The moon was full as RJ walked around the dumpster. He looked around, trying to find something to eat, food scraps, anything really that was edible. His eyes came to rest on a can of Spuddies. RJ sprinted towards it, hoping, PRAYING that there was something inside. Bingo, it was half full!

Great find RJ! He thought as he began to eat the crunchy, delectible chips. As he looked up though, he realized he was no longer in the parking lot.

That's strange, where am I now?

He closed the Spuddies can and started to walk around, trying to get his bearings. It appeared he was in some type of cave. Dread crept through him like spiders, as he realized the all to familiar place where all the trouble started. All that trouble desperatly collecting that food, trying to get it in a week. All that trouble when he betrayed the family that housed him, and all that trouble defeating the humans with their crazy weed-hackers. Out of all places he somehow ended up back HERE, the place where all his nightmares came from.

RJ slowly tried to back out of the cave, even though it was ridiculous to be afraid of solid rock. But it wasn't really the cave that frightened him, more of what lived INSIDE it. That was when a thought struck him, and it made him laugh out loud, a little hysterically if anything. The thing inside the cave was gone, taken far, far away to the Rockies, most likely never EVER to be seen again. RJ face-palmed himself for forgetting that, since it was quite a happy time for him, no more running around Suburbia colltecting food that was DEFINETLY impossible to collect in one week. He breathed a sigh of relief, and started to turn around and head out of the cave. However empty it was, it did bring back BAD memories. Yet something stopped him in his turn, something large and brown, and, furry. Something that looked way too alive to be a rock. Something that had claws and…

RJ slowly tilted his head back, looking into glittering brown eyes of Vincent. RJ bit back a cry of alarm, and tried to stumble backwards, but the paw held him fast, making any means of escape impossible.

"Hello RJ, remember me?" Vincent drawled, sending shivers down poor RJ's spine.

"H-h-how c-could I?" He stuttered in reply, failing to sound any more confident than what he felt.

"Aww you flatter me,"the sarcasm that dripped from Vincent's mouth just sounded…. freaky.

Without warning Vincent threw RJ across the cave and against the wall. He gasped at the pain and curled into ball, repeating to himself, Just a dream, c'mon RJ get a grip it's JUST. A. DREAM! However the pain felt to real, as Vincent began to beat and claw at the defensless Raccon's body. At one point, RJ's golf bag got in the way, and the Spuddies can hit Vincent hard on the knuckle as he went for a punch. Vincent roared in frustration, and ripped the bag off RJ's back, throwing RJ against a rock in the process. With his teeth gritted to stop himself from crying out, RJ thought about how on earth Vincent had gotten back.

"Well, this may be entertaining, but I might as well finish what I came here to do," Vincent suddenly said.

"That 'family' of yours costed me everything, not just you. So I will give them the same little 'gift' so they don't feel left out, eh?"

RJ's eyes grew wide as meaning came over him. Vincent looked at him with an evil grin, and stooped down to RJ's ear level.

"And I will make you watch EVERY. SINGLE. THING,"

"Please, Vincent, don't hurt them! I will let you do anything to me, take it out on me, just don't touch them!" RJ cried, misery washing over him as he thought of his family.

"This is part of your torture," Vincent relpied simply, standing up as the background suddenly changed to the little part of the forest where RJ's new found family rested. He whipped around (well with what little energy he had left) as he hear screams erupting from the little log. He gasped, seeing Vincent's claws glint red in the moonlight, falling to his knees as he realized the triplets had been killed. Completely useless, he lay there, watching as Vincent murdered his family, at HIS cost.

"It's all your fault RJ! ALL. YOUR. FAULT!" cried an all too familiar voice. It was Verne. RJ watched as Vincent picked Verne up, and throw him against a tree.

ALL. YOUR. FAULT. The words ringed in RJ's ears, as he collapsed to the ground once again, whimpering pathetically, "I'm sorry, I am so sorry,"

He heard more screams, and then all was silent. He knew Vincent had killed his whole family, just like his other. RJ heard footsteps beside him, and looked up to see Vincent's eyes glitterin with triumph.

"Now your family as paid, I will finish off what I started," Vincent said, as he picked RJ up by the scruff of his neck. He didn't make any moves of protest, drained of the anguish he had suffered watching his family die.

"I will not kill you simply, mind you, I will torture you, kill you slowly, show you what suffered at the Rockis" Vincent stated. RJ gasped as he felt a claw rake through his back, then felt the warmness of his blood as he started to bleed, the pain was overpowering, yet he had nowhere to go. Another cry as Vincent clawed his stomach, and again and again. RJ screamed.


"AHHHHHHH!" RJ screamed, sitting bolt right up in his tree against his gold bag.

"Fur, bones, paws, still alive, still alive," he puffed, realizing it had been a dream. But it had felt SO real, and RJ knew that it could happen. He was endangering his family with his choice of staying. He needed to leave, and he knew it, like he always did. He didn't belong with them, he was a loner, and always will be. The only use he was was putting everyone in danger, like his parents.

His parents….

All his fault.

"RJ, are you ok?" asked a concerned voice from below. RJ started, then looked down.


Verne didn't mind having RJ join the family, in fact he was happy. RJ was a fun loving guy, and was reat with Lou and Penny's kids. He had joined the family and connected very fast, never once hurting anybody, physical or emotional. Although, there was one thing Verne was worried about. RJ always slept in that tree of his, instead of sleeping in the log with everyone else.

Verne had tried to convince him, but he always just said, "It's fine Verne, I can sleep in the tree, it's comfy," or "Naw, I think the tree will be fine, and so will my back,".

Even though Verne knew it was something else, smething that was bothering RJ. It must be that he still felt guilty about betraying them, or that he felt he didn't belong there still. It might just be that he felt scared that he endangered them by sleeping with the gang, and that he had nightmares about things, even though Verne told himself that RJ wasn't THAT overprotective.

So when Verne heard the scream, he re-thought the last theory, and decided it was a possibility, since RJ had already proved how selfless he could be. So Verne headed out of the log, being careful not to disturb any of the Hedgies.

He walked over to RJ's tree, and looked up, thinking what RJ could possibly be scared of, he was the fearless, cunning, cheeky RJ. Verne looked up and called out to RJ, are you ok? He was answered by a masked face peeking over the branch.

"Yeah, sorry if I woke you Verne," RJ answered, unusually polite, not calling Verne names, just by his name. That was one clue that RJ wasn't fine.

"Are you sure, because by the sound of it you aren't," Verne replied. RJ sighed, knowing he wouldn't be able to get out of telling Verne. Come on, he was VERNE, the over cautious, tentative turtle who cared equally about everyone in the family, even him, RJ, the unlovable, too adventurous raccoon. So he slung his bag over his shoulder and climbed down the tree.

"It was just a nightmare Verne, nothing big," RJ said, trying to get out of it one last time.

"Mhm, just one nightmare along with the other twenty," RJ looked at Verne in surprise "and yes, I know about your others," Verne finished looking at RJ.

RJ looked at the ground, trying to think of some explanation. Then everything spilled.

"It's just, I keep thinking about Vincent, I mean I know he is at the Rockies, and that he is far away, but that still doesn't make me feel right at how I…" RJ drifted off, his fingers fiddling with the golf bag strap.

"I just don't feel like I belong here, and that I probably should have just left, but it's just that, I don't know," he shook his head "and I just remember how I betrayed you guys and I can't go into that log, it just reminds me of how cruel I was," RJ finished, realizing how it sounded.

"That sounds pathetic and stupid, doesn't it," he asked, not really wanting to know the answer. He was meant to be the fearless, cunning, fun-loving raccoon after all.

"No, it doesn't. RJ it's not stupid to feel guilty for things like that, and we have already forgiven you," Verne stated, "and it doesn't matter if you brought hell with you, we would still stick with you and get you out of your messes. That is what families do as I already told you," RJ was frozen with amazement, just at Verne's words. Then he unfroze as he remembered the other thing.

"But I really am not worth dieng for," his words came out like a whisper, barely coming out as words at all. He sank down, resting on his legs, still looking at the ground. Verne didn't know how to respond, he knew RJ was having nightmares about SOMETHING, but he never knew it involved his whole family dieing. No wonder RJ fet guilty sleeping with them, Verne would crush with all that emotional pressure, and during the day RJ was so enthusiastic you couldn't tell the difference.

"You know RJ, you are worth dieing for, you just don't know it yet. If someone cares about you enough, then it doesn't matter who you are, as long as that person cares for you,"

RJ couldn't respond to that. He never in a million years even dreamed of someone willing to sacrifice their lives for his. It was too much to comprehend. He just kept staring at the ground in shock. Then he gave a timid smile.

"I will never understand you Verne," he started, "you can go from being over-cautious and over-protective to quite wise in an instant," from RJ, was basically like saying you were the wisest person, or in this case, animal, in the world. Verne smiled.

"So does that mean that you will come inside with me?" he asked, relieved he was able to get RJ's troubles off his mind, even if it was just for the moment.

"I-I'll try," RJ responded, getting up and following Verne into the cozy log. RJ looked around, feeling safer and protected from the dreams that haunted his subconscius. He placed his bag down gently, and curled up into a ball, his tail his blanket. As Verne settled down next to him, he felt RJ move the slightest bit closer to him, making Verne smile. Finally RJ had come into the log, and whether or not the dreams left him didn't matter, as long as there was someone to comfort him. That was, after all, the gift of a friend.


Hey guys thanks for reading this little (not so little) one-shot! It was inspired by Demi Lovato's song, The gift of a friend, and I actually did listen to it while I was writing! (To set the mood) So thanks for bothering to click this fanfic, and please review! So I will see YOU in my next story! Cheers!