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you never promised me to be wiser or better

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The worst part about seeing Anne again was that she looked fine. She was a mess, hygienically, but she looked fine, which meant that someone else was taking care of her. Someone that wasn’t Sasha.

It should have been the first sign that everything was going to hell in a handbasket—Sasha wasn’t going to be the one to pick up Anne’s pieces this time and put her back together, because she wasn’t in pieces.

So she needed to be shown that she was.

The Anne that Sasha knew back home was easily grossed out, and she couldn’t have been happy living in what was probably the most disgusting little town in this dump. All Sasha had to do was show her what she’d been missing, and Anne would crawl right back into her arms.

For a single shining moment, Sasha thinks she has her Anne back. She tells her about the rebellion, confident that she’ll get backup on this, and then Anne leaves.

She doesn’t come back.

Why does she need those stupid frogs anyway? As Sasha circles Anne, dragging her sword behind her, she grinds her teeth. What are they giving her that Sasha couldn’t?

She has power, she has protection, she has comfort. She offered it all to Anne, and still her best friend chooses these things she just met over her.

They don’t know her like Sasha knows her. Anne is hers. Anne has been hers since the beginning.

It isn’t supposed to go like this. It never went like this back home, where Anne and Marcy hung on to her every word, where they were happy. Maybe if Marcy were here, it would be different. She wouldn't be lunging at her best friend as Anne charges at her, swinging a stolen sword.

Anne fights like she was trained, like someone trained her. It takes Sasha aback, surprises her enough to take her guard down just a little, and she loses ground, gritting her teeth. Like hell she’s going to let this happen.

“They’re just slimy frogs, Anne!” she shouts, frustrated enough to raise her voice. She never had to raise her voice with Anne before. They did this. They took Anne from her. Sasha hates that she can hear an undercurrent of fear in her voice when she snaps, “They don’t matter!

“They’re not just frogs,” Anne snarls. “They’re my friends!

She doesn’t see it coming, the neat nick of the stolen blade cutting her cheek open. It’s surprise that makes her fall to the ground more than anything else, because she didn’t think she could lose this. She never thought she would lose Anne.

Everything happens so quickly after that. Grime going back on his word, the explosives going off, the tower shaking and starting to crumble, and Sasha still hasn’t managed to recover enough from the shock to get up and get out.

It’s too quick. The stones buckle beneath her, her stomach swoops with a sickening feeling of premonition, and she screams for Anne as the tower falls out from under her.

“Sasha!” Anne calls back in a panic, scrambling for her.

It’s a twisting feeling. It's every rollercoaster she’s ever ridden turned terrifying, with none of the pleasantness.

“I’ve got you, Sash!” Anne shouts, lunging for her and catching her hand, gripping it tight. Her name on Anne’s tongue sounds so certain, so sure. Like they weren't just slashing at each other, like she didn't almost… 

Sasha, her heart pounding so hard in her ears she can barely hear Anne over it, holds on tighter than she’s ever held on before in her life, Anne’s hand the only thing tethering her to the living world. 

Anne hangs halfway off of the ledge herself, desperation in her eyes. “You’ve gotta be okay!”

She's always been like that. She's just never been like that with Sasha. Sasha has never been at Anne's mercy like this, but she sounds so convinced that it's going to work out even as their combined weight cracks the ledge.

When Anne screams, her little frog family rushes for her, to help her. To help them. The little pink brat runs for her first, then the face of the rebellion, and then the small purple one, until all that is keeping Sasha from becoming intimately familiar with the flagstones below is Anne and the talking frogs that Sasha has come to resent.

Sasha feels the pull to glance at the ground, figure out how far she has to fall, and Anne shouts, “Hey, hey, look at me, look at me!” She has Sasha’s full attention again immediately, but it’s fear and instinct more than obedience that keeps Sasha desperately looking into her best friend’s eyes. 

There’s desperation running through Anne’s voice. She smiles through obvious pain.  “Everything’s gonna be totally fine. Just hang on!”

The ledge cracks further.

If Sasha keeps holding on to Anne like this, they’ll both die.

She’s always been the one to protect Anne. She can do it one last time.

With all of her heart, Sasha says, “Hey, Anne?”

She’s never been more sure of anything in her life.