(by Aqua-Melody101 and 09alih)
From his vantage point on the Observatory balcony, Mickey watched the Beetleworx scurry about Mean Street, assisting with repairs. They were certainly making everyone’s jobs a lot easier, but their presence still made some toons wary. Mickey smiled as he thought of the local toons. After working with them these past few days, he’d gotten to know them pretty well. He was even starting to remember a few of them from the old days in the Cartoon World—of course, Clarabelle’s incessant chatter about it was more to thank for that than anything else.
The mouse’s smile slowly faded as he looked up toward the sky. His mind drifted, as it did so often lately, his thoughts returning to home... and to Minnie. He wondered if she was thinking about him too, and if she and the others missed him as much as he missed them. It was the worst thing, not knowing if he’d ever see them again. The device that Gus constructed to bring him here had been destroyed in the process, and the gremlin was having a lot of trouble finding the right parts to repair it. Mickey sighed, and it began again: that strange, cold feeling in his chest. It had been happening a lot lately.
"Mickey! You up there?" Mickey quickly wiped his eyes and turned to see a familiar pair of long ears poking through the door. "Jamface said you were out here," Oswald said as he walked out on the balcony.
Mickey smirked and shrugged. "Just needed a break," he said, then cracked his back. "Think I’ve done more heavy lifting these past few days than I have in a month." He expected a smart remark in return, but to his surprise, it never came.
Oswald walked over and leaned against the railing. "You’ve been takin’ breaks up here a lot."
Mickey swallowed nervously, hoping that he wasn’t about to be found out. After everything Oswald had been through, bothering him with something so trivial as homesickness felt wrong. "It’s a nice view," he said.
Oswald raised an eyebrow. "Of Mean Street or the sky?"
Mickey felt his throat tighten, but he quickly cleared it and shrugged. "They’re both pretty good," he said. Oswald gave him a look, but Mickey quickly spoke up. "I just wonder how everyone’s doin’ back home sometimes."
"Yeah..." Oswald said quietly, then looked up at the sky. His voice was distant when he next spoke. "I’ve always wanted to see the Cartoon World again. Guess a lot’s changed by now, huh?"
Mickey’s throat tightened again, but he once again gulped it down and nodded. "Not everything has, though. Just bein’ here... it’s so much like being home."
Oswald looked at him, ears pricked with interest. "Really?" he asked. Mickey nodded, and Oswald looked back at the sky. "What’s it like?" he asked. "The real one?"
Mickey felt a lump rising in his throat, but he gulped it back and forced his voice to remain steady as he began talking about home. Now wasn’t the time to risk souring things between him and Oswald, and besides, it was the least he could do after everything that had happened. After several moments, he suddenly noticed Oswald staring at him.
"Mickey?" he asked slowly.
The mouse was confused at first, but then he realized that his eyes were stinging. He quickly turned and rubbed them. "Sorry, I musta got somethin’ in my eye." He took a deep breath and forced a smile. "We’ll hafta talk more later... I think Markus needed some help with a game in the Penny Arcade."
Oswald looked like he was about to protest, but to Mickey’s relief, he nodded. "Okay... Sure ya don’t need some help?"
Mickey immediately shook his head. "Nah, it’s fine. I’ll see ya later." He headed for the exit, hoping this would be forgotten by the end of the day.
Behind him, Oswald watched with a slight frown. "Yeah..."
The clanking gears seemed to echo the churning in Mickey’s head as he slowly walked down the corridor. The projectors were working, but he went through the Underground when he wanted to be alone; mainly to get his emotions under control. Not for the first time, he felt a longing to talk to someone, just let out what he was feeling. But how could he do that to people who had already lost far more?
Letting out a heavy sigh, he closed his eyes. "I miss ya so much, Minnie," he whispered. "I’m sorry..." His heart ached at the thought of how worried she must be, and a tear slowly slid down his cheek. "I’m so sorry."
Suddenly, his ears twitched and he looked up. Had he heard something? He listened carefully for several moments, then sighed and rubbed his head. "I must need some rest."
Mickey continued down the corridor, keeping an ear open. He just hoped that Oswald wasn’t planning on pursuing their earlier conversation, because he was really starting to run out of excuses.
Suddenly, a whirring sound echoed almost right in front of Mickey, and just a second later, a huge, oddly shaped figure lunged out at him. Startled, Mickey instinctively leaped out of the way and pulled out the brush–which had been held behind him by his tail. He whirled around, but the dark figure lunged and overcame him in a matter of seconds. Mickey grunted as it knocked him to the ground and scrambled to get to his feet, but something hard and cold clamped down on his chest before he could move.
Mickey grabbed the metal device and began to struggle, but then searing pain ripped through his body, choking him in its intensity. As he gasped for air, he thought he could feel someone watching...
Everything went black.