It was a stormy day on N. Sanity Island. The clouds were low above head and the rain was coming down hard. There was no lightning or thunder, just rain and wind. Coco Bandicoot looked outside of her home, seeing the gloomy weather. She sighed sadly. It had been raining badly for the past week and Coco was starting to get cabin fever. She turned to her cousin, Crunch Bandicoot, and their father figure and protector of the islands, Aku-Aku.

"It's still raining!" The girl bandicoot groaned out of boredom.

"Oh would you relax? The rain will let up eventually and we get to drive our new karts around!" Crunch told her, optimistically.

The bandicoots had been organizing a little event that was open to everyone: a kart race. Competitors were coming from all over just to see the tracks alone. Even the world famous racing star, Isabella, was planning to attend. Coco saw her cousin's slight blush, despite his rather dark fur color.

"Oh you just want to have face time with Liz." She teased.

Crunch blushed harder, a bit more red this time. "How dare you! I'm just excited to hear one of her new songs in person, that's all!"

Coco narrowed her gaze a bit, wanting to tease him more but Aku-Aku broke them up. "Alright, that's enough you two. Don't want to wear yourselves out before the big day tomorrow." He advised.

The girl bandicoot turned to the window, frowning at the rain. "If it doesn't keep raining that is... I really wanted to take a drive out at Coco Park." She grumbled.

"Well that will have to wait I'm afraid." Aku-Aku stated.

Coco turned back to the magical mask and nodded. She looked around, seeing that her brother was no where in sight. This got her slightly worried. "Uh... Where's Crash?" She asked.

"I think he went to the store in town to get something for tomorrow's race." Aku-Aku replied.

Coco frowned. That was unexpected. She knew that her brother was getting cabin fever too but she had wished that he stayed home. She sighed, walking over to a picture that was taken recently. It was of her brother, Crash, the 'bad guy' Dr. Neo Cortex, and his niece, Nina Cortex. Crash was in the middle of the two, giving them both bone crushing side hugs. Nina looked annoyed, gasping for air. Cortex's expression was...unreadable. The picture was taken after the trio had teamed up together to defeat the Evil Twins about five months ago. She thought with a small nervous frown, 'Then again, after what happened... He's probably nervous about if he is coming or not...'

...

Five Months Ago

The camera had finished taking the photo. Crash walked over to the camera, palming it gently. He turned to Cortex and Nina, his eyes more on Cortex. The awkward silence was broken by Cortex, whom had spoken first.

"What?" He asked, a bit annoyed.

Crash pouted sadly, whimpering like a puppy that wanted attention. Nina was the first to pick up on this. "I think he's worried about us. Or more specifically, you." Nina commented.

Cortex looked at his niece, as if she was crazy. There was no way that Crash could be worried about... His worst fears had been realized when Crash hugged Nina rather tightly. Nina protested, though her protests fell on deaf ears. Cortex looked at the two of them. He had to admit, he was worried too. Now that was clear that he was starting to follow the path to good, he knew it meant a high price for them. At that moment, Crash's family came over to them. Aku-Aku was even there but thankfully, he was alone. Cortex wasn't in the mood to deal with Uka-Uka right now.

"So... what will happen now?" The magical mask asked Cortex.

He looked at the magical mask and admitted a bit too quietly, "I was...going to ask you the same question."

"I will admit, if we had you two on our side, it would bring my brother's forces down greatly." Aku-Aku stated.

"I'm kind of surprised that you still consider me a threat." Cortex slightly teased.

"I did but now I see you as a lost soul to my brother's malice. And I ask you to forgive me for telling him to send you to the Evil Twins." Aku-Aku apologized.

Cortex couldn't believe his ears. "I'm sorry... did you just apologize to me? I thought after all of this time I would have to apologize to you." He replied.

That's when Coco stomped up to the evil scientist. Granted, she didn't think he was that evil in the first place. "Crash may have forgiven you but you do have me to apologize to." Coco hissed. Crunch held her back, much to Cortex's relief. "Crunch!" She protested.

Cortex was thankful to Crunch, turning his attention back towards Crash. He still had a worried look on his face. Cortex gulped down a bit of nerves before hugging the orange creature. Crash was surprised at first but returned the hug. Eventually, Cortex let go of Crash, a bit reluctantly.

He finally answered the elephant in the room, "I don't know if I am ready to be good. But I know that I'm not evil anymore. And I don't want to return to Uka-Uka either until I know."

"So where are you going to go? And what about me, Uncle?" Nina asked, a bit worried.

Cortex went over to his niece, placing a hand on her shoulder. With sadness in his voice he answered, "You have a strong head on your shoulders... so much like your mother... So I'm going home for awhile to see her. You are more than welcomed to come or stay."

"But my brother... he might find you... or destroy you." Aku-Aku warned.

"He'll have to catch me first." Cortex told the magical mask. His eyes turned to Crash as he waved farewell. "So long Crash Bandicoot..."

...

Present Day

Crash had made it to the sight where they all last saw Cortex and Nina. He sighed sadly, his eyes looking out to the horizon. He didn't know if Cortex was returning or not but he hoped, that at least for his sake, he was safe.

"Cortex... until we meet again..." He whispered.

...

Wishmaker1028: Alright there we have it! Chapter 1 is done! Now, regarding timeline questions, this story will be taking place after TwinSanity. None of the story line from Crash Nitro Kart or Crash Tag Team Racing has taken place yet. And for those of you that are curious, during the five month gap, Coco developed a small microchip implanted on the back of Crash's neck so he can talk. Hope you all enjoyed! Please read and review! And always think outside of the box!