Kj: Thanks :) As to your guesses...well, you got two out of three ;)
Milette Tails Prower: (blushes) Thanks, glad you enjoyed it so much :D
Awdures: Thanks :)
TigerOfTheSpear: Sorry, but everything has to end sometime :P As for the next adaptation...well, I'll try my best :)
Maverick87: (blushes again) Thanks, and you're welcome :D
Gameorama91: And you're probably right ;) As to the next adaptation, it was uploaded along with this one, so you shouldn't have too long to wait :P
Ben7el: Heh, thanks :) SA1/2...to be honest it's not on the cards right now, for two reasons; firstly because with a lot of the dialogue implanted, it makes a large part of my job redundant (and takes out the fun for me) and secondly because I've never managed to play SA2 (C'mon Sega, when're you gonna remember your loyal Sonic PC fans?) There is a Sonic 1 adaptation in the works however, and a story which gradually becomes an adaptation of Knuckles Chaotix.
Az The Dragon: Thanks. And yes, there is another adaptation which was uploaded (at least the first chapter) along with this one; it's a Sonic 3 & Knuckles one :P
TC Chan: Thanks. And the two-tailed one did appear; Sonic just didn't see him, and if he didn't see him nobody else gets to ;)
Tucker's Mayflower: (blushes some more) Wow, thanks :D As for the S3&K...you don't have long to wait ;)
Private somebody: Thanks :) Robo-Sonic and the Eggstreme Annihilator were kinda hard; I wanted to have it like in the game, where it's so easy for Sonic to die :P As for the Chaos Emeralds...they seem to be able to power themselves to a certain extent. I was working on two things with that; firstly that they get completely drained in SA1 and yet manage to recharge themselves, and secondly because I wanted to come up with a credible explanation for why Super Sonic wasn't permanent in the games (okay, so there it's the ring count, but still...) Uh. Does that make sense?
Bitch Wolf: Thanks :D As for your comment on the repetition (looks around guiltily, hastily edits and replaces that part in the chapter) Erm...what repetition? ;) I think that was the last part I wrote, I'd been working on it for nine hours solid and I was kinda punch-drunk joining it up to the ending part ;) Still, all fixed now and thanks for pointing it out (hugs)
Professor Vengeance: Thanks :) I'm not sure who would insure the Sky Base either...maybe someone who didn't really know about Robotnik? (Hey, it was the first game :P)
Forgotten Muse: Heh, thanks :D Yeah, I did use the Sonic-Robotnik idea; the potential psychology of it was too much to resist ;) Evil psycho Super-Sonic…no, for the simple reason that Super Sonic isn't going to be a regular figure in adaptations, and when he does appear I'd rather have him as a hero :P As for Sonic 2 beta…well, to be honest, I've never played it, but I saw a hoax screen from Genocide City Zone and fell in love with it; I had to bring it in :P
SonicTails123: Thanks, glad you like it so far :D And reviewing every chapter is fine with me ;) I prefer continuous feedback; it lets me know what needs improving and what's working :P
Ice the Rabbit: Thanks. As to what Sonic landed on…you'll find out ;) And yes, there will be more adaptations. Tails Adventures…hmm, never really played that one. I'll check it out. A Sonic Chaos adaptation is a definite possibility…
Matt Lans: Silver Sonic…Robo-Sonic…Metal Sonic…they all seem to be the same to me :P I called him Robo because that was how he was referred to in a couple of reviews, that's all ;) As for the title…hmm. Actually, I kinda like it, though I might shorten it and call it simply Genesis ;)
Poridet: (goes red) Thanks :) Sonic…well, I think he'll probably be alright ;)
Shadow-spawn180: (goes redder) Thanks...Robotnik is...well, I think in many ways he's a big kid at heart. You know the kind; the sort of kid who likes burning ants with a magnifying glass ;) As for responding to reviews, don't worry. I'll take my chances. While I do know someone who got reported by some petty, spiteful member and had all their fics erased by admin, I'm not about to break the habit of a lifetime (hey, I got backups of all my fics :P) Besides, it's about the only way I can answer questions posed by anonymous reviewers ;)
Qwerty: My other fic will be updated when it's updated. That's all.
Dr Namgge:D Thanks. Robotnik's survival…ah, how indeed:P
A bright light lanced into Sonic's eyes, waking him even through closed lids...something he wasn't too unhappy about. Ever since his abrupt landing from the Death Egg, he'd been dreaming. Not about Robotnik, but about Robo-Sonic; above all, those eyes. The cold red triangles...very nearly the last thing he'd ever seen...
Opening his own eyes, he sat up groggily. Neither eye seemed to want to focus properly and he raised a heavy hand to rub them. There. That was better.
Except he didn't have a clue where he was.
Looking around, however, he was willing to admit that he wouldn't mind staying there. He was sitting in a forest clearing on a bed of thick, emerald green moss. Grass and flowers of every conceivable colour, size and scent surrounded him, and he could see a creek bubbling down the far end.
Something touched his ear and he let out a yell, spinning around to face this new adversary, preparing to spindash.
The large turquoise and black butterfly gave him what would probably pass for an aggrieved look among other butterflies, then fluttered off.
"Sorry," Sonic called after it, then returned his attention to his surroundings. Pella trees, most bowed down with fruit, lined the clearing and he shook his head, astonished. "Where...?"
Before the hedgehog had a chance to react, something small and fluffy had raced over to him and hurled itself into his arms, knocking him to the ground and igniting fireworks in his lacerations.
"What..." Sonic forced his eyes to focus on his assailant, a task that was made harder by the fact that the person seemed to be wriggling about all over the place. "Tails?"
"SONIC!" Tails flung small arms around Sonic's neck and hugged him tightly, locking both legs around his hero's waist as the hedgehog got somewhat unsteadily to his feet.
"Am I...are we dead?"
Tails giggled as he dropped to the ground and shifted his hug to Sonic's waist, both his namesakes wagging vigorously and twining around each other in pure happiness. "Nuh uh! I catched you in my plane an' took you back here to wake up! You been asleep for ages, Sonic, ages an' ages an' ages! Guess you were real tired after whumping ol' Robotnik, huh?"
"But..." Sonic swallowed. "The Tornado...I saw you fall..."
"Oh sure, but I managed to land okay an' I fixed it up real good jus' like back in Em'rald Hill Zone, 'member, Sonic? I even got it to go faster!"
The hedgehog continued staring wordlessly at the little fox for so long that Tails squirmed.
"Uh...Sonic? Did I do something bad when I fixed your plane? 'Cause I can put it back to how it was before if you want. I on'y speeded it up 'cause I wanted to get to you real fast."
Sonic didn't answer, just stared.
"Sonic? C'mon, please say something. I'm real sorry if I did something bad, but I didn't wanna let you die. If you wanna yell at me, 'sokay, but c'n you do it an' get it over with?"
Sonic dropped to his knees in front of Tails, never breaking his gaze, then caught hold of the little fox and hugged him as tightly as he could.
"I thought you were dead," he said hoarsely.
Tails giggled. "Why'dja think that, Sonic? I'm right here, see?" He paused, worried now. "Sonic? Sonic, how come you're crying?" Ears drooping, he added, "Did…did you want me to be dead?"
"No." Sonic reached up, ran one hand over the fur on Tails' head and clenched it in his fist so hard Tails yipped in protest. "Tails, you are the best, coolest, most amazing guy I have ever met. I'm sorry I got you into this mess."
"You didn't, Sonic. I wanted to come, 'member? Sonic, please leggo my fur now; you're hurting me."
"I'm sorry, lil bro." Sonic released his hold, rubbing away the pain. "Where are we?"
"Forgotten already, Sonic?"
That voice…Sonic glanced up, his utter relief at Tails' survival eclipsed by this newcomer. Getting to his feet again, he stepped forward, instinctively shielding Tails.
Wriggling past, Tails grabbed Sonic's hand and looked up at him. "'Sokay, Sonic, Mighty's a nice guy now. He helped me fix the Tornado an' he showed me this place where you'n'me could stay 'til you woke up!" Tails looked around. "'Sa real nice place, Sonic. You're real lucky to have grown up here, huh?"
"Grown up?" Sonic met Mighty's cool, almost amused gaze and felt icy rods fuse his spine together. "This is Green Hill Zone?"
Tails nodded vigorously. "Yup! I thought you'd wanna come home 'cause when I was hurt or scared or anything I always wanted to go home."
"Great," Sonic said, not really listening. "Get your stuff, kiddo. We're leaving."
"What?" Puzzled, and somewhat hurt at this flat declaration, Tails fell back a couple of paces, glancing from Sonic to Mighty in the hope that one of them would give him some answers. "How come?"
"I think," Mighty said evenly, "that your big brother's frightened I'm going to keep that promise I made to him when he first left Green Hill."
"You're damn straight," Sonic said, a definite wariness in his gaze. "As far as I'm concerned though, this doesn't count, Mighty; I was out like a light when Tails brought me here, and the little guy's intentions were good."
"I'm not little! I'm five years old an' that's not little, Sonic, no way!"
Mighty held up a hand. "Relax, Sonic. I'm not gonna blow the whistle on you."
Tails' ears pricked up. "You got a whistle? Cool! C'n I blow it after you?"
"You're...not?" Sonic said, still eyeing the armadillo like he would a bomb.
Mighty shook his head. "No. I'm not."
There was a silence, broken only by a seemingly oblivious Tails trying to sneak up and pounce on Mighty's shadow (his own had a tendency to pounce back no matter how hard he tried to surprise it).
"So when did you decide that this wasn't just one big ego trip for me?" Sonic said acidly, throwing the armadillo's words back at him.
Mighty at least had the grace to drop his eyes. "When Tails brought you back. No amount of fame and publicity's worth getting carved up like you were." His voice became slightly more awed as he said, "What did that to you?"
Sonic swallowed and looked away. "Just…some sick device of Robotnik's, that's all." A shiver ran through his body. "Man, I really thought he'd killed me that time."
"He nearly did." Mighty glanced at Tails, who was now occupied in stalking Sonic's unsuspecting foot. "I wanted to get you some help, but to be honest you were in such bad shape I wasn't sure you'd survive the journey." He paused, and Tails pounced only to find Sonic's foot had moved. Scowling at it, he turned away, arms folded.
"Jungle Zone has a good hospital—" Mighty began.
Sonic reacted. "No way! Not after what happened last time!"
"What?" Curious now, Mighty glanced at him. "What did happen last time?"
"I wound up in hospital there, in the kids' ward. There was this nurse...a hen...it was always..." Sonic hesitated, then put on a fussy female voice. "Now children, let's sit down and have a nice little story all about a happy little bunny rabbit who went hippity hop on a wonderful adventure."
Mighty laughed. "Oh man! Puke city!"
"You got it! I kept trying to tell her I had to keep moving, that Robotnik was probably building more robots while we were just sitting there, but it was always the same." Sonic put on the female voice again. "Don't you worry, dear, I'm sure there are plenty of brave people who'll take care of that nasty Mr Robotnik. You just concentrate on getting well again and if you're a good little hedgehog and brush your toothypegs I may even find you a special little treat and we have to keep our teethies nice and white, don't we, for the tooth fairy to come along and leave a Mobium for all good little children's teeth, and Mighty if you don't stop grinning like that I'll push you in the creek," Sonic added in his normal voice.
"Didn't you tell her you dealt with Robotnik?" the armadillo said, still grinning.
"Oh sure. But while I'd been unconscious, some baboon had snuck in and taken credit for it!" Even now, the memory of that still stung. "I'm convinced she still thinks I was just a cute little orphan with a hyper imagination."
"What's a hyper masha...manga...magga...thing?" Tails wanted to know.
"Means she thought I was lying about beating Robotnik."
Tails inflated with indignation. "She thought what? Man, we gotta tell her she was wrong, Sonic! You're the coolest guy ever!"
Sonic glanced away. "I'm not that cool, Tails."
The little fox giggled. "Sure you are, Sonic! You saved the whole worl'! Two times!"
In an effort to take his mind off the most recent fight, Sonic looked around. "You still haven't told me where we are, squirt."
"In Green Hill Zone, 'member? Mighty took us here an' said nobody 'cept you an' him really knew about it an' that you used to hang out up there." Tails pointed very carefully upwards and Sonic looked up to where a few charred timbers were still balanced across two of the stoutest branches, looked down to the rope and pole ladder that had – miraculously – survived Robotnik's invasion and felt memories come flooding back.
"What's a clubhouse?" Tails asked.
Sonic swallowed. "Mighty's dad built it for us." He glanced at the armadillo. "Kind of a joint birthday present. We'd spend just about every single day up here bumming around, reading comic books—"
"—and dropping water balloons on passing people," Mighty finished. "At least until we got caught."
"What happened?" Tails wanted to know, looking up at Sonic eagerly.
The hedgehog glanced up at the armadillo and his lips quirked as he said, "Mighty's dad got a lot of complaints that morning. So he brought all our targets back and got Mighty to stand in the middle while they pelted him with the rest of those balloons."
"You got out of that, though," Mighty muttered.
"Oh sure; I just got grounded for a week! I wasn't allowed out except to rake the yard, wasn't allowed to talk to my friends on the phone and was banned from any video games." Sonic shot Mighty a sour look. "And when I did get to play again, I found someone had knocked me off the high scores!"
"It wasn't easy either."
"Excuse me? I happen to be the Zonal champion of Demolition Dogfight! Of course it wasn't easy!"
Tails frowned perplexedly at Sonic. "Are you really the champion or are you jus' saying that to sound cool?"
"No, he really is," Mighty said resignedly. "He and I got together with all the kids in Green Hill Zone one Saturday and organised a league table for matches, and Sonic won the lot."
"Wow." The adoration in Tails' gaze, if it was possible, increased even more. "I never knew you were a Zonal champion, Sonic. An' you picked me for your best friend!" The little fox shook his head in wonder. "You're so cool!"
Tails referring to him as his friend reminded Sonic of what had happened on Wing Fortress, and he swallowed.
"When I was on the Wing Fortress...and you...well, you went down..."
Sonic glanced away. "Robotnik burned the drawing, lil bro."
"Huh?" Tails frowned. "What drawing?"
"That one you did in Emerald Hill Zone, remember?"
"Oh, that." The little fox shrugged. "'Sokay, Sonic, it was on'y a dumb picture."
"Not to me it wasn't," Sonic said quietly.
"Yeah, but I on'y did it so's you wouldn't forget me an' now I'm gonna be with you forever an' ever an' ever, huh Sonic?" Worried now, Tails peered up into Sonic's face. "I am still gonna stay with you, right?"
"Hmm." Sonic dropped onto Tails' eye level and put on a solemn expression. "Do you promise that you'll take your weekly bath every Wednesday?"
Tails hesitated, then said, "What 'bout a shower?"
"Alright, a bath or a shower," Sonic conceded. "Do you promise?"
The little fox nodded vigorously, eyes shining.
"And do you promise to eat everything on your plate?"
Tails' jaw dropped. "You want me to promise to eat stuff, Sonic? Sure!"
"Okay, that's two," Sonic said lightly. "Now for the third one, and it's a biggie, squirt."
Tails flattened his ears apprehensively. "W-what?"
"Do you promise that you'll help me look after the Tornado and keep it in good repair?"
The little fox hesitated. "What's that mean, Sonic?"
"Keep it working and keep altering it with your tools," Mighty translated, having followed this exchange with no small amusement.
"Oh that? You bet!" Tails fixed Sonic with a mock stern look. "An' now you gotta promise me stuff, Sonic!"
"Yeah, 'cause otherwise it's not fair!"
Sonic laughed. "Okay squirt. Let's hear it."
"You gotta promise you'll never forget my birthday, Sonic. Never, never, never."
"I promise, kiddo."
"An' you gotta promise that we'll always be brothers an' you'll never 'bandon me!"
Sonic laughed again. "Okay, sure; I promise that too."
"An' that I can come with you on all your Robotnik-whumping 'ventures!"
The laughter died out of Sonic's eyes at the mention of Robotnik's name; that last battle had been far too close for comfort.
"I don't think there will be any more Robotnik-whumping adventures, kiddo," he said dully, "but if there are, then I promise you can come providing you stick to our ground rules."
"Okay!" Tails bounced into the air, hovering on Sonic's eye level. "An' you gotta promise me that you'll never make me eat vegetables again, not ever!"
Sonic folded his arms. "Now how can I do that when you promised me to eat everything I put on your plate?"
"'S easy, Sonic; jus' don't put vegetables on it."
The hedgehog had to force himself not to laugh – Tails looked so very serious – and instead shook his head. "Nah, I don't think so. You promised me three things and so I only have to promise you three things, otherwise it's not fair, like you said."
Tails sighed gustily. "If I'da known that, Sonic, I'da asked for no vegetables first."
A gleam appeared in Sonic's eyes. "Tell you what, kiddo. I promise you don't have to eat vegetables on your birthday, how about that?"
"Okay! An' I'm still gonna go after ol' Robotnik with you, right?"
The gleam died out of Sonic's eyes. "Tails...we may never have to go after Robotnik again."
Mistaking Sonic's look for disappointment, Tails hastened to reassure him.
"Sure we will! 'Cause I don't think he's really dead, Sonic, not ol' Robotnik. Didn't Mighty tell you?"
"Tell me what?" Sonic said edgily.
Mighty hesitated, apparently not sure whether or not to answer Sonic's question, then said, "The – what did you call it? The Death Egg? – the Death Egg never came down, Sonic."
"Good," Sonic said bitingly. "At least Robotnik's not going to be able to cause any mischief up there. Not that he could now anyway," he added.
The armadillo looked a little edgy. "Uh. I didn't explain that right. It started to fall, but it never actually landed. Something must have caught it."
"Yeah," Tails said, beaming. "We might have to go whump ol' Robotnik all over again, huh Sonic? Boy, that's gonna be real cool! Aren't you excited, Sonic?"
Sonic looked up at the night sky. The truth was that he felt nothing at all, no pleasure, no relief, no guilt; just emptiness. Whatever last thread of friendship or grief he felt in connection with Robotnik had finally snapped.
A small hand snuck into Sonic's and Tails leaned against the hedgehog's leg trustingly.
"I'm real glad Sparkly sent you to be my big brother, Sonic."
Sonic glanced up at the star Tails had adopted. The little fox still firmly believed that the star had sent the hedgehog to be his friend, and Sonic was inclined to take that with a pinch of salt, but the fact remained that if he and Tails hadn't met, the hedgehog's corpse would now be rotting in one of the Zones and Tails would most likely have died in Robotnik's attack.
He smiled slightly. Maybe there was something to this wishing on stars business after all...
(drops into chair exhausted) Well...it's finished. This started out as a nice little side story, purely inspired by a few lines in Caves of the Ancients, and...well, snowballing wasn't even in it; it more sort of avalanched from there :P I had no idea it would turn out to be as popular as it was.
Thanks so much to everyone who reviewed (hugs and hands around chocolates in the shape of Sonic characters) You guys rock!
And for anyone who hasn't had enough yet, Sonic and Tails' adventure continues in my Sonic 3 & Knuckles adaptation, Master of the Emeralds, the first chapter of which was uploaded shortly after this one.