her eyes, her mind reeling from the flashback of a fabricated fantasy. The scene felt like it lasted minutes, but it only could have been milliseconds as she was still falling. A moment of bittersweet serenity washed over her. Sure, she knew she was going to die, but for a moment she remembered that Rani was back. She had lost him, felt the pain all over again, and then got him back. It was a wonderful way to go.