All the questions will be answered now..! I hope.
"What?! What did you do to me?!" said the fox upon seeing the triangle-shaped gem on his chest –with a little curve on top to match with his fur pattern-.
"I haven't done anything that you have not already done," the jackal's voice was a whole lot different now that he was without his mask; it was a firm voice but definitely not threatening or menacing "Everything you're currently seeing is the only thing that's real".
"What do you mean?"
"What do I mean? All these locations changes, family you've never seen… That plant friend of yours, you didn't really- you don't remember anything? Sunset Heights..? Something happened there".
"It did, but… what are you trying to imply? And why should I believe you?"
"You really are in denial aren't you? Guess being a hotel manager didn't even ring a bell… Think, fox, think! I know you aren't stupid and you know and you know this place isn't what you want it to be, if you don't believe me then can you believe that stone in your chest".
"You're the one doing this".
"I'm the one doing what?" he sighed "Fine, if you don't care about what I have to say so be it… but pay attention to what I can show you, if you allow me" Infinite slowly approached Tails reaching out with one hand to the ruby something that the fox refused to backing up but after an exchange of stares –with a glimpse of fear from his part- he allowed the jackal to gently tap the gem.
In just a few seconds the entire environment changed, no more palm trees, no more grass and no sunlight either, instead, they found themselves in a dark room of an obvious house with a window that indicated them that it was nighttime.
"What is this place? What are we doing now?" asked Tails.
"I don't know".
"What? How can you not-"
"I know what I'm doing! But it should be you who knows what this place is".
Before Tails could reply they both heard some muffled shouting coming from the outside of the rom, it sounded like a heated argument between two people, male and female to be precise, due to their muffed discussion, neither could make out what they were discussing about, they looked at the room they were in as a reaction and only found standard room things you would find in an average room… just like any other room. Except for a cradle that told them 'yes, this is a baby's room'.
Tails slowly approached the bed to see if there was someone there and right before he could check it, the door opened which spooked him for a second before realizing who they were.
"Mom?" he soon found that they were just spectators as the fox lady didn't pay attention to any of the 'intruders'. Her mom then gently picked up the baby that was currently resting while wiping away one tear, sitting on a chair that was nearby.
It was here that everything hit Tails like a truck to the point that he wasn't paying attention to Infinite, this was his house, his original home, the baby was him and that meant that the male voice he heard before was probably his father. A thought that made him want to leave the room immediately, it was tempting, yes, but the sight of his mother was more than enough to make him say to stay… It was just simply an amazing shot, watching his mom hold 'him' in her arms was just indescribable for him and he didn't wanted to miss this moment.
Especially when an unexpected lullaby started.
"So let's go back in time, to another world" she sung softly caressing her baby while singing with a voice just as beautiful as her looks "Where we'll be alright, and we don't have to worry, if you're by my side, there's nothing I don't know-".
"There's nothing to decide," Tails silently followed the lyrics, he knew that little tune ages ago not knowing where it came from "Apart from where we want to go-".
"Take me there, take anywhere you want to go, to a place that we both know… if you're here, there is nothing left for us to feel" She finished her song placing back her sleeping son back in the bed wiping her tears again with Tails not being able to do anything but watch.
"Mom?" he asked with no reply as he watched her leaving with her mom taking one last look at the bed with a sign of sorrow before she closed the door "Mom!" Tails rushed to the door in an attempt to follow her but at the end he got jump-scared when he opened it by none other than Infinite.
"I'm afraid you can't go after her" he said straightforward.
"Where is she?!"
"How could I know? These are not my memories let alone my life".
"Why are you doing this?!"
"Because you need to remember fox," he said as if he was waiting for that question "You need to remember everything… And if I recall correctly this is the place where you met that hedgehog, well, not this place but you understand, so why don't we go to a place with happier memories?"
He was going to tap the ruby in Tails' but this time the fox refused, even blocking it.
"Really? I don't show any signs of harming you, I take off my mask and you still don't trust me? And this memory… it's not like you didn't liked it, it's not like you don't want to thank me".
After a few seconds of thought, Tails let the jackal do his thing looking down in defeat but still doubting with Infinite hiding a smirk and 'doing his thing'.
The scenery smoothly changed all around once again now getting rid of the dark room and instead into the open of a city in the broad daylight which caused some eye adjustment but once they adjusted the place they were clear as water.
"Station Square? Why are we-" his unfinished question became answered as a giant four-legged mech landed from the sky in the middle of the street instantly remembering what this moment was, it was that day where he saved Station Square from that Eggman's missile and subsequently fight against the doctor himself. He could see his past self in the distance getting ready to fight and watching him 'not being scared' brought a smile to Tails' face, like a sense of pride.
"Looks like you were good without that hedgehog," Infinite's sudden interruption spooked Tails once again "You must have been really proud, finally coming out of his shadow".
The fox's smile really proved Infinite that he was right.
"I guess it was… an important moment".
"Indeed… then how did this happen?" Tails turned around as it was where Infinite was referring to and once he did, the entire scenery changed, in an instant that shocked the little fox, Station Square was gone with no traces of it anywhere, instead they were in Sunset Heights, with dark clouds, fire all around and buildings destroyed, just as they had known the place for six months for a very long six months. But that was not why they were here and Tails knew that, one turn of your head and you could see the reason, 'Past' Tails attempting to fix E-123 Omega.
"I want to understand," the jackal stated expecting this reaction "You've shown to stand on your own without that hedgehog but then you act like a weak coward just because he was out for longer than usual? And against a being like Chaos in his prime form, I was under the impression you all took care of that creature".
"You were the one that caused all of this! You got him captured! And you started the war!"
"As far as I recall, you just stood there with your little tech despite being able to intervene at any moment and help him but that wasn't the question… Why were you so scared?"
Tails didn't reply, instead, he just stared at the memory with a hiding sense of anger at the fact that the man responsible for was right next to him especially that this moment was also a very… complex one for him as well, was it simply because Sonic had been gone for a long time? Maybe the war had taken its toll? Both? Something else? Even he had tried to explain it to himself many times, or maybe he just didn't liked the answer
"Your reaction to the little Sonic from the other dimension shows me that it is about him," Infinite interrupted his thoughts "But it's okay if you don't want to answer then we can go to a happy memory, one where I'm not part of the equation… It will be the last one".
As Infinite tapped the phantom ruby and Tails was not happy with it, loosely accepting to go through it because he wanted to see what exactly the jackal was looking for.
The environment changed drastically once again now going from a destroyed to a bright and grassy place, it wasn't sunny but it was bright, this was thanks to the light of the moon as it was basically covering the sky with its huge size and that's because this place was not Mobius, Tails figured this because he spotted the reason why this was the next memory, once he turned around he saw himself sitting in a very shallow pool/lake holding Cosmo next to her staring at the bright moon. This memory was during the space adventure.
It was when they visited one of the many planets during their mission, and in this moment they just happened to be at this exact place at the same time when a little something happened, weird, but it was an amazing experience for both of them even with little to no words exchanged.
"And it all comes to this," said Infinite but this time without spooking the fox this time "This is the center of everything isn't it? Young love… you love to see it. But I think that-".
Tails completely ignored everything that he was saying walking right past him approaching and analyzing more the scene at hand, this was one of his favorite moments from the adventure and he was planning on cherishing this moment for a long and he would but just not in the way he expected to. Reliving this memory in any shape or form was a gift, one that he did not wanted to waste nor one he wanted to leave. All he ever wished for right now was to just be with Cosmo, safe and happy, together.
"You wanted her back, you wanted your Sonic back and when those weren't around, you wanted your mom back... So that's why one of them appears after the other and oddly enough, you never have more than two".
"You said this was the last one," Tails replied facing Infinite while hiding and holding back his tears "I still don't know why I have this, why-?"
"I said it was my last one," Tails looked naturally confused so Infinite proceeded "You're going to open your eyes but I'm not going to be one that does it. You are going to use that gem in your body, focus on what you want and seize it… You've already done it just not consciously".
Infinite's instructions induced a sensation of both thrill and chill; he was talking about using the Phantom Ruby itself to do anything, in this case go "back in time" or bring a memory to life, whatever, he was scared, not gonna lie, but that line of 'you've already done it' gave him a weird sense of reassurance, he didn't remember doing it but he felt like he had, and going back to whatever moment he needed to go where the phantom ruby was ignited felt more of a necessity, not just something he 'wanted'.
He closed his eyes to focus with a bit of uncertainty if he had to make some sort of hand movement, he didn't, just staying was enough and as for Infinite, he was excitedly watching the fox try and once the ground started to show signs of change his excitement turned into joy, pride, accomplishment but one of the 'malicious' type of joy. The scenery kept changing with Tails seeming to struggle with it for a bit making the jackal silently cheer for him and after a few flickering around, he audibly cheered which Tails heard giving the one last boost he needed finishing the landscape and slowly opening his eyes.
And the last location was inside another building, this one looked to be a mix of a lab and a garage which Tails instantly recognized as his lab in Central City, and that made him happy for some reason, -maybe it had to do with the familiarity- he was also amazed by what he just did but that was interrupted after 'Tails' –the one from the memory- entered the room.
He seemed to be looking for important stuff, most specifically, flying gear as he was preparing for an important along with carrying a pot covered in a cup of glass; his expression was fairly neutral with nothing to show one thing or another, he was almost leaving until someone entered the room right on time.
"Hey buddy, I've been looking everywhere for you!"
"Sonic? Sorry I was busy with… so many things" he said hiding the pot.
"Heh, I know, you seem to have been pretty busy lately, you know… you can rest right? Maybe we can do something together… take things off your mind-. Maybe we can build that robot-dog proto-thing you told me about".
"Thanks Sonic, but it's okay, I'm fine, and that prototype is almost finished, we can build it when I return".
"Oh… where are you going then?"
"Um, Cocoa Island and don't worry about me, I should return today," he said with a smile that made Sonic crack a light smile as well but not with his worries getting away.
"So, see ya later, right?"
"Right! See you!" Tails confirmed leaving the building and despite Sonic knowing that he wasn't fine, and still not being content with letting him go, he decided to trust in his little brother, after all he was going to return today.
As for Tails, he went to a local take-off zone where the Tornado-2 could come out from and start his journey to Cocoa Island, a trip that didn't took long for him parking the plane at the shore of the island given that it was close to his 'home'. It wasn't his home alright, it was mostly a wood shack that he made for himself along with a one-person swing outside, it was the closest thing he could call a home of his own, after all, this was his favorite vacation spot so why not? Not many people knew why since it looks so similar to many other islands but it didn't matter to him.
He made his way up a few hills and reached his final destination, admiring the house he hadn't checked in in a long time and it may need a few updates now but that wasn't why he was here. Tails grabbed the pot and placed it on a stand uncovering it along with a small note he also brought along. He grabbed a chair sitting next to it with not much emotion, just sitting there like a small kid waiting for his parents.
"Well, here we are," he said "This is my home… should visit it more often but it's fine, you can-…you would have liked it and-" he couldn't, this had been a moment he had planned for a long time and now that he was here… it was only him and no one else, just a fox and a pot in a wooden hut in the middle of a random island "It's not fair," he whispered "It's not fair! This wasn't supposed to happen!" tears rolled down his face as he grabbed his head. There was no one around so there was no reason to cry silently.
"But there's n̶͚̻͙̏̉͝o̶̻͠ ̶̥̝̮̙̈́̚n̴̫̤͓͋̐̄e̴̠͘e̵͍̳͑͋̃͑d̷̖͔̥̆̆̽̾ ̸̘̼͓́́͘f̷̟̖͛͝ͅŏ̷̠̬̓̓̑r̷̛̪͍̮͎̉ ̴͉͍͘͜ͅt̷̢̧͍͋h̸̬͚̩͚͒̊â̵̲̱t̶͖̙̚" said a mysterious sudden that spooked Tails breaking the current grief.
"Who are you?!" he asked still with tears.
There was a casual knock on the door that Tails slowly went to open it not sure what to expect but it definitely wasn't the jackal they had fought against for six months.
"You?!" it took a few seconds to recognize him because he wasn't wearing his iconic mask but his appearance wasn't hard to identify.
"I have something," he replied after some short seconds of silence "I think you may like it".
"What are you doing here-?!"
"I believe it can bring her back".
And just like that it was as if Tails forgot who he was talking to and pay full attention which Infinite noticed so he proceeded explaining, a visual type of explanation as he pulled out the Phantom Ruby that unlike Infinite himself this didn't took one second to know what it was and the sight of it was a scary one but not of fear of anything like that, it was one of those things that you just don't want to see ever again.
"Take it," the jackal instructed "Take it and you can have everything-…"
Tails backed down a few steps with a look of confusion and fearsomething that Infinite noticed immediately dropped the 'ad' he had for the shiny gem.
"It was expected," he replied with no emotion "This rock isn't the best sight for many people but once you know its true power…" Tails still had a 'no way' face which indicated Infinite that he was barely listening "Understandable, it's your choice".
The jackal tossed the ruby into the house landing in the table and casually walking away with nothing else to say leaving Tails puzzled and not knowing what to do next, he started with first closing the door and forgetting about Infinite, the stuff on his mind was more than enough to keep focusing on a jackal that had already gave everyone enough headaches, now for the 'present' he brought was another topic. The Phantom Ruby caused even more headaches than Infinite himself and everything that involved that wasn't good news.
Tails returned to his seat and sighed looking back at the pot and since the ruby was basically next to it he decided to cover it with the glass capsule with a sense of anger… He looked at the small piece of paper that was also on the pot and looking at it made him want to cry again but didn't but looking away wasn't an option neither, with a bit of hesitation he grabbed it and unfolded the note.
Miles "Tails" Prower
It was something he had written and it was for Cosmo, he wrote it back in the Blue Typhoon during some free time and it was him introducing and welcoming her to their world and all the things to do and places to go, along with the kind people and creatures all around the globe, introducing Cocoa Island with a way of writing that seemed excited and fun which caused a smile… that vanished as soon he read the P.D.
We can make a garden together! If… you're interested in that of course
And he couldn't, he couldn't hold back the tears, this was supposed to be a happy memory but the fate just denied that, he wanted to be happy with Cosmo, having their moments, sharing experiences with the rest of his friends, maybe having a Chao and much more stuff that he would never have the chance to do. He came to this island to say goodbye, as a farewell but he couldn't, he couldn't say goodbye, this was meant to be a beginning… He wanted Cosmo back because he loved her and with zero hesitation he uncovered the ruby and held it as tight as he could and the results were shocking.
The gem instantly began to glow hard causing a burning sensation in the fox's hand, the environment began changing all around unknowingly to Tails due to the pain he was feeling, the wooden house, the outside, all of it was disappearing and adapting to a new type of grassy location, a red and black border coming from Tails' body that continued to expand throughout the floor as the place changed with him struggling to stay standing now being unable to let go of the gem that was also slowly fading out from his hand and beams of energy going straight into his chest forming a triangle adapting to his fur pattern.
After a few more seconds of pain enduring and falling to his knees gasping for breath, he started to look all around him wondering where he was, the place was familiar but he couldn't recognize instantly.
"Tails," a voice said from behind that sent a chill down his spine.
"We can start our journey Tails" she replied with her sweet tone. The fox rushed towards her to hug her deeply but the closer he got, the calmer he was, his shock turned into a usual smile as he gently held Cosmo's hand.
"Let's start the journey".
The pieces of the puzzle were finally complete, Tails and Infinite had been watching this the whole time and both of them understood now all the things that led to this exact moment. Why everything was where they were and how it all came to be, the mystery was complete and both of them were wondering what was next.
Infinite 'closed' the illusion, completely shutting it down which caught Tails off-guard taking him out of the moment returning them to the spot they were at the beginning. Deep inside the Cocoa Island forest.
"You've seen it all," Infinite stated "And so have I, everything that you've done and gone through, I ask you… Tails… to join me".
THIS CHAPTER! Guys, this chapter was the most challenging to write, every time I finished a scene and was satisfied by it the next one started and the difficulty raised again, this doesn't mean I didn't loved writing this chapter, quite the opposite actually, I had to write through the tears… But what about you? How did you feel about this chapter chapter? Please, let me know!
We still have more things to answer like what is Infinite's whole deal and the conclusion to this all… And this is based on WandaVision and that show's finale left me quite dissatisfied so I'll take this opportunity to "fix" some things and you'll see that it's the least similar aspect of this story in relation to that show but just a heads up: There isn't any Pietro-fakeout in this story.
Also guys, although this story has only two chapters left, there will be a long hiatus because I'm moving out and this is the last chapter before the main confrontation so you'll have to wait a little while to see the full conclusion, but don't worry, I'll update as soon as I'm able to do it!
See you soon(?)