Tails instinctively pressed his ears against his head and cringed as the explosion drowned out his mother’s voice. He stood stunned for a moment before beginning to panic as he realized it was the sound of somewhat close gunshot. The sound was unmistakable after so many times. dealing with Eggman’s robots or having mishaps with GUN.
Was there someone in trouble nearby?
“Mom, are you ok-” he trailed off as his eyes fell on her body and he stared into her wide eyes, now already starting to fog over.
His mind reeled as he noticed the telltale hole in her forehead and blood already pooling underneath her. She was dead and he had little idea how to move her to safety or deal with whoever shot her if they closed in. The thought also entered his mind that someone might’ve heard the shot and would come to find her this way.
It occurred to him that he had to at least to try to move her before that happened and he grabbed her feet. Surprisingly, she wasn’t as heavy as he assumed a four-and-a-half foot tall, biologically 19 year old girl would be. He noted she wasn’t much heavier that Sonic despite being well over a foot taller..
Why was he pondering something so random is such a dire situation? Was is some kind of coping mechanism he had developed to stay calm under pressure? Before he could wonder for much longer he was greeted with footsteps approaching behind him.
“Going somewhere?” Asked a young, male voice, “or just saving me the trouble of hiding this mess?”
Tails froze and tried not to panic as the footsteps came even closer.
“Just look at her face, I guess she lived just long enough to realize what was happening. Keen enough senses to register that miniscule window between the gunshot and the impact, perhaps?” He laughed, “I wish I had a camera.”
Tails stayed still, his heart beginning to pound in his chest as something between fear and anger washed over him. Who could kill someone, kill his mother in cold blood and laugh about it like it was just some sick joke.
“Are you going to say something, or will I be forced to continue talking to myself?” The killer asked.
“What do you want?” Tails growled.
“Just a way to amuse myself, and I’m off to a good start.” He chuckled , “So tell me, if that useless woman is your mother, don’t you want to see who put a bullet in her head?”
The kit’s body shook as he felt the warm breath on his neck, and he looked up and stared into the man’s one good eye. The killer in front of him was an arctic fox not much older than Sonic clad in all white. The boy’s single, icy blue eye stared at him somewhere between excitement and curiosity, but the hint of malice was unmistakable.
‘How can you find killing people in cold blood fun!” Tails shouted.
“Would you like a demonstration?” The man reached out and grabbed Tails by the throat, lifting him until his toes barely touched the ground.
“Let me go-” Tails trailed off as he noticed the cybernetic arm now threatening to crush his throat and thought back to the previous night.
“That damn cybernetic arm caught me off guard,” his mother’s voice echoed in his head
“You’re the creep that attacked her last night, aren’t you?” Tails asked.
“I see she doesn’t keep anything from you,” the boy smirked, “My name is Isa, but you can call be Frostbite.”
“I could call you a lot of things, but I don’t feel as comfortable swearing as my mother does” Tails said.
“Clever little mutant, aren’t you?” Frost teased.
“I am an eight year old with an IQ of 200,” Tails answered.
“Yet you still need mommy,” Frost glanced over at her body, “no idea what that bitch sees in a useless mortal like you. Weak and useless excuse for-”
“I think you’re just mad because she kicked your butt last night,” Tails growled,
“Only because she caught me off guard!” Frost growled back, “that worthless excuse for an immortal couldn’t fight off a child.”
“Big words from a bully that had to shoot her with a sniper rifle to get this close,” Tails said.
“You think being pragmatic makes me weak?” Frost sneered, “even with how dirty she fights.”
“It makes you a coward, and at least she has the courage to face someone instead stabbing them in the back like you would,” Tails growled, “You’ll never be even a fraction of the warrior she is.”
Tails watched in shock as Frost smiled and chuckled, reaching for something behind his back. His resolve started to slip and he struggled as a knife came into view. He the cold steel pressed against his neck and fought back a tear as the adrenaline faded away and he realized how how trouble he was really in.
“Mom, you can come back from the dead any time now. I think I need some backup,” he silently pleaded.
“I think you can guess I won’t kill you. You’re smart enough to realize I would’ve done so right after I blew your mommy’s brains out if I wanted you dead,” Frost pulled back the knife and lightly thumped him on the head with the flat of the blade.
“Ouch,” Tails muttered
“But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy breaking you with less lethal methods , or your little friend,” Frost opened his hand, now only gripping the knife with this thumb and index finger to reveal a blue ribbon tied around its handle.
Shock filled the kit’s face as he realized where it came from, or rather who Frost had taken it from and what that meant.
“What did she ever do to you?” Tails asked, his voice beginning to shake.
“Absolutely nothing, I just needed a little extra insurance and she was easy to take,” Frost chuckled, “so naive and trusting until I dragged her off.”
“If y-you’ve hurt her,” Tails tried and failed to sound intimidating, but couldn’t hide his fear.
“Relax, your little friend is fine,” Frost waved te knife in front of Tails eyes, cause them to track it back and forth, “I decided playing with her wouldn’t be as fun without an audience.”
“You won’t get away with anything, my friends and my Uncle Kai will come after you, not to mention what my mom will do when she wakes up,” Tails said, trying to keep his panicked his voice calm.
“What makes you think I’ll give her the chance to wake up,” Frost laughed.
His heart seemed to jump into his throat as Tails watched the knife moving over his mother’s body. The tip brushed against her, and though though it didn’t cut the sound of it scraping against the fabric of her clothes was horrifying.
“Leave her alone,” Tails tried his best to sound strong, but it wasn’t an easy task while fighting back tears.
“I could do so much to her, so helpless,” Frost reached out and softly ran the knife down her face, letting it rest on her cheek, “an eye for an eye?”
“You coward, you know you can’t beat her so you want to pick on her while she can’t fight back,” Tails muttered.
“What you call the way of the coward I call the fun way,” Frost inched the blade towards her eye and blood trickled down her face as the tip dug deeper into her cheek.
“Please,” Tails finally started to break down, “don’t hurt her…”
“Begging for mercy, now?” Frost chuckled, “this is too easy, maybe I’ll see what happens if sink this into her skull through her eye socket”
The blade rose high above her and Tails watched in horror, unable to even bring himself to force his eyes shut. He winced in anticipation and it hovered in the air for felt like an eternity before it was plunged into her chest
“Relax, I was just screwing with you.” Frost twisted the knife and a sick crack came from her ribs, “That face and those eyes are too pretty to ruin and leaving my mark through her heart is just as poetic.”
“Y-you know she’ll come after both of us and so will my friends.” Tails whimpered.
“You hope she cares about an useless, mutated mortal like you that much,” Frost reached into his coat pocket and pulled out some rope.
“She does care about me, she’d never turn her back on me like that,” Tails choked.
“You only hope she’s foolish enough to waste her time on such a fragile creature,” he tossed Tails over his mother’s body and held him down, binding his hands and Tails together, “I know about the little tricks you can do with these.”
He nearly gagged at the smell of his mother’s fresh blood starting to pool not a foot from his face, in addition to some other smells he didn’t want to speculate on. The rope dug into this wrists and Tails winced as Frost pulled it tight, but he couldn’t move or struggle due to the awkward position was forced into.
“It’s not stupid to care about someone, and I know she’ll save us,” Tails mumbled.
“Risking your own life for someone that will just waste away in 70 or 80 years, while you could live forever is the height of stupidity” Frost jerked the rope tighter, “or do you have a reason why it isn’t, you little runt?”
“Because she’s my mom she loved me as much as I love her,” Tails fought back a tear, “but someone like you could never understand that.”
“Good riddance, then. Caring about anyone but number one would get in the way of my fun,” Frost scowled, “despite my doubts, I hope she does come instead of running away with her tail between her legs. I want to make her watch.”
“She WILL come,” Tails said quietly as he felt something come down over his eyes and felt it being tied behind his head.
Laughter echoed in his ears and he felt himself lifted over Frost’s shoulder. He shuddered as he heard a soft thump before Frost began to walk. He could only hold to some last shred of hope and pray to the higher power she believed in that it would protect them both.
The place he had been taken reeked of the mold and dampness, and the cold, concrete floor made him assume it was one of the warehouses by the docks. To his relief he had been up against a small, shaking body that he realized was Cream and though he hadn’t tried to talk to her yet, she seemed to be okay.
“Hey, Cream, it’s me.” He whispered, still holding back tears
“Tails?” She sniffed, “Did he take you, to? Are you okay?”
“Don’t worry, I’m fine.” Tails assured her.
“I’m scared,” Cream whispered, “he keeps threatening me and I think I heard him talking to Doctor Eggman:
“How did I not guess? ” Tails thought to himself, “it’s going to be okay, Cream, someone will come for us and he’s going to be in deep trouble if my mom is the first one here.”
“You think Aunt Mel will really be able to find us?”
“She’s lived a really long time, and I’m sure that makes her smarter than someone dumb enough to work for Eggman,” Tails felt around and gripped her hand, “I’ll protect you until then, even if have I bite him to keep him away.”
Cream let out a small giggle, “thank you.”
For several moments Tails heard nothing in the tense silence but both their breathing and the occasional irregular footsteps that he assumed was from Frost and his cybernetic leg. He was going mad not being able to see exactly where their captor was only having his hearing to keep track.
“Tails, are you scared, to?” Cream spoke up, “it sounds like you’ve upset.”
“A little, everyone get’s scared sometimes.” Tails took a deep breath.
“But we don’t have to be as scared because we’re not alone and our friends will find us,” Cream sniffed.
“Right,” Tails felt her squeeze his hand and held it tight, “We just have to wait it out together.”
His heart jumped in his chest as he heard close footsteps and a laugh, along with the beeping of some sort of device.
“Still holding onto the hope that coward of a woman will came save you?” Frost said
“I told you, she will come.” Tails choked.
“What makes you think an immortal with the entire world at her fingertips cares about some disfigured mortal.” The device beeped again.
“Because she’s my mom and I trust her.”
“Please, just because she decided to play mommy for a while doesn’t mean she cares for you anymore than she would for a pet.”
“That’s not true,” Tails raised his shaking voice.
“You really think she can afford attachment to creatures she’ll only watch grow old and frail, and then eventually die while she retains her youth and lives on?” Frost laughed, “Such pathetic, blind faith in such a weak excuse for a warrior.”
“Please don’t talk about her that way,” Cream squeaked.
“Not like you can do anything about it, little girl.” Frost stepped closer, “You’re even more useless than the flea-bag she calls a son.”
Cream softly whimpered.
“Leave her alone,” Tails voice began to shake
“Or what, you’ll start crying again?”
“When my friends and my family get my hands on you,” Tails choked.
“How many times must I say it to convince you how miniscule the chances of that bitch you call a mother really caring, or that flea-bag wolf she calls a protege are?” Frost clicked another button, “As for the others?”
Tails whimpered, he didn’t want to let Frost inside his head but fear was making him irrational and he couldn’t block out the insults. The repetition of the idea that he knew in his heart was false only made it dig in deeper and deeper.. More than anything though, it hurt hearing his friends and family talked about that way.
“Sonic doesn’t have the will to do what it takes to stop me, Amy can’t go five minutes without something capturing her, and Knuckles is so stupid I bet I could make him help me.”
“Somebody WILL come,” Tails choked.
“Tails, I’m scared,” Cream sobbed.
Something that felt like heavy canvas suddenly fell over Tails head and he squeezed Cream’s hand once again as she gasped.
“Now if excuse me, I have something to attend to while you think about what I’ve said.” Frost began to walk away as he clicked several more buttons.
His voice was distant, but Tails could still make out his half of the conversation.
“Eggman, I tracked down some bait and provided the fox’s mother shows, the job should be done soon. That useless spy of yours that didn’t have the guts to help was snooping around, and her pitiful conscience should entice her to go tell the women ” Frost said, “Yes, I can bring proof if you insist.”
“Could he mean Rouge?” Tails thought to himself.
“I already you told you, I’m working for pleasure that’s all that’s in for me. I have no interest in your “empire” or helping you create it,” Frost sighed and the device clicked before he raised his voice, “Now we play the waiting game and you pray to whatever deity you feel comfortable with that someone shows, and that they show before I grow bored.”
“Why do you hate her so much, anyway?” Tails asked.
“Take a guess about why I’m missing so many extremities,” Frost growled.
“I bet she had a good reason,” Tails shot back, knowing that he had to have done something unspeakable to make someone like his mother leave him in such a state.
“She didn’t approve of my hobbies, or the project I was working on when she stumbled upon me.” Frost laughed, “She’d despise my plans for you.”
“You know, I’m not afraid of you,” Tails lied.
“Is that why you keep crying and then trying to hide it by yelling?” Frost said, “maybe I’ll break you facade by having my fun with the girl first and making you watch.”
Cream begin to cry and Tails once again squeezed her hand, deciding to ignore Frost and do his his best to calm down.
“It’ll be okay, I promise,” he whispered, choking back tears.
What felt like an entirety passed before Tails heard a completely different set of footsteps approaching, the unmistakable sound of boots hurrying across the concrete.
“I’m here, you son of a bitch!” A female voice shouted
The kit’s ears perked up and he felt a rush of hope as he realized it was mother, but he couldn’t speak through the duct-tape Frost had stuck over his mouth after goading him into another argument. Eventually the arguing between Frost and his mother cumulated in the tarp, blindfold, and tape being removed.
“Mom? Is that you?” It was all he could manage in his nerve wracked state.
“ “Yes, I’m right here and I’m going to get you both out of here, somehow. Just hold in there.” His mom called.
Was it finally over?
“Mind if I come in? I brought cookies.” Melinda peeked inside MIles room where he sat in front of his computer scrolling through video files.
“I don’t mind.” MIles turned his chair and smiled.
“Took them out of the package myself,” she grinned, “that counts as something, right?”
“As long as nothing burst into flames, we’re good.” Miles laughed.
“Very funny,” she sat the plate down on his desk and watched him grab one, “working on something?”
“I finally recovered the video from that bug.” Miles said.
“Cool, anything good?”
“Well, it got this one of us in the funeral home.” Miles clicked a thumbnail and footage of him and Melinda sitting and laughing in the casket filled the screen.
“Can you get some shots for the album from that one?” Melinda asked. “If you listen close, you can hear Daniel’s hand hitting his forehead,” Miles laughed.
“Poor guy.” Melinda placed a hand on his chair and leaned over closer to see the screen as Miles cycled through clips, “There’s the gas station, open that one so I can if I looked cool swatting it.”
The clip opened and and Miles fast forwarded to the point his mom approached the back hall. Melinda watched intently as the recording of herself turned and glared at the camera before making a quick movement that sent it is spiraling around the room. Once the image stopped spinning the bug directed itself at Miles, who was concentrating on the coolers full of soda.
Melinda squinted at the screen as a dark pink, male hedgehog caught her eye in the background. Semi-long quills tightly pulled back, dark overcoat, dark gloves, coffee in his hand. He seemed out of place loitering around in a gas station. The fact she knew he couldn't've been immortal eased her mind some, but it still struck her as odd to see someone that stood out so much.
“Something wrong, mom?” Miles asked.
“Nah, just forgot how cute you are when you’re concentrating,” Melinda teased.
“The bug has some really old data, looks like Eggman isn’t very through clearing them out and It was an old one he had on me before.”
Miles scrolled back to the oldest video, a thumbnail showing Sonic and him at what looked like a crime scene.
“Is this when it happened?” Melinda asked “The wreck, I mean.”
“Yeah,” Miles bit into a cookie, “uh, don’t worry. It doesn’t bother me now because everything worked out.”
“Good, I was about to ask,” Melinda leaned over and placed her hand on the back of his chair, “Think it would be okay if we watched it, so I can maybe see how things went for you guys?”
“Sure, I guess it might also help completely work through it,” Miles clicked the video and it opened to him and Sonic.
Melinda’s eyes drifted to the officers and medics littering the background as the two boys talked on the screen. Her ears stayed fixed on their conversation despite her wandering eyes and she smiled at Sonic’s promises to help the kit. Just as a female paramedic approached she caught herself staring at a familiar figure talking to one of the police officers.
The same pink hedgehog from the station, could it just be a confidence?
She snapped out of her daze as the bug followed them inside the ambulance. Miles didn’t react, having closed his eyes before he climbed inside but she noticed Sonic wince as he looked up at the gurney that held her currently lifeless body. She had to admit it sent a chill down her spine to actually look at her own battered corpse.
“Something wrong, mom?” Miles asked
“I was just wondering if this what a ghost would feel like looking back at it’s own body,” Melinda said.
“I guess is kind of creepy. If there’s such a thing as a soul I imagine yours generally stays there until you wake-up, so you never seen what happens afterwards. Almost like being in a deep sleep.” Miles said. “I mean, it’s not like I’ve never seen one of us like this before. I was even there when Kai came back for the first time and he wasn’t the first immortal I’ve seen reborn. Then there’s the numerous times afterwards” she shivered, “it’s still weird seeing myself, though.”
“You want me to stop it?” Miles asked.
“No, I’m fine,” she smiled and picked up a cookie.
“Just making sure.” Miles smiled up at her and took one as well.
A smile crept across her face as she looked back at the screen, which showed Sonic hugging Miles and assuring him he wouldn’t be alone.
“He may be awkward and sometimes not know how to show it, but he does care about you a lot.” Melinda said.
“I know, we’re kind of like brothers now after everything we’ve been through. Like the mess with Shadow and The Space Colony Ark” Miles said.
“I was scared out of my mind until everyone made it back okay.” Melinda said.
“I think you hugged me and whimpered for like an hour once we were alone,” Miles giggled.
“Sorry, I got emotional,” Melinda chuckled.
“I was happy to see you, to, so I didn’t mind.” Miles smiled before looking back at the screen and Sonic’s worried expression, “I think Sonic was hurting to, when he thought you were gone.”
“I’ve never seen him looking that uncomfortable before,’ Melinda said, “I wonder that has anything to do with how violently he reacted when he thought I was some kind of double, aside from being worried you were in danger.”
“Maybe, but he didn’t act as weird as Knuckles did,” Miles started to giggle, “do you think he really thought you were a ghost?”
“Like I said before: he probably thought I was some ancient spirit there to ream him over losing The Master Emerald so much,” Melinda said.
“Not to mention it getting broken, twice.” Miles said.
“A part of me hopes it happens again, Tikal seemed like a nice girl.” Melinda said, “must suck being all cooped up in there.”
Melinda looked back the screen in time to see Sonic approaching the wreckage. She noted the painful cringe on his face as he got a good look at it right before the camera spun around to view the bloody mess. He really must have gotten close to her and got hit hard when he thought she gone.
“Amy is about to show up, brace yourself,” Miles said.
“Oh God, that poor girl.” Melinda almost whispered.
The scene continued and the camera remained trained on Miles as he carefully pulled a familiar trenchcoat from the backseat and smiled, holding it close.
“It’s okay if you were worried about me,” Melinda said, “it had to be stressful with all the public drama breaking loose.”
“It still smelled like your perfume.” Miles blushed, “So it was like having you there again for a minute.”
“With everything that coat has been through, I think it’s sort of a security blanket for both of us.” Melinda chuckled, “For me it’s how I hide my sword in a time when they’ve fallen out of favor for self-defense, and for you it must be almost like a part of me since I’ve worn it your whole life”
“Yeah, everyone used to ask about it on occasion because it’s so out of place now for most people, especially that bright color,” Miles looked up her, “Sonic asked me once if you were a detective and Cream thought maybe you were a PI like Vector when she first saw you in it.”
“I guess I’ll have to retire it to the closet and get a new one now that I’m going undercover, maybe something in blue?” Melinda pondered her options for a moment before a shrill voice brought her attention back to the screen.
Amy was running up to them and Melinda once again caught a glimpse of pain on Sonic’s face, as well as Amy’s when it was explained it was really her in the Ambulance. Miles flinched as Amy pulled him into a bear hug and held on for dear life before Sonic coaxed her to give the kit space.
She had to wonder about how close everyone must of gotten to her for their reactions to unfold this. There was no doubt she considered Tails’ friends her friends as well, but it never occurred to her how strongly they may reciprocate those feelings.
“If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me,” Amy said
“Deep down, that girl cares about everyone a lot more than she lets on, doesn’t she?” Melinda asked.
“She kept asking if I was okay the entire way there when I took her to the workshop for you to tell her the truth. It was kind of weird because she’s never acted so... that,” Miles stopped for a minute, his face betraying thought as if couldn’t find the word “nurturing towards anyone but Cream before”
“There more to that girl than fangirl obsession and righteous fury,’ Melinda said, “Like the way she almost lost in once she knew it was really me.”
“I’ve seen her emotional before, but never anything that genuine.” Miles said.
“Poor girl. I’m glad her and everyone else have been so understanding but I feel like I still have a long way to go making up for all those hours spent mourning me.”
“You’ve already done a lot, and I know Sonic thinks it’s cool, so at least he doesn’t mind.” Miles said.
“It almost feels like fate that he came into our lives,” Melinda smiled at the footage of the two boys walking down the sidewalk in near silence, Sonic’s arm protectively around Miles’ shoulders, “I get you see you so happy now instead hurting and lonely”
“I wasn’t completely alone, I had you and Uncle Kai,” Miles said.
“You should drop in to see him some time, I think he feels like he doesn’t see you enough anymore,” Melinda said.
“Maybe on the way home from my workshop sometime” Miles smiled “He’s also welcome to stop in at the workshop when I’m up there, I never really have showed him around.”
“maybe I should, to, “ Melinda ruffled the fur on his head, “We haven’t been in a shop together in months and I miss the smell of grease, gas, and oil”
“Maybe you can get a new car and we can tune it up together,” Miles said.
“Sounds like fun,” Melinda said.
“Hey, mom?” Miles asked
“I’m glad the secret is out so you can be more like one of the gang, now.” Miles looked up her, “maybe even find a way to fight Eggman with us”
“Me to, I’m glad there’s one less wall between me and everyone.” Melinda smiled and ruffled his head fur, “and I’d love to play hero sometime.”
This what I got, nothing to out of the ordinary aside from buying so many
HOWEVER what I paid for them at Wal-Mart is the amazing part and the explanation for why I got so many (aside from being excited to actually find some more cards)
Just an extra bit of epilogue for "Cold as Ice" that starts with Kai's POV as he walks Cream home and then shifts to Amy's at Vanilla's house to explore some of thoughts on everything.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The night was peaceful, the sky was clear, and even the cold wind was pleasant like swimming in cool water after a stressful day. Kai walked in and out of the soft glow of the streetlights with Cream holding his hand.
It was all over and now the only thing left was to get her home safe and take peace in the fact the monster Melessa had saved her from would never so much as attempt to take another innocent life.
“Thanks for walking me home, Mr. Kai,” Cream spoke up.
“It’s no trouble,” Kai smiled, “I promised your mother I would get you home safe and that’s what I Intend to do.”
“I bet she’s worried about me,” Cream said.
“Of course, and worried about Miles and Melissa as well. She was upset when she found out you were both in trouble and Melissa had decided to save you herself,” Kai said.
“It was really brave of her to come after us.”
“That is something I always admired her for, the way she fights to protect the people she loves.” Kai looked up at the stars and put his free hand in his coat pocket as he walked.
“I wonder if she’ll help Sonic and Tails fight Eggman now, since she doesn’t have to hide her gift from all of us anymore,” Cream asked.
“It’s possible, I know I’ve heard her say many times she wishes she could be out there with Miles putting a stop to his plans,” Kai said.
“I hope she does, Eggman is the one that sent that bully after us,” Cream said, frustration starting to creep into her voice.
“How do you know that?” Kai asked.
“I heard him calling Eggman and talking about Aunt Mel,” Cream said, “I didn’t know why he was so angry with her until she told me about the little boy she saved from him.”
“Maxwell was fortunate Melesa found him in time,” Kai looked down at Cream and noticed her nervous expression, “but then again, I don’t how much I believe in random chance and I like to believe she was meant to save him.”
“I’m glad he was okay,” Cream asked, “but I still don’t understand.”
“What, Cream?” Kai asked.
“Why that man wanted to hurt people like that, why someone like you two with such a wonderful gift would use it to hurt people instead of helping them and making friends with them like you and Aunt Mel do,” Cream looked down as she walked.
“I’m afraid I don’t know,” Kai sighed, “Even after almost 250 years, I still do not understand why so many people wish to hurt others for such petty reasons.”
“It makes the world a scary place, “ Cream frowned for a moment before smiling at Kai, “but it makes it less scary knowing there’s people like you and Aunt Mel to protect us from the bad people.”
“I’m glad you trust me enough to let me protect you,” Kai said.
“I kind of always did, but I wasn’t sure. You always seemed really strong, but not in a way that made you scary,” Cream said, “Liked you’d never use it to bully anyone.”
“We had a certain code of honor in my tribe,” Kai chuckled softly, “It was taught to all of us as we trained to defend our families and homes.”
“What’s that?” Cream asked.
“Without compassion, strength is nothing. For it is the destiny of the strong to protect the weak, and love is the strongest emotion that can guide us in defending them,” Kai said.
“That sounds like the sort of rule a brave knight might live by,” Cream smiled.
“Melessa alway said the same thing,” Kai shook head, stopping when he felt the piece of cloth in his pocket.
“Something wrong?” Cream asked.
“Not at all, I just remembered I have something of yours,” Kai pulled the ribbon from his pocket and smiled as Cream’s eyes lit up.
“You got my ribbon back?” She asked excitedly.
“Of course,” Kai crouched down, “I know it’s a bit late because you’ll likely be in your bedclothes soon, but you would you like me to put it on for you?”
“Sure,’ Cream said
Kai smiled and carefully began tying the ribbon around her collar. Once he was finished he carefully smoothed both the collar and ribbon, “There,” he smiled.
“Thank you,” Cream happily threw her arms around him.
Without a second thought he hugged her back and found himself pondering how right this all felt. Could he someday work up the courage to trying be a part of her and Vanilla's family? To someday be a husband to her mother and a father-figure to her?
“You are welcome,” Kai chuckled.
The two separated and Kai watched as a curious expression formed on Cream’s face.
“What did happen with Maxwell, the little boy Aunt Mel saved?” Cream asked.
“He was an orphan and Melesa sort of adopted him and drug him along with us on our travels,” Kai smiled and ruffled the fur on Cream’s head., “Time passed and he eventually grew older and had a family of his own.”
“That sounds nice,” Cream said, “I’m glad everything worked out.”
“Would you like to know a secret that we haven’t told anyone else yet?” Kai asked.
“Is it something bad?” Cream asked with a slightly worried expression.
“Not at all, it’s a fun secret,” Kai said.
“Then okay, and I promise not to tell anyone,” Cream nodded.
“Do you know what a descendant is? Like how someone is descended from their grandparents?” Kai asked.
“Yes, and people like our grandparents are called our ancestors,” Cream added.
“Did you know you’ve meant Maxwell’s descendant?” Kai asked.
“Really?” Cream asked curiously, “who?”
“What if I told you Maxwell was a chameleon? Who do we know like that?” Kai grinned.
“You mean Mr Espio?” Cream’s eyes lit up
Kai nodded and chuckled as he heard her start to giggle.
“I wonder if he’ll find out somehow, since he’s a detective and his family might’ve told stories about her,” Cream said.
“Even if he does not, I’m sure she will tell him eventually because family is important to her, and think she see’s him as family.” Kai said.
“I promise I’ll keep it a secret until then,” Cream smiled.
“Okay,” Kai playfully ruffled the fur on her head, “now how about we get you home?”
“It’ll be nice to see my mother again,” Cream smiled and took his hand.
“I’m sure everything will be fine and Melinda will bring them back safe,” Amy placed a hand on Vanilla’s shoulder
Amy had gone to Vanilla’s house the minute she got the call that the search was over, and the two had been waiting for nearly two hours for someone to come through the door, or at least some kind of sign that everyone was safe.
It has been grueling being on the sidelines while the youngest and most vulnerable members of their team we’re being held hostage by some immortal maniac, but she was doing her best to reassure Vanilla that everything would be alright.
“I can’t pretend I know much about her past, but I don’t know how she can face someone like that,” Vanilla dabbed her eyes with a handkerchief and looked down at the clearly upset Chao she cradled in one arm.
“Have a little faith, I mean she’s tough enough that Sonic said she was there mocking the robot that attacked the DoT, “ Amy placed a hand on her shoulder, “I mean, you know yourself she came back from the dead and that has to count for something.”
“She almost gave me a heart-attack,” Vanilla chuckled
“I think she almost gave as all one,” Amy smiled, “Even Tails, and ironically it was because he was working so hard to try and stop US from panicking too much.”
“He looked so relieved standing there while Cream was hugging hold on to her for dear life and we knew it would be fine.”
The two were interrupted by footsteps outside and Amy froze in anticipation as she watched the doorknob turn and the door slowly open.
“Mama!” Cream cried happily as she ran in and jumped into her mother’s arms.
Amy breathed a sigh of relief as soon as she saw her and Kai not far behind, still standing in the doorway with a smile on his face.
“I guess that means everything is okay?” Amy glanced over at Vanilla holding on to Cream for dear life and Cheese now resting in Cream’s arms before looking back up at Kai.
“Yes, Miles left with Sonic and Melissa is tending to something before she goes home. She made sure that monster won’t claim anymore innocent lives.” Kai said.
“After Aunt Mel saved us, Tails took me to the church where Mr Kai lives and he protected us,” Cream spoke up.
“Thank you, both of you,” Vanilla smiled at Kai, tears in her eyes.
“I’m just happy I could help them both get home safely,” Kai said.
“Yeah, good to know everything will be okay now,” Amy said, fidgeting around as Cream slid over to hug her.
“Come in, dear,” Vanilla smiled warmly, “You know you’re always welcome, especially after this.”
“I cannot stay long,” Kai stepped into the middle of the room, “I think I know where Melissa is and I wish to check on her.”
Vanilla stood up and walked over to Kai, wrapping her arms around him and he slowly returned the hug. Amy giggled as she noticed him starting to blush, quietly wondering to herself if they’d ever wind up together.
“Thank you again, dear.” Vanilla said.
“It was really no trouble,” Kai replied
Suddenly Amy’s attention was pulled away from the scene by Cream yawning and starting to slump over against her.
“Hey Cream, if it’s okay with your mom how about I tuck you in tonight?” Amy asked, looking up at Vanilla and getting a nod yes.
“Okay,” Cream yawned as Amy helped her down off the couch.
The young girl yawned again as Amy guided her towards her mother and Kai where she stopped and smiled up at the wolf. Cheese now happily floating behind them.
“Goodnight, Mr. Kai,” Cream held up her arms and smiled as Kai leaned down to hug her.
“Goodnight, try to get some rest now that everything is safe, okay?” Kai said as he wrapped his arms around her.
A smile crept across Amy’s face and she teared up as she thought about how much the three in front of her looked like a family. Would he ever at least try to tell Vanilla how he felt about her? He’d make a wonderful husband to her and father to Cream.
The two eventually separated and Cream turned to stand on her tip-toes and wrap her arms around her mom’s waste.
“Goodnight, mama,” she said with a yawn before letting go and re-joining Amy,
“Goodnight Dear,” Vanilla turned to Amy, “Since it’s so late why don’t you get one of the extra sleeping bags out of the closet and stay in Cream’s room?”
“Thanks, Vanilla,” Amy let out a yawn of her own, “goodnight”
The small bedroom was quiet save for the sound of Cream’s light breathing as she slept, and Amy stared up the ceiling with thoughts of the last few days running wild in her head after what must have been a couple hours of restless attempts to sleep. Thoughts of immortality, immortals themselves, and the ramifications of such beings existing. The things people like Melinda must have seen, done, and the history they’ve been a part of.
More solemnly, she wondered how alienated and alone someone so old must feel sometimes and how hard it must be for someone so loving and nurturing to not being able to conceive children of her own. She had Tails of course, and Amy could tell they loved each other just as much, if not more than any other mother and son.
“That doesn’t make him any less of my son,” Amy smiled as the words echoed in her head
She also had all of them, Sonic, Amy herself, Vanilla, Cream, and even Knuckles despite his stubborn nature. It also occurred to Amy that despite everything tv, books, and movies about things like vampires would have her believe about ancient beings she was anything but cold and distant from mortals. She seemed to love everyone unconditionally and was caught somewhere between pain and rage when she found out Cream and Tails were in danger.
“I promise I won’t ever leave you,” the words she spoke to Cream, but they grew bittersweet as another thought entered Amy’s head, “but someday we’ll all have to leave her, she’ll outlive all of us.”
The thought was sobering and threatened to bring tears to her eyes. What must it be like to know that you’ll have to watch even your own son grow old and die, and how many countless times had she watched it happen to those she loved? Had she had other adopted children? Was she ever married to a mortal in all those years and watched it happen to a husband? It had to hurt, and hurt bad.
She must be unbelievably strong and have so much willpower to keep going and not lock herself away from the world. To keep letting herself love in so many ways.
Amy was stirred form thoughts by the sound of quiet chirping coming from her cell phone, signalling a text message. She quickly picked up and saw Melinda’s name on her home screen, her finger quickly clicked it and flicked across the screen to the view the picture message.
“Everything is okay,” it said, the image still loading.
A smile crept across her face as it finally popped up to show Melinda at home on the couch. Her arm was around Tails, who was curled up under her coat and snuggled up her, sleeping peacefully. Despite the fact she had obviously been crying not long ago, a sincere smile was now on Melinda’s face.
“Cream is also okay,” Amy quickly typed.
As she hit send she heard Cream moving around and softly crying. She quickly climbed to her feet and made her way up to the bed where the young girl was hugging her teddy bear and sobbing.
“Cream, what’s wrong?” she asked, putting an arm around Cream.
“I had a bad dream,” Cream sobbed as she leaned against Amy.
“Do you wanna talk about it?” Amy asked softly.
“I dreamed about what happened when Aunt Mel came to save us, I had my eyes closed but I could still him hurting her, I heard her trying to tell us goodbye and then I woke up,” Cream sniffed.
“What happened in there?” Amy wondered, “It’s okay, Cream. Everyone is home safe now.”
“I know, I got to see her before we all left the church but it’s still scary,” Cream whined.
Amy remembered she was still holding her phone and clicked on the picture to make it fill the screen.
“See this picture she sent me? Everything is fine.” Amy held the phone where she could see it.
“She looks like she’s been crying,” Cream said.
“Yes, but she’s smiling now and look at how comfortable Tails is,” Amy said, “Everyone went through a lot and maybe she just had to let it all out. I think everyone does that sometimes.”
“They do look happy, especially Tails snuggled up next to her,” Cream smiled.
“Think you’ll be okay, now?” Amy laid her phone on the nightstand and put her other arm around Cream.
“I think so,” Cream wigged an arm loose and hugged her back, “Thanks for showing me that cute picture.”
“No problem, I’m glad it made you feel better,” Amy let go and grabbed the top of Cream’s blanket, “now try and get some sleep.
“Goodnight, Amy,” Cream yawned as she laid down and let Amy cover her up.
“Goodnight,” Amy said quietly, a smile spreading across her face as she reached for her phone and looked at the picture, “I think I’ll save this one.”
Melinda breathed a sigh of relief and watched the countryside pass by, happy to once again be behind the wheel of something after nearly a week, even if it was a hearse the rest of the town thought was carrying her body.
“What did you guys think of my speech and obituary?” She asked.
“Well, I guess I don’t have to worry about my beautiful, sainted, loving, and borderline goddess-like mother having self-esteem issues,” Miles playfully smirked.
“Hey, I never used the word goddess,” Melinda laughed, playfully nudging Miles.
“Melessa, did you really have to immoralize the cover story of me being your father?” Kai asked.
“I said you were like my father, not WERE my father. There’s a distinct difference.”
“You are nearly a millenia my elder, and “changed my diapers” as you so eloquently worded it not long ago.”
“You know as well I do you wouldn’t pass for my son to anyone not in on the family secret,” Melinda teased.
“I thought it was kind of funny,” Miles chuckled.
“Defending your mother, I see,” Kai faked a hurt look and playfully ruffled the fur on Miles’ head, eliciting a louder giggle out of the kit.
“You know I love you anyway, Uncle Kai,” Miles laughed, “Even if most of the town thinks you’re old enough to be my grandpa now.”
“Well, I mean, he technically is. Old enough to be a lot of you guys grandpa, or great-grandpa, or great-great-grandpa…” Melinda though for a moment, “Really though, I don’t have much room to talk since I’m old enough to be someone’s ancient ancestor.”
“I guess that means old people don’t have to be boring,” Miles interjected.
:”Hey, you!” Melinda reached out and tickled one of his ears. “Mom!” Miles laughed, “You guys have me trapped in the middle and that isn’t very fair.”
“”That’s the entire point,” she chuckled.
“I love you both, even if you’re old people and like picking on me,” Miles laughed.
Melinda wiped the sweat from her forehead and looked at the casket, now sitting safely on the lowering device.
“We only dropped her twice this time, ah’d say that’s an improvement.” Melinda smiled.
“Sorry, again,” Vector sniffed.
“Don’t beat yourself up, hon,’ Melinda put a hand on his shoulder, “Y’all did fine compared to mah great auntie Martha’s funeral where she flew out the back of the hearse while we did 80 down the highway.”
“That sounds horrible,” Espio said.
“We all must have driven for miles before we realized and went back for her, ah just thank the lord we thought to nail her coffin shut so we wouldn’t repeat would happened to cousin Leonard,” Melinda sighed, “Those darn feral coons.”
She stifled a giggle as she noticed the strange looks both Miles and Kai were giving her
“Oh God…” Espio gave her a look of pure horror.
“Y’all know, things happen and we just keep on truckin’,” Melinda smiled, “That’s life.”
Melinda turned around to see the look of confusion on John’s face and gave him a smile as she leaned down and nudged Miles out of his shock.
“I don’t know if I even want to know,” Miles said, following her to their seats.
“Leonard?” Kai mumbled as he followed.
“Well, Preacher? Ready to give her one last goodbye so she can rest?” Melinda asked as she sat down.
“Right,” John cleared his throat, “As we lay Melinda to rest, I want to once again remind you all that this is not the final goodbye, but instead simply time to bid her farewell until we all see her again in heaven. So now we play one last song and commit her body to the earth from where it came, just as her soul has been committed to heaven.”
John clicked play on a small boombox and bagpipes filled the air with the sound of Amazing Grace.
The cemetery was nearly silent save for the music and Vector’s renewed sobbing. Melinda put her arms around both Cream and Miles and pulled them close.
“Are you two both okay,” She quietly whispered.
“I’ll be okay,” Miles whispered back
“This song is really pretty,” Cream sniffed.
Melinda looked up as Dan began to turn the crank to lower the casket into the vault, cringing when something snapped and it hit the concrete below with a thud that caused him to jump in shock.
The music faded out and John cleared his throat yet again, “Once again, I’d like to say I’m deeply sorry for your loss and I hope I’ve been able to bring you all some comfort and give you something to think about when you all go home tonight, God bless.”
A sigh of relief escaped Melinda and she relaxed, knowing it was over and she could go home with Miles and unwind soon. As she leaned forward to stand up her eyes fell on the white lilies laying around the grave with the rest of the flowers and found herself wondering about the girl again as she stood up.
She smiled and walked over to the flowers, gently pulling out a handful and admiring them before walking over to Cream.
“Who do think brought them?” Cream asked.
“Ah’m not shure, your auntie may have had fans just like Miles,” Melinda carefully leaned down and tucked one of the flowers behind Cream’s ear.
“It’s really pretty, think you,” Cream giggled.
“You’re welcome, honey,” Melinda whispered in her ear
Before standing back up, she took another flower from the small bunch and offered it to Miles, who gave a small smile and took it.
“Thanks,” He whispered.
“How’d y’all like it if we rounded everyone up and got somethin’ to eat?” Melinda asked.
Both kids nodded and Melinda smiled, glad things could finally start getting back to normal.
Melinda paced in front of the casket, waiting for the first of the guests they really had to fool to arrive, and taking note of where all the current attendees were so she could quickly get everyone to their seats when it was time.
Vanilla and Cream were already in their places, the young girl happily talking with her mother. Kai was standing next to their chairs talking with them and it made her once again wonder if he was ever make a move on Val. Would he at least least ask her out for coffee or something to show how he really felt about her in the near future?
Miles Predictably stood near the casket with Sonic, visibly relaxed and happily discussing the plans for the day as well as answering a random assortment of questions about immortals. Melinda guessed there was a lot for him to catch Sonic up on.
Amy stood by the photoboard, smiling and staring at the pictures. An occasional laugh escaped her mouth as her eyes scanned the board. Melinda sighed and walked over to her.
“Everything okay?” Melinda asked.
“Yeah, I was just enjoying these pictures and how happy everyone looks in them” Amy said.
“It only got better when you guys came along.” Melinda smiled.
“I really do enjoy hanging around you guys, even if if I still have to get used to the idea of immortals and you being hundreds of years old” Amy said.
“I bet before all this happened you thought Shadow looked good for his age,” Melinda chuckled.
“Is he one of you guys?” Amy asked.
“Nope, I’m not sure what he is or where his kind of immortality comes from. Heck, I don’t even know if he’s fully immortal or just ageless and immune to natural causes,” Melinda said.
“I guess that’s another mystery,” Amy said, staring intently at the photos, “I didn’t realize before you two and Kai were so close.”
“I’ve known Kai his whole life and helped raise him, and he’s always been sort of the cool uncle to Miles,” Melinda said, “He’s like a son to me.”
“He must care about Tails a lot, with how angry he got that night,” Amy said, “I swear he was shaking like he was either going to scream or cry when he carried you into the house and told us what happened.”
“The moment he first held him, he promised to help me protect him no matter the cost” Melinda said, “Of course, Tails loves him to and I remember when he was little and always excited when I dropped him off at the church before I ran boring errands.”
“He’s actually from a tribe, isn’t he? I mean he isn’t just a modern descendant of The Wolfpack Nation,” Amy asked.
“You catch on quick,” Melinda said.
“There’s just something old about him, he almost reminds me of a shaman or something with the way he talks and how wise and caring he seems to be,” Amy said, “Also, I might remember him mentioning his tribe.”
“Sometimes I wonder who's really the teacher in our relationship,” Melinda smiled, “You’re right though, he’s exactly 243 years old.”
“So young compared you you, I guess.” Amy said.
“Thought he was older?” Melinda asked, “let me me guess.”
“The white hair,” both girls said in unison before laughing.
Amy glanced over at Kai, “I think he likes her, but I wonder why her never tried to ask her out or something.
“I’ll let you know when I figure it out,” Melinda chuckled,
“They’d be a cute couple, and I think Cream even likes him.” Amy said, “So he’d be a wonderful parent to her.”
“Your preaching to the choir, I think he’s just either too shy or too unsure of himself.” Melinda sighed, “Maybe someday.”
Melinda heard the sound of quiet sobbing looked at the door in time Vector making his way into the room with Espio and Charmy trailing not far behind. She couldn’t help but note that a nearly six foot tall and over 400lb Crocodile reduced to a blubbering mess was an interesting sight. It also occurred to her that he barely knew her and it was strange for him to take it so hard.
She quickly approached the group and stopped at the front of the seating area
“Is he goin’ to be okay?” Melinda asked, trying to her best to use what she could only call the Melessa voice.
“He’s fine, m’am. He just always gets upset at times like this.” Espio said.
“I’m so sorry for your loss, it must be horrible,” Vector cried and pulled her into a hug, lifting her off the floor in the process.
“It’s okay, hon. Ah’ll be fine,” Melinda struggled for air, briefly wishing she had a crowbar, “Ya’ll are a strong fella, ain’t ya?”
“Sorry m’am,” Vector sat her down, “I just got emotional because it’s so sad, ya know? A young mother cut down in her prime and a kid left without his mother.”
“Ah know it’s horrible,” Melinda faked a sniffle, “but Ah’m shure she’s up there now, watchin’ over all of us,”
“Of course,” Vector looked past at the casket, “I better go pay my respects and give the kid my condolences,” Vector shook her hand before walking past her, “Hey kid, come here.”
“I might have to find poor Miles a chiropractor later,” Melinda thought to herself as she turned her attention to Espio.
“I’m truly sorry for your loss,” Espio reached out to shake her hand, “I didn’t know her well, but she seemed like a good woman.”
“Thank y’all,” Melinda smiled and took his hand, “Ah’m gonna miss ‘er but ah know she’s in a better place now.”
“I’m sure,” Espio smiled, “and I have a feeling Tails will be just fine with you around.”
Melinda paused for a moment, still holding his hand and wondered if he suspected anything. A part of her hoped he did and would eventually make the first move because she wanted so badly tell him who he was. To have a part in the life of Maxwell’s descendant that wasn’t from behind a mask.
“Thanks again, hon. I appreciate it that y’all have been so accepting of little old me.”
“Of course, now if you excuse me I might have to save your nephew from Vector,” Espio chuckled and slid past her, “Vector, let the poor kid breath.”
“Of course,” Melinda said softly, watching Charmy quickly buzz past behind him.
“Are we missing anybody, or is that about it?” Melinda muttered to herself as she idly stared at the entryway to the room. Her question was answered by familiar voices outside the door.
“I don’t why you had to drag me here,” Shadow said.
“Moral support, now get in there,” Rouge answered.
Melinda raised an eyebrow and eyed the two curiously as they entered into the room
“We’re you aware there’s a crowd gathering outside?” Rouge asked as she walked up the aisle.
“Ah imagine they’re all here to pay respects, seeing as how a national hero just lost his mama,” Melinda said cautiously, eyeing Rouge suspiciously, “Ah trust y’all are here for the same?”
“Of course, just here to pay my respects and give my condolences to Fox Boy,” Rouge pointed to Shadow, “I just made this come along out of respect since the kid has helped pull his fuzzy little butt out of the fryer so many times.”
“Wonderful, thank y’all kindly for coming,” Melinda bent down to shake Rouge’s hand before lowering her voice, “No, really. You know I’m not dead so what do you want.”
“Hey, I thought it might help keep your cover,” Rouge gave a sly grin as she whispered, “and I’m just curious to see how you guys pull this one off.”
“Just don’t do anything to raise suspicion, the Chaotix don’t know yet.” Melinda whispered.
“Shadow doesn’t either and wouldn’t believe me if I told him, so the feeling is mutual.” Rouge answered as she let go of her hand.
“Something wrong here?” Shadow finally spoke up.
“Not at all, ah was just introducing mahself.” Melinda gave her best smile.
“Have me met, miss?” Shadow asked.
“Ah don’t believe so,” Melinda said, rubbing the back of her head, “Mah name is Melissa, Ah’m Miles aunt. Ah moved on down here to keep an eye on things.”
She continued to smile as she watched Shadows size her up, nearly sweating bullets as she prayed her wouldn’t recognize her from the the club.
“Please to meet you, I’m sure.” Shadow finally said, turning to walk away.
“Would it kill you be friendly every so often?” Rouge asked as she followed him to the back of the room.
A sigh of relief escaped Melinda’s lips as she stood up straight and noticed Knuckles walking in with a bouquet of white lilies
“Strange, I knew he might come, but with flowers?” Melinda mumbled to herself before putting on a smile, “Glad to see y’all.
Knuckles gave her a confused look before approaching and handing her the flowers.
“Ah’m shure my sister would’ve loved ‘em,” she said, smelling the flowers.
“Sister, right..” Knuckles trailed off for a moment before blushing and clearing his throat, “They’re not from me, some girl in a cloak caught me outside and asked if I would bring them in for her.”
“Odd,” Melinda mumbled, “Did I actually have fans or something? I didn’t think I ever did much besides stand with Miles at ceremonies and things like that, maybe talk about being his mom on TV a couple times.”
“She couldn't've much older than Sonic or me. I can only assume it’s some young girl that looked up to you for some reason,” Knuckles said, “I asked if she wanted to come in and pay her respects but she said she was in a hurry.”
“Poor girl,” Melinda mumbled before clearing her throat, “Thank y’all for bringing them in.”
“No problem,” Knuckles turned and walked away, taking a seat next to Vector
“Ah guess it’s about time,” Melinda said absentmindedly, suddenly hoping she didn’t get stuck on that voice.
She took a deep breath and turned around, walking over to Miles with a smile and crouching down next to him.
“Okay, it’s about time so I need you to start the music while I start seating everyone,” she said.”
“Right,” Miles wandered off towards a door off to the side of the room.
Silence for a few moments and then noises. Melinda cringed as she heard the unmistakable sound of Daniel mumbling and someone slapping the stereo before music filled the air.
“There’s no for time us, there’s no place for us,” the voice sung, “What is thing that builds our dreams, yet slips away from us?”
She resisted rolling her eyes as Vector once again burst in tears, sobbing as Espio rubbed his back.
“Okay, ah have special places for some of y’all, so let’s get arranged here,” she walked over to Val, “Y’all are fine, but we need the old man here down yonder. Ah’m right next to the little lady and Miles is next to me. You’re next to him”
Kai gave her a curious look before taking his seat, leaving two chairs between him and Cream for Melinda and Miles as instructed. She mentally giggled thinking about her little surprise for him.
“That is kind of a pretty song,” Miles stepped up behind her
“Ah think it was one of ‘er favorites,” Melinda said
“I’m next to Uncle Kai, right?” Miles asked.
“Shure enough, hun.” Melinda motioned to the chair and watched as he sat down. She smiled as she noticed Kai putting a hand on his shoulder and asking if he was okay.
“Sonic, hon,” Melinda called, “I want you right here behind me.”
Sonic merely shrugged and walked over, squeezing behind the first row of chairs and finding his place.
“Wherever is cool with me,” he said once he was seated.
“This is gonna be good,” Melinda cleared her throat, “Amy, hun?”
“Yes, Mrs MacLeod?” Amy answered, already on her way over.
“Ah want you right here, behind Cream,” Melinda smiled, glancing at Sonic.
“...and next to Sonic,” a huge smile spread across Amy’s face as she took her seat.
Melinda laughed on the inside as she watched Sonic give a look somewhere between horror and a plea for help.
“Ah’m shure ya don’t mind sittin’ next your lady-friend to give her some support,” Melinda said,
“I guess not,” Sonic gulped.
“You ready for me to begin?” John asked from behind her.
“Ready.” Melinda said, taking her seat.
John ruffled some papers on his pulpit and cleared his throat before beginning to speak, “We’re here today to honor a beloved member of our community whose life was tragically cut short, and I’d like to begin by reading the obituary.”
Melinda took Miles hand as he glanced up her.. She looked back up at Daniel as he finally pulled out the newspaper clipping .
“Here it is,’ he said, “On September 15th, Melinda Rosemary Prower, 29 years old, was involved in a fatal car wreck and died on the scene. She leaves behind her Son, Miles Prower, better known as Tails to many of you, her dear little sister, Melissa MacLeod, and Kai Wolfe, the man she called a father.”
A smile cracked across Melinda’s face as she noticed John visibly holding back laughter as he set the paper down, and heard Miles barely suppressing a laugh next to her while Kai groaned, Amy even gave a quiet giggle from behind her.
“Oh God,” Miles said quietly, “That’s one way to include you, I guess.”
“I should’ve known,” Kai groaned, “As much as she likes that joke, I fear I’m lucky you don’t call me Grandfather.”
She had to fight even harder to not laugh as she listened to the whispered exchange and started to wonder how she was going to fake being upset when it was her turn to speak
“Oh God, Mel,” Amy said quietly.
“Does he really use the last name Wolfe?” Sonic whispered from behind her.
“Shure enough, Mr. Hedgehog,” she whispered back.
“Point taken,” Sonic answered.
The already quiet voices completely ceased and Melinda took a deep breath when John cleared his throat and once again picked up the clipping.
“I apologize for that,” he said nervously, “I just have a dear friend I think might be related to Kai and it make me think of him.”
“Nice save” Melinda thought to herself
“It goes on to say that she was a beloved member of the community, and a loving mother that was always there to support her beloved son and his friends at everything from award ceremonies to autograph signings. It also says she studied history and ancient language at Station Square University, and had an affinity for historical arms and armor as a result,” John cleared his throat for the third time.
“Not much about her personal life here, other than she was born in Scotland and her family moved here when she was still a child,” John motioned to Melinda, “I believe her sister wanted to say a few words before I close things out.”
“Thank you, Jonathan,” Melinda rose to her feet and walked towards the pulpit, pretending to wipe a tear from her eyes and bracing herself for the act she was going to have to put on. John stepped to one side as she stepped behind it.
“Ah just wanted to say a few words for mah dear sister,” Melinda sniffed, “Ah’m sorry, but Ah still can’t believe she’s gone and ah I’m gonna miss that girl. She was a loving mama, a good sister, and she always looked out for everyone.”
Melinda faked a sob and continued, “That poor girl was taken from this here world to young and and left so much behind. A boy lost his mama, an old wolf lost someone who was like a daughter to him, and a lot of y’all lost a friend. Ah guess they say the good ones die young, but it’s still sad to see a beautiful young lady with her whole life ahead of her struck down like this”
More sobs burst out to cover the laughter as she noticed Kai in the audience quickly hiding his face in his hands.
“Such a kind, generous, brave and loving girl that would’ve moved heaven and earth for her kin..,” Melinda started to blubber, “Why did the lord have to take her from us so early like this.”
“All because some scoundrel that didn’t know the break from the gas pedal forgot what a stop sign was,” she stepped over to the casket, “Could the lord have not saved her and sent her back down her to her kin?”
“Ah’m sorry, Ah just have to see mahself for closure,” Melinda lifted the lid ever so slightly and peaked inside before breaking down again, “It’s too horrible to bear, oh mah poor sister.”
“Miss, are going to be okay?” John asked, placing a hand on her shoulder
“Ah’ll be fine, just give me a small moment,” she stumbled back to the pulpit with his help and took a deep breath, “So ah promise to honor her memory and take good care of mah poor nephew. Ah also know that the man that was like father to both of us will be there and we’ll make together.”
Melinda fought to keep up her act as she saw nearly everyone in the “Melinda’s not dead” corner hiding their face in the ther hands and softly groaning.
“So beautiful,” Vector sobbed from near the back of the room.”
“Ah also know that she’s up there with the lord watchin’ over us, and that’s a far better place than this cold and hard world that took for from us so young.”
“Thanks, miss,” John began to help her back to her seat
“Thank you for letting me speak,” Melinda wiped her eyes and let him guide her back to her seat, grinning at everyone when she was close enough to not be seen by the others.
“Gee, think you were subtle enough?” Miles asked quietly, suppressing a laugh
“I told you I’d have to sell it, didn’t I?” Melinda said as she sat down and watched John return to take the stage once again “besides, I don’t want to upset you anymore than I already have to and overacting on purpose does the trick if it makes you laugh instead of cry”
“Are you okay?” Cream asked.
“Fine, honey,” Melinda whispered, putting an arm around her.
“I’d just like to say a few words in closing before we leave for the gravesite. I’d like to read Corinthians 4:16-through-18 to begin,” John cleared his throat and opened his bible “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
“That means that though this life and this body are temporary, we must not fear or live as though death is a darkness looming on the horizon because this life only prepares for what comes next, and what comes next is eternal,” John smiled, “That means this goodbye is only temporary and so we must take heart in the knowledge that she’s still with us inon our hearts and minds, and watching over from heaven.”
John closed his bible and Melinda caught sight of him looking over at her, “in fact, she might be in this very room with us, saying one last goodbye and trying to comfort us in our time of need.”
“So let us all pray, pray for her safe passage, pray to say goodbye, and pray that we all have stories of full and happy lives lived to tell her when we meet again,” John closed his eyes and music began to play on the speakers
“I close my eyes only for a moment, and the moment's gone,” the voice sang, “All my dreams pass before my eyes, a curiosity”
The room fell silent and Melinda sat for a moment, staring at the floor, reflecting on his words and praying in thanks for all the time she had been given, and the memories she could look forward to making with the people now sitting around her.
“Looking good, kiddo.”
Melinda finished adjusting Miles’ tie and gently straightened his suit coat, making sure to double check that all the buttons on his shirt were lined up properly.
“I still think it might look better if you actually wore pants, though.” Melinda teased.
“Thanks, mom.” Miles smiled nervously, “I barely wear even normal clothes, let alone complicated stuff like this so I don’t really know about ties and stuff”
“No problem, It’s what I’m here for,” she smiled back.
“You look nice, to,” Miles smiled wider, “your hair looks nice braided like that”
“Thanks, kiddo,” Melinda reached out and gently brushed around the fur on his head in an attempt to neaten it.
Her clothing was nothing fancy or extravagant, but she had found a nice pair of dark blue jeans and a dark blue flannel she wore over a black undershirt. A small gold cross hung around neck.
She noticed Miles looking down curiously at her left hand and and playfully wiggled her fingers, “Don’t tell me the missing finger still bothers you, it happened like two years ago.”
“No, I was just wondering how you’d explain your sister missing her left pinkie just like you, unless being that clumsy runs in the family.” Miles said, obviously thinking hard
“Think I could pass it off as some kind of genetic deformity we both share?” Melinda asked.
“Maybe, I dunno,” Miles replied.
“I guess we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.” Melinda said.
Small footsteps hurried down the stairs, attracting Melinda's attention as well as Miles gaze to the source of the sound as Cream stepped off the stairs.
The girl wore a short-sleeved, dark red dress that reached her feet with a sash tied around the waist.
“You look very pretty,” Melinda said.
“Thanks, Aunt Mel,” Cream hurried over.
“Yeah, you look nice.” Miles smiled.
“Thanks, Tails,” Cream giggled, “You two also look really nice. I like you’d hair braided up like that, Aunt Mel.”
“Thanks, honey.” Melinda smiled warmly.
“and Tails, you look nice in that suit.” Cream smiled.
“Thanks, Cream.” Miles nervously rubbed the back of his head and laughed.
“So, is everyone ready to go?” Melinda asked as she stood up.
“Ready as I’ll ever be,” Miles took a deep breath
“As long as you’re there, I’ll be fine,” Cream said
“Then I guess it’s time to go bury myself, symbolically speaking,” Melinda took a deep breath and reached out for Cream’s hand.
“File that under things I never thought I’d hear someone say,” Miles said.
The three stood on the steps of the funeral home and Melinda looked up at the doors, pondering the how darkly humorous the idea of walking into her funeral was. “Melessa” was going to have to put on a hell of an act to get through one.
“This is kind of strange,” Cream said
“I know, but we’re gonna get through it and everything will sorta go back to normal,” Melinda knelt down and put a hand on Cream’s shoulder.
“”Yeah, I’m the one has to deal with an awkward conversation at dinner tonight,” Miles gave an uneasy smile and mimicked half a conversation, “So, mom. Your funeral was really nice today.”
“It’s still kind of scary though, even if it’s just sort of like pretend,” Cream gave a small smile.
“The seating is arranged so you’re going to be right between your mother and me, and Miles is going to be on the other side between me and Kai, so I’ll be right there if either of you you need me.” Melinda gave a sly smile, “Sonic is even right behind Miles and I stuck Amy next to him.”
“Poor Mr. Sonic,” Cream giggled
“Hey, Amy needs someone to cry all over when she gets emotional, right?” Melinda winked, “maybe it’ll be a bonding experience for them.”
“Oh man, he’s going to get you back good for that one,” Miles laughed.
“I have to remind him I still care somehow,” she winked, “Oh and one last thing: everyone remember how we talked about calling me Melessa in front of people that don’t know?”
Both children nodded.
“Oh, and one other last thing. I’m going to have to put on a show to really sell this, so just play along no matter how weird I have to act.”
“Okay, it REALLY makes me nervous when you say things like that.” Miles said as the three walked inside.
Melinda smiled when she noticed the preacher pacing back and forth in front of the casket. It was a young hedgehog standing around 4ft tall with his long, charcoal quills tied into a ponytail and flowing down his back. He smiled as his yellow eyes locked onto her.
“I see you’ve all come early enough to make the last minute preparations before anyone else arrives,” he said, “My name is Jonathan McCall. I admit I’m a little nervous because I’ve never handled this sort of thing before.”
“I’m sure you do fine,” Melinda assured him, “It’s just like any other funeral. Well, aside from the fact I’m in the audience instead of the casket.”
“I guess I’m just nervous because this was all sprung on me so suddenly when I’ve never so much as met an immortal face-to-face before.”
“Well now you have, so relax,” she patted him on the back, making him jump.
“Aunt Mel, how does he know about you?” Cream asked.
“Well, sweetie,” John gathered himself as he spoke, “Since the church is meant to be a sanctuary to everyone, and especially to immortals it’s not uncommon for us to know about them and offer help with things like this.”
“Is that why Mr Kai lives in a church?” Cream asked innocently.
“Yes, since immortals can’t fight on holy ground it’s common for really peaceful types like him to live in places like old churches,” John smiled.
“That sounds nice,” Cream smiled.
“Is everything ready?” Melinda asked, getting John’s attention.
“I believe so, I didn’t know if all the pallbearers were in on it so I had them stick a weighted dummy in there,” he carefully opened the lid, revealing a rough mobian analog made of cloth and stuffed with sand, “I assume you’ve informed everyone it’s a closed casket?”
“Yes, that was a given when there’s not actually a body,” Melinda answered, “and everyone handling the casket knows, so we’re fine with or without the dummy.”
“Good, that means we’re in the clear,” John let out a sigh of relief, “Is there anything else?”
“Nope, we just need to set up the photo board,” Melinda said.
“Great, then I’ll just finish planning,” John smiled and walked over to a pile of papers laid out on his pulpit.
The bulletin board was balanced on a tripod next to the the casket and Melinda carefully removed it, admiring the aluminum frame and matte-black coating on the surface. It was just the sort of simple yet elegant design she liked. She turned and gently placed it on top of a chair and motioned Miles and Cream over.
“Come on, it’ll be fun,” she said, “Just like looking through the picture album.”
“That sounds fun,” Cream said.
Melinda opened the padded enveloped she had been carrying and pulled out a stack of photos. On the bottom was a 8x10 of her and Miles smiling and hugging each other and on top was a uniform stack of smaller, 4x6 shots. She produced a thumb-tack from her pocket and pinned the large photo to the center of the board.
“That’s a really nice picture,” Cream said, “You both look really happy.”
“We took this on his birthday last year,” she nudged Miles, “Remember that?”
“Of course, you had to go to the bakery in town at the last minute because you tried to bake a cake yourself,” Miles giggled.
“I guess I should ask Val to teach me how to bake without making charcoal,” Melinda.said, “Won’t I, Cream?” She nudged the girl.
“That sounds like a lot of fun, maybe we can teach Tails, to.” Cream smiled.
“Uh, Maybe,” Miles blushed.
“We’ll just to have to make sure we have a fire extinguisher,” Melinda laughed and slapped Miles on the back, “But for now, how about we see what else is here, shall we?”
The top picture on the stack was one of Melinda sitting on the ground with a confused expression as Cream placed a flower crown on her head.
“Hey, that was right after we all became friends!” Cream said excitedly
“That’s right, you hung out with me while Sonic and Miles were saving your mom and we became friends. You snuck off to make it while everyone was celebrating afterward,” Melinda pinned the photo to the board.
“I’m glad we all met, I guess sometimes when a bad thing happens a good thing can also come out of it,” Cream smiled.
“Every cloud has a silver lining, right?” Melinda asked.
Cream nodded in agreement and looked down at the next picture, giggling.
“This one is actually from a camping trip,” Melinda couldn’t help but laugh as well
It was Kai with his long hair untied and falling over his bare shoulders, the top of a blanket barely visible. He had a goofy smile plastered on his face, and his arm was around a younger Miles who was barely holding back laughter.
“I’ve never seen him without his hair braided, it’s actually really pretty,” Cream said.
“He fell into the river and got soaked so he let it down to dry. Miles hadn’t seen him like that either and had the same reaction. It’s why they're both laughing,” Melinda pinned that one to the board as well, followed by the next of Miles and Kai holding up a large fish right next to it.
“Awwww, these bring back memories,” Melinda held up two photos of her and Kai respectively, each holding Miles when he was a baby, “These were taken right after I found him and we finally managed to get the adoption to go through when they realized there was no family to claim him.”
“Tails was a cute little baby,” Cream smiled
“Funny story about the night I found him. Since it was raining and he was soaked I didn’t notice his little gift in my haste to get him home,” Melinda laughed as she thought about that night, “Kai was getting him dried off and bundled up while I put on dry clothes and all the of the sudden I heard “that’s something new” from the other room.”
“Did he find my second tail?” Miles asked.
“Sure enough, I finally came in and the first thing he did was ask me to count them to make sure he wasn’t seeing double because neither of us had seen someone born with an extra before,” Melinda ruffled the fur on his head, “I guess that makes you extra special if you managed to surprise people with nearly 1500 years of combined experience.”
“I guess, I’m glad I learned to be proud of it.” Miles smiled.
“Speaking of that,” The next picture was of him using his tails to hover off the ground with Kai watching in open-mouthed shock, “Glad I had the camera when I thought to ask you show your Uncle Kai that trick after you terrorized the house with it for a couple weeks.”
“Yeah, but looks like he got back at you in the next one.” Miles smirked at the next picture of her digging a trench with her heels as he happily tried to fly while gripping his mom’s wrists.
“He just had to see if you could lift me and even managed to get a hold of the camera,” Melinda shook her head.
“How old are you guys, again?” Miles laughed.
“In my defense, I likely still have the brain chemistry of a 19 year old to match my body. No idea what his excuse is,” Melinda smirked, “of course, you could ask yourself.”
“That may be true, but from a different perspective I might as well be a pup compared to you,” a familiar voice said.
Melinda quickly looked up as Kai put a hand on her shoulder, “Are you calling me old?” she playfully glared at him.
“Hello, Mr Kai.” Cream said happily.
“Hello,” Kai smiled and waved before turning back to Melinda.
“I’m only saying that my birth year actually has four numbers and that you’ve seen three millenniums to my two,” he smiled and crouched down next to Miles.
“Whatever, “old man”,” Melinda said a sly smirk.
Kai shook his head and laughed as he turned his attention to Miles and the photos, “Remember this?” he pointed to the picture with the fish, “I remember sitting on the ground holding on to you so it wouldn’t pull you in.”
“It was the first fish I ever caught and we made a trophy out of it, it’s still hanging up at home,” MIles laughed, “I think it’s still bigger than I am.”
Miles smiled for a moment before quickly hugging Kai, “I’m sorry I acted the way I did the other night, I was just scared and didn’t know what to do.”
“It’s okay,” Kai hugged him back, “I just want you to know that I’m always here for you and that you can talk to me about anything, okay?”
“Okay, and it would also be cool if we spent more time together,” Miles said as they broke apart.
“I think we can work something out,” Kai said.
Melinda supressed a giggle, not only at how cute the scene was but at the quick wink Kai gave her as he spoke. The two of them had already starting planning the surprise camping trip he had suggested what seemed like an eternity ago before tragedy almost struck.
“I hope so, we don’t spend enough time together anymore,” Miles smiled, “I guess I’ve been to busy helping Sonic.”
“Being a hero is a big job,” Kai smiled, “Have you been doing okay?”
“Yeah, even if this whole thing just feels weird and makes me a little nervous.” Miles fiddled with one of his tails.
“It is strange and I can understand it being a little upsetting to be at your mother’s funeral, but since she’s still with us I’m sure we’ll get through it, “Kai said, “and you’ll be right between us if you need something.”
“I know, and that does make me feel a little better,” Miles gave a small smile.
“Good,it helps to stay optimistic” Kai looked over Miles’ shoulder at Cream, “Have you been doing okay?”
“Yes, my mother even let me sleep over with Tails and Aunt Mel last night so we could all get ready together and talk about it,” Cream smiled, “It was fun.”
“I’m glad everything turned out okay,” Kai smiled, “and just as I told Miles: I’m here if you need anything.”
“Thank you, it’s nice that everyone is becoming better friends now,” Cream smiled back.
“I’m always happy to help people,” Kai looked up at Melinda, “I guess that rubbed off on me from my teacher.”
Melinda merely smiled and laughed at the idea that there was a time it was him needing her guidance when he had been her shoulder to lean on for so many years. Still though, she was happy to have passed her moral code down to him and proud of the man he had grown into.
“Glad I actually taught you something, “ she said, looking down at the next picture in her hand and smiling. It was simply something akin to a family portrait with her and Kai crowded together and him holding Miles so he could get in the shot. She quickly pinned it to the board.
“Hey, Cream, take a look at this one,” Melinda held up a selfie of herself with a huge grin, pulling a confused looking Vanilla in close, “I took it on her Birthday last year.”
“Oh my,” Cream giggled, “That happened when you trying to explain to her what a selfie was.”
“It was fun, wasn’t it?” Melinda stuck the picture on the board.
The four were interrupted by front door opening and footsteps accompanying voices, voices that Melinda immediately recognized as that of Sonic and Amy.
“This kind of gives me the creeps,” Sonic said, “I’m not used to attending a funeral where the guest of honor is still alive.”
“Yes, but the public doesn’t know that and it would weird to them if Tails didn’t have a funeral or gravesite for his own mother.” Amy said as the two entered the room, “I’m sure people have already seen them together and the tabloids will be all over it soon even without that kind of intrigue to cling to.”
“That’s why I just tell everyone else I’m my own sister,” Melinda said, smiling at Amy.
“That reminds me, I’m never going to get used to the new name,” Sonic said.
“If you really want a mindscrew, remember that Melissa is my birth name and Melinda is the new one,” she smirked, “So you’ve all known me by an alias this whole time”
“On that note, I’m gonna guess you share more than a name with the ancestor Espio mentioned,” Sonic said.
“Maybe,” Melinda gave a sly smile, “There might be a story I get around to telling later when this is over”
“I’ll hold you to it,” Sonic laughed, “So, I see you raided the family album. Any pictures of me?”
“Sonic, will that ego of yours ever shrink?” Amy asked.
“I hope not, it’s my best feature,” he smirked
“Actually, I do have some of both of you.” Melinda said, holding out two pictures.
The first was a picture of Sonic and Tails smiling and laughing as Melinda crouched down behind them pulled them both into a hug.
“That one is from Sonic’s last birthday,” Miles said.
“You gave him the his wrist communicator as a gift,” Melinda added, “You rigged one into my cellphone later.”
The second photo was taken outside the fitting room in a store. It was of Amy in a Scottish-style dress with a white top and red-plaid skirt. Melinda was seated on a bench next to her helping adjust the belt wrapped around her waist. Both of them were smiling.
“That’s when we went shopping a few months ago,” Amy smiled, ”I still love that dress, it’s why I wore it today”
“It looks really good on you,” Melinda carefully attached the last two pictures to the board and scratched her head, “You know, I kind of wish we had some pictures of me and Knuckles, but I guess he’s just camera shy.”
“Maybe he still believes camera’s steal your soul or something,” Sonic laughed.
“Maybe,” Melinda let out a sigh, “I guess there’s nothing left now but to hang this up and wait for everyone else to show.”
Melinda sat on the living floor with Cream and Miles on either side of her, having temporary converted it into something that she could only call a three mobian barracks with plenty of pillows, sleeping mats, and blankets.
She had changed into her usual night clothes, a pair of sweatpants and white undershirt while Cream wore a pair of pink pajamas decorated with pictures of chao. Miles merely took off his shoes, inciting Melinda to wonder as always how mobian guys that decided against clothes didn’t freeze in the colder months.
Actually getting around to finding him a new pair of PJs that fit just in case he ever got cold at night was added to her mental checklist of errands for the near future. He likely outgrew the last pair at least a couple years ago.
“Yes,” Cream said.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Miles answered.
“Good, now maybe we can awatch some TV or something and then get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow.”
“I have a feeling it’s going to be another one of those days that reminds me how “exciting” being raised by immortals can be,” Miles chuckled.
“You know you love it,” Melinda teased, playfully ruffling Miles hair.
“I guess it’s never boring,” Miles giggled.
The exchange elicited a giggle from Cream, causing Melinda to turn to her.
“I guess now that everyone is on the same page, you get some of that excitement to,” Melinda laughed
“Yeah, just like being around Mr Sonic,” Cream looked down for a moment before looking back at Melinda, “Aunt Mel, I’m glad we’re all together tonight so I don’t have to sleep alone”
“Been having trouble sleeping?” Melinda asked quietly.
“I had a bad dream that night,” Cream said
“”Wanna talk about it?” Melinda put an arm around her shoulders.
“I don’t remember to much because it was confusing, but I remember just hearing you and him arguing and him hurting you.” Cream said.
“Then what happened?”
“I just remember crying and hearing you trying to say goodbye before I woke up,” Cream wiped a tear from eye.
“ God, she heard everything and I can’t imagine how much it upset her,” Melinda thought to herself and tried to find the right words.
“Honey, do you remember what I said when I was trying to say goodbye that night?” Melinda asked in a soothing voice.
“I remember you kept telling Tails how much you loved him, and me to.” Cream answered, a small smile starting to spread across her face.
“That’s right, and I meant it.” Melinda pulled Cream into a hug, “So try to make that memory stronger than the others, and remember that the next thing that happened was me running over to give you guys a hug.”
“Okay, and I don’t have to be scared tonight because you’re right here,” Cream hugged her back
Melinda heard a sniffle coming from Miles and quickly pulled him into a hug as well, “Come on now, don’t want to leave anyone out.”
A smile spread across Melinda’s face and she thought back to a time barely a year before, “Hey, Cream, remember the first time we meant?”
“It was when Mr Sonic and Tails were saving my mom from Eggman,” Cream said.
“That’s right, Tails couldn’t think of anywhere safer so he brought you back here to me until they found her.” ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Not much more than a year ago
The door crashed open and Melinda quickly looked up from her book to see Miles running in, holding the hand of a rabbit girl not much younger than him.
“Is something wrong? Is your new friend here in trouble?” Melinda asked.
“Me and Sonic saved her from Eggman, but he still has her mother.” Miles answered, panting, “I thought she’d be safe with you until we save her.”
“Oh God,” Melinda quickly got off the couch and made her way over, crouching on front of them and gently reaching out a hand out towards the girl, “Honey, are you okay?”
The girl whined and back away, hiding behind Miles.
“Cream, it’s okay. This is my mom and I promise she’s really nice,” Miles said.
“Honey, I promise I won’t hurt you,” Melinda said in a soothing voice, “I just want to help you.”
Cream glanced up at Miles and then again to Melinda before looking up at Miles once more.
“Cream, I promise you can trust her.” Miles said.
Melinda had been taking the time to visually scan her and thankfully didn’t pick out any obvious injuries, it seemed she was just shaken up and she just needed to get her to calm down and relax.
A smile spread across Melinda’s face as she noticed a Cream was hugging a Chao with a red bow tie.
“Who's your little friend?” Melinda asked.
“His name is Cheese,” Cream said quietly
“He’s a cute little guy,” Melinda gently reached out to pet him, “Is it okay?”
Melinda waited for Cream to nod her head yes before gently petting the side of his head, eliciting him to almost hum happily. She smiled when she heard Cream giggle softly,
“I think he likes you,” Cream said before looking up at Melinda, “promise I’ll be safe here?”
“Yes, honey. I promise I won’t hurt you or let anything bad happen to you,” Melinda said softly.
“Are Sonic and Tails going to save my mom?” Cream asked.
“I’m sure they will, that bully Eggman doesn’t stand a chance,” Melinda grinned.
“Yeah, Sonic never loses, especially now that he has me to help him!” Miles added.
“Thank you, Ms…” Cream trailed off.
“My name is Melinda,” she said happily, reaching a hand out, “Now, wanna come sit with me and maybe watch some TV? It might help you calm down.”
“Okay,” Cream nodded and took her hand.
“I better go help Sonic!” Miles quickly turned and ran for the door.
“Miles,” Melinda called.
“What, Mom?” he asked, stopping in his tracks.
“Be careful, and bring her back safe,” Melinda said with a determined smirk.
“Right,” Miles nodded before running out the door.
“Remember..” Melinda trailed off when she looked down and noticed both kids curled at her sides and fast asleep.
She smiled at the thought of them resting peacefully and carefully kissed them both good night before one final thought popped into her her head.
How am I am going to tuck them both in without waking them so I can actually lay down and sleep?
“Miles, we’re home.” Melinda called as she stepped into the house.
“Hi, Mom. Hi, Cream,” Miles looked up from his comic book “Hello, Tails,” Cream hurried over the couch.
“Light reading material for a change?” Melinda teased and she sat down between them.
“I ordered some of the issues of my favorite comic I was missing, remember?” Miles smiled and laid on the end table “they came today.”
“Did my records come yet?” Melinda asked.
“Not yet.” Miles smiled.
“Darn, I was hoping they’d get here soon because A Kind of Magic was the last Queen record I needed,” Melinda sighed.
“It should be here tomorrow,” Miles said before looking past her and smiling at Cream “How are ya doin’, Cream?”
“Fine, I’m glad we all get to spend some time together,” Cream smiled back.
“Yeah, it’s nice we all just get to unwind now.” Miles said.
“I figured we could even camp out here on the floor tonight,” Melinda interjected, motioning to a pile of pillows and blankets neatly stacked on the floor.
“Like a slumber party,” Cream said.
“Exactly,” Melinda smiled and playfully rubbed her head
Cream giggled before eventually looking up at Melinda, “Aunt Mel, you said I could ask you questions about immortals, right?” Cream asked.
“Of course, and Miles can help me answer,” Melinda looked over at him, “Right?”
“I can try,” he said.
“So go ahead, ask away.” Melinda said.
“Well, like I said earlier: Mr. Kai said both of you are really old and tried to explain it, but it was hard to understand,” Cream said.
“You mean why we both look so young?” Melinda asked.
“Yeah, it’s kind of confusing.” Cream said.
Melinda thought for a moment, trying to decide the best choice of words to describe how it worked without upsetting the girl.
“Remember when I first told you, after you found out I was okay?” Melinda asked.
“Yes, I was glad you weren’t really gone” Cream answered.
“Remember how I explained that’s because if I..” Melinda stopped for a moment when she saw the worried look in the Cream’s eyes and gently put an arm around her, “I go to heaven, as it you like to think of it, I come back?”
“Yes,” Cream said, “and you also heal fast if you get hurt, right?”
“That’s right,” Melinda smiled before continuing, “Immortals aren’t really immortal until they come back for the first time, that’s when we get the ability to heal like that.”
“So it’s kind of like when a hero doesn’t discover their superpowers until they really need them?” Cream asked.
“Something like that, but what also happens is that we stop aging so from then on we always look the same.” Melinda gently pulled back one of Cream’s long ears that had slipped over her shoulder
“So that’s why don’t look much older than Miss Rouge even though you’re really old?’ Cream asked.
“That’s right, time was hard to keep track of back then when I think I was 19 or 20 when it happened to me,” Melinda said, “but that was a very long time ago, almost 1,200 years ago.”
“That’s just such a long time that it’s hard to imagine,” Cream leaned on Melinda
“I guess it’s all a bit strange, so it might take a while to get used to all of this,” Melinda gently rubbed her shoulder
“I guess so, I mean I know it doesn’t change who you are but it still feels strange sort of learning about this new part of you,” Cream said.
“You know, Miles was five years old before he knew and it was also weird for him. It might help if he get’s on on this,” Melinda turned to MIles and smiled, “Feel like talking to us about it?”
“Yeah Tails, how did you feel about it?” Cream asked.
“Well, I was upset at first because I thought something bad had happened to her just like you did,” Miles began, “and even after I started to calm down it took me a while to really understand.
“So what happened?” Cream asked.
“Well, once I realized she was telling the truth something clicked and I got to excited to rbe scared because I realized it was actually kind of cool,” Miles smiled.
“You thought I was like some kind of superhero,” Melinda chuckled.
“She did save us from the bad guy,” Cream smiled.
“I guess in the end though, she was my mom no matter what and I knew that was all that mattered,” Miles smiled, “and I love her, ancient or not.”
“Come here,” Melinda quickly hooked an arm around him and pulled him into a hug. “Mom!” Miles laughed as he hugged her back
Melinda noticed Cream giggling and pulled her close as well, joining them both in laughter and taking the time to enjoy the moment before they all quieted down and caught their breath.
“This is better, right? Just sitting here talking about it?” Melinda smiled
“Yes,” Cream said, “I think I understand a little better now, I guess it is kind of neat because it means I don’t have to worry about you getting hurt”
“I’m just that close to being an actual cartoon,” Melinda laughed.
“That’s a funny way to think about it,” Cream giggled.
“Hey, before we really get the evening started I want to talk to you about tomorrow,” Melinda said.
“Where are we going?” Cream asked.
Melinda thought for a moment, wondering if there even was a right choice of words for something like this.
“First of all, you understand that I’m fine and everything is okay, right? That I’m not going anywhere no matter what?” Melinda asked.
“Yes, you promised and I know you wouldn’t break a promise,” Cream smiled.
“Okay then, I guess I just have to ask then: do you know what a funeral is?” Melinda asked.
“That’s like what happens when someone, well, goes to heaven, isn’t it? Cream asked a worried tone, “Did you lose someone you care about?”
“No, everyone is fine,” Melinda reassured her with a smile, “It’s just that, well: you know how a lot of people think I’m dead and I have to keep it a secret that I’m immortal, right?”
“Is that because more people might come after you, like that bully?” Cream asked.
“Yes, it’s sort of like how superheroes have secret identities to protect the people around them,” Melinda said.
“I understand so far,” Cream nodded.
“Well, in order to keep the secret we have to have sort of a pretend funeral for me, and then I can sort of pretend to be someone else to fool other people,” Melinda said.
“That sounds a little scary,” Cream said, “but you still promise you’re not going away, right?”
“I promise I’m going anywhere, and I’ll be there at the funeral,” Melinda hugged Cream a little tighter
“Won’t someone see you?” Cream asked.
“Remember what I said about pretending to be someone else?” Melinda asked.
“Well, y’all’s Auntie Mel can’t come, but ah wouldn’t miss mah dear sister’s last goodbye and ah’m shure she’d want me to help both y’all,” Melinda gave a big smile.
“Oh my,” Cream begin to giggle
“Is mah voice really that-” Melinda suddenly broke down laughing and turned to Miles, “I see what you mean, I sound like a cartoon.”
“So what do I call you when you use that voice?” Cream finally asked after catching her breath again
“Melessa,” she answered.
“That’s what Mr Kai calls you, right?” Cream asked.
“Yes, it’s actually my given name but I haven’t used it in a long time,” Melinda answered.
“It’s a pretty name,” Cream smiled.
“Thank you,” Melinda answered, “So you understand all this, so far?”
“Yes, but it sounds like it might be a little sad, even if we’re just pretending,” Cream snuggled a little closer to Melinda.
“I already planned everything so you and Miles get to sit right next to me, so you just give me a hug if something makes you feel sad, okay?” Melinda said softly.
“Then I’m sure everything will be fine,” Cream said. “Good,” Melinda turned to Miles, “and that goes for you too, kiddo.”
“Uh, alright,” Miles mumbled and started to blush.
Melinda merely laughed and hugged him a little tighter.
Melinda knocked on the door of Vanilla's house, wondering to herself what Val’s reaction would be after having not seen her face to face since she saved Cream. She knew from the way Amy spoke during her phone call the day before that there was no bad blood and Cream wanted to see her, but none-the-less she was still a bit nervous.
The door slowly creaked open, pulling her from her thoughts, and Vanilla gave her a smile.
“Come in, dear,” she ushered Melinda inside, “it makes me feel better that you came to pick-up Cream yourself. She is excited about spending some time with you.”
“Thank you, even though things are safe again I figured it would make everyone feel more comfortable,” Melinda smiled and slowly stepped inside.
“Melinda, dear,” Vanilla placed a hand on her shoulder, “thank you for saving her.”
So many things ran through Melinda’s head, the right words escaping her and anger building up. Anger at herself and wondering if she should even be thanked when she could easily blame herself as the one Isa wanted to get to. Tears burned her eyes and the wall threatened to break as she looked down.
Before she could react, she felt Vanilla's arms around her.
“Kai told me some of what happened, he told me you saved someone from that monster a long time ago,” Vanilla said softly
“It’s makes me wonder if it was my fault,” Melinda replied, hugging her back.
“Nothing was your fault, and you despite how scared you must have been you still stood up to him in order to protect my daughter and your son. That makes you a hero just like Sonic as far as I’m concerned.”
“Thank you,” Melinda whispered.
The two broke apart and Melinda wiped her eyes on her sleeve, a feeling of relief washing over her.
“Like I said before, I won’t pretend I understand all this immortal stuff yet, but it makes me feel safer knowing that there’s people like you and Kai around using your gifts to protect people,” Vanilla smiled.
“I’m just glad it’s over and he didn’t hurt them,” Melinda said.
“I think I can guess how it ended, and all that matters to me is that you’ve saved my daughter and ensured that he won’t harm any more innocent children,” Vanilla patted her shoulder.
“In the end, that’s what matters,” Melinda managed to smile, “and thank you for not holding what I am against me like some would.”
“Immortal or not, you’re still my friend and still just Aunt Mel to Cream,” Vanilla sat on the couch and motioned for Melinda to join her, “she was excited you invited her over.”
“Amy said she that maybe spending some time with me would help her, and I figured I could talk to her some more about all this, and talk to her about the funeral.”
“Yes,” Vanilla giggled, “I admit, when you told me it was a little exciting, like when the hero in a mystery novel has to fake his death to lure out the bad guys.”
“I guess I’m like a walking supernatural thriller so it’s not far off,” Melinda laughed.
“I bet you have so many stories to tell, we should have some girl time with Amy one of these days and you can fill US in on more of this immortality stuff.”
“Maybe,” Melinda finally sat down, “it does feels like a relief I don’t have to hide it from all of you anymore.”
“I feel bad for Tails, though. Trying to help cover for you while you explained like that.”
“You should’ve seen him trying to talk Amy down up at the workshop, I thought she was going to go full Thor on somebody,” Melinda chuckled, “she thought I was a ghost.”
“Oh My,” Vanilla placed her hand over mouth, “at least she seemed to have taken it well after you explained.”
“Yeah,” Melinda suddenly remembered Val’s reaction, “OH, and sorry about making you faint, and then almost faint again.”
“It’s no trouble, It was just a bit of a shock that went away with how happy I was to see you okay and Cream taking it well.”
“I felt bad about upsetting her, but it was such a relief that I was able to regain her trust so fast.” Melinda sighed.
Before she could say anymore her attention was drawn away by a door gently closing and movement upstairs.
“She must be finished packing her things for the night, I told to pack a nice dress because you were going somewhere special in the morning and that you would explain,” Vanilla said.
“Thank you,” Melinda smiled and turned her eyes to the stairs and saw Cream emerge from the second floor, wearing a well-stuffed purple backpack
Cream smiled and waved, hurrying down the stairs and over to the couch.
“Hello, Aunt Mel,” she said.
“Hey Cream, excited for the sleepover?” Melinda asked happily.
“Yes, I’m glad we all get to spend the night together since I didn’t get to talk to you much after you saved us,” Cream climbed up on the couch and hugged Melinda after dropping her bag off on the floor.
“I thought we could also talk about immortals and stuff since I never got a chance to explain to much to you,” Melinda smiled and hugged her back, “Kai told me he explained some of it the best he could, but you might still have questions.”
“That sounds nice, it is all confusing,” Cream said.
“There’s also something I need to explain about where we’re going in the morning since it might be a little scary, okay?” Melinda said.
“Mom told me to pack something nice to wear, is it somewhere important?” Cream asked.
“Yes, I’ll explain more once we get settled in with Miles but I guess it’ll be sort of like going to church,” Melinda explained
“It can’t be that bad, then?” Cream smiled as she pulled away.
“No, it’s just that there’s something about it that may be a little weird.” Melinda rubbed the back of her head.
“I’m sure it’ll be okay since you’ll be there, to.” Cream smiled.
“Everyone will be there, actually.” Melinda said, “Your mom is meeting us there along with Sonic, Amy, Kai, and even Knuckles if someone can drag him there.”
“Then it shouldn’t too scary.” Cream said.
“Okay then,” Melinda nodded and stood up, “ready to go?”
“Yes,” Cream nodded before sliding down off the couch and hugging her mom, “See to tomorrow, mama.”
“Be good for Aunt Mel, okay? I’ll take care of Cheese while you’re gone.” Vanilla hugged her back.
“Thanks, mama, and I will,” Cream hurried off the couch and put on her backpack before taking Melinda’s hand.
“Ready,” Cream said.
“We get to ride the train today,” Melinda smiled.
“Sounds like fun,” Cream said.
“I’m glad,” Melinda said, “Since your Aunt Mel still doesn’t have a new car.”
Melinda lightly rapped on Miles bedroom door as she opened it a crack and called in inside, “mind if I come in?”
“Not at all,” Miles replied
The door creaked open and Melinda smiled at him. He was still sitting up in bed and nervously fiddling with his blanket.
“I thought that after last night, it might help you sleep if I came in for a little while and tucked you in,” Melinda made her way over to his bed and pulled chair from his desk over with her.
“Thanks,” he smiled a little bit
“So, you had fun today?” Melinda rolled the chair up next to his bed with it’s back to him and sat down, arm arms resting atop its back and legs loosely straddling it.
“Yeah. I was nervous about how it was going to go but the way you didn’t any of it seriously made it less hard and I just enjoyed spending time with you and joking around,” he said.
“My favorite part of the day was still the hospital, I hope that doctor pokes around enough that I get to mess with him a little more,” Melinda chuckled.
“I still enjoyed the bit with the casket the most,” he said.
“Yeah, poor Daniel,” she sighed, “the stone was the hard part for you, wasn’t it?”
“Yeah, but I guess picking something nice to go on made me feel better,” he said
“I think it’ll be a beautiful stone,” she said.
They both sat in silence for a few seconds before Melinda spoke up
“How about a story, a funny one that happened right after I became immortal?” she asked
“Like we talked about this morning?” he smiled, “that could be cool,”
“Yes,” Melinda thought for a moment, “You see, I had this friend named Sarah that sided with me instead of the villagers and we left together.”
“Your only friend back then, right?” he asked.
“Exactly,” she nodded, “it came down to us having to camp out in the woods a few miles away the first night after we left, and fending for ourselves, luckily she had somehow snuck some blankets and a knife out of town.
Melinda stopped for a moment and looked down at MIles, “this starts a little sad before it it kicks off, so bear with me.”
Sometime in the early 9th century, in the wilds of Europe near what we now call Scotland
“Thanks for the clothes,” Melinda stared at the campfire, “I guess it’s a good thing we both wear the same size.”
“Yeah,” Sarah laughed
Sarah, a beautiful young fox about the same age as Melinda with black fur, long, white hair and bright, lively purple eyes.
“Why did you decide to come with me? Neither of us even know what I am or why I came back from the dead,” Melinda asked.
“Because you’re my friend, and I know if it something lik this happened to you it must be a miracle and not the devil’s work,” Sarah sat down and placed hand on her shoulder
“I’d like to think so, but not even my own father could talk sense into the rest of the village,” Melinda felt tears welling up in her eyes, “I wish I would’ve stayed dead.”
“Now don’t talk like that, you’ve been gifted with something for some reason,” Sarah rubbed her shoulder, “and we’ll figure it together, I’ll help you find out everything,”
“I just, I wish I could see my family again,” Melinda started crying and leaned on her friend.
“I know,” Sarah wrapped her arms around her, “maybe someday.”
Melinda squinted as the morning sun hit her eyes and her ears perked up as noticed a scraping sound behind her. Looking around, she noticed Sarah attempting to sharpen the end of long stick.
“What are you doing, exactly?” she asked.
“The old fisherman told me some people catch fish this way, with a spear so I’m going to try to catch us a meal in the nearby river,” Sarah said.
“I am kind of hungry,” Melinda said, noticing her stomach growling.
“Glad you agree, because you’re the only one of us that can cook,” Sarah said.
“Wonderful,” Melinda replied, rolling her eyes.
“Hey, at least I knew how to start a fire to keep something from eating US,” Sarah chuckled.
“How did you learn that, anyway?” Melinda yawned and stretched her arms.
“My dad used to take me on his travels into town and we camped out along the way,” Sarah sighed, “something tells me if he was still around, he’d have come with us himself.”
“I’m sure he’d proud of you for standing up for us,” Melinda sat down on the log next to her.
“Yeah,” Sarah stuck the knife in the ground and felt the point of her makeshift sphere, “I think that’s about as sharp as it’s going to get, ready to go fishing?”
“I’m hungry enough I’d even eat your cooking if I had to, what do you think?”
“Okay, this shouldn’t be to hard. Just find a fish and impale it.” Sarah stood barefoot in shallow water, eyes transfixed on it.
“If you say so,” Melinda leaned over slightly and stared into the water, “either way, this cold mud feels good on my aching paws.”
Sarah raised a finger in a gesture of silence and pointed to the water where something was moving about, “right there, see it?”
“Yes,” Melinda whispered.
Melinda stared intently at the shadow in the water, stealing the occasional glance and Sarah to watch her eyes following the form. She jumped back slightly and flinched as Sarah furiously jabbed the sphere into the water without warning.
“Got you, I got-” Sarah had raised one foot out of the water and the one now firmly planted in the mud began to slip back as she fell forward, “NOT GOOD, NOT GOOD.”
Melinda lunged forward to steady her friend, but failed miserably and instead sent both of them toppling over into the water.
“COLD!” Melinda gasped.
“At I least I caught-,” Sarah’s ears dropped as her eyes landed on the tiny fish, barely six inches long impaled on her spear.
“It’s better than nothing?” Melinda placed on hand on her friend’s back, “I’m sure we’ll get better at it.”
“Is there even any meat on this thing?” Sarah questioned, poking it.
“I’m sure- YIP,” Melinda jumped as she felt something large and slimy swim up her dress, “WHAT THE-”
Melinda quickly reached down and felt the tail of a large fish down by her feet.
“What’s going on?” Sarah asked.
“WHAT DO YOU THINK? IT”S FISH!” Melinda exclaimed.
“Catch it!” Sarah cried as she stood up.
“Just hold still,” Sarah reached down and grabbed the fish’s tail, “It’s slippery!”
“GET OUT OF THERE, ITS EVEN COLDER THAN THE WATER!”
Sarah pulled the fish out into the water and fell back down and it tried to swim away “NO YOU DON’T,” she tackled the fish and wrapped the arms around it.
“Hold on,” Melinda scrambled forward and wrapped her arms around the fish just as it once again slipped from her friend’s grasp.
The two young women splashed around for several minutes until Melinda was left sitting in the water holding the now tired out fish against her chest with Sarah helping support it.
Melinda looking over and blinked as her eyes meant Sarah’s. Slowly, a smile crept across her across her face as Sarah began to giggle and she let loose her own laughter.
“I can’t believe that just happened,” Sarah said.
“At least we’re going to eat well today.”
Present Day, Miles’ Bedroom
“Oh God, it really swam up your dress?” Miles chuckled.
“It was an “interesting” feeling,” Melinda smiled, “and it was also delicious cooked over an open campfire.”
“Was it big?” he asked.
“At least as long as my legs, I think.” Melinda said.
“Sounds like you had fun,” Miles smiled up at his mother, “Sarah sounded cool.”
“It’s too bad she was born so much before your time, you would’ve like her.” Melinda felt a tear in her eye.
“It must be hard for immortals like you when you care about someone that isn’t,” Miles frowned, “like me or Sonic.”
Melinda winched and felt something deep down inside like a stab to the heart. A familiar pain surfaced and she faced a reality she hated to think about.
“Mom, I didn’t mean to upset you,” Miles gave her a worried look and took her hand that now fell to her side in his.
“No, it’s okay,” she wiped a tear from her eyes and held his hand tightly, “It is hard, but I don’t regret it.”
Melinda slipped her hand away and stood up, returning the chair to his desk, stopping and smiling when she saw a plush toy of a fox in an old, leather pilot’s helmet sitting on his dresser. She picked it up and and returned to his bed.
The right words were hard for her to find, the right words to voice what she wanted to say without upsetting him or making him fear his own mortality.
“I get to watch so many people grow-up and live their lives,” Melinda offered him the toy and he took it.
As she knelt down by the bed she pulled him into a hug, “Just like I remember holding you as a little baby and now I’m watching grow up big and strong, not even nine years old and already a hero.”
Miles hugged her back and she heard him sniffle.
“and I’ll also get to watch you grow up, find someone you love, and maybe even become a father someday,” she gently rubbed his back.
“It also means I never have to lose you, right?” he asked.
“That’s right, I’ll try my best to always be there for you,” Melinda kissed his head and smiled, “as a bonus: I’ll always look this good so you’ll never have to see your mom get old and wrinkly.”
“Mom…” MIles giggled before yawning.
“Get some sleep, okay?” Melinda chuckled and lowered her hand to to his blanket as he laid down, “it’s going to be a busy today tomorrow.
“Goodnight, I love you, mom.” Miles yawned again and hugged the plushie in his arms.
“Goodnight, Kiddo, I love you, to.” Melinda gently kissed his forehead as she pulled the blanket up and watched him curl up under it.
“This is the first time I’ve ever put myself in the morgue, I guess there really is a first time for everything.”
Melinda finished pulling off her jeans and stuffed them in a plastic bag. Now dressed in only her panties, she pulled open the drawer next to the one she had woken up in not long ago and climbed in. Placing her clothes carefully hidden between her legs, she laid down and pulled the sheet over her head.
“This is still cold,” she complained to herself as she took a few deep breaths to calm herself and aid in remaining still, “I hope they get down here soon.”
As if on cue, the door creaked open and she heard a male voice complaining, “I’m telling you, she’s just gone and I swear on my grave she walked out herself.”
“Must resist urge to sit up and ask for brains or fresh blood,” Melinda thought to herself as she fought to remain still and not start laughing.
“I’m pretty sure people don’t just come back from the dead,” Miles replied.
“He’s correct,” Kai added, “and don’t you think she would of found us if there was a mistake?”
“In the 10 years I’ve done this job, we’ve never buried anyone alive, either,” Daniel added, “false-positives like that just don’t happen in modern medicine unless drugs that slow down someone’s life-signs are involved.”
“I’m just telling you what I saw,” the man nearly shouted.
Footsteps approached Melinda and Daniel spoke up from next to her drawer, “Who's this, a new arrival?”
“I don’t know, I’m not sure they were even here this morning and I haven’t heard of any in-hospital deaths or DoAs,”
“I wonder?” Daniel asked.
Melinda felt the sheet being gently being pulled to uncover her face and willed herself even harder to not so much as flinch.
The man she now assumed was a doctor gasped, “I swear, she was gone and that’s noy even the same drawer I put her in.”
“It appears you might have just misplaced her, is it possible you might have put her in this drawer and thought you placed her in another?” Kai asked.
“No, I don’t make stupid mistakes like that,” The doctor huffed.
“It would be a simple one to make late at night and here she is,” Kai said.
“Yeah, I mean: this is definitely her, isn’t Miles?” Daniel asked
“Yeah, this is my mom,” Miles said calmly.
“So if you would find us a gurney to move her I’ll take it from here,” Daniel said.
“I know you people are up to something, and I WILL figure it out.
Angry footsteps echoed across the room and the door slammed shut.
Melinda finally let out a chuckle as sighs of relief filled the room. There was still the matter of getting her out out of the building but they were home free as far as she was concerned.
“You doin’ okay, mom?” Miles asked.
“This drawer is cold, but I’m fine,” Melinda sat up a little and held the sheet over her chest, “I’m glad I kept my panties on or I’d have an even colder butt than I already do.
“Melessa, did this plan require taking your clothes off?” Kai asked, rubbing his eyes.
“Yeah, Mom,” Miles added
“I was naked when I woke up, remember? Who’s going to come down here and put clothes on one of the bodies?” Melinda asked, “Also, I’m wearing panties so I’m not technically naked.”
“Well, I guess she has a point,” Daniel said, “It’s still awkward, but she has a point.”
“I’m wearing a sheet,” Melinda interjected, “I’m covered,”
“Yes, and I’m sure Miles is just as thankful for that as myself,” Kai said
“Yes,” Miles agreed
“You know, you guys are always talking about me doing things to embarrass the both of you but I’m the one that changed both your diapers and-”
Melinda was cut off by the sound of footsteps and squeaky wheels outside, “hold that thought,” she quickly laid back down, her head hitting the metal drawer with a painful thump and closed her eyes.
“Shit, that kind of hurt” she whispered as the door creaked open.
“Here, now just do what you have to do and get this body out of my hair before she get’s up and walks out again,” the doctor stormed back out of the room and slammed the door.
Melinda quickly sat back up and rubbed her head with one free hand and cringed, “that was stupid.”
“Melissa?” Kai asked
“What?” she continued to rub her head
“May I request you at least but your shirt back on before we wheel you out?” Kai asked.
“Oh, man, I would’ve killed to see the look on that Doctor’s face,” Melinda struggled to pull on her jeans in the back of the hearse.
“Yeah, I think he was pretty mad,” Miles laughed from the front seat.
“You sound like you’re in a good mood,” Melinda finally managed to get them on and zipped them up.
“Yeah, it was a little weird back there, but looking back that was all pretty funny,” Miles said.
“I guess I can at least say that immortal life will never get boring with you by my side,” Kai added.
“I have to find some way to entertain myself after nearly 12 centuries, don’t I?” Melinda laid back down and signed a breath of relief, “it’s a little cramped back here.”
“Sorry, but my passengers usually don’t need much elbow room,” Daniel said
“I guess you make a good point, still cramped though,” Melinda attempted to stretch her arms.
The three rode in silence for several moments, Melinda relaxing as best she could and savoring in her small victory, as well as the possible fun the doctor’s snooping around could lead to before MIles finally spoke up again.
“Hey mom?” he said.
“I know it’s weird to say, but as nervous as I am I’ve still had today just spending all this time with you and doing all this crazy stuff,” Miles said.
“Maybe I should die in public more often,” Melinda chuckled, “I’m enjoying spending time with you just as much.”
“Thanks, Mom,” Miles laughed, “but maybe that’s going a bit far.”
“You’re welcome, honey.”
Before the conversation could continue the sound of music filled the hearse, “Who wants to live forever?” a voice asked as the music crescendoed.
“Hold on, that’s my phone,” Melinda dug her phone out of the plastic bag where she had left some of her things and looked at a picture of Amy on the screen.
“Hey, Amy. What’s up?” she spoke into the phone after swiping her finger across the screen and raising it to her ear.
“Why did I just see Kai and Tails in the front seat of a hearse?” Amy asked
“because I’m in the back in of it,” Melinda answered.
“WHAT!?” Amy exclaimed
“Yeah, I had to go help collect myself from the morgue,” Melinda said, “Well, Miles and Kai did anyway, I just sort of laid there.”
“Did something happen!?” Amy asked, a bit quieter this time
“Nah, just getting ready for the funeral,” Melinda flinched as the hearse hit a speed bump, “CRAP!”
“Funeral?” Amy asked
“Yeah, my funeral, and you’re invited by the way,” Melinda rubbed her head
“Oh, OH. I forgot you were dead since people usually don’t recover from that,” Amy laughed
“You’ll get used to if you hang around me and Kai long enough, well, hopefully not the funeral part because dying in public is a bad habit,” Melinda thought for a moment, “not to mention a little bit rude.”
“Hey, is that Amy?” Miles asked, “Tell her I said hi.”
“MIles says hi,” Melinda spoke into the phone
“Tell him I said hello,” Amy said.
“Amy also says hi,” Melinda said
“So, are you guys doing okay?” Amy asked
“We had a rough night like you’d expect, but we’re doing fine,” Melinda said
“Good to hear, Cream is also fine so far save for a nightmare. I think it might help if you spent some time with her,” Amy said.
“I had an idea about that, I thought maybe she could sleep over the day before the funeral so I can explain to her and we can all get ready together, whenever that is,” Melinda said
“Uh, is the day after tomorrow okay? There’s not much I have to do but submit the stuff to the paper and set up,” Daniel interjected.
“I guess we’re doing it the day after tomorrow, so she can come over tomorrow morning if it’s okay with Miles,” Melinda said.
“I’m cool with it,” Miles interjected
“Okay, then I guess I’ll call Val,” Melinda said.
“Great, I’m sure she’ll love it,” Amy went silent for a moment, “You want me to invite Sonic to the thing or do you people want to?” “Allow me, I want to see the look on his face when I invite him to my own funeral,” Melinda said with a sly grin.
Melinda looked up from her chair, noticing Miles nervously looking around the reception area of the funeral home in which they currently sat waiting for the director to call them back.
“Nice place, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Yeah, it reminds me of the fancy hotels we sometimes get to stay in when the government gives us awards,” he glanced over at her, “I think I’d enjoy it if I wasn’t so nervous.”
It wasn’t a lie, the place was almost as much of an anachronism as Melinda herself with it’s heavily stained oak woodwork and large fireplace. The walls were adorned with paintings hat ranged from scenery to religious scenes of angels, and the furniture was even hand-made from intricately carved wood and silk with what she was pretty sure was real feathers as stuffing.
“Come on, there’s nothing to be nervous about,” she smiled, “It’s not like anyone is really dead.”
“I know, but it still feels wrong arranging your funeral, even it’s fake.”
“I know it’s weird, but that’s why you have to learn to have fun with it, like planning a party.” she placed a hand on his shoulder.
“A party where most of the people think you’re dead,” he mumbled.
“That’s makes it sort of fun, you get to be the center of attention without anyone even noticing you’re there and hear them all talk about you,” she gave a sly smile and lowered her voice, “Sometimes you also find out who’s not getting a Christmas that year.”
“Mom!” he choked back a laugh.
“Well, it’s true. If I catch someone celebrating my untimely passing at my own funeral they’re off the list for a while,” a mischievous glint made it’s way into her eyes “That’s if your dear ol’ auntie Melissa doesn’t get a might bit upset at someone at insulting her dear sister’s memory.”
“You know mom. I don’t think I’ll ever get used that phoney accent,” he giggled.
“Aye, but ah thought this one might be a wee bit over the top,” she chuckled.
“Oh God, was that actually your natural speaking voice at some point?” he was obviously fighting back laughter.
“Only after I spent a few decades in modern Scotland and started to really become a part of the local culture,” she smiled mournfully, “I should really take you to see the Highlands sometime, it’s beautiful.” “I’d like that, maybe someday when this is all over we can take the tornado,” he smiled, “I bet it looks really beautiful from a plane.”
“Something to look forward to, right?”
They were interrupted by footsteps coming down the hall and turned to see the funeral director smiling them: a white-furred fox in a black suit.
“You’re the code white, right?” He asked, holding out his hand, “I’m Daniel.”
“Yes, I know this must kind of weird even though you do this sort of thing all the time,” Melinda replied as she shook his hand.
“Not at all, why don’t you two just follow me and we’ll get this setup,”
“I like the finish on this one,” Melinda examined a deep-blue casket, eventually reaching inside and prodding at the lining, “feels soft, to. I wonder…”
Without warning she flipped up the lower lid and climbed inside, making herself comfortable, “Hey, this actually pretty nice. I’m half-tempted to get another one for at home.”
“Mom..” Miles tried to cover his reddening face and stifled a giggle.
“What? It’s been a couple hundred years since I woke up in one of these and they were just pine boxes back then. I wanted to know if they had gotten less unpleasant,” she laughed.
“Doesn’t that weird you out at all?” Miles asked.
“No, it’s actually really comfy,” she sat up and slid down down to other end, “Come see.”
“I dunno,” Miles rubbed the back of his head, “It’s a little weird.”
“Ah, come on,” she smiled, “weird can be fun sometimes.”
“Okay, I guess,” Miles cautiously climbed inside and sat across from his mother, “It is really soft, I kind of never thought the inside of a coffin would be this nice.”
“I know, right?” Melinda giggled, “I almost wonder if modern caskets were designed by an unlucky immortal that woke up in one to many cold and hard pine boxes before someone could dig them up.”
“I guess it’s possible,” Miles leaned back against the pillow and put his hands behind his head, “Unless you were planning on marketing them to vampires, it is strange to make something the owner won’t really get to enjoy so comfy.”
“I mean, I’m still glad I’m not going to be actually in it but at least I know if there’s ever a horrible mistake I’ll be comfy until you come dig me up,” Melinda looked over at Miles, noticing him giggling, “What’s wrong?”
“I just kind of hit me that we’re sitting in a casket and talking like it’s a new couch,” Miles broke down laughing, “It’s so wrong, but I can’t stop laughing.”
“I told you it helps to not take everything so seriously,” Melinda laughed and put her hands on his shoulders.
“Yeah, I guess so,” Miles wiped a tear from his eye, “I’m starting to see why you have such a dark sense of humor about this stuff.”
“I guess you’ll be taking this one, then?” Dan asked, “It’s a $12.000 dollar casket.”
“Money won’t be a problem, so just ring her up,” Melinda said.
“Excellent,” Dan began to scribble something on his clipboard and mouthed a few a numbers before handing to her, “If everything looks okay to you, someone needs to sign this.”
“I guess my sister will have to it, huh?” she playfully nudged Miles as she took the pen to the paper and signed the name “Melissa MacLeod” before handing it back.
“Excellent, anything else?” Dan asked.
“Yes, we prepared these last night,” Melinda pulled out a folded sheet of paper and wallet sized photo of herself, “The stuff for the paper.”
“I’ll get this all taken care of and call you with a date,” Dan unfolded the paper as he spoke, “I’m sorry for your loss.”
Melinda stifled a giggle and watched as a look of realization spread across Daniel’s face and he rubbed his forehead with a free hand.
“I guess that’s just instinct at this point,” Dan shook his head, “It’s been awhile since I’ve dealt with one of these cases.”
“It’s okay, I’m sure even if you’ve dealt with it before the deceased making their own arrangements isn’t a usual occurrence,” Melinda smiled and climbed out of the casket, "Besides, it at least means you care enough to think of it”
“I guess so, and-” Dan looked at the paper for a moment and choked back laughter, “I guess that’s one way to handle that.”
“Mom, what did you do?” Miles asked suspiciously.
“You’ll see,” she helped him out of the casket and gave a sly grin, “and it’s going to be hilarious.”
Melinda stood next to Miles, looking up at at an unassuming building simply labeled “Final Act Monuments”
“Just remember these people aren’t in on it like the funeral home was, so play it cool, okay?” Melinda said.
“We’re still going with the Aunt Melissa story, right?” he asked
“Yes, and I’m going to have to really sell it so just follow my lead no matter how weird things get,” Melinda said.
“Mom, I really hate it when you say things like that…”
“Oh, ah miss mah poor sister so much,” Melinda sobbed and blew her nose into a hanky while hugging Miles with her free arm, “and mah poor nephew is left heartbroken and alone without his mama.”
“It must be very hard for both of you,” replied the clerk, a brown porcupine with the nametag Adam.
“It ain’t easy, but as long as we have each other we’ll pull on through,” she sniffed and hugged Miles even tighter.
“Aunt Melissa, I’m having a little trouble breathing,” Miles said.
“Crap, sorry,” she whispered before speaking up, “Ah’m sorry hun, your auntie is just still a little emotional.” “He’s lucky to have you,” Adam smiled.
“Ah try mah best to hold down the fort,” she dried her eyes, “Miles was ‘fraid it would be dangerous for me to stay with him but that rotten egg and his scrap heaps don’t scare me one little bit.”
“That’s very brave of you, hanging around him and his friends with all the bullets and missiles flying about,” Adam dug through some papers scattered on his desk.
“Like Ah said, ain’t no way that stinkin’ egg is gonna scare me away from mah kin.” Melinda smirked, “’sides, he’s about as sharp as a hammer and MIles here and his buddies always send his schemes up in smoke.”
“Yes, I heard you saw that first hand in the square the other day.” Adam scratched his head, “though I have no idea why he’d attack a DMV and who that hired thug hanging around was.”
“Ah guess he finally just lost his last marble,” Melinda suppressed a nervous giggle as she locked eyes with a nervous looking Miles for a moment, “and ah’m sure it was just some random skunk he found in the gutter.”
“It’s possible, but I’ve heard people talk and that guy sounded more like some kind of higher-class criminal than a street thug. I hear he even had some robot parts, like a cyborg.” Adam finally produced a packet of paper and smiled, “I think he might’ve been a hitman or something.”
“Imagine that, ah I guess he realized those robots were as worthless as a three legged race horse.” Melinda smiled uneasily
“I suppose they are, I’m sure you saw how easy Sonic ripped that thing apart,” Adam laughed, “Like it was made of aluminum foil, and making it hit itself like that was hilarious.
“I take y’all’s a fan?” Melinda asked.
“Oh man, fans of all the local heroes, “ Adam smiled sheepishly “I think if you guys were here on better terms I’d be asked for Tails’ autograph.”
“Maybe we can stop back in to see y’all, sometime,” Melinda said, noticing Miles starting to blush.
“Maybe,” Miles said quietly.
“I’d look forward to it, but for now I guess I know why you’re here.” Adam picked up his pen and sighed, “I guess name and dates are the easy part.”
“Melinda Rosemary Prower, born March 7, 1986,” Melinda noticed Miles slipping an arm around her and gently rubbed his shoulders, “and we lost ‘er on September 15th”
It finally sunk in that everything with Isa had started only two days after the wreck and her final confrontation with him was merely two days later. Despite feeling like an eternity it had all happened over the course of three days: the confrontations with him, the kidnappings, the rescue, all over by the early morning of the third day.
Miles had passed out curled up next to her on the couch and slept until noon.
There was a day of resting after that, so that meant she had been declared dead five days ago. Would it be believable that it took that long to make the arrangements? How could her missing body be explained to the hospital?
That may not be as easy as she assumed.
“Miss, are you okay?” Adam asked.
“Yeah, Aunt Melissa, are you okay?” Miles asked before stretching to reach her ear and lowering his voice to a whisper, “Mom? You okay?”
“Ah’m okay, ah I guess I’m still trying to believe it mahself that she’s gone,” Melinda spoke quietly and wondered to herself how long she had spaced out.
“Just take your time, I know it’s hard,” Adam said reassuringly.
“Ah dunno if know if Miles wants anythin’ special, but ah thought about a pretty blue stone,” Melinda smiled sheepishly, “Maybe with the Scottish flower since mah sister was a little more in touch with ‘er roots then ah I ever was.”
“I believe that’s a thistle, right?” Adam asked.
“Shur is,” Melinda answered.
“I’ll have to find some stock images and send them to the engraver,” Adam scribbled down a note on the paper and turned to his computer, “anything else?”
“Miles, hun? Anything you want to add?” Melinda leaned down to whisper in his ear “Remember, it’s more like a nice monument than a gravestone since I’m still here, is there anything you’d like to have on it for me?” “I dunno, it still feels weird and I’m not sure what I’d feel right about,” Miles whispered back
Melinda thought a moment, her mind wondering back to a conversation they had the night she died and an idea struck her.
“You know what I think I’d proud of it, even if it was real?” Melinda whispered.
“What?” Miles asked
“I’d love to have your logo on it somewhere so I’d be bragging even in the end,” Melinda glanced up to make sure Dan was still staring at the the computer and not paying attention as she whispered.
“Mom..” Miles barely held back a soft chuckle
“Well, how about it?”
“Well,” Miles blushed slightly, “can I put a heart around it for love? Like I love you?”
“Of course, sounds nice.” Melinda gently hugged him and kissed his head, “You wanna tell him?”
“Yeah,” Miles answered.
“Miles here has somethin’ he’d like to have on the stone.” Melinda said happily.
“Great, what is it?” Adam smiled
“You know my logo, the one with my tails?” Miles asked.
“Of course,” Adam answered, picking up his pen
“I’d like to put that on there with a heart around it, but just kind of small and in one of the corners, maybe around six inches tall?.” Miles said sheepishly.
“I can figure that out, I shouldn’t have a problem pulling up a copy online to save you guys some time,” Adam stood up and reached his hand over the desk, “that about everything?”
“I think so,” Miles carefully shook his hand before looking up at Melinda, “Right, Aunt Melissa?”
“‘Course, seems like everythin’ is taken care of,” she smiled and shook Adam’s hand
“Excellent, you can come back and sign-off later after you’ve seen the mock-up,” Adam smiled and sat back down
“Great, me an’ Miles here gotta handle one last little thang,” Melinda smiled
“I thought we were done?” Miles asked.
“I just need to pick somethin’ up, is all,” Melinda leaned down to whisper in his ear, “I thought of a slight problem that slipped my mind, we’ll talk outside”
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Melinda sat next to Miles on a bench down the street from the monument place, deep in thought as she waited for him to speak and say something.
“Now I’m just kind of concerned the local hospital didn’t think my mother’s body getting lost was something worth calling me about,” Miles said, “It makes me worried what other corners they cut”
“I guess it is kind of disturbing, I mean: it’s been a week and not so much as an e-mail,” Melinda rubbed the back of her head, “I’m glad Dan is in on the whole scheme or he’d be in for an unpleasant surprise when he tried to retrieve me.”
“So, what do we do now?” Miles asked
“I dunno, maybe go in and ask if I’m ready to be moved yet, so Melissa can raise hell about them losing her sister’s body and not saying anything when they have to fess up?” Melinda idly swatted a bug off her arm, “sure are a lot of bugs around for the middle of fall.”
“Actually, it seems to be the same one following you around, do you have candy in your pocket or something?” Miles asked.
“No, I don’t thin-,” Melinda narrowed her eyes at the horse-fly sized bug as it once again landed on her arm, “following me, huh?”
“Yeah, it’s kind of weird because horseflies usually don’t hang around the city,” Miles answered.
Melinda carefully readied her hand, and in one quick movement grabbed the fly off her arm, holding up her now closed fist to her ear.
“Whoa, that was pretty cool,” Miles smiled, climbing to his knees and leaning towards his mother’s hand, “can do the thing where you catch one with chop-sticks?”
“I dunno, I’ve never tried,” she shook her hand next to her head and lowered her voice to a whisper, “Listen, I can feel it moving around but no buzzing.”
A look of realization spread across MIles face as he lowered his voice, “You don’t think it’s one of Eggman’s bugs?”
“It is, I can feel the metal,” she whispered, “and I’m leaving it intact for you to examine, but first you may want to cover your ears because I’m about to give his eardrums a beating and I know you have sensitive hearing”.
Miles complied and pressed his ears against his head, nodding when his hands were firmly in place
Melinda drew in a deep breath and brought her hand close to her mouth, bracing herself and glancing around to make sure they were alone.
“BUG OFF, YOU SOFT BOILED SCRAP METAL TECHNICIAN,” she screamed as loud as she could, feeling the bug stop moving in her hand and hearing it beep softly.
“WOAH, I bet his ears are ringing now,” Miles laughed as he let go of his head, he ears twitching as they unflattened.
“If Kai is ever around when he tries that I’ll just ask him to howl at it, really confuse that moron,” Melinda opened her hand and held it towards Miles, the now lifeless machine laying in her palm, “He shut it off, but you should still be able to find something out from it.”
“Thanks,” Miles took the machine from her hand and reached for the brown leather bag on the ground next to him, “Maybe it has internal memory or something besides directly transmitting”
“If it does, I hope he got my good side,” Melinda silently thought for a moment, “Also, remind me to beat the crap out of him sometime,”
“Isn’t that something you’d like to do, anyway?” Miles asked as he stuffed it in the bag.
“Yes, but now I have an extra excuse because that thing tried to follow me into the bathroom back at the station until flicked it off” Melinda glanced down at Miles, who was giving her a funny look, “Don’t worry, it was trapped outside so there’s nothing you don’t want to see on there.”
“Thank God,” Miles breathed a sigh of relief, “That would’ve been awkward”
“Crisis averted, huh?” Now you’ll just have several highlights of me knocking the daylights out of it.” Melinda laughed. “Yeah, maybe it saw that thing with the casket and freaked him out,” Miles laughed.
“I’d love a copy of that scene, maybe clean up some screenshots and print for the album, huh?”
“Yeah, make one the “special” christmas card for everyone that’s in on the plan,” Miles giggled
The two of them merely took a few minutes to get it of their systems and relax before MIles wiped the tears from his eyes and spoke up.
“You know, we’re really going to have to come up with with some excuse for how we found your lost body that the hospital is going to buy,” Miles said.
“Just let me call Kai and Daniel, I might have an idea,” Melinda gave a sly grin to Miles as she pulled out her phone. “Mom, have I told you yet that look makes me nervous?”
“Last night was a long one, huh?” Melinda fiddled with the dial on the microwave and gave the top a couple thumps.
“Yeah, even if I did sleep good after you came in,” Miles yawned as he took a drink of his orange juice.
“No more nightmares?” Melinda asked absentmindedly as she stared at the uncooked bacon in the microwave and whacked it’s side once again.
“I started to have one, but I calmed down and fell back asleep when I woke and up saw you. That’s when I wound up with my arm around you,” Miles began to stare curiously at his mother.
“That’s good, I’m glad I could I help you calm down,” Melinda sighed, “Say, this was never my thing, how much have you taught yourself about kitchen appliances?”
“Uh, mom, how old is that thing?” Miles asked curiously.
“I think I bought in the 1970s, why?” Melinda asked
“Don’t ya think we might need a new one?” Miles took another drink.
“Uh maybe, I guess it’s possible it’s just worn out-”
As if on cue, the microwave interjected with his own input by spewing sparks and enveloping itself in a cloud of smoke that soon set off the smoke detector.
Without hesitation Melinda quickly yanked the plug out of the wall and glanced around before shouting to Miles, who had jumped down from his chair, “Fire extinguisher is in the cupboard under the sink!”
“Right, hold on,” Miles scrambled to the sink and threw open the doors, quickly pulling out the small extinguisher and tossing it to his mother.
Melinda quickly pulled the pin, aimed the sprayer, and squeezed the handle to soak the microwave and everything within roughly eight feet of it in white residue.
“So, who’s up for cereal?” Melinda grinned at Miles as she tossed the canister over her shoulder, knocking the detector off the wall and silencing it.
Miles merely put his head in his hands and groaned, “This going to one of those days, isn’t it?”
“You know mom, I think you eat more sugar than I do,” Miles laughed as he watched his mother pour copious amounts of sugar over a bowl of fruit loops.
“I’m pretty sure sugar and coffee are the two greatest discoveries in culinary history, and sugary snack cereal is a close third,” Melinda shoveled a spoonful in her mouth.
“I’d say that much might be bad for you, but you are literally immortal and even if you weren’t you have the body and metabolism of like a 19 year old girl,” MIles took a bite of his own cereal, “Which is weird because you’re like 1000 years older than Uncle Kai, but he looks a lot older than you.”
“It’s the white hair, it makes i look like he’s gone grey,” Melinda said “White hair on the men was kind of common in his pack.”
“Is that why people mistake him for your dad?” Miles asked
“Yeah, but I don’t complain because it makes a good cover story when we need it,” Melinda stuffed another spoonful in her mouth
“So I call him Uncle Kai because that’s the way I always knew him, but some people think he’s my grandpa, BUT in reality he’s really closer to my brother because you sort of raised him?” Miles blinked a couple times and took another bite of cereal.
“You know, what semblance we have a family tree would be the most hilarious thing on the planet now that I think about it,” Melinda picked up her bowl and quickly gulped down the now sugar laced milk.
“I’m surprised you haven’t ever used coffee on your cereal,” Miles laughed, “but that would be silly.”
“You’d need Sonic’s help to catch me once THAT kicked in,” Melinda chuckled.
"That’d be the weirdest mission briefing ever,” Miles laughed.
Melinda soon joined in and took a minute to catch her breath and wait for him to catch his before speaking up.
“You know, the public thinks I’m dead and so do some people that know us personally,” she said.
“Yeah, but I’m sure we’ll figure something out to keep things going smooth,” Miles said.
“I know, but that’s not what I was getting at,” Melinda looked up, “You know we’re going to have put on a little show to keep things under-wraps?
“You mean a funeral, don’t you?” Miles looked down, “I was hoping we’d avoid that.”
“It’s not like it’s real or anything, we’ll come home afterward and get on with our lives just like any other day.” Melinda smiled.
“It’s still not going to be easy, though. It was bad enough trying to play along the day it happened,”
“I know, honey, but you won’t be dealing with it alone this time.” Melinda reached out and put her hand on his.
“How? It’s not like you can show up at your own funeral,” Miles said.
“No, but your Auntie Melissa can,” she smiled and winked at him, “After all, it’s mah job to be there for mah poor nephew”
“Oh God, mom,” Miles laughed
“Ah miss mah poor sister so much, but ah’m sure she’s up thar smilin’ down on us,” Melinda feigned wiping a tear from her eye before grinning at Miles.
“I think you make that accent sound as ridiculous as you can on purpose,” Miles took a deep breath, “explains why you’ve been dressing like a country singer, though.”
“You know, you’re not the first person I’ve gotten that from?” Melinda laughed, “but seriously, everything is going to fine and we can make it liking planning a party.”
“I guess, I’m still nervous, though.” Miles quieted down once again.
“We can just spend lots of time together to alleviate the stress, Melinda stared at the coffee pot, deep in thought.
“Oh God, you’re really considering it, aren’t you?” Miles asked.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about,”
“The thing with the coffee and cereal,” Miles said
“It would be for science?” Melinda gave Miles a nervous smile.
“Mom, you know I love ya but you can weird sometimes,” Miles chuckled.
“It comes with living almost 1200 years in the body of a 19 year old,”
“That number still sounds weird when you say it out loud,” Miles chuckled, “like I said last night, I sometimes forget how old you really are.”
“Hell, I’M not sure exactly how old I am so don’t feel bad,” Melinda giggled, “all I know is that I was raised by a poor farmer in the early ninth century somewhere around where Glenfinnan is now, which is in the country now called Scotland”
“I’m guess telling time was hard back then?” Miles asked.
“For poor peasants out on farms, yes,” Melinda smirked, “Considering Kai is wolf-pack and born into a tribal setting, he’s lucky he can name off his exact birth and first death dates so easy.”
“Can you estimate when you born? You seem to know you were around 19 when it happened.” Miles finished drinking the milk from his bowl.
“I know that because I think the seasons had gone by around that many times, but I don’t know numbers because it’s foggy how many years passed before I learned to read around the dawn of the 10th century, I had to have been pushing 70 at that point, if not older.”
“Maybe we can find some old records or something someday,” Miles smiled, “It’s weird you never had a mentor that knew, though.”
“I wandered around like a moron for a few years before I found another immortal and she helped me,” Melinda sighed, “I had a bad first century or so.”
“Sounds like it,” Miles scratched his head, “weird how we never talked about this before, as many stories as you’ve told me.”
“I thought it would be boring and you never asked, and it has only been around three years you’ve known,” Melinda said, “Now that I think about it though, you might’ve enjoyed hearing about your newly immortal mom bumbling around Europe like a nincompoop with her only remaining friend for several years until she found her first mentor.”
“When you put it that way,” Miles stifled a laugh.
“Hey, we still do story time every once in awhile, right? maybe since you’re so stressed we can have one tonight and I can tell some of those stories,” Melinda leaned back in her chair.
“Yeah,” Miles looked down for a moment and took a deep breath, “hey, I have something for you.”
Melinda watched curiously as Miles jumped down and ran towards the back of the house. The sound of the back door opening eventually clued her in on where he was going, which she assumed was the garage where he had a small work area for smaller projects.
The door finally opened once again after several minutes and Miles ran back in inside carrying a small box roughly a two inches square and ten inches long.
“Here,” Miles handed it to her.
Melinda opened the box and pulled out an object comparable to the handle of a Katana minus the hilt, and turned it over in her hands, “Is this what I think it is?”
“Yeah, I couldn’t find a way to duplicate a basket-hilted broadsword and have it compact so I had to go with this,” Miles rubbed his head, “it makes sense now why lightsabers are always made kind of like Japanese swords”
“It feels nice, I like how you put this blue wrapping on it,” Melinda turned it away from both of them pressed a button, but nothing happened aside from a small pair of guards popping up.
“Other one, I had no idea if a guard like that would do any good but I added it anyway,” Miles said.
With a single press of the other button, a bright blue blade made of some form of plasma shot out with a hum and reached a length of just under two and half feet long, Melinda blinked and stared at the blade as she rested one cheek in her free hand.
“Something wrong?” Miles asked with a worried expression.
“I’m holding a literal lightsaber, aren’t I?” Melinda asked?
“I guess you could call it that.” Miles answered.
“Cool,” Melinda shut off the weapon before fiddling with a clip dangling off the back.
“For your belt or whatever,” Miles smiled, “So you can always have if a fight with Eggman’s robots breaks out, and that switch underneath the buttons is a safety”
Melinda flicked the switch and clipped it to her belt before getting out of her chair and crouching next to Miles, “Thanks, I can’t wait to see the look on his face when I trash some myself next time.
“No problem,” Miles wrapped his arms around her.
“Love ya, kiddo,” Melinda hugged him back and held him tight. “You to, Mom.” MIles replied
Something I wrote quickly over the last couple days, it's sort of a prequel that takes place long before Revelations during the first Christmas Tails knew Sonic
A blanket of snow coated the countryside and blanketed roof, window sills, and porches of a house on the edge of town a few miles from station square. It was a chilly christmas morning and several mobians were warm and safe inside just getting ready to celebrate. This house was home to Melinda Prower and her adopted son, Miles, and several of their friends had spent Christmas Eve there to help prepare for morning.
“I should install a fireplace, that’s a project for next year”
Melinda looked took a drink of her coco and looked up at the Christmas tree that her and Miles decorated every year. It was artificial and not the real thing like she had used for so many years before, but she had admit it played the part well enough and saved time rushing to find a real evergreen every year.
Colorful lights, strings of tinsel garland in bright reds, golds, and silvers and an assortment of ornaments brought it to life and the old gold star on top brought it to life. Of course it had special touches from both of them like some aviation themed decorations and even some bulb-shaped tins depicting Miles favorite cartoon and comic book characters that once contained candy. Those had been stocking stuffers she got him over the years.
There was even a few bulbs with the unmistakable paw-prints of a feral wolf Miles had picked because they reminded him of his Uncle Kai
It was a yearly tradition, and usually a quiet one with just Miles, Kai, and her. How lonely it could be for such a small “family” had not escaped her but in the end she was thankful for both her adopted son, and Kai who was not only her protege but as close to being her son as another immortal could be.
This year was different though, it had been a whirlwind of confusion since Miles met Sonic and this the first year celebrating with not only him but Amy Rose, Sonic’s every present fangirl that Melinda had quickly befriended to keep her out of trouble.
For once it was starting to feel like one big family crowded around the tree and she couldn’t help but swallow back a happy tear.
“Wow mom, thanks,” Miles finished pulling the wrapping paper off a chemistry kit and laid it next to a large carrying case of tools before throwing his arms around her.
“You’re welcome, honey.” Melinda hugged the kit back.
“Uncle Kai helped me find some stuff for you, to,” Miles quickly pulled away and fished out two gifts wrapped in blue foil paper.
She quickly unwrapped the first, a bundle obviously containing clothing of some kind and pulled out a dark blue sweater with unusual pink flowers on it she instantly recognized as thistles.
“I read a book once said it’s the national flower of Scotland, where you came from,” Miles said.
“I didn’t know you were Scottish,” Amy said.
“My family left when I was a little girl,” Melinda lied, “I do miss it sometimes.”
“I bet it was beautiful,” Amy smiled and took a drink of her own coco.
“Especially the Highlands,” Melinda quickly slipped the sweater on over her T-Shirt, “How does is look?”
“Open the other one!” Miles said happily.
“Give me a minute,”
Melinda turned the gift over in her hands, it was roughly the same shape as a 8mm cassette but larger and lighter. She idly picked at the wrapping paper and eventually worked on end free before peeling it off.
Inside was a black box she recognized as being from a company that made high-quality leather goods. Slipping off the lid and looking inside she found a light-blue wallet with a clearly Scottish inspired design embossed on the front and dyed a darker blue.
“I thought you could actually use one instead the rubber band,” Miles said.
“Uh, do I even want to ask?” Sonic asked
“Well, um,” Melinda chucked and sheepishly reached into her puck, pulling out a pile a of cards and and money with a rubber band wrapped them, “I sort of lost my wallet and getting another one slipped my mind.”
“At least you don’t just tuck things in your socks like Sonic,” Amy playfully shoved Sonic.
“I don’t wear pants, so where else could it go?” Sonic asked.
Amy merely rolled her eyes and reached under the tree to pull out a Gift wrapped in pink, “this is from both of us, I picked yours and there’s one Sonic picked out for Tails,”
“Thanks Amy,” Melinda took the somewhat long, flat, and narrow box and looked it over. “Here, bro,” Sonic pulled out a box wrapped in a blue that matched his fur and handed it to Miles.
Miles shredded the paper of the box and his face lit up when saw what was inside: a kit to build a remote control plane.
“Thanks, Sonic!” Miles jumped and up and hugged Sonic, nearly knocking him over.
Melinda chuckled as she noticed Sonic blushing and Amy smiling like she had just been handed a puppy.
“I guess you found one, after all,” Melinda finally said before turning her attention back to. the small box on her lap, wondering what was inside.
“Well, open it already,” Sonic said, still awkwardly half-hugging Miles back.
The paper came off quickly and Melinda eyed the logo of a local Jewelry shop on the corner of the box. She gently removed the lid and smiled at the necklace inside, a blue stone in a silver fitting and mounted on a simple chain.
“I did remember you’re favorite color was blue,” Amy said.
“Thank you, Amy,” Melinda carefully brushed her hair out the way and fastened the necklace around her neck, “ Miles and I also got some stuff for you guys”
Miles quickly let go of Sonic and fished out both their gifts from under the tree, handing them to the hedgehogs.
“Thanks, guys,” Amy quickly unwrapped the box and pulled out a pink bottle of perfume, along with a pair of rose-shaped earrings, “I love it, it’s my favorite scent.”
“Open yours, Sonic,” Miles said excitedly.
“Okay, bro,” Sonic tore into his own gift and pulled a pair of shoes from the box, eying them curiously.
“They’re fire-proof so the friction when you run won’t catch them on fire, and I found toughest pair I could find before I treated them,” Miles said.
“How did you-” Sonic started to ask.
“I told he was smart for his age,” Melinda grinned, “He managed to mix up some fire-retardant treatment for clothing that works better than anything else I’ve ever seen.” “Wait a go,” Sonic ruffed Miles head-fur and laughed, “I love it.”
“Miles, you still have my gift to open,” Kai finally spoke up.
“I got you something to, Uncle Kai,” Miles said as he turned around and reached behind the tree to pull out a flat box wrapped in black paper with silver paw-prints.
Kai pulled out a somewhat long and slim box form the other side and swapped it with the one Miles was holding.
“Open it, Uncle Kai,” Miles insisted.
Kai carefully removed the paper and revealed a cheap display frame with several old arrow and axe-heads made of different materials, eyeing it curiously before a look of realization came over his face.
“I saw them in a shop and recognized the markings you showed me, that uh..” Miles went silent for a moment, “you said your ancestor had a habit of putting on things he made and I thought you would like them.”
“I can’t believe I missed that, I thought he just bought them because they were real wolf-pack from and might be sentimental. I didn’t realize they were actually something that Kai made and lost track of,” Melinda smiled with pride
Kai smiled and sat the case aside before sitting down and hugging Miles and whispering something in his ear that got a small giggle out of the kit before the two separated and Miles opened his own gift.
Miles smiled when he pulled a small fishing pole just his size out of the box and examined it
“Now you will have one of your own next time we go camping,” Kai said.
“Thanks, Uncle Kai,” Miles said before once again hugging him.
The room was silent with all eyes watching the scene until Amy cleared her throat and and everyone turned to her.
“One last thing,” Amy gave a sly smile and turned to Sonic, “I got you something.”
“Amy, I really don’t like it when you look at me like that.” Sonic inched back a bit, worry spreading across his face.
Melinda tried to suppress a laugh and watched as Amy pulled a sprig of mistletoe out of her coat pocket and held high over Sonic’s head.
“Come on, Sonic. You know what this means,” Amy said, motioning with her finger for him to come closer.
“You know I appreciate the offer, but maybe next year, or maybe in another decade, or better yet: next century,” Sonic said, backing away even more.
“Come on, just one kiss,” Amy pleaded as she put on a huge pair of puppy-dog eyes.
“Come on, blue-boy, it’s not like one kiss is going to hurt,” Melinda teased.
“Yeah, isn’t the hero supposed to kiss the girl?” Miles asked.
“Okay, okay,” Sonic rubbed his head and signed, “One kiss.”
“Come here,” Amy closed her eyes and leaned in.
Sonic quickly leaned in and pecked her on the cheek before hurrying over and standing next to Miles.
“That’s not...” Amy groaned, “I guess I’ll take anything”
Melinda finally broke down laughing when he she heard even Kai stifling a chuckle and it started a chain-reaction that sent the whole room into hysterics, even Amy. “I had forgotten what this feels like,” Melinda thought to herself as she wiped a tear from her eye.
Really short chapter, sort of like an opening scene. This isn't going to be a dark story like the last but I still thought this was a good transition point
Melinda violently awoke to a scream erupting from across the hall and thrashed around trying to remove her covers, throwing herself on the floor in the process. It was unmistakably MIles’ scream and that had sent her mind into an adrenaline fueled overdrive and panicked impulse to reach him.
“Miles, I’m coming!” she yelled as she fought to untangle the bedding from around her feet.
Finally succeeding, she half-stood and stumbled out her door and face-first into his, forcing open the unlatched door and tumbling to the floor next to his bed. She scrambled to his side and panted as she tried to will her heart to cease its attempt to race out of her chest.
Miles!? What’s wrong!? Did you have a nightmare?” she asked frantically, placing a hand on his back.
“No, No. Please No” he held his head in his hands and nearly wept, convulsing with each sob that threatened to escape.
“Honey, everything is going to be okay. Just tell me what’s wrong.” she slipped her arm around his shoulders
“Oh geeze, you were dead and I..” he rocked and back and forth whimpered, “It was horrible and I just can’t..”
“Miles, what happened?” she said softly, pulling him a little closer.
He whined and shook his head.
“You’ll feel better if you talk about it,” she said, “I know it’s hard but you can’t bottle it up.”
“I can’t, I just don’t want to think about it anymore because it hurts” he choked,
“I promise it’ll hurt less if you talk about it and let me help you,” she reached up and gently rubbed one of his ears, which seemed to calm him down.
“I was just so scared and…” he took an uneasy breath,
“It’s only going to get worse if you keep it all inside,” she said, “please, talk to me.”
“I’ll try,” He took a deep breath, “ it was just like that night and everything was the same until I closed my eyes after…” he trailed off.
“After I said goodbye,” she said quietly.
“Yes, but I couldn’t hear you and him talking like what really happened. I just heard something hitting the floor and footsteps coming towards me. When they stopped next to me I heard laughing and felt something heavy and wet falling into my lap.” He froze for a moment
“Oh God,” Melinda thought to herself, “I hope this isn’t going where I think it is”
“I wish I hadn’t opened and my eyes, but I did. I opened them and looked down and it was...” he finally broke down sobbing.
“Come here, honey,” she wrapped her arms around him and pulled him into a hug, causing him to bury his face in her chest.
“It was your head,” he choked out through the tears, “he killed you and left your head laying in my lap.”
“It’s okay, I’m right here and everything is okay now,” she gently cooed as she rocked him back and forth, “Everything is going to be just fine.”
“I just can’t get the image out of my head because it could’ve really happened and I could’ve lost you” he took a strained breath and continued sobbing.
“but it didn’t, we’re both safe at home,” she gently kissed him on the head, “You’re safe in your bedroom and I’m right here,holding you, so just try to calm down.”
“Just please stay with me until I’m feeling better, I don’t want to be alone.” he choked out.
“Honey, I promise I’m not going anywhere,” she slid one knee onto the bed, “Now come on, slide over a little.
“Mom? What are you doing?” he gave her a confused look as she squeezed onto the twin-bed next to him and attempted to find a comfortable position , but complied with her request.
“After that, I’m not leaving this room tonight” she finally managed to settle into place on top the comforter next to him.
“I haven’t slept in the same bed as you for years,” he said with a sniff “isn’t this a little weird.”
“I know you tend to forget, but you’re still just an eight-year old boy and I’m your mother. Anyone touched in the head enough to find it weird can put a sock in it because I still remember when entire families crammed into one bed for warmth. not to mention when I was your age and we lived in tiny one-room hovels where you walked on each other” she smirked. “I sometimes forget how old you really are,” he somewhere between laughed and yawned and rubbed some of the tears from his eyes before he slunk under the comforter and laid down,”Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Kiddo, and try to get some sleep.” she laid her arm over and coaxed him to scooth a little closer, “Feel better?”
“Yeah, this is nice.,” his body was still snaking a little under her arm, but he quickly started to fall back asleep once he closed his eyes, “Thanks mom, I love you”
“I love you to, and you’re welcome,” the adrenaline finally fading from her system, she closed her eyes and quickly followed.
Sunlight streamed through the thin curtain into Melinda’s eyes, causing her to flinch and awake from her slumber. Despite the slightly cramped arrangements she had to admit she slept well, and assumed the same of Miles since there was no more screaming and he was still comfortably asleep next to her, having put his own arm around her sometime during the night.
It was only a moment before she felt him stirring as well and he slowly opened his eyes.
“Good morning, kiddo,” she smiled as she watched him groggily look up at her.
“Morning, mom,” he removed his arm and sat up.
“Did you sleep okay?” she sat up herself and shifted to the other end of the bed, sitting cross-legged across from him.
“Yeah, I felt a lot better after you came in last night,” he rubbed the back of his head, “now I just feel stupid getting so worked over a bad dream.”
“Try not to think way, nightmares often play off our own fears and that’s the part that hurts”
“I guess it hurt so bad because I’m afraid of losing you, right?” he asked nervously
“Come here,” she held out her arm and he smiled
Miles smiled and crawled over, wrapping his arms around her neck and hugging her.
“It’s just really hard to deal with all this, sometimes,” he said.
“Sometimes when you go through things like this, it hurts for a while and takes time to heal,” she gently rubbed his back, “but having someone to talk to about it helps and I’m here, along with Kai and even Sonic. We’re gonna get through this.”
“Thanks, I just feel helpless because I’ve never lost it so bad dealing with Eggman,” he said.
“I know, but this was different. Isa, or Frost as he was calling himself was just utterly inhuman and he had a way of getting under people’s skin. He was also incapable of feeling anything but hatred and the twisted joy hurting others brought him.” she sighed, wrapping her arms around him even tighter.
There was silence for a few moments before Miles finally spoke up.
“Did it hurt?” he asked.
“Did what hurt?” she asked.
“You’ve explained it to me and I kind of understand how quickenings work and what happens when-,” he trailed off for a moment, “when you have to take one and I can’t imagine what seeing into the memories of someone like that was like,”
“It’s never easy with someone as twisted as him because it’s well, sort of like a vivid nightmare, but you don’t have to worry about me because love is more powerful than hate, and I have plenty of that, “ she kissed him on the forehead as he pulled his head back to look at her.
“I love you too, Mom,” he once again leaned in closer and hugged her tightly.
“You know, there’s one other very good reason why you never had problems dealing with that crackpot of a doctor, besides you being brave that is,” Melinda said.
“What’s that?” Tails asked.
“He’s such a moron that none of you guys could ever lose against him, and it’s hard to be afraid of distilled stupid.” she laughed. “Mom…” he giggled.
Hey, my name is Miles Prower but most of my friends call me Tails on account of my two tails. Some of you might know me as one of Mobius’ famous heroes because Sonic the Hedgehog is like my big bro and despite only being eight years old I still help him save the world from that bully Eggman along with our other friends like Amy and Knuckles.
This story isn’t really about just me though, but I guess I should start but explaining my life up to this point.
I was adopted as a baby and raised by my awesome mother and my Uncle Kai. I guess that’s not an unusual family situation and a lot of kids are adopted and raised my single parents and their parents friends. The unusual part is who, or rather what they are.
You see, my mom was born over 1100 years ago and my Uncle Kai nearly 250 years ago (243 to be exact). Both of them are these things called immortals that don’t even know themselves how or why they exist because all immortals are orphans found under mysterious circumstances, and don’t even know what they are until they die their first death and don’t stay dead.
It’s at that point they stop getting older and gain the ability to rapidly heal from any non-fatal injury like some kind of superhero (if they actually die, they just don’t stay dead). It’s why my mom barely looks older than a teenager and why Uncle Kai looks old enough to be my Dad despite being raised by her (so he’s really more like my brother, but I called him Uncle before I knew about all this and the name stuck)
Ever since we let our close friends in on the secret they’ve been helping in the first against Eggman, but that’s not the only bad guy we have to deal with.
The hard truth is that not all immortals are good people like them and so they both often have to fight others like themselves to protect people and protect themselves. It’s not like the mortal legal system could handle them, after all. Sometimes it makes me worried about them.
It’s not all bad though, I love them both and it’s awesome having such a cool family that loves me back. Not every kid get’s to have something like a comic-book hero as a mom and I wouldn’t trade her or my Uncle Kai for anything. This is the story of our family, the good, the bad, the adventures, and even just our everyday lives to trying to live as normally as we can.
This obviously takes place right before Revelations, when Tails was called the scene of the wreck. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sirens rang in Tails ears as he stood not ten feet away from the crumpled heap that used to his mother’s car in a state of shock, trying to cope with the conflicting feelings. It like a kind of cognitive dissonance between his emotional instincts crying out at the idea she was dead in every clinical sense and what that should mean, and his rational mind reminding him that she was an immortal and thus her death was only temporary.
“Hey bro, are you still with me?”
His best friend’s voice partially awoke him from his shock. Even if the situation wasn’t quite as dire as everyone else was forced to assume he was once again glad Sonic had refused to leave his side from the minute he got the phone-call, and insisted on tagging along for support.
“Yeah, I’m just a little shaken up, but I’ll be fine,” Tails replied, carefully choosing his words.
“I know it’s hard and I know you’re scared, but I’m gonna be right here next to you the whole time and we’re going to get through this, okay?” Sonic’s voice was calm, but carried an uncurrent of nervousness.
“Thanks, I know I tried to blow you off but I was just upset and I really don’t want to do this alone,” It wasn’t a lie, despite every rational thought telling him it would be okay he couldn’t will away his emotions and having his surrogate big brother there helped to calm him.
“It’s no problem, I promised you I’d always be here and I’m not going to break that because things get hard,” Sonic gave a sincere smile.
Tail’s noticed one of the emts out of the corner of his eye, a female cat with blue fur, as she climbed out of the ambulance and looked around before setting her attention on them and approaching.
“I know it’s probably dumb I even have to ask, but your Sonic and Tails, right?” she asked, “My name is Cassie and I was the responder here.”
“Nice to meet you, Cassie,” Sonic said, “to bad we have to meet like this, though.”
“I know, I never like meeting new people under such horrible circumstances,” Cassie said, looking down.
She didn’t stand much taller than Tails, but still crouched down in front of him and looked up at his face.
“I’m sorry, honey,” she spoke sweetly in a soothing voice not unlike a mother speaking to her child, ”I know this is hard, but I need you to come with me and verify that it’s her, and collect the belongings we found on her person”
“Can Sonic come with me?” Tails asked.
“Of course, I’m not going to make you go in there alone,” Cassie smiled, “ready to go?”
“Yes,” Tails said.
Even though it couldn't have been more than a few seconds long, the walk to the ambulance felt like an eternity and he found himself closing his eyes and taking a deep breath as he climbed inside with Sonic right behind him. He felt a hand on his shoulder guiding him to what felt like a bench running along the wall and felt Sonic sit down beside him.
“Just open your eyes and look when you’re ready, I won’t rush you,” he heard Cassie say from the other side of the cramped space.
“Just try to relax and take your time, buddy.” Sonic spoke softly and Tails felt an arm around his shoulders.
For several moments he merely kept his eyes closed and mentally reminded himself over and over that no matter he saw she would be okay and he merely had to make it through this and hold out for a few hours until she woke up, and somehow re-grouped with him. It was just like they had planned in case something like this ever happened.
He finally opened his eyes and looked up, wincing when the blood streaked down her face from a gash in her forehead and soaking through the thin-sheet from he assumed was a severe wound on her chest.
Sonic’s arm tightened around his shoulders and he looked up to notice him averting eyes from the stretcher.
“It’s gonna be okay, bro. I’m gonna be right here and we’re going to get through this, I promise,” he said softly, “I’m not gonna leave you.”
“Tails, honey. you can talk to her and say goodbye if you want. There’s nothing wrong with that,” Cassie said.
Sonic helped him to his feet and he leaned over, bringing his mouth close to her ear.
“I love you mom, just please wake up soon because I’m worried about what’s going to happen next and I just need to talk to you, real bad,” he whispered quietly enough to keep anyone else from hearing.
“Cassie, can you give us a minute?” Sonic asked.
“Of course, take as much time as you need. Her things are in this bag. “Cassie motioned to a cheap duffle-bag bearing the hospital's logo as she stood up, “and no-one is touching the car until you guys give the go-ahead so you’re welcome to take anything you need from it.”
Cassie looked back at Tails one last time before stepping outside, “I’m sorry about all this, but if makes you feel any better her neck broke when it rolled, so it was quick and painless.”
“Thank you,” Tails said.
Cassie merely gave him a reassuring smile before stepping out and closing the door behind her.
“Tails?” Sonic asked, “Turn around and look at me for a minute.”
Tails took one last deep breath before removing his hand, which he had just fully realized has been resting on his mother’s shoulder, and turned to face Sonic. The expression on his brother’s face was almost alien to the kit, confusion mixed with what he could almost swear was pain. It was jarring seeing it on the face of someone was almost always boundlessly happy and carefree.
“Sonic, are you okay?” he asked.
“Come here, buddy.” Sonic stepped forward and wrapped his arms around Tails, hugging him tightly.
“Thanks, Sonic.” Tails returned the hug, carefully avoiding Sonic’s quills as wrapped his arms around him. Even knowing she would be okay, he couldn’t deny how nervous standing right next to her clinically dead body made him and that hugging his brother was making him feel better.
“Feel better?” Sonic asked as they finally broke apart.
“Yeah, I think I needed that.” Tails said
“You know, I’m gonna miss her to. She was a really good person and I don’t know if mission prep is ever going to be the same without her correcting us and threatening to throttle me if I let anything happen to you,” Sonic looked over Tail’s shoulder with a mournful smile, “of course I knew she’d never do it and it was just the mother in her talking,”
“I think she decided the day you drug me home and promised to protect me that she could trust you,” Tails said.
“I remember mistaking her for your sister and asking where your mom was,” Sonic said, “I couldn’t tell if she was insulted or flattered.”
Tails watched as Sonic reached over and shifted the sheet out of the way so he could hold her hand. Sonic motioned for him to hold it as well and he complied, flinching at how cold she already was.
“Hey, whenever you feel weirded at people thinking you’re my little brother, just remember that some people think your Uncle Kai is my dad even though I changed his diapers,” Melinda chucked.
It was a random and irrelevant memory brought on by Sonic’s comment, but he still couldn’t help but smile as her words echoed in his head.
“Something wrong, bro?” Sonic asked.
“No, that just made me remember a funny joke she once told me,” Tails said, “I know it seems wrong to be smiling right now when I’m still standing next to her but I couldn’t help it.”
“Hey, she wouldn’t want remembering her to hurt and I bet she’s smiling right now, too.” Sonic reached out and ruffled Tails’ hair, “Is there anything you needed to do before we go out there?”
“No, I think I’m ready,” Tails slid his hand free and watched as Sonic reached over and grabbed the bag.
“Is there anything you need from the car?” Sonic asked.
Her sword, Tails mentally noted that it wasn’t it anywhere in the ambulance and she didn’t go anywhere without it, keeping it hidden under the back seat. He just hoped he could come up with some excuse for it because there would be no hiding something like that from Sonic.
“Yeah, there actually is,” Tails said nervously.
“Come on then, I’ll help you,” Sonic opened the back door and motioned for him to follow.
Tails noted as they approached that the car had landed right-side up and the back door had been ripped off. It was a small relief because he knew it would be easy to fish the offending item out without drawing too much attention. A knot rose his stomach and he willed himself not to get sick when he got close enough to see the blood soaking the light-colored fabric of the driver’s seat and the dashboard.
“Oh man,” Sonic muttered the words, but Tails still heard them as he leaned against the frame and looked into the back of the car.
He barely noticed the sound of Sonic messing with something upfront when he saw a familiar piece of tan fabric pinned in the broken seat. Careful as not to tear it, he gently pulled the trench coat free and brushed off the dust and broken glass clinging to it. A smile crept across his face as he held it against his chest and smelled the faint odor of her perfume.
It was an article of clothing that he had grown to associate closely with his mother and memories being safely nestled under and snuggled up to her flooded his mind and left him happily spaced out until Sonic got his attention.
“You okay, bud?” Sonic gently nudged his shoulder, “you’ve been that way for a while, now and I was getting worried”
“Yeah, I’m fine, just trying to think about happy memories,” Tails gave a weak smile.
“Just wanted to make sure you we’re still with me,” Sonic reached out and offered him an object he quickly recognized as the knob off the gear-shift, “It may seem dumb, but I thought you might like to have this since you and her worked on this car together. I thought maybe you could rig it up to the Tornado for luck or something.”
“Thanks,” Tails took the handle and turned it over in his hand for a moment before remembering what he was looking for, “hold on, I almost forgot something.”
The inside was dark and cramped, but he felt around until his hand found a leather wrapped handle and carefully slid the sword out of the wreckage. He held it close his chest in some attempt to hide it.
“Whoa,” Sonic let out a long whistle, “that looks something out of Braveheart, what was it doing in there?”
“My mom studied history, remember? She liked historical weapons and this one was one of her favorites because she had Scottish blood. I remembered she had taken it with her this morning to have an expert look it over so she could learn more about it’s history,” It was a quickly made-up lie, but a simple and believable one.
“I guess I know what I could’ve gotten her for Christmas this year, even if it’s a little late,” Sonic closed his eyes and shook his head, “This still all seems so surreal, like a bad dream.”
“I still don’t know what to think,” Tails absent-mindedly hugged the coat even tighter.
“Oh God, this is horrible!”
Both boys were brought back to reality by a screaming pink hedgehog running towards them.
“I heard about what happened, is it true that she’s…” Amy trailed off.
“It’s true, Melinda’s gone,” Sonic said quietly.
“Oh God, No,” Amy’s voice shook as she spoke and she quickly brought her hands to her mouth, “are they sure it’s her?”
“Yes, Amy, it’s my mom in there,” Tails mumbled
“God, I’m so sorry,” Amy sobbed and wrapped her arms around Tails so tight he thought he could feel his ribs cracking and wheezed as the breath was forced from his lungs. He was thankful he had managed to quickly move the sword out of the way
“I’m gonna miss her so much,” Amy sniffed
“Uh, Amy. I know this all very upsetting but Tails still needs to breathe,” Sonic said.
“Oh, Sorry,” Amy tearfully let go of Tails and placed her hands on his shoulders, “please, don’t think twice about calling me if you need something or even just need to talk, okay?”
“I’ll keep that in mind, Amy,” Tails said
Shock, fear, and the burning urge to just scream it to everybody that she wasn’t really dead had put him on the verge of just shutting down because he could barely stand seeing how painful it was for everyone else and couldn’t even reassure himself when he had to keep playing along.
“Sonic, I think I’m ready to go home,” Tails said. “Sure, buddy.” Sonic put an arm around his shoulder before turning to Amy, “Take it easy, Amy.”
This takes place kind of at the same time as Chapter 9 of Cold as Ice. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Kai sat on the altar, his eyes locked on the front of the church and his ears listening closely for even the faintest footsteps, click of the door’s handle, or creak of it’s hinges.
The wait was excruciating, it had already been a couple hours since he called Melissa had called still no sign of either her or the children coming through those great doors.
It was not in his nature to be cynical, but fear had began to wear at his mind and every horrible thing that could’ve gone wrong cycled through his head. Were they okay? Was one of them hurt? Was she now trapped with them? Anger began to set in and he took a deep breath, willing himself to stay calm despite the impulse to hunt down Isa himself and make the monster pay for hurting the people he considered his family.
He had to calm the rage because he couldn’t abandon his post and had to be ready for anything. Whether it be just simply comforting them or treating wounds, it was his responsibility to take care of them and the fight with Isa was Melissa’s.
The door began to open and his eyes locked onto the darkness at the front of the church as light from the street lamps out front began to pour in. He anticipated the worst until a nervous voice called inside.
“Uncle Kai? Are you there?”
“I’m right here, it’s safe.” relief washed over him as he nearly bolted halfway up the aisle and watched the two figures slink inside and make their way over.
“Come on, Cream. We’ll be safe here. I promise.” Miles guided Cream up the aisle.
“Are you both okay?” Kai crouched down and placed on a hand on Miles’ shoulder, glancing back at Cream, who was hiding behind him.
“I think so, just a little shook-up,” Miles answered before turning to Cream, “I think you’ve meant my Uncle Kai already.”
Kai smiled warmly at her as she cautiously stepped out from behind Miles and eyed him curiously.
“Yes, her mother is a good friend of mine,” Kai carefully reached his hand out to her, “Is everything okay, Cream?”
“Yes, I’m still a little scarred but I think I’ll be okay.” she stepped close enough or Kai to gently place his hand on her shoulder and looked up at him, “Aunt Mel says you’re like her, I heard Tails call you immortals,”
“That’s correct, it’s why she sent me to protect you.” he smiled, “You trust me to do that, right?”
“You’re friends with Tails and Aunt Mel, and even if you weren’t you’ve always been nice to me and my mother,” she looked down for a moment before smiling at him, “So yes, I trust you.”
She stood on her toes and wrapped her arms around Kai’s neck, and he gently returned the hug.
“I’ll make sure you get home safe once it’s all over and Melissa get’s here, okay?” he said quietly.
Cream stepped back and looked at him with confusion, “I thought Aunt’s Mel’s was Melinda?”
It dawned on him that no-one had likely had the chance to explain things more thoroughly to Cream about immortals yet.
“Melissa is just what I call her because she used that name when I met her. I guess I grew accustomed to it.” he smiled.
“I guess it’s like the way you’re the only ones that call Tails Miles.” she said.
“Something like that,” he laughed, “maybe I can explain if there’s time tonight.”
“Okay,” a look of realization and worry flashed across her face, “Cheese was with me when that bully grabbed me, is he okay?”
“He’s fine, safe at home with your mother,” Kai assured her.
“Thank goodness, I was afraid something happened to him,” she sighed, “at least I know he’s safe now.”
“I’m sure he’ll be happy to know your safe as well,” Kai playfully rubbed her head, “but for now, why don’t we wait in the back where it’s more comfortable and maybe a bit warmer?”
“That sounds nice,”
Kai began to lead her towards the back office until he noticed Miles not moving and turned to face him, “Are you coming with us?”
“In a minute,” he answered.
“Cream, why don’t go ahead and wait for us. I want to talk to Miles for a moment,” Kai motioned towards the door to the office.
“Okay,” she quickly made her way inside.
Kai watched the door for a moment before turning around and crouching in front of Miles, noticing for the first time that he was clutching Melissa's coat in his arms and hugging it, “Do want to talk about it?”
“I’ll be fine as soon as she makes it back,” Miles said quietly, his expression betraying that has was on the verge of tears despite his calm tone.
“Miles, I know you’re afraid and upset. You don’t have to hide it from me,” he reached out and placed a hand on the kit’s shoulder.
MIles’ merely looked away and held back a whine in response.
“I’m worried about her as well and I thought maybe it would help if we talked about it.” Kai said, “I only want to help you make the wait less difficult.”
Kai noticed Miles tearing up and gently pulled him into a hug.
“I’ll be fine, I just need a minute,” Miles said, putting an arm around Kai’s back and taking a deep breath.
“Don’t be ashamed. A warrior isn’t afraid to cry because tears come from love and that’s the strongest emotion you can fight for and the most worthy”
“Thanks, but I think I’m okay now.” Miles sniffed.
“Are you sure? If you need to let it out I’m right here.” Kai said, “It won’t make think any less of you, I promise. I just want to help you”
“Yeah, I’ll be okay,” Miles broke away and stepped back, taking a deep breath, “Let’s go check on Cream.”
Kai shook his head as Miles walked off and wondered how he became so stubborn and why he seemed almost afraid to open up to him. Had he accidently given the false impression that the kit had put on some display of toughness around him?
Maybe he really had gotten a little distant and needed to spend more time with him. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
“Do you really live here?” Cream asked as her eyes wandered around the dusty office.
“Not in this room, my bedroom is up in the attic. I only use this place as a study when I need it.” Kai pulled out the old desk chair and sat down, making sure he could see both the door and the couch where the two children sat clearly.
“Is that why it’s so dusty?” Cream asked.
“I guess I don’t study much,” he smiled, “Though I should to keep up with Miles when science happens.”
Cream giggled and Miles managed an uneasy smile.
“I guess you’re feeling better, Cream?” Kai asked.
“Yes, but I’m still worried about Aunt Mel.” she looked down, “I hope she can beat him like the heroes in movies always beat the bad guy.”
“She’s tougher than she looks,” Kai said, “and she did beat him once before.”
“She told she saved a little boy from him,” Cream smiled, “She’s a hero just Mr Sonic.”
“She is a good person, as long as I’ve known her she’s had no tolerance for bullies and always protected people,” Kai gave Miles a smile before turning back to Cream, “That’s why I always looked up to her so much.”
“Aren’t you a lot older than her?” Cream looked him over with confusion.
“It does seem that way, doesn’t it?” He laughed, “Tell me, how old to think we are?”
“Well, you look like you’re the same age as my mother,” Cream scrunched her face, “I remember Aunt Mel’s 29th birthday, but she looks a lot younger than that. It’s hard to tell though because Foxes and Wolves are so tall and makes you look older, at least to me.”
“She explained to you a little bit about Immortals, correct?” Kai asked.
“Yes, she said you guys heal really fast and if you do get hurt really bad you always wake back up,” she answered.
“That’s true, and it’s also true that we stop aging the first time we get badly injured, so most of us are a lot older than we look” Kai leaned back, “You were correct in a sense about me being around your mother’s age because I was 33 years old when it happened to me. That means I look like I did when I was 33 and always will.”
“So how old are you?” Cream asked curiously.
“I was born in 1772, so that makes me 243 years old.” He grinned.
Cream looked over at Miles, who managed to smile and nod his head yes, “and Aunt Mel is even older?”
“Well, the further you go back the harder it is to keep track of dates but she thinks she was 20 when she was hurt for the first time, so you’re right that she does look very young,” Kai began to explain.
“I thought she looked really young for a mom, like the old pictures of my mother from High-School.” Cream said, “When was she born?”
“As I said, she’s not completely sure because dates were hard to keep track of for the lower-class back then and she was the adopted daughter of a poor farmer. The closest she can get is the early 9th century,” Kai noticed the girls’ confusion, “That means sometime around the year 800, which makes her around 1,200 years old.”
Cream looked back and forth between Kai and Miles, the later of which managed a nervous smile and a shrug.
“That’s a really big number,” she spoke quietly after a moment, “I don’t know if I can even count that high,” she started giggling.
“What’s wrong?” Kai asked.
“Nothing, I just realized why Mr Sonic keeps calling her Grandma,” she smiled.
“and now with Grandpa back there we have the full set.”
Everyone turned to the door and noticed Sonic leaning on the doorway, grinning at Kai.
“Of course, since you said Tails here is sort of like your little brother that might mean I have to start calling her great-grandma,” Sonic laughed, “It just doesn’t roll off the old tongue, though.”
“So I guess that makes us all family, then?” Kai chuckled, “You and Miles are like brothers, after all.”
“A hedgehog, an immortal wolf, and a two-tailed fox. If that isn’t the strangest family I’ve ever seen, “ Sonic smiled, “but I’m a little rusty at this family thing so what do I know?”
Cream giggled at the exchange, attracting everyone’s attention.
“What’s so funny, Cream?” Kai asked.
“I guess now that everyone is friends, even Mr Sonic has a big brother to keep him out of trouble.”
“As long he is doesn’t break a hip, I’m always happy to have more back-up,” Sonic grinned.
“I think I’ll be fine,” Kai chuckled and shook his head, watching Sonic turn to Miles.
“Hey bro, you okay?” Sonic sat down on the arm of the couch next to Miles.
Kai watched as Sonic turned his full attention to the kids, smiling as he thought about how close the truth all that was. Melessa was something in-between a mother and a sister to him, Miles like his little brother despite the habitual use of the title Uncle, and he could see that Melissa was beginning to treat Sonic like a son just as much as Miles treated him like a brother.
One big, strange, slightly dysfunctional family full of love.
My stepdad came home today and asked me if I wanted to go look into a pellet rifle he found someone selling for $15 because he knew I collected that sort of stuff.
So I go over there expected maybe a really nice Daisy or Crossman but find this old-ass, single-pump (and it's a fairly powerful single-pump) rifle that has no markings on it but seems like something that was high-end back in it's day, so of course I bought it because I've never seen anything like it and couldn't pass it up for $15.
The doors of the church creaked open and Melinda stumbled in. She grabbed one of the back pews for support and brushed her soaked hair out of her eyes. Every muscle in her body ached but that would soon pass if she gave herself a few minutes to rest.
“Melessia, are you okay?” Kai emerged from the back of the church and hurried across the hall to her side.
“Where are the kids?” She asked as he put an arm around her and helped guide her towards the back.
“In the office, I thought it would be safer than sitting out here in the main hall.” Kai said.
“Are then okay?” she asked.
“Yes,” he answered, “but are you okay? Is Isa...”
“I’ll fine, and yes. It’s finally over. Well, almost. There’s one last thing I need to do before I go home but I wanted to spend a few minutes with them first so they know I’m okay,” she smiled.
“I’m sure everyone will be happy to see you,” Kai said.
“Everyone?” she asked.
“Sonic showed up a while ago to check on everyone when he found out, he’s just been pacing the floor waiting for you,” Kai answered.
“At least I get a welcoming party, huh?”
“Mom!?” Miles almost jumped off the couch in excitement
“Aunt Mel!?” Cream asked excitedly.
Melinda made her way over to the couch and the two kids slid apart for her to sit down between them.
“You two okay?” Melinda put an arm around each of them and pulled them close, smiling when she looked down and noticed MIles still clutching her coat.
“Mr Kai and Mr Sonic we’re here, so I wasn’t scarred,” Cream said.
“I’m glad,” Melinda turned to Miles, “Aren’t going to say something?” “I’m fine, I just need a minute.” he had closed his eyes and buried his face in her side, “are you okay?”
“I’m fine, just a little sore and in need a warm shower,” she said.
“Shouldn’t you know by now old people like you shouldn’t be straining themselves?” Sonic finally spoke from across the room with a laugh.
“What’s that? I can’t hear you clear down there?” she chuckled, “You might have to stand on something.”
“Maybe you just forgot your hearing aids, Grandma? Do you need to borrow some from Grandpa over there?” Sonic teased, motioning towards Kai.
It was at that point that the entire room finally erupted in laughter, relieved at a normal moment.
Melinda stood staring at the gravestone, smiling despite the tears streaming down her face.. The name read Maxwell Blake and the date reflected a long life, 1807-1880. Next to this was a stone bearing the name Violet Blake that read 1805-1875. In the center of the connected stones was the year 1823 when they married.
To anyone else this stone was just a reminder of the past, but her it was yet another life she had nurtured and watched bloom. She was there from that terrible night in the warehouse, holding him her arms and stayed with him as a mother figure from that day on.
When his first child was stillborn there came a moment they were alone and away from judgement, and he broke down in her arms once again. He had spent too long trying to be strong for Violet and couldn’t lock it all away anymore.
She remembered him hugging her with joy and telling her she had become a grandma when Violet gave birth to his second son, and despite being a naturally smaller species and peaking at barely 3’ 10’, he still almost managed to lift her off the floor. It was times like the moment that followed, holding what she considered to be her grandson that she felt one of the greatest gifts of being immortal.
So much to think about in one moment, an entire lifetime flashing through her mind. Joy, sorrow, pleasure, pain, life and death. Emotions somehow simultaneously both conflicting, yet somehow still accentuating one another via the contrast.
“It’s always bittersweet, isn’t?” The voice coupled with the familiar tingling and static in the air pulled her from her daydream.
“Yes, but it’s hard to describe even after all these centuries. The pain of losing them cuts so deep, but at the same time you feel such happiness thinking back on the lifetime spent together. It’s almost like a warm blanket shielding you from cold or a beacon in the dark,” She took a deep breath and looked up at the night sky.
“You know, some believe that the the spirit world is somewhere out there in the heavens, and that each and every worthy soul rests among the stars,” Kai smiled as her gaze met his.
“Are the kids okay?” She asked.
“Miles ran off with Sonic and I made sure Cream was safe at home with her mother.” Kai replied.
“I’m surprised you’re not there with them,” Melinda said with a grin.
“I’m only friends with Vanilla, it’s nothing serious and-”
Melinda cut him off, “Come on now, I’ve known you for over 200 years. I can tell you like her,” she teased.
“Nothing like that, besides I’m too old and I’m not sure I’m cut out to be a parent,”
“You’d make a great father, you’re good with kids. I mean, you’ve been like the cool uncle to Miles his whole life,” Melinda said.
“That’s different because, well it just is,” Kai said, starting to turn red.
“Nonsense, and what do you mean too old? Unless you plan to find one of us that ship sailed about 180 years ago.” Melinda teased.
“Is this what it what feels like for mortals when their mothers keep asking them for grandchildren?” Kai asked.
“I dunno, ask Miles in about twenty years,” Melina chuckled.
Kai merely laughed in return and shook his head.
The first thing Melinda noticed upon entering the house was Miles on the couch, reading a technical manual, her coat laid across the back of the couch next to him.
“Had to wait up for me?”” she smiled..
“It’s really not that late and I couldn’t sleep, anyway” he said.
“I guess it’s just been one disaster after another, huh? Kind of hard to relax after all that.” she took a seat next to him and cracked her neck.
“Yeah.” he said.
“You okay?” she asked.
Miles stayed quiet and closed the book, placing it in his lap.
“You wanna talk about it?” she asked, putting an arm around him.
“Just give me a second,” she could tell he was holding back tears.
“Come on, it’s okay,” she hugged him tighter and he buried his face in her side, “It’s just us now, let it out.”
“I thought I’d lose you today,” he began to sob into her shirt and wrapped his arms around her, his body shaking.
“I know, honey, but I’m here now and it’s going to be okay.” she spoke in the most soothing voice she could manage, “so just let everything out.”
“I was just scared that I wouldn’t see you again,” he choked, “it was torture waiting for you to come through that door back at the church.”
“I was afraid to, afraid of having to leave you.” tears started to flow down her face. It had finally hit her full-force that this moment may have never happened, than those moments back in the warehouse could’ve been the last time she ever got to hold her son in her arms and she could’ve been ripped away. That he could’ve been crying for her instead of with her if he even made it out it all.
They cried together as she took her own advice and let it go, letting the pent-up emotions she had spent the last several hours since he was taken barely hold back wash away with her tears. Now that he was safely in her arms the time to be strong was over.
After a few moments they had both calmed themselves and she noticed Miles taking a deep breath.
“Feel better, now?” She asked.
“Yes, I kinda wish I had listened to Uncle Kai now,” Miles sniffed.
“He said you seemed to scared to talk to him,” she said.
“I was afraid I might start crying in front of him, but when he saw me start tear up he hugged me and told me that a warrior isn’t afraid to cry because it’s a sign of strength. He said tears come from love and that’s the strongest thing you can fight for. I think I understand now.”
“He gave me that one 200 years ago, it’s still one of the wisest things I’ve ever heard him say,” she smiled.
“I guess he’s always been smart,” Miles said.
“He says he learned it from me, but I sometimes I think the student has surpassed the teacher in that department,” she laughed.
“Did you mean all that stuff you said, about wanting me to the last thing you saw?” Miles asked.
“I meant every word. I’ve lived a long and full life and seen things most people can only dream of, and so I’m not afraid of death,” she kissed his head, The idea of leaving everyone behind is what scares me and that’s why it meant so much to me that I got one last smile out of you so I knew you’d be okay.”
“Is that why you told me to close my eyes, so I could remember you the same way?” Miles asked.
“Yes, and it’s why I made sure to tell you how much I loved you when I thought those were the last moments I’d spend with you. I wanted your last memory of me to be happy.”
“Thank you for saving me,” Miles said, still huddled up to her.
“I’ve got an idea,” she picked up the remote off the coffee table and flicked through the channels until she found an old movie they used to watch together. She then pulled down her coat off the back of the couch and covered Miles with it before placing her arm back around him, “I think we both need this tonight.” Miles merely smiled and curled back up next to her.
“I’m here, you son of a bitch.” Melinda spat the words as she stepped out of the shadows.
“I’d say I was worried, but I knew you care to much about the worthless mortals you surrounded yourself with. Especially the mutant brat you consider a son,” Isa didn’t bother standing up from the crate he sat on.
“Watch yourself, Isa,” She didn’t bother hold back her anger and her voice dripped with venom.
“Or what? I know you won’t attack and risk endangering those two brats,” Isa looked up and gave a wicked smile, and call me Frost. I’ve grown to like that name far more.
“If you’ve hurt him, I swear to God…” she clenched her fist until her knuckles ached.
“They’re fine, I assure you,” He finally stood up, “I figured I’d wait until you got here before starting the party.”
The rage continued to build away inside her as she watched him lean down and reach for something next to him. Her eyes were drawn to what at first appeared to be a pile of random junk covered by a cloth.
The realization of what it really was hit her as she saw something moving under it and she ripped it off the reveal MIles and Cream tied up, blindfolded, and gagged under it.
Miles was closest to him and he reached down and ripped the duct tape off his mouth.
“Mom, is that you?” His said, confused.
“Yes, I’m right here and I’m going to get you both out of here, somehow. Just hold in there.”
“You seem optimistic,” Frost finally stood up and stepped around behind them, ripping the tape from the girl’s mouth.
“Aunt Mel?” Her voice shook.
In one fluid movement he reached down and jerked the blindfolds off both of them, “Won’t be needing these anymore. I wouldn’t want to miss out on the show.”
Melinda locked eyes with the two children. Cream was obviously on the verge of tears and she could tell by MIles bloodshot eyes and uneasy expression that he had been crying as well, even if he tried to hide it.
“Let them go,” she stepped forward, only to have Frost quickly circle around and block her path.
“Ah, but I thought we could have a little fun first?” He beamed, “I just have so many ideas that I don’t even know where to start.”
A looked of realization spread over his face and he reached under his coat, drawing his sword. Melinda flinched as he approached her and placed the blade’s tip to her throat.
“I could start with you and make them watch,” he lifted his foot to step closer, but then backed off and turned around while rubbing the side of his neck, “I’m not giving you chance to try that trick again.”
With one fluid motion he spun around and sliced across her stomach, sending her to her knees gripping the wound, “maybe if you’re a good girl and let me have my fun, I’ll let them go.”
“Mom!” Miles shouted.
Cream merely held her eyes shut and sobbed.
Before Melinda could speak, Frost once again pressed the point to her throat and used it to force her to look up at him.
“You really do have such beautiful eyes. I know they say an eye for an eye, but I can’t bring myself to starting cutting on them,” He smirked and lowered his weapon.
“I swear, someone will come after you if you kill me. Especially if you hurt either of them,” blooded dripped from her mouth.
“Like they have a chance,” Frost kicked her square in the stomach, sending her sprawling on her side, “Besides, it just means I get to have more fun.”
Without warning he brought the sword down on one of her now out-stretched hands, impaling it.
“Damn you,” she hissed as he ripped it out.
“I’m sure that happened a long time ago,” He grabbed her hair and pulled her to her knees.
She felt the cold edge of the blade against the neck and fought back a tear as the realization of her fate hit her. The revelation that it would happen not 20 feet from Miles and Cream, and that they would be left to his mercy with her gone because the chances of him keeping his word were slim, yet he would also kill them if she fought back
She had failed them and played right into his hands.
“Please,” she almost whispered.
“What’s that, are you begging?” He laughed and and stepped aside where both her and the children could see each other.
“At least let them go and let me say goodbye,” tears began to stream down her face.
“Why should I, keeping you apart only makes it more fun. No last hug from mommy or auntie Mel to remember her by. Watching you dye as you beg me for mercy will the way they remember you” he pressed the blade closer, “although, these displays of emotion amuse me enough I guess I can let you live long enough to say goodbye from right here, so long you keep entertaining me.”
She looked up and noticed Miles barely holding it together while Cream buried her face in her hands and wept. Tears streamed down her face, but she forced a smile and spoke clearly despite the pain.
“Miles, I need you to listen carefully.” She said.
“Okay,” His voice shook.
“First I need you look up at me, please, Miles.” She hoped Frost was enjoying this enough to let her finish.
He looked up at her, and she locked eyes with him.
“I know it’s hard, but please give me a smile. It would mean the world to me if that’s the last thing I saw,” she spoke with a soothing voice.
“I’m scared,” he barely spoke above a whisper.
“So am I, that’s why I need you do this for me.,” she took a uneasy breath, “Do it for me, okay?”
“I love you, mom,” A smile forced it’s way across his face.
It hurt her, it hurt her bad knowing this was the last time she’d ever see it. The last time she’d hear him say those words. She only prayed someone would show mercy on her and allow her soul to go free, so she could at least watch over him from the next world instead of being trapped inside this monster like some kind of sick prize.
“Miles I love you to. I love you more than anything and I always will. That’s why I want you to close your eyes, and remember me like this no matter happens, let me smiling at you right now and only crying because I love you so much be your final memory of me, just like I’m going to close mine and let your smile be my last memory of anything,” she watched for a moment for him to close his eyes tight, before closing her own and letting her head hang as the blade pulled away, “Goodbye, kiddo. Tell Cream goodbye for me and that her Aunt Mel loves her.”
She braced herself, but the strike never came and instead she heard pacing footsteps, causing to her open her eyes.
“Damn it, I can’t do it. My pride won’t let me,” Frost was visibly frustrated, “I need to know I can beat you.”
Melinda took a deep breath and let the relief wash over her before speaking, “I’ll only fight you if you let me turn them loose and send them to safety,” she said.
Frost barely held back the frustration in his voice. “fine, do as you want and meet meet in the hangar next door and we’ll finish this.”
She watched him leave and waited for the slam of the side-door before approaching the kids.
“Can I open my eyes?” Miles said, his voice still shaking.
“It’s clear, for now,” She crouched down and drew her knife, thankful Frost wasn’t smart enough to take her stuff, “hold still a minute.”
Being careful as to not cut him, she set to work cutting his hands and feet free of their bindings and then moved on to Cream.
“Aunt Mel,” she said quietly, tears still streaming down her face.
“I’m right here, honey,” she finished cutting the ropes and Cream quickly threw her arms around her.
“Why did he want to hurt you like that?” she sobbed, “Why do you have to fight him?” Melinda fell silent and just sat there rubbing the girl’s back for a moment before finding the words to speak, “a long time ago I caught him hurting someone, a kid not much older than you named Max, and I fought with him over it because he wouldn’t stop”
“So you were trying to protect Max?” Cream sniffed. “Just like Mr Sonic and Tails protect people from Eggman and it makes him angry.”
“Yes, just like that.” she answered.
“So you have to stop from hurting anyone else, now?” Cream looked up at her.
“I have to try my best,” Melinda pulled away and patted her on the shoulder before turning to Miles and holding out her arm, “Come here a minute.”
MIles complied and scooted over her to give her a hug. She held him tightly and took a moment to breathe and enjoy the moment, like the calm in the eye of a passing storm.
“Oh God, I thought you were done for,” he finally said, breathing heavily.
“Don’t get too comfortable, you still have to get her out of here and somewhere safe,” Melinda said, rubbing his back.
“But I don’t want to leave you here,” he said.
“I know, and I know you’re scared but Kai’s waiting for you to at the church and she’s gonna need your help getting there,” Melinda said, “Holy Ground, remember?”
“Immortals can’t hurt anyone, there.” Miles’ answered.
“Right,” she nodded, “there’s also one last thing.”
Melinda carefully removed one of her arms from around MIles and reached out for Cream, coaxing her into the hug as well. Once again, she fell silent and just held them both for a few seconds before finding the words.
“No matter what happens, I want you both to know I love you, okay?” Melinda teared up a little as she spoke, “Miles, you know the drill in case..”
Melinda trailed off at the last sentence, the thought to painful for her finish. Even then, she could tell by his arm tightening around that he understood.
“Don’t think that way, Mom!,” He said frantically, “I know you’ll win, because you have to. You’re too strong to lose to someone like him.”
“There’s always a risk, and I just want to make sure you know that you can depend on your friends and that Kai will be there,” Melinda said.
“That doesn’t matter right now, though. It doesn’t matter because you’re gonna win and come back for us,” Miles said.
“Yeah, Aunt Mel, please promise us that you won’t..” Cream barely choked out even that much.
“I can’t lie to either to you and say I’m not in any danger, but I can promise you both that I’m going to give it my all and fight as hard as I can,” Melinda said, hugging them both tighter.
“Okay,” Miles said, taking a deep breath, “I love you, Mom. Just please try to your best to come home safe.”
“Just try to stay calm, okay? It doesn’t do any good to worry about what might happen, just to be prepared,” Melinda directed her attention to Cream, “Cream, are you listening?”
“Yes,” Cream squeaked and hugged her tighter, “and I love, you.”
“You know Kai, right?” Melinda asked.
“Yes, he’s a friend of my mother. He’s really nice,” Cream answered.
“He’s also one of my friends, an immortal like me,” Melinda said.
“Is that why he’s so smart?” Cream asked.
“Something like that,” Melinda chuckled, “Miles is going to take you to the old church, he’s already there and he’ll protect both of you.”
“I’m scared, but I trust you and I trust Tails so I’m be okay,” Cream said, “I also know that Mr Kai is a good a person.”
Melinda held onto them for a while longer before finally loosening her grip, “You both ready?” Melinda asked.
“Yes,:” they both said almost in unison.
The three broke apart and Melinda suddenly had an idea as she noticed Miles’ still worried expression and remembered something he told her about the night of the car wreck. She shrugged off her coat and haphazardly folded it up.
“Here, hold onto this for me,” she handed the coat to Miles, who held it close to his chest, and leaned into to whisper in his ear, “Don’t be embarrassed to hug that thing like a teddy bear if that’s what it takes to stay calm. Your mental state is more important than your pride and Kai is the last person that would judge you.”
The coat was something she knew symbolized her to him because it was the one thing thing that always stayed the same no matter how much she radically changed her dress or appearance. It was the same coat she used to let him cuddle up under on the coach when he was little and they watched TV, and always remained a part of her because it was not only a way to conceal her weapon, but just as much of a security blanket to her because of those memories attached to it.
“Thanks,” he whispered back.
“Now come on, Mr. Hero, it’s time to go escort the girl the safety,” Melinda smiled and ruffled his head fur.
“Okay,” he smiled and began to help Cream up with his free hand, “Come on, Cream. I’ll hold your hand, would you like that?”
Melinda continued to smile as she watched them make their way to main door. Even on foot the church was only about 30 minutes away so she assumed they’d be fine.
The night was over for them, but she still had one last thing to finish before she could follow, and she prayed silently that whatever guardian angel watched over immortals would see her through the rest of the storm and deem her fight just.
“I’m here, let’s finish this,”
Melinda held her sword so tightly her hand ached and rubbed against the wood beneath the leather wrappings of the handle. She stood strong despite the fear gripping her, all doubt was erased from her mind and she silently promised that it would end here.
“You’re afraid, aren’t you? I can taste it in the air,” Frost took a step forward and drew a deep breath.
“Are you going to fight, or stand around talking all day?” She readied herself, spreading apart her feet and holding her sword in front of her body, ready to either strike or defend.
“I just want to savor it for a moment, enjoy the anticipation before I come in for the kill. Let the feeling build up to that final climax and surge of power,” he closed his eyes and spoke the words almost like they were a twisted form of poetry.
“You’re sick, you know that?” Melinda spat
“You still love to pretend you’re so different from me, I guess the little talk we had the other day fell on deaf ears, and I was so hoping you’d come around see things my way. Set yourself free like I have,” He said.
“Are going to shut up and attack me, or are you enjoying the sound of your own voice a little too much?” Melinda smirked.
“So eager to die, I wonder if a part of you enjoys your pain as much as I do,” he stepped forward and closed the distance.
“Who said anything about me being the one dying tonight?” She said.
In one fluid motion she stepped forward and struck for his good leg, but he dodged the blow with a quick jump back and countered by lunging forward and swinging his blade down, an attempt she easily blocked and and deflected by catching the blow against the flat of her own sword and and forcing it away.
An attempt to run him through easily side-stepped and and countered with a swing from the side towards her mid-section, which she easily flicked her blade up up to block once again before before twisted around behind him.
She followed up with a swing towards the back of his exposed shoulder, but he managed to shift his stance enough to reach up with his cybernetic arm and grab her blade.
“You know, these things aren’t for show and I guess I really should thank you for putting me on the waiting list. I never dreamed that someday we’d have this amazing technology that let me get replacements for the old ones that were better than the real thing,” He turned to face her and forced her back where he could stand right up against her and hold his sword to her neck, “losing your edge? Getting soft?”
“No, but you’re getting stupider to giving me this opening,” In one violent movement she drove her knee straight into his groin with all the force she could muster, sending him sprawling backwards and clutching himself.
“Son of a bitch,” he groaned in pain and attempted to straighten himself, “you sure fight dirty for someone that likes to play little miss guardian angel”
“I may try my best to play the hero, but I’m no saint and I have no delusions about honor being of any use against butchers and cowards like you. Honor is only for for friends and real warriors.” she lunged forward and and sliced him across the stomach before he could guard and sent him to the floor.
“You’re so much like me, maybe you’d be less bitter if you stopped denying it” He spat out the blood collecting his his mouth.
“I’m nothing like you,” Melinda swung for the kill, but he implanted his cybernetic foot into her stomach lifted her over his head, sending her flying with a powerful kick of his leg.
She caught herself and quickly rolled back onto her feet just as he jumped back up.
“You keep saying that, but you haven’t been able to give me one good reason to believe it,” he wiped his mouth with his sleeve and idly examined the blood staining the white fabric, “there’s something romantic about the way blood so quickly corrupts and stains the color white, don’t you think? It say’s something so poetic about how fragile and useless purity is.”
“Give me a break,” Melinda groaned.
“It’s true, it’s such a useless measure that’s changed so much from era to era, that’s I’m glad I stopped caring about petty human morality. I mean, isn’t so tiring watching the very concepts of good and evil change right before your eyes? Shifting so easily from saint to sinner in the eyes of this world?” Frost said, “It’s so much simpler just to live by your own rules and live for your own pleasure.”
“I’ve learned to find it quite inspiring, the mortals find a way to keep growing and learning right from wrong, bettering themselves with each passing generation as I grow alongside them. It’s comforting to see all the evils that were once encouraged by mankind's ignorance fading into distant memory,” Melinda stepped forward, ready to strike, “I also don’t deny my sins anymore than you do, but the first difference between us is that I’m ready to answer for them.”
“Like I give a damn, anyway. Keep holding on to your self-righteous delusions,” Frost lunged forward and threw a punch with his cybernetic arm, which she dodged and let narrowly slip by her head where she pinned his arm without letting go of her sword.
“You’re the only delusional one here, too blind to see that you’ve done nothing more than poisoned yourself with hate and sadistic self-indulgence” she drew her dagger and stabbed it into his stomach before twisting it and bringing her muzzle to his ear, “Which brings us to the second thing that what really separates us, I have a son that I love dearly, and friends that I love just as much. That means unlike you, I fight for love and that’s a kind of strength you could never understand.”
“Go to hell,” he spat as he fell to the ground.
“I hope I don’t, I have too many people waiting for me upstairs, and that’s what I pray to be forgiven for what I have to do,” she raised her sword over her shoulder and swung with closed eyes, landing the final the blow and listening as his body hit the ground with a thud.
A white mist drifted up from his remains and enveloped her as the static began to build in the air like the tension before a storm erupts, “I’m not afraid, you can’t consume me when I have so much giving me strength. No amount of darkness can snuff out love’s light.”
All at once the the room erupted with energy and she fell to her knees as the storm tore the room apart and her world with it. Light fixtures shattered into a rain of sparks and wooden crates splintered into flames as if consumed by hellfire.
“I won’t give in,” despite the lifetime of twisted memories rushing their her head she forced herself think of Miles, and to think of all her friends. Her memories fought to burn through his and she struggled her hardest to concentrate on them and the voices drowned out his hateful screams.
“Mom!, this is my favorite part of the movie!.”
“Aunt Mel! I finally baked something all by myself today!”
“Come on grandma, age before beauty,”
“Wow mom, you’re just like a real-life superhero!”
“Happy 29th birthday!”
“I guess now that we’re alone I should say happy 1100-and-something since we’re not sure on the whole year thing. I love you, mom.”
The conflict within her heart reached it’s peak as the sprinkler system finally cut loose and soaked her, like the apex before a storm ends and one final and recent memory floated the surface, one symbolizing the true extent of her love, his smiling face showing through the tears when she was using what she thought her last moments to comfort him.
“I love you, mom.”
“Miles I love you to. I love you more than anything and I always will. Goodbye, kiddo”
Just like that, it was over and and the world once again went silent save for the hissing of a few remaining fires being quenched. She just sat and thought about how oddly soothing the cold water was, almost like some kind of baptism washing away the last of her doubts. It was finally over.
Only two more to go, and both are already written and just need last minute clean-up so it shouldn't be long.
Night had fallen by the time the two headed for home, leaving them alone on the empty streets with nothing but the glow of streetlights for company.
“Man, I still can’t believe you got the high-scores on all those cash-in games they made about Sonic and me,” Miles happily walked along next to his mom, his tails wagging behind him.
“Maybe I’m just that awesome,” she grinned, “and I guess the free home copies the developer always sends us may have helped.”
“I didn’t think you played those, I kind of assumed they collected dust after me and Sonic played through them once or twice for fun.”
“What, you think I’m too old to play with toys?” she feigned a hurt expression, “aren't I allowed to have fun?”
“It’s not that, it’s just that I didn’t think liked video games as much as I did outside of those racing ones,” he gigled, “If I knew we could’ve played a lot more together”
“I need something to do when you leave me all alone and go save the world,” she gave a playful grin, “besides, it’s kind of cute seeing that little sprite of you flying around the screen and beating up robots.”
“I mean, the graphics aren’t even that good and..” he blushed.
“Ah, come on. That cute little cartoon of you is almost as adorable as the real thing,” she teased.
“You like to embarrass me, don’t you?” he smirked, still blushing.
“Hey, it’s a mother’s job,” she chuckled, “besides, you know I only do it because I love you.”
“I guess I’d miss it if we didn’t tease each other,” he chuckled.
“It beats being ser-” she was cut off before she could finish by a loud boom and a splitting pain in her skull before everything went black.
“I think she’s waking up,” unmistakably Amy’s voice, laced with something between worry and relief.
“Tails’ told me immortals could come back from almost anything, I guess he wasn’t kidding.” Sonic’s voice, carrying a mixture of shock and excitement.
“She’s just lucky it passed completely through, if our healing factor actually has to kick out foreign objects it takes far longer and consumes a large amount of energy to heal,” Was that Kai? “Thankfully that only happens when a small object like a bullet interferes with healing an inherently fatal wound like one to the heart or brain.”
“You mean like a battery?” Sonic asked.
“Not exactly, I mean as in the bodies natural resources. Calories, nutrients, sugars. Anything the body metabolizes for energy,” Kai answered, “Our life-force maybe borderline magical, but our bodies are still flesh and blood that can be strained just like yours”
“Wait!? Someone shot me?” her mind realed as she managed to find her bearings and put together what had happened, “Oh God. Miles was right next to me. Is he okay?”
“Melinda, are you okay?” Amy asked.
“It’s Miles okay?” she groaned, sitting up and rubbing her head.
She watched as everyone in the room traded uneasy looks and and Kai took a deep breath. He was holding back anger and she could tell it.
“I heard the gunshots and when I investigated I found you dead with Miles nowhere to be found, Knuckles is out looking for him but there’s something you should know,”
“I’m already sitting down, so spill it,” she was nearly going into shock, to numb to really be upset or angry at any of this.
“Cream is also missing and I found this stabbed into your heart,” Kai pulled out an all too familiar object and she froze.
It was unmistakably the same knife Isa had used on Maxwell two centuries ago and an even more familiar blue ribbon was tied around the handle, the one usually tied around Cream’s collar.
“Oh God,” she felt the tears burning her eyes as she dug her nails into her palms, drawing blood that dripped over her fingers.
Every fiber of her being screamed out in fear, anger, and pain. Isa had them both and now she would have to face him to have any hope of saving them. He had backed her against the wall and now she had to fight just like a cornered animal. “Kai told us everything, well I guess told me and Knuckles everything since Sonic already knew it all except him being an immortal,” Amy stepped forward, “I guess this is your fight, but we’ll do everything we can to at least track him down.”
“Yeah, no one messes with my little bro or kidnaps defenseless little girls on my watch, and we’re going to do every we can to help save them,” Sonic looked at her with a look of determination and anger that she rarely saw from him.
“Thank you, but promise me one thing” she forced a smile and tried to hide her eyes, “promise you’ll keep your distance if you find him. I don’t want anyone else getting hurt.”
“I’ll try, but using this on him myself is pretty tempting,” she reached back and pulled out her hammer, “and it’s gonna be even more tempting if I find out he hurt Cream.”
“I have no objections,” Sonic smirked, “I know a ticked off mother protecting her son is something far more scary than I could ever be.”
“I just pray we find them in time,” she glanced up at Kai and her voice grew quiet as she continued, “I can’t lose them like this.”
“I’m sure we will and by this time next weekend Cream will be shopping with Amy, and you and I will be taking Miles on that camping trip we talked about.” he smiled.
“I pray you’re right,” she cracked her neck and leaned forward, “I guess it doesn’t do us any good to be pessimistic, we need a plan for finding them.”
“He didn’t leave a note or anything, just that thing and Cream’s ribbon,” Amy spoke with disgust.
“Yeah, if he wants you so bad why didn’t he leave a trail?” Sonic asked.
“I guess he’s just trying to screw with me and make me sweat, the bastard’s a sadist like that,” she sighed, “he wants me to have to hunt him.”
“I’ve never met him and he already makes my skin crawl,” Amy shuddered, “creep.”
“Trust me, you’d call him worse after being introduced,” Melinda cracked her knuckles, “He’s one of the worst people I’ve ever met, Mobian or Human, and that’s saying a lot when you’re pushing 1200.”
“He makes Eggman look like a saint,” Sonic added, “something about that look of joy on his face when he almost broke you.”
“If there was such a thing as a demon in a flesh and blood body, it would be him,” Melinda sighed, “I remember looking into his eyes and seeing nothing but hatred reflected in them, so hauntingly beautiful on the surface but concealing nothing but darkness underneath.”
“The worst of it is that he doesn’t look much older than me,” Sonic mused, “I wonder if he was born evil or whatever killed him that young broke him.”
“I don’t know anything about his past, nor am I sure I want to know how deep the trail of blood goes,” Melinda idly watched the cuts in her palm fade away.
“It doesn’t matter. A man like that is long past atonement,” all eyes shifted to Kai as he spoke and Melinda noticed a look somewhere between pain and anger on his face, “You spent even longer with my tribe than I did, so I’m sure you know we considered the needless spilling of innocent blood a point of no return, especially the blood of children.”
“I guess I was just surprised because I’ve rarely seen you even start to get angry,” she looked down, “I guess none of this can be easy for you, either.”
“It isn’t,” he sat in silence for a moment, “I’ve always considered Miles like a younger sibling in some ways, and I also promised Vanilla ’d make sure Cream got back safely.”
“I guess Tails has one heck a family for back-up then, doesn’t he?” Sonic smiled, “A 1100 and some year old Scotswoman, a blue hedgehog that can run faster than a 747 can fly, and a nearly 250 year old Wolf-Pack warrior.”
“Don’t forget me and my hammer,” Amy smirked, “Knuckles is pig-headed, but I’m sure he cares as well.”
“I guess that’s a hell of a cavalry, huh?” Melinda gave a soft chuckle, “I guess it’s time we rescue those kids and I know where to start for help.
“You sure this a good idea?” Amy looked up at the worn down old house in front of them, “I mean, The Chaotix have no idea what’s going on and we don’t have time to explain.”
“Also, I’m not sure they could find money in a bank, let alone a deranged immortal serial killer and his hostages,” Sonic chimed in.
“I’ll have to take your word for that since I’ve only met Vector in passing, but every extra pair of feet helps and he seems trustworthy despite his faults,” she stepped forward, “besides, I have a cover story.”
“Cover story?” Amy questioned.
“Which reminds me, as far they’re going to know I’m my sister, Melissa McLeod from down south that moved here to look after Miles”
“Is that why you’ve been dressing like you’re going to cut a Country CD?” Sonic asked.
“I dunno, I think the tomboy look suits her,” Amy added.
“Sonic: yes, I’m surprised you noticed,” she turned to Amy, “and thank you, Amy. I also think Red suits you well, but we all have more pressing matters than my fashion choices.”
“Right,” both Sonic and Amy said in unison.
“Let’s get this show on the road,” Melinda took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
Several moments passed before the door lock clicked and it creaked open to reveal a nearly 6ft tall crocodile with a large gold chain around his neck.
“Hello, Ms. Prower, need some-” the color suddenly drained from Vector’s face and he kept mouthing words that never came out, words Melinda could make out to be things like “ghost” and “dead”
“Oh, OH! ah’m so sorry for scarin’ ya’ll like that. Melinda Prower was mah sister and ah I guess ah’ve been told ah’m the spittin’ image of that girl. Name’s Melissa.” she smiled, glancing back and noticing the horrified expressions of the hedgehogs and the barely concealed amusement on Kai’s face.
“Phew boy,” Vector sighed with relief, “I was about to have a heart attack.”
“ah do forget sometimes. Ah guess ah’m slow to react because it’s hard to accept mah poor sister is gone,” she looked down and rubbed her shoulder.
“It can’t be easy. I really can’t imagine what that poor kid going through and I’ve been meaning to pay my respects,” Vector frowned, “I don’t what I’d do if I lost my ma and I’m no hatchling.”
“That’s sort of why ah came to y’all, mah poor nephew gone and got kidnapped along with his friend Cream and-” she was cut off.
“WHAT!? Everyone get in here and let me get Espio. Some creep grabbing kids ain’t gonna happen on my watch,” Vector ushered them inside while stealing a quick glare at Kai, “ESPIO! WE HAVE A BIG PROBLEM!” “There’s no need for shouting, Vector. I’m right here,” Espio called.
Melinda followed the voice to a nearly invisible form in the corner and her eyes sparked with curiosity when she recognized it as a natural form of camouflage some species of mobian are born with.
“GAH!” Vector jumped, “Would ya stop scaring me like that?”
“Maybe you should learn to be more perceptive, Vector,” Espio shimmered as his body faded into it’s natural colors of purple and tan, “You ARE a detective and an enemy spying on you so easily would not end well.”
“So familiar,” Melinda found herself staring into Espio’s golden eyes and trying to place him, unable to explain to herself how it felt like an old memory even though he was mortal and clearly around Sonic’s age. She looked over and noticed Kai looking at him the same way.
“Yeah, yeah, I’ll keep that in mind.” Vector said, “but I guess that means we don’t have ta repeat ourselves.”
“Correct, I heard everything and I suggest Melissa tell us everything she knows. It might aid us in assisting them.” Espio stood and approached the group, holding out his hand to Melinda, “I am Espio, pleased to be of service on such an honorable mission.”
“Melissa McLeod, pleased to meet y’all,” she shook his hand and noticed a look of curiosity flash by when he heard the name.”
“May I say that’s a beautiful name, one of my ancestors was called that,” he smiled.
“Maxwell?” the image of the green chameleon when he was Espio’s age briefly flashed through her mind and for a second she was looking into his golden eyes, eyes the same color as this kid’s, “You’re his descendant, aren’t you?”
“Thanks,” she caught herself smiling and tearing up, “I really can’t thank y’all enough for helping hunt down mah dear nephew and that sweet little girl”
Her eyes wandered to Kai and she noticed the look of realization on his face, he had
figured it out just as quickly as she had.
“It’s no trouble at all, just tell us everything you can,” Espio said.
“Not much to tell y’all, ah took the poor dear the video arcade tah help cheer him up and some lowlife wacked me good upside the back of the head. He was nowhere tah be found when this gentlemen and some of Miles friends found me.” Melinda said. “And Cream, was she there as well?” Espio asked.
“No,” Kai spoke up. “Vanilla called me upset because she had gone missing and I was out looking for her when I found Melessa.”
“How do we even know the two are connected? There could be two whackjobs out there.” Vector said.
“No, I found this discarded near her,” Kai pulled Cream’s ribbon from his jacket pocket, “the kidnapper must have dropped it.”
“Any ideas who it might be?” Espio asked as he took the ribbon and examined it
“Ah do have this low-down skunk of an ex-beu that ah I wouldn’t think to good ta get back at meh like this.” she spat, “That weasel would rob his own mother at gunpoint.”
“What does this scumbag look like?” Vector asked.
“Little taller than meh, white, fur, white clothes, and the bastard only had one eye that’s a cold blue. The varmint also has some of them there fancy phoney body parts, a leg and an arm.”
“Cybernetic implants?” Espio asked.
“Yeah, them fancy thangs. The dumbass lost the real ones in a street race,” she smirked, “never could keep track of his thangs”
“That couldnt’ve been cheap,” Espio said.
“His parents were rich folk,” Melinda said, “I guess they bailed him out of trouble one too many times instead of letting him learn.”
“I’ll check every dirty hole in this city for him, you have my word,” Vector saluted “The Chaotix are on the case.”
“Then let’s move out, the cavalry is ready to come riding in!” Sonic spoke up from behind Melinda, attracting everyone’s stares, “What? I’ve always wanted to say something like that and it’s hard to make it sound cool when you have only have like two teammates.”
Everyone merely groaned in response.
“I know where this road leads, but I don’t know if I can face him again,” Melinda finally spoke up after hours of walking with Kai around the grimy back-streets of station square searching for any sign of Isa.
“You already defeated him once, I’m sure he’s no more a match for you now than he was then,” Kai answered as he peeked inside a window.
“It’s not that, it’s just... I know it has to end this time and I’m sure I can, nor if I want to,” she looked down, “not if it means becoming like him.”
“You could never be like him,” Kai answered without turning around, “He’s nothing but a butcher and you’re a warrior protecting innocent lives.”
“Maybe now, but I’m afraid of what taking his head might awaken inside me,” she signed, “I can’t deny that everyone has darkness in their heart, whether it be a faint shadow or unrelenting blackness like his.”
“That’s why you hesitated the first time, wasn’t it? You were afraid of seeing into his heart when you took his quickening,” Kai looked back at her.
“Yes, like i said. The hatred and evil I saw in his eyes was horrifying because it was so absolute and he was confident in it. Not a shred of remorse or compassion,” she felt the fear set in.
“You thought it would break you,” Kai turned around.
“I mean, how do I know it wouldn’t consume me and make me like him? How do I know I’m stronger than him?” she felt tears flowing down her face, “I don’t want to lose myself to him and risk hurting anyone like that”
Before she could say anymore Kai wrapped his around her and pulled her close, where she buried her face in his chest. She couldn’t hold back anymore.
“As I said before, you are nothing like him and nor could you ever be. You have to trust yourself, and trust your friend of almost two and half centuries,” he spoke softly.
“How do I know I can? What stands between me and him?” she choked, “especially if he’s hurt them and driven me that much further over the edge?”
“I know because love can drive out even the deepest darkness, and I know there’s more of that within you than he could ever snuff out,” he gently tightened his grip.
“How do I know for sure, though?” she managed to choke out.
“Melessa,” he voice was soft, yet firm, “I saw the kind of mother you were to Maxwell, and the kind you are now to Miles and how much love them both. You would do anything to protect them.”
“but more importantly, you were there for me when I was a pup found by the tribe. You were often the one to tuck me in at night and the one who held me when I had nightmares,” he closed his eyes, “and even more importantly, you were the first thing I saw when I woke up from my first death and remained my teacher and friend for the last two centuries.”
“I loved you like a son, and I still do.” she smiled and looked up at him.
“...and you’re like a mother to me. That’s why I have so much faith in you,” Kai finished.
Of course they both knew that, but it had largely become an unspoken bond over time and was the the thing she needed to hear that made the final piece of the puzzle click, and gave her the strength to fight on and put an end the monster that haunted her nightmares.
“Thank you, Kai.” she hugged him one last time before they broke apart, “I still wonder how it’s always me needing advice from you.”
“I guess I have a talent,” he smiled.
“Noone’s here, yet.”
It was nearing nightfall and Kai had insisted Melinda head home, where everyone had agreed to meet at dark while he kept looking. He said she was the pivotal member of the team and if any of them had information to bring back it would be best for her to be there to receive it.
“What’s this?” her foot collided with something as she approached the door and she knelt down to find a package, “A part Miles ordered? Feels like someone dropped it, to. It’s wet. I guess I’ll finally have to talk him into standing to that moronic delivery service when this is all over”
She froze as soon she got the door open and the light from inside glinted off the red stain, blood.
“Oh God,” her heart skipped a beat and her hand shook as she opened the unsealed flaps. The thing inside made her drop the box and nearly her lunch with it as she collapsed and sobbed.
Melinda awoke in a cold sweat to the sound of a ringing phone and thanked God it had just been another Nightmare, while at the time cursing fate for deciding it was time to rub more salt in her wounds. She had stumbled in to wait for the others and must have passed out in her chair.
Willing her heart stop beating like a drum, she dug out her phone and read the Caller ID, it was Kai and she quickly answered.
“Find something?” she asked hopefully.
“Yes, and all because the talk we had with Rouge bore fruit,” he said.
“I don’t understand,”
“She noticed him dragging Miles off when she was flying overhead and followed when her conscience got the best of her. She trailed him to an old warehouse at the docks and managed to track me down a few minutes ago.”
“Which one?” she asked.
“She said it’s got a large pentagram graffitied on the door, you can’t miss it,” Kai answered.
“So I guess this is it, even if I could be walking into a trap.” she took a deep breath, “it’s all about the end one way or the other.”
“Are you ready to face this?” Kai asked softly.
“Yes, it’s all clear to me now and I’m ready as I could ever be.”
“Then good luck, Melissa. I’ll be waiting at the church,” Kai said.
“I’m going to try to send them there before the fighting starts, somehow. Keep them safe,”
“Of course.” he said calmly, “between me and the holy ground they’ll be safer than a pup in his mother’s arms”
“Thank you, hopefully I’ll see you when it’s over,” she stopped for a moment and thought before speaking. “I love you, Kai.”
“I know you will, take care and I love you as well.”
It was time. the storm had come and she was ready. rEAD to answer the call and do whatever it took to save her son and to save Cream, and to make sure Isa never claimed another victim.