Even Angels Fall
Chapter IV

Written by Takato Metallium
Disclaimer: I disclaim all rights to Sonikku-tachi. They belong to SEGA, Sonic Team and others. I only own these versions, the fic, the idea and not much else next to a Shadow plushie.
Chapters: I | II | III



Sonic looked around his apartment for the last time, hefting the duffel bag strapped over his shoulder. Already a feeling of homesickness had begun to settle in and he hadn’t even left yet. It was a small place, but it had been home since he’d moved out of Mystic Ruins after the Perfect Chaos fiasco. Tails would be by later to pick up the stuff he didn’t want to take with him.

He wasn’t surprised by how materialistic he’d been. Video games and CDs by the hundreds were packed away into boxes that sat next to his consoles, TV and stereo; not one book was amongst them. In his duffel bag were clothes, a couple of photo albums, a spare pair of sneakers and not much else apart from a few meaningful birthday gifts from the gang.

"Oh good, you’re still here." The voice made Sonic look over his shoulder to see Eggman standing in the doorway, looking out of breath. "I was afraid you’d already left."

"What do you want, Eggman?" Funny how five years ago they’d been at each other’s throats but were now talking like old friends. Which they were...in a twisted sense. Sonic turned to face the doctor as he closed the door behind him, giving them privacy.

"Sonic..." Eggman looked off to the side, shaking his head at something before stepping closer. "I need to tell you something before you go. It’s important."

The hedgehog cocked an eyebrow but leant against his couch on a hand. "I’m listening."

"How do I say this...?" The human stroked his moustache as he thought it over. "...Over fifteen years ago, I came across some information in my grandfather’s files. This was before I became the man you’ve known, so my intentions were for the greater good."

Sonic resisted the urge to scoff and roll his eyes but nodded for him to continue.

"His files stated that his explorers had found something deep in the jungles of Angel Island, asleep in suspended animation. Although he was working on Project Shadow at the time, grandfather had them bring the creature back to the ARK."

"Get to the point." Sonic scowled – he’d never had much patience for Eggman but Shadow was waiting for him.

"I’m getting there!" the former mad scientist snapped, feeling his cheek twitch in reminiscence of their old verbal "conversations". "In any case, grandfather was unable to crack through the suspended animation but was able to complete Shadow by scanning the creature. As you may recall, G.U.N attacked the ARK, killed everyone on board and captured Shadow. They didn’t know about the creature though, so he was left alone."

‘He?’

"It was ten years ago that I got permission from the government to board the ARK and go through my grandfather’s files. I found out about the creature and was able to set it free by using the Chaos Emeralds, a theory stated in grandfather’s last report." Eggman took a deep breath and looked him in the eyes. "It was you, Sonic."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"What!" ‘What...what’s he talking about?’

"You were the creature grandfather found over fifty years ago. The reaction of the Chaos Emeralds freeing you changed me and my way of thinking. The tapestry in the Master Emerald chamber was telling one of your battles, saying that the Emeralds could call you to the waking world again."

Sonic sat down heavily on the couch, his eyes wide and unfocused. "Me...? I...I’m..."

"I’m sorry to have brought this on you so suddenly, but I had to tell you before you left. You don’t remember our first battle, so I only assume that you received amnesia when you fell through space." Eggman rubbed his temples, sighing a little. "Ancient Echidna mystics in Glyphic Canyon foretold your existence long before you were first released. I don’t know why, but every time you were released you were sealed soon after. They only talked about what a great destructive force you were and how you should only be used for the greater good..."

The blue hedgehog held his head in his hands, staring at the floor through his fingers. If Eggman was right, then... He shook his head, closing his eyes. No; he’d never believed anything Eggman had said in the past, why should he start now? But the doctor had changed greatly in the past five years, so...he was telling the truth?

Eggman rummaged around in his coat pocket for something before holding it out to Sonic. He looked up, seeing a silver medallion suspended by a thin chord with a strange symbol on it. Taking it from the doctor, he winced as flashes began to shift through his mind, tightening his hand in his quills.

"Get..." Sonic twitched, falling to the floor on his knees as he bent down to stop the nausea that was beginning to thrum in his chest. Another flash, this one of a peach-coloured echidna female...Tikal...she was solid...living... "...Get Shadow...please... He...he should be at Westopolis Central... And Knuckles..."

The inhuman scream that tore from his throat was all the convincing Eggman needed.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sonic was late.

That in itself was unusual and caused Shadow to worry.

The black hedgehog leant against a large weeping willow tree and sighed, crossing his arms over his chest. He bit his lip, ignoring the looks and whispers he was getting from the passing humans. Maybe he was making some last-minute good-byes? A small voice in Shadow’s head whispered that Sonic had chosen not to come after all and he closed his eyes, fighting the sadness that came from the possibility.

"Shadow!" His head snapped up at Eggman’s voice, watching the doctor hurry over as soon as he’d been spotted. He had an unusual look of concern on his face, something Shadow wasn’t used to seeing. He leant off his leaning post, nodding a greeting and asking what was wrong. "It’s Sonic," the scientist panted, using a handkerchief to wipe his brow. "I...I was telling him something and he...he just collapsed..."

Shadow was gone before he could finish.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

By the time Knuckles got to the apartment with a tired Eggman in tow, everything seemed to be under control. Shadow was sitting with Sonic on the couch, arms wrapped around him comfortingly. The black hedgehog looked up, nodding slightly in silent greeting as Knuckles took the spare seat next to his friend. "What happened?" he asked softly, placing a comforting hand on Sonic’s shoulder. "Eggman explained some of it to me but it didn’t make any sense..."

"I’m...I’m sorry, Knux." Haunted emerald eyes looked at the echidna and he found himself a little shocked. When he asked why, Sonic continued. "I didn’t...I didn’t get there in time to save them. I’m sorry."

"What are you talking about?" Knuckles was the only one out of the loop here, he realised as he looked at the other two. Eggman was shifting his weight from foot to foot nervously and Shadow hadn’t so much as looked at them since they came in. "Sonic?" He shook his friend gently, watching him shiver and curl up into a ball in Shadow’s arms.

The black hedgehog sighed, finally looking up. "He’s gone into another mental relapse. The memories must be coming back all at once."

"Clue me in here, guys, cause I have no idea what’s going on?" Knuckles sat back and waited for an explanation.

"When Black Doom first came to this planet over two thousand years ago and left Glyphic Canyon here, he left Sonic to guard it." At the echidna’s odd look, Shadow continued. "While he was preparing me to take his place, he told me of everything he had ever created and those he left to protect them. I was surprised to see Sonic on that list. The Chaos Emeralds were created to awaken him and free the power sleeping inside of him."

"Super Sonic," Knuckles murmured in realization, then frowned as a thought came to mind. "How did my clan come to possess the Emeralds in that case?"

"An echidna tribe used to inhabit Glyphic Canyon," Eggman began, drawing their attention to him. "Super Sonic apparent won their war with another tribe, but he was too powerful for them to control so their shaman put him back into suspended animation."

"Black Doom created him to be immortal," Shadow said softly, running a hand through his mate’s blue quills. "It’s the reason why that when you all aged, he didn’t look a day over sixteen. It’s another reason why I’m over fifty but I look like a teenager." He closed his eyes. "Immortality is nothing but a curse."

"Tikal freed me sometime later." Sonic’s voice was so quiet that they had to strain their ears to hear it, especially since his head was buried in Shadow’s chest. "When I asked her what she was doing with my Emeralds, she said that Chaos was provoked into attacking her tribe and she thought that they could subdue him. She had no intention of waking me." He lowered his haunted gaze to the floor. "I was too late to save her clan. I was able to seal away Chaos but it cost Tikal her life. I’m sorry."

"Sonic, it’s not your fault," Knuckles tried to reassure him, only to be cut off.

"You’re lying, Red," he whispered, turning his head away into Shadow’s chest again. "You’re angry at me."

"I’m angry at my tribe!" the echidna yelled, earning a glare from Shadow as he stood, watching his friend twitch. "They paid for their own mistake in their own blood! I’m angry that you had to live through it when it’s obviously so painful to you. You’re not the one at fault."

"It was the first time I failed." Sonic shook his head, tears glistening in his eyes at the memory. "Even though she hadn’t planned on it, she was the first summoner that was nice to me and didn’t treat me as a weapon. Tikal used the last of her life to seal me again."

"My grandfather’s team found him in some ruins on Angel Island, near the Master Emerald chamber." Eggman broke the uncomfortable silence that had flooded the room after the blue hedgehog had spoken. "Fifty years later, I triggered the seal again and, well, the result is who you see before you."

Sonic now leant his head back on the couch, still wrapped in his mate’s comforting arms. "I remember thinking...I remember swearing on Tikal’s grave that I was going to be a hero; that I was never going to be late to save someone’s life again. I was going to make it up to her and her tribe that way. Or at least try to." He shook his head, looking at his friend. "Knuckles, I asked you here because I want to take the Emeralds with us. They don’t belong here."

Knuckles nodded in agreement. "They’re yours anyway. My clan had no right to take them from you." He ran a hand through his dreadlocks as he stood, looking off to the side before glancing back. "Give me a few hours to get to and from Angel Island."

"I’ll go with you." Shadow stood as well. "A Chaos Control will get you there and back quicker." He gave a rather pointed look to Eggman that told him he better look after Sonic while they were gone and took Knuckles by the wrist.

And indeed, not ten minutes later were they back in the den of the apartment, Knuckles with a heavy-looking bag slung over his shoulder and looking a little green from the Chaos Control. Shadow noticed his mate toying with something in his fingers and walked over to kneel in front of him, taking his hands. "What’s that?"

"This?" Sonic looked up before looking back at his lap. "Something Eggman gave me. I just thought I’d take a closer look at it while you were gone." He placed it into Shadow’s hands, watching his face contort in surprise. "What?"

"This is marked by the symbol of the royal family," he murmured, running a thumb over the inscription. "Written in the language of the Black Arms. It must be from eons ago, before Black Doom took over..." Shadow looked over his shoulder at the red echidna. "Knuckles, hand me the Emeralds."

"You sure it’s safe to do something like that in here?" Cautiously, Knuckles hefted the bag off his shoulder with a grunt and it fell to the floor in his grasp. "What if that’s an amplifier...?"

"It’s not." The black hedgehog took the green Chaos Emerald from the bag, peering at it with narrowed eyes. "If you look closely enough, the Emeralds themselves have written Ankokuseiunian on them as well... Ah, here we go." Shadow gave Sonic back the amulet, running his fingers beneath something the other three couldn’t see. " ‘When darkness arises, blood shall be shed. Thy hands of purity shall do the worst of sins; thy demons shall be awakened. Innocent shall perish and damage done to thy earth.’ "

"What...what’s that supposed to mean?" A lump was forming in Sonic’s throat, his hands wringing in worry around the medallion in their grasp. For some reason, he had a strange feeling that what was written on the Emeralds was talking about him.

"It’s a prophecy," Shadow murmured softly, trying to calm his mate’s nerves. "Each of the seven Chaos Emeralds foretell a different part of it, but the words will only show up when the prophecy on the Emerald before it has been done."

"Tikal...I...what I felt radiating from her was such purity..." He hung his head, burying his face in his arms as he drew his knees up to his chest. "...It’s about me, isn’t it? That damned thing’s all about me..."

Knuckles and Eggman stayed silent, curious to know more as Shadow drew the sapphire Emerald from the sack, numb from the realization. " ‘Reawakened by bloodlust, thy creature of Chaos shall...’ "

"I don’t want to hear anymore!" Sonic’s voice was on the verge of pitching into a shriek; his body shaking as his wide, confused eyes bore into Shadow’s. He whimpered, clutching his hands over his ears. "Stop it! I don’t want to hear anymore!"

Shadow complied, immediately dropping the Emerald and gathering his agitated mate into his arms. He frowned as the blue hedgehog latched onto him, burying his head into Shadow’s chest as he whispered his plea over and over with tears in his eyes. Hearing the prophecy tormented Sonic for some reason and Shadow felt that if he hadn’t have stopped sooner...

He shook his head, running his hands through Sonic’s quills and down his back, trying to calm him down. His mate stopped shivering and the grip on his forearms loosened a little. Did Black Doom place some kind of spell on the Emeralds’ prophecy that hurt Sonic, to keep him in line...?

Insistent tugging on his arm made him look down at the blue hero, watching tears continue to well up and fall from his eyes. This was the Sonic he remembered seeing the first time; the hurt child, lost and alone in a world that expected too much of him...

"I want to go," he whispered, drawing in a shaky breath. He seemed to have forgotten that Knuckles and Eggman were watching them as he leaned forward, eyelids drooping with fatigue. "Please...let’s just...let’s just go home..."

"Anything you wish, love." Shadow scooped Sonic off the couch bridal-style, watching him lean his head on his shoulder tiredly. He gave a quick glance to the echidna. "Sorry, Knuckles, but could you...?"

Knuckles suddenly blinked, coming out of his stupor as he nodded and packed the two Emeralds back into the sack before handing it to him. He bit his lip as Shadow took them with one of his hands, looking at his friend that was curled up in the black hedgehog’s arms. He stepped away, scratching the back of his neck. "Yeah...um... Take care of him, won’t you?"

Shadow snorted, closing his eyes as he shifted Sonic in his arms – his mate was asleep. "You really need to ask me to do that? You know I wouldn’t do a thing to hurt him, Knuckles."

"Heh. A few years ago if you’d have said that, I wouldn’t have believed you." The guardian shoved his hands into the pockets of his jacket. "But Rouge trusts you...and I guess I do to." His amethyst eyes softened a little. "Come back and visit once in a while, okay?"

"Shadow." He turned to look at Eggman, who shifted a little nervously under the scrutiny. "I didn’t mean any harm by telling Sonic the truth. I just thought it would be the appropriate time..."

"I know. And thank you; you saved me the job of doing it myself."

The former mad scientist grumbled something about manipulating hedgehogs and looked off to the side before facing him again. "I don’t need to tell you to take care of yourself. And don’t worry; I’ve been looking after Maria and grandfather’s graves in your absence so I’ll continue to do so."

"Thank you again. Next time you go there, tell them I’m sorry I haven’t been for a while but it’s somewhat hard to when I’m on a different planet. And tell Maria that I found my happiness at last." At Eggman’s nod, Shadow stepped back away from them and the bag in his hands began to glow. "Well...goodbye. Chaos Control!"

End of chapter four
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