"So how are you feeling?"

"I could be better, give the circumstances...."

"Do you know why you're here?"

"Of course. 'Cause I nearly single handedly put the whole kingdom in jeopardy."

"How does that make you feel?"

"How else would it make me feel?? I feel like crap! I feel like I don't deserve the light punishment I got! I feel like I've let everyone down... My comrades, my mother.... Blaze..."

"What do you believe should've happened..."

"I don't know... Something worse. If I were anybody else, and not Blaze's best friend, I would've been court martialed, or banished from Sol, or hell maybe even given the death penalty. All that happened was that I was given degrading duties, mindless paper work, cleaning up dungeon cells and picking up waste. It's a crappy job... but I'm a crappy person. I'm surprised Blaze still talks to me, let alone keep me on as a soldier..."

"Clearly you think better of yourself if you feel that you needed to talk to a psychologist."

"Blaze ordered it."

"I see... Do you think it's helping?"

"I don't know..."

"How do you feel about it?"

There was a silence between patient and therapist for a long moment.

"...It still sucks."

"Do you think you deserve it?"

"I guess so. Like I said, Blaze ordered it."

"What would be your decision?"

"I would leave forever, maybe jump down a gorge and not catch myself. I deserve a lot more than I got, and my fellow soldiers seem to think the same way."

"Surely if Blaze has the heart to forgive you, you should find it in you to forgive yourself."

"I can never forgive what I've done. I wish Blaze didn't go easy on me."

"Start from the beginning then. What made you do what you did?"

Silver went silent again. He didn't want to go back to those painful memories. It was only a few months since his incident with Juilana and the Jeweled Scepter. His pain of losing Blaze to Sonic was replaced by the pain of betraying her. Why did he have to do it...?

"What is it that you did?"

Did he just say that out loud? "I.... because.... I was an idiot."

"Why were you an idiot?"

"I was stupid to think Blaze would love a guy like me. Just a naive child."

"Your her best friend. There must be something about you that caught her eye."

"Apparently I'm not good enough for her to love. But what makes Sonic better than me? I mean, he's got this ego bigger than his fat head, he's obnoxious, he's annoying, he's... he's..."

"Blaze's beau?"

Silver grit his teeth. "It just isn't fair!" he cried, "I've known Blaze as a child. I sacrificed my childhood so she wouldn't have to grow up too fast alone. But she considers me childish, and yet Sonic acts like he hasn't even hit puberty yet! Just... why??" He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to hold back the tears. The psychologist, however, sensed him being upset and offered a box of tissues. Silver opened one eye, nodded his thanks, and brought the box over with his psychokenesis.

"So it seems to me that you were upset that she chose someone other than you," he said, "Why didn't you try to pursue her before all these events happened?"

"Because... I didn't know I loved her," said Silver, "I mean, she was always special to me, but once she kissed him the day our worlds became one once and for all, I just.... it suddenly just ripped my heart out. I knew from then on I wanted to be the one on the receiving end of those kisses."

"And it drove you mad?"

"Not mad... but I was upset. After that, I couldn't stop thinking about her. I couldn't stop dreaming. I tried to work up the courage to tell her how I felt, but something either came up or I would suddenly lose my nerve. It nearly drove me nuts!"

"Nuts enough to commit treason?"

"Yes! Well, not really... It was Juilana, the sorceress, that convinced me to steal the Jeweled Scepter. I knew I shouldn't've, but I was so hurt, so angry with Blaze... I just.... let myself..." He stopped to dab his eyes.

"Do you regret what you've done?"

"Of course I do. If I could take it all back..."

"Then you sense redemption in yourself?"

"..... I don't know...."

"Do you still love Blaze?"

".... Yes. But.... I know now we'll never be.... and if I try anything, I'd be... I'd just...."


"Well... like I said, mindless paperwork is one of my duties... I go through old reports, and... I came across some of these criminal files. I couldn't believe just how many restraining orders were given just because the guy couldn't take 'no' for an answer. But one that really stuck out was this murder case... This guy stalked this girls for months, finally, he just became so obsessed, he actually killed her! It was sick.... but's it basically no different than what I nearly did."

"As long as you realize your mistake, you can learn from all this."

"Yeah, but things can never go back as they were! I'll always be considered an outcast traitor. Even if Blaze pardoned me, I still feel like I disappointed her. I... I just hate myself!!"

Another long silence.

"It seems you still have some issues to work out with yourself," said the psychologist. "Perhaps you aren't quite ready to go back to the field."

"I don't deserve to go back out, really... even if all I do is all that crummy stuff nowadays."

"Then maybe you shouldn't go back."

Silver blinked and looked up at the psychologist. "Eh?"

"You still have some sorting out to do. Perhaps take a leave of abscence. Get out on your own for while. Get things straightened out until you're ready to go back to work."

Silver glanced back down, staring at the tips of his boots. "..... I suppose so."

'Should I take this along?' Silver wondered, holding up a picture of himself and Blaze, on the day he was inaugurated as a soldier. It was one of his treasured possessions.... Nah definitely leave it.

"So the rumors are true. You really are leaving..."

Silver looked up from his packing. Blaze was standing in the threshold of his bedroom. He looked back down. "It's not a permanent thing," he said, "It's only until I can gain control of my feelings. I feel like if I stay, I'll go crazy... I think I almost did. What's to stop me from pulling a stunt like that again?"

"You know that I trust you."

"I know, but it's myself I don't trust..." Silver dropped a piece of clothing into his duffel bag before walking over to Blaze, pulling her into a tight embrace. "You know how I feel about you. I don't want any ill will between us."

Blaze returned the hug. "That will never happen."

"And I want to make sure of it."

Blaze pulled back. "I can't stop you from going... but I will miss you. Come back soon."

"Don't worry," Silver took a hold of her hands, "I made a promise to always stay by your side."

Blaze smiled and leaned in to kiss his cheek. "Let me know when you're leaving so that we can see you off."

"Thanks... but I'm sure the others will only be too thrilled to see me go."

The next morning, Silver was at his mother's front yard, wishing her farewell as she packed his duffel bag with food and clean underwear.

"You know I don't wear those, Mom."

"You should! You'll freeze out there!" Serena scolded, "Now give your mother a big hug!"

"Mom..!" Silver slightly whined, but gave into her desires.

"Awwww, ain't that cute?"

The two hedgehogs turned to see a group heading towards them. In front was Blaze, followed by Sonic, Gardon, Lemmy, and Arrie.

"Hey guys," said Silver, "Didn't think you were coming."

"We wouldn't miss this for the world," snided Lemmy, secretly high-fiving Arrie.

Blaze pulled Silver into a deep hug. "Safe travels, old friend," she said.

Sonic nodded, and held out his hand. "Be careful out there."

Silver took his hand and shook it. "Take good care of Blaze for me."

After saying his goodbyes to everyone else, Silver picked up his bag and headed off....

......to who knows where?