After the Metarex: Tails' Story

Chapter One

"Picking Up the Pieces"

"Sonic!" Tails sobbed, holding onto a tiny white seed. "She can't be gone!" He sounded desperate,

which he was. "This-this can't be all--all that's left of her! Please, Sonic! Please tell me there's something

you can do! That you can save her! That--that this little seed is Cosmo, and you can--can heal her! That you

can make her like she was again!"

"Tails," Sonic said. He looked confused. "I-I don't know--I tried my best, Tails!"

"I promised her she'd be all right!" Tails wailed. "I promised her!" He looked up at Sonic. "And you

promised her that you could do anything once you had all the chaos emeralds!"

"I…I tried chaos regeneration," Sonic said. "I thought it was working. I could feel something

responding. But then all I could find was that little seed."

"I believed in you!" Tails screamed. "I believed in you!"

"You…you should plant that," Sonic said. "I mean…maybe…?" He turned away. "Tails, I don't

understand how my powers work. I never needed to understand them before. I never faced anything I

couldn't handle as Super Sonic until I ran into Dark Oak. I…she was dead, Tails. I know she was. I…I think

that might be her. I…I hope it is. I just don't know!"

Tails sobbed uncontrollably for at least ten minutes. Then he got up, holding onto the seed as if his life

depended on it. He walked away without saying a word to anyone.

"Mister Sonic?" Cream said once Tails was gone. "Is--is Cosmo going to be all right?"

"I don't know, Cream," Sonic said.

"Is Tails going to be all right?" Cream asked.

"I don't know," Sonic said.

"Well, I'm going to get Tails a flower pot, and help him!" Cream declared, running after Tails. For the first time, she was disappointed in Sonic.

"Sonic…" Amy began, but Sonic stopped her.

"Please, Amy, I really can't deal with this right now." Sonic went to his room. It was time he rethought his entire life.

"Tails! Tails, wait!" Cream shouted. Tails kept walking. She caught up to him. "I'm so sorry!" she said. "But--but if Sonic says that's Cosmo, then we just have to trust him."

"Yeah," Tails said dully.

They walked along in silence for a moment. Then Cream tried to talk to him again. "Tails, I know how you feel. I-I killed Emerl. I know, he was a robot, and I wasn't in love with him, but he was my friend, and I broke him. I still miss him."

"I had a crush on this awful girl once named Fiona," Tails said, more to himself than to Cream. "She laughed in my face. Said that no girl would want a geek like me."

"That's terrible!" Cream cried. "She wasn't a nice person!"

"No, no she wasn't," Tails agreed. "After that, I never looked at another girl until…" He looked at the seed in his hand. "I guess I was never supposed to have a lasting relationship."

"No, Tails!" Cream yelled. "You have to believe! That is Cosmo! And she will come back to us! You just have to keep telling yourself that!"

"I'll--I'll try, Cream." Tails smiled sadly at her. "Thank you."

Cream got Tails a flower pot. Then she rooted around until she found a small plastic container. "When we were on Cosmo's planet, I thought this might be useful," she said. "It's soil from the Green Planet. So maybe it'll help Cosmo grow strong and healthy. We don't want her to come back sick."

"Thank you," Tails said. He watched as Cream filled the flower pot. She planted the seed gently, and then added the little bit of soil from Cosmo's world.

"Here," she said at last, handing the flower pot to Tails.

"I-I don't really know how to take care of her," Tails admitted.

"If you want to marry a plant, you need to know about this sort of thing," Cream said. "Don't worry. Between my mom and me, you'll do great."

She showed Tails how much to water the seed. "Too little, it'll dry up. Too much, you'll drown it."

"What if I mess up?!" Tails cried.

"You won't! I told you, I'll help you through this."

"I'm really lucky to have you for a friend, Cream," Tails said.

"Yeah, a friend," Cream said. Lately, she'd started to think of Tails another way. If Cosmo didn't come back…No! What was wrong with her? Cosmo was her best friend except for Cheese and Amy. What a horrible thought she'd just had. "Shame on you, Kurimu Usagi!" she scolded herself.

Cream forced herself to stop thinking that way. Tails was hurting. "It'll be okay, Tails," she said out loud. "Cosmo loved--loves you. She told me, just before we found out about that thing in her head, that she didn't think she could ever be happy again. Her mother and sisters and everybody else were dead, and she'd cry herself to sleep sometimes. But you made her happy again. After she found out she was a spy, she kept crying, "Tails must hate me now!" She didn't care what anybody else thought about her. She needed to know that you still believed in her." Cream sighed. "She used to ask Amy how to get you to like her. That night on Planet Marumorin, when you two fell into the Lake of Love together…Cosmo said that that was the happiest night of her life."

Tails knew that Amy liked to say that she'd set them up that night, even if it was an accident. She'd been trying to put a love charm on Sonic. Vector had claimed that he'd set Tails and Cosmo up the day of that wacky party. But the truth was, Tails had been in love with Cosmo since he'd first seen her fall out of the sky. When it looked like she was starting to like Knuckles, Tails had wanted to punch the echidna right in the nose. Of course, he fully realized Knuckles could break him in half without trying, but he hadn't cared.

Cream left Tails alone. There was a good chance that this wasn't Cosmo. He hadn't told anyone, but he'd seen her. After the explosion. For one wonderful moment, he'd thought, "She made it! She's okay!" But then he had realized he could see right through her. A ghost? But, if she was a ghost, then she was dead. Could Sonic and Shadow really bring back someone who was dead? She had missed her family so much. If she was with them again, would she be willing to leave them again, just to be with him?

When Tails returned to the bridge, Amy Rose threw her arms around him. "Oh, Tails, I'm so sorry!"

"Yeah," Tails said without emotion. He realized it hadn't fully hit him yet. He hoped it had happened too quickly for her to suffer. If she came back, would the memory haunt her? Would she hate him for shooting her? He didn't say any of this out loud. In the future, it would be very difficult for Tails to discuss his feelings with anyone.

"Tails, I'm so sorry I went on and on that day you two fell into the Lake of Love," Amy said. Tails realized she had been talking the whole time he'd been thinking. "I did a tarot reading for you two. It said that you'd have to face a lot of obstacles, but if you both just hung on, everything would work out in the end! I swear, Tails, I never saw anything in the cards about her dying!"

Tails rolled his eyes. Amy had decided while on Marumorin that she wanted to be a psychic.

"We'd won," Tails said dully. "Red Pine. Yellow Zelkova. Black Narcissus. Pale Bay Leaf. All dead. We'd beaten all of them. But Dark Oak just wouldn't give up! I hope he's suffering horrible now!"

Amy and Cream both gasped. Tails sounded so full of anger and hatred. His teeth were bared. Amy looked into his eyes. There had always been a little light shining in them. A light of hope no matter what. It was nearly gone now. A part of Tails had died with Cosmo.

"She might still come back," Cream pointed out.

"I think Shadow died, too," Sonic said softly.

"Good!" Tails said. "I hope he's in the same pit of fire that Dark Oak's burning in!"

"Tails," Chris said, "Shadow was out friend too. He lost everything, just like Cosmo did. He couldn't remember us. He couldn't remember Maria. I'm sure if he could, he would have…"

"Would have what?" Tails demanded. "Told Cosmo why he was going to kill her?! Well, he finally succeeded, didn't he. He killed her!" He looked at his hand. The hand that had pressed the button. "No. No, I killed her. I…" He held his hand up. "You wouldn't think that this was the hand of a killer, would you?"

"Tails, you're not a killer," Sonic said softly.

"I'm not?" Tails looked around. "Then where is she, Sonic? Where's Cosmo? Can you swear to me that that seed you gave me is her? That she'll come back to me someday? WELL, CAN YOU?!?"

To everyone's shock, Tails suddenly slapped Sonic's face. "You're supposed to be invulnerable when you're Super Sonic! So why did you just float there in space until Cosmo offered to sacrifice herself to save you?"

"You're right," Sonic admitted. "I shouldn't have let her do that. I should have stopped her. I'm supposed to be the hero, but she really put me to shame."

"Oh, poor Sonic," Tails said. "I hope I didn't make you cry."

"Tails, please!" Cream wailed. "Don't hurt your friends! Cosmo wouldn't want you to be like this. She wanted everybody to be happy. I was going to ask her to come and live with me and Cheese after we stopped the Metarex."

"You let her go out there all alone!" Tails yelled at Cream. The little bunny started to cry.

"Hey!" Amy yelled. "Leave Cream alone!"

"And you! You used to be so mean to her!" Tails knew what he was doing was wrong, but he couldn't stop himself now. "You were so jealous because she wanted to see Sonic! You're a psycho!"

"I'm a psycho?!" Amy yelled. A pico-pico hammer was suddenly in her hands. "Let me show you what a psycho I can be!!"

"Amy, no!" Sonic said, grabbing her arm. "Tails doesn't know what he's saying."

"Shut up!" Tails screamed. "You've been speaking for me my entire life! You're not my father!"

"He's got you there," Knuckles said.

"You!" Tails yelled. "You were all for that brain surgery! Cosmo could have gone blind and deaf. She could have been paralyzed or suffered permanent brain damage! She even might have died on the operating table!"

"I didn't say we should do it!" Knuckles argued. "I said it was the only way to set her free unless we stopped the Metarex once and for all. I didn't want to hurt her! I was thinking of other people."

"You were thinking about yourself!" Tails yelled. "I don't care how strong you are!" He started towards Knuckles. "I'm gonna punch you right in the nose!" He took a step forward. His legs wobbled. His eyes rolled back in his head. He collapsed onto the floor.

"Oh no!" Cream cried. "What happened to him?"

"He had a meltdown!" Chris said. "Guys, I'm sorry, but Tails may never be himself again. Even if that seed is Cosmo. And I just can't accept that idea. Dead is dead!"

"Shut up!" Cream yelled. "What if Tails hears you?"

Everyone stared at Cream. She was shaking violently.

"Come on, Cream," Amy said, taking her by the hand. "You need to rest for awhile."

"No!" Cream said. "I have to be here for Tails!"

"I'll take care of him," Sonic promised. He picked his friend up. Tails was like a limp rag. "You go on with Amy. Don't worry, Cream. He'll be okay."

Cream looked unconvinced, but allowed Amy to take her to her room.

Sonic carried Tails to the ship's sickbay. He laid him down on the same table that Tails had used to scan Cosmo for the device in her head.

"You might want to strap him down," Knuckles said softly.

"He's not crazy!" Sonic said. "He'll be okay!"

"Sonic," Chris said. "We have to face reality. I'd like to believe that that's Cosmo, too. But it's just too unbelievable. Tails is going to need help we can't give him."

"No!" Sonic said. "I promised him! I promised Cosmo! If Cosmo doesn't come back, I'm a liar!"

"I'm sorry, Sonic, but this isn't about you," Chris said. "Tails didn't watch Cosmo die. He killed her. I don't see how he can ever get over that. To get over her death, he'd have to tell himself that it didn't matter. But to do that, he'd have to tell himself that Cosmo didn't matter."

"I promised them!" Sonic insisted. "I just stood there, instead of getting into the Sonic Driver before Cosmo went out there. I let her save me! The hero saves the damsel in distress! The damsel doesn't save the hero!"

"Sonic…" Chris looked very worried now.

"I'm okay," Sonic said. "Don't worry about me. I'm not the one whose whole world just came to an end today, Chris."

Tails came to a few minutes after Chris and Knuckles left, shaking their heads. He didn't let on that he was awake. He didn't want to talk. He didn't want to do anything. Now he knew why Cosmo had taken to her bed when she found out the Metarex were working through her. It wasn't to sleep. Sleep was impossible. It was just that laying in bed with your eyes shut was the closest you could come to simply not being. Tails wondered if he could just not get up again. At least, not until Cosmo was back. How long would it take? Months? Years?

"I'll wait forever," he whispered.

"Tails? You awake, little buddy?" Sonic asked.

Tails rolled over. If he opened his eyes, he'd see the ceiling, not Sonic.

"Tails? Do you…do you hate me now? Sonic asked.

"No," Tails said softly. "But…but I can't deal with you now, Sonic."
Sonic sighed. "I understand," he said. "We're heading home now. I guess Eggman'll be up to his old tricks soon, huh?" There was no response. "Try to get some rest, little brother. Good night." Sonic left the room.

Rest? No rest for the wicked, and wasn't that what he was? Killing the girl he said he loved? All that time they'd been together, and he had never told her how he felt until the very end. All that time Vector had been hiding them while he tried to repair the Blue Typhoon. He and Cosmo had been alone together for so long. Had he told her how he felt then? No! He'd blathered on and on in techno babble, even though he knew she didn't understand most of what he was saying. He'd make mindless small talk. About the weather. What was wrong with him?!

And when she'd become despondent about the device in her head. What had he done? Had he promised her she'd be okay? Had he held her hand and tried to comfort her? No again! He'd just read the results, and gotten into a pointless argument with Knuckles! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!

He place one hand on the cold floor. "The floor's good enough for me," he decided. He climbed off the table. He stroked it gently. "You were here!" he whispered. "You were right here. Just a little while ago. And now! And now!"

He threw himself on onto the floor. "Oh please, God! Please, give her back to me! I'll never ask for anything else my entire life! Please, just give me another chance! Please! Please! Please! PLEASE!!!"

Tails cried himself to sleep. It was the first of many times he would need to do this over the months ahead. It was already the next day on Mobius. April 30. Still early in the year. But Tails' life would be sad and joyless as the months went by. The remainder of this year would affect everyone, and rarely for the better. But no one would be affected as much as Tails. He would be relieved when the year was over.

Because it was destined to be the worst year of Tails' life.

Mother. Tails is suffering so. Is there nothing I can do to help him?

No, my darling. Only time can mend his heart. Now, it's time to come home, Cosmo.

Yes, Mother. Good-bye, Tails…good-bye…I'll always love you.

Oh, Mother! Everything here is…so beautiful!

The End of Chapter One