Shuckster

Rating: T (for one bad word :c)

Warnings: Gratuitous overuse of 50s slang.

Notes: This is the result of a skype conversation between myself, Yami-sama42, and Katiemonz. Somehow, we managed to yank ourselves out of our Sonic Boom moaning to talk about Shadow speaking in 1950s slang (because, well, if Sonic Adventure 2 came out in 2001, then fifty years of forced hibernation would put him smack in the middle of the 50s... and that's as far as the thought got, honestly). This is the warped, rambling result.

Dedicated to Katiemonz for the occasion of the anniversary of her birth. Happy birthday, Katie! Hope it's been unreal, daddy-o!

(It was never clear to me if Sonic knew about Maria, but, for the sake of this fic, we're going to say that he knows vaguely. Also, this story takes place in some kind of netherworld where Shadow didn't die after Sonic Adventure and he's just kinda chilling between SA2 and Heroes. Don't think about it too hard.)

Disclaimer: I feel like I should apologize for the Grease reference... (I claim no rights to these characters, blah blah blah.)

Onward!


"You," Sonic, mutters as he hobbles up to the table, Tails hovering at his elbow like a living crutch, "are the most confusing individual I've ever met. And I know a guy that lives on a floating island and a princess from different dimension."

Shadow, who is sitting straight in his seat with a leg propped up on the other, arms crossed, opens one eye at Sonic's noisy entrance. "What happened to you?" he asks when he catches sight of Sonic's brace-wrapped knee, as if he cares or something.

"Took one too many dives off a giraffe with a mustache, Eggiraffe, as I like to call it. Don't ask."

Shadow quirks an eyeridge and leans back in his seat, eyes slipping closed again. "That's raunchy."

Sonic groans as he falls into a chair across from the other. Tails eyes them, lips pressed into a hard line, drops the bag he's carrying onto the floor next to Sonic's seat, and turns to pad up to the counter, probably to order drinks. Sonic watches him go, ignoring the curious eyes of the other patrons of the café, before turning back to Shadow. "Can we not do this today, please?"

Shadow blows out an annoyed breath. "Why did you bring me here?"

"Last I checked, you brought yourself here."

"Get bent, nosebleed." Shadow pushes away from the table. "I have better places to be."

"No wait!" Sonic throws an arm out and nearly tips over in his haste. "Just sit down and relax for a minute, would you? Where else could you have to be on a Wednesday at one in the afternoon?"

"Away from you. I can't be seen with hub caps."

"Okay," Sonic pronounces at length, "now you're just trying to confuse me on purpose. Nefarious, but I'm prepared." So saying, he reaches into Tails's wayward bag and snags a book before slapping it onto the glossy wood of the small table. Shadow, he notices, actually leans forward, trying not to look interested and utterly failing. "I got a book of 50s slang. Your radioactive put downs are no match for me now."

"We'll see." Shadow's expression is so unimpressed that Sonic is afraid his face is going to permanently freeze that way. "You still haven't told me why I'm here."

Tails chooses this moment to come padding back with two drinks, one decently larger than the other, which he passes off to Sonic. The hedgehog takes a second to take a huge swig, and grimaces when bitter tea slides down his throat. "Got something against sugar, kid?" he shoots at his friend, and Tails rolls his eyes before dropping a few sugar packets onto the table between them.

"If you would slow down for once—"

Sonic rips into one and shakes the crystals into the cup. "Caffeine waits for no man. Thanks, by the way." Tails waves the this off before digging around in the bag and pulling his tablet out. He zeroes into it and Sonic knows that he's gone for the duration of the conversation thereafter. "Anyway," he turns back to Shadow as he stirs his drink, "I have something for you."

"Aw, how sweet," Shadow quips, "but you could have just mailed it to me."

"Your last known address was space."

Shadow scoffs. "Better space than Nowheresville."

"Wow, solid insult," Sonic mutters over Tails's scoff, flipping through his book. (The little kit, it seems, isn't as absorbed by the Miles Electric as Sonic had originally assumed.) "I'm sure it'll be more cutting once I understand it."

"It's pretty self-explanatory," Tails grumbles, clearly offended for some reason, but Sonic ignores him.

"Nowheresville, opposite of cool. Nowheresville is a boring, bad place to be. Wow, I was right. Totally rude, man. You wound me right here." He places a hand on his chest. "What say you make it up to me by accompanying me to the sock hop?"

That gets a reaction out of Shadow. Sonic can just see his jaw clench, his fingers flex. "You're cruisin' for a bruisin', hedgehog," he growls threateningly.

"Sure am." Sonic tosses back another gulp of his drink just to show how at ease he is. It takes all of his self control not to choke when the heat burns his throat to ashes. "Did you ever realize— You're black; I'm blue. Together we could personify a bruise."

"I don't see what that has to do with anything."

"Just a thought. If you ever wanna do Halloween right, we could totally get together and pull off a sick costume."

"I'm leaving." Shadow punctuates this by shoving away from the table once again, which only ends up nearly displacing Sonic's drink. It is only Tails's quick reflexes that saves Sonic from a lap of hot liquid.

"Nice save, buddy!" Sonic congratulates, which only draws another insufferable eye roll from the fox. "Okay, okay, seriously. I really do have something for you, but before I give it to you, I have a question."

Shadow really has no reason to listen, but he does, if only because the whole café is looking at them now. Probably some manners thing he learned from Maria and couldn't let go. "What." he hisses, angled slightly toward the door.

"Did you really call Rouge 'toots' the first time you met her? Because I don't believe it for a second but she didn't have any reason to lie—"

"I'm going to give you the biggest knuckle sandwich the next time we're alone—"

"Won't be alone if Knuckles is there, will we?"

The noise that Shadow makes is the pure embodiment of annoyed exasperation, but Sonic can't help but feel like it's a bit fond. "I mean, I can't blame you. She is a very pretty lady. And you got that smog in your noggin', so your manners are on the fritz, amirite?"

Tails, who has an innate danger-o-meter, makes a sound that means you've-pushed-it-too-far, and Sonic bites down on his next sentence, watching as Shadow's hands become fat fists at his sides. Ah hell...

"Sonic, I'm going to put you in the ground," Shadow grits out, except it's not a half-hearted promise like usual. Sonic actually feels himself pale.

"Oh, okay, look, I'm sorry. That was a bit much. Just, come sit back down so I can give you this and we can part ways like two good rivals."

Shadow looks ready to refuse, but then Tails looks up from his tablet and hits the black and red lifeform with the full impact of his wide ocean eyes. "C'mon Shadow," he says quietly, "I think you'll like it."

Maria must've had blue eyes, Sonic thinks to himself as Shadow wavers, glancing between the door and the table, before eventually huffing and dropping back into his chair. "Hurry up."

"Here." Sonic swings the bag onto the table and pushes it toward the agitated Shadow. "I hope it razzes your berries."

"Is that an innuendo?" Tails mutters, only to be ignored once again.

"Happy birthday." Sonic grins, and gestures for the Ultimate Lifeform to get to it.

"I don't have a birthday," Shadow shoots back, staring at the zippers cut across the bag.

"Ah, everyone's got a birthday. Just because you can't remember when yours is doesn't mean you don't have one." He leans forward conspiratorially, actually going so far as to cup a hand around his mouth. "I was looking for spare parts in a pawn shop and I saw this and had to get it for you. You'll love it!"

Shadow huffs again and yanks the bag open. His eyes widen minutely as he pulls a swatch of leather free, and he shakes it out to reveal a worn jacket, black with a large silver zipper and buttons, collar ripe for popping. Sonic actually sees him swallow.

"Hedgehog... Do I look like a greaser to you?"

Sonic shrugs. "I don't like labels, but sure. Imagine it: you with one of those duck butt haircuts, singing show tunes, Saaaaandy..." This he sings, going terribly off key. "Can't you see? I'm in misery. I sit and wonder why-aye-aye—"

"If you know what's good for you, you'll shut up," Tails advises, glancing between Shadow's expression and Sonic's half-wild smile. "You can't run away, in case you forgot."

Yes, Sonic actually forgot that. Bless Tails for the reminder.

Shadow's hands are fisting in the jacket, and the blue hedgehog has a flash of fear. He's going to rip it—

Instead, he throws it over the table, into Sonic's face, actually knocking the tea over this time. Shadow follows the jacket, and Sonic feels a large fist graze his face.

"Do something like this again," the black experiment hisses as he yanks the jacket away so he can look Sonic in the eye, "and I won't miss."

Then, he sweeps away, the door swinging open with a jangle of the bell seconds later. There is a flash of light and then he is Chaos Controlled away, just like that.

The blue hedgehog blinks after him, utterly flabbergasted. Tails, meanwhile, is too busy gazing at Sonic's lap. "He spilled your tea."

That's when Sonic becomes painfully, burningly aware of the liquid fire soaking into the fur on his legs. "Ah, shit!" He jerks up and smashes his sprained knee into the bottom of the tabletop. With a pained yell, he topples and crashes to the floor, moaning.

Tails stares at him for a few seconds, letting him get all of his wordless complaining out, before sighing and standing. "Maybe if you didn't get so cranked," he remarks helpfully with a terribly indulgent grin as he bends to help Sonic up, "you wouldn't hurt yourself all the time."

The hedgehog swallows another groan. "Don't be a germ, Tails," Sonic cracks back, leveraging himself back into his chair. Once fully seated again, he looks down at the book of slang, trying to distract himself from the pain radiating from his lower body. "It's ruined..." he bemoans, poking the soaked volume.

"It's for the best," the fox replies sagely, sipping his own drink. "I think you were using all those words wrong anyway."

"Probably..." Sonic and Tails sit in silence for a few seconds after that. They could probably leave, now that their business is done, but Sonic isn't up to walking just yet and Tails seems to be enthusiastically enjoying his drink at Sonic's expense; couldn't deprive him of that.

Then, something occurs to Sonic. He feels a giant grin split his face.

"Shadow took the jacket."


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