The Last Gift

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The Last Gift Empty The Last Gift

Post by The Red Blur on Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:21 am

A knock at the door was what Caen awoke to, the sharp noise making it quite easy to do so. He sighed, sitting up slowly, and listening again, just in case it was his imagination. 


“Special delivery for a, uh… Caen Flare!” came a slightly muffled voice. His usual postman, by the sounds of it. 
“I’m coming! Give me a second…” he called back, throwing the covers of the bed off of him and padding over to his wardrobe, pulling out a plain t-shirt and black sweatpants, throwing them on. Not the most glamorous or fashionable choice, but it was easy to put on and, frankly, much more comfortable to be around his apartment in. He padded over to the front door, opening it. 


As expected, a grey wolf stood in the doorway, holding a small package, with Caen’s name and address written on it, in black marker. It was held out towards the hedgehog almost immediately “um… Who’s it from?” 
“Dunno. We just got it sent through, no return address or anything.”
Caen nodded, taking the package and thanking the wolf, wishing him a good morning before shutting the door. 


It was a relatively weighty package, all things considered. Certainly nothing that he’d ordered. That’s when he noticed the handwriting. Simple, yet refined. Nothing like the scrawl that Caen wrote in. “That can’t be right,” he said, turning the package over, and opening it. Inside was a letter, a small bottle, containing some kind of glowing, almost light-like substance, and, most curious of all, a VHS tape. The letter, upon reading, merely said “watch the tape.” No name, no address, nothing. Worst thing was, Caen had never purchased a tape player, so the letter’s directions proved difficult to follow. 


“Hm… I wonder if…” Caen walked over to the phone, picking it up off of the hook and dialled a number. After a few dull tones, the familiar voice of an Arctic Fox answered. “Morning, Risky! You’re up early. Need something?”
“Yes, actually, I…  Do you have a VHS player, at all?” 
“I… do. Why d’ya ask?” She replied, her interest now piqued. 
“Well, it’s just… How soon can I come over?”
“Oh! Well, I’ve got a day off, today, so feel free to come over now, if you need to. I’ll get the player dusted off, okay?”
“Thank you, Rai. I just… Can’t shake the feeling that this is something important. I shan’t be long.”


Soon enough, the hedgehog was at the door of a familiar bungalow. Where it all started, eight years ago. A sight for sore eyes, to be sure. He had dressed in his normal coat, with a small pin attached to the lapel. A gift from his father mere months ago… The last time he could ever speak to him. Caen sighed, knocking on the door gently. Within seconds, Raito had opened the door for the hedgehog, a smile across her face “come on in, Risky! It’s all set up in the living room.” With those words, Caen simply nodded, walking into the house. As he looked around, it was clear it hadn’t changed a bit, in all those years. “It’s been so long since you’ve been able to come visit. Hell, it’s been a while since we’ve been able to see each other without there being work involved!”
“Yes… It has.”
It was unusual to see the fox dressed so casually, in a jacket and shorts, with a pair of purple slippers. He was just so used to seeing her dressed in bulletproof vests and the like, it was almost like she was permanently on the front lines. 
“Am I okay to watch it with you, or…?” She asked, cocking her head a little.
Caen smiled softly, nodding his head “I’m sure it’ll be fine, whatever it is.”


The hedgehog walked into the living room, sighing as he opened the package again, placing the bottle on the plain brown coffee table. Raito had, instead, disappeared to the kitchen for a few minutes. She soon returned, carrying two mugs. “Coffee, cream, five sugars, just the way you like it.” Caen smiled again “thanks, Rai. Let me just set this up…” he took out the tape, again, turning it in his hands. He slowly went to put it in the player, but hesitated. He took a deep breath, pushing the tape inside and standing up. Raito had already sat down, and seemed to be inspecting the bottle “and this is…?”
“No idea. It came with the tape,” Caen replied, picking up his mug and blowing gently, before taking a sip. The video started automatically.


An armchair was the first image that appeared, made of a material of a rich crimson colour. From the sound of crackling in the background, and the faint orange glow, a fireplace was nearby. There was something familiar about that chair, but it appeared to have been coming from a far-off memory, lost to the river of time. Finally, a figure came into shot, sitting down in the chair. The figure was a hedgehog, middle-aged, with spines that were slightly longer than usual, just nowhere near to the extent of Caen’s. He was mostly of a jet black colour, with a brown moustache framing his lips. He opened his eyes, revealing striking blue irises. 


“Father…” Caen muttered, tears welling up in his eyes. Raito looked over, seemingly concerned, but let the tape continue nonetheless.


“Caen,” Xavier spoke, looking directly into the camera “it’s been years, hasn’t it?” He said, leaning forwards and interlocking his fingers. “By the time you receive this, I’ll be long gone from you. Perhaps not dead, but as good as…” He brought up his hands, resting his chin on them, “Caen. What I'm about to tell you is... Hard to believe, but... Tonight, I spoke to... You, from the future. A ruined future. It will take some explaining, so, please... Bear with me.”

---

A dim, orange light took over the desk, as Xavier sat on a wooden chair, his pen moving quickly across the open book on the desk. The room was silent, save for the scratching of pen against paper. That is, until a bright, blue light filled the room, catching the jet black hedgehog's attention immediately. He stood up, taking a step away from it. “What is this?!” he called out, his breathing increasing in rate as his eyes widened. 


Soon, the light began to dim, and, seemingly out of thin air, a hedgehog with long, red spines, and a tattered and worn blue coat appeared. He looked around, confused, before laying his eyes on the other hedgehog “father!” he called out, stepping towards him. 
Xavier backed away “C-Caen? But... You can’t be...”


Caen stopped, putting his head down a little “yes, I'm Caen. Well, not quite. I come from 33 years in the future. A future that is... Lost to me, now.”
“Th-that's not possible!” Xavier cried, cutting off the hedgehog, to which he held up his hand.
“I’m not a physical version of Caen. I’m a memory of him. I’m part of what is known as the echo protocol. Our computers sensed that Caen has died, and so this memory of him, an AI, in a sense, has been sent back to a time where the timelines had changed. Where the world lines can be shifted.” He held out his arm, ushering to the chair “father, please sit down. There is much to discuss...”

---

Xavier sighed again, closing his eyes, seemingly readying himself to say something more. “Caen. I don't know how to say this any differently, so I’ll say it how it is. Tomorrow night, I will be taken by Alastor, and you will assume I would have died.”


Caen's breath hitched in his throat again, tears welling in his eyes as he continued to watch, “why did he send me this...?” he whispered to himself.
“Caen, we can turn this off, if you want-“ 
“No. Father never did anything without a purpose. Let it play.” Caen said, cutting Raito off.


“Caen,” Xavier spoke, his eyes intense, and determined “this tape is essentially my asking for you to complete the Flare family’s torch-passing ritual. Every so often, a Flare family member may need to pass a portion of their power to the heir. That power is contained within the bottle enclosed with this tape. Usually, the Flare family member has to be present, to allow this power to... Fuse with your current power. However, there is one heirloom, containing the power of countless Flares. An heirloom I would have given to you, Caen.”


The red hedgehog looked to his lapel, reaching to the pin attached to it, taking it off, and holding it in his hand. 
“Yes, this power can be used to improve our abilities... Well, reportedly. I... Never got the chance to use it, no less place my own power within it...” he sighed, louder this time, leaning forwards “I want you to destroy it. Snap it in half, and open the bottle.”


“What?!” Caen shouted, standing up, gripping the pin in his fist. He couldn’t just destroy the last small item to remember his father by, could he? He looked down, opening his hand again, staring at the pin. Finally, he took in a deep breath, looking to Raito, “open that bottle.”
The fox nodded her head understandingly, taking the glass bottle, pulling at the cork, until it came out, with a quiet pop. The light contained within it seemed to float out, hanging in the air.


Caen held the pin one last time, keeping it close to his chest, before he placed his fingers and thumbs around it, and with one snap of the wrists, the pin broke in half. A light, similar to the one from the glass bottle, leaked out of the broken pieces, coming together into another ball.


Both balls of light floated towards Caen, and the hedgehog held out his hand, catching both. In an instant, they disappeared into his body. Suddenly, he felt a sharp burning sensation, sending him to his knees. He coughed, black smoke and flames coming from his mouth. Raito stood up at once, running to the hedgehog and bending down, laying a hand on his shoulder. “Caen! Is everything alright?!”


“D-don’t touch me!” he shouted, swiping his arm at the fox, who stumbled back, saying “Caen, you’re scaring me...”
“Scaring you?!” He screamed, his eyes glowing a bright orange. “ My father is within a robotic shell, and I am the only one who can help him and... Graaaaaagh!” he threw out his arms, a pair of fiery arms sprouting from his shoulders. 


Raito watched silently, looking over the flaming limbs, slightly awestruck “Caen... How did you do that...?”


The hedgehog’s breathing was quick, and shallow, but slowly it slowed, and the orange glow in his eyes faded back to blue. He took a deep breath, his voice returning to a quieter voice. “I-I'm sorry, Rai. I don’t know what came over me...” 


He looked to his shoulder, seeing the fiery arm. When he moved his arm out of the way, the fiery appendage seemed to move with it. “Flame summoning... Just like father...”


“Caen Flare,” Xavier spoke, causing Caen to turn back to the screen “this is what I pass to you. This is the last gift I as a Flare can bestow upon you. My power. My spirit. You, Caen, can and will avoid this dark future.”

_________________
The Last Gift FKEGbnV

To right the countless wrongs of our day, we shine this light of true redemption. That this place may become as paradise. What a wonderful world such would be.

Fantastic art of Caen done by the damn fine Electrisa!
The Red Blur
The Red Blur
Hero
Hero

Posts : 1262
Join date : 2016-05-02
Age : 19
Location : stumbling through the cosmos...

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