Happy All Hallows Eve everyone! I hope you are all going to enjoy your holiday, but first, the Chapter!
"Alright, so all we all clear on how this is going to work out?"
There were nods all around the room, indicating everyone knew their part in the plan.
"Okay, now remember, even if you think you've found the person we're after, do not confront them. All we want to do this time is gather info. We will all pool that info and then figure out the best candidates to follow."
"Excuze-moi, but our we all zure zat zis is ze best decizion? After all, we are doing ze spying on our own people."
Tails looked over at Antoine. Before he could address the point he had made Bunnie stood up.
"Ah 'ave ta agree with my 'usband. Ah know that things have been tough around here, but do we really 'ave to spy on the people? Isn't there anything else we can do?"
Tails could see that the other freedom fighters were beginning to have second thoughts on this whole idea as well. He had to admit that he was struggling with the entire idea as well, but what other choice was there? He and Mina had gone over plan after plan for days but none of them were good enough. Tails let out a small sigh. What would Sally do? She was always so good at getting all the Freedom fighters focused on one plan, even if it didn't seem the best. Tails was surprised when he felt something on his shoulder. He looked around and saw Mina standing next to him, giving him a small smile. Tails didn't know why, but just from her smile he was already feeling better. With a little more confidence he turned back to the others.
"Look, I know this doesn't feel right and believe me, if this wasn't the best plan I wouldn't even consider it. But out there are people who were willing to sneak into HQ and attack Nicole. What else are we supposed to do? We can't let them know that we are onto them, so we have to use this plan."
Everyone looked around at each other, trying to figure out what the others were thinking. Slowly, they all realized that Tails was right. Rotor got up from the couch and walked over to Tails. Tails knew that Rotor had been the one that had been the most hurt by the peoples attack on Nicole. After all, he had created her...sort of. Knowing that those that they all had sworn to protect now wanted to destroy one of his best friends had been tough on looked up at Rotor and was surprised that Rotor was smiling. Rotor put his hand on Tail's shoulder and then turned to the others.
"I have to agree with him. Even if we don't like it, there are citizens out there who attacked us, US, not just Nicole. If we want to make sure that they don't decide to hurt anyone else, we will have to find out who they are. This is the only way."
And that was that. Everyone nodded and grouped up around a map of New Mobotropolis.
"Alright" Tails began, "We should start with Bunnie and Antoine right here..."
"You know Tails, that was a pretty good speech."
Tails blushed heavily and tried to focus his eyes on the drink that he had gotten from Uncle Chucks place. He and Mina were sitting at one of the outside tables, trying to keep an eye out for anything strange happening.
"Oh...umm, you really think so?"
Mina had to chuckle a little at his reaction. How was it that he could go from a leader of the Freedom Fighters and then right to an innocent young boy. She couldn't help but smile.
"Yes, I do. Not many people can pull off leading a group of people many years their senior. You did a very good job."
Tails wasn't allowed time to blush this time because he suddenly heard Antoines voice over the radio in his ear.
"Tailz, nothing ztrange is 'appening 'ere. Should moi et Bunnie move to another zector?"
Tails mentally pulled out the map of New Mobotropolis so he could see where everybody was. Rotor had the area near the castle covered, there were plenty of people there that he knew so it wouldn't be strange for him to be there. Antoine and Bunnie had gotten the town square, using their status as recently married as a front for them looking for something in the market. He and Mina had decided to play the part of friends having lunch, which covered the area around Chucks place. They still had to watch some of the housing districts and also around the hospital.
"Hmm...No, you and Bunnie stay where you are. Me and Mina will walk over to the hospital. We can go visit Sally while keeping an eye out."
"Very well Tailz. Give our regardz to ze princzess."
With that Antoine cut off their connection and Tails could hear what was going around him better. He hadn't noticed that while he was talking Mina had started to stare off into space, her mind obviously thinking about something.
She didn't even seem to register that he had spoken to her. Tails leaned across the table and put his hand on hers and shook them a little bit, calling her name again.
Her eyes focused back to him and her previous happiness seemed to have disappeared.
"Are you okay?"
Mina smiled, but it wasn't her usual smile. This one was forced, hollow, not really her.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Just thinking about things."
Tails frowned at her response but didn't push the issue. Over the last few days they had spent a good amount of time together, making plans and revising them so he knew that Mina would never tell him what was up until she was ready to actually talk about it. That was just how she was. If he tried to force her to tell him it wouldn't end well.
"Okay, well we're going to go over to the hospital to visit Sally and check the are there for anything suspicious. You good?"
Mina stood up and brushed off her dress, straightening up whatever wrinkles or creases it had gained from her sitting, picked up her plastic cup and threw it into a nearby garbage can.
"Now I am."
The gentleman in Tails decided to show more than usual and he bowed a little while holding his hand out in the direction of the hospital, allowing her to go first. She walked by him and he quickly followed, walking next to her, but still slightly behind so that she could have a little space. Mina wasn't used to this. She had known that Tails saw that she was troubled, it wasn't as if she had really been trying to hide it, but he wasn't doing anything about it. Usually Ash would be all around her, trying to figure out what she was thinking or what was bothering her so that he could fix it. Sonic had been the same. Tails wasn't doing that though. He was just...there.
He offered support without actually saying anything. It was a new thing for her and she didn't know what to do. Despite her mind being plagued by these thoughts, they continued walking, Tails keeping an eye out for anyone acting suspiciously and Mina trying her best but her mind would keep wandering back to her argument with Ash earlier that week.
They hadn't talked with each other since then and she was wondering what to do. Was this just a short break from each other or something? Honestly, she had never actually thought of what she would do if she and Ash ever had a falling out. She was so used to having him around, helping her make decisions, telling her what her schedules were, being her manager. Now however her days had just been...different. She woke up when she wanted to, was doing something she chose to do, heck, she had barely talked with the other group members in the last few days. She felt bad about that, but helping Nicole was her first priority right now. That was why she had been spending so much time around Tails.
There was another thing that had been bothering her. She was worrying that by spending so much time around him people might start getting the wrong idea, thinking that she was stepping out on Ash. Or even worse, she might give Tails the wrong idea and then she would have to hurt him. Thankfully he didn't seem to be doing that, so she wasn't too worried.
Tails looked towards her and couldn't help but hope that she would be ready to talk about what was bothering her.
"What are we going to do after all this? I mean, with whoever it is that was behind the attack on Nicole and once we bring her back. What happens then?"
Tails couldn't help but scratch the fur under his chin while he thought of the answer to that. He hadn't really thought about that, he was just wanting to make sure that his friend would be well protected.
"I don't know...I guess that things would probably go back to what they were. Nicole would be back in HQ, we would be making plans to stop Eggman, you would be singing again. Life would be back to normal."
Mina's head seemed to drop and Tails could barely hear what she said. All he caught was:
Guilt came over the young fox, realizing that he had accidentally said the wrong thing to her. He was about to try and re try, hoping that he would be able to help her feel better when he realized that they were at the hospital.
'I'll save it for later. It would probably be best not to continue this line of thought around Sally.'
It was a strange thing to see Sally in the condition that she was in. The once strong princess seemed so fragile just lying there, not moving except for her breathing, her arms having long tubes coming out of them and attached to different machines. Neither of them were surprised to see Sonic sitting next to her, obviously sleeping. It was amazing that he was able to sleep there though, hospital chairs weren't known for being very comfortable. Both Tails and Mina walked over to Sonic, trying their best to keep the sound of their feet as quiet as possible. Tails pulled out a chair for Mina then went out of the room to find one for himself.
Mina sat down near Sally, after having pulled out a blanket from the unused bed in the room and covering Sonic. She slowly pushed Sally's hair away from her face, allowing her a better look at the sleeping princess. She chuckled at that thought.
'Maybe if Sonic kissed her she would wake up'
However, she knew that this was no fairy tale, and there was no magic spell to break here. Sally would have to pull out of this herself, and while Sonic being there would might help, there was no guarantee that she would wake up.
"Hi Sally...I see that Sonic has been taking good care of you. Sorry about not coming to visit until now, me and Tails have been working on something. I'll tell you about when you're all better. You would be so proud of Tails though, he really has grown."
Mina paused for a second, thinking about what she had just said.
"That's not quite true though. He has always been older than he looked, always so mature, almost the polar opposite of Sonic here. He really is a nice guy though, I feel jealous of the girl who is able to get him. You know, he actually came to my house in the middle of the night to apologize to me once? I suppose he was just worried that if Ash caught him there might be trouble."
With the thought of Ash Mina's head once again sunk, and she couldn't help a tear from coming into her eye.
"I wish you were here Sally. We all miss you and I could use some girl help. Me and Ash we...we..."
Before she was able to finish her sentence she heard a knock on the door and looked up. There was Tails, but there was somebody behind him. Tails motioned for her to come out to the hallway so she quietly said her goodbye and stepped out. Now that she was out in the hallway it was easier to see who it was that had been next to Tails.
"Espio! What are you doing here? Is Nicole alright? Where is she?"
Both Tails and Espio held up their hands to try and stave off Mina's questions.
"Nicole's alright, I've left her with someone we can trust. But there was a...complication. Nicole is...well, she's a mobian."
GASP! Plot twist? No not really, the whole thing is explained in my other story, From the Ashes.
Sigh, I'm sorry for making you guy's wait for this chapter, but it was unavoidable. However, I'm trying to get back into the swing of things, so while I won't have a consistent release time for the chapters, I'm going to try and make sure you don't have to wait as long as you did for this one. Please Read and Review. Reviews are nice, I like review, they make me feel all fuzzy and warm inside. Until later,