Nope. I don't own Sonic the Hedgehog. I do, however, own my OCs.
Chapter 2: Unwarranted Reproach
"C-Cosmo...I-I can't..." Tails gasped out, still embracing Cosmo tightly. Emotion was pouring out of his eyes. So happy he was to see her, he was finding it difficult to come up with words. Cosmo herself, returned the embrace. Her body was trembling, and her hold was weak. She too, couldn't seem to find words, and anything she did say was fragmented and shaking. Tails gripped her harder, causing Cosmo to squirm uncomfortably. Startled, he released her and gingerly laid her back down.
"Be careful with her...young Tails." Sage advised, smiling at their happy reunion. "She is weak...and needs to regain herself again. A rebirth like hers would leave anyone with a sickness, for a time."
Tails nodded at him. He turned back to Cosmo, who, with some difficulty, had sat back up. She looked around, still confused, and her eyes fell on the large flower that she had been reborn in.
"I-I...I c-came back i-in that?" She asked, still stammering but becoming a bit more coherent. She looked back at Tails, her blue eyes full of questions. She shivered and tried to flex her fingers.
"Cosmo..." Tails replied. He didn't know quite how to exactly explain it. Sage smiled and lightly placed a hand on her small shoulder.
"Young Cosmo, it is best you not think long on your rebirth." He spoke softly to her, his old voice becoming rather grandfatherly. "You have been granted life freely again, that is all there is to know. You are weak still. Focus on remembering your old strength again."
Tails blinked. "Sage?"
"Yes, young Tails?"
"I have a bed in my home...let's take her there." He said, looking at Cosmo. Cosmo nodded appreciatively. "Do you think you can stand, Cosmo?"
Cosmo shook her head. "I-I still feel w-weak. I can try." Immediately, she struggled to stand. Sage stopped her with a motion.
"Do not strain yourself, young Cosmo." He smiled at her. "Allow me to carry you."
Cosmo nodded at him. "Yes...Thank y-you."
After Cosmo had been placed in bed, Tails and Sage quietly left her to rest for a while. Tails reflected on the events of the past few moments. Cosmo was alive! Not just alive...she was just as she was aboard the Typhoon. Granted, she was weak, and ill with a sort of resurrection sickness, but he knew that would pass soon. She fell asleep almost as soon as they laid her down in his bedroom. He watched her as she slept serenely, taking note of her beautiful features again. She looked just as she did before she evolved. Short green hair, and the flowers on her head still small, red buds. Her face was the same, well shaped with no sharp angles. She had no visible nose, but to Tails, that didn't take away from her appearance in the least. She still wore the same red crystal she had said was a gift from her mother. It was strange...Cosmo was there, in his bed. Alive. She was alive. But the more Tails considered that she was alive, the more a question burned in the back of his mind. A knot of emotion in his stomach began to grow and pulse.
Did she remember?
If anything, Tails began to feel even more guilty, now that she was alive again. Sage had left Cosmo and himself alone for a while, and after watching Cosmo sleep for a few minutes, he decided to go outside and think. He sat, leaning against a tree, looking at the flower that had rebirthed Cosmo. The flower was withering already. I guess...it completed its mission. He thought to himself. Just like Cosmo...Yes. Just like Cosmo. Cosmo's mission was over when the Metarex were defeated. After her mission was over, she said, after the Metarex were finally beaten, she was going to live on their home planet...on Mobius. Dark Oak however, revealed his final plan: a massive gravity field that would potentially have destroyed the whole galaxy. Cosmo sacrificed herself, planting on the gravity field...and begged for Tails to destroy it. And Tails, forced with the decision, either Cosmo or the galaxy, he chose the galaxy. He clenched a fist to his chest as the knot became a burning cinder. Yes, just like the plant, Cosmo fulfilled her mother's mission, and just like the plant would soon, she died. All that she was had seemingly passed on, save for that little seed. But now, she was alive again, because of that seed.
But he still didn't know if she remembered any of what had happened or not. He shivered at the thought that she did remember. If she did remember, she surely would blame him for her death. It was his failure, his inability to plan for what had happened that caused everything to go wrong. His heart sunk into an icy depth. He needed to talk to her. But he was afraid...terrified of what she would say. While he considered, Sonic, blue as the sky, eyes the very picture of courage, and someone he hoped still considered him a friend, entered his mind in a characteristic zooming flash, his famous crescent grin sliding across his features as he threw an enthusiastic thumbs up. Sonic...What would you do? As if in answer, the image of Sonic made an assuring fist of challenge, deepened his grin, and dashed off into the unknown. Tails smiled, the burning knot vanishing almost as fast as Sonic himself. Yes...he would do what Sonic would do, and at least step up to brave through an uncertain future.
He was going to talk to Cosmo.
After cleaning himself up in the shower, and finally getting around to treating his burned foot, he went to check up on Cosmo. It had been an hour since she fell asleep, and he had no idea how long it would take her to fully recover. He cracked the door open and peered into her room. She was awake, and sitting up. She was staring at her hands, flexing them every so often, still trying, he thought, to remember the strength they had. Relieved, Tails closed the door behind him, and walked to the side of the bed. Cosmo acknowledged him with a smile, her aquamarine eyes shimmering in the dim light of the room. Taking a deep breath, he sat on the bed next to her, and she scooted away slightly to give him some room.
"How are you feeling, Cosmo?" He asked her, his eyes captured by hers.
"I'm feeling much better, thank you." She answered, voice no longer shaky or scratchy. She smiled at him again and cocked her head slightly. "How...have you been, Tails?"
Tails looked down to his bandaged foot. "Well...I've been busy."
"Oh?" She blinked. "Busy with what?"
"Mostly failed projects." He said, lifting the foot he had been staring at as an example of one failure.
"How...did that happen?" She asked, concern in her eyes.
"Well..." he began, hand holding his chin thinking as his brain began to work. "It was an attempt at a robotic assistant. You know, one that could help me build all of the stuff I make."
"Anyways..." Tails continued. "I worked on it for a few days. I thought for sure I was going to make it work. But..." he glanced at her. "The power supply I had used wasn't stable at all. I thought it was...The robot was kinda a culmination of two projects, one for an assistant, one for a power supply that doesn't use the Chaos Emeralds. Anyways, when I connected the power supply I was going to use to the central processing system and what was to be the power core, the robot started up at first and initialized its communication cicuitry, but then the power supply pushed an energy surge..." He trailed off. Cosmo's stare was starting to become dazed and blank. Tails nervously scratched the back of his head. "Sorry. Didn't mean to go nerd again."
Cosmo giggled at him. Tails looked back at his injured foot and sighed. This is what he missed, and he smiled at the thought that, at least one more time, he could have that back.
"Long story short, it overloaded, and then exploded." He said finishing his story about the robot. He reached down to rub his leg. "I don't know how Eggman does it. I got frustrated...and kicked the hot metal."
"And you hurt your foot." She tittered, watching as Tails scratched the back of his head again. "You ought to be more careful."
"Yeah..." he said, his voice beginning to grow solemn as he stared at the wall. As much as he missed interacting with her like this...this isn't what he wanted to talk about. He looked back at her and searched her eyes, as if trying to peer into her memory. Then, his expression abruptly changed as a deep frown came over the features of his face. He looked away from her, unsure of how to approach what he wanted to ask. Concerned, Cosmo leaned towards him, trying to look him in the eye again.
"Tails...what's wrong?" she asked.
Tails looked to the ceiling a moment, closed his eyes, and turned to her. His eyes opened and captured hers again. He seemed to pause a moment, unsure of how to answer. He swished a tail in front of him and hugged it tightly. Finally, he spoke, his voice low and somber.
"Cosmo...do you remember...everything?"
Cosmo's lips tightened. Her eyes went to one of her hands and narrowed sadly. She knew EXACTLY what he was talking about, without the need of further explanation. Clenching a fist and bringing it to her heart, she found Tails' eyes again and peered into them.
"Tails...I remember every single moment." she stated truthfully. Tails' features drooped as his heart crashed into that icy depth again. At the thought of that final battle...of that final trigger pull, his vision blurred with tears. Cosmo's own heart sank at the sight of him.
"C-Cosmo...I-I'm sorry..." Tails pushed out. His body seemed to clench.
"Tails..." She answered, her voice quivering.
"How can you possibly forgive me?" Tails cried at her. "It was all my fault..."
"It was my screwups...I should have planned better, I really should have...And...Sonic...and.." Tails' voice, just like his mind, seemed to be going everywhere at once except somewhere happy. His eyes burned, and tears were flooding as if to stop that fire.
"Tails." Cosmo's voice hardened slightly. Tears were forming in her eyes. This sight of Tails, so compressed emotionally, shocked her. He thought she would blame him? In just a short moment, they had gone from a conversation just like they would have so many times before on the Typhoon...to this, with Tails clenched so tight she worried he would burst. She had to try and snap him out of this. Seeing Tails so sad...it was hurting her.
"I-I killed you!" he blurted out, his tense body releasing all of his emotion at once as he threw his arms around her waist, causing her to gasp. "I pulled the trigger...I couldn't save you! I couldn't! H-how...I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"
"Tails." She said, her voice becoming granite. Blinking, Tails fell silent in an instant. His body quaking, he looked up at her. He had never heard her use that kind of hard tone before. Her eyes were watered and heavy. She took a deep breath.
"Tails...why do you think I would blame you?" Her voice went from granite to downy. "Tails, I don't understand..."
"Because..." Tails looked down again. "It was my screwup that..."
"Tails...Remember..." She said somberly. "Remember, I chose to give my life...It is what my mother would have done. I wanted it."
"But...but..." Tails stuttered. Cosmo took his hand.
"Tails...have you felt this way ever since I died?"
"Every day..." Tails avoided her eyes now. "Every day I blame myself...if only I could've done more..."
Cosmo shook her head. "Tails, do you remember what I said the day we were caught in the Metarex wormhole?"
Tails stared at the fabric of his bed. He could remember...he just didn't believe it anymore.
"I told you that I was honored to serve under you as captain. Because you're a great captain, Tails." She smiled at him with a warm, watery smile.
"Tails...Please, don't blame yourself. The Metarex were defeated. That's all that matters." Cosmo removed her mother's gem and began to examine it.
"I'm not important, Tails. If anyone should apologize, it's me...for causing you so much trouble and hurt."
Tails was briefly stricken dumb. How was he supposed to reply to that? He tried hard to search for words.
"Cosmo...Cosmo...you are important." Tails answered slowly as the words in his mind formed into an answer. "You're important to me..."
Cosmo smiled weakly. "And you are important to me, Tails. That's why...that's why I can't stand to see you like this."
"Cosmo...I'm sorry. I-I had no idea." Tails looked down. Cosmo set aside her mother's gem and gripped Tails' hand.
"Tails...I never blamed you." She said, smiling lovingly at him. "You shouldn't blame yourself, either. Tails...I want to see you like you were when you were the captain. I want the brave, happy Tails back."
"Cosmo...what should I do, then?" He said. "I really don't know..."
"I have an idea." She replied.
"What is it?" He asked. "I'll do anything..."
"Tails...I think...being around me...is hurting you right now." She said. "So I think...we need to be separate...at least for right now."
Tails' eyes flew open in shock. "What!?" he shouted. Cosmo bowed her hand in an attempt to calm him.
"Just for a little while! Please don't think I'm sending you away...or anything. I'm not!" She grabbed the jewel and brought it to her chest again.
"But..." Tails was tearing up again.
"I just think...that to get the old Tails back, you need to go out and find him. That's all."
"And I think...I may know a way for you to find him." She said, a smile cracking over the smooth features of her face.
"How?" Tails looked slightly puzzled.
"Sonic." She answered simply. "Spend time with Sonic the Hedgehog."
Tails frowned at her. Even after Amy's visit, he hadn't seen or heard from Sonic since they landed back on Mobius. He hadn't yet apologized to him. But Amy told him that she keeps in touch with him somehow. He was still kind of afraid to talk to him...but that wasn't what concerned him right at that second.
"But...I don't want to leave you here alone, Cosmo." He said, concerned. "You've still got that 'resurrection sickness'."
"No need to worry about that, young Tails." Sage's old, deep voice boomed behind him. Tails turned to him with a gasp, slightly startled. Sage bowed low as if to a king. "I shall look after and guard young Cosmo."
"You will?" Tails beamed.
"Have I not told you that I am a druid?" Sage answered with a smile as he righted himself. "I look after and protect the natural things in the world. The trees, the wildlife, the elements...Young Cosmo is an avatar of nature. That which I am called to protect, and nurture. I will guard young Cosmo with my life, and I shall see her well again."
"Tails...so now what will you do?" Cosmo asked. Tails looked to his injured foot.
"I guess...I go spend time with Sonic." He answered. Cosmo smiled at him.
"I'll wait for you, Tails. And please...if it helps you, remember. I'm not dead anymore. I'm alive...I'm really alive."
An hour later, Tails had packed numerous belongings and some food, helped in part by Sage, who had been gathering fruit in his absence. He bid farewell to Cosmo, standing aided by Sage, and spun his two tails around like a motor. He took flight, and set off with the destination of finding Sonic. Maybe Cosmo is right. He thought to himself. I only hope Sonic will help.