AN: Happy 28th anniversary Sonic. Sorry I'm putting you through drama again. I swear it wasn't my intention, it just happened.

Also, for readers of the FRtR saga, this takes place before Broken and Fragile, though this can be it's own stand alone peice. Enjoy!


~Isolation~

Tails knew Sonic liked birthdays. And after the absolute disaster that was Eggman's latest plot to take over the world (and nearly succeeded), Tails was more than happy to organize a joyous activity to take everyone's minds off of the rebuilding they had to do. It wasn't a big party, and the resistance base location wasn't ideal, but it was the least he could do on such short notice.

But as Tails' gaze flicked over the guests that had managed to attend, mingling and chatting amongst themselves while eating cake, he frowned realizing he didn't see Sonic anywhere. Come to think of it, when was the last time he'd seen his big brother? When they sang happy birthday? That had been half an hour ago...

Concerned, Tails slipped away from the party and began wandering down the hallways of the base that had been his home for five months. Five, lonely months of thinking Sonic was dead and that it was all his fault. He was thankful that Amy and Knuckles had found him when they did or else... he didn't want to think about what he would have done. That month between Sonic being captured and rejoining his friends was a dark splotch in Tails' mind, one he didn't like looking back on. He vowed to himself that he'd never go to that low of a place again.

Room after darkened room Tails passed by, and with each one came a growing feeling of unease deep in his gut. Where was he?

It wasn't until he saw the door to the stairs leading up to the roof cracked open slightly did Tails relax somewhat. He should have guessed Sonic would be up on the roof. Ascending the metal stairs that made a sound with each step he stepped out onto the flat roof... and found Sonic sitting on the edge with his plate of cake, blankly staring at the setting sun. To Tails, it looked like Sonic didn't even know he was there.

Tails carefully made his way over to Sonic, not wanting to startle him. Sonic's ears swiveled as he approached but he didn't look up when Tails took a seat next to him, instead, he kept pushing his slice of cake around his plate, the one with the '20th' scrawled across it in blue icing, courtesy of Cream. Eventually Sonic glanced at Tails with a bit of a sheepish smile.

"I guess... I've been gone a while for you to come looking for me, huh?"

After receiving the confirming nod, Sonic sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "I know you put together this party an' I'm really grateful for it, but I guess I'm just not in the partyin' mood. I'm sorry."

Tails shook his head. "Don't apologize. It's been a rough year on all of us."

Sonic's eyes dulled and he pushed his cake around some more, smearing icing across the plate. "Yeah..."

Tails stole a glance at Sonic, anxiety rooting itself in his stomach again. He knew that Sonic had been suffering from nightmares about what he'd gone through on the Death Egg, and while he knew about the torture Sonic had endured he'd never gone into full detail about it. It stung, knowing that Sonic was suffering and he wasn't being entirely truthful to him, his best friend. Was he trying to protect him thinking he couldn't handle the proper truth? Or had what he'd gone through been so scarring that he preferred to not think about it? Both scenarios were equally as disturbing to Tails, about as disturbing as Sonic's demeanour had been in the almost half a year since the war ended. Sonic was quieter now, like his entire personality had been scrubbed with an eraser, leaving a faint trace of what had originally been there.

It broke Tails' heart to see him like this.

"We should get back to the party."

Sonic's voice startled Tails and he watched as Sonic stood, extending his free hand to Tails. And while Sonic was smiling, Tails could clearly see the pain in his eyes, masked behind the facade of cheerfulness.

With a heavy heart and nothing resolved, Tails took Sonic's hand. "Okay."