A/N: Okay, so this for a while now. It should be a three-parter, if all goes as planned.
Pen: Will it be dark and melancholy?
It could be.
Pen: Excellent. All the characters and related material belong to Sega. Sword and I belong to the author. The story belongs to the author. This first chapter was inspired by "The Scientist" by Coldplay.
Sword: I'm scared. Hold me, Pen.
Chapter 1- Take Me Back
Ding! Tails' dream broke apart. Ding! Sunlight was filtering through his eyelids. Ding! He was awake.
"It is currently seven thirty A.M.," the monotone, computerized voice of his alarm clock said. Its screen flashed the time, which was soon replaced by the predicated weather. "Today's weather is sunny. Chance of rain: ten percent. High of seventy-five degrees."
Tails pushed the screen aside and lied spread-eagled on the bed. He had been having such a nice dream too. He was off in a palace of sorts, dancing the night away with her.
He pondered staying in bed. But he knew that if he did not venture outside, Sonic or Amy would drag him out of his workshop by his tails. So, he kicked off his blanket and flung his legs over the side. He wobbled a moment or two, taking his time to start the day.
In his kitchen, his Rube Goldberg of a machine had already prepared him sunny side eggs, toast, and oatmeal. Normally, he would be in time to see the process in its early stage since his alarm clock activated the sequence. But when he arrived that morning, the food was already growing cold. Tails did not care. He chewed slowly, listening to the television on the kitchen counter.
"In other news, Sonic the Hedgehog has once again thwarted the nefarious Doctor Eggman's scheme. Eggman had taken hold of the city's power grid, using the added electricity to charge his latest robot menace." The news provided a fuzzy photo of the conquered, robotic foe, full of holes and torn apart. "Needless to say, it was no match for the fastest thing alive."
Tails tuned the television out. He returned to his dream, before he had been rudely awoken by his alarm. She had been there. She always haunted his dreams in some fashion or other, but had a stronger presence over the past couple of weeks. Expected by the boy genius, but no less distracting.
She had been as graceful as he remembered. Eloquent speech that matched her radiant beauty. Perhaps the foggy state of mind had added this, but he would have sworn she glowed like a heavenly creature. She had an overwhelming presence that had drawn him to her. Just like she had attracted him when they first met.
He had asked for a dance. She had accepted. Then they were transported to a ballroom, outfitted in fashionable evening wear, and waltzed the night away. The entire dream had been a pirouette of colors and her gorgeous smile.
The doorbell rang. Tails groaned. He had been so close to being back in that ballroom. He waited, hoping it was a deliveryman. The doorbell rang a second time. No such luck, he thought.
Tails answered the call, finding Sonic on his doorstep. "Hey, buddy," he said. "Wanna go grab something to eat?" Tails saw right through his friendly grin. He knew what Sonic was trying to do, as the blue hedgehog tried every year.
And like every year, Tails politely refused. "No thanks. I've already had breakfast." Sonic poked his head in the doorway, examining Tails' plate. The food had hardly been touched, only pushed around.
"Well, how about we go somewhere?" Sonic suggested.
Tails shook his head. "I think I'd prefer to stay in today," he said. "Thanks for coming by." He shut the door, but Sonic caught his foot in it.
"Tails," he said. The true Sonic shone through. He scratched his ear, looking elsewhere as if the right thing to say would be produced by nature. "We're here for you. You know that, right? If you want to talk or something."
"I know," Tails said. He gave him a small smile.
"We all miss her," Sonic said.
He saved Sonic the embarrassment of going beyond that. "I know," he said. "I'll be fine. I just want to be alone today. See you later." He shut the door, locking it. Sonic stood outside for a few minutes, frowning. He seemed to contemplate ringing Tails' doorbell again, but eventually respected the fox's wishes. He sped off into the distance.
Tails dumped the rest of his food in the garbage, then sat back down at the table. He did not have much to do today. Only one thing on the agenda and that could be done at anytime. He stared blankly at the television, flipping through the channels one by one.
Daytime t.v. sure is awful, he thought as he shut the television off. He wandered to the stairs, wondering if he could sleep the rest of the morning, when the phone rang. Five wrenches says it's Amy.
"Hello?" he said, answering the phone.
Five wrenches, please. "Hey, Amy."
"How are you doing?"
He shrugged. "I'm okay. How are you?"
"I'm good, thank you." She paused. "Listen, Tails. We were thinking about getting some dinner tonight. You, me, Sonic, Cream, maybe Knuckles. Would you like to come?"
He shook his head. "No. Sorry, I have things to do. Thanks for the offer."
"Maybe another time then," she said.
"Maybe. Hey, I have to go. Bye, Amy."
"Bye. Take care," she said. She sounded worried. Then again, everyone always did around this time of year.
"You too." He hung up the phone and dragged himself upstairs. He forewent sleep, knowing he would never rise from the bed again. He did have to get his one thing finished today. At the very least, that.
So Tails showered, waking himself up. He spared time for only the basic of hygenics, as he could not bring himself to stare at his reflection in the mirror. He knew what he would see: tired, sorrowful eyes; drooping namesakes; thin fur; and a general colorless aura that overshadowed him. He kept his head down as he brushed his teeth. Then he headed outside, grabbing a spade, watering can, and gloves on the way to his backyard.
Underneath the only tree around his workshop, was his memorial of flowers, supported by a center stone. Marvelous plants of every kind grew there. Velvety red roses adorned the edges while black dahlias supported the bunch from the bottom. Marigolds lined the top and vines sprouting tiny flowers of their own hung down like hair. Snowy callas outfitted the bundle of baby blues above them, lead in formation by a taller calla. It was a beautiful sight to behold, one that invoked praise, admiration, and breathlessness in all who had seen it.
Tails laid down his watering can and took in the display. He had seen it so often from his bedroom window. "It's been three years now," he said to the flowers. He pulled on his gloves and tugged at a long weed. "Three years since you've left us."
The weed popped out. Tails discarded it. "Everyone keeps worrying about me. They don't need to. I only want to remember you. Is that too much to ask?" With the weeds cleared, he saw there was no need for the spade today. He settled on watering the flowers.
"Not that I don't remember you all the time," Tails said, quickly correcting himself. "But I mean, today is, well…" He trailed off, absent-mindedly drowning the dahlias. He realized his mistake and stopped. "You know that phrase "time heals all wounds"? It's wrong. It still hurts as much as three years ago." It had taken months after her death for his friends to coax him out of his self-blaming shell. However, the pain of her loss was severe and had faded little, if any at all. A small tear slipped down his cheek. "I miss you, Cosmo. I miss you."
Tails fell forward on his fists, punching and worming his knuckles into the ground. He had a good cry, silently sobbing for his departed love. He wished he could return to the start of everything, to the start of their relationship. He stayed out there for an hour or two, trying to connect to her. Hoping that his display brought her closer to him. That by spending his energy on this dedicated remembrance to her, that all would be easier. But he felt no connection. He was not closer. Things were not easier. Not at all.
A tiny chewing brought him out of his sorrow. He saw an insect eating at the stalk of one of the plants. Tails ran to his workshop. When he picked up his repellant bottle, he discovered it was empty. Great. Looks like I'll have to run down to the store. He really did not want to leave. Leaving entailed running into other friends who meant well, but did not understand. That would sour the day even more.
He looked at the bottle. He had to have some repellant lest the bugs harm one part of his memorial. So, steeling himself, he departed for the city.
Thankfully, he did not meet anyone he knew on the way to the gardening store. He swiftly found his preferred repellant brand, paid for it, and left. Now, to hurry home.
Not her. Not today. He had hoped to avoid her, but fate was a cruel, harsh prankster. Tails slowly turned around.
There stood Cream, tilting her head, her large, chocolate eyes perplexed that he was in the city. Like himself, Cream had grown taller over the years. Whereas he had only become fluffier and deepened his voice a notch, she was more womanly now, filling out her dresses nicely. She was in spitting distance of her mother, but retained that innocent, eager nature that separated the two. Cheese was accompanying her, perched in his happy home between her ears. When he saw Tails, he cooed a greeting.
"Hey, Cream. Hey, Cheese," Tails said. Make this quick and leave.
"What are you doing here?" she asked, coming closer.
"Had to pick something up," he said.
"Oh. Us too." She produced a bag from around her back. Chao food. "Cheese was running low." The little chao attempted to open the bag himself. Cream placed him back on her head.
Then the awkward lull entered the conversation, that third wheel, detestable friend that caused both parties to look elsewhere. "I'd better get home," Tails said. "I'll see you around."
"Do you mind if we walked with you?" Cream asked.
Tails bit his lip. There was nothing harmful about a stroll to his house, but he could conjure up a dozen reasons why it would be a bad idea. She's just trying to be nice. Are you going to turn all your friends away today? He scratched his head. "Uh, no. You can if you want."
Thus they headed to his house at a leisurely pace, allowing a chance to take in the city instead of rushing by it. But the sun was a little too bright, the people a little too sociable, the atmosphere a little too "It's a fine day," and in all, the city was a little too cheery for his tastes.
When they entered the park, Cheese whined loudly for a piece of food. "Do you mind if we stop for a minute?" Cream asked. Tails shook his head. Sitting on a bench, Cream opened the bag. Cheese dived right in the food headfirst and she had to yank him out. Then she doled out one piece, which he nibbled gratefully.
As Tails watched, a small grin rose to his lips. Cream was a good friend. Always thinking of others, especially him. That was in no small part due to the crush she had on him. She had even told Tails himself last year, but he had turned her down. It would not have been right. He would felt like he was cheating on Cosmo and that conflict would not provide Cream with the best boyfriend material.
Had that deterred her? No, for Cream had graduated from Amy Rose's School of Love. But instead of chasing Tails, Cream simply supported him, sticking by him no matter what his mood over the many months. She had been as good a friend as anyone could ask for. The guilt often ate him up when he realized that he offered nothing in return. But she asked and wanted for naught except his company.
She giggled as Cheese devoured another piece of chao food. Her laugh was infectious. He started to chuckle himself. She's amazing. In his eyes, he could find no fault with her. Cream was attractive, endearing, fun to be around, lovely, kind-hearted-
Tails jolted. He chastised himself. What am I doing? I can't do this. I can't be involved. "Cream, I'm going to go," he said, standing from the bench.
"Okay, we will come with you."
"No, I'm going home by myself," he said. When she looked up at him, he backed away. Her eyes, shocked and slowly turning sad, pierced his heart. "I'm sorry. I-I just can't." Then he spun on his heel and ran off.
When he arrived home, he slammed the door and collapsed on his sofa. How could I leave her there? I ran away. He sighed. Like I always do. You're an idiot, Tails. An idiot! Stupid! One of the most beautiful girls in the whole city. One of the most beautiful, wonderful, stunning-
No, stop it. He smacked his forehead. It's for the best. No one gets hurt. It will all pass in time. Except his dedication to Cosmo. He knew that would stick with him for longer than Cream would wait. Cream would eventually give up. After all, she was not like Amy. Hurt her heart enough times and she would turn her affections elsewhere.
But I hate doing that, he thought. He smacked his forehead over and over, hoping to beat himself into a coma. When he did not, he decided he would spray the repellant and be done for the day. He sprayed the flowers none too soon, as more destructive bugs had appeared in his absence.
Afterwards, Tails stayed inside all day. Several times, people tried to get in touch with him by phone. He figured either Cream or Amy were calling. He could not bring himself to answer. After a dozen or so calls, he left the phone off the hook. Once, he heard a visitor ring his doorbell. Cream perhaps? He could not see and did not dare want to let anyone know he was home. He stayed in his living room, completely still until the visitor left.
When night fell, Tails dragged himself upstairs. He could not be bothered to shower. He did not have the energy or desire to be clean. He flopped into his bed, turning toward his alarm clock. Nine. Nine fifteen. Nine forty-three. Ten thirteen. Ten thirty-two. Eleven. Eleven eighteen.
The hours drifted by, but he could not sleep. He tossed and turned, the perfect position eluding him. He rubbed his face. Maybe I'm spiraling into madness, he thought. It would explain why the later he stayed up, the more the shadows played tricks on his mind. One distinctive shape reminded him of Cosmo's dress. Another resembled her head. He imagined putting them together.
He growled and turned over, away from his clock and the shadows on the wall. Why could he not fall asleep and be back in that dance with her? Why did he even wake up that morning? Tails squinted his eyes shut. He thought about the day, his friends, and finally settled on Cream. He recalled her feeding Cheese, the joy on his face, her wonderful smile. He grinned and soon, he boarded the train to slumber land.
A/N: Hope you're enjoying it so far.
Pen: I could get used to this.
Sword: Not me!
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