Chapter 41: Across All

I sat on the grass, staring up at the dimensions as stars, taking in all that had just happened. Voice's death, what they had said to me, the fact the two of us managed to save space itself.

"I care, huh?" I thought aloud, remembering what Voice had said. The more I pondered it, the more...comfortable, I felt. I don't know if what they said was justified, but after all the revelations I had in that one fight, that one nice idea of myself seemed to make all of my troubles become inconsequential.

For the first time, I was happy to be me.

"Voice, you helped me gain my self-confidence." I spoke, as I sat up. "So I can't be just sitting here. I have to make it back home, to the person who started it all, and is waiting for me."

I stood up, then walked over and picked up Voice's Badges and the Time Tuning Fork. As I held their signature weapon, it felt...empty. It seemed that all of the time manipulating magic inside of it vanished along with Voice. Well, at least nobody bad could use it now. I put all of them into my Hammerspace.

"But which way am I supposed to go now?" I wonder as I stare out at the seemingly endless expanse of field. "I wonder if the Paradox Pendant will work here?"

Before I could ponder further, a green portal opened up in front of me.

"That colour looks familiar." I nodded to myself as I walked through.

Sure enough, I popped out in a Subcon Forest, and find myself being greeted by a familiar Minion.

"You did it, Tie! You did it!" Sweetie cheered. "You really fixed it! You're incredible!"

"Thanks, Sweetie. I had a bit of help, though." I admitted.

"You're lucky I was able to find you. You flew pretty far across space and time." She told me.

"Yeah, thanks for finding me." I nodded. "Is Hat okay?"

"Yep! She won against Moustache, even when she was powered up by the Badge Voice gave her." The Minion looked contemplative despite not having a face. "I must admit, Voice was an enigma to me, until the very end. They jumped from dimension to dimension so frequently...were they really trying to revive all those lost people like that?"

"Were they?" I found myself thinking the same thing. Voice knew it was pointless ultimately, so why spend so much time dimension hopping when they could have spent more time with Moustache?

"Anyway, there's something important I need to tell you, Tie." Sweetie said. "After this, you and Hat are going to collect the Time Pieces, then head home, yes?"

"...Right." I nodded. My confidence in returning home had suddenly skyrocketed. "It's only right that I go back home. Not just because it's what Hat wants, but I truly want to see what's changed. I want to know they're all okay."

Sweetie giggled. "It seems like you've found the kind of person you are, Tie. Only after everybody else of course." She looked up at me.

"Tie, once you leave this planet, you will be out of the scope of the timelines here." She explained. "Your future will be completely unknown, not even manipulators of time above even Hat's level can predict what you will do or be capable of."

"...You really are a little scary, Sweetie." I told her.

"Heehee! I have a good Master, that's all." She smiled. "Anyway, once you return to Hat, the foreseeable end will be in front of you. So, I think you should take the time to make the best of this opportunity."

"Opportunity?" I echoed.

"You were flung into the boundaries outside of time and space. It's far more easier to travel out here, especially given that now this crisis is over, the walls between dimensions have fixed themselves."

"Does that mean we'll never be able to visit them again?"

"Don't worry Tie! Our space magic is so powerful we can jump between them no problem! There just won't be anymore slip-ups is all. In any case, you should have a little wander around. You've got all the time in the world, after all!"

Sweetie spun around for a moment, causing another green portal to open up.

I stare at it, then at her. "Hey, Sweetie...why do you help me so much? Is it because I helped stop that disaster?"

"Well, that's part of it." Sweetie admitted. "But I also have a lot more to thank you for, Tie. After all, without you, I wouldn't even exist."

"What? How so?" I question.

"Like Voice's theory that all those gone caused you to be born, you being alive, just being you and surviving all your struggles, allowed me to be created." She then posed cutely. "As for why...that's my little Sweetie secret!"

"...Y'know, maybe I don't mind how much my existence influences things anymore."

"Well, right now, it's done a lot of good. So go have a wander to prove it."

I looked at her, then looked at the portal. "Plenty of time." I nodded to myself as I leapt through.

I stepped out of the portal into...the ship?

'No, this is another version.' I realised as the portal behind me closed. 'So where is this?'

"The hell?! Who are you!?"

I jumped at the voice and spun around, but then pointed. "Hey! You're Crowbar!"

"What? 'Crowbar'? Really? Where the heck did you get that from?" The boy stared at me. "Do I... know you?"

"...Not really." I shook my head. He must've spotted me when I first appeared in Goat Village in his universe. "My name is Tie. Nice to meet you."

"'Tie', huh? Hmmm... Okay." He hadn't dropped that defensive stance. "How did you get in here? And by the way, my name is Arthur, not 'Crowbar'."

"Okay, fair enough." I shrug. "To answer your first question: help from a friend. I'm taking a few stops on my way home." I look around. "Is, Hat around?"

"She's resting in her room at the moment." Arthur muttered. "What do you want from her?"

"Oh uh, nothing." I said. Better that I didn't get too involved with other Hat's. "Don't worry, I'm not here to cause trouble or hurt anybody. Promise."

"Tch, sure." He huffed in disbelief. "Next thing you'll tell me is you just randomly popped into this ship like some kind of 100-year-old trained magician or through a portal?"

"...Something like that." He opened his mouth, seemingly to point out how absurd my response sounded, but for some reason, he decided against it and looked down... knowingly? I decided not to push it. I studied him closely, noticing his pale face, a scar on his cheek, and dark circles under his eyes. "You look like you've had it rough."

"What the hell do you mean by that?" He got defensive again.

"I'm saying I can see when somebody's had a rough life. Maybe I can't relate, but trust me, I know about having a bad past." I spoke carefully.

He seemed to be studying me for a moment, seeing if I had the tell-tale signs of sleepless nights and constant worries. My hair was definitely still unkempt, but now I was wondering if I still had that tired/annoyed look in my eyes I'd developed.

"I doubt you'd ever understand." He accused.

"Perhaps I can't understand what happened to you." I shrugged. "But I can understand the results, and what it does to you. How it makes you feel like if it would be better that you weren't around, or 'wrong' in comparison to everybody else. How much you bury it inside you and hold all of those thoughts until it hurts."

"Guess so..." Arthur mumbled. After a moment he seemed to soften. "You're really just here as a stop?"

"Mm-hm." I nodded.

"Alright." He sighed. "What do you want?"

"Nothing, really." I shrugged. "So, are you Hat's...assistant?"

"You can call it that, I guess."

We both took a seat on the beanbags.

"For someone who's had it 'rough' like me, you sure seem awfully okay." Arthur admitted.

"Fair enough." I nod as I allow myself to relax back in the bag. "I've recently finished a long journey. During it, I met a lot of different people, and in the end I realised I had a lot of people behind me. One of them, a friend, told me who I was. And I came to a realisation that helped me overcome all that self-doubt."

"Glad to hear you've got it all figured out." He sighed.

I looked at him. "But for the longest time, I really was in a dark place. Was the darkest I'd ever been halfway through it, actually. It took a lot of work, fighting, and acceptance to overcome it all. Even now, I think I've still got some bad thoughts I haven't shaken off yet. I could never have done it on my own."

Arthur seemed to think for a moment. "Don't know how I'll be able to do that. I don't know if I even can. I'm more focused on just getting to the goal of what me and Hat Kid are doing. And after that..." He got silent for a second. "I'm not really sure. I don't see the point of trying to fix myself up. Nor do I feel like I deserve it."

I looked out of the window, down at the planet. "Sometimes it's not up to you. Sometimes the people around you are the ones who take it upon themselves to slap some sense into you and get you to think about who you are. The important thing though is that if you see an opportunity to fix yourself up...even if it's a little, even if it's from somebody've got to take it.

Arthur also looked out. "...How will I know?"

"You'll know. Trust me." I assured him.

At that moment, the green portal reappeared.

"Ah, that must mean I'm moving on." I say as I get up.

"That thing?" Arthur pointed dumbly in shock.

"Yep." I walk backwards towards it as I talk to him. "Remember our talk, okay? There's nothing wrong with wanting to find happiness."

He shook himself out of his stupor. "Tie...who are you?"

I stop for a moment and smile. "Just a brat who cares." I then step through.

I landed cleanly on the other side. "Alright then, where's this?...Mafia Town?" Sure enough, as the portal closed behind me, the familiar area was all too apparent. I seemed to be on the town side rather then the beach side.

"Huh...this is the area back home where it all began for us." I began to feel nostalgic. "If that Mafia member hadn't SOMEHOW teleported up to our ship, we'd never have experienced everything here..."

"You doing okay there?"

I stopped, then spun on my heel to see a familiar hoodied guy. "Oh, it's…"

"Oh, uh, name's Markus." He chuckled. "Glad we could finally get that straight."

"Markus, huh?" I nodded. "Well, hello! You can call me Tie."

"I had a feeling." Markus said. "Have to say, wasn't quite expecting to run into you so soon, especially not in my world. What are you doing here? Did you get lost or something?"

"Uh...not really. I'm making a few stops on my way home."

"I see. You got a bit of time?"

"That's the whole reason I'm here, I guess."

The two of us took a seat on a bench, as Mafia members passed us by.

"Me and Hailey, we saw you, y'know." He said.

"Who?" I asked.

"Oh, right... she's the Hat Kid from here." I nodded. "Anyway, we saw you fighting. A massive hole opened up across the galaxy and we watched you battle."

"Really? That's embarrassing." I chuckled.

"So yeah, thanks for, uh, stopping space itself from... tearing itself apart, or whatever."

"No problem." I shrugged.

"But, about that, I've got to ask you a couple things." Markus looked down at me. "Hailey, and Moustache, they're gonna ask a LOT of questions. Think you can help me out?"

I looked at him, then stared out at the ocean. "Me and Hat...we had to stop Moustache from rewriting time."

"That sounds familiar."

"During the battle, Moustache broke all the Time Pieces, and we were thrown into a gap between time. Then, our attacks caused a rip to open up in space, which we fell into."

"Wow." He whistled. "That's... kinda crazy that your attacks could cause that much damage."

"Yeah, sorry."

"So, about that other...thing you were fighting?"

"Their name was Voice." I told him. "In my dimension, a lot of people tried to mess around with time, and they were erased from it entirely. All of them gave off a last cry before they vanished, and all those cries came together and became Voice." Looking at him, he didn't show any major reaction, just listened intently.

"Voice was born to somehow revive them, but that was impossible since they were entirely erased from time. Voice knew that. Yet they still tried everything they could think of anyway, because..." The more I talked about them, the more I thought, and I think I began to truly understand. "Because they felt guilty, that those people gave them life and they couldn't do anything to repay them."

There was a moment of silence.

"They were the one we heard, the one who called out to Moustache, right?" Markus asked.

I nodded. "I don't know the whole story, but Voice and Moustache were partners. I think they relied on each other, and they helped each other become better people. Maybe at the beginning Voice was just sticking to Moustache because they knew they would rewrite time, but I think they became genuine allies. I reckon...Voice wanted a friend, and Moustache needed one."

Another pause.

"That's a pretty sad story... I'm glad I have some answers for the girls now, though. Thanks, Tie." Markus mumbled.

"Her name is really Hailey?" I questioned. It sounded so...plain, in comparison to our real names.

"Hey, I gave it to her, and she likes it." He defended himself, "It seemed fitting."

"Why did you give her a name?"

"Uhmmm... well... y'see... it's... because I adopted her." Oh, well that made sen-

"WHAT!?" I shouted, catching the attention of all the Mafia members. "You-!?"

"Yeah... 'Round here, she's my daughter." He looked pretty uncomfortable, yet also happy at the same time.

He then frowned at me. "What's with the look?"

"I just...can't picture that." I mumbled, trying and failing to hide my confused face. "How in space did that happen?"

"Long story. It happened pretty recently." He admitted. "I'm kinda new to this."

"Heh. Good luck. She's a handful."

He snorted.

"TRUST me, I know. If I had a pon for every time she's driven me up the wall I'd have enough to buy Dead Bird Studio."

I couldn't help but laugh at how accurate that was.

"What about you? I'm guessing your Hat Kid drives you insane, too."

"That's an understatement. I don't know how Hat survived without me." I sighed. "I did all the cooking, cleaning, feeding Roombi…"

"Sounds to me like you just liked helping her."

I stared at him as he gave me a knowing smile, then I conceded. "Yeah, probably."

He laughed. "You're a good kid, Tie."

"Thanks. But don't call me a kid."

"Sorry, force of habit. But you kinda are one, though," He looked at me. "But hey, it's okay to admit you're worried, or you don't know what to do. People will help you."

I blinked. "Voice said, that I'm the kind of person that people would want to help. It took getting hit with their strongest attack for me to understand what they meant."

"I believe it." Markus nodded. "Even if your family is small, or gone, or distant, you can have a lot of friends behind you instead."

"...Well, I think 'Hailey' is happy she's got you for family. She needs it." I smirked. "Plus, I can call you 'Hailey's old man'."

"Oh GOD, no." He laughed, then stopped. "I think Moustache will be happy to know she had at least one friend supporting her. Even if they never really cared about our dimensions version."

"Actually..." I pondered for a moment. "A friend of mine told me Voice went dimension hopping before our final battle. They knew a lot about other dimensions. Maybe...they were checking in on all the other Moustaches they could. Making sure they were doing alright."

"I reckon Moustache will like that." Markus nodded, "Although I guess he never stopped here, cause I think a friend of mine would've noticed and told me."

Oh, he has a friend that knows dimension things too? Well, it makes sense.

At that moment, the green portal opened up in front of us.

"Ah, that's my ride." I jumped off the bench. "Hope I gave you the answers you needed."

"You're a big help. Always." Markus agreed.

I took a few steps, then turned to him. "You, Hailey and Moustache will do fine, Markus."

"So will you, Tie."

I waved to him, as I left.

This time I found myself in Nyakuza Metro, judging by the dark alleys and neon signs of fish and cats all over the place. More importantly though, I found myself in front of a group that was both new and familiar.

"Somebody came through!" The Bow from this dimension pointed at me.

"Zephyr doesn't like it." A tall man hissed. "It's magic is potent."

"I'll protect Mama!" A young boy around my size, but not the same race, declared.

"Everyone, relax." The final person calmed them. "He's a friend."

I smiled as I walked up to her, the other three being more apprehensive. "Hi, Julia."

"Hello, Tie." She smiled. "You look happier."

"Do I?" I thought aloud. "You look better then last time, too."

"Yeah. Thanks for the help."

The two of us reached out, and finally shook hands.

"Nice to finally meet you in person." Julia laughed.

"Mm-hm!" I beamed.

"Hold on, hold on." Bow cried as she stared at us. "Mind introducing us, Julia?"

"Sorry. This is Tie." Julia introduced me. "He's my friend from another dimension. We've been helping each other out from time to time."

"He helped Mama?" The boy stared at me.

"Ah, Zephyr remembers." The man nodded. "That boy from when you came back."

"Uh, hello." I shrank a little from the small crowd.

"Everything alright?" Julia prompted me.

"Uh, yes, for once." I nodded. "I just finished fighting a long battle, and now I'm on my way home to my own time and dimension. I'm taking a few stops along the way, though."

"Did you come to see me?"

"I didn't know where I'd end up, but I was hoping."

"Well then, allow me to introduce you." Julia brought the boy over. "This is my son, Kero."

"Hello." He waved at me.

"Uh...Hi." I waved back. Geez, Julia had a son? That along with Markus adopting Hailey was a lot to take in. He reminded me a little of Knit though.

"And this..." She had to drag the man over. "Is Zephyr. Right now at least. He has a lot of problems, but he's trying to be better."

"Trying very hard." He emphasised, as I just waved.

"And this is Bonnie. A friend of Melody's." This worlds Bow stepped forward.

"Heh, where I come from, you're Bow." I smiled.

"Hold on, there's another me?" Bonnie groaned. "Don't tell me I've got to get a grip on space theory as well as time! Is there a 'Tie' back home I should be worried about?"

"I think there's only one Tie." Julia said.

"And there isn't a Julia in my dimension." I agreed.

"Anomalies." Zephyr spoke up. "Unique elements to each dimension. Julia is ours. Tie is his."

"How did you two meet?" Kero asked innocently.

"For me, it started when I was returning here. I saw him when I was riding back." Julia told him.

"It's a bit more complicated for me." I admitted. "When I was younger, I was in a really bad place. Then I suddenly had the idea that Julia existed, and her accomplishments. Maybe it was some cross-dimensional dream or something, but it was enough for me to continue living."

"That's too much for me to understand." Bonnie grumbled.

"After that we kept on seeing each other. Usually when we were down about something." Julia sighed.

"My fault, I think. The battle I had did a lot of damage to the dimensional walls, which I think explains why they've been so weak lately. Thankfully we managed to rewind it." I told them.

"Very dangerous." Zephyr hissed at me.

"No more dangerous then Melody or me." Julia half-joked, half-comforted him.

"I don't really understand all of it." Kero spoke up. "Your Mama's friend though, that's enough."

"I'm gonna have to let Melody know about all this." Bonnie said. "And the CEO as well..."

"The CEO of Time is in this dimension?" I gasped. "Hey, you have to make sure he doesn't try to control time!"

"What? He regulates time! Why would he do that? What's with that worried tone? Do you know something?" Bonnie pressed.

"It's, a long story..." I backed off.

"Do you have time?" I turned to Julia. "That's what you've wanted, right? Time to talk."

I continued staring, then looked down at the ground and nodded sheepishly. "Yes."

She smiled. "We were just about to grab some lunch. Wanna join us so we can talk?"

"...I'd really like that." I agreed.

"Come on then, everyone." Julia offered, as we all began walking.

We found a spot to sit down with some Nyakuza food, and just, finally, talk. No looming threats, nobody in danger, just talk. We talked about what we each did in each area of this planet, how we had grown as people, our relationships with all the people here, how we found a home, our magic and abilities, our hardships and our joys. I told her about Knit and Voice and Sweetie. She told me about Gabriele and Kero and Zephyr/Allen. It was everything I wanted.

And yet, there was something beneath everything. A feeling of unease, border lining on sickening sadness. At this point I knew when someone was feeling awful, like a sixth sense, and the fact that nobody else apart from me was acting quiet or uneasy, I think it was only the two of us; me and Julia. And the more I felt it, the more horrified I felt at knowing what this feeling was.

I hid the terror I was feeling as expertly as I always had, and tried to just enjoy being in the comfort of the small group. But it wouldn't go away. Even when we finished, walked for a bit, and the green portal reappeared ahead.

"I think that's for you." Julia nodded.

"Yeah." I agreed.

I took a few steps forward, then turned around to face them all. "Kero, Bonnie, Zephyr...Julia...thank you for putting up with me."

"'Putting up with'? Wow, still shaking off that pessimism." Bonnie sighed as she walked up to me and playfully punched my shoulder. "Thanks for all the stories! And hey, if other me is ever mean to you again, you have my permission to punch her!"

"I wouldn't go that far." I said.

"We're all friends now!" Kero cheered. "Can I come visit you sometime? I wanna meet everyone!"

"Everyone on our crew would love to meet you, Kero. Trust me." I told him.

"Zephyr...still doesn't like you." He muttered, then gave off a smile. "But I'm sure Allen does."

"Give him my best regards, then." I told him.

Julia stepped forward. "After everything you've told us, I reckon you're going to be more then fine."

"I think I will be, too." I nodded. "I'm glad I finally got to know you."

"Same." She smiled. "You should be really proud of yourself."

"Thank you." I nodded slowly. "So should you. For everything you've done for everyone, and for me."

"I haven't done much." She laughed lightly.

"You've been you. That's enough."

"It goes for you too, then."

This felt too bittersweet. Because it felt like this would be the last time I would ever talk to her. Was this enough? I didn't think there was anything more I wanted to say to her, to tell her, but the thought that this might be the last caused a knot to form in my stomach. But I didn't want to ruin it. So I mustered my strength and...

"...Goodbye, Julia..." I whispered.

"...Bye, Tie..."

I turned and began walking towards the portal. This was for the best. I didn't want to leave on a sour note, especially if she didn't want the others knowing. I finally got to know her, so this WAS for the best, right? I just had to swallow my sadness and-

"Hey, Tie."

I stopped, and turned, as Julia ran up to me, knelt down to face me, and placed a hand on my head.

"You're part of the family too." She told me.

I froze. Then my eyes filled with tears as I hugged her, and she hugged me back. It was such a simple thing to say, yet it made me completely crumble to see that someone was willing to call me family.

"I'll never forget you, Julia." I whimpered.

"We'll always be here for you, Tie." She told me.

We broke away, and I wiped away my tears to smile at her, before I went back into the portal.

I found myself back in Subcon with Sweetie.

"Did you enjoy your trip?" She asked.

"Yeah..." I nodded as I stared off. "It's a big multiverse. And I thought space was huge."

"It can be a bit overwhelming." Sweetie agreed. "Do you know what I do? I always remind myself, that I have a home to return to. No matter how far I go."

"That's a nice thought." I nodded in agreement as I stared up at the sky. "I'm really, really happy I got to meet them all. Knowing I have so many people on my side is heartening, and that I do care about all of them. But most importantly, I know where my place is. I know who I am."

"...I have one more place in mind." Sweetie said as she created another portal. "This one's special. So you have to promise me not to go making a mess of things."

"I promise." I nodded, as I stared at it.

"Tie." I looked at the Minion. "You know how I told you that once you leave the planet, you'll be an anomaly? This may be the last time we ever meet, because of that."

"Really?" I turned to her. "I hope not. I care about you too."

Since she didn't have a face I couldn't tell, but it looked like she was getting emotional. "Me too. That's who you are...that's why I'm really happy it's you that was born into this world. So if this really is the last time, just remember..." She seemed to sniffle, then nod. "You are loved. Very much. By many."

"I know now." I nodded. "Sweetie...I'm happy you were born too. And I know you are loved as well."

She seemed to smile at that.

With that, I walked through the last portal.

As I once more landed, I looked around.

"I know this place..."

I was in a forest of trees at night, much more calmer and serene then Subcon, with bluebells growing around.

This was a field on our home planet.

"Why here?" I wondered aloud, as I walked through, but then stopped before I could exit the foliage.

Ahead was a grassy hill, leading up to a perfect spot that the moon was hanging over, as countless stars dotted all around it.

And sitting on the top of the hill was a boy. Sad and alone, with nowhere to call home, clutching a yo-yo which was the only thing that brought him any happiness, and wearing a tie with a smiley face drawn on it as a substitute for a friend.

He was sitting there, staring up at the moon, wondering why he was born. What his purpose was. If there was a place for him, and if he even deserved it. He just wanted to know, if he deserved to live.

Then there was the sounds of footsteps. A girl, wearing a cape and a top hat, was walking up the hill with an eager look on her face, until she was right next to him.


The boy flinched at her seemingly sudden appearance, then stared fearfully at her.

"Wh-Who are you?" The boy gasped.

She told him her name.

"What's yours?"

There was silence. The boy could not comprehend what was happening. He stared at her hopeful eyes, trying to find that fear or worry hidden under the smile. But he couldn't for now, so better to entertain her.

He told her his name.

"That's a nice name." She smiled.

The boy could only stare at her. "Do you...really not know?"

"Know what?"

"Who I am." The boy looked away shamefully. "What I am. What I do."

"I know." The girl nodded. "You're kinda infamous, y'know."

"Then you should leave me alone." The boy stood up, and made to walk away. "Otherwise you'll get hurt too."

But the girl ran around to the front of him, cutting him off as she continued to smile at him. "I actually came here to find you. I've wanted to meet you."

The boy stared at her in confusion, then looked away. "No you don't. You think you do, but you don't."

"Why is that?" She asked curiously.

The boy looked at her, then bit his lip. "Everybody...everybody hates me. I can't do anything right. All I do is make everybody sad. I'm...I'm wrong. Why can't I be like everybody else?" He squeezed his own arm hard enough to hurt. "Nobody wants me, and I don't want to hurt anybody. It's better if I'm all alone...but it still hurts...and...and I don't know what to do anymore!"

After a moment, he realised the girl had lost her smile, and tears were running down her face.

"See?" He stared at the ground in shame. "All I do is make people miserable. I don't want to, I swear! But I'm a monster, who hurts everything I touch. That's why you should leave me alone."

"Yes, I am sad." The girl admitted, as she wiped away her tears. "But...this is amazing."

The boy wasn't sure he heard her correctly. "What?"

"This sadness. Sure it hurts, it makes me feel heavy, in a way. But, I feel sad because of what you told me, because of how you feel. And now I understand how you feel." She sniffled, then smiled again. "I understand now. What it's like to be sad. Maybe it does hurt. But thanks to it, I feel I could truly empathise with you, and knew that what you told me affected me. This feeling, I don't know how to describe just felt really good to cry for the first time."

He just stared at her. He actually couldn't comprehend it. Nobody had ever reacted to him like that before. Usually they would just cry and run away, or call him Misery. Nobody had ever...appreciated what he did to them.

"And now that I feel better again, I can appreciate being happy even more." She nodded. "You feel sad all the time though, don't you? Feeling like that all the wonder you're so hurt. Welp, I'd better return the favour!"

"Huh?" The boy blinked as the girl took his hands in hers.

"You gave me some sadness, so let me give you some happiness! Wheeee!" She then proceeded to spin the both of them around in a circle.

The boy was trying to comprehend what was happening. He was being spun around, yes, but who was this girl? Why was she being so nice to him, even after he hurt her? He couldn't understand it. He had to admit though, it felt nice to have somebody holding his hand again...even if he was getting dizzy...

The two children eventually stopped and collapsed onto the grass.

"Woooah...spun too much..." The girl laughed, then looked at him. "I don't think you enjoyed that, though. Sorry."

"...Why are you being nice to me?" Was all he could ask.

"Uhhhhh, I gotta admit I have ulterior motives." She said, which made him begin to worry. "Look up there."

The pair stared up, at the endless black sky illuminated by the moon and stars, the endless expanse of space and galaxies stretching out beyond their line of sight.

"I'm going to be heading out there." The girl beamed with pride. "I was originally going to go on my own. Then I heard about you, and I decided." They looked at each other as her grin grew impossibly wide. "I want you to come with me!"

"Huh!?" The boy actually gasped, not expecting that at all. "What did you say!? Why in space do you want me of all people to come with you? Don't you know who I am? What I do?"

"'Course I do, silly!" She laughed. "I've decided, that it has to be you, and nobody else. Know why?"

He just dumbly shook his head.

"It's because you ARE so different." The girl said. "So different from everybody else, me included. That means we're going to experience things differently. We'll be happy and sad and even maybe a little pouty about every little thing we'll encounter, but our two times will be unique! Instead of getting down about the same things, we'll be able to help each other out, and be able to see other sides of so many things. To be able to experience as much as we can, together, that's the kind of journey I want!"

She jumped to her feet. "It has to be you, because YOU'RE you."

The boy just sat up and stared at her. She wanted him, because of who he was. Because of what everybody else hated. He thought it was impossible, but he finally found somebody who wanted him.

"I'm sure we'll find a place you love out there. Together."

She offered him her hand. "Will you come with me?"

He looked at her outstretched hand. Wanting him to be by her side. And in that moment he knew. He wanted to be by her side too. He wanted to help her however he could, and stay beside the person who actually made him happy.

"Yes...!" He whimpered with tears in his eyes as he took her hand. "Please take me with you!"

"Alright!" She cheered as she pulled him to his feet. "Let's go and have an adventure together!"

I watched as the girl dragged the boy away across the grassy fields.

'You really did drag me into it.' I thought with a smile. 'It's because of your willingness to learn and understand, that we had such an amazing, but also painful and bumpy, time together. But more then that, you saved my life. And now I truly understand the good you saw in me today. So I promise, I will show you how much you have done for me, and how you helped me become the person you always knew I was.'

I took the Paradox Pendant out and put it on. 'No matter how far in time or space. I'll make my way to MY home. Next to you.'

Clutching the pendant in both hands, the wind began to pick up, and the air crackled, as I focused, on this moment, and everything else we did, that lead up until now.

A star shaped pink portal exploded into life ahead of me, unleashing a strong gale that made me dig my heels in. It was strong, possibly because of the situation of where I was aiming, but I used all my strength, to begin walking towards it.

'I'll never forget...' Slow, deliberate steps, closer and closer. 'How much all of you believed in me. It's thanks to you I understand and appreciate who I am now. I care about everyone, because you all give me a reason to. Even everyone here at home, because you truly are good people. Now, I can say, I'm happy to be me.'

As I got closer, it became more and more difficult to resist the push. I was so close, but I was deadlocked against it.

When suddenly, a familiar face appeared in it, and reached a hand through.



I reached out, and took her hand, and she pulled me though.

The two of us collapsed onto the throne room of Moustache's castle, tumbling around for a moment before finally laying down, staring up at the ceiling. I was back.


I don't know why, but I began laughing. Maybe it was all the relief, but I just laughed. I laughed until I had tears in my eyes, the most genuine, soulful laugh I ever had.

"Who are you and what have you done with Tie?" Hat asked.

"Hahahahaha...haha...s-sorry..." I wiped my eyes. "I don't know what came over m-"

I was interrupted as Hat suddenly hugged me. "Don't you ever worry me like that again! I really thought you were gone for a moment..."

I just smiled softly as I returned the hug. "You gave me an order. I always follow through."

We broke the hug so I could see her pouting at me with teary eyes. "So you won, right?"

"Of course I did." I assured her. "But Voice..."

Hat looked at me sadly, then at an unconscious Moustache. "She won't be happy when she wakes up. For now though, we'd better put things right."

I looked up at the big ball of Time Pieces hovering above the thrones. As Hat made her way towards it, I felt like I should say something to her.

"Tie..." But she beat me to the punch as she stopped, and held her hands behind her back. "Thinking that I might not see you again got me thinking. This journey of ours wouldn't have nearly been as fun if you weren't there with me. I secretly enjoyed all the times you got annoyed at me, or when we would love different things, because it meant my wish for my adventure was coming true."

"Before I knew it, I felt like I could rely on you for anything. Maybe that was selfish of me, and I didn't understand your true feelings about yourself." She squeezed her hands together. "But you were always helping me, 'cause maybe you thought you owed me something for taking you with me? But you just being with me, helping me, has been more then I ever needed. I enjoyed myself because you were there by my side. My best friend."

She turned to me with a smile on her face. "Thank you, Tie. For everything."

I looked at her, then chuckled, as I walked up to her. "Aw, you beat me to it. I wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for you. When we set out together, I wanted to be the most reliable, toughest guy you could have. So I built myself up into what I thought was the 'best me'...but it also made me become a bit more gloomy and irritable, yet at the same time it's thanks to me we managed to avoid so many bad situations."

Hat giggled sheepishly at that as I continued. "I've been able to see so many unimaginable things and explore what I wanted to be, thanks to this journey. In the end, I just want to help you. That makes me happiest. And it's not just because you saved me that day. It's because you are cheerful, kind, and accepting. That was what made YOU unique. Willing to accept my sorrow and anger. That was all I needed to be saved."

I smiled back. "Thank you, for being my first ever friend, Hat."

We hugged once more.

Hat just kind of stared at me, then squished my face. "You should smile more."

"I'll keep that in mind." I chuckled as she released me.

"Let's fix this." We nodded, as we both went up to the big ball of Time Pieces, and held it up.

"Together." Hat said.

"Together." I agreed.

The Time Pieces glowed, and everything was enveloped in a white, blinding light.

With this, we only have one chapter left. Sorry for the delay on this one, caused by a mix of university work and collaborative efforts. And maybe also a bit of apprehension at the thought of this story ending after so long.

Anyway, this chapter was meant to be a big thanks to all the friends who have supported this story, by having Tie have a moment with each of their OC's. But, just so that this wasn't just for my own satisfaction, there's some character significance to this chapter too, and not just the final moments.

With Arthur, Tie is the greater. He's gotten further then Arthur and overcame his trauma, whilst Arthur has yet to do so. In this situation Tie is the experienced mentor and comforter.

With Markus, the two are equals. Both of them have recovered the Time Pieces, grown as people, and re-evaluated their relationships to their respective Hat Kids. They simply acknowledge and congratulate each other whilst assuring themselves that everything will turn out alright.

With Julia, Tie is the lesser. Not only has she reached her own 'end' with Hat, she has made bigger choices and found a place on the planet, done much more beyond the ending of 'AHiT' as an adult. Tie has yet to do so, he is still a child who admires her greatly and has no idea how his own future will turn out. He needed to finally know Julia to accept the good parts of his own life.

So now, I suppose we come to the final question: What has been your favourite moment in this story? Whether it's a fight, a character interaction, or just one moment.

Next Time: Tie and Hat bid farewell to the planet. And we bid farewell to Tie and Hat.