Disclaimer: I do not own, nor do I claim to own, Knuckles or Rouge.

Hope you like it!


Rouge stared around her, at all the beautiful jewels she had stolen or had been given in her life. She held her newest one in her hands. An emerald, not a Chaos Emerald, but a nice, rounded, normal, green one. It reminded her of another emerald, not a Chaos Emerald either, but the Master Emerald. Thinking of that particular gem made her think of its guardian, a rough and tough, pain in her ass, Echidna with a bad attitude, and nice muscles. Oh, what am I thinking about him for? I haven't seen the jerk in months. No one has…

Rouge let out a long sigh and let the emerald slip from her fingers and into a glass case. She closed it. Will I ever find the perfect jewel? She left the room soon after, for the first time depressed by the glow of her glittering jewels. I wonder, though, how the stubborn fool is doing. A sly grin crossed her face. Maybe I should pay him a visit and find out…

Knuckles sat in front of the Master Emerald. The thoughts swirling in his head plagued him, and made him slide further into a well of depression. That's it. I'm done with this, all of it. He stood and walked down the stairs, body trembling. He picked up the knife that he had thrown down moments before. He turned it in his hands and a small, sick smile spread across his features. His eyes went glassy. Just die. No one would care, no one does. I'm all alone in this world.

Knuckles faced the Master Emerald, and chuckled. "You'd care, wouldn't you?" He walked up the stairs, weaving like a drunk, and laid his hand down in the center of the great jewel. "Yes. You would. Who else would guard you? Nobody, that's who. Absolutely nobody…" He lifted his arm and stared at his wrist. How long would it hurt? How soon before all the blood drained out of my body if I slit my wrist? A voice made him turn. She stood there, one hand resting on a cocked hip, at the edge of the clearing.

"Hey there, Knucklehead."

Knuckles smiled at her, seeing an opportunity arise. "Hello, Rouge."

Rouge's brow rose. Rouge? Why didn't he call me 'batgirl' or some other stupid nickname? And why are his eyes so…blank? She shook her head, ignoring the thought. "I want the Master Emerald." She took a step closer. "Now."

Knuckles held the knife out and gazed at it. "Come back in a week."

Rouge spread her wings and flew up. "Why should I?"

Knuckles looked into her eyes and Rouge had to fight off the chill that crept up her spine. "I'll be gone in a week." He watched Rouge's eyes flick down to look at the knife, than come back up to meet his, wider than before. "You've always seemed smart, Rouge."

"You're going to…" she trailed off, unable to complete her sentence.

"Yeah. See, Rouge, nobody cares about the lonely red Echidna. All alone on his big old island. Always. They only care about the big green rock that he guards because it's magic." He twirled the knife in his hands. "The Echidna's just a gullible idiot anyway. Why should anyone care about him? Go away now. Come back in a week. I'll be gone by then; I don't have a lot of blood."

"Knuckles…" Rouge took a step close to him.

He shook his head and smiled at her, taking a few steps backwards. "Go away now. I don't want to hurt you, never have, but you have to leave. Bye, Rouge."

Rouge shook her head, but couldn't think of anything to do. She turned and started running, then began to fly. The perfect jewel. Didn't the Master Emerald always catch my eye? Right from the start. She ignored the tears streaming down her face. What could she do about it anyway?

Knuckles sat down and smiled after her, loving her, but never able to say so. He pulled a glove off and stared at his hand. Testing, testing. One. He raised the knife. Two. He set it against his palm. Three! He drew the knife across his hand, swiftly. He hissed at the pain and the knife clattered to the ground.

Rouge flapped her wings, telling herself that there was nothing she could do. Damn it! Why can't I do something? Rouge made a sharp turn and started heading back to him, praying that she would not be too late. Knuckles, wait! Don't!

Knuckles pressed his bloody palm against the side of the Master Emerald. He waited a few seconds before pulling it off. He smiled at the imprint it made. He looked at his bloody hand and his smile widened. The pain had left him quickly. Where's the knife? He caught sight of it, resting at the very bottom of the stairs. I wonder why I tossed it so far away? Knuckles walked down the stairs and lifted it. Test complete. Commencing operation in three…He held the knife up. …two… He pressed it against his wrist. …one! He started to make the cut, but was tackled. He hit the ground, the knife clattered away, and he felt someone's arms come around him.

Rouge pressed her cheek against his, tears falling freely. "Oh, God, Knuckles! You were actually going to do it!"

Knuckles fisted his hands and pushed himself up. He stared down at her. "What the hell is wrong with you?"

"Me?" Rouge jumped to her feet. "What's wrong with me? Newsflash! I wasn't the one about to kill themselves!"

She jabbed a finger into his chest and he grabbed her arm, angry. "Why did you come back? I told you to leave!"

She jerked back and glared at him. "Go to--" She gasped as she caught sight of blood, his blood, stained on her glove where he'd grabbed her. "Oh, God." She grabbed his wrist and studied his palm. "You cut you palm! You didn't cut your wrist! Thank God." She threw her arms around his neck.


"You stupid Echidna! I don't care about that damn rock! I care about you! Lord help me, I love you!" She cried against him and his arms came around her.

She looked up at him, and his eyes weren't blank and glassy anymore. They were sharp, focused on her. "You what?"

"I love you. Damn you to Hell and back, Knuckles. I love you."

He laid his lips on the top her head, then let his mouth trail down her face, resting on her eyelids, her cheeks. He paused before their lips met. Her eyes fluttered open, tears still falling. Knuckles stared into them and felt something flutter inside him, in his heart. He realized that her body fit against his like a puzzle piece. His heart began to thunder, his mind fogged, and his vision blurred with his own tears. He finally pressed his lips to hers and heat seared them both. Desires and needs twined together to form a tight ball in his stomach. He pressed her closer, needing contact with someone, someone he cared about, someone he loved…

She rose up to her toes and pressed tightly against him, hands sliding down to grip his hips, bring him closer, center-to-center. Everything that had been off balance for her lately shifted into place, and she moaned. Her body began to throb with need and she grew dizzy with the passions he stirred in her body. His hands began massaging her back, gently. She arched closer and her lips parted. Her tongue twined with his, their tears mixed, and joy bursted through both of their lonely souls.

Knuckles leaned back, panting. He no longer felt alone, but complete. He did not want death to swallow him, unless she was taken away, unless she left him. He loved her, desperately. He had taken a completely different fall from the one he had imagined taking earlier that day. He pulled her close and whispered to her. "I love you, Rouge. For a while now, I've been in pain, something's been lost from me. Something's shifted inside me. I'm still not completely sure what it was, but I know I love you. I love you. God help us both, I love you, too."

Rouge nodded. "I shouldn't have left at all. I should not have left you."

Knuckles raised his gloved hand and rested it on her cheek. "It doesn't matter. It doesn't," he repeated when she opened her mouth. He brought his lips back to hers, letting his tongue dip in for an intimate taste of the honey she offered. "Rouge…will you marry me?"

She stared into his eyes, shocked by his question. She let out a laugh when he started to blush and pressed close to him.

"So, is that a yes?"

"Yes," she whispered. "Yes, yes, yes, yes!"

Knuckles sighed, relieved, overjoyed. "Is now good?"

She shook her head, surprising him. "First, I'm going to bandage your cut. Then, I'm going to make love to you until we're both exhausted. Then I'll marry you, Knuckles. Then, we'll make love some more."

He grinned at her. "I like the sound of that." He looked at his cut palm. "I shouldn't have done this."

Rouge took it, gently. "No, you shouldn't have." She kissed him, softly. "If you ever do it again, I'll break your arm."

Knuckles ran his gloved hand through her fur. "I won't, love. I swear."

Rouge sighed and rested her head on his chest, content. "You're my perfect jewel, Knuckles."

YAY FLUFFINESS! Gotta love the fluff!

And yeah... lol Not my best, but whatever...

At least it ends happy!