Even Angels Fall
Chapter VII

Written by Takato Metallium
Disclaimer: I disclaim all rights to Sonikku-tachi. They belong to SEGA, Sonic Team and others. I also disclaim rights to the Al-Bhed language; it belongs to Square-Enix. I also don’t own the spells Martina uses; they are copyright to whoever created Slayers. I only own these versions, the fic, the idea and not much else.
Chapters: I | II | III | IV | V | VI



Said teenagers looked off to the right to see Martina’s father coming up to them in a sprint, looking all the more worse for wear. It had been roughly fifteen minutes since Espio had told them to come back here and they had been talking some things over. The blue chameleon glared at his best friend as if daring him to say anything as Vector swept his son into a bear hug, only receiving a snicker from the echidna hybrid.

"Thank God you’re alright," he murmured into his son’s hair, giving him one last squeeze before letting go. Vector gave Bandit a smile and looked around them. "Where’s your mother?"

"Mum went off to find Uncle Knuckles about a quarter of an hour ago after he told us to wait here for you," Martina stated, tightening the silver-plated red bandanna around his head. He brushed hair out of his eyes after he was done, glancing at his friend. "Bandit and I have been taking care of things here."

Bandit nodded, grinning as he flexed a wrist. "Between my fists and Martina’s magic, none of those black creatures have even gotten close to us, Uncle Vector."

The crocodile sighed, thankful his mate and son were alright. "We should probably get going and find them. Knowing your mother, he got himself into trouble." A hand on his arm stopped him from turning away to head off again and he looked back at Martina.

"Dad, I want the lowdown on these aliens. Mum seemed upset about them earlier for some reason and I want to know what’s going on before I get involved more."

"Yeah. My parent’s didn’t say diddly-squat either."

Martina cocked an eyebrow and gave his friend a look. "Diddly-squat?"

Bandit shrugged. "Something I picked up from Diamond."

"Riiiiight. Sometimes I think she’s the older sibling out of the two of you."

"Hey! What’s that supposed to mean!"

Wind suddenly seemed to pick up around them and all three males shielded their faces, looking up to see a plane hovering above them before it landed. The hatch opened and they found themselves being greeted by a red-faced Eggman. Even though the doctor was pushing seventy, he still looked the same as he did twenty years ago despite the change of clothing style.

"We’re pulling back and regrouping," the human explained, ushering the other three in. Vector pushed the two boys ahead of him, being careful to avoid the various craters Martina had made earlier with his magic. "Something’s not right." He turned to the crocodile. "Where’s Espio?"

"He went off to find Knuckles a little while ago." Vector didn’t bother to hide the worried look on his face. Of course, his mate had the ability to stay out of sight if he wanted but who knew the kind of senses those creatures had. "I have a feeling that we’ll meet up with them later." The former detective looked around the interior of the aircraft as Martina and Bandit went to reunite with their friends, whistling lowly. "So this is what you’ve been working on with Tails lately?"

Eggman nodded, pressing a button to close the hatchway. "Welcome aboard the Blue Typhoon."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"It looks like your little friends are fleeing."

Knuckles looked over his shoulder to where Sonic’s eyes were trained, watching a blue and silver aircraft take off the direction of Rail Canyon. He turned back, shifting his stance as he cracked his knuckles, receiving a look from the other. "You aren’t going to join them?" he purred darkly, laying his hand down on one Emerald, the yellow one.

"I’ll meet up with them later," the echidna growled, narrowing his eyes. "I want to know what’s happened to you, Sonic; why you’re like this. If I have to go through you to get answers, then I will." Knuckles smirked, crouching a bit more. "It’ll be just like old times."

The golden-coloured gemstone floated upward, following his palm, and he chuckled at the 31-year-old. "You talk as if we’ve done battle before, surface-dweller. While you are slightly familiar, don’t expect that to get you away from my wrath."

They regarded each other with cool stares momentarily, sizing each other up as cool rooftop winds blew past, heated slightly by the growing number of fires in the city.

The two suddenly exploded into action.

Sonic leapt forward and slammed his fist against Knuckles’ blocked arms. His power far outdid the echidna’s own and Knuckles skidded back, leaving two trenches in the cement where his feet dug in. Sonic spun around and turned his movements into a kick, his leg connecting with Knuckles’ shoulder and sending the echidna tumbling to land on his feet in a crouch on the third turn of his body.

The hedgehog laughed, flexing his fist. "There’s no chance of your win against one who is created from Chaos." The yellow Emerald hummed as though in agreement, hovering above his head.

Knuckles ground his teeth together; breath coming out in short huffs as he stood properly, locking his shoulder back into place from where it had dislocated from his fall. "Yeah right." He suddenly smiled and closed his eyes, concentrating. When he opened them again, the crimson Emerald was floating next to him and the other was staring at him with what appeared to be a dropped jaw. His smile became a smirk. "I’ve used Emeralds before. I know how to draw on their power."

Sonic snarled and jumped forward to meet him head-on.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"So where’re we heading?" Vector asked. Eggman had taken him on a tour of the aircraft and the two of them were now in the cockpit, Tails flying the ship with assistance from his daughter and the other adults at various stations.

"One of my former bases," the ex-mad scientist explained, leaning slightly against one of the consoles. "I have something there that might help us. It was never completed but with Tails, Lina and I working on it, it shouldn’t take that long. Maybe a week tops."

Rouge stopped fussing over her teenage son, leaving him to run off and join his best friend and sister in the inner games room. "Do you think they’ll be able to track us down?"

Her words held a double meaning and the doctor regarded her seriously. "I gave the boys the locations of my labs in case of emergencies; Espio will know where to go. If he meets up with Knuckles, everything will be fine," he reassured her. Rouge sighed in relief and went back to her control panel, taking the seat in front of it.

"Well now, isn’t this all nice and cozy?" The voice behind him made Vector freeze a little, looking over his shoulder before he turned fully. Charmy grinned at him, looking a little sheepish as one arm looped around Cream’s waist. "Heya."

Everyone turned to see Vector’s reaction, even Tails although his eyes trailed back to the skies every so often. Charmy squeaked as he was suddenly engulfed in a bear hug from his foster father, then hit over the head, which resulted in an undignified "Ow!" from the bee.

"Where have you been, you idiot!" the crocodile roared, making the large group jump at the ferocity. "Years without any clue! Do you have any idea how worried sick Espio and I have been about you!"

"I...I didn’t mean to make you worry, Vector." Charmy looked down at his boots, feeling a little like a scolded teenager when he was really just in his late twenties. After a reassuring squeeze from Cream, he continued. "I just...I was too caught up in a few things to make any other contact aside from sending Cream money."

" ‘Too caught up in a few things’?" Vector’s voice had lowered to a growl, arms crossed over his chest and foot tapping impatiently on the floor of the Blue Typhoon, waiting for an explanation.

The bee lowered his head a little more. "I...I never told you guys before...but...well... I’mfromtheroyalfamilyoftheGoldenHiveColonyinthesouthernhemisphere."

Silence shifted through the cockpit as the rushed sentence was realized. Vector nodded for him to continue, his eyes wide. "My dad sent me a letter about ten years ago, saying it was time for me to take over the throne. I told him I was already married but he didn’t approve of Cream; it’s the reason why I had to divorce her." Charmy sighed and shook his head, looking up at last.

"I didn’t want you guys to know back then because I was a little afraid of being left out because of my status and all. I was fine with you and Espio adopting me because it meant that I was free of my responsibilities...partially. As my dad’s only male heir, I had to reassure them that the colony had a future. I didn’t find out until later that Cream was pregnant, and by then it was already too late."

"So you stuck around for Waffle’s birth and then you went." Amy’s voice held a disapproving, matter-of-fact tone but she could understand that royal families had their traditions that could not be broken. However, she could hold nothing but dislike for him, as Cream had confided in her with her broken heart.

Charmy bowed his head again under everyone’s scrutiny, feeling a little hurt by Amy’s obvious point. "After it was taken care of, I renounced my claim to the throne and really did travel the world. Any money I made, no matter how little, I sent directly to Cream. I felt so guilty..."

"And so you should be, you jerk!" Amy had finally lost control of herself, hopping out of her seat and storming up to him, pushing past Vector and Eggman. "Do you know how long it took me to convince Cream nothing was wrong with her? Do you know how many nights I woke up to hear her crying next door! Do you know...!"

"Amy, please; that’s enough!" Cream’s sudden raised voice made everyone stare at her, for the rabbit hadn’t always been known to shout or raise her voice, even when Waffle had been naughty every once in a while. She settled for a small glare at the older hedgehogette and clenched fists at her sides. "Charmy knows! He and I have talked things over and it’s all right!" She sighed, settling against his arm and linking her fingers through his with a squeeze as her voice returned to normal. "I’m grateful for what you did for me back then, but you don’t need to make the wound any deeper than it is." Cream suddenly smiled shyly, poking her index fingers together. "We’ve talked about it and...we’re going to remarry once this is all over."

Amy looked at her friend in shock before everything registered and narrowed her eyes, shooting the bee a look. "Fine. But if you make her cry again, you little bastard," she began, emphasizing her words with pokes into his chest. "You’ll be meeting my piko-piko mallet face-to-face. Got it?"

Her daughter broke through the tense air with a cry of "Rail Canyon dead ahead!" Amy gave him one last look before turning around and going back to her seat. Charmy let out a sigh of relief and glanced at Cream, who giggled, and the two of them turned to leave the cockpit to tell the kids, Vector and Eggman following behind them.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Station Square lay in ruins.

Bodies upon bodies of human people rested in piles, some separate from others.

Espio bowed his head in respect for the dead, hands clenching at his sides as he closed his eyes. Too much...this was just too much! What did Shadow hope to accomplish by maiming the entire populace of the planet? He had heard about the black hedgehog’s past from the others; he understood, at least slightly, what Shadow must have felt when Eggman released him from his Prison Island confines.

There were many times when he wanted the humans to pay for what their gangster populace did to Mighty but why make others pay for the crimes of the few? That was why he had joined the Agency back then; to make sure that nobody would die like his best friend had...

"Fancy seeing you here." His eyes opened and he whirled his head at the voice, coming face-to-face with Shadow himself. The hedgehog wore a smirk on his lips, arms crossed over his chest in a regal manner as he leant on one foot slightly.

Espio shivered when he saw specks of blood throughout that black fur as he turned around to face him fully. "What are you doing?" he hissed, hands tightening enough to draw blood from beneath his skin. "Why did you lie to us? To Sonic? I thought he meant something to you? You were soulmates; soulmates shouldn’t have to lie to each other."

He saw something flicker in Shadow’s eyes at the name, but it was gone as quickly as it had showed itself. Shadow laughed, low and dark as he regarded the chameleon. "I thought it would have been obvious what I was doing," he purred, licking his lips as he began to walk around the ninja. "Liberating this planet from its flaws. Under my command, the populace shall be cleansed of its imperfection." He waved a hand at the surroundings. "The bodies you see around you, and your own, shall be made into fine Black Arms soldiers; you shall all be reborn as members of our perfect army."

Espio closed his eyes, composing himself as he had been taught to in his days as a trainee ninja. "Why did you lie to us?" he whispered, feeling Shadow’s crimson gaze before he opened his eyes again, twisting his head to face the hedgehog. "You said that the Black Arms were a free-spirited race; that you led a rebellion against Black Doom."

"The part I said about the Black Arms was all true." Shadow chuckled softly, stopping behind him with his arms behind his back as he looked towards the black and red clouds in the sky. "But they do not wish to be returned to their former bodies. Some have been around for far too long and would die were they turned back. Not all of us are immortal."

The chameleon turned to face him again, not liking to keep his back to Shadow too long. "And what about Sonic? What have you done to him?"

The Ultimate Lifeform cocked an eyebrow, not seemingly bothered by talking about his mate this time around. "Done to him? I’ve done nothing to him...just returned him to his true self."

"True self?"

"Pure, raw, immaculate..." Shadow grinned widely, bearing his fangs. "My mate is no longer tainted by memories of you pathetic mortals. He’s who he was meant to be, who Black Doom created him to be. A being of perfect, unadulterated Chaos like myself. My mate...the one who shall rule over the Black Arms by my side for all eternity."

"It’s not him though, is it?" The hedgehog looked at him and Espio continued. "It’s not him. Not that same smile; that laugh... Everything you loved about him has changed because you changed him."

"He’s who he was meant to be," Shadow whispered, lowering his gaze to the ground. "That’s what makes it enough."

End of chapter seven
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