All characters © Sega or Archie or who/whomever.  Drake © Me (So don't steal my story.  Please?)

Oh… things between these are thoughts.  Just so you know.

Chapter 1

            Drake was calmly walking through the dark woods, enjoying the beauty of Pennsylvania.  However, he was not very attentive to the odd, indescribable strangeness of the evening.  When he got to the stone highwall, he was surprised to see a strange green glow over the edge.  As he moved closer, he felt an odd pulling sensation.  When he finally looked over, he saw a green vortex for a brief moment before the pull of it drew him and part of the highwall into it.  The last he saw of his home was the stars fading to green.

            Meanwhile (Knothole, Acorn Kingdom, Mobius Prime)

            "C'mon, Sal!  Is it really that major that you find that piece to upgrade Nicole now?"

            "To me it is, Sonic!  Why are you being so difficult about this?!"

            "The hedgehog, difficult?"

            "The hedgehog, extremely difficult."

            "Ouch Sal."

            The Princess glared at him.  "Sonic, let's skip the jokes.  What's wrong?"

            "Nothing!  It's just…somethin feels really weird today.  Can't you feel it?"

            "Sonic…maybe you should go see Dr. Quack."

            "Hardy har har."

            "Really, acting strange because of an odd feeling."

            "Actually..." Sonic began nervously "I was also wondering, uh"

            C'mon hog! Don't chicken out now, just ask!  If she says no, that's that

            Suddenly there was a green flash, followed by a loud curse that ended in a very audible thump.

            "What was that?" Sally shouted.

            "I'll check it out, Sal!"  And with that, he revved to race to the flash.

            "Be caref-"  He was already gone.  Sally sighed. I wonder what he was wondering about…she checked the time and winced mentally Chili-dogs, of course  She smiled slowly.  At least he'd never change.  She hoped that he and Mina would be OK.  She couldn't help but be bitter, but she understood.  They had so much in common, speed, similar attitudes...similar standing.  She wished Elias wouldn't have left.  Whereas she couldn't blame him for wanting to set his own path (and certainly didn't mind the fact that she would soon be an "Aunt Sally" by blood!  The idea made her almost giddy.) it did leave her as princess.  She may have wanted Sonic to take interest, but she couldn't see him sitting and listening to petitions and not going headlong into action over injustice.  He wasn't … subtle enough.  She wished she knew his feelings, though.  Was he with Mina, or just being friendly (though he seemed a bit too friendly)?  She sighed, realizing that now was not the time to ponder such things, as there might be some trouble.

            Sally arrived to see Sonic trying to lift an Overlander off the ground.  He was having some difficulties trying to drape the young man over his arms without spiking him.  He heard Sally and jumped into a defensive stance before he realized who it was.  "Geez, Sal! Give a hog a heart attack why don't you?!  I found this guy lying here, and his pulse is pretty weak.  I was gonna bring him to ya so that you could use Nicole to scan him for any bugs or trackers!  Do you think we should take him to knothole?"  Sonic said in a rush.

            Sally quickly ran some scans and decided it was an acceptable risk.  "Let's go, Sonic.  He doesn't have any bugs, but he needs more medical help than I can offer if his heart gives out." 

            Sonic looked somewhat nervous "Uh… would you mind helping?  I don't wanna drag his head at sonic-speeds, and I'm having some trouble carrying him."

            Sally sighed. It's going to be a long day

Chapter 2

Drake winced slightly, gingerly opening his eyes.  He appeared to be in some sort of hospital. Another fall like that and I'll be in a mortuary! He heard the door open and sat up to see Dr. Quack enter the room.  He stared for a moment at the duck.

"Ah, you're awake!" The Doc stated, pleased.

"Yeah."  Drake's eyes widened in shock.  "A talking duck.  I'm talking to a duck. A duck." He continued to ramble on in this manner.

Sally walked in, followed by her father, mother, Geoffrey, and Sonic, the latter two trying to keep as far away from the other.  She smiled "I see he's awake"

"Squirrels now. And blue hedgehogs.  And skunks."  He giggled, and then began laughing.  "I fell and now I'm hallucinating.  Maybe I had a stroke.  Or brain damage.  Or I'm totally and utterly mad.  It's not real.  No.  I'm not crazy.  I'll believe I'm mad when I see a cyber-mouse or something." He managed to regain his composure, still giggling slightly.  Sally realized that he was on the edge of a nervous breakdown.  Sonic grinned and gestured towards the door.  Bunnie walked in from outside.  Drake looked at Bunnie for a moment.  He resumed cackling.

            After assurances that he was fine, with a "Minimal to no brain damage" diagnosis from the Doc, Drake was told about where he was.  Sally saw nothing to suspect in his reactions to Robotnik, the king (he tried to get out of bed to bow and looked extremely thankful when he was told that he didn't have to.) and the roboticizer.   Drake explained that he was a human from Pennsylvania in the U.S of A, and then told what he knew about how he had come to be on Mobius.  After all was said, he frowned and looked at Bunnie.  "I am so sorry about laughing at your legs.  I was having trouble accepting what I was seeing, even though it is no excuse.  I didn't know that they were…uh, forced on you."

            Bunnie smiled "Its okay, sugah.  Ya'll didn't mean anything by it, and yuh didn't know anythang about the roboticizer.  No harm done."

            Drake grinned "I bet the guys are always admiring the chassis."

            Everyone looked at him in shock.

            Bunnie only returned the grin "But only Antoine ever comments.  Makes me wonder about it sometimes.  But don't let him hear yuh say that.  Suga-twan might get decide that it's an insult from yuh and defend muh honor."  She winked.

            Sally frowned and shrugged. I thought she'd be insulted.  I guess the fact that she got a compliment (albeit an odd one) made up for the joke.  At least they both made a friend.

Chapter 3

            As dark began to fall, Sally and Sonic were giving Drake a guided tour.  Sally decided that the safest place for Drake to stay would be in Bunnie's hut (and Bunnie could certainly take care of herself as Drake wasn't nearly as strong as she was).  She had discussed this with Bunnie, who quickly agreed.  By the time Sally had finished getting Drake the info as to where Bunnie's hut was, she sent him to go find her hut.  Drake, being unable to tell one house from the next, made an honest mistake.  Bunnie was out with Antoine, and had not returned to her hut.  There was only one hut lit up and he was pretty sure it was Bunnie's.  He knocked, and remembered that Bunnie had said that she would leave the door open if she wasn't there, so he opened the door and stepped in, to be greeted with a blow to the forehead…

            "I'm sorry!"  A metallic voice stated as he awoke.  "Mina, go get another ice pack!  I didn't know there was an Overlander here until Mina told me about you.  I saw an Overlander barge in and just remembered the war and…"

            "Huh?"  Drake managed thickly.  "Isn't this Bunnie's hut?"  He looked around, seeing a metal mongoose looking at him.  She was still holding the frying pan.  He realized that she must have pulled back at the last minute, or he would certainly have more than a simple headache.  "Obviously not." he muttered, closing his eyes.

            "Is he OK?"  Another voice asked.

            "I hope so.  Maybe we should take him to see Dr…"

            "Oh, I'm fine.  Never better!  I don't need to waste any more of the Doc's time!" he stated, opening his eyes and standing.  The room swirled rapidly.  "I'll sit back down now."  He managed a weak smile.  "I hope I never get you mad at me.  If you hadn't pulled that, I might have been looking at myself through your window!"

            "Sorry, I was thinking about the war and…"

            "What war?"    Drake asked.

            "The Great War of course!  How many others were there?"  She looked puzzled.

            "I'm not an Overlander, actually.  I'm a human.   I don't know if there's a difference though…"

            "So you had no idea that people might try to hurt you or anything?  Mina helps babysit an Overlander girl named Hope, and people can be quite vicious towards her."

            "Mina?"

            "My daughter.  She's getting some ice for your head." She explained.  "She's in the kitchen."

            "Oh….Can I ask something?"

            "You just did, but ask something else."  She smirked.

            "How come you don't look like Bunnie's arm and legs did?"

            She coughed.  "That's because Bunnie's limbs were killing her.  She could either risk a deroboticization, which could have killed her, or permanently upgrade."

            "Permanently?"

            "She can't be deroboticized because the limbs are different, and she can't downgrade because it would probably kill her.  It's a horrible situation."

            He winced.  "And I made a joke about her.  God…"

            The steel mongoose frowned.  "I suppose if she was really insulted she would have said something.  She's very forgiving.  I think she might even be used to it."

            "That's no excuse.  I feel like a heel."

            "That might just be the bump."  Drake looked towards the voice from where he assumed was the kitchen.  He was surprised to see an attractive, yellow furred mongoose step out with a washcloth and a bag of ice in her hands.  "That is gonna leave a heckuva mark."

            "Mina!  That certainly isn't funny.  He could've been hurt!  I …"

            "Whoa, lady!  Calm down!  No blood, no foul, after all."

            Mina chuckled.  "You certainly ought to be upset, cause you got hammered."

            "Fried, actually."

            "Ouch.  Bad pun."

            "Sorry.  Is that for me?"

            Mina started.  "Yeah, sorry.  Here."  She wrapped the rag around the ice pack and put it on his forehead.

            "Cold!"

            "Oh, don't be such a baby!  It'll swell like a balloon if you don't keep it there." 

            "But…"

            "Mina, could we talk for a moment?  If you'll be OK?"

            Drake nodded, and Mina shrugged.

            "Sure, momma."  The mongooses continued to the kitchen. "What's up?"

            "Bunnie isn't home yet.  Maybe he should stay here for the night.  I'd feel guilty just dropping him off like that on Bunnie anyway.  What if something happens?  He was just hit on the head, after all."

            Mina frowned "Are you sure about this?  I mean, we don't know him, or anything about him.  We don't even know his name!"

            "Well, look.  If he would try something, you could get help before he could do anything, and I… I can take care of myself.  Besides, I don't think he would.  He seems like a nice young man."

            "I guess so."  Mina agreed.

            "Well, let's go see what he thinks."

            The two women walked out to find Drake intently reading a book that had been sitting on the table.

            "Hey, uh… what's your name?"

            He started "What?  Huh?  Sorry, I started reading your book; I just wanted to see what kind of stuff you guys had.  I love to read."  He began nervously.

            Mina repeated herself.

            "My name?  Drake.  Pleased to meetcha."  Mina shook his hand before she realized that they had technically already met.

            "Drake, would you like to stay here tonight?  Bunnie isn't home yet and you should probably lie down.  You should have someone check on you through the night.  After all, you did get a nasty whack."

            "I don't know… the Princess did say…"

            "We'll clear that up.  I'll leave a note for Bunnie.  Besides, we'll get you something to eat.  You can sleep on the couch."

Chapter 4

            Drake yawned, taking in a deep breath of eggs and bacon.  Huh!  I wouldn't have thought that they would eat meat.  I suppose it makes sense though.  At least my head doesn't hurt anymore. "Good morning!  Everyone sleep well?"

            "You hum in your sleep.  Loudly."

            "Told ya"

            "Yes.  You did.  But still… I've never heard of such a thing.  Snoring, talking, walking…  My husband once sung a song, but I've never heard someone hum a tune in their sleep."

            "He was singing?  What did he sing?"

            She smiled.  "Our song.  From when we dated.  It was very sweet."

            "Oh."

            "What about you?  What were you humming?"  She played a few bars.

            Drake winced.  "Black Sabbath tune.  It's called "Iron Man".  Not something I'd sing the words to here. "

            "Too bad.  It seemed a catchy tune."  She said.  "Mina, breakfast!"

            The mongoose quickly sat down with a good morning to all.  No sooner had they finished the meal than there was a rapid knock on the door.  "Who could that be this early?"  Mina's mother opened the door to a somewhat worried Sally.  "Good morning, Princess!  To what do we owe the honor?"

            Sally held up a hand to catch her breath.  "There is an Over- er, a human missing.  He was supposed to stay…"  She saw Drake "At… Bunnie's…"   She stared for a moment.  "Where have you been!?!  Bunnie was worried that something had happened!"

            Mina's mother quickly intervened "I accidentally hit him with something and almost knocked him out.  He didn't want to see the doctor so I insisted that he stay where we could check up on him, because Bunnie wasn't there to.  It wasn't his fault.  We figured he could stay here without causing too much trouble."

            Sally frowned "That's very nice of you, but…" she shrugged "I suppose it doesn't matter where he stays.  If you want him to stay here, he can, but we need to run some tests on him now anyway."

            "Tests?  What kind of tests?"

            "A few blood tests, a couple of other things.  Don't worry Drake.  It's nothing major.  We just need to prepare you for school.

            "Oh, ok."  He suddenly jerked towards her "What grade?"

            "Eleventh.  Same grade as Mina and the rest of us.  Why?"  She asked, startled.

            "I don't know… I don't want to have to go to a different grade, really."

            "What grade were you in?"

            "Twelfth, but there is a lot I can learn this year, so it doesn't really bother me.  I need to learn some things that may be different."

            Mina frowned "Ya know, we could try to schedule your classes with some of the FF's to keep any problems from arising.  I mean, he was almost knocked out for going into the wrong hut."

            Sally nodded "Good idea.  We can help him with any class problems, too."

            "Class problems?  I gots plenty o' class!  No problem there!"

            Sally and Mina looked at each other and winced "Oh god.  Not another one."

            Drake only looked insulted until they explained.

Chapter 5

            So it was that Drake began school on Mobius.  Sally was trying to get a hold of Knuckles to see if he could open a portal to Drake's world, but she was having difficulties reaching him.  She knew, however, that Knuckles would certainly bristle at having a human whom he didn't know find out about the Chaos Emeralds, and just showing up would not be acceptable, and potentially dangerous if Knuckles or Haven jumped to any conclusions.  So, she told Drake only that she had an idea, while telling everyone to keep any info about the Chaos Emerald on The Floating Island to themselves.  Sonic, as a joke, challenged Drake to a race.  Drake agreed (not understanding the joke), and found himself crossing the start line as sonic passed the middle marker.  Drake was found to be faster than a good portion of the other residents of Knothole because of his height; Mina, Sonic, and Tails, and several others not withstanding.  Tails and Drake had met, and were getting along well.  Drake had been even more amazed by Tails' ability to fly than Sonic's speed.  They had quickly fell into talking about things that interested themselves, from animals on Earth to electronics, and the topic eventually fell to magic.  Drake was as pleased to learn about magic on Mobius as Tails was shocked that it didn't exist on Earth.  They quickly came to an agreement.  Tails would explain magic on Mobius, and Drake would tell him what he knew of their species counterparts from Earth. 

            Mina also introduced Drake to Rosie, along with Rory, Snaggle, and Sasha.  She was pleased to find that the children were less uncomfortable with Drake than she would have expected, but that may have been because of how silly he acted with them.  Within a short time, Drake had become a living jungle gym, allowing the children to clamber over him to swing on his arms and whatnot.  Drake, after Rosie ushered the children to lunch, was surprised to learn that Mina was almost as fast as Sonic.  When Drake met Hope, he was glad to see another humanoid, but was surprised to see that she only had four fingers, as opposed to his five.  However, he soon found that many people were not as kind to either of them…

            "Another Overlander!  Damned things are everywhere anymore!" 

            Drake frowned, turning towards the fox "Hey, watch your mouth.  There are kids around.  I mean, c'mon."

            Even angrier, the fox spat "I ain't doing anything a filthy Overlander says.  Yer all evil!"

            Drake shrugged.  "Well, I'm not about to discuss theology, but I'm pretty sure that it's the choices you make that make you evil, not what you are by birth."

            "Bullshit!"  The fox snarled.

            "If you say so.  I really don't feel like fighting about it."  Drake snapped, walking off.

            Sonic tapped the fox on the shoulder.  "Can I ask you something?  What would possess you to try to start a fight with someone twice your size, especially if he is as evil as you seem to think?"  With that, Sonic followed Drake.

            The fox glared after him.  After a moment he shouted "You're a fool!  You can't trust any of 'em!"

Chapter 6

            "So, a Chaos Emerald is like a really big power ring?"

            "Not exactly.  They use different magic.  You can apparently make rings with an Emerald, but an Emerald is a limitless supply.  And a ring you can use a lot easier.  It seems to just increase 'instinctive abilities', like Sonic's speed."

            "Or Mina's?"

            Tails grinned.  "Yeah, probably." And yet again, he makes a tangent towards Mina.

            Drake frowned "What's so funny?"

            oops. "Nothing.  Anyway, there are several other things that use magic, like… the Sword of Acorn."

            "Sword of Acorn?  A magic sword?"

            "Uh, kinda.  I wasn't really supposed to say anything about it.  Sally doesn't like the sword."

            "Why not?"

            "I guess it tried to tell her the future.  She didn't want to know, because it might alter the way things could turn out, and not the way she wanted it to.  I don't know how."

            "It could give her information that would benefit the both of them but not the people."

            "Maybe.  She also said that "Trying to alter the future to prevent something from happening could be what's going to cause it to happen""

            "I wonder if it could help me get home." Drake said excitedly.

            "I don't know about that, Drake.  From what I've seen, it doesn't work on Overlander.  Besides, I wasn't supposed to say anything about it anyway.  Sally might not…"

            "Ok, Ok.  If it comes up, I'll ask her about it.  The princess said she had an idea.  Maybe that's it."

            "I think she's getting annoyed with you always calling her "princess".  She prefers to be called Sal, or Sally.  She doesn't like to "stand on formalities".

            "I know, it's just weird to call royalty by her first name."  Drake said softly.  He grinned "Besides, she's funny when she's trying not to kill me."

            Tails rolled his eyes.  "Give it a break, man.  Besides, it's your turn to answer questions."

            Drake nodded. "Ok, shoot."

            Tails tried to keep a straight face. This'll be good "Do you have a crush on Mina, or what?" 

            Drake's eyes widened. "Uh…um…Ya know, I think we should be heading back, maybe Sal came up with something" He quickly hurried off.

            Tails couldn't help but grin as he flew up behind him "C'mon man!  Answer the question!  C'mon!  Chicken!"

            "ALL RIGHT ALREADY!"  Drake snapped "Yes.  I do.  Is it really so bad of a thing?!"

            Tails landed "I don't see anything wrong with it.  Mina might not either, if you told her."

            Drake sighed.  "Tails, she's so hooked on Sonic it ain't right.  I mean, Sonic has both Sal and Mina after him, Mina doesn't even notice that Sonic isn't that interested.  She talks about him constantly."

            Tails winced I wasn't serious!  Geez, I didn't think he really did have a thing for her! "Well… maybe she doesn't think anyone else is interested.  I mean, you haven't said anything to her about it, have ya?"

            Drake gave him a look "Bud, I don't want to lose a friend over this.  What if she's offended and doesn't want to talk to me anymore.  Or what if other people decide that I'm an evil Overlander, only these ones decide to do something about it.  Mina could get hurt if something like that happens, and I don't want that.  Or what if I go home the same way I got here, and just disappear.  If I would get into any kind of relationship with her, it'd be bad, because people might look at her differently because she dated an Overlander." 

            Tails grimaced "You're worrying too much.  Mina can take care of herself, and I doubt it would upset her if you asked.  Besides, what if you can't get home.  The two of you might make a good couple."  He shifted "C'mon, let's go see Sally".

Chapter 7

            "I want nothing to do with that sword!"  Sally fumed.

            "But daughter, just use it when you need to.  You don't need to keep it with you at all times, or even use it at all.  Just have it nearby in case you do need it."  King Acorn said.

            "Your father is making sense, Sally.  It can't do any harm if you don't use it, but it can cause harm to our people if it falls into the wrong hands.  Even if they don't use it, they could prevent us from helping our people."

            Sally sighed.  "Ok, you're right.  I just… don't want to see the future.  I want to control my destiny, not walk on a set path because it's safest.  I'll speak to the spiders."  She lowered her head.  "I'm sorry I've been so difficult about this, Daddy.  I just don't trust the sword.  What if the sword is wrong about what it sees?  According to Knuckles, prophecy like that has to be interpreted.  It's not always what it seems."

            The king nodded "I understand, Sally.  The future is surprising, especially when you expect something."  He suddenly smirked.  "Did I ever tell you that your mother was sure that your brother was going to be a girl?"

            "Max!  It was at the beginning of the pregnancy!"

            "She even had the doctor run a second test!"

            Sally laughed.  "So mom thought I would have an older sister.  At least she was right the second time."

            "I was so looking forward to watching you grow up." The queen whispered.

            "You're here now, mom." Sally whispered back. "And I'm not going anywhere."

            Later…

            "Are they coming?"

            "I'm sure they are, Sonic.  They have almost five whole minutes left."

            "Maybe they got stopped somewhere and decided to stick around!"

            Sally glared at him.  Sonic began to fidget.  There was a quick knock at the door.  Sonic quickly moved to open it.  The spiders filed in quickly.  Sally couldn't see the sword.  She felt a cold dread in the pit of her stomach at having the sword again. Maybe they found a way to get rid of it. She dismissed the idea as soon as it came, the thought more frightening than the sword itself.

            Three spiders stepped forward.  The two to the sides suddenly jerked away from the third.  As they did so, the middle spider collapsed.  One of the spiders quickly took a dagger to it, to Sally's horror.  She was even more surprised to find that the middle spider had been no more than a costume stuffed with webbing, and the reason it had appeared to be walking were barely visible strands connecting it to the other two spiders.  The spider with the dagger rooted in the webbing, removing the sword, which it presented to Sally.

            Sally felt the dread once again.  The sword was trying to warn her of danger… from the spiders?  What would cause them to attack now?

            Slowly, the door opened again.  Tails poked his head in.  "Hey Aunt Sally, Drake's here!"  With that, the door was fully opened.  Sally sighed in relief.  And then she remembered how much Arachnis had hated humans. 

            "Tails!  Drake!  RUN!!!"

            The spiders were moving towards the two before she managed to finish what she was saying.  Time seemed to slow.

Drake responded instinctively, throwing Tails behind him, taking the brunt of the attack.  The weapons hit their mark with horrifying accuracy.  Drake fell, a look on his face of shock and … relief.

            Sally screamed for the spiders to stop, which they did, barely leaving Tails with an inch between him and the tip of a sword.

            Sally raced towards Drake, dropping the sword.  She grabbed him, lifting his head.  "Drake!  Drake!  Can you hear me?"

            His eyes opened, and he managed to cough.  His lips speckled with blood.  "Tails…OK?"  He tried to breath.  His breath sounded wet.

            "Tails is fine, they stopped.  You saved him.  We need to get you to the hospital."

            "It's nice here.  I don't mind."

            "Drake, you need to be operated on.  I think you have blood in your lungs."

            He tried to get up.  Failed.  "Just tired…maybe…later."  His eyes closed.

            "Drake.  Drake!" She slapped him, trying to get a response. Nothing. "DRAKE!"

            Sonic grabbed her arm.  She looked at him.  He had been holding Drake's wrist.  The hedgehog simply lowered his head.  "He's almost gone, Sal.  If we move him, it'll kill him even quicker.  Look at his chest.  His ribs are fractured.  They'll tear his lungs even worse.  The doc can't fix that.  We'd only put him in more pain.  He's already leaving." 

            Sally shook her head.  "No."  She looked at the sword.  "Maybe…"  She took it.  Stepped back.  Pointed it towards Drake.  "Yes".  The energy flow from the sword hit him.  Nothing.  She absolutely refused to believe that he was gone.  "Heal damn you…" she hissed.  She felt her rage filling her with the power.  The energy of the sword darkened.  She used it again.  Nothing.  She flung the sword from her with a cry.  She fell to her knees, weeping.  Sonic walked over and held her.  Tails simply stared at his friend.  Sally looked at Tails.  The kit was covered in blood, none of it his own.  She shivered.  "Tails…I'm sorry.  I failed."  The kit shook his head in disbelief.

            "He saved my life.  He pushed me behind him.  He just d… Aunt Sally!  Look!"

            The princess turned towards the human, tears blurring her vision.  She watched as his ribs forced themselves back into position.  The wounds on his chest pulled together.  He managed a pained wheeze.  "Sonic!  Get him to the hospital! NOW!"

            The hedgehog gave her a squeeze to reassure her before he moved, enlisting Tails' help as he went.

Chapter 8

            "Well, he appears to be doing fine.  We managed to get the blood out of his lungs, and what little he didn't cough up hopefully won't cause much trouble."

            "So he's going to be fine.  Thank you so much Dr. Quack."

            The duck patted her on the shoulder.  "Sally saved his life.  I couldn't do much more for him.  He'll need rest, though, and so do you.  You can see him tomorrow, Mina."

            "Thanks.  I'll be back tomorrow."

            Drake yawned.  Oh man! I slept in! He tried to sit up, and found himself restrained by a mass of bandages.  The memory hit him.  "Cool!  I'm not dead!"

            "Well, that is a relief."  The duck's voice came. 

            Oh, no.  The crazy doctor again.  Wait.  He saved my life.  Think better of him.  He obviously knew what he was doing.  After all, they thought I was as good as gone. "Hi doc.  How you doin'?"

            "Almost as good as you.  You've had a few visits by some pretty young women while you were out.  The princess, Amy, Bunnie, Mina."

            "Mina came?" Idiot.  Yer her friend.  Of course she came to visit you in the hospital! Quickly he asked "How long have I been out?"

            "Three days.  And in response to you first question, yes, Mina came.  With Sonic and the rest, and by herself."  The doctor had a small grin.  "Sorry, but I need to make a few rounds.  I'll send someone in with something to eat."

            Chill, don't freak on him.  He saved your life, he can tease a bit.  You owe him that much. "I thought I was making the final countdown.  I guess you really know your stuff".

            The doctor turned from his place at the door.  "Actually, the princess healed you with the Sword of Acorns.  I just cleaned you up a bit and kept you healthy.  And I gave you a transfusion, as you lost a lot of blood.  See you later."

            Drake stared for a moment.  Sally helped me?  With the sword?  It worked?  But Tails said it didn't work on Overlanders.  Is it because I'm human?  Is there a difference? He shrugged.  It didn't really matter now.  He was alive.  A nurse pushed a tray into the room.  And the doc didn't.  Huh.  Here I was going to be a martyr.  Hope that don't happen again. There was a knock at the door. "Come in.  Hi princess!"  He saw her fists clench almost spasmodically.  Ok, call her Sally from now on.  If I hadn't been in this bed she mighta clocked me. "What's up Sal?  Did I miss much?"

            "No… not really.  We thought you weren't going to make it.  You were…well, let's just say that you'll always be a part of Knothole."  She managed a weak smile.

            "That's really touching, Sally."  He nibbled at a bit of his meal.  He winced.

            "Father said they'll never get the blood off the floor."

            "Ok…maybe not that touching."  He said weakly.

            The princess heaved a sigh of relief.  "We were so worried.  It's been giving Tails nightmares.  He was right behind you.  He was covered in blood."

            Drake bolted up. "Is he ok?  Did you stop them?"

            Sally nodded.  "Tails is fine.  They just reacted to an Overlander.  They couldn't help themselves.  They…" she sighed "Their mother was a traitor.  She died before they were born, and all they knew was her genetic memory.  She hated Overlanders, and she wanted the sword, apparently just to keep it from Kodos.  They don't want to use the sword, just safeguard it.  They made perfect protectors, as even Sonic had trouble with them, and I wanted away from the sword.  They flipped into fighting the minute they saw you, and were almost unable to stop themselves from attacking both of you."

            "When they learned the truth about what they had done, they were horrified.  As I've said, they only had their mother's genetic memories, so to them, they were right.  After realizing what they had almost done, they swore themselves to protect you, if you survived.  They have been guarding the hospital, even though we said that you would be fine."

            Drake shook his head.  "I'm alive.  I don't need protection.  If they were as bad as you say their mother was, I would have certainly died.  I think they tried to restrain themselves; it just… wasn't enough to not attack me.  You said they didn't hurt Tails, so they must have managed to stop in time.  Make them a deal.  If they don't harm someone because of being an Overlander or any other dumb reason again, I'll forgive'em completely.  I don't want to hold a grudge.  Especially against someone who could kill me so easily."

            Sally stared in shock.  "Drake…they might actually accept that.  And it would keep them in check.  That's a great idea."  She mused to herself over it. "Definitely a great idea.  I'll have to reword it, but other than that....  Father wasn't sure he could trust them, but their honor would certainly convince them to agree, and keep their side as well."

            Drake nodded.  "Good.  Tell them my bargain.  I'm a little dizzy, or I'd…"

            "No you won't!" another voice shouted.

            "Hi, Mina.  Won't what?"  Drake asked nervously.

            The yellow mongoose stormed over to him. "Dr. Quack said you were not to leave this bed for at least another day.  He'd flip if you get up."

            "Ok, ok!  Sorry.  I'll be good."  He gave her an embarrassed glance.

            Mina quickly raised a finger to her lips.  "Here, I brought these.  They're fresh."  She handed him a paper bag, which the human tore into hungrily, removing his prize.

            "Thanks.  These are the best."  He quickly ate several of the cookies.  "I can't wait to get away from this hospital food.  Never could stand the stuff.  Give me junk food any day."

            Sally snickered into her paw.  "You know, you really shouldn't…"  Drake handed her a cookie.  She sighed and ate it.  "Wow.  These are good."  She looked at Mina.  "Did you make these?"  Mina blushed.  "How about that.  Speedster, singer and cook." 

            Drake frowned.  "Singer?"

            Mina blushed darker.  "Yeah.  I sang in front of Knothole once.  It was cool, but I'm kinda uncomfortable about doing it again without getting ready.  Sonic kind of volunteered me into it."

            "Forced volunteering.  Wonderful."  Drake rolled his eyes, then looked at her.  "I'd love to hear you sing sometime."  Mina blushed darker still.  Drake heard a faint giggle.  He looked at Sally, only to see her wince.  She gave him an embarrassed look, but seemed surprised that he'd heard.  Mina looked from Drake to Sally in confusion.

            "What?"

            "Nothing, Sally just bumped my foot, and she's jumpy."  Sally looked relieved.  Why did she look surprised?  Mina had to hear that giggle, too.   Thanks a lot, Sal.

Chapter 9

            "Wow!  There's not even any scars!"  The kit was obviously quite excited.

            "Yeah.  I guess I'm pretty lucky.  But I didn't think the sword would work."

            "It didn't, at first.  She used it again, and it was…weird.  It…looked darker.  I know it saved your life, and all, but I was…well, I was scared of Sally at first.  She was really vicious looking.  I think she did something to the sword."

            "Tails, I find it hard to believe that Sal could be so scary, and I think you guys had to exaggerate the wounds…"

            "You didn't see it.  Sally told me that part of the reason she grabbed your head was so that you wouldn't see it, because you might go into shock.  Dr. Quack said that you had blood in you lungs and…Well, the only way I ever would want to see Aunt Sally like that would be if someone were like that again.  And I really don't want to see that, either.  I mean, your blood was…everywhere.  Just everywhere.  I could show you my gloves.  Sonic's mom wants me to get rid of them."

            "Why would you keep them?"

            "We weren't sure you'd live.  I wanted to keep it to prove to those people you were a good guy in case you didn't."

            "Morbid little fella, aren't ya?  Thanks, kid." 

            "So… I saw Mina visiting you a lot."  The kit was grinning.

            "Why does everyone find that so funny?!  Nothing is going to happen!  Mina wants Sonic, dammit!  She's not interested in the least.  She sees me as a friend, no more. She talks about the damned hedgehog constantly!  You guys really aren't making me feel any better about this!"

            Tails held out his hands.  "Whoa, man.  Sorry, it's just weird seeing you try so hard to get her to notice you.  I really didn't mean anything by it.  Sorry man, really.  Maybe she'll notice.  I'm pretty sure Sonic still likes Sally.  He doesn't think Sally's interested either, but Sally didn't like Mina.  And neither did Bunnie."

            "Bunnie doesn't like Mina?  Why?"

            "Because I think Bunnie wants Sonic and Sally to hook up.  They would make a good couple, I guess.  I don't know.  Anyway, I think Mina does like you.  And if she hasn't noticed you like her, she's crazy."

            Drake winced and fell to a knee, clutching his head.  Tails' eyes widened in fear "Are you OK?  Jeez, I'm gonna go get Sally."  Drake grabbed the smaller fox.

            "I'll be fine.  I've just got a really bad headache.  Don't worry about it.  They've been hitting me pretty bad recently.  I'll go see the doc sometime."

            "When did you start having them?"

            "They started about a week after I got out, so two weeks after I played weapons dummy."

            "Maybe you should see the doc."

            "If I don't get better in a week, I'll go.  But I'll be better tomorrow.  Guaranteed.  See you later."

A few days later…

            Sonic was walking through Knothole, looking for Drake.  The human had skipped his last period class, and Tails had claimed Drake was getting sick.  No one was sure where he went, so he decided to check at Mina's.

            "Hi Mrs. Mongoose!  Have you seen Drake around?"

            The Robian looked at him worriedly "Is he alright?  He hasn't been himself lately.  He hasn't eaten much since he got out of the hospital, and he keeps having headaches.  He left school early today.  He's sleeping in his room.  He doesn't look good, but I can't talk him into seeing the doctor.  Maybe you should…"

            "Talk to him?  I intend to."  He stepped into the house. "Uh… which room?"

            After finding the room, Sonic went in to ask Drake what was happening, and also to get him to see the doctor.  After all, the human had been looking pretty unhealthy lately.  "Hey Drake."  He knelt beside the bed.  "You ok?  Everyone's starting to worry."

            "I don't know."  Drake whispered, eyes still closed.  "My head is pounding, my teeth ache, and I feel so weak.  And I'm so tired."

            "C'mon, man.  Get something to eat and go see the Dr. Quack, OK?  I mean, you look terrible."  It was true.  The larger human's face was pale, his short hair was soaked, and his clothes were dirty.  It looked as him he'd fallen a few times on the way back to Mina's place.

            The human sat up weakly.  "You're right.  I'll get something to eat and go later.  Sorry to make everyone worry."

            "Go on man.   Maybe you should just go now, ya know.  Eat later.  I'm gonna try to reassure Mina's mom that you'll be fine.  She's real worried.  See ya later."

            Drake nodded.

Chapter 10

            Mina was walking home disappointedly.  She hadn't seen Drake or Sonic after leaving the school, and had decided to wait a bit to see if they were coming.  Normally, Drake would walk home with her and they'd talk about whatever was on their minds.  It was so boring walking without talking to him, and Bunnie said he'd missed the last class.  That worried her.  Drake hadn't skipped a class since he'd gotten to Mobius, and he was starting to look pretty bad.  She sighed, hoping he was ok.  It's not just that, is it, Mina?  She frowned to herself.  He's sweet, and kind of cute.  More handsome than Sonic, really.  She shook her head.  He's not interested.  Heck, he's not even from here.  He's just…friendly, I guess.  Probably doesn't think too much about me.  Well, I haven't really started thinking about him until recently.  She looked around uncomfortably.  Hope no one's looking.  I probably look pretty silly standing here shaking my head and frowning.  Drake would get a kick out of it, though.  She smiled and continued on.

            I want her.  The figure leaning against the tree thought.  I want her.  The mongoose hadn't seen him.  I want her.  She saw him.  Smiled.  I want her.  I need her.  He smiled slightly.  He felt a pain in his jaw.  I will have her. 

            Mina walked towards him.  "Hi Drake!  You had me worried.  Where have you been?"

            He began to move forward.  He ached for her.  He would have her.   The mongoose stopped.  "Drake?"

            His eyes flashed crimson.  She took a step back.  He flew at her, grabbing her by the throat.  She's mine.  "Drake!?  What are you doing?!"  She felt his breath on her.  "Drake!  Stop!  What are you doing?!"  She felt a sharp pain in her neck, and let out a frightened sob before going limp in his arms.  He drank slowly, filling himself with her blood….. 

From the author--  More coming soon!  Please review!  I have a lot more chapters, but I wanted to see if anyone liked my work first, as this is my first story.  It does get better, so please be gentle.