Title: Keeping Watch
Author: Stormy1x2 (travelingstorm)
Fandom: Sonic Underground
Word Count (fic portion): Approximately 947
Summary: A quiet moment among siblings.
Notes: An add-on to episode 24 'Dunesday', when Manic had been stuck in the desert. Also, I refer to Manic as the 'little' brother even though I'm well aware that they're triplets. In my world view (and based on observations from the show), Sonic was born first, Sonia's the middle child, and Manic's the baby of the family. I read somewhere that two hours separated each of them, making Manic younger than Sonic by four full hours, but I don't know if it's canon.
Sonic ran a light hand over his brother's spikes, ruffling the spiky hair, but not waking him. Not that waking him would be that easy anyway – Manic was down for the count. The day's adventure had been the closest call his youngest sibling had had in a while. Being stranded for hours in the desert wasn't something to easily shake off – despite helping them win yet another victory over Sleet and Dingo, Manic had eventually succumbed to his weariness, and had barely made it to the tent the Nomads had given them before he collapsed.
Too close. Sonic shuddered at the thought of what might have been – if he and Ifucan had been just a little slower in finding Manic. The Nomad healer had said Manic would be all right, but Sonic found himself unwilling to leave his little brother's side just yet.
When he and the tribe leader had come across Manic's still form face down in the burning sand, for a split second, Sonic had feared the worst. The sound of that trembling, raspy voice asking for water, had been the sweetest thing Sonic had ever heard.
"How's he doing?"
Sonic looked up to see Sonia stick her head in the tent flap. "Out like a light."
"Good. Sleep will help him recover faster." Sonia let the flap drop as she came all the way inside to stand next to her speedster brother. She mimicked Sonic's actions, gently smoothing Manic's spike's down, trailing a gloved hand across his face. She frowned. "He's still a little warm. Maybe we should move him into the van – my fan still works."
"He's fine," Sonic said firmly. "And he's comfortable – he finally stopped tossing and turning. If we move him now he'll wake up again. Anyway, what you're feeling is sunburn, not fever."
Sonia raised an eyebrow at him.
Sonic shrugged. "Just repeating what the healer said," he admitted, grinning sheepishly.
Sonia smiled back at him. Then her smile faded, and a troubled look came into her eyes. "It was close today, wasn't it?"
Sonic nodded, shrugging his shoulders. "No closer then any other death trap we've escaped so far."
"Yeah, but this was different." Sonia shivered. "I always thought if we...went out...it'd be with a bang, you know? Clean and quick – an explosion or something. This was cruel and lingering – and done by people who were supposed to be our allies."
"It was an accident," Sonic said firmly. "Jamal was trying to protect his leader. And Ifucan helped me find Manic – if it hadn't been for him, I never would have found him in time."
"If it hadn't been for them, he wouldn't have been out there in the first place," Sonia hissed. Then her eyes widened, and she clapped a hand over her mouth.
Oh, how he knew his siblings. Sonic chuckled and then gave her a weary smile. "It was killing you, holding that inside, wasn't it?"
She squeaked through her fingers. "I didn't mean--"
"Easy. I know, Sonia. I felt the same way. If anything happened to you or Manic – anything permanent – I don't know what I'd do." His eyes narrowed dangerously. "If Manic had been...well, let's just say, accident or no accident, these Nomads would have a new enemy besides Robotnik to worry about."
Sonia blinked at him, obviously surprised. "I thought you forgave Jamal and Ifucan. You told them not to worry about it."
"Because Manic's gonna be fine." Sonic went back to watching his sleeping sibling, as though to reassure himself of his own words. The urge to protect was still strong and his eyes lingered on Manic's chest, steadily rising and falling, proof that his little brother was still with them, safe and sound. Then he looked back up at his sister. "Anyway, you should get some sleep too. We gotta head out early, ya know."
"I know. I will." She leaned over and kissed Manic's brow, resting her forehead against his for a second. Then she did the same for her other brother. Her eyes bored into his, and he swore she could see right into his mind, that she knew why he couldn't leave yet. Her eyes softened. "I love you two, you know."
"Back 'atcha sis," he said, smiling. "Now get going, or you're gonna be complaining about bags under your eyes all day tomorrow, and I for one refuse to put up with it."
"Oh, shut up." But her smile was still there, still strong, and Sonic grinned at her as she exited the tent, heading for her own.
Sonic whipped his head back around to see Manic open bleary eyes, staring fuzzily at the roof of the tent. "Manic?"
"...y'okay? Heard somethin'..." Obviously still out of it, Manic nonetheless started to move, confusion marring his green-furred face, weariness making his movements slow and clumsy. Sonic lay a hand on his shoulder, gently pressing him back down.
"Just Sonia saying goodnight, Bro," Sonic said softly. "Go back to sleep, okay?"
Manic stilled under his brother's touch, and Sonic grinned at the trust his brother unknowingly showed him with that action. "..'kay...night..."
Manic's eyes drifted shut, and Sonic watched as his breathing evened out again. Amazing. Sleeping easily and quietly in a village that had tried to harm him because even subconsciously, Manic knew his big brother was watching out for him.
Sonic clenched his fist and made a silent vow that he would always live up to that trust. A yawn escaped him and he stretched out on the sleeping bag beside Manic.
"'Night, baby brother," he said quietly, and joined his sibling in sleep.
Feedback is love. It's also proof that I should write more sibling-bonding schmoop because it would show me there are people who want this particular genre. Let me know!