Once again, thank you to Tailsisreal and Furryfur (still not understanding your review though) for reviewing ^_^
Only now has it occurred to me that this is the final chapter of this fanfic! I hadn't really realised how close I was (I knew I was close to it, but not this close!) until I re-read my plans and thought 'hold on... that bit happens in this chapter!'. So, sorry for this rather abrupt sign off, but I hope enjoyed this rather comedic story! :D Thank you to all reviewers and I had quite a bit of fun writing this. And to think, it all started out from a single thought that inspired a short comic strip, which in turn inspired this story as well as other things. That's what I call innovation. :D
Chapter 10: A New Friend
Blackness turned into blurred, multicoloured shapes as the kit began to wake up from the crash. He found himself suspended in the air, strapped tight to his chair by the harness he was wearing. A thought passed through him, and he felt quite sadistic as the thought said safety first really does pay off. He shook his head, in an attempt to clear the stars and blotches obscuring his vision, trying to make sense of the confusing images surrounding him. Looking at where the dashboard should be, Tails found various red lights blinking violently at him, but none telling him what was wrong. Or they might be, but he couldn't see them at the moment if his life depended on it.
His eyes slowly began to refocus and things started to make more sense to him. He looked out of the window, finding that he was indeed upside down, meaning the X-Tornado must have flipped at some point in the crash. Several feet above (or rather, below) him, lay what was unmistakably a beach, judging by the sandy yellow colour. The fact it was several feet from the cockpit told him the engines were rooted firmly to the ground, lifting the lighter end clean from the ground.
His vision continued to refocus, and pretty soon, everything was as pristine as it normally was. Tails rubbed his head. It felt as if some unknown force thought his head was a drum as it continued to pound him into submission. I need to get outta here he thought, trying to keep his mind off the pain. He pressed the button that opened the canopy, which swung open in response. Thinking through as clearly as he could, he decided that releasing himself and then taking flight with his tails would be the best option. Checking they were still fully operational by waving the appendages around, he twisted them around one another, at the ready. He just hoped his trusty tails caught the air in time, or he wouldn't be that much use to anyone, let alone himself.
At the touch of a button, the harness snapped open, dropping Tails into an immediate free fall. At the same time, the spring-loaded tails launched into a violently fast rotation. Tails tried with all his might to catch the air in time, but the ground seemed to come too quickly and yelped as he realized that he would not make it without baring an injury. His aim now was to make it as painless as possible.
One leg hit the ground hard, just as he started to rise. Although nothing else sustained damage, his leg seemed to be quick to start throbbing from the impact and Tails took in a short gasp and bit his lip. He was duly lifted from the ground and the pressure came off of his leg. Trying to ignore the pain, he looked up back at the cockpit, where Artemis still hung. The younger fox was still out cold, showing no signs of movement. The fact there was no visible injury, and the slow rising and falling of the chest that Tails could still make out in the low light of the twilight sky, told him that the fox was still alive and kicking. If only he could be as sure with everyone else. Looking around, he found himself on a beach of a small island, judging by what he had seen earlier and the size of the beach that he could see, which wasn't exactly expanding along the horizon. To his left was a large cluster of trees dominating the centre of the island, abundant with odd vegetation.
Ignoring the rapidly increasing pain forming in his leg and the scenery, Tails flew upwards, towards Artemis. As he got closer, he could hear the heavy breathing. It was only a few short moments before he was close enough to realise what the fox was really doing.
'Oh, c'mon Arty!' Tails exclaimed a little too loudly as the sibling shifted position, making himself more comfortable in the harness. How on Mobius did he end up asleep?! Tails shouted in his own mind. He prodded the snoozing fox on the forehead, wondering if he would react. No. So he tried placing one hand flat on his chest and the other ready to press the harness release and catch the kit as he fell.
The harness popped open and Artemis imminently dropped. Tails' other hand caught him under one arm, while his other hand on the chest slipped under the other. The fox was still fast asleep, unaware that he was being carried. His mouth hung open and a single drop of spit leaked down his muzzle and dropped to the sandy beach below. Ignoring the slobbering, Tails hoisted the kit over his shoulder before descending back down. Artemis, of course, was still asleep. Tails wondered how the kit could do it, so he could do the same to Sonic one day, meaning he wouldn't have to get out of bed.
Tails touched down on the ground (wincing at the pain in his leg) and set Artemis down on a nearby tree. Making sure he was safe and comfortable (although it was tempting to leave him in an entirely awkward position, making him highly uncomfortable for when he woke up), Tails limped back over to the X-Tornado.
A loud, muffled 'hmmmff!' met Tails' ears. Someone's awake! Was his immediate thought, although he had no idea who it was. Moving as fast as his injured leg would allow him, he rounded to the other side of the downed fighter to find a red figure with their head immersed in sand. Clearly, it was Knuckles, and try as he might, he couldn't seem to free himself from his miniature prison as the sand had engulfed his head entirely. He continued to make muffled noises continuously, hands pushing against the ground as hard as he could, but with surprisingly little progress. After a few more moments of struggling, he decided to stop and retrieve his shovel claws from their hiding place above his tail. Tails watched patiently as the Echidna began to pound at the sand with the claws, ripping the sand high into the air, showering the area with the golden finite particles.
As his head was freed, his fists began to slow down their momentum, but still smashing hard into the sand. After a few more moments of the spinning motion slowing down, Knuckles lifted his head from the sand and shook it, getting rid of what sand had been caught in his fur. Tails was tempted to call out something to do with ostriches to him, but a glance at the razor sharp shovel claws told him to back off. A leg that can't support his weight while stranded on an island is more than enough to be dealing with without gashes across various parts of his body because of an infuriated Knuckles.
As Knuckles silently acknowledged that Tails had also recovered from the crash, the fox's attention was quickly drawn to a large dark object spread-eagled flat on the floor. It was impossible to tell anything further than that from the low light, but judging by the spikes prodruding from the mass, it was most likely Sonic. Whoever it was lay motionless and unmoving, buried in the sand. Tails limped over and, checking it was indeed Sonic before stirring him, grabbed hold of one of the protruding spikes and shook it, a little more vigorously than was necessary. But it seemed to do the trick as the hedgehog stirred, but did not lift his head up.
'Five more minutes...' came a muffled voice from the object. Yup, definitely Sonic, Tails thought to himself dully.
'Sonic, get up!' Tails exclaimed, tugging at the quills.
'I'm up, I'm up,' Sonic mumbled as he began to shake and stir, trying to wake himself up from the knock-out.
The others also started to gather, looking just as drowsy. Forming a semi-circle, consisting of Tails, Knuckles, Sonic, Rouge, Amy and Shadow. Rouge looked around, noting that everyone was here. Well, everyone except -
'Hey, where's the other fox-boy?' she asked, realising Tails' smaller equivalent was not present. Tails silently pointed behind him with a thumb and muttered 'he's sleeping, but how I don't know.' Sonic looked at him with a confused expression, but neither said anything as neither knew what to do except to wait for him to wake.
'So how do we get off this rock?' Knuckles spoke out to the crowd, drawing the attention to a much more important issue. They all turned towards the X-Tornado and, after a small glare at the banged-up fighter, they all turned to face Tails. The kit sighed as he realised all of their eyes were now on him and stated 'I'll see what I can do. Maybe it's just reconnecting some wires, but I might need to fix the fuel pipe, the engines... The wings too, they look kind of out of shape. The systems might be malfunctioning too, I'll need to -'
'- Tails -' Sonic tried to interject as his adopted brother delved into one of his techno-babbles that no one but the mechanical genius could understand (except Eggman of course).
'- Maybe I should just get the basic systems working for now, leave out everything else that isn't necessary to get it started -'
' - Tails -'
'- Problem is, there's a lot of them, I could be a while. I wonder if there's a way in getting it done faster? I should run a diagnostic -'
'- TAILS!' Sonic bellowed after his previous two attempts to catch the fox's attention utterly failed on him.
'What? Oh... Heheh... I did it again, didn't I Sonic?' Tails rhetorically asked, as he struck his classical pose of embarrassment. As he did so, he looked around at everyone else, who all looked more confused than a five year old presented with the Laws of Quantum Physics. Sonic nodded and Tails muttered 'I'll get... wait.' Realising the position of the X-Tornado, still being upside-down, it occurred to him that he had no equipment on hand to flip it over. 'How am I gonna get it over?'
They all looked around, looking for something that could help. All except Rouge, who stood glaring at Knuckles.
'What?' Knuckles asked, after catching her eye. 'If you're thinking of getting up close with me Rouge, now isn't the time.'
'Actually, it's the perfect time. Who's the strongest here? You! You could just shove it over. C'mon, Knucky,' Rouge turned on her seductive powers as she did precisely what the Echidna told her not to do and grabbed on to his arm. 'Show me you're as strong as you say you are.'
'Oh, I'll show you alright!' the hot-headed echidna yelled, rushing over to the side of the Tornado, making sure he was on the opposite side to the trees before using his immense strength to lift one side of the fighter and land it on the side Tails needed it to be on to be able to fix it properly. 'There! How's that for strength, eh?!' Knuckles shouted, looking rather pleased after showing his strength. Everyone sighed, all silently noting never to present something like that to Knuckles again, now knowing he would use it as a prime example to show his strength from then on. Tails was not pleased, but not at Knuckles' display, but rather at what the damage had been dealt to his beloved plane.
The wings were distorted at several angles, the hull was severely dented and riddled with low calibre bullet holes, the rim of the engines smashed inwards and -
'Ermm... did you have to cut a circular hole in my window Rouge?' Tails asked as he looked at the rear seating that was half-buried in the sand before Knuckles had flipped it. The perfect circle could only shout Rouge as Amy's version of 'breaking and entering' (or in this case, exiting) involved quite literally 'breaking and entering' with her Pico Pico Hammer. Rouge's example, meanwhile, always had a hint of perfection in some place, and this was clearly not an exception.
'Hey, the stupid thing wouldn't open, there was nothing else I could do,' she exclaimed, raising her hands in the air in defence. Tails grumbled. As much as it got battered bruised by Eggman's war machines, and as much as he respected Rouge's method in getting herself and Amy out of there, he didn't like people damaging his pride and joy. 'By the way Knucky, well done on being big-headed,' she added, teasing the echidna. Despite every one of them would be able to avoid Knuckles if they said anything of the sort, none of them was ready to admit they agreed with her.
'Hey, you told me to flip it, so I did! So stop being a hypocrite, will ya?!' Knuckles shouted, raising his fists into a defensive position.
As an argument broke out, his eyes fluttered open at the sounds. Rubbing his eyes and blinking a few times to wake up, Artemis stood and headed towards the source, adjusting to the light as he did so.
'Guys?' he called and, while everyone was still watching the fight, Tails turned to face his younger sibling.
'Hey, you're awake!' Tails exclaimed as he walked over to Artemis, rubbing his little brother's head.
'Yeah, I kinda woke up a while before you and I didn't want to touch anything in case something got broken, so I just stayed in the harness until I fell asleep.' Tails briefly nodded in acknowledgement, accepting the explanation.
'Hey, you wanna help me fix this thing?' Tails added with a smile.
'Can I!? Alright!' Artemis yelped in enjoyment, punching his fist in the air. Tails knew full well how much Artemis strived to be 'just like his brother', so maybe allowing him to help him out would help fulfil that. Although Artemis was not as skilled as Tails, as he liked to concentrate on 'smaller' things, he knew enough to be of use. Not to say Tails was planning on using him as a spanner monkey.
As everyone else relaxed on the dark beach, Tails retrieved a tool kit and two head flash-lights, one for him and one for Artemis, and set about repairing various components and showing Artemis several hints and tips. Meanwhile, Sonic lay on the sand, looking up at the Full Moon. It's reflection shined on the surprisingly calm surface of the ocean and, along what remained of the twilight hour, light up a considerable amount of the area. The dark shape of Angel Island loomed overhead, as still as ever.
'Hey,' a high voice suddenly spoke to him from the right. Sonic shifted his head in the direction, to see the doll lying on its back next him. 'Sorry about all this, it's just... well, my life has been pretty scattered.' Sonic blinked as the doll began to unexpectedly confess itself to him. In truth, judging by what he knew of the doll's personality, he had never expected something remotely close to this. But, he was willing to listen and stayed silent to let the doll carry on. 'I shouldn't of gone through your diary. I should of just stayed out of the way and did something else, but I just had to mess things up for you, and I'm going to be kicking myself for it now, now that I know who I am.'
'Why are you saying all of this all of a sudden?' Sonic asked as the doll continued to pour its soul out to him.
'Well, when I seen Shadow over there earlier,' the doll said, gesturing to the ebony hedgehog, 'my past just... came to me really, like he was a trigger or something. Made me remember who I am and how I was brought up and what I learned about people, how to treat them and stuff. My only friend is dead now and I'm never going to see her again, so could we start fresh and, you know, be friends?' They gazed into each others eyes, Sonic trying to read the voided black ones to see if there was any lines in the sentences. But he could see and feel that the doll spoke the truth. And he knew all too well what a new life means to somebody. He found it ironic that the one he was talking to now that needed that fresh start bared an uncanny resemblance to the one he gave a new life to several years ago.
Several thoughts spontaneously raced through Sonic's mind as many ideas were formed and scrapped. But after a moment or so, his mind settled on one. Out of everyone he knew, his mind settled on one that he knew would accept the pitiful doll and take care of it as was appropriate. He didn't want to take care of it himself as he doubted he would be able to handle the doll, given how he had treated it beforehand. Not to mention neither he or Tails could sew, so damages would be difficult to mend. But maybe there was someone else who knew all about looking after dolls. 'I have to go talk to Tails,' Sonic said as he stood up and walked over to the X-Tornado.
The two-tailed duo were dashing around the hull, tightening bolts and reshaping the exterior with Tails' augmented solder and giving orders to Artemis, who obliged very enthusiastically, darting around to the various places he was told to go to.
'Hey Tails! Can I ask you something?' Sonic called. Tails lifted his protective goggles from his eyes and looked down at Sonic. 'Sure, what is it?' he asked. Sonic beckoned him and the kit jumped down from his perch on the wing. As Tails approached Sonic, the hedgehog leaned forwards and whispered something in his hear.
'Sure, what is it?' Tails asked, confused at what Sonic had asked of him. The response was a simple notion towards the doll and Tails suddenly understood. He remembered about the week before, where he could have sworn the doll had shown a glimmer of hope when presented with the chance to have a friend. Looks like you're getting one now he thought to himself, smiling as Sonic walked away. The kit then turned his attention back to the X-Tornado, pulling the goggles back over his eyes. The only way the doll could get that friend depended on whether the fighter would start up again.
After a snail-paced two hours, the X-Tornado was now in a state to fly safely. Both Tails and Artemis were covered from head to tails in grease and oil, but both looked very joyous at their success. Everyone clambered onto their earlier positions and Tails flared up the engines once more. The amount of light had only got worse as the night had continued and the sun had now completely disappeared over the horizon, leaving only the Moon to illuminate the area. The X-Tornado blasted off of the beach head and headed straight towards land, away from Angel Island.
The flight had only taken half an hour, and pretty soon they were over the mainland. There was a small village up ahead, all of its occupants now asleep or about to do so. With the doll in his hands, Sonic picked out one house in particular, surrounded by trees. The doll knew what was coming and had agreed to it ('couldn't there be a less painful way though?' it had pleaded). A note was tied around its neck, explaining what needed to be done to the person the doll was being given to. Sonic leaned over the side of the Tornado, waiting for the right moment. He had practised this technique many times before, only it was normally with bombs or himself on Eggman's robots, rather than dolls through windows. Still, it was the same principle, and since the doll had as much air resistance as himself, it should fall at the same speed. Unless a gust of wind blew it off course. Dropping the doll, he watched it fall towards the house, and as expected, right through the open window he had been aiming at.
'Alright Tails, that's it!' Sonic shouted towards the cockpit. Tails gave a thumbs up and headed towards where they were going to drop Shadow, Rouge, Artemis and Amy off.
'Hee hee, stop it Cheese!'
'Chao, chao!' the Chao chimed, as he dived in and out around Cream, quickly tickling various spots around her body, mainly in the armpits.
'Okay, settle down you two, and get to sleep,' Vanilla called as she entered the room, hearing the commotion as she was on her way downstairs. Cream, in her pale blue pyjamas, slipped into her bed and Cheese tucked in beside her before snuggling up next to each other and, after bidding their mother good night, closed their eyes and readied themselves to enter their own fantasy world.
But a loud CRASH interrupted them before any dreaming could be done, because an object soared through the open window, crashing right into a lamp sat atop her drawers, shattering said object. Cream and Cheese sat up and yelled in fright, clinging to each other as the thought of being attacked so late at night was somewhat horrific.
As everything stayed still, Cream and Cheese began to relax, and pretty soon became curious. The young bunny swung her legs over the side of the bed and approached the wreckage, one slow step at a time. Cautiously, she moved the pottery to one side, half expecting the object to jump out at her, almost as if it was one of Eggman's creations. But as the debris was cleared, it soon occurred to her what she was finding. The doll lay there, unconscious and with a note tied around its neck. She took the note and read it to herself.
Take care of this for me will you? He, or she, or whatever it is, needs a friend and I just thought you might be the right person to look after it.
P.S. I don't think it has a name. Maybe you could name it?
Cream finished the short note, and looked down at the doll, noticing how much it resembled Tails. As it came to, she picked it up under the arms and examined it closely, picking out the various features such as the twin tails and the gem dangling from a metal rod protruding from its head.
'Hello!' Cream said, looking into its eyes.
'Huh? Oh... hello. You must be Cream?' the doll asked, as the room began to come into view. 'Sonic told me about you,' it added as Cream nodded. She smiled at the doll, and jumped to the first question she had, 'in the note it says you haven't got a name. Would you like one?'
'Umm...' the doll paused, wondering if it should say whether it has a name, or let the bunny come up with a new one.
'Yes,' the doll decided. 'Yes, I would like one please.' Cream bit her lower lip as she tried to think of a name. After trying to think of something more creative than what had come to her mind at first, she settled on that name as nothing else would come to. 'I know, Tails Doll!' she exclaimed hugging it to her chest.
'Eheh... I like that name, I guess,' the doll said, thinking only of how ironic this was.
'Welcome to the family then! This is Cheese by the way, and you just missed my mom' Cream motioned towards the Chao, which in turn chided once more.
'Nice to meet you,' the doll said, delighted at how fast the friendship was forming. 'Would it be okay if I stayed with you then?' Although it already knew the answer because it had now been named, it still wanted that firm confirmation.
'Of course it is! Me and Cheese will look after you, won't we Cheese?'
'Umm...' the doll said, looking around. 'Is there anywhere I can sleep? Only, I don't see anything comfortable around to sleep on.'
'Oh, that's okay, you can sleep with me for now,' Cream exclaimed. The doll nodded and allowed itself to be swept away with the rabbit to the bed.
Cream jumped into the quilts, thinking that it would be best to explain to her mother in the morning. With Cheese and the Tails Doll snug up with her, she and Cheese closed their eyes and soon fell asleep. Of course, having no eyelids, the Tails Doll could do no such thing and instead stared at the ceiling until the world would just black out, as what would normally happen. Boy, it's good to have friends again. As the thought passed through, the world blacked out and pretty soon, the world became a new that only the doll could control. And in this world, it could feel the Sunshine coming down on the doll, while in the arms of its new friends, Cream and Cheese. It looked like life was going to be much better than what it had thought of before.
'You sure it's going to be okay Sonic?' Tails asked. They had just landed in the hangar, just him and Sonic now that everyone else had returned to their homes.
'Sure it will, I don't think anyone knows how to look after dolls like Cream,' Sonic stated, assuring the kit that the doll would be safe.
'And what if it tells her what it knows about you?' Tails informed him, thinking of what the doll had told Sonic and why this whole ordeal had happened.
'It's already apologised to me for it, I'm pretty sure it'll hold its tongue.'
'I wonder what she'll call it?' Tails asked, although he probably knew the answer. 'Tails Doll,' he said out loud, not waiting for an answer from Sonic. They chuckled lightly and headed upstairs into the house.
'Boy, this whole thing's been quite tiring actually,' Sonic exclaimed, giving a large stretch.
'Would never have you would say that Sonic! You always run around at who knows how fast, and you never get tired. You're telling me that little trip wore you out?' Tails said, starting to play with Sonic, with a sly grin across his face.
'No... Well... I... Umm...' he couldn't think of a comeback as his mind was blank from the ordeal and everything that had happened and everything that could happen and other things that he couldn't precisely place his finger on. So, Sonic sighed, raised his hands in defeat and said, 'okay, ya got me.' As they climbed the stairs, Sonic rubbed his throat as it suddenly began to get sore. He dismissed it as dehydration, he hadn't had a drink for several hours. Tails however, noticed the action and asked 'Sonic, you okay?'
'Yeah, I'm fine Tails, don't worry. I just need a drink, that's all.' And at that, he headed into the kitchen to grab a glass of water.
'Okay, if you say so. Night Sonic.'
'Night bud,' Sonic called over his shoulder as Tails headed upstairs to his room. Somehow, I doubt that's dehydration Tails thought to himself, with a gut feeling, as he slipped off his shoes and gloves and clambered into bed.