Author: Lael Adair PM
You never really know how precious something is...until you lose it. -complete-Rated: Fiction M - English - Suspense/Supernatural - Manic & Tails - Chapters: 7 - Words: 22,403 - Reviews: 18 - Favs: 26 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 09-04-03 - Published: 07-26-03 - Status: Complete - id: 1446155
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
This is it, the final chapter, the conclusion to Eternity. Enjoy the ride.
Sonic the Hedgehog is not my creation,
His story belongs to the Sega Corporation.
This fanfic is made with humble intention,
To honor their art and brilliant invention.
- Lael Adair -
The mass turns towards me immediately. Its body is like a large chunk of impossibly black smoke, constantly shifting and churning in a sickening display. Sometimes pieces of it take a solid form, and I can catch flashes of rotting black teeth, skeletal hands, and nails the size of rapiers. Arms and legs erupt from the center mass, turning solid for a few seconds and then collapsing once again into intangible smoke. From the very center of the disgusting cloud the darkness makes a kind of hissing noise--likean angry snake--and its glowing red eyes, the two things on its entire body that never change, stare a fire into me hotter than hell itself.
"It's Robotnik!" Tails shrieks. The cry is laced with an otherworldly terror.
I'm afraid, but not enough to not argue. "That can't be Robotnik!" I shout over the increasingly loud hissing. "He was a human!"
The hissing from the mass expands in response, and as I strain to listen, I realize that the thing is slowly struggling to form words. What it finally manages to choke out is recited with such bitter scorn that it spans all the breadths of Hell:
It gives another bitter laugh that feels more ironic than anything else, and then focuses its glowing eyes on Tails. I hadn't noticed it, but when I jumped out, the clever little guy was already trying to move around to the thing's back and attack it unprepared.
"Tailssssss" the mass hisses in amusement. The kid snaps his head towards it like a child who's just been caught sneaking a cookie. He freezes in the shadows along the side wall which he was trying to use as cover to sneak up on the thing. I don't know why the kid even bothered. His glowing body gives him away anyway.
The smoky mass lazily holds up a long, misshapen hand, palm out, towards Tails. "It's been sssssso long. . . . You haven't changed a bit."
With a 'come hither' like gesture of Robotnik's smoky, gnarled fingers, Tails is suddenly lifted off his feet and snapped from the wall to be brought into the light of the Master Emerald's glow. He halts just a few inches before Robotnik's outstretched fingers, suspended by some invisible energy. The Master Emerald has turned an aggressive red color, though it's still pulsing in perfect time with Robotnik's deep red eyes. I'm left standing in the background completely forgotten by the two enemies from lore of times past.
Tails looks even whiter than usual as he struggles in midair against Robotnik's invisible hold. Even from where I'm standing some distance away, I can see that he's shaking. Without warning, Robotnik gives an evil laugh and a scream suddenly rips from the kid's lungs. The sound is so agonizing that it actually sends a streaking ache up my own spine. Tails' back arches in pain and he squirms to try and escape the torture, but Robotnik's got a firm hold on him. That kid's not going anywhere. For no reason whatsoever, a picture of Tails when I first met him suddenly jumps into my head. As I stand helpless and watch him squirm, all I can see is him kneeling vulnerably on the ground, his bony, innocent shoulders heaving in unrestrained grief.
"Tails!" I cry out. The sound of my own voice startles me. "Hold on! I'm coming!"
I take a step towards him but that's as far as I get. Before I have time to move any further, the kid starts to melt like a fucking snow cone. His shrieks increase to an impossible pitch. My vision goes blurry even though I don't give a damn about him. Unable to stand it anymore, I wrench my eyes shut and turn away. I know ghosts are dead, and they're not supposed to feel pain, but I swear in the eternity it took that kid to turn to mush, he died a thousand deaths and then some. After what seems like forever, the last of Tails' whines of agony finally fade away to nothing.
A single tear falls to the floor. I am so dead.
The shade gives a hearty laugh and flexes the smoky hand it used to melt Tails. "It's been sssso long since I've been able to do that." It turns towards me. "There's nothing quite like the feeling of a life draining away under the power of your fingers." The words are said with an edge, almost as if it expects me to find meaning in them. I just stand there with my mouth open like a moron. Robotnik stares at me for a few seconds, his burning eyes calmly pulsing in and out in time with the Master Emerald. I try staring right back at him, but the mere sight of his disgusting, shifting body reminds me of churning vomit, and I end up looking away. "It's not real" I whisper to myself, my voice quaking and meek. "It can't be real."
The thing lets out a grinding hiss that I guess is supposed to be a laugh. "Oh, I assure you rodent. I am quite real." It gives a flick of its misshapen hand and four long claws flare out with a soft metallic shing. "Do you know how long I've been here?"
The question's loaded. I've been to enough police interrogations to be able to tell.
I swallow and take a step back, slowly making my way towards the exit. Try as I might, I can't seem to find my voice. The image of Tails melting on the ground keeps distracting me. Eventually, I settle for just shaking my head no.
The shade gives a wry smile and watches sadly as its misshapen claws melt back into its smoky body. "I've been here forever. Ever since the day I killed that fucking hedgehog."
I feel heat begin to boil up from my toes. How dare he talk about Sonic that way! It's his damn fault I'm here! It's entirely his damn fault that my life has been a living hell for the past three weeks!
"Liar!" my voice explodes from me in anger. "Sonic's a hero! You didn't kill him! He killed you! Impaled you on the Sword of --- "
"Brainlessssss fool!" Robotnik interrupts, straightening himself to a bigger height. "Sonic died on his knees, his throat slit by my own two hands! I had done it! I had finally won! All the emeralds were mine, their power was mine! I had it all! My only mistake was killing that fucking echidna! I had no way of knowing that his death would make ME the new Guardian! And now I'm stuck in this godforsaken cave, bound to protect these fucking emeralds for all eternity: An immortal GUARD DOG! I was so close! SO CLOSE!" The stone walls rattle with Robotnik's anger, dislodging a few rocks in the process.
I can't think of anything else to do but argue. "You don't fool me!" I holler back. My voice sounds absolutely pathetic compared to the deep bellow of Robotnik's. "Knuckles is a god! There was no way you could have killed him!"
"A god?" the shade laughs in its dry, scratchy voice. It throws a horrible mouth filled with twisted black teeth upward and cackles like a hoard of crows. "That idiotic echidna? Knuckles! A god!"
"Hey!" My fists clench, and then I falter. As someone who's never worshipped the Almighty in my life, I suddenly feel very, very stupid defending him.
It's not until then that I realize Robotnik has been advancing on me inch by inch during the entire conversation. I finally glance straight at him, trying hard to keep my lunch in my stomach, and his blood-red eyes shine hungrily in the dim light of the emeralds' glow.
"Well, I could care less" he hisses, licking his lips with a smoky, forked tongue. "It looks like my time of deliverance has come." He glances up and down me, eyeing me like a brand new suit in a store window, and sneers distastefully. "I don't care much for the body. . . ." His smoky fist clenches in silent rage. "Curse you Sonic. Even in death you torment me to no end. . . . But, I suppose beggars can't be chosers."
I start backing up. "Well, isn't that a nice little moral for today" I manage to stutter. "Tell you what, I'm gonna go ponder that for a while, and then I'll come back when I've realized the full, deep potential of its meaning and found a way to incorporate it into my life." I turn to leave, but the shade slithers like a snake and materializes in front of me. Two grotesque claws with scythe-like fingers slowly stretch from its body, inching their way closer and closer to my skin.
"Oh no" the mass hisses. "I'm afraid you can't leave. You see, I'm tired of having all these powers and not being able to use them." It glances down in loathing at its horrifying, misshapen self. "In this wretched body, I'm bound to the emerald." Its eyes look up again, even more hungry than before. "But in another, well, I'm sure you get the idea." Its index finger extends out, reaching to brush my cheek. "Just one little touch. . . ."
"Fuck this!" I leap back, just barely escaping his extended reach, but my back slams hard into a wall before I get two feet. The bastard's got me cornered.
He chuckles at me, and for a moment the large body of shifting black mass expands and manages to hold a solid shape. Before me, I see the image of a human with a broad mustache and an even broader girth. A glint of red light from the Master Emerald catches his left arm almost as if it's made of metal. Even having never seen a picture of him, I know exactly who it is I'm looking at: Julian Robotnik.
This must have been exactly what Sonic saw right before he died.
I keep shoving backwards, pushing myself deep into the wall even though I've got nowhere to go. The swirling black claws inch closer and closer to my face. My own frightened reflection stares back at me in Robotnik's pulsing red eyes. A laugh sounds through the caves. A laugh that I've heard over and over again in Tails' play, mocking me like it once did him as he lay bleeding, dying on the cold ground . . . and now I'm about to join him.
"No!" I scream. "This isn't how I'm going to go out!" I don't know if the words fuel something deep within me or something deep within me fuels the words, but for whatever reason, a strength starts to flow through my veins. Without even thinking about it, I crouch down and roll off to the side, missing Robotnik's raking claws by not even an inch. The second I get to my feet, I haul ass for the exit as if the entire police force of Mobius were after me --- as they once were, I should mention.
"Oh no you don't!" Robotnik screams. He raises his two smoky arms that have dissolved back into nothing and a thick stone wall springs up in my way like a flower. In two swift movements learned from dodging the police my entire life, I spin on my feet and avoid busting my head on the wall. Robotnik may be dead, and he may have the power of all the legendary emeralds flowing through him, but I'll bet to hell he's never tangled with a thief before!
"You can't escape from me, rodent!" Robotnik howls. "The emeraldssss are mine to control! And in this cave, that means the very rocks bow to my will!" A long tentacle made of solid stone lashes out from one of the side walls and moves to cut me off. I turn sideways and drop, skidding under the lashing vine like it was a chain link fence. The second I get on my feet, a patch of spike-shaped rocks erupts from the ground before me. I push off with a mighty leap and perform a clean flip right over them.
Robotnik soon learns why the police have never been able to catch me. I twist and spin through every obstacle he throws in my way; from rolling boulders to shifting floors, to moving vines that race to entangle my legs. No matter what he can create, I can dodge it. Unfortunately, while playing keep-away from Robotnik is child's play for me, I can't seem to get out. The bastard keeps blocking all the exits with traps, leaving me with nothing to do but run around in circles like a hamster in a wheel.
"Sssssstand still you little shit!"
I laugh like I used to do at the chief of police. "Yeah right! You wanna catch me! You're gonna have to get waaay better than this!"
I dodge another rock-shaped vine and keep running, hoping that this time around he'll make a mistake and leave me an opening to get out of this fucking chamber. He doesn't. Just as I leap over a large batch of spikes flaring up in my way a stray vine that I wasn't watching catches my ankle. I fall to the ground flat on my face and the vine quickly starts to work its way up my leg. With a shriek of delight, Robotnik throws his hands over his head and creates a massive ball of spitting electricity between them. Cackling horribly he wastes no time in sending it my way. I kick at the rock snaking up towards my knee and desperately try to roll to the side. The vine's too short . . . I can't move enough to get out of the way! My eyes go wide, reflecting the electric ball spiraling towards me. This is it.
With a horrified gasp, Robotnik finally realizes he's about to destroy his only ticket to ever living again. He reaches out his smoky hands towards the electric sphere. In response to his call, the energy mass swerves up at the last second and smashes into the ceiling, sending a gush of statically charged wind blowing into my face.
As much as I'm tempted to sit there dumb-struck, the thief in me that's kept me from jail for so long lashes out and grabs a sharp rock. No sooner is the tentacle around my ankle smashed when a soft explosion sounds to my right and I'm thrown back down. Propped on my elbow, I brace my other hand on the ground to keep from hitting my head. A powerful beam of sparkling light blasts through the air around me and I shut my eyes to keep from going blind.
Somewhere in between catching my breath and protecting my vision, I stand to my feet. The light beyond my closed eyelids goes out and then I slowly open them and turn around. Not ten feet away from me, something is standing on an upraised piece of stone that wasn't there before.
My jaw drops to the floor.
There, bathed in a showering ray of golden light, is Sonic the Hedgehog himself. His back is straight in a regal pose with his fists clenched and ready for action. The long blue spines on his head and back are waving softly as if stirred by a gentle breeze, and his ears are straight and alert. His body's a little see-through since he's obviously a ghost; but unlike Tails, who was a pasty, sickly off-white, Sonic is surrounded with a golden hue that adds a little tint to his characteristic blue color. With a slow turn of his proud head, he brings his emerald eyes shining with justice and truth to rest on me.
I feel like I'm looking at the Almighty himself. If I wasn't being chased by a psychopathic cloud of chimney smoke, I'd drop down on my knees in Sonic's shadow. The name of time and legend; the master of speed; the defender of freedom, justice and truth; the Hero of All Mobius, Sonic Hedgehog, is standing right in front of me, looking me directly in my unworthy eyes.
"My Guardian" is all I can think to say.
Robotnik lets out a terrible wail. "SONIC! NO! IT CAN'T BE!"
Sonic smirks and turns towards Robotnik, his large quills flaring out challengingly. "Believe it, Robotnik! I'm back and blue, and I'm gonna take you down!"
In a flash of blue so bright it outshines the light of the Master Emerald, Sonic revs up and takes off at a dead run towards Robotnik. The inner darkness of the mass now making up Robotnik's body begins to twirl and spin in anger, like a furious tornado seeking to destroy everything in sight. With a guttural growl, Robotnik throws out his arms and they morph into two long tentacles. He cackles like a maniac and then throws them over his head and starts to sway his arms, swinging the tentacles around like two deadly whips. Sonic skids to a stop a few feet from Robotnik when he sees the weapons. A devilish grin spreads across his face and he shifts his weight to his back foot in anticipation of the fight. In a flash, the first tentacle comes down on him and Sonic quickly performs a somersault in the air to leap over it. Before the thing even has time to strike the floor, the second whip comes around and a breathtaking game of cat and mouse begins.
Watching them fight is poetry in motion, that's the only way I can think to describe it. I know this is quite possibly a matter of worldwide chaos, and I really shouldn't be enjoying it, but just watching Sonic in action sends chills up and down my spine. His speed is so incredible . . . I can only tell where he is by the blurry ball of blue light dipping in and out between the frantic slashing of the charcoal smoke. He dodges each and every blow perfectly, more than perfectly; never once even getting touched by the dangerous whip-like arms.
"I killed you once" Robotnik hisses through a grotesque mouth, "and I can do it again!"
Sonic dips to the right, barely missing a slashing tentacle, and then he skids to a quick stop. A laugh erupts from him like he's just been told the most hilarious joke in the world. "What are you talking about, Robotnik!" Within the blink of an eye, Sonic makes one last leap over a pending attack and pulls back for an awesome punch to Robotnik's gut. Time slows down as he brings back his arm, the muscles tightening like iron underneath his fur. The fingers clench like stone, the arm straightens, the fist flies through the air with all of Sonic's speed behind it . . . and it goes right through Robotnik's stomach.
Sonic's mouth drops open in shock.
"Hello dumbass!" I call from the sidelines, momentarily forgetting who it is I'm talking to. "You're dead, remember!"
Sonic stands confused for another second, and then looks at me over his shoulder, his green eyes sparkling with mischief. "I'm Sonic the Hedgehog. I never die!"
Great, just great. A supernatural swarm of darkness and death is trying to suck the life from my very bones, and I'm stuck with a ghost in serious denial.
From the depths of Robotnik's black maw, a laughing hiss escapes his throat. "Ssssstupid hedgehog! You're nothing now!" Sonic twirls off to the left as a cracking whip strikes the spot where he was only seconds ago. With a quick flip of his ankle, he catches a rock on his foot and sends it spiraling directly towards Robotnik. The stone bashes through the dark smoke and creates a gaping hole right where Robotnik's heart probably sat when he was human.
Sonic snaps his head around towards me. "Go!" he shouts while jumping over a close call. "Run! I'll keep him busy!"
I don't need anyone to tell me twice. Now that Robotnik's concentration is broken, it's easy to pick my way through all his traps. With two leaps and a quick scaling job learned from climbing barb-wire fences, I vault over two patches of spikes and scramble up a solid rock wall. With that and a bit of running I'm out of the emerald chamber and into the cave's tunnels. Seconds later, I hear an enraged shriek erupt from behind me and the entire cave starts to shake like it's in an earthquake. I increase my speed, my breath coming short the faster I try to run. Before long I hear a soft humming gaining on me. I glance over my shoulder and see Sonic way behind me, running like mad away from the emerald cavern.
"GO!" he screams when my eye catches his. "DON'T LOOK BACK!"
I increase my effort, trying hard to keep from tripping while I sprint through the slimy, twisting tunnels. I have no clue where I'm going. I didn't pay any attention to directions on the way in since I had Tails to guide me. I figure, though, any way other than behind me is a good route to take.
A terrible voice echoes from every direction at once. You sssssshall not essssscape!
With that warning, the cave suddenly gives a violent shake sending me completely off my feet. I skid a ways in the dirt, coughing and sputtering as cave-slime and Guardian knows what else finds its way into my mouth. From deep inside the caverns, Robotnik gives a howl of rage more powerful and frightening than all the demons of Hell, and a chasm starts to open in the floor. I spit out what I think is a slug and scramble to try and outrun the crack forming in the stone. Halfway up my foot slips on some cave-slime and one of the cracks catches up to me, sending me careening backwards into nothing. I scream and lash my hands out in a panic, trying desperately to catch something, anything to save myself.
Time moves in slow motion as I tip over the edge just teasingly out of my reach. My fingers claw frantically in the darkness and finally I'm rewarded with the feeling of hard, cold stone underneath them. I tighten my grip against the chasm wall, wincing at the jagged edges of the stone cutting and slashing my hands. The rock whizzes by my eyes as I slide a bit more, but then I get a good hold and I jolt to a stop three feet from the opening. Because I'm stupid, I look down. The only thing separating me and a heart-stopping fall into the black abyss below are my two skimpy little arms.
"NO!" I hear Sonic shout from farther down the tunnel. In a flash, he puts on a burst of speed and devours the distance separating us. Without even slowing down, he leaps over the cavern and skids to a stop at the edge, right above my head.
"Come on!" he yells at me, the cave crumbling all around him. Sonic drops to his knees and leans over into the chasm, his fingers desperately stretching towards mine. "Grab my hand!" With one last glance at the black abyss below me, I reluctantly take one hand off the wall and stretch it towards Sonic. I'm not strong enough to hold myself with just one arm. I start to slide down.
Sonic's eyes go wide with fear when he sees me slip. "Come on! You can do it!" he screams over the terrible roars echoing down the cavern. "Reach!"
I grit my teeth and pull, my arms shaking from the work. Sweat is pouring down my face and stinging my eyes. All the minor injuries I had gotten from running around the cavern are suddenly making themselves known. But I'm doing it. I'm climbing up.
"Just a little farther! Reach!"
With one final strain, our hands clasp in the dark.
I give a heave of relief and look up at him, grimacing and smiling at the same time around all the dust falling from the ceiling.
Sonic smiles back . . . and then his grip on my hand tightens to an impossible strength.
I gasp out loud in pain.
Slowly, haltingly, a lagging thought finally catches up. My mouth falls open.
A gloating laugh sounds through the tunnels, echoing from within Sonic's righteous green eyes . . . and that's when I realize Robotnik can take more than one form.
Now that you know the ending, I would suggest reading the story over again from start to finish. Pay special attention to the chapter titles and (some) of the quotes at the chapter beginnings. Many of them will make more sense the second time around, and you may see things in the characters or the story that you didn't notice before.
As always, thank you so much for reading. I sincerely hope you enjoyed it and, although I know there was probably more than my fair share of mistakes and foul-ups, I did my very best to bring you my very best. Hopefully, my creation helped to make your day a little brighter. (Or, in this case, maybe a little sadder).
Remember: Words are words. It's what you get out of them that makes the difference.
Lael Adair -
Here at the end is where I put all the little things that have been bottling up during the course of this fanfiction. Think of it as the 'special features' section on your DVD, except this isn't a DVD...yeah. Read if you want. I just think it's interesting. And, hey, I have to do something with all the stuff I threw out.
One of the beauties of this fanfiction that I am particularly proud of is that it answers very few questions. It gives you what's there, tells you what happens, and then lets you fill in all the blanks for yourself based upon your opinions. Some of the questions posed: How did the "legend" with Sonic and the others get started? How did it go so misinterpreted and widespread? How is it that the people came to believe Knuckles was a god? And probably the most compelling (now that you know the ending): Was Robotnik assuming the form of Tails' ghost as well to lure Manic in? Or is Tails really a tortured soul, forever mourning the loss of the one person he couldn't save?
I can argue both sides of each of these questions. Quite honestly, I don't even know the real answers. I wrote the story this way on purpose. I wrote it as if I was trying to convince myself of both sides at the same time, and even as the author of this work, I am unclear as to where and how these things came about. I do have some theories, however.
My thoughts: The legend with Sonic probably was true, up to a point. The Freedom Fighters probably really did try to bomb Robotropolis, they probably did get attacked, and Sonic and Tails did die, just not in the way it was said. So often people need a beacon to hold on to, and the little white lie about Sonic's sacrifice may have been started, perhaps by Sally or someone close to her, to help the survivors through the messy cleanup that followed.
Knuckles as a god, I have no idea. I honestly have no clue how that got started. My guess: during the final battle, the people probably saw Knuckles go super. That's the only thing I can think. To someone who didn't know what he was doing, it would look pretty godlike. Robotnik tells us that he killed Knuckles, so the echidna probably died before he could refute the story about him being a god.
About Tails. I can argue both ways, but personally I tend to side with Tails' ghost being authentic. Only because 1: if all Robotnik needed to do was touch Manic, he could have done that as Tails; and 2: Robotnik "killed" Tails' ghost. Those can be easily countered, however. For one, Tails attacked Manic the night they first met. If he needed or wanted Manic's help, why would he attack him? And second: ghosts can't touch, but we all saw that at the beginning, Tails scratched Manic...or did he? Sonia did say they looked like tree branches...
This fanfiction is somewhat anti-Sonic Underground in the respect that I always thought the idea of Sonic having siblings was absolutely ridiculous. More than ridiculous, in fact. Honestly (and this won't be the last time you hear this), I have never seen any company butcher their character so horribly with inconsistencies more than Sega with Sonic the Hedgehog.
In any case, this fanfiction started out not with Manic, but with Tails. Tails was initially going to play the role of Robotnik. Sonic would still die because of him, but instead as Knuckles lay dying, the echidna would ask Tails to take on the position as Guardian. Tails would remain immortal and would spend the rest of his days fighting Robotnik alone. And then after Robotnik died, he would be truly alone, and slowly the years of pain were going to lead him into insanity. An insanity so deep that it would lead him to eventually try and find someone else to take his place by assuming the innocent child of legend and lore and leading the poor dope into the caves.
I thought that was a little evil for Tails' character, so I started looking into other options. Then a stray thought from earlier times entered in my head. "If Manic wasn't Sonic's brother, what else could you do with him?"
That's how I fell on the idea of Manic being Sonic's son. But a son would require a mother, and for this fanfiction I really didn't want to get too much into drama. Not to mention the fact that I have a hard time picturing Sonic settling down and making a family. It was then that Manic evolved not into Sonic's son, but a person living in a time when Sonic and Tails and their stories of valor were long since past. A time when tales of Sonic's bravery were legend and lore, and the evil and terror that existed in those dark days were forever gone; far behind in the eyes of the society that emerged in its wake. Manic somewhat looks like Sonic. As he says in his own words, some people claim he's the great-great descendant, though he doesn't believe it. Maybe he his, maybe he's not. In any case, this is the world I decided to throw Manic and his sister, Sonia, into. You have to admit, it does make things interesting ;)
Tails then moved from being the villain to the role he ended up with. And Robotnik, more than happily, filled in the vacant position. I initially wasn't going to put Knuckles in there at all. As much as I love the pigheaded ass of an echidna, there really weren't any places for him to fill. I've always wanted to use the Guardian's name as a curse word, so I decided to weave him in so I could finally do it. That's how Knuckles snuck into the story.
Out of everything else, the very last line of the story gave me the most grief. I was surprised at how smoothly this fanfiction flowed off my fingers. I barely had to make any adjustments to the plot, which is unusual for me. The ending, however, was a pain to get to where it is. I knew what I wanted the ending to be. I wanted it to be one line:
And just as I grab his hand, I look into his eyes, and that's when I realize Robotnik can take more than one form. Unfortunately, just sticking that last line in made the story sound way too abrupt. I mean, the nature of the ending was supposed to be abrupt given Manic's personality. I wanted him to just look up and think to himself well damn, kind of like you do in a tic-tac-toe game when you realize your opponent's just used that move on you where you're screwed no matter what. Yeah, you all know the one. But the story needed more than just that one line. That line could still serve as the ending, but it needed something before it to connect it to the rest of the words. The last paragraph of the fanfiction, starting with Sonic reaching for Manic, underwent dozens of revisions all trying to get the ending just right. Long story short, I'm still not happy with it. But, with this ending, I'm closer than I ever got with all the others. It still doesn't have that "well damn" feel to it, but it's pretty close.
Sonic's transparent green eyes go wide. "What! Knuckles gets to be a god! And I'm stuck like this! Man! That sucks! I'm getting the shaft!" He turns his head towards the ceiling. "Knuckles! If you really are up there, you big cheat, you are SO going to get it! You hear me knucklehead! I'm gonna knock you into next WEEK for this one!"
"Yeah" I answer. "Tails led me here."
Sonic turns away, uninterested. "Yeah, yeah. C'mon. We gotta get out of here."
I probably don't have to tell you how shocked I am to hear Sonic say that. Sonic and Tails were said to be best buds, two friends so close they were brothers in every sense but by blood. I'd think after being dead for hundreds of years that Sonic would leap at the chance to hear some news about Tails. But then again, the legends aren't really turning out exactly the way they were supposed to. Maybe that's something else that was misinterpreted.
He turns towards me.
"I wanted to ask you something. Were . . . were you and Sally, uh, you know?"
His right ear twists confusedly. "Sally who?"
My eyes go wide.
"Oh" Sonic says to himself, "Right, the squirrel. Uh . . . I'd rather not talk about it."
Ok, now I'm seriously confused. There's no way the legends could get that wrong, could they? I mean, lovers all over the planet cuddle under the romantic tale of Sonic and Sally and how his sacrifice led them both to realize how much they really loved one another. So many wedding vows have been made under the wishes that they'll be as strong and true as that of the great Hero and the Princess of Acorn. So much has been built upon their tale of how true love conquers all, so many hopes and dreams were forged after their tale, it just, it can't be a lie. Can it?
If Sonic noticed that I was disappointed by his answer, he sure didn't show it. "Hey" he said, snapping his fingers like calling a dog, "Come on, we're wasting time."
Sonic lets out an amused laugh. "You're not one of mine. I never had any kids." He laughs again as if telling a joke, and then adds, "I don't have a dick, and I'm impotent anyway."
Shit. I'm too stunned to even say anything. Things back then must have been way different. No self-respecting guy I know would ever say that about himself!
After what seems like forever, the last of Tails' whines of agony finally fade away to nothing. The shade flexes the smoky hand it used to melt the poor kid. "I must be losing my touch" it mutters disappointedly. "Sonic screamed louder."
Most of these were cut because I wanted to make the characters' actions logical, especially Robotnik's. After being trapped in some grimy cave with all these powers and no place to use them, I didn't think Robotnik would screw around with Manic by having conversations with him in Sonic's form. He'd try to touch him the first chance he got. Believe me, I took them out with a heavy heart. The impotent speech cracks me up.
Manic's hypnotist got his name from one of my classes. I was supposed to be planning out my classes for the fall '03 semester in college, but I was writing down ideas instead because I didn't want to do it. (I had this funny conversation in my head about the Quicky Mart karma and wanted to get it down before I forgot.) The name of Manic's physician came from my class notes folder that happened to be nearest to me on the bed: POLS, which is the abbreviation my university uses for political science.
Total Production Time: 7 months
Start: March 5, 2003
First Post: July 26, 2003
Last Post: September 4, 2003
Note that the start date is the day I wrote the first word of the first chapter, not the day the idea was originally conceived. Before the story even becomes a story, I open up a file and start dumping tidbits in there kind of like mental table scraps. When I have enough, I put the pieces together and fill in the holes to create a rough skeleton. Then I begin actually writing the work and I flesh it out as I go along. From what I understand, it's not that much different than a painter or an artist: conceive, sketch, flesh out, color, polish, show. I just use a different medium.