Time Trials Plus @nevynovember
Time Trials Plus

The blinding lights of Casino Park showered over the neighboring Mystic Jungle, looming over it in all its magnificent, luminous, exploitative glory. On the outskirts of a jungle was a humbler venture-- led by a flamboyant machine in a green top hat and red bow tie.

She waved her hands in a show of whimsical power and presented her display of carnival attractions. “Coasters and roasters, dunk tanks and funk tanks, welcome one and all to Ms. Heavy’s Magical Mystic Park!” she sang to the crowd of patrons wandering in from the neighboring town, Sunset Heights. As they filed into excitable lines, she evaporated into a cloud of dust, off to attend to each of them.

One such booth had a popular attraction: little tankards of glowing cream soda. The foam turned into tiny bubbles that rose out of the cup far up into the air, each carrying its own brilliant color with it. As each park-goer bought one and headed off, their fizzy drinks contributed to the rainbow trails of light weaving throughout Mystic Park.

One such booth had a popular attraction: little tankards of glowing cream soda. The foam turned into tiny bubbles that rose out of the cup far up into the air, each carrying its own brilliant color with it. As each park-goer bought one and headed off, their fizzy drinks contributed to the rainbow trails of light weaving throughout Mystic Park.

While Sonic slurped his drink down, Tails just watched the magic soft drink in curiosity. “How do you think Ms. Heavy makes this stuff? It’s some cool kind of magic carbonation.”

The older teen, seventeen to the fox’s twelve, had to laugh, “Ha, you think that’s magic, watch this!” Sonic mimed rolling his sleeve up, but he didn’t have one. Bracing himself for just a moment while he pulled the fox cub’s attention to him-- before he wiggled his fingers into the bubble trail and went “Blblblblblblblblbl! ” popping a whole bunch of them. The tiny, cascading flashes of green and blue and orange from each little burst only added to the effect.

Sonic was quick to laugh at his own joke, but Tails was quicker, and the two locked arms and doubled over in shared hysterics. For extra measure, Tails slipped on the wet grass and Sonic dropped his tankard to stop his fall.

When Tails looked back up, when Sonic yanked the kid back to his feet and gave him a pat on the back, he saw his best friend. With those enchanting emerald eyes and that impossibly confident smirk on his face. Neither would notice the cub’s twin tails had started fluttering behind him, in tune with his racing heart.

“What a mess!” Sonic chuckled at the rainbow soda spill, “I’m gonna grab me another one, back in a flash!”

“I’ll be here, Sonic!” Tails stood up straight and beamed.

 

“Whatcha lookin’ at?” Amy appeared behind Tails, startling him into a scream.

“AH! Amy! You’re here!”

She narrowed her eyes in pure mischievous curiosity, “You’re looking at Sonic aren’t you!”

“Nuh uh,” Tails shook his head, “We’re just uh. Chilling. Together. Like. Buddies.”

“Yeah-huh, gay buddies!” she pinched his cheek real tight. Amy Rose had a few years on Tails, and though they weren’t related, she had long ago taken it upon herself to be his big sister in all ways possible. Usually in the way of supporting his blossoming affection for boys through aggressive teasing and outlandish romantic schemes.

“Okay, okay, okay,” Tails confessed. “I totally asked him to like, come here, to a place! Outside of the workshop! With me!”

Amy grabbed both his shoulders, “Tell me everything! 

“I was like, ‘Hey Sonic’”

“AND?”

“And he was like uh. ‘Sup Buddy’”

“ANNND??”

“Then I said, ‘Wanna go to that Mystic Park thing?’”

“YEAH???”

“And he said, ‘Yeah that sounds cool’.”

“YEEAAH????”

“And then we came here,” Tails finished.

Sighing and clasping her own hands, “‘Sounds cool’~ How darling~”

Tails furrowed his brow a bit before he got distracted. His nose twitched. “Does something smell like vape to you?”

A black hedgehog with red streaked quills stomped his shoes into the green, stopping next to but looking right past the others. “That blue hedgehog again, of all places,” he grimaced at Sonic, who tapped his shoe unaware in the long line. He took a long drag from his vapor pen before he tore his eyes away, closing them in apparent deep thought as the smoke shrouded him.

“Shadow the Hedgehog...” Amy cocked an eyebrow.

“Shadow! What are you doing here?” Tails clenched his gloves, talking up to the teenager.

“Hmph,” Shadow shooed the fox away, “I have unfinished business with Sonic, and I will not waste my time on little kids.”

“Hmph you!” Tails hmph’d  back, “You’d be just as little if you weren’t wearing heels all the time.”

“Oooh,” Amy took a moment to admire his bravery, before she admired the fashionable heels on Shadow’s rocket skates.

The heel hedgehog had a sinister, low laugh. “Impetulant as you are, you can make yourself useful as a messenger. When your fool friend is done with his sugar distraction, tell him to meet me at the roller rink.”

Then Shadow disappeared into his vape-cloud, Tails calling after him, “You’re never gonna be faster than him! He’s Sonic! And You’re A Loser!”

Amy gently straightened the three little fur strands on Tail’s head, “Gee Tails, I’ve never seen you like that.”

“Ugh, Shadow’s the worst,” he stamped his feet, “Every time I try to spend time with Sonic, he shows up, says something really mean and then they take off to go do some stupid race.”

The pink hedgehog just held her chin and thought about what he said. Hmm.

“I’ve gotta keep him away from Sonic, so he doesn’t ruin all the fun he’s having with his stupid... Jerk. Jerkface. 

Suddenly it dawned on her. Amy leaned down and placed one hand on Tails’ shoulder, “I’ve got just the idea, Tails.”

“CHAO EGGS! PINK AND BLUE, GOLD AND SILVER, CHAO EGGS,” chanted Ms. Heavy from across the way, a bright neon sign above her reading “Ciao! To Your Days Without A Chao!”

Tails never heard her idea, Amy’s eyes lit up in stars and she left her little brother behind.

 

Our pink hedgehog skidded to a stop beneath the hovering Ms. Heavy. The mechanical magician had several eggs whirling around her in a sequential orbit, “Howdy, little princess! Are you interested in--”

“Yeah I’m here for the Chao,” she pointed at the neon sign. “Gimme~” she demanded in a cutesy voice.

“Ho ho ho! An antsy lass we’ve got here,” the eggs picked up a bit of speed, “These eggs have yet to hatch, there’s no telling what’s inside each.”

“The sign says ‘Chao’, miss,” Amy squinted.

Ms. Heavy did a robotic, maybe sarcastic, “Ha-ha-ha,” before explaining. “A game for you,” she displayed a golden egg in one hand, a silver one in the other, and the other six arranged around her-- pink, blue, orange, purple, white, and brown-- “There is only one true Chao Egg. Make your guess, and whatever’s inside is yours.”

Piece of cake, Amy thought to herself, and then a challenger approached. A red bird girl about Amy’s height, in a pure white dress with gold trim and a white feather tiara. They had met before. Her name stirred anger within Amy, and that name was Elise.

“Jeepers, are we playing a game?” Elise asked innocently. Too innocently, as far the hedgehog was concerned.

Amy put her hands on her hips, “Long time no see, Elizabeth. I was just about to win me a Chao.”

Elise pulled into herself a bit, holding her arms, “I’m very sorry, Ms. Rose, but my name is merely Elise. It is not short for Elizabeth, or any other name. My sincere apologies for the confusion.”

The Mystic Host interjected, “Why howdy, little actual princess, would you like to join in a game of fortune and potential long term responsibility? 

The literal princess curtsied, “I’d be charmed to, Madam Heavy.”

“Good luck!” Amy huffed, “I won’t need it, I’m a practicing psychic I’ll-Have-You-Know.”

Elise answered with a gasp, “That’s astounding! I’ve always had a personal intuition for reading people and situations myself.”

“I’m sure,” she stuck her tongue out.

“Do you, perhaps, live in a household where there are no true parents? Likely, an adult is present but not often, otherwise unfit for responsibility, and has thus thrust the unwelcome responsibilities of an adult caretaker on you at an early age?”

“hRK.” the accuracy got stuck in Amy’s throat and gagged her. “LET’S START THE GAME, MS. HEAVY.”

 

Across the way, Sonic and Tails had found another attraction. An extra large pinball machine you needed two people to play. Sonic had suggested the roller rink, and Tails said something along the lines of “Roller rink? Who likes to roller rink? I mean, rinking is cool and you’re cool, is there even a roller rink here? Hey is that a big pinball machine you need two people to play?”

Far from gigantic, but designed so the buttons for each paddle were far apart so teamwork was essential. Lucky for Tails, his crush’s attention was fickle and pinball did just the trick in taking his mind away from rollerskates.

Sonic, an absolute natural at most things, hit the pinball with precision. Ricocheting it off the fiendish looking robots inside that flashed and shot rings everywhere, boosting the score. Tails did his best to just keep the ball in the game, often lightly bumping it up with his paddle to serve it to Sonic’s.

“Dude, we’re gettin’ numbers! We’re like a perfect team,” Sonic smirked to Tails, who lit up red and rubbed his neck. “We gotta hit that big metal fish up at the top there though,” he pointed, “I can’t get it with mine, think you can land it little buddy?”

Tails took a big breath, “I. I think I can,” he said more to himself than to the hedgehog.

“I’ll set you up! Wait till it slides to the very end of your paddle and then slam it!”

“Al- Alright!”

“You can do this!”

His encouragement stirred up a flurry of butterflies in the young cub’s stomach.

The pinball dribbled over Sonic’s paddle before he lobbed it over to Tails.

The fox waited for the right moment, the anticipation heavy.

It slowly rolled down towards the edge of the paddle.

Tails smacked the button, but precisely then-- the sky went dark and lightning struck the machine. Thunder boomed and the players flinched away. In the machine’s malfunction, the buttons didn’t work and the pinball dropped into the gap.

“Aw, man,” Sonic said, his smirk unwavered.

But it devastated Tails, exacerbated by the pinball machine surging back to life just in time to chime out a drooping rhythm of failure. Then, the basketball-sized pinball fired out of the front like a cannonball with a sudden kBOOM and flew out into the distant bushes. An odd punishment for losing and a distraction for them both, but Tails noticed the tears welling up in his eyes.

“Whoa! Ms. Heavy’s a funny one,” the hedgehog chuckled like he does, “I’ll get it. Be right back~”

“W-w-wait,” the fox held his face away to hide the panic that started, “I got it. I messed up, it’s only fair.”

“You don’t gotta, I’m really fast--” the kid had already taken off, “Hey! You’re super rad! Don’t feel bad buddy!”

 

Fleeing the scene, Tails’ breathing picked up in a bad way and the tears weren’t stopping. Normally a logical boy for his age, he kept blaming himself and all but forgot the lightning strike even happened.

He neared the bushes, and went to reach in but didn’t find the ball. Instead, another hedgehog with bright fur that cut against the dark of the night emerged from the shrubbery. Rather than pointing back, most of his quills shot straight up, he wore black eyeliner and his gloves had mysterious markings-- and, like Tails, he was having a panic attack.

The stranger clutched his chest and took in the surroundings, alarmed by the flashing neon sensation of Mystic Park. “What? Where?”

“Who?” Tails added, his voice hoarse.

“Silver. No. Nobody!” the hedgehog, named Silver, reared back.

“Nobody?”

“Are you crying? ” he pointed at Tails’ face.

“Nnn- no. No!” the fox covered his eyes with one hand and pointed back with the other, “You’re crying!”

Silver hadn’t actually shed tears, but in disorientation took the kid for his word and whipped away, “Ah! Don’t look at me-- Oh god I’m talking to people, I don’t think I can do that, oh no.”

“What’s wrong with you?” Tails accused.

The silver hedgehog rushed into the kid, straight past him and into the midst of the park at large. While he vanished into the colors and sounds, Tails noticed he had dropped something. A perfectly cut emerald, deep blue in color, laying there in the grass. “Have I seen one of these before?” Tails picked it up and looked it over, feeling a sense of strength and energy climbing from his fingers up his arm. “Whoa… Fascinating.”

Sonic! Tails’ curiosity had bested him again. He pocketed the emerald, but couldn’t find the pinball anywhere in the bushes. Accepting the loss, he sighed and turned back to the machine.

 

His stomach sank when his eyes took it in. The pinball had been returned, and another game had begun. With Sonic and Shadow. As Tails dragged himself closer to his living nightmare coming to life, he saw the high energy, intense game of pinball the both were contributing to. Their score trampled the one Tails had a part in, and thus trampled his little fox heart. It went on forever, until the ball finally shot into the gap and the two finished up the highest score yet.

“You’re pretty good,” Sonic told him, shooting a finger gun his way.

“You’ve only glimpsed my true talent, Sonic,” he took a quick drag of vapor, “Another round, or are you afraid of losing again?”

“Dude you know this is like a co-op sitch, yeah? We won, no losers~” the two hedgehogs stepped up to each other and Sonic offered his hand.

Shadow, reluctantly, took it, then a deep inhale. “On the topic of cooperation…”

Tails felt his breathing pick up again.

“What’s up?” Sonic tilted his head.

“Our competition is thrilling, you’re skilled. It’s... fun. If you wanted to go to the roller rink and… Skate... Have some food… Eat. The food...”

Tails’ vision blurred.

“Yooo! Are you asking me out?” Sonic’s eyes widened a bit with his grin.

Shadow scoffed and sharpened his gaze. “Hmph… Yes.”

Sonic added a shrug to his smile, “Yeah that sounds cool.”

The world spun around Tails and blended his stomach into nausea. Just before he thought he’d pass out, a small chocolate colored Chao entered his vision and centered it. “Huh?”

Amy popped up right behind it and screamed, “THIS IS THE BEST NIGHT EVER! AAAAAAAAAAAAA”

 

“His name is Chocola, he’s got a little blue bow tie, I won him with my psychic stuff, totally showed Elise where she should--”

“Amy. Please.” Tails pouted.

“Hm? What’s up. Where’s Sonic?”

He pointed, in the distance, the roller rink echoed with the unmistakable laughter of Sonic the Hedgehog having a really good time.

“Oh, brother.”

Yeah, ” he grumbled.

“Hmm. Oh!” she snapped her fingers, “Chocola-Chao! Show him that thing you do!”

The flying little creature hovered up to Tails and cleared its throat, “Erhem, chao!” before beginning: “ Twinkle, twinkle, little park~ Lighting up a life so dark~”

Tails brushed him off, “Thanks, but I need to get out of here… Wait…” That other hedgehog had caught his eye, wandering back out from the festivities. “No, no I need to get even!” and kicked off after him.

“Gee, Chocola-Chao, this night is a bit much don’tya think?” Amy thought aloud to her new friend.

“Chao-chao~” Chocola agreed.

“Let’s you and me keep an eye on him!”

“Chao!”

 

Silver got on all-fours, peaking through the bushes and searching every inch of the area. “Where is it? Oh my god I can’t believe I messed up this bad!” he clutched his quills in despair, “The world is doomed!”

“Hey you! S-Silver! YOU! You...” Tails tried to accuse him of something, anything, Amy and Chocola in tow. “You ruined my life!”

He shook his head solemnly, “You don’t even know how right you are...”

“What? I’m not right, I’m being very irrational right now!” he grit his teeth.

Silver stood back up. “I might have just failed the whole planet and ruined everyone’s lives.”

Tails crossed his arms while his emotions simmered. Amy asked the question, “What do you mean?”

“... Nothing. You wouldn’t understand.” Silver sulked.

“Were you looking for… Something?” Tails started to consider what he picked up earlier.

“Did you see it? The Chaos Emerald!?” Silver whipped back, the last drop of hope in his eyes.

Tails recrossed his arms. “I don’t know. What do you need it for?”

“To prevent the end of the world,” the brighter hedgehog told. “I’ve come from the future.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” the fox dismissed him, feigning boredom.

Amy disagreed, “I believe him.”

“What, why?” Tails and Silver were equal in confusion.

“Iunno, it’d be interesting if he was telling the truth,” she shrugged, “It’s not like we haven’t found weirder things around Sunset Heights.”

“Believe me,” Silver started again, in grief, “I’m here to prevent a terrifying catastrophe. A future where the skies are red, fire reigns, and extra-dimensional monsters have destroyed the fabric of physics and reality.”

Tails pinched his nose and his heartbreak clung to relevance, “Yeah, well, if you played your time game somewhere else I’d still have a chance with the love of my life! 

“Chaaooo~” Chocola added, and Amy agreed in a hushed tone, “Some time else, yeah, you got it…”

“I went back too far though, and I’m here too soon. I can’t try again without the emerald.”

“It lets you time travel?” the boy’s anger and thirst for knowledge tugged him in opposite directions. “The emerald?”

“Not alone,” he showed a yellow emerald to the two. Chocola clapped for it. “You need two to travel through time. One is plenty powerful though, if you only want to travel through space. Like this…” He gave the gem a toss, and when he caught it he called out “ CHAOS CONTROL! 

Silver’s voice reverberated with the power words, as though it echoed only within your head. Then, enshrouded in a burst of green, the mysterious hedgehog was gone-- before returning behind the pair in an identical verdant light.

“Satisfied?” Silver smiled, before second-guessing himself, “That worked, right? I just teleported with the emerald, did you see it?”

“Chao! Chao!” Chocola’s eyes sparkled and he affirmed the literal time traveler.

 

“How did you do that?” Tails rushed up to him, “Tell me everything.”

“I just did. The emerald.”

“But how? 

“You say, ‘Chaos Control’, with a bit of purpose to it.”

“What are the mechanics! The science of the emerald and teleportation!” Tails flailed his arms.

While the boys bickered about the technical aspects of magical stones, Amy got to thinking.

Silver put his foot down. “I’m telling you, kid. I don’t know how time travel works, I just know how to do it.”

“Hey!” Amy threw her arms around Silver in a surprise hug. “Let us help!”

“UM.” the boy hedgehog froze up entirely. “HUH?”

She pulled back a bit, but held onto his arm, “You’re looking for a big blue gem right? If we work together, there’s no way we can’t find it.”

Tails quietly withdrew himself from the conversation.

“You think it might still be around?” Silver grasped for any chance he could take.

“Yeah-huh!” she pointed at her brain, “I’m a practicing psychic, and I can tell it’s close. Let’s split up and meet back here when we find it.”

“You’ll really help me?” he nearly glew with renewed life.

Amy nodded and insisted, “Yes! You go that way, see you soon!”

 

She waved him goodbye and turned to her little brother mourning on the grass. “What’s wrong?”

Everything,” he wallowed. Whether about Sonic not staying or Silver not knowing, even he wasn’t sure.

“Nooo...” She shook her head, “Big sis just solved all your problems!” and showed him the yellow chaos emerald.

“... You stole it?”

“I stole it, ha-ha~”

“... Good for you?”

“Uh! Are you too sad to use your big smart brain? If we find the other one before funny-quills does, we can time travel.”

It began to dawn on him. “... And travel back before--”

“Before Shadow moved in and snatched up Sonic!” she cheered.

The fox cub had been exhumed. Any thoughts of the bigger picture, of the great and terrifying things time travel could accomplish, were swept away in the face of his boyhood crush. “I have it,” he showed her the blue one from earlier, “We could actually go back...”

“Alright! Now we’re both thieves! You ready?”

“Ready to have the best night ever! ” Tails hollered.

“You’ll get Sonic back and I won’t have to feel bad for being happy, let’s do it!”

They clunked their emeralds together and called out in one voice. “CHAOS CONTROL! 

A thunderous THROOM erupted as time flashed before their eyes. Before they even knew, they stood in the same spot but not much earlier that day. “Huh,” Amy began to notice, “Chocola couldn’t come with us. Oh well! I’ll just go put that rich girl in her place again.”

“Meet me by the pinball as soon as possible?” Tails asked her.

She gave him a big thumbs up, “Best of luck!”

 

Split apart, Tails accessed his surroundings to ascertain when exactly they were. He noticed Shadow brooding alone by the roller rink, which means Sonic-- “Yo, there you are!”

Sonic zipped up to Tails like his reputation preceded him. “Oh, Sonic, hi!”

“Where’d you take off to? You left me hanging in the soda line.”

“I was uh, checking out this giant pinball machine I saw over there.”

“Yeah! Hey, did you see the Super Carousel get struck by lightning? Most amazing thing I’ve ever seen .”

That lightning...?

Our pink hedgehog skidded to a stop beneath the hovering Ms. Heavy. The mechanical magician had several eggs whirling around her in a sequential orbit, “Howdy, little princess! Are you interested in--”

“Chocola! I want him, let’s rodeo, let’s go!” Amy had an antsy, energetic shimmy to her.

“Oh, are we both allowed to play, Madam Heavy?” Elise requested, having arrived early. “I think that’d be fun, wouldn’t it?”

Why is she…

“The more the merrier, Elissica.”

Elise pulled into herself a bit, holding her arms, “I’m very sorry, Ms. Rose, but my--”

“I. DON’T. HAVE. ALL. DAY.” Amy started smacking her hands together to punctuate herself and rush the whole affair forward.

Ms. Heavy did a robotic “Ha-ha-ha, a game for two!” She displayed a golden egg in one hand, a silver one in the other, and the other six arranged around her-- pink, green, orange, purple, red, and teal-- “There is only one true Chao Egg. Make your guess, and whatever’s inside is yours.”

“Those aren’t the same eggs…” Amy started to sweat a bit. “But that’s fine, I’ll win the same way I did last time…”

“Oh, do you talk to yourself, Ms. Rose?” Elise chirped, “I find journaling to be more socially acceptable, but introspection in all forms is very valuable!”

“Sssshhh,” the hedgehog hushed her rival so she could focus on the eggs.

Amy’s heart led her in all things. To her home, to her brother, to her friends, and once before to Chocola. She’d even use it to tell fortunes for others. The technique was simple enough: she placed her hand over her heart, closed her eyes, and let it speak to her; guide her forward.

It did not speak.

“Red! My lucky color~” Elise giggled, before the corresponding egg cracked open to reveal Chocola within.

“Bravo, little bird,” clapped Ms. Heavy for her. Even the Chao seemed confused when Princess Elise scooped him up and held him close.

“This’ll be the perfect addition to father’s collection.” Elise waved goodbye as she away’d herself back into the crowd of Mystic Park. “My condolences, Ms. Rose. I hope you can play again!”

Amy Rose, dead still and dead-eyed, couldn’t bring herself to move. Her heart sank deep. Something is very, very, very, very, VERY WRONG.

 

“Dude, we’re gettin’ numbers! We’re like a perfect team,” Sonic smirked to Tails, who blushed just as much as the first time around. “We gotta hit that big metal fish up at the top there though,” he pointed, “I can’t get it with mine, think you can land it little buddy?”

Tails took that big breath, “Yes!”. The perfect team, if he could just land that shot, it’d prove to him, and Sonic, his true worth. Shadow couldn’t beat that, he told himself over and over.

“I’ll set you up! Wait till it slides to the very end of your paddle and then slam it!”

“Okay!”

“You can do this!”

It slowly rolled down towards the edge of the paddle. The moment would be his.

Tails smacked the button-- no lightning-- the pinball shot up, bounced off a sidewall, and flew straight down into the gap. That horrible, drooping sound of his defeat sounded off again and crushed his esteem.

“Aw, man,” Sonic mused, his smirk unwavering. “Don’t sweat it, we’ll get it next time--”

kBOOM -- the pinball firing out of the machine cut him off. Tails barely even noticed it, his mind busy racing. I couldn’t do it… Shadow’s better…

By the time the fox remembered the world around him, Sonic had gone to fetch the pinball. He would’ve been back by then if he hadn’t run into Shadow, already holding the wayward ball, by the bushes.

“Looking for this, Sonic? Looks like I’ve beaten you to it.”

“Oh-ho~ You wanna have a go, Shadow?”

“You and me?”

“One-on-one?”

“Winner gets to ask the other a personal, intimate question?”

“Hm? You lost me.”

“The finish line is the roller rink, I’ll see you there.”

They left twin trails of dust and grass behind them, off on another race. Tails left alone, he considered the machine.

“Tails!” Amy flailed onto the scene in deep distress. “Something really screwy just happened, and I lost Chocola and- and-- Tails?”

The little fox had climbed up onto the machine. With a small marker pen, he scribbled directly onto the glass screen; graphs and numbers, diagrams and equations, up and down the whole of it. It concluded with a big black arrow pointing straight at the bullseye: the big metal fish that was his target.

“Tails? Are you alright?”

Hovering back to the ground, his tails propelling him, he held up a piece of paper to her. “This equation is the key to our perfect night. I just need another try.” The tenacity erupted from his posture to his words.

“My thoughts exactly!” she held up her emerald, and Tails held up his.

CHAOS CONTROL! 

 

Another lightning strike, another chance.

But no luck for Amy.

“Maroon! My lucky color~” Elise giggled, before the corresponding egg cracked open to reveal Chocola.

“Bravo, little bird,” clapped Ms. Heavy for her, again. Elise left to the store Amy’s Chao away in some callous castle collection.

Her heart had let her down again, for the first two times in fifteen years, but she cursed her brain for not being psychic right.

No luck for Tails either.

The pinball flew off course and he lost the game. He re-scaled the screen and made adjustments to his equation while Shadow swooped in on Sonic behind him, spiriting him away to the roller rink. All he could do to ignore it was focus on the math. Another go for Tails and Amy.

CHAOS CONTROL! 

“Burgundy! My lucky color~” Elise giggled, prancing off and cradling Chocola like a newborn. Ms. Heavy offered a participation egg in some off-base jab at Amy’s generation, adding insult to injury.

The pinball somehow smashed through the glass screen and landed square in Shadow’s hands, who weaponized it in a battle-date against Sonic that turned the roller rink into an arena.

CHAOS CONTROL! 

“Auburn! My lucky color~” Elise giggled.

The roller rink. ” Shadow glowered.

CHAOS CONTROL! 

 

Tails and Amy were at a loss. Mind and heart, their talents were failing them, their truths were failing them. They were failures. Amy slumped off to the eggs, Elise, and disappointment. Tails forced himself back to Sonic, unsure where else to go.

“‘Sup dude, wanna have a go at this thing?” Sonic leaned against the pinball machine all cool like.

“You sure you wouldn’t wanna go skate with Shadow?”

“Hm? You feeling alright? Skate rink’s closed.”

“It’s closed?”

“It just got toasted by lightning, like, a minute ago. You didn’t see it?”

The fox felt a chill run down his spine. Shadow’s… Probably fine. This. This is fine! He stepped up to the game. “Let’s try it.”

“We gotta hit that big metal fish up at the top,” Sonic pointed like always, “I can’t get it with mine, think you can land it little buddy?”

“Maybe,” the weary fox admitted.

“I’ll set you up! Wait till it slides to the very end of your paddle and then slam it! You can do this!”

It slowly rolled down towards the edge of the paddle. Tails hit the button and… It hit. Smack into the giant metal fish, which exploded and sent golden rings flying out of the machine over both the boys. “Ha, ha! I did it! I finally did it!” Tails shook in ecstatic disbelief. “We’re the perfect team!”

Sonic put his hand up high and his best friend gave him five. “No duh, buddy. With that super brain of yours, you probably had it math’d out in a second.”

He had Tails blushing again, “Ahehe, thanks~”

“What do you wanna do next? The Super Carousel?”

Tails scratched at his arm, “Actually… I wanted to ask you something…”

“About what?”

“I. I- Um…”

Sonic started stretching his arms and legs, a habit for when he’s in one place for too long.

“Would you wanna… Maybe…” he looked up at those perfect green eyes, that invincible confidence, and considered his chances. Then, just past that perfect boy, he saw his sister in the distance, curled up against a food stand. “Amy?”

“Amy...?” Sonic’s quills stood straight up.

“Amy!” Tails went to her while Sonic scratched his head and followed.

 

Twinkle, twinkle, little park… Bury me... in the… park…” Amy howled off-key to herself.

“No Chocola?” Tails asked her.

 ... ” Amy Rose, defeated. “I’m broken ,” she cried.

Yikes. The boys looked to one another, not sure what to do. “Do you think this will blow over?” Tails asked Sonic.

“I don’t know man, Amy’s braver than I am. What could’ve done this to her?”

“Braver than you? Really?”

Dude.” Sonic frowned, and the rare sight of Sonic serious and upset cut right through the fox’s illusions.

“You’re right,” he came to realize not only his insensitivity but how out of his depth this scheme had gotten. For once he didn’t know enough, didn’t understand what he played with, and he couldn’t put together why he and his sister were being punished.

Enter Silver again. The third hedgehog stumbled onto the scene. “You two! You betrayed me!”

“Whoa, a traitor, pretty badass little dude~” Sonic jerked back to his usual humor, as he often did to deflect drama.

“Silver? How come you remember us, we went back in time without you,” Tails approached him.

Silver answered, “My bracelets protect me from time changes even without a chaos emerald, it’s a safety precaution for the job.”

“Do you happen to know how they do that?” Tails squinted.

“Nope.”

“Ugh.”

“Nevermind that!” Silver clenched a fist at the boy. “You guys have been going back over and over, I’ve been watching a time storm tear the whole place apart! What are you even trying to accomplish!?”

Tails sighed, measuring Sonic against the forces of nature he was playing with. The blue one’s cool and collected demeanor masked his utter confusion. “You don’t wanna know. How do we fix it?”

“First, you give me back my emeralds,” Silver glared.

Tails relinquished the blue gem, and gently asked Amy for hers. “Take it. I might as well have nothing,” she brooded, then discarded the yellow emerald to Silver.

“Okay, someone’s gotta fill me in, I’m dying here,” Sonic spoke up.

“I don’t want to fill anyone in!” Silver whined, then walked away.

The blue blur leaned over to Tails, “Your friend’s pretty lame, Tails.”

“Silver, I’m sorry,” Tails called after him. “Please don’t leave her like this!”

“I’m not,” the time traveler turned back. “I’m going to focus my chaos energy to strike the original location corresponding to my initial arrival to this time,” he pointed at the top of the pinball machine, “So I can calibrate space-time to the appropriate, unaltered-by-amateurs, timeline!”

“A-ha! So you do know how time travel works!” Tails found him out.

“I don’t owe you anything! CHAOS CONTROL! 

 

With one final blast of green light, the siblings found themselves back where they started. By the bushes, no emeralds, no Silver, just the unmistakable laughter of Sonic the Hedgehog having a really good time with his new boyfriend.

“Chao?” Chocola twirled in place, right where they left him.

“CHOCOLA-CHAO!!” Amy Rose snapped back to herself in an instant, flapping her arms and screeching with glee. “YOU’RE HERE! YOU’RE HERE!”

“Chao-chao?”

“Huh, guess to him, we were gone for just a second,” Tails observed, though heavy-hearted.

Amy tackled her brother with a hug, taking them down in the process. “You’re the best little brother I could ask for, Tails.”

“I know, I know…” he forced himself to smile.

“C’mon,” she hopped up and pulled Tails back to his feet. “You wanna head back to the workshop?”

With a huff, Tails shook his head. “No. This is the best night of your life! It can’t end yet.”

She wanted to persist, he earned a break. But somehow she knew he needed her to have this-- psychic powers, maybe, or just a heart she felt she could trust again. No regrets either way, Amy beamed. “Oooh, do you wanna try the Super Carousel?”

“Probably not, but I kinda want to know what a Super Carousel is,” he admitted, and let her drag him off into the park, Chocola-Chao following and chanting his song. Try as he might, he couldn’t get Sonic off his mind, but he always loved to see Amy happy.

“... Wait, why do we remember the other timelines? Silver… None of this has any real logic! I hate it!”

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