Sour Sweet was bored.
The numbers were gone, not that she missed them. She needed a distraction. A distraction from all the thoughts and voices swirling inside her head. She also needed sleep, but that sure wasn't going to happen. So she tried to think of how to entertain her insomniac self as she wandered throughout the house in the nude.
She thought about her husband and how he wrote all the time. True, his novel writing was technically a job, but he did write fanfiction on the side just for fun. Sour smirked. His erotic crossover fics featuring Daring Do and Zapp from the Power Ponies were not too shabby. He didn't know she knew about them, but she did.
Sour thought and thought about what kind of fanfic she would write if she did one. What two characters from separate franchises could she make have sexy times? She finally shook her head in annoyance. This was stupid, she decided. She wasn't a writer.
She did know she was thirsty, though. Some water would be nice. She made her way towards the kitchen. Before she could go in, however, she nearly bumped into somebody exiting. Somebody very important.
Sour jumped back and respectfully saluted. "Your Excellency!"
The man before her had blonde, perfectly-styled hair with A-list Hollywood-worthy facial features. His piercing blue eyes stared straight into hers with bold intensity. They made her feel that no sin of hers could escape his sight. His fine, tailored suit represented his importance, his power and his place in eternal history. She was facing His Excellency, Global Community Supreme Potentate Nicolae Carparthia.
Nicolae was the Antichrist character from the Left Behind franchise of Christian novels, kids books, PC games, comics, and low budget movies. It was a brief phenomenon in the late 90s and early 2000s, so much so that both The Simpsons and American Dad! saw it worthy enough to dedicate entire episodes to parody its plot. HBO even put out a secularized version with a similar name.
The only reason Sour was aware of it was because of Second. His parents wanted him enjoying wholesome entertainment instead of being "corrupted" by boy wizards or shiny vampires. And what was more wholesome than a biblical apocalypse chock-full of demon attacks and Christian beheadings? Of course, Sour thought the whole thing just came off as a modern-day Paradise Lost where the bad guy could be interpreted as the secret hero.
"No need for this 'Your Excellency' business, Miss Sweet," the global dictator assured with his silky-smooth Romanian accent. "Just 'Nicolae' is fine."
"What are you doing here, sir?"
Nicolae held up a small paddle. "I was about to play some ping-pong with an old friend if you did not mind."
Sour turned to see a ping-pong table with an old man waiting with his own paddle.
"Alo, comrade Ceaușescu," Sour greeted.
Nicolae Ceaușescu waved the paddle. "Alo!" This Nicolae, of course, was the real-life Communist leader which the Left Behind creators based their fictional Antichrist on.
"Want to play winner?" Nicolae Carpathia offered.
Sour shook her head. "No, thank you. Enjoy your game."
"We will, Miss Sweet," Nicolae Carpathia assured as he passed her. He then added, "Beautiful wings, by the way."
Sour raised an eyebrow before glancing over her shoulder. She gasped as she gazed upon an outstretched, yellow-feathered wing. She whipped her head to look over the other shoulder to see a second wing. Her hands shot up to feel her ears. They were not there. She reached up higher to find two new ears.
Her heart overflowing with excitement and joy, Sour jumped up. She found herself soaring above the clouds. Her body shivered with delight over the feeling of air flowing across her new appendages. Sour twirled through a cloud. She wished she could be as talented at ballet as Sugarcoat. Swan Lake would be the appropriate soundtrack right about then.
Sour was in sheer euphoria until she suddenly felt a painful sting and forceful yank on her leg. Her body was forced down. Sour looked to see a green vine wrapped tightly around her leg. Before she could act, more vines came up to constrict her. Sour strongly suppressed the urge to make a bad hentai joke.
Finally, her bound body reached the ground to reveal her enemies. There before her was Gaea Everfree ( who was kindly supplying the vines ), behind her was Midnight Sparkle, flanking her right was Sunset Satan, flanking her left was Juniper Monstar, and hovering above her were the beastly Siren forms of Adagio, Aria, and Sonata.
Midnight leaned in and amorously whispered into Sour's ear, "Nothing personal, Sour Sweet, but we're declaring this is a no-Horsegirl zone."
Sour's eyes narrowed. "You freaks are forgetting who you're messing with..."
Her entire body then began to envelop with light. The energy sizzled straight through and snapped Gaea's vines, causing the ancient spirit to scream out in pain. The other villains began to back up with caution.
"I am Sour Sweet..." she declared as armor magically materialized upon her. "... the element of MOTHERFUCKING BADASSERY!!!!!!!!"
She shot out her hand. A bow of bright, bluish light appeared in her grasp, an arrow to match at the ready. Sour wasted no time in drawing it back, aiming straight at Gaea. The ancient spirit, undeterred, launched at her for the attack. Sour let go. The arrow shot, splitting up into five just before impact.
One arrow pierced Gaea's midsection, two into each shoulder, and two in each forearm. Gaea winced in pain and grit her jagged rock teeth, but stood strong.
"Is that all you – " she hissed before noticing the glow of all five arrows growing in intensity.
They exploded. Chunks of her plant body scattered through the air. What was left burned and crumbled by sparkling, blue fire.
Sour shook her head. "What a waste. She really should have been the actual villain of Legend of Everfree in retrospect."
Enraged, Sunset Satan summoned up an energy blast within her hands. She was about to send it to Sour, before her face contorted and she began to gasp as if being choked. Acting on a hunch, Sour glanced over to see none other than Nicolae Carpathia. He smirked as he Darth Vader-ed Sunset Satan with his supernatural telekinesis.
"Not that you need the help, Miss Sweet, but I hope you do not mind me having a little fun myself," Nicolae smugly said.
Sunset Satan instantly swung her energy blast toward the newcomer. Nicolae did not move. The blast hit him directly, exploding with great force. Sunset Satan felt her throat loosen up.
The smoke cleared. There stood Nicolae, completely unharmed. His suit didn't even have a single burnt tinge on it.
He tilted his chin up in a gesture of superiority. "You have the gall to include 'Satan' in your name? You are nothing but, how do you say, a poser. But if you insist upon it, how about you take it all the way to its inevitable conclusion?"
"What in hell are you blabbering about?!" Sunset Satan demanded.
"'What in hell'?" Nicolae nodded. "Appropriate choice of words."
A loud noise jerked Sunset Satan's attention straight down. The earth opened up below her, revealing a fiery underworld. Sunset Satan gasped in horror. She turned to fly away, but chains instantly shot up and wrapped her body. Just as Sour was yanked down earlier, so too was the she-demon. The last thing Sunset Satan saw before plunging into the eternal lake of fire was the sadistic grin of Nicolae Carpathia.
Sour watched the scene with morbid curiosity until her distracted mind was taken advantage of. Adagio's dagger-toothed maw suddenly latched onto her left arm. If it wasn't for the incredible amount of magic surging throughout her body, Sour's arm would have been ripped right off. It quickly became clear that the Cheeto-Siren was merely holding her in place. Sour was then blasted by the singing of Aria and Sonata.
Sour hauled back and began punching Adagio in the eye as if she were a Great White. She let out a frustrated sigh as it became clear that that wasn't working. Then, with all of her strength, she swung Adagio around. Aria and Sonata cut off their harmonic assault as they realized they were being attacked by their now-weaponized sister. Aria was side-swiped and Sonata was slammed from above. Adagio finally let go.
Sour flew straight down by Nicolae's side. The Antichrist held up his hand. At his mental command, the skies darkened and roared. The Sirens didn't even time to scream before their bodies were hit by lightning and exploded. It began raining fish sticks. Sour caught one and took a satisfied bite.
"Who's next?" she asked the remaining villains.
Midnight Sparkle and Juniper Monstar flinched.
"Get them!" Midnight commanded, smacking Juniper forward in the back.
Juniper shot her an icy glare, but went anyway.
"I'm warning you," Juniper declared, shooting her fists up in an awkward fighting stance. "I've been trained by the top fight choreographers Hollywood can bu – "
Sour jumped up and punched the giantess straight in the nose.
Juniper shrieked as she dropped to her knees. "MY BRAND NEW, BEAUTIFUL NOSE!!! I BEGIN SHOOTING IN THE MORNING!!! WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO TELL MY AGENT?!?!?!?!"
Sour and Nicolae glanced at each other and shook their heads in disgust. Their attention then turned to their final opponent. Midnight quickly opened up a portal.
"You've won this day but I'll be back, Sour Sweet!" she declared. "After all, we need an open ending in case this fic gets a lot of likes and featured, prompting a sequel demand!"
With that, Midnight vanished into another world.
Sour turned to her partner. "Well, Nicolae, it looks like we make a pretty good team."
Nicolae gently placed his hands onto Sour's shoulders. "Sour, I promise to be always by your side."
Sour blushed. "Wh-what?"
"I have decided to rebuke Lucifer and all his evils. From now on, I will use my awesome supernatural and political powers for the benefit of mankind. And I want you to be my queen."
"Oh, Carpathia-senpai..." Sour gushed as she leaned in for a kiss.
Sour found herself back in her living room. She didn't have wings. There were no villains. No Nicolae to be found.
She took both hands and rubbed her face.
"What's the point anymore?" she sighed. "All my mind is good for is nearly having a hallucinatory affair with a fictional Antichrist and probably earning an angry letter from Shady Oaks Ministries..."
Sour walked up to Bitter Honey's room. She cracked the door open just enough to see her daughter sleeping soundly in her bed.
"Daddy will be home soon, sweetie," she whispered. "He'll take care of you. He won't scare you. The two of you will be happy together. You'll forget all about me..."
The door was closed back.
Sour put the keys into the ignition, pulled the car out of the driveway, and drove off.
The sea breeze felt nice on Sour's bare skin.
Small waves lapped at Sour's ankles as she gazed out at the ocean with a starry sky overhead. Nature, like beauty, was in the eye of the beholder. One person could look upon it and be filled with a sense of wondrous contentment. Another, however, could look upon it and be filled with a sense of bleak insignificance. It all depended on the mindset.
Sour's mindset was currently FUBAR.
It was the same beach where she had tried to take her life so many years ago. Then, a desperate Second and an apologetic father were there to stop her. Now, she only had herself.
"If you're going to do it, then do it."
Sour shot over an annoyed glance at the source of the sarcastic comment. The plaid skirt of the young girl's Crystal Prep Academy uniform rippled in the wind as she stared ahead, feigning stoicism.
"It's my right to end it," Sour noted.
"It's your family's right to mourn you," the young girl shot back.
"Why are you even here?"
"You tell little ol' me. You're the one conjuring me, aren't you?"
"I don't have the slightest clue."
"Maybe you don't really want to do it. Too cowardly to live, too cowardly to die. Sad."
"You were going to do it once. Don't judge me."
The young girl threw her hands up. "Of course I'm going to judge you! I am you! We've been judging ourself our whole life!"
Sour rolled her eyes. Having a hallucination of your bratty eighteen-year-old self as company really could put a damper on a suicide.
"Have I always been this insufferable? How does Second put up with me?"
The younger Sour shrugged. "Love? Masochism? Plot contrivance? Who knows?"
"It doesn't matter now," Sour sighed.
She took her first step toward the sea.
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
Sour instantly halted. She looked all around for the source of the noise.
"What's the matter?" her younger self asked.
"The knocking. Don't you hear that knocking? It sounds like my next door neighbor's hammering. But... he's not here..."
Then, slowly, the hammering began to change. The knocks morphed into beats. Loud, hostile-sounding beats. Like a war drum. Sour's heart began to pound along with it. She didn't like it. What did it mean? Her eyes widened. Bitter. Bitter was in trouble!
Sour spun around and sprinted back towards her car.
"Bitter!!!" she yelled. "I've got to save Bitter!!!"
"Hey, when you get back home, put some damn clothes on, will ya?" she heard her younger self call after her.
Bitter's eyes shot open as she felt hands grab onto her. Above her was her mother. She had a trembling smile as tears streamed down her cheeks.
"Come on, sweetie," she said shakily. "We need to go."
Before Bitter could question, Sour ripped her from the bed. Sour ran into and down the hall. Taking Bitter into her bedroom, Sour shot into the closet. The door was slammed shut. Sour sat on the floor, placing her daughter into her lap.
"It's all going to be okay, Bitter," Sour assured. "Nobody's going to get you. I won't let them."
Bitter looked at her mother. There Sour was, naked, shaking and terrified at nothing, clutching her for dear life. Pity swelled within Bitter. Pity, but also helplessness. All she could do was to hug her mother tightly.
"I know it's going to be okay, mama. I know."
Unsurprisingly, the first things that caught Second Person's attention as he pulled up were the vacuum cleaner and the cheese slices on the front lawn.
The heck? he wondered.
He stepped out of his car and went over to investigate.
Second put his hands on his hips. This some kind of prank? What, are egging and teepeeing too mainstream for the kids these days?
His eyes were then drawn to something that wouldn't have anything to do with any young shenanigans. His wife's cellphone. He bent down and picked it up. He checked it, seeing the missed call notification from when he tried to call her last night.
Worry began to rise in Second as he immediately went straight toward the front door. It worsened when he found it unlocked. His jaw dropped when he entered to find the living room trashed.
Second's eyes darted around frantically, his heart racing. What the hell happened? A break-in? Oh, no. Oh, God no. Where's my wife and my daughter?!
"SOUR, BITTER?!?!" he screamed as he ran upstairs.
He reached Bitter's bedroom to see her empty bed.
"Bitter?!" Second yelled again.
"Daddy!" a muted voice called to him.
Second ran out, realizing that it was coming from his and Sour's bedroom. He called her name again as he reached it and received another "Daddy!". It was coming from the closet. Second yanked it open.
"Oh, dear lord..." Second uttered as he beheld his naked, shuddering wife and his relieved-looking daughter.
"Get away from us, you bastard!!!" Sour angrily yelled at Second.
"Daddy, mama needs her pills!" Bitter informed.
Second had to admit, half his worry dissipated knowing that some assault hadn't taken place. However, this was still serious.
He bent down at Sour's eyelevel. "Sour, it's me."
Sour whirled around, her back facing him in defense. "You are NOT getting Bitter, asshole!!!"
Second slowly reached out and gently placed his hand upon her shoulder. Her entire body flinched in fear.
"Sour, it's okay. Everything's alright now. It's me, Second. Your husband." He gently placed the other hand upon the other shoulder. Her body flinched slightly less this time. "Let me help you. You're going to be okay, I promise."
Sour's head hesitantly turned to look back. Her eyes were glistening.
Second smiled at her. "Will you let me come in there with you?"
"You're safe, mama."
Sour glanced down to the child she was protectively cradling. Bitter gave her an assuring smile. Sour glanced back at her husband. Finally, she scooted over. Second slowly crawled inside the closet next to them. He gestured for Sour to hand over Bitter. Surprisingly, she did without protest. An offer of his shoulder was taken up as well.
Second would lose track of time just sitting there in the closet, his wife and daughter in his arms.