Sonic and related characters are © Sega, Sonic Team, DiC and Archie Comics. Fanfiction is © Laura.B, A.K.A The Outcasts.
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Sally stared out her window wishing for nothing more than for sleep to overcome her. She had been wishing this since she had gone to bed at least three hours ago, but it never seemed to come true. It was almost one in the morning.
Sally sighed as she turned over, facing her back towards the window and blocking some of the white moonlight that streamed through her curtains, and she thought about all the other nights just like this when she couldn't sleep. She was sure that if this kept up it would drive her mad.
She almost jumped out of bed when something began tapping at her window, and while her heart calmed down she tilted her head back just slightly, flicking back an ear to listen to the tapping. When it stopped, then started again, Sally realised that someone was outside. Cautiously she slid out of her bed and grabbed her bathrobe that hung nearby, wrapping it tightly around her with one hand and using the other to push the window-door open. Outside, standing in the cold, was a blue hedgehog.
At once Sally bristled. "Sonic, what are you doing here?" she demanded.
"We need to talk," he stated simply.
"We have nothing to talk about. Leave now," Sally snapped, and turned away. Behind her Sally heard Sonic snort through his nose, then he began coming into her room. Sally turned, teeth gritted.
"I said leave," she hissed.
"If you wanted me to leave, then why didn't you close the window?" Sonic questioned. He gave the Princess a smug look when she didn't come up with an answer and became frustrated.
"I don't have time for this, Sonic. Please leave now, it's late and I'm tired," Sally explained.
"I'm sure you have time for a quick chat, Sal. It's not like you'll be falling asleep any time soon," Sonic pointed out. Sally went to answer back, but knew it was hopeless to argue with the hedgehog when he was like this. So, defeated, she sat down on her bed and stared up at Sonic.
"Okay, what do you want to talk about?" she asked.
"What's been going on while I was gone," Sonic said.
Sally held back a groan and nodded. "A lot had happened while you were... 'dead'," she began, shuddering at the word. "The others have been effected by the changes, they can barely talk to one another without arguing over something, and it's like the whole world's gone mad."
"Yeah, I've noticed," Sonic said. "But I came here to talk specifically about you."
Sally baulked. "Me?"
"No, the other you standing behind you. Yes you, you've been acting just as weird as the others since I go back, and I want to know why," Sonic demanded. Sally hesitated, thrown off-guard by the demand. Where should she start, and how was she going to make Sonic understand?
She looked at him, noticing that he was tapping his foot impatiently. Sonic raised an eyebrow.
"Well, I'm waiting," he drawled. Sally sighed, somewhat irritated by the catch phrase.
"Okay, when you 'died' I was shocked, to say the least. Just when we got back together you were taken away from me again, and I thought that this time there was no way you were coming back."
"Go on," Sonic said. Sally only realised then that he was actually standing still, and listening intently. She took a deep breath, glad that she had his attention for now.
"After your memorial service Robotnik went back on his treaty and attacked us, and began taking over large areas of Mobius. We were powerless to stop him, and... after you had sacrificed yourself to save Mobius from the Xodra, it just felt like it was all in vain," Sally said. Sonic flattened his ears, his expression twisting with grief and annoyance.
"Okay, then what?" he asked.
"Are we still talking about me specifically?" Sally questioned.
"Yes, I want to know what happened to you," Sonic clarified.
Again Sally hesitated, and she drew her legs against her chest as if she was shielding herself. With her next confession it was understandable why.
"... Well, a week after you had disappeared I... actually found out that I was pregnant. With your child."
Sonic froze as the news hit him hard in the gut. He opened his mouth to speak, but somehow his voice wouldn't work just yet. As his knees threatened to buckle from beneath him Sonic leaned against Sally's bedside table and took in deep, silent breaths.
"You're kidding, right?" he questioned, sounding short of breath. When Sally shook her head slowly Sonic groaned out loud. "But when--?"
Sally just looked at him, making Sonic realise.
"Oh man, that's huge," he sighed eventually. "I had no idea..."
"No one did. Except my parents and Doctor Quack. And Antoine," Sally explained.
"Antoine? How does he know?" Sonic demanded.
"He didn't have much choice."
Sally patted the area next to her with her hand, and Sonic sat down.
"When Daddy found out that I was pregnant he was furious, and that's an understatement. He demanded that I have an abortion--"
"What! Of all the crap to say..." Sonic yelled. Sally placed her hand over his mouth and shushed him gently, waiting for Sonic to calm down before removing his hand.
"I know, I know," she said in a low whisper, "That's why I decided to run away. I had contacted Elias and he agreed to let me stay with him until the baby was born, and then I was going to come home."
"So you were going to stick it to your dad?" Sonic smirked. Sally nodded, smiling, albeit ruefully.
"But when I took off somehow Dad found out, and he sent his guards after me. Along with General D'Coolette and Antoine. I got passed Robotropolis' limits and a little into the Northern regions until my hover-bike broke down, then I just ran. And then..."
She stopped, the last word in her sentence spoken in a violent quiver. Sally pressed a hand on her face and gave a small whimper. Sonic watched her, noting the tears welling up at the corners of her eyes. In a daring motion, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders, allowing Sally to lean against his side.
"You don't have to go on, I understand," he said, but Sally shook her head.
"No, I need to say this. And I trust you," she explained. She slipped her hand into Sonic's and gave it a squeeze, and after a moment Sonic returned the gesture.
"All right, keep going," he said. The Princess took in a deep breath to calm herself down as she collected her thoughts. Occasionally Sonic stroked the back of her head, giving her encouragement.
"And then I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen. At first I thought it was a stitch from all the running, so I just gritted my teeth and kept running, until I noticed the blood."
"You mean--" Sonic interrupted.
Sally buried her face in her knees and broke down crying, her whole body shaking with each sob. "While trying to protect it I ended up killing it instead. Just like Dad wanted in the beginning," she wailed, voice muffled. Sonic held her close as she cried, feeling his own emotions strangling him at the throat.
"Antoine was the one that found me," Sally suddenly blurted out. She pawed at her eyes. "I begged him to help me and tell Dad that I escaped, but he refused. He was the one that brought me home."
Sonic made to comment as anger flashed through his mind, but then bit his tongue and instead pulled Sally closer. "What happened after that?" he asked.
"I was taken to Knothole Hospital for treatment, and two weeks later Dad thought that it would be best if I was allowed out early. He feared that someone would find out about my pregnancy and tell everyone in the village. Last thing he wanted was people knowing that his 'perfect daughter' was a little tramp," Sally continued. "I stayed in this very room for a month listening to nothing but my father's lectures about responsibility, my duties as princess, and... how he knew me being with you was the worst idea he ever allowed to go through."
"The bastard!" Sonic yelled, jumping to his feet. "He has the gall to say that? After all the trouble he's put everyone through after the Great War? I can't believe the nerve--"
"I know, that's what I thought. In the beginning at least," Sally said.
"In the beginning?"
Sonic took his place beside Sally again. "What do you mean 'in the beginning'?"
"For the first couple of weeks, while Dad lectured me, I was insulted and upset by all the things he had to say to me. I told him so, but because he was so mad at me he sort of overpowered my opinions. I didn't give up, though, but it did cause me to have a nervous breakdown," Sally said.
Sonic cringed at that.
"Even after that dad kept going and going, saying how disappointed he was in me for letting some dirty commoner taint me over something we thought was love. The more he scowled the more downhearted I got. Eventually I just gave up and started listening, but for most of the time I was so out of it, it was like I was in a trance. That was the after-effects of the nervous breakdown and recovering from the miscarriage. Finally mother stepped in and told dad to back off. By then it was too late.
"After a month and a half I recovered, if just barely, and dad allowed me to take on my duties again. By then everyone had sort of drifted apart, and if we ended up together it was by coincidence. So I didn't really have anyone to talk to about what happened to me, so all I could do was keep up a facade and be the 'brave, strong leader' everyone would turn to in their time of need."
Sally coughed to clear her throat, and rubbed at her eyes. It was now one thirty-five in the morning. She was surprised that she had been talking for so long, and that Sonic was still willing to listen. She couldn't help but allow a smile to creep over her lips. When given the chance Sonic was a good listener.
"Still with me here?" she asked, patting Sonic's knee. He gave a short laugh.
"Always, Sal. Always," he said. "Keep going; I still want to know the full story."
"Okay. The next few months basically consisted of dad tugging at my strings, and me being practically locked away in the castle while I took charge of the smaller duties. Fast forward to the day you returned. It was like... a miracle. Because even though I had doubts about myself and the way things were going, I still held on to the idea that somehow you were still alive. You have to admit, you have a knack for escaping death, Sonic."
"Yeah, I do, don't I?" Sonic grinned.
"A hedgehog with more lives than a cat. What a concept, huh?" Sally said. "Anyway, when you came back, I thought things would be all right now. Not only are you good at avoiding death, you're also good at making things right. You pull everyone together; you bring everything back together. I can't do that... not any more."
"Oh come on, Sal. You know that's not true," Sonic coaxed. "You're a great leader--"
"Was. As much as I hate to admit it... ever since Daddy resumed ruling I've become pretty much useless as a leader. As soon as I make any decisions he was always there, looming over me and over-ruling them. I'm just a kid to dad, no matter what," Sally muttered as she buried her face in her hands. "Never mind the fact that for eleven years I was on my own without him and I had to learn how to be a leader on the fly, or the fact that with the help of the Mobians he considers nothing more than unworthy commoners I helped reclaim his kingdom. Why bother thinking about that? His still king and that's all that mattered."
She paused, trying to calm down and hold back the tears that were forming and burning at the corners of her eyes. Again Sonic wrapped his arms around her shoulders, bringing some comfort to her.
"So I thought that now you were alive I could prove to dad that you were a capable leader, and that it wasn't a mistake that we were together," Sally blurted out suddenly. "But... when you refused... I felt rejected. All at once everything dad said to me came back to me, and I just thought straight away that he was right about you."
"And that's when you snapped," Sonic finished. He touched his cheek, the one Sally had slapped that day. Sally stared up at him, noting the hurt and angst in the hedgehog's eyes, and felt a stab of guilt slice through her heart. Hesitantly she reached up and cupped Sonic's face, feeling him jump slightly before allowing his face to rest in her hands.
"I am so sorry, Sonic. I really am, I didn't mean to take it out on you--"
"You could have told me before... that day, your idea," Sonic commented.
"When was I supposed to do that? You ran off a minute after you returned to fight Robotnik. And nearly got yourself killed again," Sally stated. "And what was I suppose to say? 'Gee, glad to have you back, Sonic. Now you can show dad that you're not a stupid street-rat that defiles princesses then runs off and pretends his dead.' That's not exactly a conversation starter."
"Yeah, no foolin'," Sonic sighed. "So, that's it? That's everything that's happened to you over the last year?"
"Pretty much. Quite a ride, huh?" Sally said. Sonic nodded.
Sally thought about it, turning ideas over and over in her head and thinking each one through. But in the end only one seemed right.
"Would... would we be able to start over? And be friends again?" she asked. She held out her hand, palm facing up. Sonic stared at it wordlessly, his expression unreadable to Sally. She allowed her hand to linger for a moment, then began to curl her fingers in defeat. At the last second, before her fingertips touched her palm, Sonic slipped his hand underneath her fingers.
"If you're willing to start over, then so am I," he said, grinning at Sally. "You're fun to fight with, Sal. But when it's for real, it just stinks worse than 'Buttnik on the hottest day of summer. I don't want to fight like this any more"
Sally gave a short laugh and hugged the hedgehog. "I don't either. And I am really sorry that I screwed everything up so badly between us," she said. "You were gone for a year, the last thing you should have come home to was a soap opera."
"Eh, I'm used to it sorta," Sonic shrugged. "Thanks for telling me all this. I really was expecting you to kick me to the curb like."
"I didn't want to. I guess I realised enough was enough when you showed up. And I'm glad you approached me about this," Sally said.
"At least things are worked out now."
Sonic gave Sally a side-ways glance. "Now we have just one more thing to sort out."
Sally cocked her head to one side, confused. "What?"
The hedgehog slid his hand behind sally's back and ran his fingers through her hair. "No offence, Sal, but long hair and you just don't go together."
"You know, you're right..."
She stood and padded her way to her bathroom, flicking the light on as she walked in. After a moment Sonic followed her, finding her to be searching through the bathroom cabinet's drawers. He watched her, putting two and two together when Sally finally fished out a pair of scissors. She examined them, opening them slowly and listening to the two metal blades slide across one another. Then carefully she bunched her hair into her fist and held the mass out slightly.
"Where should I cut? Wherever you say I'll do it, no matter how short," she stated.
Sonic approached Sally and began circling her, looking at her from all angles before making his decisions. Eventually he placed the flat of his hand in the middle of Sally's neck.
"Right there, slice it there and it'll be perfect," he said.
The blades gave a metallic shriek as Sally opened the scissors to their full degree and placed her hair between them. Without hesitation she closed their jaws, and the hair gripped in her fist lost their support. Sally then placed the scissors on the basin's border, and smiled at Sonic.
"Welcome back, Sal!" Sonic laughed, and grabbed Sally in a bear hug. Sally laughed back and returned the hug, laughing harder when Sonic lifted her off her feet and spun her around. When Sonic stopped they stared into each other's eyes for a moment, then slowly they found their lips inching closer to each other's.
"Princess? Is everything all right in there?" a voice from outside Sally's door called. At once the Mobians' hearts froze in their chests.
"The guard!" Sally hissed. "You need to leave, now."
Sonic lowered Sally to the floor again and bounded for the window in less than three steps. As he climbed over the balcony's frame Sally tapped his shoulder.
"Do you promise everything's all right between us?" she asked when Sonic turned to face her.
"Hedgehog's honour, Sal. We'll work it out, but for now I think we're all right," Sonic admitted. "We'll talk more about it later."
"Thank you," she whispered, and pecked Sonic on his forehead. He smiled, then launched himself from the balcony. Sally heard him land, then disappear into the bushes that formed the castle's garden. She waited a moment, just to make sure that the hedgehog had left safely, before she made her way to the door and opened it slightly. Throughout the short conversation the knocking and calling had continued.
"Princess, I though I heard someone speaking in here. Is everything all right?" the guard questioned.
"Everything is fine, thank you," Sally said shortly. "I was just recording something on Nicole, my computer."
The guard nodded. "Very well, sorry if I had disturbed you, your Highness."
"It's okay. I will be going to bed now, goodnight," Sally said.
Sally closed the door and listened to the guard's departing footsteps, then made her way to her bed. As she slid back between the sheets Sally ran the night's events through her head, and found that she felt so much better now that she had told Sonic everything. With the Freedom Fighters pretty much apart friendship-wise it was close to impossible to have a heart-to-heart talk with any of them any more. Yet with Sonic, despite the fact that he had been gone for over a year, and for the last few weeks she had been avoiding him due to anger, it wasn't hard at all to open up to him.
How typical of Sonic to do the impossible, Sally thought with a smirk.
She curled up under the covers and drifted off to sleep without any trouble.
Completed Thursday 9th November, 2004.