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"Yes, (Y/n)?"

"I never got to ask. Why can I still see you?" (Y/n) glanced to her guardian when the echidna was silent. "If it's something along the lines of you're dying, it's okay."

"Well, in a sense," Tikal said finally. "Your connection to the secondary realm has grown considerably, and your immunity is...fading, for lack of a better word."

"I figured," the (a/t) said, though it didn't stop a tingle of fear from crawling down her spine.

"It will last as long as you need it," the echidna assured her. "And I will be here."

"I'm...Tikal, I'm not going to see our world heal, am I?" Her guardian blinked, then stepped forward.


"It's okay. Really. I don't know what I was expecting. I just kind of think it's not fair that the universe had to pick me to be the ultimate sacrifice. I want to go home with (F/n) and her brother. I want to see Sonic walk on his own, and Tails get a prosthetic. I want to know that Shadow can breathe again and that Rouge's soul will heal. I want Charmy to fly again, Espio to believe there's an end in sight, and for Silver to wake up and realize that there is a future for us." She pressed her hands to her eyes. "I know that the world needs me, but in the end...I'm not ready to die."

"Perhaps the universe will spare you," Tikal murmured, sitting down next to her charge. "I'm not sure how this will end, only that we will try our hardest to see it through. And if we can, if I can, I will do my best to make sure that you can see this world heal." She pressed a hand over her heart. "I promise." (Y/n) lowered her hands, smiling gratefully at her guardian.

"Thank you," she said. She shook herself off and stretched her arms above her head. "Well, speaking of saving the world, we should probably go see Silver." Tikal nodded, falling into step behind the (a/t) as she stood up and exited her room.

"Good morning," Vector said when she turned the corner into the kitchen. "You looked wiped last night; how ya feeling?"

"I'm okay," she said, nodding gratefully as Espio slid a plate over to her. "Are you all going out to do crossings?"

"As long as there's assassins out there, we do crossings," the crocodile said. "Are you going to focus on Silver?"

"If you don't need me..."

"He needs you more than we do," Espio assured her. "Perhaps if you get him into the secondary realm, the assassins will be less in number."

"That's what I'm hoping," she said. Espio nodded approvingly, picking Charmy up off the floor and setting him on a stool.

"That'd be nice," the bee said hopefully. He turned to Espio. "Are you sure you can go?" The chameleon smiled softly.

"Yes," he murmured. "Eat your breakfast and get your signs. The sooner we get out there, the better." Charmy perked and nodded, dragging his plate over and shoveling food into his mouth.

After everyone had eaten, the Chaotix loaded up on their gear, walking to the base of the tower with (Y/n).

"This is where we part ways," Espio said, turning to her. She blew out a breath.

"Be safe," she said. Vector puffed out his chest proudly, Charmy nodding vigorously.

"We will," Espio promised, slinging the shield across his back. "Best of luck with Silver."

"Thanks," she said, watching as the Chaotix took off for the entrance tunnel. She sighed, turning to the back of the city where Silver was housed. "I'm going to need it."

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