Author's Note: This is kind of a private farewell to the characters of CrossGen. I wrote this after the last of the comics were cancelled. This is set in Subreality, a place created by Kielle and others. Basically, the Subreality Café is a place where characters can hang out between stories. This is me taking huge liberty with the concept and "just going with it". I loved these characters and hated to say goodbye…
Disclaimer: These characters were created by CrossGen and now belong to Cal Publishing, a part of Disney. No infringement is intended and no money is being made from this.
Goodbye Beautiful Day
By Gigi Galaxie
The rain felt good. Felt right. It pounded against the streets and buildings with an almost relentless anger. This too felt right. It was good to be angry. Just as it was to be sad.
They walked side-by-side, two travelers coming to the dead-end of their lives. Cassie Starkweather pulled in closer to Cisco, huddling under his umbrella. Neither of them spoke. Or smiled. Or cried. Just weariness lined their faces. Above them, thunder rumbled.
The day was fading around them, changing from afternoon to night. The sun, somewhere beyond the rain, was setting. The end was coming. But they knew of no dawn. Not for them at least. The day was done.
Up ahead Cisco saw their destination, nudged Cassie, and pointed. She said nothing but nodded anyway.
She wished she could say that he was unusually quiet. But for Simon Archard, being socially defunct was nothing odd. Even so, she saw the lines around his eyes strain just a bit. Even the master detective couldn't solve this problem. Sadness washed over her as she stared into the emptied wine glass.
There was faint talk around her. Low tones spoke of low spirits that were heavy with grief. Strange people sat together and drank their troubles away. Even the wise monkey in the corner was consuming heavily. It made her think of Sticky-Fingered Jenny, the monkey she had once known.
What ever happened to her? And the boy that kept her, what was his name?
She could not remember. And it frightened her. It was happening already. The memories were sliding. The people fading away. The boy was already lost to the black lands of Forgotten.
Emma Bishop knew that she too would go there.
"Twas a grand adventure, I daresay. While it lasted." The old blind man ran a finger up the beer bottle, caressing the lip of it and ran it back down. Like a lover's touch.
"Si, Godshall. But now El Cazador sails no more."
"Only into oblivion." Red Hand Harry threw back his mug, drinking deeply. He slammed it down on the table. Hard. "Damn it. Damn it all."
Beside him, Cinza smiled with a glint in her cold, green eyes. "But we are pirates, are we not? Lords of chaos, death, and destruction. Plunder all that stands in our way?"
"Excuse me, Captain, but I am a privateer." Sarcasm dripped from Red Hand Harry's overly emphasized words.
"What are you saying, my lady?" Godshall turned towards her. The tone of her voice intrigued him.
"This is not a fitting ending. Not for us."
"And what exactly do you propose we do?" Red Hand Harry challenged. "It's not like we can force the Writers to keep us alive. Just acknowledge that we are sails without wind. Adrift in a nameless sea, going nowhere."
"There has to be a way," Cinza said. "There has to be."
The new arrivals stepped inside the strange cafe. Cisco Fernandez closed the umbrella (seven years bad luck he did not need) and look around. Characters of every kind and color sat in the dim light and shadows.
"Wow," Cassie whispered behind him. "This place is looks like a tomb."
Cisco frowned at her choice of words. "There aren't any ghosts in here, are there?"
Cassie took a quick glance around and shook her head. "But I'd give anything to see one again. You know."
Before he could reply, a strange woman who stood not even 4 feet tall and sporting a goatee came up to them. Cisco did not remember her from any of the circus folk he and Cassie had hooked up with but he had the distinct impression that she came from some sort of circus. Her expression was pleasant enough as she greeted them.
"You must be Cassie and Cisco," she said. "Ophelia Pressmonk. We've been wondering when you two would head our way. Sorry it had to be sooner rather than later."
"What is this place?" Cassie asked. There was something weird about all of this, and she couldn't ignore the uneasiness she felt. This was a magical place. She could feel it but it had nothing to do with the special powers she possessed.
She glanced around and saw a surprising number of strangers dressed in bizarre clothing. There was even a talking monkey sitting with an peasant man and a….was that a real Samurai? People dressed as pirates at the bar. More than a few scantily clad women. A one-eyed man and a woman with a serpentine marking on her arm, both watching the door expectantly.
"This is the Subreality Café. I doubt that means anything to you but it's a place for people like us. Those of us that have been here for a while thought that we should all gather. One last time."
"I don't know who any of these people are."
"They're like you, Cassie. Their stories were abruptly ended leaving them with nothing. No purpose. They too were dropped by Writers."
"I remember being in the ice. Cisco and I were supposed to stop a war. Or start one. I can't remember. It's starting to get fuzzy..."
"The forgetfulness is common. It happens to all of us. Until…" Her voice broke off and they stood there a moment in silence.
"I found this when we were suddenly dropped in this place," Cisco finally spoke up. He fished a folded piece of paper from his front pocket. It was a simple flyer.
Ophelia nodded when she recognized what it was. "All of us belonging to CrossGen will get that flyer when our stories are permanently ended."
"What a minute," Cisco said. "Permanent? What do you mean permanent?"
Ophelia gave a sad smile. "It means we are done. Those of us left from the first cut have gathered to say our final goodbyes and pass into the Forgotten. We decided to wait for the rest of you to join us."
"This has to be the craziest mission yet." MI6 Agent Stephanie Shelley shook her head in disbelief. "Where are we again?"
"I'd say halfway between Hell and Nowhere," fellow agent Pippa Westlake replied. She stood there with her hands on her hips and studying the hazy horizon. "I say bullocks to this mission. Let someone else do it."
"But there is no one else. They're all gone. Even Director Pilchard," Stephanie said softly. Her voice faltered a tiny bit.
"Ladies. Ladies. Let's not get all teary-eyed already." Behind them, the man known as Charles Basildon cupped a light to his cigarette. He inhaled deeply and blew out a thick cloud of smoke. "Unless of course you want to do it stripped naked and slathered in mud."
Both women eyed him with evil glares.
"Just a thought."
"Come on. If we are determined to get this done, we need to keep moving," Stephanie said. "We must find this elusive… target before it is too late."
"Say it," Pippa said. There was a challenging expression on her face.
"Fine. We must find this elusive Bunny before it's too late."
"Right. Bunny. Bloody hell."
"Any thoughts as to what we should do?" Emma suddenly asked. She had been biting her tongue for a while now, allowing Simon to think. It had been strenuous and difficult and she couldn't stand to be silent any longer.
Simon just looked over to her with an unreadable expression. But no clever remarks. No witty quip. Her heart sank.
This really was bad.
"Contrary to what we believe of ourselves," he said. "We are not the masters of our destiny. We, essentially, do not even exist. Though 'I think therefore I am' should apply to this argument rather nicely. But in fact, do I actually go through the brain process of thinking or am I merely a puppet? A conception of some other creative being?"
Emma looked at him with a look bordering on horror. He saw this and gave an impish smirk. "If I truly am just a mere conception, an intangible product of brainwaves, then I am rather curious as to why a Writer would pair me with a supporting character such as you?
"Wha..?" Emma stammered. "Now see here! I believe it is I who was the mysterious being. I who had special magical powers. Who narrated all of our adventures…"
"In quite the objective fashion, I'm sure."
"I was the lead and you, Simon Archard, were the so-called supporting character."
He raised his eyebrow at her vehemence. Emma just stared at him. Her expression soon softened.
"We will never know, will we?" she said. Her voice drained of any emotion. She glanced down at her hands, gloved in fine white leather. Very fashionable in the world she was from. Very out of place here.
"Stay with me? Till the end?" Her voice was soft and almost timid.
Simon watched her. There was no humor in his eyes anymore. He gave a solemn nod.
"Beyond the boundaries? How are we supposed to get beyond the boundaries of Subreality?" Stephanie stopped when they came to a fork in the road. Hot cruel desert surrounded them on all sides. Each fork of the road traveled straight to the horizon. No twists. No turns. No way to judge the correct path.
"We go left," Basildon said.
Pippa snorted. "As if you know. I say right."
"Perhaps we should split up?" Stephanie ventured. Then she sighed. "What's the use? We have no food and no water. And look around! Do you actually believe we will find a…a Bunny out here?"
"Well, we can eat Basildon if things get really bad," Pippa remarked.
"Is that an invitation?" Basildon grinned.
"I do believe that Steph here had the pleasure, and I don't recall her ever complaining."
"Oh you…fucking bastard!" Stephanie cried out in anger. She turned her back to both of them, seething.
If I find the Writer that allowed me to sleep with that bastard…
Her thoughts trailed off into Red.
"I'll go left," Basildon said. "You both go right. Time is running out."
He started down the left fork, cigarette in his mouth, watching the horizon.
Stephanie looked at Pippa. Pippa looked down at her right hand. Both of their eyes suddenly grew wide.
"What's happening?" Pippa breathed. Her hand was faint and translucent. She could see the gray of the asphalt through it.
Her stomach rolled in an unpleasant way. She was going to be sick.
Stephanie reached out and delicately touched the fading hand. Pippa could barely feel it.
"We're being let go," Stephanie whispered. "We're being Forgotten."
Faebie remembered the dog. It had romped around the café tables with obvious glee. A big black dog, it was hard to miss and she smiled as she watched it. The dog, Kreeg (she had overheard), had known the striking man with the eye patch. Somehow it knew to find him here. The man...was his name Garrett? Or Gareth? He had been overjoyed to see him.
"Where's Arwyn?" Gareth (Garrett?) kept asking the dog. "Where's Arwyn?"
There was no Arwyn. At least, Faebie didn't think there was.
And now there was no dog.
Feabie looked over to the table where Gareth and his lady friend were silently drinking. Beneath his feet, Kreeg had laid in the shadows.
Now he was gone. She looked around the café. But he wasn't anywhere to be found. If the dog had gotten up and left, she would have seen it right?
It was like the dog no longer existed. Or faded away.
Faebie shivered. She sat alone. All of the people she knew…vanished. Except Sephie. For so long she had been jealous of Sephie, thought she hated Sephie, but now she waited longingly for her. Waited, hoped, and prayed.
"Come here, little Bunny. We need you to save the world, little Bunny."
"What the bloody hell is a Plot Bunny anyway?"
They pushed a few of the tables together. Cisco and the men hauled them to the center as the ladies arranged the chairs. There were less people in the room now. Though not a one of the departed had left through the doors.
Cassie and Cisco sat next to each other. On their right, Simon and Emma. The Bearded Lady that had greeted them earlier, Ophelia, was gone. The pretty blonde girl who called herself Faebie was also gone. Cassie had watched her fade away into the Forgotten. The girl had said nothing. Did not scream or fight. But simply bowed her head and cried.
Tears had welled in Cassie's eyes as she watched. Then she had buried her head in Cisco's shoulder for comfort. She didn't want to let go.
She held onto Cisco now. Her grip like a vice. But he did not protest. Instead he covered her hand with his other and squeezed gently.
Then the tales started. One by one they relived their glory days. Each telling of a grand adventure, a fantastic love affair, or their deepest sorrow. Memories were sliding. Details were becoming sketchy. But for a small moment, they all remembered who they once were.
Outside the café, the clouds unleashed their final fury. Lightning cracked the sky in vicious arcs. Hail began to pelting the ground. A small group of travelers, the last of them, stood in front of the café.
The end had come.
Pippa had already faded away. Stephanie walked alone. The landscape was arid and unforgiving. Cracked earth and the occasional dead brush. The Desert of the Unimagined.
Nothing of interest here.
No Plot Bunny to save them.
Stephanie vanished into the Forgotten.
The last of the travelers stood in the entrance of the café, dripping in soaked clothing. Oberon Kaine, Samandahl Rey, Sephie, and Arwyn gazed at the fading group waiting for them.
"The war?" One of the fading asked.
"Over," said Kaine.
"Who won?" asked another.
"There were no victories. None at all."
From behind the rain soaked group, a blue figured stepped out. Charon stood side by side with the others, a grim look in his cosmic eyes.
"Not for even a god."