Hey peep's!! Finally got this chapter done, and I decided there won't be a
lemon involved--at least for this story. ;D

As always, the chars in this fic belong to Sega or Archie.

~Chapter Three: Night Two-Emeralds and Emptiness~

"How about therapy?"
"What?! No way am I seeing a shrink!"
"Okay..umm, what about shock treatment?"
"Very funny."

Knuckles the Echinda sighed to himself. He and his guest had
been talking for hours on ways for Julie-su, an amnesiac former Dark
Legionaire and the Chaotix's new member, to regain the details of her
past life. So far nothing had come up that they agreed on..

"Wait a sec!" The guardian snapped his fingers. "Archemides!!"
She looked at him funny, "what about him?" Archemides was Knuckles'
fire ant friend and 'teacher' guiding him to his true power..he had
also barbequed Julie-su's hand on their first meeting; needless to
say, they were very wary of each other. Knux saw her confusment and
explained. "Archemides has some fairly strong psychic abilities.
I'm willing to bet he can find a way to recall your lost memories
with you risking surgeries and such. Would you be willing to give
it a shot?"

The female thought about this for a second. *Do I really
want an insect that eats dirt in my head?* To her, the pros
definitely outweighed the cons and nodded her head slowly "Sounds
good to me, as long as we wait until after I'm outta here." "Of
course!" Knuckles' voice had a hint of sadness in his voice. He had
actually begun enjoying her company, and stopped ingoring that small
buzzing-like voice in his mind. It was actually strange how much they
had in common... Julie-su was having similar thoughts as that of the
guardians. She found it was so easy to talk to him about her life
before; her training, how hard it was for her as an orphan. It
seemed so strange, so new--but she liked the feeling.

The two agreed that they would ask 'Archy' for his assistance
in a few days, hoping he would accept thier proposal. "Guess you're
leaving tomorrow, huh?" Knux asked trying to make small talk, "How's
the shoulder feeling any way?" Julie slowly rotated the wounded limb,
wincing slightly, "Not bad, it still hurts though. Say, Knux..can I
use your shower?" She blushed slightly at her own question. "I kinda
stink, because I never got to clean up after the fight yesterday.
I'm surprised you can still come near me!!"

Knux blinked. He hadn't thought of that at all *Nice
hosting job, big guy*."You dun hafta ask, Julie. If it makes
you feel more comfortable, go for it." Julie-su got out of the
bed and smiled gratefully as he pointed out where it was and where
the towels were stored inside the bathroom. She grabbed the medical
kit and headed inside; within minutes, Knuckles heard the sound
of hot running water.

He quickly changed the covers on the bed like he'd meant
to when he got home. *Guess I got wrapped up in the story more
than I thought I would* The thought of going through her life still
amazed him, yet it seemed so familiar to him. It must have been hard
being the only girl in training, especially having to fight off the
other men. If they were half as bad as Vector...he shuddered at the
thought of what could have happened to her *and who's to say it didn't?
It would definitly explain her attitude towards guys*

He recalled the name that one of the Legionaire had called
her days before. A rose; that fit her to a T, beautiful but
strong--and something that could easily prick you if you handled
it wrong. That guy had seemed about their age. *Maybe he experienced
that explanation firsthand* he chuckled to himself at the idea of
Julie-su flipping that guy onto his back. An idea struck him; this
was his chance to do something for himself. He went over to the
locked door and opened it with the key he kept in his glove's muff.
*Suddenly, I have some major inspiration*.


A sigh of peace came from Julie-su as she run her hand under
the water from the spout *perfect* She removed the shirt and bandages
on her body, briefly taking a moment to study the wound *Boy, that
stuff really does work* It was almost completly healed now, although
it would be awhile before the fur grew back *my top will hide that,
though* she thought wincing as the warm water flowed directly onto
the battered injury. After awhile, her body got used to the feeling,
and happily got to work cleaning her body.

This was one of the things she really liked about her new life;
just being able to relax and enjoy the small things. A small bottle
was on a counter next to the shower. *Shampoo?* She grasped and
opened the bottle, instantly recognizing the scent of herbs and
peaches. *So this is where he gets his scent from..* She had smelled
it before when they had been on the docks; Knux was running from
his mom's new engagment, and she was confused about...everything!
Only something was missing, the clean air that he adored
gliding through...

Julie-su blushed at her thoughts of how she had gotten
so close to him, how kissing him on the cheek had given her such
a good feeling inside..one she'd never had before. She lathered
the shampoo into her long bangs, sighing as she realized this
was probably as close as she was gonna get to him again. "Blew
it, blew it, blew it.. "she muttered to herself, rinsing the suds
from her hair and left the shower, feeling clean but depressed.
She toweled off and applied new bandages to her shoulder, then
slipped on a clean emerald green shirt over her body and returned
to the main room of the 'house'.

When she left the washroom, Julie heard the soft notes of a
harmonica ringing in her ears. Looking around, she saw that Knuckles
was nowhere to be found. *Must be playing a CD or something* It was
then she noticed the door that had been locked earlier was now opened
barely a crack, which was where the music was coming from. After about
two seconds of hesitation, Julie-su tiptoed quietly to the door,
deciding to take a quick peek inside...*Whoa.*

In the room were hundreds of papers tacked and taped to the
walls, each of them having words or notes scribbled on them. In
the corner was a bright lamp, illuminating the entire room in a soft
white glow, while a small black loveseat lay in the center of the room,
a table in front, which was also strewn with paper. Knux was sitting
on the loveseat, his eyes closed as he was playing a slow, sad tune
on the harmonica in his hands. *He's playing that good?!?* Julie
was interested at the thought of him being a musician, let alone
such an expert, what what really surprised her was his hands.
The guardian's gloves had been taken off, and she could see
the two sharp spurs on the back of each hand. *So they are real!*
She stood there for awhile, choosing to wait until he was done,
rather than interrupt him in such a wonderful song.

Knux had entered his music room, looking at all of the
unfinished songs and lyrics he had created, sighing. It had been
awhile since he had come in here with such a good idea, not to
mention one that seemed to write itself. Every paper held one
of his ideas, but after awhile of working on them, he found his
inspiration to be gone. They seemed so much like him, a good start,
yet not quite whole in his worth. He removed the gloves that hid his
greatest secret-his spurs, his namesake,-and picked up the case that
lay on the table. Opening the case, he took out the small, silver
harmonica and sat down onto the couch as he began to play.

As always, Knuckles became engrossed with the notes he played,
concentrating on it with all his worth, so he never noticed the
shower turning off, and the young woman watching him from the doorway
until he had finished. It wasn't until then that he was startled by
Julie-su's voice. "That was really nice." He practically played
a sour note, and quickly turned around to see her at the doorway,
looking slightly healthier, her hair wet and in flat curtains on
the sides of her face. "Julie! I-I didn't even know you were there."

Julie-su entered the room and joined him on the loveseat.
"That's because I didn't wanna interrupt you. Where did you
learn to play so well?" Knux put down the instrument and blushed;
he wasn't used to being complimented like that. "I had plenty of time
to myself growing up, so I decided to take up a hobby." She was
surprised by the answer, and pressed for more "Y'know, I wouldn't
mind knowing what your childhood was like. I talked for awhile on
mine, so now it's your turn to spill the beans..if you want to,
that is."

A sigh rose from the guardian *She did tell me her story
when she didn't have to...* Finally! Tell her before you blow it
"Well, it's honestly not that exciting; I began my training on
the island when I was about three, and became the official guardian
at the age of nine." "Nine?! I thought you hung out with Princess Sally
when you were kids."

Knux laughed softly at this remark. In Robotropolis, Sonic
had forced the truth between him and Sally out at dinner, but had
left out a few details. "Just because we hung out didn't mean we
were allowed to. I had promised my dad that as long as I was
training, I wouldn't talk to anyone else but him. It was a secret
friendship, 'cause Sal knew I'd be toast if my dad found out."

"A vow of silence? That seems a little harsh." Julie
began to understand why he was so independant; it was how he'd
grown up. "So, when did you meet the Chaotix? After your training?"
Knuckles laughed out loud at this "Not a chance! Even after my
training was done, I kept to myself, being to used to the isolation.
Besides, I didn't think I'd fit in with 'em. I always watched them,
but they saw me as a protector, not a kid. Heck, that's how I
saw myself. That was when I met Vector."

*So he met Vector before the Chaotix formed* Julie-su
recalled how the loud-mouth crocodile always seemed to be
protecting him. "How did you two meet? You seem closer to him
than the others." Knux lay back on the cushions, "probably because
he saved my life once; I had been crossing the rapids when I slipped
and fell in, almost gettng knocked out. He saw me drowning and grabbed
me before I went under, and we've been buds ever since. Plus he wasn't
freaked about my...".

Suddenly realizing he was without his gloves, Knuckles scrambled
to get them back on, *yeah right Knux, as if she hasn't noticed already!*
He sighed and finished the sentance he'd begun "...about my spurs." the
former legionaire couldn't help but giggle "What, those? I had a feeling
they were real for awhile now." Stunned, Knuckles looked at her
suspiciously. "How? From the Legion?"

Julie-su gave a amused sort of smile, "I have been on the
recieving end of those things, you know." He looked away, ashamed of
the deadly weapons that would always be a part of him. It was
painfully obvious that he was afraid of hurting someone accidentally
with them, someone he cared for. Ever think it may be you? *Me?! He
shouldn't worry about that! I know he'd never hurt me...* She gently
reached for his hand, placing her own directly over the long spurs
and rubbing them gently. Knuckles jumped a little, not expecting the
contact at all.

He looked over at her, seeing her smile and kind face; the
same face when she had made him feel better weeks before with a kiss...
Do it, Knux that voice murmured in rhythm with his heartbeat, moving
faster each second. Julie-su noticed a new look in his eyes, bringing
up that same feeling when they first met; she trusted this feeling,
so she made no resistance as Knuckles took her hands in his, leaning
forward and brushing her mouth with his own.

A spark of electricity seemed to pass between them, and the two
slowy began to grow more relaxed, as if this was meant to happen. Julie
moved her hands up around Knuckles' neck as his found thier way to her
cheek, brushing it with his thumb. The ache in her shoulder was
completly forgotten as she closed her eyes, reveling in the feeling,
just as he was.

After what seemed like an eternity, the kindred spirits parted
and opened thier eyes, looking at each other in a whole new light.
"That..was nice." Knux finally spoke "One word to describe it"
Julie-su remarked, blushing softly. "I thought you didn't want me to
kiss you again." Knux gave a small smile, "I never said I couldn't
kiss you now, did I?" Julie grinned back, and pushed him back against
the loveseat. "Good point, but this time you have no choice in the
matter." The guardian chuckled inwardly as he and Julie kissed a
little stronger than the last time, *Guess I do like strong-willed
women after all...*


~Day Three~

The guardian awoke to the alarm clock ringing in the distance.
*Stupid thing, and I was having such a good dream..* Knuckles tried
to get up, only to feel a weight on his chest; a warm, breathing
weight. Sure enough, there lay Julie-su, still in the sleep they
had both given into after they finished kissing. *Which was about
an hour* He smiled to himself and stroked the young girl's soft pink
hair, thinking about how much the past three days had changed both
thier lives. With her here, it was as if nothing could touch him,
as if he could take on Enerjak and every other villain that endangered
her...oh, and the island too.

Julie-su lay there for a moment, taking in the warmth of
Knuckles' body, listening to the heartbeat just below her ear. She
fought a sigh as she felt him brush the hair from her face; for the
first time in awhile, she was truly happy. Finally, she decided to
stir, moving a little just so he'd know she was awake.

Neither of them spoke for awhile, nothing needed to be said,
until at last, Knux broke the silence "You know it's the third
day. You can leave if you want." *No!! I dun want her to!!*
Julie-su sat up, letting him do the same. "Yeah, guess I
should." *What happens now?* She couldn't go back to being
a teammate after her stay here. The two went on with breakfast,
and after Julie changed her bandages and got into her regular clothes,
the two left the cave.

(AN: Julie borrowed Knux's black 'wife beater' for those who
remember her tank top got roasted)

It was then that Julie-su decided to speak up; he was wayyy
to quiet "So..what changes between us?" Knux let out a breath of
relief, because he was afraid to bring up the subject, in fear of
her regretting it. "I..dunno. Should we give it a shot?" He didn't
think it was that much of a risk, but things could get complicated.

The two looked at each other, contemplating the risks as they
always did. "I think we should try at least. Last night wasn't exactly
normal behavior for me." Julie smiled. *YES!!* "Well, how about a
movie? When you're completly healed I mean." She nodded. "Umm, Friday?"
"Sure!!" For a moment the two were quiet, then laughed softly. "I think
we both gotta get used to this, don't we?!" Knux smirked holding back
his laughter. "Oh yeah, definitely!" "Would you like a ride home,
Julie? It's faster." Julie-su gave him a grateful smile. "I'd like that
alot. I'm getting used to gliding now."

She hopped onto Knuckles back and he flew of towards
Echindaopolis, reaching her apartment in about half an hour.
After a quick peek at the papers that had collected,
Julie-su burst out laughing. Knux began to smile, she
had such a great laugh, "What's so funny?" She kept on giggling,
but handed him the paper from the day before, stating they had
finally gotten the illness under control, and that there was room
in the hospitals again. Looking at the headlines, he couldn't help
chuckling himself. *And to think I almost looked at this yeaterday!*

After they both stopped cracking up, Julie-su gave Knux a
quick peck on the cheek, "I'll see you Friday, right?" He smirked and
nodded. "Seven sharp. I just hope nothing goes wrong between now and
then." She smiled, "Well, considering how all this happened, maybe I
should get hurt more often." She entered her small apartment, and
watched from the window as Knux caught a thermal and flew off. Both
of them thought the same thing as they separated for the first time
in days:

*One way or another, ours lives are gonna be way different..*

(WHEE! I FINISHED! Boy, that was harder than I thought. I may
stick to one-shots for awhile, as I have neither the time nor the
attention span to do alot of these multi-chapter things. Hope you
enjoyed it, and I'll be back soon!)