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Breaking the Chains

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Sonic hadn’t always been this scared of changing the future.

The hedgehog was always about trying to change it. After the events of the war with Eggman and his army, Sonic wondered a lot whether he could’ve done something differently or not to prevent the war from ever happening.

What if he had fought some more against Infinite and the other fakes? What if they had gotten wind of Eggman’s plans sooner than when they actually caught notice of it? What if Sonic had actually been where Tails and the citizens were before the attack?

Not once did he ever blame anybody else. It was always himself. Never another. Him. He truly believed he was the reason as to why the war happened.

Because he was weak.

It terrified him for a long time during his traumatic recovery. He had gone through several rounds of breakdowns, crying spells, mood swings and screaming about the six months of torture he had gone through while being captured on the Death Egg during the war.

Now, two years after the war, and Sonic had grown a lot from his past. However, the trauma of the war had not faded away. Maybe a little, but it was still evident by the way he reacted to the anniversary of the war, or whenever he saw a documentary about it on the TV.

Often, he’d have to leave the room. He was always frightened of emotionally hurting those he loved from raising his voice or doing something he might reject. If he could, he’d never stay in the same room as them whenever something about the war was on.

Tails was one of the few people who knew his trauma had not left him. Sonic never liked anybody finding out about his deepest, darkest feelings. He never liked to be vulnerable around others. He hated it. Despised it.

It was during one night where the hedgehog could not sleep. Tails had long gone to bed at this point, leaving Sonic to occupy himself through the silent, dark night.

They had been watching a comedy previously a couple of hours ago. The brothers liked to have a day where they could binge watch their favourite programs with snacks and forget their troubles. Today had been one of those days.

Normally, it worked. It’d normally cheer them up, help them to sleep easily. But tonight? It hadn’t helped Sonic.

He had gone to a counselling session a few days ago. Something about it had been on his mind, though what it was, was anybody’s guess. Sonic was so private these days with his personal life. Tails was pretty much one of the few people to ever hear about his day truthfully.

A soft sigh escaped his mouth.

“Gotta love those nights where you can’t do anything but wish you could remove the past.” a mere thought to himself. A soft whisper, volume gentle enough not to wake the sleeping fox upstairs in his own room.

The hedgehog then turned on the sofa, laying on his hip, facing the window with a blank frown. He was somewhat worried about having another nightmare again. He had been having those as of recent. He believed it was to do with talking about it with his therapist.

She encouraged him to write down thoughts. Speak to loved ones. Find new hobbies to enjoy and have fun.

It was all so hard. He truly, honestly, wanted to change for the better. He wanted to be better, to feel better.

He had noticed the others’ behaviour lately. They all seemed to be acting like they were fine, as if the war had never happened in the first place.

It began to make him question whether it had actually happened. Whether it was all in his head? And they had been going along with him to make him feel better?

Another sigh this time only a little deeper.

“Ames seems to be leading the New Resistance well. She’s doing an amazing job of being the leader. Then again, she was born to play that role. She just knows what to do.”

How he envied her. She had remained her innocence it seemed. He wished he had his.

“I wish I could do something to be of use. Yet, I just can’t seem to do anything right without worrying I might mess it up.”

Sonic sat up. He pressed his palms against his forehead. “Stupid, stupid, stupid! Shut up, shut up!” the thoughts were back. Those nagging, evil thoughts, never leaving him. Haunting thoughts. Dark thoughts.

Familiar thoughts.

You’re a failure.

You can’t do anything right!

“Shut up!”

Admit what you did! Admit you were wrong!

You are the reason they were all killed! How Buddy was injured! How he lost a leg! Your fault!

“N-no--!”

You, you, you, you, you!

“Shut up!”

“Sonic?”

He gasped when he saw the lights had been turned on. Sprung from the sofa, he noticed the familiar orange fox standing the stairs, tiredly rubbing his eyes.

Sonic looked horrified. Damn it, another night where he had woken up Tails with his thoughts.

“I-- I-I’m sorry, I just-- I-I--”

“It’s alright, Sonic. It’s alright.”

This was going to be a long night.

“So, anyway. Back to you. How have you been feeling this morning?”

“Eh, not bad. I’m not completely glowing with joy but not depressed either.”

“Okay, well, I will accept this answer regardless. Tell me how you’ve been doing lately. Have you thought about what I said during our previous session?”

The hedgehog hums with a nod. How could he forget last week’s appointment? The one where he broke down crying from venting too much?

“Yeah.”

“And did you decide what to do on it?”

“Kind of. Like, yes, my experiences may help those who’d like to become part of the Resistance, but would it help me? I’m not so sure.”

Minutes pass and the alarm clock makes a tune, signalling the end of their session. Both of them stood up from their seats in unison.

“I understand things are stressful for you. You can, and will move past this. Give yourself the time and patience you deserve.”

The therapist reminds him, a kind deer mobian who always wore a smile and a smart uniform, making sure it’s a gentle reminder.

Sonic returns the smile, though it wasn’t a huge one. He was still feeling doubtful about this road to recovery of his. What if he couldn’t get through it? What if it’d take years to get over what happened to him? To the others? To the world?

The haunting images of those lifeless bodies remain etched in his mind to this day. Even if it had been two years ago, it felt as if it was only yesterday. How Knuckles managed to move on so quickly bothered the hedgehog so much. He always seemed like he was in control of everything. Literally.

It made Sonic feel envious. Angry. Like, why couldn’t he be the same? Why couldn’t he be as strong as Knuckles could? Knuckles had seen some horrific stuff, didn’t he?

So then why? Why was he suffering so much? When he was the hero? The leader? How could he ever hope to move on from this if he couldn’t be strong like his rival? One of his bestest friends?

Chaos, all of this was giving him a headache. Thank goodness the session had ended for the week. One less thing to think about for the day.

“You take care now, alright?”

The hedgehog nods. “You too. Thank you again for the session. I’ll keep working on myself.”

“Hey, remember to give yourself a break when you can. Recovery is hard and it’s not something that happens over night. Just remember to be kind to yourself, alright? As always; if you have any worries or issues you’d like to talk to me over, feel free to send me an email and we will discuss the matter. Take care now.”

“Bye.”

Sonic leaves the room with a wider smile, not wanting to be rude to the therapist. The fact that she had been so willingly to help him in the first place, had meant a lot to the hedgehog. He never wanted to give her any trouble. It was why he was hesitant to contact her about negative stuff outside the therapy room.

It didn’t take the hedgehog long to walk home from the building he had been at. Once he got in his house, he kicked off his shoes and fell on the sofa, exhaling deeply. He was no closer to finding the answer he had been looking for.

Why him? Why was he the one Eggman and Infinite wanted to torture so much? Why nobody else? Sonic had assumed it was because he was the world's hero, the one everyone looked to whenever something bad rose.

Yet, he wasn’t satisfied with his own answer.

Perhaps he’d never get the answer he wanted. Maybe. Unless he charged to the scientist’s lair right now and demanded it. But then would that be wise? No. Did he actually want to do that? No.

So, he was at a loss. He doubted his friends would know. After all, they hadn’t experienced the six months of hell he endured, but also they were too occupied themselves during the war to even begin why it had been him.

If there was one person he could not stop feeling pity for, it was Cream. What she had seen was nightmarish, given from what she told the group after the war was over. After that, she never spoke of the events again.

Sonic could easily tell then it had bothered her so much. She had become so traumatised, she started having nightmares, flashbacks and separation anxiety. Vanilla had to be nearby, and if Cream was alone for a certain amount of time, she’d go into a panic attack.

Sonic had seen her have one once. It was concerning. He never wanted to see her look so sad again. She never deserved it, she was only a child. No child should ever have to see what she saw.

It was why both the mother and daughter moved home to another town. Their old house had too many bad memories lingering there. It was one of the homes in their town which hadn’t been destroyed from the war.

Just thinking about her made the hedgehog want to go and check on her. She hadn’t been seen alone very much after that. Understandable really. Sonic understood. He felt he’d be the same if he was in her position. It was a good thing that she still had her mother. Vanilla was such a great mother.

He felt envious of Cream. He missed his mum so much.

“Hmm,” he sighed to himself, pushing himself up from the sofa so he was just sitting up. “I wonder how she’s been. I want to go and see her. Besides, it’d do me some good to get out of the house, right?”

He lived alone nowadays. Tails had his own workshop nearby, so he had his own place. Sonic knew Tails could handle himself so he was at ease with Tails having his own house. However, at first he wasn’t. He explained his doubts to Tails, saying how he was frightened about Tails being attacked or something happening to him and then being unable to call for help.

Tails soon managed to persuade him by recalling their adventures together. Sonic had forgotten about those. How he forgotten how Tails took on Eggman all by himself in Station Square, and then again in space. Along with some other times.

And the amount of times he had saved Sonic. Sonic snorted to that fact. He never wanted to admit how he felt weak sometimes, though he was super grateful to Tails always being there for him.

They were true brothers, after all.

No, enough thinking. Enough. He needed to get out of this house. Now. It was beginning to drive him crazy.

He made preparations to go out immediately before he'd feel awful about himself again. He wanted to keep busy, make sure his mind couldn't poison itself from all the bad thoughts lately he had been having.

First place he wanted to visit for the day; Cream’s. Check on her, make sure she was alright. Then, head on over to Tails' workshop. Spend some brotherly time they both needed.

It was December at last. The first day of December had arrived in Diamond Dust. The forecast was for snow to land soon in Diamond Dust, something which was normally in the zone. It snowed around this time of the year. The temperature would drop a lot during this time too.

Sonic was spending the day in his room. Not fancying going out in the cold, the hedgehog wanted to stay in the warmth and relax. He had mostly played video games for the day, catching up on some progress in one of the roleplaying games he had been meaning to complete a hundred percent on.

It had occupied him during the long, quiet day. During a break from playing the game, he texted Tails, asking what his winter plans were and what he was up to during the day.

Sonic hadn’t received an answer from his brother so he believed the fox might be busy doing whatever it was he was doing. He never liked to pry in Tails’ business anyway, it was not his place to say anything about his life or what he did with it. After all, the fox now was growing up and was learning to stand on his own two feet, something which had made the blue hedgehog very proud of.

Though, he never minded the rare occasions of where Tails would retreat back to Sonic’s for whatever reason. Sonic was always more than willing to aid his brother through anything and everything.

Hours later and it became the evening. Sonic saved his game and switched off the console, and then the TV. Stretching his arms out in the air with a moan, he yawned afterwards before then standing up from his chair.

He hadn’t eaten all day. Chaos, time to fix that. Immediately. So, next top; the kitchen.

Heading down the stairs from his room, the hedgehog crossed over the living room and then entered the medium sized kitchen. It was plain looking, nothing special, but he had all the things he needed in it to make meals, store drinks and other things. His home hadn’t been very sophisticated, never liked one. He hated homes with loads of rooms and too much space. Never knew what to store in the rooms.

No, where he was now was good enough for him. A bedroom, a spare bedroom in case somebody stayed over, along with a living room and kitchen? Suited for Sonic. Just enough space for him to feel like he’s not out of sorts.

Switching the light on, it lit up the neatly kept kitchen before his eyes. Another yawn escaped him as he walked to the fridge, pulling the fridge door open. He searched inside for a drink to have, though he didn’t feel like a sugary one. So, water it was.

Out comes a bottle of water and then the fridge is closed.

Now, he heads to the living room. Switch on the light in there and then the TV. Sit on the sofa, open the bottle and then just chill. Nothing to worry about, nothing to do.

He always felt at ease the most when he could properly relax. Saving the world from Eggman and his henchmen were always a tiring job. Not that he minded it so much, but it would leave him feeling exhausted. It felt nice not having to chase after him for a while. He doubted it would last, but at least he was able to catch the much needed breather.

Local boring news. Something about somebody stealing a lawn mower from a shop, Sonic was baffled. Then, they reported the weather, and the forecast was for snow to come within a couple of days. This was old news, they all knew this but the hedgehog understood how they needed to mention more than once for the people who were only now just catching up.

But the next piece of news sent him into a spiral of frenzy.

“And now, we report in Red Gate City to reveal to you that we have word on the whereabouts of the infamous Infinite. The one who crushed Sonic so easily in the beginning of the war and army leader of the Eggman Army.”

The screen revealed a cat woman who wore a smart outfit for the report, voice calm and collected.

Oh, no. No, no, no. Sonic’s heart began to race during the onset of the news.

“But, he was defeated by said hero in the end, thank goodness.”

A picture came up on the screen to show Infinite’s last known sighting. Sonic began to feel sick to his stomach. How dare that jackal show his face again, how dare he!

“The police were alerted to a jackal who sported long silver hair, and stood around three foot. His mask was cracked but looked a lot like the one worn by Infinite himself during the war. He was last seen near the Red Gate train station, believing to had been heading towards the trains and then vanishing shortly afterwards.”

The footage on the screen showed exactly what she was saying. Where had he gone to then and why? Wait, oh no, was he going to come back to finish what he started? What if he was going off to find Eggman?

Or kill him?

Oh no, no, no! He was just beginning to finally work through the trauma of it all too, and now Infinite shows his ugly head! This couldn’t be happening, this shouldn’t be happening!

Sonic gasped, pressing a hand against his mouth, eyes watering. He was quaking where he sat. Shaking his head, he didn’t want to believe this was real. None of it. He truly wanted to believe this wasn’t happening.
Infinite couldn’t be alive. He couldn’t, he couldn’t!

He just couldn’t be! They had found him--! But he was found--! Chaos, oh, this had to be a dream. A dream! A dream!

“Whether or not it is the real Infinite we shall see. Stay tuned for more news. Alicia Rowes, Diamond Dust Local News.” and then it was back to the reporters on the main setting.

Off goes the TV. Sonic jumped up from the sofa and dashed to the kitchen as quickly as he could. When arriving to the sink, he threw up violently in the sink, mind flashing before him of images, sounds, all the things he really wanted to forget about. It was all rushing back to him.

The six months of hell. The blood, the smell of metal, the beatings, the lies being fed to him, drowning, Chaos, he couldn't take it! Not again! Not another round of bad memories and sick feelings!

Minutes later, he spat out the last bit of saliva from his mouth, panting heavily. He stared at nothing as the memories continued to play in his mind, like some sick joke on him, like they wanted to remind him of the pain and how much he felt like a failure.

It was his fault the war started. It was his fault his friends had been injured. It was his fault how people died, how they lost their homes, how everything went to damn hell!

Him, him, him, him!

It was all him!

Him!

...Him. He was everything wrong.

“It’s all my fault. I deserved everything I got.”

The hedgehog then fell to his knees, breaking down into tears. It was going to be another long day.