Author: dib07 PM
The fires of the explosion have liberated and destroyed Sonic. Though alive, he gravely suffers, and once again it is up to the powers of friendship to find a way to save... or to kill him. Heart failure is incurable... or so they say.Rated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Friendship - Sonic - Chapters: 19 - Words: 87,417 - Reviews: 224 - Favs: 53 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 03-30-12 - Published: 08-30-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7337247
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Chapter 1: Sonic liberated
This is a Teen fanfiction so anyone under age DO NOT READ! This fic contains gore, angst and tragedy. If you in any way don't like Sonic angst or him being hurt in general, again DO NOT READ. Just turn away now and read something a lot more lighter. This entire fic is riddled with such, so this is the only warning you are going to get. Hence the T rating. There is also CPR which a lot of people are uncomfortable with and so on.
Panacea is in itself a bumpy ride. Things are bad at the beginning, are okay in the middle, then it gets really dark again towards the end.
You may ask why I did this to Sonic. Though I cannot answer this question directly as it'll spoil the entire series, let's just say there must be sacrifice for ultimate salvation and enlightenment. A mountain cannot be conquered in a day. A journey doesn't start until the first step is taken. Everything comes at a price. This will make sense to you eventually, but until then, that it your answer. There is a massive reason behind Panacea, and to make Sonic unique and different, this is his make-or-break story. There is a reason behind everything I do. Though there are no guarantees I can promise you, you are in for a ride. But there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. Or is there?
Oh what to do. What to do with a crying fox.
Knuckles was no baby sitter. In fact his emerald guarding duties had made him fit enough to be a warrior to serve Royal Acorn, but today, with the woes of autumn at their backs, was a sad day. Remorse was not something he liked to share. Things were different now, and even he struggled to hold back the tears.
"Tails, he's going to be fine, and you know it."
"H-How can you be so sure?"
"Because I know. And I believe in him. You should start too."
"Echidna… don't be so hard on the kid." Shadow warned in his soft, yielding tone.
Knuckles' fur bristled at the way he was addressed, but stopped short in a desire to retaliate when Tails burst into a fresh wave of inconsolable tears. Finding it completely alien to comfort another, Knuckles tried it anyway, and patted the young kitson's shoulder with a giant paw. For the time being, they stayed in a freshly built hut that was soon to be Shadow's new home. Having nowhere else to go, they decided to remain together in some form of shelter. But at least this one had a roof. Many houses and cottages were in the early stages of development, with everyone chipping in to help. Trees were cut down. Stone slabs hoisted on make-shift cranes. In less than a week, much progress had been done, with Princess Sally's home being the first to be almost completed. And it was just as well. Sonic really needed someplace warm right about now.
Truth was, Tails had seen everything when he wasn't supposed to have done. When Dulcy delivered Sonic to them, he had seen the wedge of metal struck fast in his brother's chest and the other assortment of injuries before Sally took him away. Still, those brief glimpses had traumatized the fox, and upon finally arriving from the Wayland Mountains, Knux felt like it was their job, at least for now, to calm and appease the upset fox in any way they could.
"I need to see him!" Tails demanded through his tears, "why are you keeping me here?"
"We're keeping you here because you can't see him yet!" Knuckles was waiting for Shadow to intervene and help out a little, and was sadly mistaken. Taken in by his own rue perhaps, or daydreaming about other things, Shadow was listlessly staring out the open window as the rain began to fall. The strident sunlight was fading fast, and Knuckles was afraid of what the night might bring. He sighed, and patted his bandaged leg. It had long ago stopped bleeding, the hole stitched up by himself and not trusting the novice doctor to do it for him. Living on his own enforced the echidna to do things himself, and not to depend on others. However, his wounded eye did need attending to by their canine physician called Mercier. Luckily his eye was bruised and swollen, with no long lasting damage. His eyelid however, would always remain scarred. Shadow had come out of it all reasonably okay. Thinner and weaker, but his wounds were already on the mend thanks to his extreme alien metabolism.
Autumn was a scurrying thing, a short season before winter blew into their world. The homes wouldn't be finished in time. Food would be hard, if not impossible to come by. Herria was a time for the Arbiters. A time for them to come out and slaughter all those weakened by the cold. The winter never held them back. It only made them more desperate for food.
"We should take Tails to see him." Shadow put in gently. Morosely.
Knuckles was staggered by his conclusion, and for a while didn't know what to say. He was uncertain about Shadow still, well, maybe just a little, and was mildly surprised at how the black hedgehog simply didn't go back and live in the Ark. What made Shadow remain? He was bolder for sure, remaining here and picking up on Mobian life very quickly.
"Not now, we need to be discussing food situations!" He ignored the blubbering fox, eyes solely on the black hedgehog, "what can you bring down from the Ark? Anything useful?"
"Of course. It's all overlander food, but I'm sure that once you animals have learned to open up packets, I'm sure you won't starve."
"You know, like crisp packets." There was uncomfortable, awkward silence for a time. without taking his eyes from the window, he said, "what are you going to do about the Master Emerald?"
The large emerald was still buried under tons of rubble and mountain. A place he wasn't in a hurry to get to.
"It's not going anywhere, is it? Besides, I'm staying here for the same reasons you are."
"Just as well I stayed." Shadow returned, the echidna's statement not once catching him off guard. "Without me, he would have…" He put the brakes on, knowing that the twin-tailed fox was still in their presence.
~ Five hours ago ~
When Sonic was delivered to Sally by Dulcy, Shadow jumped off the dragon's back before Knuckles and ushered her into her recently erected home to get the blue hedgehog out of the elements. The wedge of metal had gone in deep, right in his sternum at a slight, left angle. It must have been pushed in by say, an explosion, and after being propelled by the force; Sonic may have actually landed on it, thus wedging it in even deeper. Working against time, Shadow warped to and from the Ark with medical equipment that the humans he once knew used to use. Though these efforts whittled down his already-spent energy at the Waylands, he spared nothing, and eased extreme painkilling drugs and breathing stimulants straight into the hedgehog's bloodstream. Keeping the little hog breathing through a human oxygen apparatus machine (which Sally was naturally suspicious of), they discussed their next move. Obviously the metal shrapnel, about the size of his ear, had to be removed. This of course, would bring serious consequences. Especially if the metal in question was longer inside him, and had penetrated his lungs, or worse. The bleeding too, already bad now, would also be immeasurable and profuse.
Being the only one knowing what he was talking about before the doctor or Knuckles arrived, Shadow slapped his suggestions down on the table. "If that bit of metal has hit his heart, we're in trouble. Removing it might kill him, maybe not now, but in minutes. Sally, in order to save him, we have to open up his chest."
"Are you fucking crazy?" She had been pulling at her hair, her arms and legs covered in hedgehog blood.
"You want me to save him or not? There are no other ways! I can't do it externally! And we have but one chaos emerald that might damage an already-damaged organ!"
"How would you do it?"
"By cutting through his ribcage."
She looked ready to faint then and there. But somehow, she found the strength and resolve to hold herself together. She had to. "Is there no other way?"
He shook his head. "I wish there was."
Ironically, the wedge of metal cruelly driven into the hedgehog's chest was in fact, the only thing keeping him alive. Through much of his life, Shadow couldn't remember the last time he had to make such a gut-wrenching decision.
It took time to set up all the necessary machinery, from the defibrillators and drips to the fluid suction machine designed to remove unwanted excess liquid. Sally brought in alcoholic solution and various other tools, her face almost as pale as Sonic's. The hedgehog himself was breathing, but it was just a faint, automated reflex that could be cut off at any time, despite the help from the machines. Blood relentlessly drizzled out of his mouth and nose; no matter how many times Sally tried to wipe it away.
Things got better when Knuckles arrived with his bandaged leg, and was all for Shadow's solution as well. She became hysterical from the impending shock, screaming and kicking, the echidna had to turf her out, locking the door as soon as he deposited her in the next room. Sonic's ribcage was strong, and Shadow guessed it would take them fifteen minutes to get through it.
"You don't know what you're doing!" Knuckles said as Shadow quickly rummaged through some books on basic surgery, "this isn't right!"
"Do you have a better idea?" Shadow said without looking up at him, turning pages as he sought for the right information, "all the surgeons are dead or haven't done this type of thing before."
"Well, you've never done this sort of thing before!" Knuckles said evenly.
Shadow gazed through the required information, drinking it all up as fast as he could before chucking the book over his shoulder in a that'll-be-enough-attitude.
"As long as I live, I don't ever want to do this again." Knuckles shook his head and grabbed a sharp edge of the metal piece responsible for all this pain and anguish.
"Do it." Shadow barked throatily, "before we all lose our nerve. If you want any possible chance of Sonic surviving, I suggest you do it, now!"
The metal came out. Knuckles tried to ease it out to avoid further damage, and just as Shadow feared, the piece of metal was long. The blood erupted from his chest and Sonic's heart stopped.
Grabbing the sternum cutter, Knuckles started hacking into his ribcage, not having time to shave his fur at the location or wipe the area with alcoholic solution. With heavy persistence and strength, he got through in two minutes.
Shadow got straight to work, opened his ribcage wider and got the machines to drain the fluid out of his lungs while he located any damage, if there was any, in his heart. His suspicions were proven correct. The lower left ventricle had been damaged. He had but minutes to seal it back up again. And it had to be really good sealant, or else...
Knuckles pressed his back up against the cold wall. He was sweating and shivering. Sally was pounding on the other side of the door, screaming profanities and kicking with all her might. Through the swamp of his own panic and fear, Knuckles barely heard her.
"You got steady hands, Shadow? For such a delicate operation?" He swallowed thickly. Cool and calm, like an android, Shadow did his work with unfathomable patience, as if this was the norm.
"Yes, very steady. Don't worry. This is the easy part."
Knuckles swallowed again, inclined to ask what the hard part was, and didn't.
Like a professional surgeon, Shadow sealed up the hole and realigned the ribcage, nailing it back in place with metal pins that would have to be removed at a later date. Once everything was back in place, Shadow used the next human device, the defibrillators. These too, were alien, and Knuckles struggled to understand them. He watched Shadow ready the pads above the hedgehog's chest.
"Now comes the hard part."
After a click and a whine, the pads jolted to life through solar energy. Knuckles discerned the elder hedgehog place the pads once on Sonic's bloodied chest and then removed them instantly when the stab of electric stormed through the hedgehog's body.
"It's too much power!" Knuckles roared from against the wall.
"It has to be." Shadow didn't react to the seriousness in the echidna's panic-stricken voice, "in order to have a chance of bringing him back."
But if the damage was too great, despite Shadow's dire help….
Prostrated and feeling helpless to help his blue friend, Knuckles stood by the bed when Shadow shocked him again. The ECG machine picked up the faintest trace of a heartbeat, and at first Knuckles was too astounded to say anything. Then the trace was gone and Shadow re-strengthened his efforts. It had been a grueling time to coax their small, blue friend back to life. The trace was more persistent, and Shadow loaded his system with more drugs to combat his dropping blood pressure.
Of course, this little, invasive procedure had its risks. Infection, pericarditis and pneumonia. That's if Sonic lived past his first night. And none of them were sure he was going to live at all.
Livid and upset, Knuckles took his rage out on a new house he himself had just built. Ignoring the looks of others, he trashed the place, snapping into walls and hacking away at the roof, trying to rid himself of the bloodied images he had not long ago witnessed. "Why did it have to be him? He… he only wanted freedom. Why did Robotnik… how could… how could he be so cruel… Fuck!" He collapsed in the ruins of the house, paws battered and aching. "Fuck!" He leaned down into the mud, crying. This was not how things were supposed to be. "Sonic, why did you go alone? Why didn't you bring us with you?"
It had been a terrible day for all of them when the base had exploded. The clouds took a long time to disperse, and when it had, the sky was a deep satin red. As red as poppy flowers.
Knuckles, hoping to find fragments of the Master Emerald, had come limping to inspect the rubble, some of which had fallen down the mountains and formed a burning, hot rubbish heap at the bottom. Dulcy had arrived at the same time for news, hoping to report back good progress to the princess. Shortly after, it was Shadow who had found the injured hero in the rubble on the brink of death. No one knew how he survived the explosion in the first place, but he did murmur two words before passing out, 'The emerald.'
Even now, Knuckles could still smell the hero's blood when it had soaked into his arms from holding him up for Dulcy to take. Shadow – being the most knowledgeable on saving him, had gone with her and rode on her back – this was the fastest way back. Meanwhile, Knuckles sat behind him, his leg too weak to run on. With the extra weight, it took awhile for Dulcy to take off, but when she had, her swiftness was better than running on foot.
Shadow found the echidna sobbing in the pile of wood, nails and roof tiles. Arms folded across his downy chest, the hedgehog summoned him a good, long stare. Then together they went to comfort Tails in Shadow's own shack of a home. And here they were, five hours later after surgery. Confused, lost and upset.
"I – I think he's going to be okay." Shadow spoke with underlying uncertainty. He was often very sure of himself and didn't speak unless he knew confidently what he was talking about. Knuckles safely assumed that the journey had changed him incredibly. For he was the one who had battled to save Sonic's life regardless of how they may have been towards one another in the past. Now it was his advanced medical supplies from the Ark that was keeping him breathing, if only barely.
"I hope so."
"Do you think he killed the Doctor?"
Shadow bit his lip. If Sonic had survived, surely the forerunner had also? There had been no time to check, and even then, Shadow doubted that Dr. Robotnik had lived anyhow.
Tails walked over to the door, eyes red from crying so hard. "Guys, I have to see him. This isn't fair, I'm not six years old anymore!"
"You aren't ready…" Knuckles began, but Shadow cut him short.
"Are you sure?"
The fox nodded firmly.
Dib07: Morbid, no? Anyway, please review and let me know what you think, and if you think I should continue.