I would like to credit the great Asirainis for her top-notch editing of my work. She betas all of my work and I adore her for it.
When Aleena got home, she found her youngest son making a mess in her kitchen and her eldest son filling out a form in the kitchen. Sonia was sitting on the balcony, looking out over the city, reading a book bound in red leather. "Has she been there long?" She asked.
Sonic shrugged. "Since we got home at least. Mom, is she okay?" The blue hedgehog was obviously very worried about his dear triplet.
Aleena nodded and patted his head gently. "Your sister will be fine. What is this?" She asked regarding the form. He let her take it. "You're changing courses? Don't you like the course?"
"No, Mom. Did I pick that course? Was I high or drunk? Something?" He asked. "It was terrible!"
She giggled. "Very well, my son. What have you chosen to do instead?" She nodded as she read her son's choice. "Web design. Interesting. You can use my computer if you need it." She kissed the top of his head and went to Manic. "I take it you liked your class."
He nodded. "Culinary Arts is great. Unlike Sonic, it's just one class a day but it's a big day. We baked cookies today. My partner sent some for you to try. I told him about your new job and that you would need a cook."
Aleena nodded and tried one of the cookies. "They are very good but I'm afraid I can't give a job to your friend, son. That's called nepotism."
Manic nodded. "I get it. But he's really nice. He likes to read and he likes to cook and bake. My cookies didn't come out very good. I'm trying again." He looked at the recipe and measured out the nutmeg.
"Very well, my dear," She corrected him absently. The queen looked over at her daughter and remembered what the mink said. She made toast and buttered it before dribbling honey, cinnamon and freshly grated ginger on it. "I made you some toast. I know you like it when you don't feel well."
Sonia looked up at her mother before turning back to look at the people walking up and down the street. She hugged herself protectively. "I'm not hungry."
Aleena sat down beside her. "Dear, please tell me what's wrong? I can see something is weighing on your mind." Mother and daughter regarded each other for several minutes, a light breeze carrying the sound of the trolley bells from the avenue. "Please, dear. Talk to me. I'm your mother."
"It's just… ever since we woke up the other day, nothing has felt right." She lowered her head, holding herself around the middle. "I can't remember anything from my childhood. Nothing about this place feels familiar. And it feels like… like someone reached in and cut away part of me. It feels like something is missing."
The hedgehog mother felt her lip tremble. "My dear, I know things feel weird now. You were so sick. Your fever was so high. It'll be okay." She hugged her child. "Now, please… you need to eat something."
Sonia sighed. "Um… alright but… can I have a cheeseburger with some chili fries. And some pickles? I want pickles. And potato chips… and…" She realized she was rambling. She was suddenly feeling ravenous. At least she tried to tell her mother even if she was brushed off, again. It at least told her what she needed to know.
Aleena nodded. "Yes dear. Let me call up the diner. You'll like Murray's chili fries more than you would mine." She tapped her daughter's head gently. She considered her daughter's craving. The signs were all there. What could she do? Perhaps she could still get rid of it. Her daughter need never know and then she might feel better. But could she do that? How could she look at herself in the mirror if she did?
Bartleby listened to the talk Sonia had with her mother, weeping for his beloved's pain. Aleena was just ignoring the truth. Manic and Sonic could be manipulated but Sonia was too smart for that.
Sleet laughed at the princess' request. "You know, it's very possible that you could be expecting." He told the mink. Bartleby's mouth fell open. "Don't you think it's worth cutting Aleena off now?"
Bartleby shook his head. "Not yet. When she finds out, Aleena might let her go on her own. She couldn't deny me my child."
"Really? You don't think she'd do anything to make sure Sonia doesn't remember you?" Sleet asked.
The mink gasped. "No… she… she wouldn't." He would confront Aleena and make sure that she wouldn't do anything stupid. "She loves Sonia. I know she does. She's just not thinking straight right now."
Sleet sighed. "Fine, you're too nice for your own good but fine." He wrapped tomorrow's gift for Manic. "Thank you for… for allowing me to go to school with him. I never got any formal education, only the local library."
Bartleby nodded. "It's my pleasure. Thank you for never giving up on my uncle. You could have escaped the city at any time and you stayed. Some might have called you cowards for not standing up to him or leaving but I think you were so brave to stay and help him. You two are his only other two friends."
"He's hard to walk out on. As afraid as we were… I felt pity and didn't know why. I also had to make sure that he didn't hire someone who would actually capture them." He admitted. "You'll be together again. Don't let her bully you. The moment you realize that she's not going to give you what you want, you take it."
Sonia tossed and turned in the bed, moaning with anguish and reaching out for someone to hold but there was no one there. She was so lonely. She wept as her dreams took her at last to the mansion. She looked around for her guardian angel, walking through the hallways that seemed to speak to her.
Photographs hung on the walls. Photographs with her as a child walking and playing with a little boy that she couldn't see well, he was all blurry. The photos started at her childhood and went up through her teen years, including photos of her brothers. One photo stood out to her. A human in his late forties with a bald head and a red handlebar mustache. He was as plain as day to her but she couldn't put a name to the face. She moaned as her head ached.
Cries echoed and pulled her down another corridor to a nursery of a rainbow of colors. In the nursery, she saw two cribs. In a rocking chair, the mink woman from her dreams sat, holding a tiny half-mink baby, though the spiny hair indicated there was some hedgehog in the babe.
"Oh… oh, are they mine? Are they what I'm missing?" She asked as she picked up the second baby.
Maria giggled. "They will be. You only need to be patient, dearest. I love you so much." She said encouragingly. "So does your father…" The nursery faded and they were in a hospital room. An orange jackal sat sleeping with a young vixen cradled in his arms. Lying in the hospital room was the man from the photo. "He loves you. He always has. He lost you once and it broke him. Turned his heart dark. Until you came back to save him from himself."
Sonia nodded as she went to the man. "I know him… I know him but… the name won't come to me. He is my father?"
She nodded. "I was to be your mother but… you and I were taken from him far too soon. He never even got to hold you in his arms." Maria carded her pink hair.
"Did… did Aleena… She's not my mother?" Could this be the problem? Was this Aleena the villain?
Maria thought about her answer. "She is now. If we had lived, I would have been your mother and we would have lived here together. And he would have been your cousin instead of your soul mate." She sighed. "But instead, I get to watch over you this way. I suppose if only's are pointless."
Sonia let the woman comfort her. This was what it felt like to have a mother. "But… if she is my mother now, why doesn't she care? Why doesn't she listen to me? Why won't she let us be together?"
The minkette shook her head. "Shhh, don't confront her. Don't ask her. And whatever you do, accept nothing she gives you. Not even a glass of water."
Sonia nodded. "I promise… I won't let you down Mama." She felt something shaking her. "Mama…" The smiling woman faded with the hospital room.
She sat up and looked over at the purple hedgehog, blinking with confusion. "Who… who are you?" She asked with genuine concern. "Where am I?"
"Sonia, what do you mean?" The other woman asked. "It's me, your mother. Are you alright sweetheart?"
Sonia shook her head as the cobwebs faded. "Mother? Oh my gosh… what was that? Ohhh I'm so confused…" She bent her knees and cried. After several minutes, she ran to the bathroom, vomiting again. She heard her mother declaring that she wouldn't be going to school again and that she was making her some toast.
Aleena knew what she had to do when she got to work. She looked at Murray. "I don't think that Montclair kid is working out. And frankly, I don't like the way he looked at my daughter."
Murray nodded. "Understandable. If you don't feel comfortable, do what you must. I trust you to do the right thing."
Aleena nodded. She had a deal with that Montclair but she needed to protect her daughter first and foremost.
When Bartleby arrived at work, he was not expecting Aleena to be glaring at him. He let her take him to the office "I want you to leave this establishment and never return." She ordered.
"What?" He asked. "Aleena, what's wrong? What did I do?" He asked before she slapped him across the face. "Now, see here!"
She hissed at him. "She's all discombobulated! She didn't know who I was this morning. You did or said something to her! I don't know how but you did. You leave this city or I will call the Watch."
"I won't! I won't go anywhere and you can't do a thing to me! I know… I know that she's pregnant." He only suspected but she didn't need to know that. "Yeah, didn't you wonder why we hurried the wedding." He lied.
She smacked him again. "You are a liar! She is not pregnant and you are a terrible, dangerous young man! I will not let you threaten my daughter." She pushed a button. "The watch will be here in moments." Bartleby stood his ground as the cops came at the silent alarm. "He's been harassing my daughter and stalking her." She told them.
Bartleby glowered. "She's my wife! You kidnapped her and you had to resort to dirty magic to keep her!" He protested as he was put in handcuffs.
The officers didn't listen to him as the hedgehog mother declared him to be a predator. They believed her over him but they would regret it. He shouted as he saw the window open up in the apartment. "I will have my wife back Aleena!" He screamed. "I will save her! Sonia! Sonia!" He saw her appear in the window just long enough for the glass door to shut of its own volition. "Sonia!" He cried one last time as he was forced into the car. "You'll regret this Aleena! I tried to help you!" His chest seized up in the car and he had to hunt down his inhaler as he sobbed.
Sonia tried to get the door open as she heard the familiar voice screaming for her. He knew her name. She heard footsteps running up the apartment stairs and turned on the television. She sat down and pretended to not have heard anything as Aleena come in. "Mom… you're home early. Is everything alright?"
Aleena smiled gently. "No dear. I just wanted to check on you. We had a bit of a ruffian down at the diner. I worried the struggle might have disturbed your rest."
Sonia shook her head. "No… I was just about to make me some toast. Would you like some before you go back?"
"I can make it for you dear…" She said. "And maybe some tea too."
The hedgehog smiled. "Thank you Mom." Once she had her snack, Aleena kissed her forehead and bid her farewell. Sonia threw out the food and drink and remade it. Don't confront her. She waited until her mother was in the diner before getting dressed. She needed to bail that man out.
She bought a city map from the convenience store and found the police station. "Hello, my name is Sonia Hedgehog. My mother had you arrest someone earlier but she made a mistake. That man wasn't harassing me. He just walked past me that's all."
The officer looked at her. "He's already been released on bail." He explained. "But I'll let him know the charges are dropped."
Sonia breathed a sigh of relief. "Did you see which way he went?" The officer pointed uninterestedly to the left and she walked until she reached her home again. The man was nowhere to be seen.
Bartleby shook like a leaf as he pondered what to do, sitting in their apartment. "I'm sorry Sleet. I ruined your day at school."
Sleet shook his head. "It was a matter of time before she had one of us arrested. Too bad you know the king and he vouched for you." He grinned.
"Sleet… I don't know what to do. They told me to stay away from her. I can't get near her now." He wept. "I thought I was making progress but…"
Sleet nodded. "Aleena's lost her mind. Don't worry. Aleena's going too far because she knows she's on borrowed time." He made them some dinner. "Tomorrow, you're going to go to the king and explain the situation. You just need to end the charade."
Aleena knew Bartleby wasn't really lying. She doubted that he knew for sure but the symptoms were obvious. Somehow, he was still keeping tabs on her daughter and following her every move. She had no choice. There was only one way to protect her daughter, thought to herself as she got out her potions, selecting her memory potion and another potion, red in color. As the moon rose over the city, she stood in the apartment storage locker, staring at the potions. She didn't want to do this but Sonia still didn't know. She could do it now and for all her daughter would know, she would just have had a late and heavy month. She had to do this. Sonia wouldn't even eat her dinner that night. She needed to do this for Sonia's sake so that she could adjust.
She sat down in a chair that she kept there, clutching the potions. "Sonia… Sonia… I'm only doing this for you. Please understand." She went upstairs and into the kitchen. Carefully, she mixed in a drop of both potions with the honey. She lay down on the couch with a sigh. Things would take care of themselves now. She closed her eyes and let herself fall asleep.
Sonia sat and talked with Maria over coffee. She loved this woman. This woman treated her like a daughter and not as a doll. She wished she had been able to know her in this life.
Suddenly, Maria touched her arm. "It's time Sonia." She said with alarm. "You must leave and you must go home. Hurry… You're in grave danger."
The pink hedgehog stood up. "Grave danger? Please Mama, tell me what to do?" She asked before the door opened.
A cool breeze blew through, calling her name. "Sonia…." She knew that voice. She took off running towards it.
In her dreams, she was running. In the real world, she was slowly and quietly walking down the stairs and onto the street. She wasn't really seeing anything as she walked towards the diner and turned to walk up Euclid's steep, mile-long hill. She walked up the hill as fast as her legs could carry her.
She didn't see the lights coming near her when she crossed the street. The small jalopy came just inches from hitting her before stopping. A gold coyote and a rabbit jumped out of the car.
"The hell? What are you doing in the middle of the street?" The voice jolted her awake and she looked around in fear.
"Where? Where am I? What's going on?" She trembled like a leaf as the rabbit touched her hand.
"Oh, Antoine, her hand is like ice. Come with us, honeypie. Let's get you out of the streets and somewhere warm." The voice was kind and Sonia let the rabbit lead her into the car. "My name is Bunnie. What's your name, sweetheart?"
The hedgehog opened her mouth as she tried to answer but for some reason, the name wouldn't come out. "I… I don't know…" She clutched her aching head.
They took Sonia to their home at the top of the hill. It was a quaint townhome attached to another similar townhome. Dogwood trees lined the property boundary. Inside, photographs of a happily married couple sat on the table in the entry and Sonia smiled at the warmth. "I… I'm… I'm Sonia…" She finally got out as her anxiety eased.
Bunnie sighed with relief. "Well, that's good you remembered your name. You must have been so scared."
Sonia nodded. "I think I must have been sleepwalking. I'm sorry." She let Bunnie make some tea for them.
"It's no problem, sugarpie. I'm just glad Antoine saw you in time. Is there someone that you can call?" Bunnie asked.
She nodded. "Yes, but in the morning. I need to see the king first." She said. She needed to keep that woman away from her. Her brothers liked her and they could have her but she was leaving. "I want an official witness."
The next morning, Aleena was just barely holding in her panic as she realized that Sonia was gone. She growled and woke up her sons. She forced herself to keep her composure. She had a strong feeling where her defiant child was.
Sonic asked his mother where Sonia was and she quickly lied. "She has gone to the doctor this morning. For her vomiting. She'll be staying home again." She would get her daughter back before they got home from school. They didn't need to know anything. "What are you and your brother doing in school this morning?"
"We're going over internet code and what everything means. Our teacher says we won't use the computer for awhile yet." He explained.
Manic packed up some of the cookies he made the night before. "We're still baking cookies. It's cookie week." He explained.
Aleena smiled. "Well, I wish this school had been around in my school days. When I was in college, it was eight hours long with about six classes a day. Have a good day." She kissed them and saw them off. She waited until they were out of sight before stomping across the street.
Bartleby was getting ready to go to the castle. Sleet decided to stay home from school and accompany him, citing the fact that Robotnik would have his head if anything happened to him. He couldn't let Aleena keep him from Sonia. The woman was simply unstable.
Sleet nodded. "You're doing the right thing… She's good with Sonic and… even Manic but that's because they like it here." He combed his fur. "If we can keep them from finding out, I'll stay behind and… I'll try to give her a chance. You don't have that luxury now if we're right." He looked up as a pounding was heard at the door. He hurried to open the door. "Aleena! What are you doing here? This is our home!"
Aleena looked around and saw the short-wave radio sitting turned off on the folding card table. She saw the telescope by the window. "Where is my daughter! What have you done with her?"
Bartleby shook his head. "What do you mean? Last I saw her, you were keeping her prisoner in that flat! Do you mean to say that you don't know where she is?" He stood up.
She shook her head. "Don't try and tell me you don't know! She was there a few hours ago and then I woke up and she is gone! You kidnapped her!"
"Aleena! You are the kidnapper here! You kidnapped her and now you don't know where she is! You are the worst mother in history!" Bartleby was about to run out to start looking when his phone rang. "Uncle Max, I'm surprised, I was going to come see you today but my wife is…" He stopped and took a deep breath before falling down into a chair. "Thank you… thank you. Keep her safe, I'll be there shortly. Thank you." He looked up at Aleena. "You're lucky. She's safe."
Aleena felt a wave of relief wash over her briefly before the gravity of the situation came crashing down. "You're not taking her away from me…" She growled.
Bartleby gave her a pitying look. "Well I can't let you keep her from me. If you love her, you'll do what's best for her, not for you." He put on his jacket.
Sleet rolled his eyes at the former queen. "He's right, you know?" He said simply before following him.
She stood, trembling violently. She didn't know what to do. The spoiled brat was going to take her daughter away from her. She had to go after them. She might be able to convince the king that she, Queen Aleena, knew more about the situation and what was best for her daughter.
After explaining the situation to her new friends, they had agreed to take her to the castle that morning. The king listened to her as she explained, "I don't have the details yet, it's all still very hazy. I know that somehow my mother brought us here and she made us forget. My memories are starting to come back. I know I'm married and his name is Bartleby Montclair. I know my father is in Robotropolis and I need to get back there."
King Maximillian Acorn nodded. "I know your husband. His godfather is a good friend of mine. I can call him."
Sonia nodded. "Yes, please. And if my mother comes looking for me, please, keep her away from me. Please. I feel violated…"
"I promise your mother won't get anywhere near you. You are safe now." King Acorn assured her.
Somehow, Sonia knew she should be able to protect herself but she was still coming out of the fog her mother had gotten her lost in. She didn't know what her mother did and she couldn't defend against it with that handicap.
She was sitting on the dais by the throne, holding herself when the steward announced Bartleby's arrival. She looked up at the shadowy figure from her dreams, except he was no longer trapped in shadow. That blond hair, those emerald eyes.
He ran to her, taking her into his arms. "Oh, Sonia! Sonia! You're here." He kissed her hair. He wept joyfully.
She wrapped her arms around him, sobbing with relief, savoring the safety of his loving embrace. Things were starting to make sense again. "Bartleby, I'm sorry. She tried to make me forget you but she couldn't. Not for long. I'm sorry."
The mink rocked her comfortingly. "It's okay. We're together again. It's okay."
"Excuse me, ma'am, you don't have an appointment and the king said…" A guard could be heard calling as Aleena came into the throne room.
King Acorn looked at the purple hedgehog. "Yes, Aleena. It's good to see you again." He said stiffly, though he obviously didn't mean it. "Though it's very interesting that it is under these circumstances."
Aleena nodded. "King Acorn, I don't know what my daughter has been telling you. This nobleman supports Robotnik in Robotropolis. He's the man who took over my throne and killed my husband and Bartleby wants to give her to him. She's in danger with him."
King Acorn looked at Sonia. "Dear, do you know this woman?" He asked.
She shook her head. "No. My mother has long blonde hair and her name is Maria. And my father is in Robotropolis." She gave Aleena a meaningful look.
The amaranthine hedgehog stood in shock at her daughter's words. "Sonia, please, don't say that. You do know me. I'm your mother. I only wanted to protect you. And you wouldn't leave without saying goodbye to your brothers."
Sonia frowned. "You don't get to use them against me. I have to go. I have to get away from you." She leaned in. "And if you try to stop me, I will make sure they learn what you've done. For now they're happy so I'll let them stay happy but you have to leave me alone. And you have to let…" She looked at the wolf as she struggled to find his name.
"Sleet… My name is Sleet." He filled in the blanks.
"Right, Sleet. You have to leave Sleet alone as he tries to date Manic. You cannot interfere in their courtship. And I will know because I will be keeping in touch with them." Sonia ordered. "Maybe someday I'll be able to call you mother again but for now, I do not know you. Do not call or write."
Bartleby nodded. "You could always start online chatting with Uncle again if you wanted to stay up to date but… frankly, I think he can do better and I will let him know that."
Sonia nodded as she realized something was still missing. "And I want my ring back."
Aleena and Sonia stared at each other for several moments before her mother sighed with frustration held out her hand. The ring appeared on its chain. "I only wanted to protect you. What do I tell them?"
Sonia shrugged as she took back her necklace. "Whatever you want. I don't care so long as I never hear from you again." She let Bartleby hold her. "I want to go home now. I want to see Father."
"Sonia, please, listen to me!" Aleena pleaded. "When I was pregnant, I only expected Sonic and Manic. You were a gift from the gods."
She closed her eyes. "I was a gift that wasn't meant for you to keep." She shot back. She and Bartleby left.
Sleet glared at her. "Should have learned to share, Your Majesty. Then you wouldn't be in this position." He followed after them.
They decided to go straight to the train station. "Sleet, you now have the apartment all to yourself," Bartleby laughed. "Thank you for your support."
Sleet nodded. "I'll keep an eye on Aleena and Sonic both. Manic too but… for personal reasons." He sighed. "Tell Dingo that I'm sorry
Bartleby smiled. "Good. Sonia darling, let's go home. I miss home." They got onto the train together and found a place to sit down in their first class car. "When we get home, we are taking a honeymoon staycation. I don't ever want to leave Dresden again."
His princess giggled and kissed him. "I agree. And I'll make an appointment with the doctor." She put his hand on her belly as the train started along the track. Much of the last twenty years was still foggy and she wondered if it would all come back someday. Some part of her wanted the past to stay forgotten. She was happy with what she remembered. She remembered the important things.
AN: So ends Book 2. I know it was short but now Sonia is on her way home. They have reason to believe she's pregnant. They've just decided to assume she is with all of the signs. Robotnik isn't biologically her father at this point. Rather her spirit was the baby that was meant to be his and Maria's. Jules killed Maria and thus the baby. She was immediately reincarnated as a result. She's all Aleena and Jules. It's quite the insult that Bartleby thinks Robotnik is too good for Aleena at this point. Will Robotnik agree? Will Sonia ever forgive her mother? Will love conquer all in Book 3: Love and the Hunter.