Knothole was extraordinarily quiet at night. Ticking clocks and ribbiting frogs only helped express this blank stature, and Mina wasn't exactly the type to ignore such a thing. Restlessness and boredom were never a get-along duo, especially when the necessity to sleep was nowhere near present. Her back was pressing hard on the mattress beneath her – apparently the blank ceiling would be her main source of entertainment for the night. She always thought she should put a poster up there, but… With all that's been going on in her life lately, she hadn't gotten around to it. She could've done it then, but she pretty much lacked all motivation to be amused by anything.
Her lights were off in order to give her the illusion that it was time to go to sleep, but she knew for a fact she wasn't getting there anytime soon. With so much on her mind, she wondered how she could be so calm at the moment. Usually, she was very mobile and jumpy – especially when she was angry. Her mother's been telling her for years, "Mina-dear, you really oughtta learn to control yerself, Sweeteh. Just cuz yer mad doesn't mean you need to get all worked up. Take some time to think about the problem, maybe do a little chores while you do so, hmm?" The life of a teenage girl never had its breaks. But, she figured, disappointed as she was, she may as well fill her tummy…
She was never the type to wear pajamas when she slept. In fact, she would usually spend all night in the same clothes she had on the previous day. It saved a lot of effort when it came to laundry, and left her more closet-space for more important things – like roller blades. Everybody liked to think of her as the "pretty little thin girl with pretty purple hair and pretty green eyes and oooo she's so pretty!", but she knew herself well enough to admit to being a 'tomboy', even though she did have her daily girly moments; like singing love songs in the shower and combing her hair nice and straight so it stood neat and didn't have strands poking out from every angle. So, aside from a pair of flip-flops rather than her usual green boots, she left her room wearing her normal everyday clothing.
She also wasn't a very picky eater, in fact she despised fancy food. So, she grabbed a cereal box off the top of the refrigerator once she entered her mother's kitchen. There was hardly any milk left in the open container, so she'd probably have to open the only fresh one they had left. It doesn't matter, really, because Bunnie was sure to be milking the cows by next week. Her mind wandered constantly as she picked a bowl and spoon, and once she did that; she sat in complete silence. She thought there was nothing wrong, but her mother would know better. Mina was only this quiet when she was sad about something. With loose hair, a black shirt and a pair of shorts, Mina sat in her mother's kitchen, staring at a box of cereal, a gallon of milk that was pretty much empty, an empty bowl, a clean spoon, and a clock on the wall that stated it was so late, it was early…
"Psst! Yo Mina!"
She turned immediately toward the window, where a smile greeted her rather than the normally empty forest night. What a surprise! It was just the guy she wanted to see!
"What the—Hey! What're you doing here so late?" , she let out in a tone much louder than what was considered appropriate for this time of hour. She was face-to-face with her unexpected visitor before even he could reply.
"Intrudin' on yer privacy! What else?", he whispered. Not exactly what he was known for, but it didn't sound as weird as she thought it would.
She normally would've grinned at something like that, but not that night. Instead, she told him to meet her in front of the hut. They'd have to be quiet because her mom was asleep, but she couldn't pass this visit up! In a matter of a few seconds, she opened her front door, and standing before her, was a Hedgehog, in Blue.
"Hey there!" He exclaimed in his usual cracky tone, though still whispering. "What's jammin'?" The grin on his face was priceless, a type only he could deliver. He was holding a cup with a straw, and he proceeded to slurp the gooey-looking contents hungrily down his throat. They still hadn't finished the greeting routine, and he already had her in a good mood..
"Are you crazy?" She whispered too, but louder than he was, and with authority. "If my mother finds out you're here, I'll be drinking packets of ketchup for the next six months!"
"Mm, yummy! Sounds like a plan! Should I leave?"
"Of course not, come right in."
The two of them snorted a held-back laugh after that last line. Classic material in the comedic convos of Sonic and Mina. He walked right in and took a look around the kitchen. Looked like he caught her at the perfect moment: Eatin' time!
She closed the door behind her as she joined him. She didn't know why he was here, but she was sure glad he was! He'd been on her mind all night and she was almost sure she was mad at him until he showed up. Now she wasn't bored at all! Still a bit ticked, but not bored. This was okay, though, because being mad at Sonic somehow made him all the more desirable… She could kick 'im in the crotch right now.
"I was about to eat my cereal. Peacefully, mind you – in the calm, tranquil night known to some as solitary confi—" He cut her off. And quickly.
"—you're sure glad I showed up, aren't ya?" His mouth went from a solid half-grin to a kiddish, egotistical smirk – and she loved every inch of it.
"You're damn right I am. I would've gone nuts! Want some?" She replied calmly. Their conversations were always like this. A mix of sarcastic humor and friendly gestures that formed a bond only the two of them shared. Never had she met a man smart enough to capitalize on every sentence that escaped her mouth, nor has she met one this funny, either. Well, smart wasn't the word for Sonic… He was just a fast-thinker. Yeah, that was better.
"Free food? Heck yeah I do! I'll take what's in the box this time, cheap cardboard just ain't my thing! Nothin' but top-quality factory stuff goes in this hedgehog!" Failing to quit the jokes, he dragged the chair nearest hers from under the table and took a seat. Her chair was at the head of the table, so he was sorta sitting diagonally across from her but not, his spot was more next to her. Her kitchen was small, so he was able to grab his own bowl and spoon right from where he was sitting - he just had to reach behind himself. He liked coming here, he usually wasn't too fond of small places but… Mina's mom made it cozy. Or was it Mina who made it that way? He didn't know: He never asked! "So what is this stuff anyway?"
"Can't you read?" She replied as she reached in the 'fridge for the un-opened gallon of milk. "It's on the box!"
"I can't see the front from this angle! And all it has on the back is a connect-the-dot-thing and a lame-brain crossword puzzle! Hey, I think I found 'corkscrew'..."
"Really?" She moved over to stand next to him as he stared at the back of the upright rectangular prism. He squinted his eyes as he looked harder.
"Nnnn Yeah!—no wait, that's 'bellybutton', sorry." His eyes slid to the side of his head in her direction as he grinned.
"Ugh!" She rolled her eyes. "I already found that one!"
"Yeah? Why didn't ya circle it?"
"Cuz I couldn't find a pen!"
"So what'd ya just, try and mem'rize where all o' them were?"
"No, I made imaginary circles and I memorized where those were."
"Ohhhhh…. Nope, not happenin'!" He leaned back on his chair and folded his arms as he closed his eyes - his usual pose when he's on to a new way to playfully annoy her.
"What's not happening?" She could feel the tease coming right up. These moments happened way too often for her not to know.
"You'll never be able ta pull it off! There's no way ya can memorize where all those words are! Ya'd ferget halfway!"
"Oh please! This coming from the genius who—"
"Hey-hey-hey! Don't go there! It ain't cool!" He interrupted again, this time with a lot more tone than last time.
"I thought so. Now eat the box before it gets cold." She had already sat down at this point, and began to pour as much as the bowl would allow her without making a mess that Sonic would end up having to clean up later. She then proceeded to pour her ration of milk, depleting the last of the older gallon and having to reinforce with the newer one. She sighed silently as she scuffled her spoon around to soak the upper-layers of her midnight snack. This behavior was what the Blue Blur was afraid of…
He didn't like it when she was quiet. That's when he knew he'd done something wrong – not that he needed any clues to figure that out. He'd known way before he showed up at her window that she was upset with him, or even worse, heartbroken…
For a girl, Sonic found Mina extremely simple and fun and way-past-cool to hang out with, but when it came to emotions, he never could never seem to be so suave… When it came to his own, anyway. Granted, what he did to irk her wasn't exactly a sin, but he knew that concert meant the world to her, and for him not to have shown up… He might as well've told her not to perform. Being a hero could be a major bummer, because sometimes, no matter how fast his feet could push him, he could never make it on time to keep his promises…
He looked at his drink for a moment – the one he'd brought in with him. He forgot all about the paper bag he'd been holding in his left hand this whole time. That was amazing, Mina being so distracted with his absence at the concert, she didn't notice he had the bag like she usually would… She usually noticed everything, and never missed a chance to poke fun at him by making a sudden guess as to what could be in it… He poured his bowl quietly, too, an awkward but… depressing… silence taking over… Because of his lack of things to say, Sonic found himself listening to the crickets chirping outside, which isn't something he was accustomed to paying attention to…
His whole life was music. Speed, badniks, and music. Back when he was a kid, he had dreams of becoming something a tad different than a hero. Mighty and him would practice for as long as their parents would let them, and they were everything but quiet. Sonic was the guitarist, and Mighty, the drummer… They eventually met Vector, who liked music a bit too much, but played a great piano. Together, they planned on forming an awesome rock 'n' roll band called the SonicBoom. But then Robotnik happened and, well, things hadn't worked out the way they'd have hoped… War didn't allow time access for things like music, so he'd sort-of-but-didn't lose interest in the entire concept, especially since there wasn't a soul in Knothole who shared the interest. With no-one to share his music with, Sonic chose to play by himself every now and then so he didn't lose his touch, but it was going nowhere until he met Mina…
She had a voice. She was 'dynamite!', as he liked to put it. Finally, someone in Knothole who liked music! And not just any music, rock 'n' roll music! It wasn't easy, but he managed to get her on stage a few times and show off that gorgeous voice of hers. A genuine smile and a positive, worry-free attitude could go a long way, especially when it came from Sonic. With their talents, they were sure to hit success on a level only the speedster himself could pull off! He'd been by her side every time she sang for the Knothole audience, but on that night; when she finally had the guts to go solo, he didn't show up… He had no regrets, but he sure was sorry…
Well, it was then or never, he supposed…
With a saddened half-smile, he reached over and placed the bag in front of her. It was crumpled up at the top, making it easier for him to carry. "Heh, I got ya a slush… Figured, y'know, 't was the least I could do…" She could see it in his eyes. He wasn't there to joke around after all, and he did remember his promise… He even brought her a treat they liked to drink when they ran together…
She took the bag and forced a smile of her own. Somewhat genuine, but her eyes shared the same pain as his… "Heh, thanks… It was getting cold, brain-freeze should toast me right up!..."
"Like SWATbots in the sun!… I got ya lime, cuz' it reminded me o' that booger ya let out last week…" He was trying to joke. So was she. Neither of them were laughing.
"Yours should be yellow, then…"
"What'd I tell ya? Don't go there…"
The two of them just listened to each other's cereal as it crackled and popped in the silence of their pain… Mina's was already getting soggy…
At this, he broke. "Mina, I—"
"No, Sonic, it's just that—"
"Yeah, I know, I messed up, I--
"No, you didn't, it was probably—"
"Shut up! Just listen… Look, I'm sorry about the concert… I know I promised I'd be there and I really wanted ta hear ya sing! I wanted ta be the one cheerin' ya on and tellin' ya how great you were doin' no matter how much ya sounded like 'Buttnik's flatulent butt!"
"Wow, flatulent… Big word…"
"I said can it! It's just I hadda save these people in this warehouse from this fire and if I ran too fast I mighta caused the whole place ta crumble and—"
"Sonic, it's okay… You're a Freedom Fighter, the greatest one… My favorite one… Those people needed you and—"
"Yeah, but so did you…"
"Well, it's okay…"
"Not yet it ain't… But I'll make it up to ya!"
"Yeah?" Her eyes lit up a bit, and her smile started to make its comeback.
"Yeah!" His was, too.
"Eat yer cereal b'for it gets all soft 'n tush-like!"
She laughed, and started doing just that. All it took was an honest apology and she felt like she never had a problem at all! Sonic was smiling again, his emerald-green eyes were shining with the light that made him a hero, and it made hers shine just as vibrant. To most people, Sonic was a hero because he saved lives and had a really radical super-power type speed thing, but to her… He was her hero, because he had the gift of the heart. He could make a room full of suicidal people go vivid with appreciation for life just by walking in! He had that color to him, that essence… It was a gift, really. When she looked into his eyes, nothing could go wrong, because you only live life once and nothing could make you not enjoy it. He was beautiful. His spirit was beautiful. And this made his smile beautiful.
He'd never have admitted it, but the blue wonder was dead tired from all the day's work. Mina was cheered up and refreshed, and he had a chance to make up for his broken promise. Nothing could've been better for her than what happened that night. Her and Sonic… In her kitchen in the middle of the night, whispering because her mother was asleep, eating cereal while sucking freezing flavored ice-water down their necks; laughing, joking, smiling… She couldn't remember why she was so mad.
He left soon after he finished his cereal. She found it cute that he drank the milk that was left at the bottom of the bowl with his spoon instead of just lifting the bowl to his lips like she always did. And yet he still had to wipe his mouth with his glove after that. He sure was a character, that Sonic… He was her best friend. Her hero. And in her heart, he was even more…
She just wasn't sure if he felt the same…