Chaos energy is not a thing to be played with.
TAGs: one-shot, Writing Exercise, Wordcount: 1.000-5.000, angst, but it has a happy ending, way too many chaos energy headcanons, Tails needs a hug
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters from the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise.
AN: This story idea was pitched to me by FrostieFroakie who asked "What do you think would happen to Sonic if somehow all the chaos energy stored in his body was removed?" and I figured, hey, that is an interesting question. And now here I am. Hope you'll enjoy!
Shadow didn't like being disturbed on his free days. Rouge knew that and, therefore, when she called him on his personal cellphone that Tails of all people was desperately trying to get hold of him he immediately knew something terrible had gone down.
The moment he stepped a foot into the kid' workshop, he realized that his gut had once again been right. Sonic was collapsed on the floor, unconscious, his breathing shallow and body visibly shivering. Tails was kneeling by the blue-furred hero's side, a first aid kit and the cellphone he most likely called Rouge with lying next to him on the floor.
Sky blue eyes flickered to him the moment his steps sounded through the room. "I-I tried to extract a bit of his ch-chaos energy for an experiment..." Tails immediately started to explain, tripping over his words in his state of distress. "At first everything seemed alright, but then h-he started screaming and suddenly collapsed! I checked his pulse and everything and tried to wake him up but I can't for some reason. I figured it might have something to do with chaos s -so I called you... "
Shadow felt as if he were struck. "...You tried to extract his chaos energy?" Chaos extraction was something that should be avoided on living beings at all costs. He immediately placed his hand onto Sonic's body so he could feel more precisely for the other's chaos to see how bad the damage was.
The nothingness he was met with was crushing and made him feel as if ice had just replaced the blood in his veins.
"How?" he growled before he could stop himself. A dark head whipped around, crimson eyes boring holes into the young inventor, silently demanding to know what on Earth had the kid done to bring Sonic into this state. Tails cowered under his harsh tone and intense glare, clearly scared. Shadow felt some distant part of him remind him that this was a child—a distressed one nonetheless—he was talking to. Tails obviously knew he had accidentally done something terribly wrong, knew Sonic was somehow hurt even if he couldn't really see how, obviously felt bad about it and wanted to fix it. But instead of calming the kid down, Shadow was snapping at him.
Taking a deep breath to calm himself, Shadow tried to soften his expression. Making sure he sounded less harsh but just as authoritative, Shadow demanded again, "Time is of the essence here, kid. What exactly did you do?"
"I-I used this device." Tails got up to his slightly unsteady feet and walked over to a big tubular machine in the corner. "By enabling a certain frequency—"
Then the fox kid gave a quick rundown of how the machine worked, telling how he first used it to extract some chaos energy from the air, then tested it further on a Chaos Emerald and various plants to see if it would have effect on something organic.
"—all the previous tests turned out fine! I didn't know it would hurt Sonic! H-he's going to be al-alright, right?" Tails asked, clearly trying to keep his voice from wavering. However, Shadow could still hear something akin to desperation trying to crawl its way into the kid's voice. "Right?"
"Do you still have the Chaos Emerald?" Shadow demanded instead of answering, not letting his voice give away any emotion. Natural chaos drainage caused by the person fueling all their chaos energy into chaos techniques was not lethal or severely dangerous, but this had been a forcible removal and those always ended in internal injuries as unlike normal chaos energy, personal chaos would naturally try to resist any kind of outside manipulation and thus inevitably cause damage to the body—and considering how much chaos energy Sonic normally carried—more chaos, more damage—and the fact that Sonic had screamed and collapsed, the damage was likely very very severe.
Tails quickly nodded and ran to get it from wherever he kept the gem. In the meantime, Shadow laid even his other hand onto Sonic's unmoving body, focusing on finding the damaged areas and trying to feel for the chaos that was left; Sonic was still alive and breathing so there had to be something and he needed to ensure it wouldn't pour out too or cause further damage.
"Here." Shadow didn't even look at Tails as he took the Chaos Emerald from the kid's hands, focusing all of his attention on the trembling hero. He had been able to feel out the remains of Sonic's chaos energy which despite it currently erratically rushing all thorough Sonic's body took considerable effort to detect—and that was not a good sign; it showed there was way too little chaos left and if it all spent itself on trying to heal the injuries the rest of it had created...
Shadow really hoped Sonic would be so goddamn stubborn about not dying as he always was.
He disregarded both his gloves to rid himself of the additional barrier and took the red power gem into his left hand, feeling the familiar hum of the energy inside in the moment the contact. He urged his own chaos to pull energy from the emerald's core, drawing it in himself and making it travel through his body before pushing it out through his other hand and into Sonic's system, adding into the mix a bit of his own personal chaos so it would actually end up traveling to where it was needed and do what it was supposed to do—heal. Normal chaos wouldn't heal anyone on its own as it was literally just energy and one needed to add 'will' to make it do something like that—and such 'will' only personal chaos had and only it could pass 'will' onto normal chaos to convert it.
The little bit of Sonic's chaos that remained tried to resist the sudden intrusion at first, but it stopped when Shadow willed his own chaos to communicate his intentions to it. There was a small pause but he then could feel it examining his own chaos, the part of Sonic's unconsciousness that controlled it most likely trying to figure out if it knew him. Then apparently happy with whatever it found, it actually seemed to calm down and offered no further resistance to Shadow's chaos as it moved all around Sonic's being, semi-converting the chaos he was dragging along and then making it heal the unseen injuries.
Sonic's chaos actually even seemed to want to help at first, trying to tag along, but Shadow urged it back into doing nothing as fully converting normal chaos into personal one took a long of time and Sonic couldn't really afford spending even a tiny of bit on healing right now. He was fairly sure he could feel something that seemed like protest from it—the chaos staying true to its owner personality—but eventually Sonic's chaos did settle and instead focused on stealing small amounts of the yet-unconverted chaos energy he was supplying to convert it and replenish itself.
Shadow wasn't sure how long it took him to heal all the damage the forcible extraction had caused, but by the time he finished his whole body felt sore, his hands were tingling and his chaos reserves were feeling almost drained. Sonic's own level of chaos was still way below 'low' —which considering how much chaos energy Sonic normally carried in his body instinctively made the agent feel concerned—but considering the situation Shadow thought wasn't really something to be alarmed about for now. He could actually detect Sonic's chaos even without really having to search for it now and he took that as sign Sonic was already making steps to recovery.
He clenched his aching hands, feeling as if needles were prickling him which was understandable after the huge amounts of chaos he had to filter through them.
"Are...Are you finished?" Tails asked tentatively somewhere from behind him, the sound of feet hitting the floor following just a moment later as Tails jumped down from whatever he was sitting on. "Is Sonic—?"
"He'll recover." Shadow nodded his head tiredly, slipping his gloves back on as he stood up. "Eventually. Though he'll most likely feel severely exhausted for a couple of days."
"Thank you, Shadow." Shadow could hear the weight falling from Tails' shoulder, hear the break in the inventor's voice, hear how he choked back a sob. "F-for coming and saving him. If you ever need anything—"
"Never again do a chaos extraction on a living being," Shadow cut in, allowing himself to give the lecture 'You shouldn't mess with something that's called chaos' to the young hero now when there was finally the time as there were no lives in immediate danger. He turned, giving the kid a hard stare to ensure Tails was paying his full attention to him. "If you ever wish to experiment with chaos energy again, you will first come to me or echidna for consultation. Do you understand?"
"I will," Tails promised, nodding vehemently as he looked at the still unconscious Sonic, clearly doing his best to fight back tears. He had just wanted to learn more about chaos energy not almost kill his brother...
Tails choked back another sob and Shadow took it as a sign that maybe it would be better if he moved Sonic somewhere else where he didn't seem so obviously not fine as laying unconscious on the floor.
Slowly, he crouched down and scooped up the hero into his arms, noting that Sonic was no longer shivering—another good sign. "Where is his room?"
Tails looked a bit surprised by him picking Sonic up, but he recovered almost immediately. "T-this way," he said and took lead, Shadow following in his footsteps until they reached Sonic's room on the upper floor.
The moment they stepped into the room, Tails hurried to remove the covers from Sonic's bed and by the time Shadow was laying Sonic down onto the bed, it was onto the snow-white sheets. Together they removed Sonic's now unnecessary clothing and then Tails tucked Sonic in in a manner that Shadow suspected had generally been done the other way around in this household.
"...Thank you again, Shadow," Tails said once he finished smoothing the green covers, hands lingering atop them as if he wanted to physically assure Sonic wouldn't suddenly disappear. "Is there anything I can do to help Sonic recover?"
Shadow pondered the question. "Make sure his meals are varied and nutritious to make up for what he had lost in the healing process. Have painkillers ready just in case—" He had taken care of all the major injuries but all minor ones that weren't life-threating were up to Sonic's own body to heal. "—He might end up feeling weak for next few days and thus need your assistance so don't spend too much time away from the house."
Golden brows furrowed over blue eyes in thought. "We do have some painkillers since the last time Sonic got banged up but we're out of food. Sonic was supposed to go grocery shopping this morning before he..." Tails shook his head to remove the thought, sky blue eyes turning to him somehow unsurely. "Would you—Would you, please, watch him for now, Shadow? We really don't have much food here so I need to get some. I-I promise to be right back."
Shadow believed that promises were kind of pointless here—he knew the kid would have definitely refused to leave Sonic's side if it weren't for something to help Sonic get better faster—but he didn't say that aloud, just giving a small inclination of his head. "Go."
Tails thanked him again, rushing out of the room and house with speed that would have made Sonic proud. It was honestly just a few heartbeats from Tails leaving the room and the front door being shut closed.
The moment it did, Shadow let himself slump onto the only chair in the room, allowing his tired body to relax against the soft cushions, clenching his hands again to return some feeling into them—they had gone from feeling overstimulated to feeling completely numb. Seeing that was to no avail, he let them slacken again, letting his eyes close tiredly. It seemed his vacation was now going to be about recovering, instead of relaxing...
Shadow wasn't sure when exactly he had dozed off, but when he woke up it was to the sound of pained moaning and rustling sheets. Crimson eyes opened just as Sonic rolled over and complained loudly.
"My body freaking hurts..."
Shadow just huffed. "Of course, it does. You've almost died."
"Shadow?" The hero's tone was surprised, the green eyes opening to stare at him in confusion. "...What are you doing in my room?"
"Making sure you don't die," Shadow muttered but did not acknowledge that he had been doing a shoddy job at that for the past...few minutes? Tails wasn't back yet so it surely wasn't longer than that. When Shadow saw the other staring at him in confusion, he rolled his eyes and explained, "Your friend's experiment didn't go as planned and he called me in to save you. You're welcome."
"Oh, yeah, the experiment—I remember now!" Sonic remarked, a bit too excitedly in Shadow's opinion. However, the emotion quickly fell away and was replaced by shock and horror as more memories came in. "It felt...it felt as if I was being torn apart..." Sonic muttered, visibly shuddering at the memory before shaking his head to chase it away. When the green eyes met Shadow's again, there was confusion and uncertainty with them. "What—what exactly happened?"
"The chaos of living beings and non-living matter works differently. Your friend didn't know that."
"But Tails has tried it on plants and nothing bad happened..." Sonic argued, confused.
"Beings, hedgehog," Shadow emphasized. "Plants don't count into those. That is a whole different category."
"...I see." Sonic hummed, ceasing this conversation. Green eyes swept over the room searchingly, the hero clearly trying to find for something that would prompt a topic to talk about instead. "Wait, where's Tails? Is he alright?"
"Beside a mental scarring from almost killing you by accident he's unharmed," Shadow responded. "He's currently out, shopping for supplies for you."
"Tails probably feels pretty shaken now. I'll have to assure him that I'm not—" Sonic hummed thoughtfully, muttering to himself before a realization flashed over his face. "—Wait, supplies?"
"Your body required extensive healing so you'll need proper nutrition to get your body back into normal."
The hero blinked. Realizing what this proper nutrition would most likely look like, Sonic rolled onto his back and let out an unhappy groan. "Man, not salad again..."
Shadow let out an amused huff, feeling all of the leftover tension leave his body—Sonic was complaining which meant that he'd rebuild some of his strength already. However, it would surely take at least a week before he got back to normal and knowing Sonic the complaining would be just getting worse over time.
Shadow already pitied the kid.