Disclaimer: Sonic The Hedgehog and all related characters are titles are trademarks of Sonic Team/SEGA and are used without permission for entertainment purposes only.' My Life: Anything But Ordinary' is © 2003-2010 to Hamato Kameko. Ki The Echidna is © 2003-2010 to Hamato Kameko.
Rating: PG-13 for language and violence, and mild gore.
NOTICE: The story "Beyond All Odds" is no longer canon to "My Life: Anything But Ordinary." They are completely separate storylines. "Beyond All Odds" is now a stand-alone "what if" story only.
I'm an echidna.
That may or may not seem remarkable, depending on whether or not you've heard of Sonic the Hedgehog and his friends.
It's pretty damn remarkable to me.
You see, I haven't always been an echidna. I was born a human. I was human for over fifteen years. And then something happened that no one's really been able to explain.
Eggman was attacking again, and, as usual, I went along to help in the fight.
I had to be carried home. It was a miracle that I'd survived at all.
And my life would never be the same.
My Life: Anything But Ordinary
Chapter I: A Not-So-Mysterious Stranger
I lay there for a long time, the gash on my chest and countless other lacerations oozing blood, my head throbbing from the impact against the rather unforgiving ground, just staring at myself. Or rather, what little of myself I could see from that position. Mostly my right arm. Which was, as far as I could tell, covered in yellow fur.
Oddly, at the time, this didn't worry me. I wasn't panicked. I wasn't afraid. I felt... normal, aside from my apparent change in species. And my injuries. It was surreal.
After a while – I really don't know how long; it could have been ten minutes or it could have been two hours – I heard the X Tornado's engines approaching. I figured I should get up, so, slowly, I pulled myself up into a sitting position. I could see a lot more of myself from here. Another funny thing – the first thing I noticed was my clothes. They had apparently shrunk with me, because despite the fact that I'd just lost over two and a half feet of height, everything, even my sneakers, fit exactly the same as they had before. Whoever had orchestrated my transformation had at least ensured that I'd have something to wear. That was a plus.
Then again, maybe not, considering how shredded my shirt and jeans were from my fall.
I held my hands out in front of me. Something was different. For one thing, I was wearing white gloves. I never wore gloves. Pulling them off, I inspected my bare hands, turning them this way and that. They hadn't changed all that much – they were still hands, at any rate. A fraction smaller, and a little... off, somehow, but they were still built the same way, still worked the same. Pinky finger, ring finger, middle finger, index finger, and thumb. Yup, all there. And spikes.
Yes, spikes. Apparently, Knuckles isn't the only echidna who has them. I held my hands up in front of my face for a closer look. I had always wondered about Knuckles' hands. I'd been curious as to whether the sharp points for which he was apparently named were actually a part of his hands, or built into his gloves, or what. Strange that they don't tear through his gloves when he uses them. Must be specially made. The gloves I mean. I'd have to remember to ask him about that.
Then again, maybe I could just examine the gloves I was already holding. Where had these things come from, anyway?
There were two of the things on each hand, slightly smaller than Knuckles', but no less sharp. Weird bony things poking through the skin between the knuckles of my index and middle finger, and between the knuckles of my ring finger and pinky; they reminded me distinctly of goat horns. I had horns growing out of my hands.
I looked down at my chest, noting that it was a good bit more flat than it had been. I hadn't exactly been a D cup before, but now there was nothing. My chest was entirely featureless, aside from the good-sized gash that ran nearly the entire length of the tear in my shirt – nearly five inches, which was quite long considering my new size. It was still bleeding, but it wasn't as painful as it looked. I didn't seem to be nearly as affected by my injuries as I should have been, I realized, and it occurred to me that I might be in shock. I didn't take any more time to consider this fact, though, and instead pushed myself to my feet. I swayed and grabbed hold of the tree trunk nearest to me for support, clenching my teeth and squeezing my eyes shut until my surroundings settled. Then I looked around.
I was surrounded by thick trees – in fact, that was probably the only reason the fall hadn't killed me. The ground was littered with leaves and broken tree branches; apparently, they had broken off as I fell. That explained why I wasn't little more than a human splat – the trees had slowed me down. The one I was leaning on was a giant, its gnarled roots poked out of the ground here and there, and I had to step carefully to keep from tripping as I moved away from the trunk. The sunlight filtered through the thick canopy above, providing a soft light to the forest floor.
Something was glinting at me from beneath one of the larger roots, where I had been laying. Forgetting my situation, I knelt down, clearing away leaves and sticks as I tried to figure out what it was that was almost completely hidden by debris. I leaned closer, careful not to block the light as I attempted to get a better look. My breath caught in my throat for a moment as I realized what I was seeing. A glassy stone, yellow in color, stared back at me, happily glittering with reflected sunlight. It had to be a Chaos Emerald. I picked it up and got back to my feet, wiping it clean with the remains of my shirt.
Was this responsible for what had happened to me? I couldn't see how, but it was a possibility.
I could hear the others calling my name: Amy, Tails, Chris, Sonic, and, to my surprise, Knuckles. I didn't remember seeing him during the battle, so I figured he'd either shown up afterwards, or just been in the area and spotted the X Tornado. At any rate, I was glad to hear his voice. Maybe he could explain what was going on. He was, after all, the Guardian of the Master Emerald. If anyone could explain, he could.
I heard Chris's voice growing nearer, while Tails' and Amy's voices were getting farther away. I couldn't locate Sonic or Knuckles. Apparently, they had all spread out to look for me. At least they were holding out some hope that I wasn't dead – after all, they wouldn't bother to call out to a corpse. I started in the direction of Chris's voice, half-walking, half-stumbling, and started to call out to him. I opened my mouth, but only managed a startled squawk as Knuckles materialized out of the brush in front of me.
He stopped in his tracks (as did I) and stared at me for a long moment. His deep purple eyes traveled up and down my new body, and finally came to a rest on the stone I held. After another moment, he looked up at my face. His intense gaze was slightly unsettling. Finally, he spoke.
"Who the hell are you?"
Well, golly-gee, nice to see you too, Mr. Sunshine. Guess I can't blame him, though. Aside from my shredded clothes and silver belt buckle, I didn't look much like my former self. But for crying out loud, how many people does he know who wears a belt buckle – let alone a belt buckle with 'K.T.' engraved on it? I frowned, and decided to voice some of my thoughts.
"Hello to you too, Knuckles."
He stared blankly. Time to be straightforward.
"It's me, Knuckles. Ki." I pointed to my belt buckle with my empty hand. I had an absurd flashback to a comedy skit about rednecks: 'If someone asks to see your I.D. and you show 'em your belt buckle...'
"Thorndyke. Chris's cousin. The human girl with the braids. You remember to turn your brain on this morning?"
Knuckles continued to stare, comprehension slowly dawning. His eyes widened, just slightly. "Ki? But– how..." He trailed off and took a few more steps toward me, eyeing the gash across my chest. "You're wounded."
"No shit, Sherlock." I responded without thinking. "You'd be wounded too if you'd just fallen several hundred feet."
"I'd glide." Good old Knuckles. Sheez.
"Excuse me for being born human."
"Calm down, I didn't mean it like that." He turned away from me and cupped his hands around his mouth. I thought he was taking this rather well. "I FOUND HER!'" Ouch. My hearing was much sharper than it had been, and he was loud.
"Thank you. I always wanted to know what it was like to have my ears bleed." He turned back toward me, staring again, and clearly still having some trouble believing his eyes. I could hear brush rustling nearby; the others were making their way toward us.
"Knuckles? Where are you guys? Is she okay?" It was Chris. He was still a pretty good distance away, but he was closer than he had been. I wondered how my cousin would react when he saw what had become of me.
Knuckles didn't bother to turn around this time, instead calling over his shoulder, "Over here!"
His eyes settled on my chest again, and he reached out a gloved paw to move my shirt out of the way so he could get a better look. I flinched and took a step backward. He sighed. "I'm not going to hurt you. I just want to see how bad that is. Let me see." His voice was gentler than I'd ever heard it, but still firm. He took a step forward and took hold of my shirt, pulling it back. I noted that I was looking Knuckles almost directly in the eyes instead of looking down at him. In fact, I seemed to be an inch or two shorter than him. It felt very strange.
His expression was hard to read as he inspected the scarlet-soaked mess my chest had become. He raised an eyebrow, running his eyes over my chest, arms, neck, and face. "You shouldn't be walking." He finally stated, letting go of my shirt as someone approached. It was Chris, who was followed shortly by Tails and Amy. A moment later, Sonic appeared from the other side.
They all gawked at me. Sonic managed to find his voice first.
I made eye contact with my cousin, and recognition hit him like a brick. "KI??" Chris ran forward, stopping a couple of feet from me. "Ki...? I-is that you?" I nodded. Amy gasped. Tails and Sonic continued to gape. "But how? What happened?"
I shook my head. How was I supposed to know? I had been unconscious. I held the emerald out to Tails. "Happy birthday, kid."
The fox stepped forward hesitantly, but his eyes lit up when he realized what I was holding. "Where'd you find it?" I pointed towards the tree I'd woken up beneath. "Over there. Where I landed."
Tails shook his head. "I wonder... So... you don't know what happened?"
I shook my head again. Might as well try to explain. They obviously weren't going to let me get away with staying quiet. "No. I think I blacked out on the way down. I remember starting to fall... I remember being on the ground... I dunno, it's blurry. I woke up on the ground and heard the X Tornado, so I got up. Except I wasn't... me, anymore." I shrugged.
Forget Knuckles, I was taking this rather well.
Tails looked at Knuckles, who was watching me carefully, as if expecting me to keel over at any second. "Knuckles... you don't think...? I mean, can Chaos Control do something like this?"
Knuckles shook his head, never taking his eyes off me. He was starting to get on my nerves. "I don't know, Tails. I wouldn't have thought so, but... I can't think of another explanation. You'd better put some pressure on that cut. It's deep, and it's still bleeding." I blinked. He'd switched tracks from Tails to me so seamlessly that I hadn't even realized that he was addressing me.
"Huh?" Oh yeah, there's an intellectual response. He repeated himself patiently.
"Your eye doesn't look that great either... or your arm... hell, Ki, you look like you've been run through a food processor. Put pressure on your chest. It's still bleeding. A lot. Or did you want to bleed to death?"
"Oh." More intelligent conversation. Good grief. Really, I could do better than that. "Um, with what? I don't exactly have a first aid kit handy, you know." And now I'm rambling. Peachy.
"Use your shirt. Not as if it's doing you much good like that anyway." Wait a minute– what did he just say? Ooooh, oh, no. No way, mister.
"I am not taking my shirt off."
"It's still a long flight home."
"I am NOT taking my shirt off," I repeated. A corner of Knuckles' mouth twitched, and I suddenly felt as if my stomach were full of lead. I could see him thinking, behind those dark eyes of his. Calculating. He was planning something, and he knew I wasn't going to like it. I knew I wasn't going to like it. I took an instinctive step backward, and he took that as his cue. Eliminating the distance between us in a heartbeat, Knuckles seized my shirt in both his hands and tugged, tearing the last few buttons off and ripping the material until it was all the way open. I stumbled backwards, but abruptly found myself backed up against a tree trunk. Ignoring my struggles and shouts of protest, Amy's mortified shriek, as well as the triple sound of Sonic, Chris and Tails all indignantly shouting his name, he continued pulling at my shirt.
Not ten seconds later, he'd wrestled it off me completely, and pressed it firmly against my bloody chest. My heart pounded, increasing the amount of blood flowing from my wounds, and my face was burning. I found it hard to believe that I had enough blood left in me to continue standing, let alone to blush as furiously as I was. I felt slightly dizzy.
Knuckles took a step backward, his breathing only slightly heavier than normal. "Like I said. Use your shirt. And put your gloves on; you look ridiculous without them."
He turned back around to face the others, all of whom were staring at him in shock. Amy had covered her eyes, but was peeking between her fingers. Chris looked angry, defensive of me, and Sonic looked like he couldn't decide whether or not to yell at Knuckles. Tails merely goggled at him in disbelief.
I tugged the gloves back on awkwardly, struggling to fit them properly over my spikes while simultaneously endeavoring to hold my shirt against my wound. It wasn't easy, especially since my right arm seemed a bit reluctant to follow orders.
I felt very self-conscious. I was shirtless, in front of most of my friends. And there wasn't a damn thing I could do about it. I wanted to kill Knuckles. I shot a dirty look at the back of his head. As if he could feel my glare, he spoke.
"I don't know why you're all so worked up."
This seemed to snap Tails out of his trance. He frowned. "Knuckles, its one thing if a girl chooses not to wear clothes, but when a girl does wear clothes, you can't just– do that. An-And besides, she's human! Humans don't really consider clothing to be... y'know, optional, like we do."
I could hear the smirk in Knuckles' voice. I made a mental note to hurt him after I'd recovered. Badly.
"Tails, she's not human. Not anymore. She doesn't have any more to hide than you or I do. She's an echidna. Not a human. There's a big difference. I thought you were a genius, kid. Or did you sleep through your basic biology lessons?"
Knuckles' voice had been more teasing than cruel, but Tails still blushed. "I-I– no, of course not, but–"
"Forget it, kid. I know you're smart. Look, she needs to be taken home. Now. We can grill her for more details later."
Sonic had been strangely quite during all of this. He finally spoke up, nodding. "Knuckles is right. We should go." He started to turn in the direction they'd left the plane in, and the others slowly turned to follow. Chris hung back, looking at me with a worried expression on his face. I managed to summon a small smile, and he smiled back. Somewhat reassured, he turned and followed the others.
Clutching my ruined shirt to my chest, I took a few steps forward, only to find a spike-adorned hand clamping down on my shoulder. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" Knuckles' violet gaze was on me again, this time looking me straight in the eyes. I shoved at the glove gripping my shoulder. His hand didn't budge.
"What are you talking about? I'm going back to the plane. What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"I told you, you shouldn't be walking."
"And how else am I supposed to get home?"
He looked at me for a long moment. I was beginning to feel like a carnival sideshow. Then, without warning, he bent down and picked me up. "What the HELL do you think YOU'RE DOING??" I shouted. The sudden change from vertical to horizontal was making me dizzy again. I kicked my legs and pummeled him with my fists, careful not to hit him with my spikes. I wanted to hurt him, not maim him.
There's a weird habit I developed in elementary school. I growl. I mean, I literally growl. I think it started when I was obsessed with the some cartoon. At any rate, it started more as a joke, turned into a weird phase, then moved on to a well-ingrained habit. I growl when I'm irritated, I growl when I'm angry.
I growled when Knuckles refused to put me down. Only thing is, it came out differently than usual. This wasn't a human imitation of a growl – this was a legitimate growl, sounding like something between a canine growl and a feline growl. It startled me somewhat, but nothing could have prepared me for Knuckles' response.
He growled back.
In fact, he didn't just growl, he bared his teeth and bent his face down so that his nose was literally touching mine. His growl was a far more guttural, vicious sound than mine had been. He meant business. I shrunk back as far as I could in his arms, my eyes wide. He straightened back up, but kept his eyes locked with mine for what felt like an eternity. The guy has really intense eyes. Kind of creepy, actually.
I realized I'd stopped struggling. I didn't dare start again. I don't know if he found my reaction to his warning amusing, or if he was simply pleased with himself, but when he finally broke eye contact and closed his mouth, he was smiling slightly.
Yes, I was definitely going to have to hurt him later. But for now... I was getting tired. I leaned my head against his shoulder in resignation, returning my hands to where they had been holding my shirt against my chest. Despite my growing lethargy, and the fact that it was actually very comfortable in Knuckles' arms, I refused to fall asleep. I absolutely refused to be any more at this guy's mercy than I already was.
Which really sucked, because now that the adrenaline was wearing off, I was getting tired.
"Bully," I muttered. His smile widened a bit. "You're about as subtle as a cinder block through a plate glass window, you know that?" He smirked; I sulked. He was going to wind up in traction once I got my hands on him...
After a while, a good fifteen minutes of steady walking, the trees thinned out and I could see the X Cyclone a short distance away. Apparently, there hadn't been enough room for Tails to land the thing in 'Tornado' mode. I wondered how Knuckles expected me to get into the cockpit. I mean, if he wouldn't allow me to walk, I couldn't see how he'd let me get away with climbing.
By the time we reached the plane, the others had already gotten in, and Sonic perched on the nose cone, as usual, an impatient look on his face. I still can't figure out how he keeps his balance so easily. Lots of practice, I guess. Knuckles set me down gently and leapt up onto one of the lowered wings. Hanging on to the plane with one hand, he offered the other to me. Wonderful. As if I wasn't already dizzy. I sighed and reached up for his hand (trying not to think about the bloodstains being transferred from my filthy gloves to his near-flawless ones), using my free one to hold my shirt in place. He pulled me up easily and helped me into the back compartment. I settled into the seat as he pulled the straps around me and buckled them in place.
For as much of a jackass as the guy can be, he sure was being nice now. I don't think I'll ever figure that guy out.
As the hatch closed above me, something occurred to me. "Amy. Where's my hat?"
Amy had been watching from around the side of her seat, but she seemed wholly surprised when I addressed her. "Huh?" Well, at least I wasn't the only one being overly eloquent today.
"My hat, Amy. You know, the black felt number I handed you before I climbed out of the plane earlier? The thing I told you to guard with your life?"
Well, duh. "Oh, that! It's right here!" She handed it back (then continued to stare at me), and I took it gratefully, carefully examining it for any damage. If I'm obsessive about anything, it's my hat. Relieved to see it was in as good a condition as I'd left it, I set it carefully by my feet – I didn't dare put it on my lap given the... messy condition I was in – and leaned my head back.
...And I found Knuckles still watching me through the glass of the hatch. On impulse, I stuck my tongue out at him.
He grinned – he actually grinned! – and walked forward, stopping between the two passenger compartments of the plane. Apparently, he was going to pull a Sonic move and ride on top of the plane. I guess he didn't really have much choice, though, unless he wanted to stay behind, and he clearly didn't. There was, after all, only room for four inside the plane, and there were six of us there. I closed my eyes as the X Tornado took to the sky, and spent the flight – it really wasn't all that long, maybe fifteen minutes – drifting in and out of sleep. All too soon, I was being shaken awake. I opened my eyes to find not Knuckles, but Sonic staring down at me.
"Home sweet home!" He tried to smile, but it wasn't very convincing. Understandable. One of his best friends had suddenly changed species. I'd be pretty weirded out too. But there was something else as well. He looked almost... guilty. What on earth did he have to feel guilty about? I mean, he'd just saved the world for the fifty-two billionth time. Sonic was being almost as weird as Knuckles always was...
He helped me out of my straps – I noted that someone was going to have to give them a good scrubbing later, because they were stained with my blood... in fact, so were my gloves... and Sonic's gloves, and Knuckles' gloves... God, I was making a mess – and offered me his hand. Donning my hat (it still fit, to my great relief), I took his hand and tried to climb up out of the cockpit. After my second attempt to step up onto the rim of the hatch, Sonic frowned and reached down with his other hand, pulling me out of the compartment. Then he picked me up, much as Knuckles had, and leapt effortlessly to the ground. I didn't even attempt to fight him, letting him carry me into the house. He set me down on the couch (someone had thought to throw down a heavy sheet first so the couch wouldn't be stained), but my... I dunno, stubbornness, I guess, finally kicked back into gear, and I sat up, then stood. Somehow, incredibly, I had another surge of energy. It was sort of like when you stay up really late, then find that you're completely wide awake at four in the morning even though you haven't slept. Only difference was, the pain from in my chest, not to mention just about every other part of my body, was increasing.
"Ki, I really don't think you should... Ki, sit down... You look like you're gonna faint... Please...?"
I hate that word, 'faint'. Sounds all little-girl-prissy. Yuck. I prefer 'pass out' or 'black out'. 'Faint' makes me feel like a pink-clad damsel in distress. Amy's my friend, but I've no desire to be like her. Bleh.
Sonic continued to plead with me, stuck between not wanting to order me around, and trying to protect me at the same time. I told him point blank to fuck off. Poor guy. I didn't mean it. I just hate being in pain and hate looking – and feeling – weak.
The others filtered into the room behind us: Tails, followed by Chris, and then Knuckles. I noticed now that the latter had a good deal of my blood – it was just slightly darker than his fur – on his chest and arms from carrying me. Sonic's fur was stained as well, but not as badly. I heard Cream's voice in the hall, and Amy. Evidently, Amy was trying to keep Cream out of the room until I'd been patched up. I had to appreciate that. Poor little kid sure as heck didn't need to see me like this. She'd seen enough in her six and a half – and she'd declared to me the other day that she was exactly six and one half – years. I didn't want to add to her nightmares.
Tails approached me with a white box that was stamped with a bold red plus sign – the first aid kit. He asked me to sit down. I told him exactly what I'd told Sonic. In retrospect, I regret it – he's only eight years old, after all – but as they say, hindsight is always 20/20. He blinked at me in surprise – I hardly ever use that kind of language, and certainly not towards him – and with a sigh, repeated his request. So I repeated my sophisticated statement, a bit more forcefully, and pushed past him to stand at the window.
It was twilight by this point, so I could see the room reflected relatively clearly in the glass. All four boys exchanged glances. I couldn't quite make out their expressions, but I didn't care. I was in pain, and I was going to be damned if I was going to let anyone near me with anything that was going to cause more pain. Like antiseptic, for instance. I stared out the window, watching Amy, Cream, and Cheese chase after the half-dozen or so fireflies that were flitting around the darkening yard. At least Amy was keeping them busy. Occasionally I felt a drip of blood ooze down somewhere on my body, but like the pain and faint dizziness, I ignored it.
I heard a shout of surprise come from the doorway, and turned, lazily, to see Ella, Tanaka, and Grandpa gawping at me. Like I needed more of this. Dismissing them, I turned back to the window. I was feeling particularly standoffish, and if I'd had more energy, I would have left the room and locked myself in my bedroom. But I wasn't up to scaling the immense staircase, and at any rate, someone would doubtless catch me before I even got out of the room, so I stayed where I was.
Tails approached me again, cautiously. "K-Ki? Please... that really should be taken care of... so should the other cuts..." I was covered in cuts, scrapes, and bruises, and even a burn, both from the battle and from my fall through the trees. Of course, the smaller injuries had been largely ignored in favor of my chest wound and spontaneous species conversion. I continued to ignore Tails, along with my injuries and everyone else in the room.
I mildly noted that I was no longer holding my shirt up to my chest, but the bleeding seemed to have slowed somewhat, so I decided not to worry about it. Ella approached me now, standing to my left. Tails stood at my right, and I was starting to feel crowded. Ella set a hand on my shoulder. "Ki... Sweetheart, are you– are you alright?" Now what the hell kind of question was that? Of course I wasn't all right. Anyone could see that. "Ki...? Kianna?"
And the mistake was made. Using my full first name never went over real well, and the way I was feeling now, it was simply a dangerous thing to do. I snarled and shoved her hand away. "For the two hundredth time. My. Name. Is. Ki. And don't friggin' touch me. Any of you," I added, mostly for Tails' benefit.
I could see Ella's face perfectly reflected in the window. She looked hurt, but didn't say anything more. For several minutes, no one said anything at all. Nobody moved; nobody dared approach me. I continued to glower at the window. I wasn't really seeing it, now, or what was beyond. I wasn't seeing anything. I was too busy thinking about the day's events. If only I hadn't had to play the hero...