Even Angels Fall
Chapter III

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



Knuckles Echidna was worried.

Not the former paranoia-worried he used to be...

Okay, so maybe he was. He had a bloody good reason to be though.

He slid down the wall outside the bathroom to sit and hold his head in his hands as he heard Rouge retch. Whereas usually the smell of coffee woke the white bat up, it was now making her sick. His girlfriend had been sick the past four weeks nearly every morning. Her normal slim figure had started to round a bit in the gut – which in itself was especially worrying; Rouge liked to keep fit and she proclaimed that she’d never been fat in her life.

"Rouge, is there something you’re not telling me?" he yelled over the sound of vomiting. Knuckles bit his lip when he didn’t get a reply, resting his chin on one ungloved hand to think. His eyes widened as something came to mind, but then he shook his head. ‘No. She’d tell me if she was...’ The echidna swallowed deeply, lowering his eyes to the ground.

The toilet flushed and Rouge stepped out of the bathroom, looking worse for wear as she wiped her chin with a tissue. She sighed in relief as the stomach-churning feeling stopped before looking to her left to see Knuckles standing from where he had squatted against the wall. Her gaze softened – he was sweet, the perfect boyfriend really, but his worrying and overprotection was incredibly annoying sometimes. She supposed it came from guarding the Master Emerald for so long...

"I...Knuckles, I..."

"Rouge..." He stepped forward, cupping her chin with his fingers and lifting her head to meet his gaze. These sides of themselves they only showed to each other, bearing a mask to the rest of the outside world. "...Rouge, you’d tell me if something was wrong...wouldn’t you?"

"Nothing’s wrong, Knuckie." The pet name fell from her lips as the bat reached up to curl her own hand gently around the one on her face. Worry was etched far back into her hazel eyes as she looked away...worry he didn’t miss. "...Just the opposite. I just...haven’t been sure of how to tell you yet."

They were planning to get married in another month. Surely he could wait until then... Tails really had kept his promise that he wouldn’t tell anyone... She had to remind herself to thank the kid later...

"Tell me what, Rouge?" His voice was gentle as she traced his spikes on one hand with her index finger. Knuckles frowned – she looked ashamed for some reason; biting her lip was something Rouge just didn’t do unless she was contemplating something.

"You...you remember when I went to see Tails that one time." She started shifting her weight from one foot to the other, looking down at the floor. He nodded, a motion for her to continue. "I...I...He found out..." The treasure hunter shook her head, drawing in a deep breath as she forced herself to look into his eyes. "...Knuckles...I’m pregnant. It’s yours."

"Rouge...Rouge, honey, this is great news." A look of pure happiness crossed onto Knuckles’ face as he linked their fingers, pulling her closer.

"It might be for us but... Knuckie, if my clan ever find out I got pregnant out of wedlock..." She shivered at the thought, looking away again. Her clan would rather murder a mother and her unborn child than accept a bastard into the family.

The echidna wrapped his arms around his mate, kissing her on the cheek. "That’s why you wanted to move the wedding forward, isn’t it? So they wouldn’t find out." He kissed her again, this time on the lips. "Don’t worry. I’ll keep you and our baby safe. I don’t care if they’re your blood relatives; I’ll tear them apart before they can harm you."

‘But, Knuckles,’ Rouge thought to herself, resting her arms around his shoulders as she nuzzled his chest. ‘That’s exactly what I’m afraid of. That you’ll go off and do something stupid to get yourself killed... You may be a moron, but you’re my moron. I don’t want anything to happen to you...’

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Sonic felt more at peace than he had done in ages. A peculiar sort of warmth he’d never experienced surrounded him, making him sigh in bliss and snuggle closer to the extra body in his bed. So much weight had been lifted off his shoulders and so much sadness had vanished from his being, leaving him completely happy. Lazily he opened his eyes, finding his head resting on Shadow’s chest and the other having an arm wrapped loosely around his body. Really, he wouldn’t mind waking up like this for the rest of his life...

The blue hero frowned and bit his lip, running his hand through Shadow’s white chestfur as he thought. His confession last night...everything he said about himself had been true. He had wanted to belong somewhere for so long; with Shadow everything felt right. He just didn’t know how he was going to say goodbye to everyone...

‘They’ll understand,’ a part of him whispered as he listened to his mate’s breathing. ‘They know how long you’ve been waiting for him and how much you’ve missed him. They’ll know why you want to leave...’ A darker part of Sonic was whispering that he had no need for this backwater planet anymore; it was a part that had kept him company during the last five years and throughout his lonely childhood. It was a part of him that had appeared the first time he used the Chaos Emeralds, murmuring encouragement when nobody else would.

Not for the first time, Sonic began listening to it as his eyes closed. It wanted to do things to Shadow that he had never dreamed of and he found it hard to keep the blush down that threatened to stain his cheeks. The darkness inside of him seemed to swell whenever the black hedgehog was around like it did the first time they’d met. A hand began to run through his quills and he purred, raising his head to meet sleepy crimson eyes. He smiled, leaning up to kiss Shadow good morning. The darkness tugged at him again.

"I’ll go with you," he whispered, licking his lips as Shadow sat up on the bed only to lean back on his forearms. Sonic kissed him again; linking their fingers as the other hedgehog opened his mouth willingly. The dark part of him purred in delight at the submission and he found himself straddling Shadow by the waist before he could stop. "I can’t stand being by myself anymore."

Shadow frowned as he noticed the emerald eyes darken, not missing the aggressiveness behind that kiss nor the way Sonic’s thighs tightened around his hips as though to keep him pinned to the bed. "You’re sure?"

"They don’t need me anymore." The blue hero sighed as he laid his head down underneath his mate’s chin, stroking his bare fingers with his own peach-furred ones. "Eggman’s turned; the president has more than enough guards without me; the others can look after themselves. I don’t want to be useless; I don’t want to be the third wheel; I don’t want to be without you."

Shadow smiled lightly, returning the caress with his other hand. "I’ll give you time to pack what you want, say goodbye and get ready – I have business to attend to on Ankokuseiun and I’ll be back for you tomorrow morning. Can you handle that long without me?"

He kissed him again, this one sweeter than the last. "Shadow, I’ve spent five years without you. Truthfully I don’t know how I ever survived not knowing you existed beforehand. I’ll be alright." Sonic pulled away and sat up, moving himself off the bed. "Go do your business. I need a shower before I do anything."

Smirking, the black hedgehog stood and wrapped his arms around his mate. "Care to take one together?"

He was hit on the head and a resounding shriek of "PERVERT!" rang through the apartment building.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Tails sighed as he sat in class, tapping the butt of his pen against the desk. What was the use of learning something he already knew about, much less under the guidance of a teacher who was so smug about his superiority? He’d been bumped up to Amy’s class and as a result was picked on by the rest of the teenagers in her age group. Speaking of which, his girlfriend was sending him an apologetic look again for the way her friends were acting.

He didn’t know how long he’d had a crush on her before finally gathering up the courage to ask her out three years ago. He remembered being thankful that Sonic only liked her as a friend, meaning his chances with her were higher than they’d ever been.

He didn’t mind Cream; she was a sweet girl but she was also his best friend and was currently going out with Charmy, which had a steady run of one year. The two attended the same class in the same gakuen, a few buildings away with the rest of the primary-school kids. Cream was the one he had gone to for relationship help and when she had trouble figuring out Charmy’s motives, he helped her.

Of course, that didn’t stop him from threatening the poor bee within an inch of his life should he ever hurt her. Cream was not only his best friend but something of a younger sister, too.

Amy...he understood she had a reputation to uphold as a Sonic fangirl. Most of her friends thought she was just going out with him because he was Sonic’s sidekick and therefore the best way to get his attention but Amy wasn’t as superficial as her friends, surprisingly. Tails and the others knew that Amy was Sonic’s emotional support if he’d just broken up with someone.

"Miles Prower, Amy Rose; you are wanted in the courtyard. Repeat – Miles Prower, Amy Rose..."

The two of them looked towards the teacher expectantly and received a nod before they shot out of their seats and down the hallway. Tails took Amy’s hand for reassurance on the way; this was the same way Sonic used to call them out of school if something major was going down and he was the only one, aside from the principal herself, who was allowed to get them out of class like that. "What do you think he wants?" the kitsune murmured to his girlfriend, feeling her hand tighten in his hold. "He hasn’t called us out like this for some time."

"I’m sure it’s nothing." Amy flashed him a smile, though worry was in her eyes. "Would you believe that Eggman cares too much about the Chaotix to go back to his old ways?"

Tails raised an eyebrow at the thought but let silence sift between them as they made their way to the school courtyard. Sure enough, there was Sonic but as Tails drew closer, he could tell there was something different about his friend. There was a sad look in his emerald eyes as he saw the two of them approach, giving a half-hearted wave as Tails noticed Charmy and Cream were there too, talking quietly with each other.

"What’s going on?" Amy asked as they slowed down, recognizing that there was no need to rush. She reached down to fix the hem of her fuku, her other hand still linked with Tails’ as she studied her old crush. After spending the last five years as his relationship counselor, she knew when he was upset about something.

"Hey, Tails. Amy." The blue hedgehog nodded a greeting, hands resting in the pockets of his jacket as he leant against the statue of the school’s founder. He looked down at the ground, biting his lip. "I...I came to say...goodbye."

"What!" was the resounding chorus from the four others. Charmy and Cream had incredulous looks on their faces while Amy and Tails looked worried. Strange how the couples mirrored their partner’s faces.

"Why?"

Sonic looked off to the side, looking away from the kids. "I...I’m leaving tomorrow. Shadow came back yesterday..." He waited for the gasps to die down before he could continue, raising a hand to stop them from asking more questions. "...Things sort of happened..." A blush appeared on his cheeks, which made Amy raise a knowing eyebrow and left the younger teens to wonder. "...And he wants me to go with him. I’m taking the opportunity while I can."

An uncomfortable cold wind blew through the courtyard, reminding the students that they had left their jackets in their respective classrooms. Finally, after what seemed like a long pause, Amy gave an encouraging smile. "Sonic, you know I’ll support any relationship decision you make without question. If you want to go with him, I say go for it."

Tails nodded, forcing a smile even when it didn’t reach his eyes. "Yeah. You’ve waited this long for him and you’ve always said to me ‘do what you feel is best’." He raised a hand to shake, the smile turning bitter. "I’ll...I’ll miss you though, Sonic. Thanks for being there for me when things were bad."

"Goes both ways, bud." The blue hero hesitated before shaking his hand, though, and ended up drawing him into a hug that ended with both boys in tears. "I’ll miss you. God knows I’ll miss you all."

"Waitasec; this is what Espio was so smug about last night?" As usual, Charmy found a way to ruin the mood and Cream tugged roughly on one of his antennae, resulting in a mortified ‘ow’ from the young bee. He proceeded to sulk as soon as he was released, deciding to keep quiet. The rabbit girl smiled at the expense of her boyfriend’s pain before she turned to the older male. "We’ll all miss you, Sonic-san," she said, clasping her hands together. "It won’t be the same without you."

Silence reigned in the group before Amy spoke up again. "You sure you can’t stay until Knuckles and Rouge’s wedding? Or even until Espio and Vector’s baby is born? I know Knuckles was thinking about making you his best man..."

Sonic shook his head. "Shadow only gave me until tomorrow morning. I’m going to stop by Knux and Rouge’s apartment right after I go and say goodbye to Eggman and the guys." Tails frowned. This all seemed so sudden; Shadow turning up and convincing Sonic to leave. The kitsune crossed his arms and looked down at his feet. Suddenly he didn’t like this one bit...but he’d be supportive of Sonic’s decision as he’d always been, even if gut instinct told him it wasn’t right.

Little did he know that in the not-too-distant future, he’d be cursing himself for not trying to convince his friend to stay.

The blue hedgehog checked his watch, looking at the time. "I should let you guys get back to class and go to the cafe." He gave each of them hugs and a goodbye, his arms lingering around Amy. "You’ve been a great help these past five years, Ames. Thanks for your advice."

She wiped away at the tears in her eyes, noticing she wasn’t the only one crying silently. "It’s alright, Sonic. I never thought I’d be more happy being your relationship counselor than your girlfriend." She squeezed his waist, stepping back from his arms with a smile. "Good luck with Shadow."

He smiled bitterly and ruffled her bangs in a brotherly fashion, earning himself an indignant squeal from the younger girl. Amy suddenly told him to stay where he was and everyone looked confused until she pulled out her mobile phone. She grinned, motioning for Sonic to back away slightly, which he did so and she took a photo with her phone. "I’ll print copies to give to everyone," the pink hedgehog promised, closing the program. "That way we’ll all have something to remind us of you."

A few moments later, the four school kids were left staring at a streak of blue before it faded.

He really was...gone.

But it wouldn’t be the last time they saw him like they thought it would...

End of chapter three
.

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