Hi there! Warning: Mild cussing and evil references - proceed at own risk! :P
„Strange how Robotnik simply let us go, huh?" Rouge asked the group a little while later as they were walking through the streets of Station square in the evening after having spent all day trapped in the human scientist's base.
"Yeah. He was sobbing at the time, too," Sonic mused, remembering the slightly unstable doctor as he had released them about two hours previously, blowing his giant nose into some table cloth that apparently was supposed to substitute for a handkerchief.
"Uh-huh. And screaming 'Fictional! I'll SHOW THEM FICTIONAL!' the entire time," Tails recalled wide-eyed, just a tad freaked out.
"Hmph, humans. They're all batshit insane, anyway." Knuckles shrugged.
"No offence, Rouge."
"Hey, how about we get something to eat?" Amy interjected at this point, gesturing to the Burger Joint they had just been walking past. Noticing how all of their stomachs (sans Shadow's, who had an Ultimate Stomach not requiring such mundane things as food) now started growling and complaining that Wikipedia was a lot of things but not edible, the group was quick to agree.
They filed inside as soon as Sonic had discovered the special offer on a chili dog meal, (incentivizing him to declare his newfound love for mankind again) and it didn't take them long to find an empty booth next to one of the windows. The hedgehog meanwhile had already purchased his food, visiting establishments like these quite frequently.
"Finally, food!" he exclaimed happily as he returned with the bounty. "Can you remember what they expected us to eat in that crazy encyclopaedia? Insects, carrion, birds, raw eggs, blood for Chaos' sake…" he shook his blue head, scrunching up his nose. "I mean, when you can have this…" – he indicated the chips fried in rancid oil, chicken nuggets made from hormone-soaked meat waste, diabetes-inducing soft drinks and burgers halfway sure to cause Mad Cow Disease – "…who'd eat such crap?!" he asked, incredulous.
"Maybe humans are just jealous of us and they make half of the insulting stuff up," Rouge shrugged, returning herself with a fruit salad. "Minority complexes because they have no fur."
"You sure?" Tails raised an eye ridge. "I heard human females have fur, but shave it off."
"What?! Who'd do that?" Amy asked, flabberghasted. "That must look horrible!"
"Humans have issues," Sonic simply stated. "Probably quill envy," he said, patting his own proudly.
"Mine are longer than yours," Shadow muttered absent-mindedly, immediately causing Sonic's mentioned appendages to bristle, but the black hedgehog refused to be drawn into the intellectually challenging Are not/Are too –discourse that should have followed. Instead he resumed muttering things about secret discs and (apparently lost) computer rooms, but most of the troupe had gotten used to that by now. It was usually the 'I have to kill the President!' –stage of his daydreams that would worry them, but that was still a bit off.
"Or maybe it's tail envy," Amy ventured instead. "I remember at the orphanage we used to argue over who had the biggest one. Pretty silly, when you think about it."
"Uh, Amy, actually, I think humans do that too," Rouge commented carefully.
"What? But how would-?"
"Never mind," said the bat quickly, suddenly very interested in her fruit bowl again. "Maybe we, er, should think about how and whether we can go back to the Thorndykes again, eventually?" she asked in an effort to change the topic.
"Yeah, not bloody likely." Knuckles scowled. "Ever since Tails taught the girls how to use that godforsaken invention called the interblag or whatever, the Thorndyke boy's mum threw a fit when she saw where Rouge and Amy had been surfing and thought it had been Chris looking at the pages," he muttered, immediately standing up afterwards to get himself some food as well.
"What?! Why?" Amy all of a sudden looked rather shifty. "All we were looking at were…stories, right, Rouge?"
"…yeah. Stories," the bat agreed and cleared her throat. Knuckles raised an eye ridge.
"'Stories' that made her send her son into therapy?"
"'Stories' that made you try to stick Tails into a dress?" Sonic added.
Rouge and Amy exchanged a sheepish look.
"Well, er, maybe not entirely innocent stories. But they were totally romantic and cute!" Amy defended herself, sitting up just a little bit straighter. "And maybe the characters just happened to be the same gender. BUT! Tails totally deserved it!" She raised her voice quickly before any of the males' brains could properly compute the last sentence and quickly diverted their attention.
"I deserved it?!" Tails asked back, confounded. "How?"
"You were the one who discovered that encyclopedia and gave us nightmares!" Amy accused, nearly knocking her own diet drink over. "I was spooked for a week by that article thinking that if I get pregnant, it was likely to be with quadruplets!"
"Yeah, like the first part is even probable."
"Nothing!" Tails shrieked at the hammer suddenly in his face in panic, thinking he had muttered that last sentence too quietly to be heard, but apparently hedgehogs had also very good hearing.
"Calm down, girl. I was the one who was accused of cannibalism because fox boy here had to discover that insane encyclopaedia," Rouge stated with slight irritation. "If he hadn't given Cream that laptop for her birthday, none of this would have ever started in the first place."
"Excuse me?!" Tails called back. "You were the ones who wanted me to continue reading! 'Echidna reproduction! Oh yes, let's!'" he imitated in a high-pitched falsetto, causing both girls to glare at him.
"I had to endure toilet paper roll jokes for weeks!" Sonic shouted, not because it correlated to anything previously said, but just because he also felt entitled to a bit of random accusations.
"Well, yeah, but we read it because…because you said it was helpful! That we would learn stuff from it!" Amy huffed, crossing her arms.
"Well, maybe you did learn from it and just don't know it yet," Tails shot back. "Comparisons have shown that Wikipedia is about as accurate as commercially bought encyclopaedias and just because you two wouldn't touch a scientific volume with ten-foot-tweezers it doesn't mean the writers of the articles didn't do their research!" Tails finished, sucking in breath deeply like any geek finally letting it out and proceeding to vent with longer sentences than he has air for. "I'd say you two better get used to an early retirement, you're both way beyond your best-before date," he added gleefully, thinking himself oh-so-clever for referring to the ridiculously short lifespans humans constantly tried to attribute to their respective species. It was only Sonic's trademark speed and a rather harsh yank on his arm that saved him from the hammer crashing down next, though.
"Word of advice, li'l buddy," Sonic said conversationally. "Girls and age. Don't mention it."
"Let me at him! I'm going to show him just who's higher in the food chain-!" Amy howled, but Rouge held her back.
"No, honey, let's do this the civilized way. If the little tyke thinks so highly of this nightmare fuel disguising as an encyclopaedia, why don't we give him some of his own medicine?" the bat began to smile darkly.
"Wha-?" Tails looked unsure for a moment, but then quickly recovered. "Hah, nice try, Rouge, but I gotta disappoint you – you'd need a computer for that but there's none here and the Thorndykes sure won't let you use theirs anymore!"
"Oh, hello Mr. Sonic! Everyone! What are you doing here, Mrs Thorndyke said you were on vacation….?"
"Cream! Honey! My, what a surprise to see you here - why don't you come and sit with us, oh lookit, you brought your laptop, isn't that wonderful!" Rouge cooed in one string of syllables as the rabbit girl had entered the Burger shop as well, having seen her friends from outside. The bat was smiling at the little bunny and disturbingly simultaneously grabbing her computer off her and switching it on.
"Oh, uh, of course you can borrow it, Ms Rouge…what were you doing before I came here?"
"Well, we want to read up on Tails, don't you think that will be really interesting?" Amy asked encouragingly and Cream nodded with enthusiasm. "Oh yes, let's! Reading about Mr. Sonic last month was so interesting!"
"S-sonic!" the fox kit finally pleaded at this. "You can't let them do this to me!" he begged, kneeling on the bench next to his big brother. To his dismay, the blue hedgehog only chuckled.
"Sorry, kiddo. Gotta face the music. 'sides, you yourself claimed there was a grain of truth in there and Wikipedia isn't wrong about everything, you know that…"
"I'll read!" Amy announced cheerfully. "Let's hear all about foxes!"
"But you don't even know how to navigate Wikipedia!" Tails wailed in a last-minute attempt.
"Oh. That's okay," the pink hedgehog girl twirled her hammer and smiled. "If it doesn't do what I want, I'll just hit it – it always works with people!" she announced brilliantly, and if Tails hadn't already been scared out of his wits, that would have torn his last shred of courage. When Knuckles returned with his tablet of food, only offering, "Oh. Another one bites the dust," as comfort, the fox kit didn't so much as moan anymore.
Amy loaded the page and began to read…
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Fox is a common name for many species of carnivorous mammals belonging to the Canidae family.
"S-see?" Tails asked timidly. "This starts out perfectly normal and correct. Your articles were only insane because your species obviously are."
Foxes are small to medium-sized canids characterized by possessing a long narrow snout, and a bushy tail (or brush).
"I dunno." Amy shrugged. "I still think Wikipedia is pretty shallow, defining somebody just by their looks."
"But also incorrect," Sonic threw in. "Tails doesn't possess a brush, not to mention if he ever uses one, it's only because somebody has cornered him and threatens to revoke his TV privileges."
"That – that's not-!"
The Modern English word "fox" is Old English, and comes from the Proto-Germanic word fukh.
There was a moment of silence.
"…maybe we shouldn't be reading this in front of Cream?" Rouge suggested.
"Don't take this too hard, kid," Knuckles suggested. "Just because your birthname was derived from a traffic sign pun and your species designation is apparently a German expletive, it doesn't make you anything less worth of a canid."
The others burst into snorting, while Tails muttered something that was non-understandable, but possibly involved Knuckles crawling into a sandwich to die.
In the wild, foxes can live for up to 10 years, but most foxes only live for 2 to 3 years due to hunting, road accidents and diseases.
"They forgot exploding inventions, motor fume suffocation, plane accidents and hedgehog brothers with a pathological lack of risk-awareness, if you ask me…"
"Oy! I saved Tails' life many times!"
"Yes, Sonic, but usually he only needed saving because you were the one who got him into trouble in the first place," Rouge pointed out pleasantly.
Reynards (male foxes) weigh on average, 5.9 kilograms and vixens (female foxes) weigh less, at around 5.2 kilograms.
"How much?" Rouge blinked. "What's your weight, Tails?"
"Err…about 40 pounds, I think-" the fox kit began, but couldn't finish.
"Sonic! You've been over-feeding him!" Amy chided.
"All those popsicles!" Rouge added. "Shame on you!"
Knuckles nodded. "Yes. You should teach him how to forage earth worms with you instead, I'm sure they're much healthier."
"I told you a dozen times, I don't-"
"Hush, hedgehog. Contemplate your bad parenting while we read up on what else you do wrong."
"'Reynard'?" Shadow wondered.
Fox-like features typically include a distinctive muzzle (a "fox face") and bushy tail.
"Fox-face?" Amy repeated. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Sonic looked down. "Well, personally I'd say he's pulling one on me right now…"
Tails tried to hide his face in his hands. Why did they do this? And he wasn't overweight!
Other physical characteristics vary according to habitat. For example, the fennec fox has large ears and short fur, whereas the Arctic fox has tiny ears and thick, insulating fur.
"Oh, that's interesting. Tails could be a fennec fox, then!" Cream piped up, still not quite having grasped the intent of torture here.
Sonic shook his head as well. "I doubt it. And if physical characteristics varied according to habitat, Tails would probably resemble a spanner."
Another example is the red fox which has a typical auburn pelt, the tail normally ending with white marking.
"Hm, that white marking sounds more like him, but the rest of the colours…?" Amy mused, cocking her head in question.
"Why, 'Red fox' totally hits it if you look at his face right now. Onwards!" Sonic commented cheerfully, apparently not in the least bit concerned about psychological damage, or, indeed, horrible payback.
Litter sizes can vary greatly according to species and environment.
"Yup. Depends entirely on whether Tails manages to remember the date of the garbage collection, usually," Sonic nodded sagely.
"I think that meant something else, Sonic…" Rouge added coyly, but was hushed by a hissed 'Cream's here, dammit!' from the pink hedgehog sitting next to her.
Unlike many canids, foxes are not usually pack animals.
"Yeah, I'm starting to see why," Tails grumbled.
"Oh, Reynard. Stop being so arctic," Knuckles chided, causing everybody to bend double again.
Typically, they live in small family groups, and are opportunistic feeders that hunt live prey (especially rodents).
"Aww, c'mon, you wouldn't feed on your bestest hedgehog buddy, would ya?" Sonic asked, elbowing the kit playfully in the side.
The fox glowered at him. "Bite me."
Using a pouncing technique practised from an early age -
Sonic laughed. "Oh yeah, I remember! When he was like three or four, he'd pounce on me every chance he got! Wasn't too terribly fond of it back then, but in retrospect, it's pretty darn cute, when you think about it…"
- they are usually able to kill their prey effectively and quickly.
Everybody stared. Then Sonic slowly scooted away from Tails.
"Err…anybody seen some rocks to hide under…?"
Foxes are normally extremely wary of humans.
Sonic snorted (on the other side from the bench, with a table in between him and Tails). "You don't hafta tell me. Tails wouldn't touch Chris with a pointy stick."
"Neither would we, Sonic. That boy is seriously annoying," Amy pointed out. "No idea why you keep defending him."
"Guys…if you'd just get to know him-" Sonic tried once again, but was interrupted.
"No need, Sonic," Knuckles said pleasantly. "There's other things we'd like to do to him with a pointy stick."
The hedgehog heaved a very deep sigh.
However, the silver fox was successfully domesticated in Russia after a 45 year selective breeding program.
"What?!" Tails repeated, horrified. "That sounds sick!"
Rouge nodded. "I'll say! 'Silver fox' really screams re-color fancharacter."
"What?" Sonic blinked. "What on Mobius are you talking about?"
"Don't bother trying to understand," Knuckles waved him off. "They were on that ffnet site again."
"Ffnet?" Sonic asked. "Is that-?"
"A very informative archive indeed," Shadow murmured in his low voice. "If you take the 'breeding program' into account, for instance, we're not talking of an OC here, but of an mpreg TailsxSilver slashfic. Rare, but not unheard of. Possibly WAFF or PWP."
Everybody stared again, but this time everybody was also very quick to scoot away afterwards, only this time from Shadow. The black hedgehog did not appear to notice. Tails had started to twitch. Sonic shuddered.
"Chaos. Him muttering about Maria and world destruction seemed sane in comparison…."
"Let's…let's just keep reading?" Rouge suggested, secretly hoping Cream wouldn't have the great idea to google any of those terms later.
Sonic counted off on his fingers. "Cornflakes, pop tarts, triple-frosted chocolate cake, and usually the last chili dog I was saving for later…"
Rouge wrinkled her snout. "You know, hearing that it sounds like both of you should be on a diet."
"I'm…I'm a growing kit!" Tails defended himself, a world without triple-frosted chocolate cake only sounding marginally less horrible than a future where Robotnik had taken over the planet.
"A growing kit that weighs four times its supposed body weight," Shadow stated. "Clearly, you are pregnant."
At which point Tails started shrieking like a newborn and Sonic had to wrestle to calm him down.
The diet of foxes is largely made up of invertebrates. However, it also includes rodents, rabbits and other small mammals, reptiles, (such as snakes), amphibians, grasses, berries, fruit, fish, birds, eggs, dung beetles, insects and all other kinds of small animals.
"Ultimate Lifeforms?!" Tails barked feverishly, still struggling against Sonic's arms around his waist with all his might, "Does it say anything about me feeding on Ultimate Lifeforms?!"
"No. But strange cravings are expected for the expectant." The black hedgehog crossed his arms, his face impassive.
"Shadow! Stop it with the pregnancy stuff already!" Sonic called, trying to contain his livid younger brother.
"Well, Shadow could fall under the category of 'snake' at this point," Rouge muttered to Amy, who nodded.
"Yes. Or fruitcake."
Many species are generalist predators, but some (such as the crab-eating fox) are more specialist.
"Crab-eating fox? You're not one of those, Tails, are you? I don't like sea food very much…" Cream asked wide-eyed, not having understood much of the antics going on between the older Mobians.
Rouge patted her head. "Don'tcha worry, darling. If you take a look at all this fast food he's got piled up there, it's more like the crap-eating fox, anyway…"
Foxes cache excess food, burying it for later consumption, usually under leaves, snow, or soil.
"You shouldn't let him do that, Sonic," Knuckles pointed out. "It sounds unhygienic."
"Anybody checked the Thorndykes' garden recently? We shouldn't let him borrow any shovels…"
"I'll be digging your graves," Tails grumbled, but to his dismay was unheard over the general laughter.
Relationships with humans
Foxes are readily found in cities and cultivated areas and (depending upon species) seem to adapt reasonably well to human presence.
"Well. Sonic is a garden pest control, I'm supposed to spread rabies and Knuxy here serves as the hors d'oeuvres, if I remember correctly. You know, I'm starting to think humans are pretty self-centred that they have to see everything only in relation to them," Rouge stated, crossing her arms. There was a general murmur of agreement, even if none dared to point out that the white-furred bat had pretty much described her own attitude marvelously well there.
Fox attacks on humans are not common but have been reported.
Knuckles frowned. "Attacks? As in, several? I mean, if you discount the time Tails forcibly ejected Chris from the Tornado, screaming 'I am Sonic's sidekick, you screen-time stealing bastard! I AM!' then you can't really talk plural here…"
"Tell me about it," Sonic shrugged. "It's just because every single time they cover us on the news here it's usually GUN trying to frame us for something. I could save the damn planet and it would be called a 'hedgehog attack.'"
"Well, you got to realize that the last time you had to save the planet it actually was because of a hedgehog attack…" Rouge gestured with her hand at a still aloof Shadow.
"Hmph. I was only trying to save humanity from itself."
"You blew up half of the moon."
"It needed very radical saving."
"Riiiiight. Moving along…." The pink hedgehog's voice was only a bit higher than usual.
Main article: Fox hunting
You could have heard a burger dropping.
"What?!" Rouge exclaimed.
"Have they gone insane?" Even Knuckles was shocked.
"Let's leave this planet. Like, yesterday," Amy suggested, but nevertheless kept on reading, everybody focused on her in morbid curiosity.
Fox hunting is a controversial sport that originated in the United Kingdom in the 16th century.
"Controversial? Controversial?!" Tails repeated. "Genocide is 'controversial' to them? I can't believe this…"
Hunting with dogs is now banned in the United Kingdom, though hunting without dogs is still permitted.
"Oh, that's great! No dogs! Only guns and, I dunno, flame throwers and splinter grenades, because otherwise it would be controversial!" Tails seemed to be bordering on the hysterical.
The sport is practiced in several other countries including Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, Italy, Russia and the United States.
"Err…which country are we in, again?" Rouge frowned. "You gotta wonder why not even the President around here mentioned the name…"
Sonic shrugged. "Dunno. Could be the States, but since this show is only tolerable with subs, I'd chance it is Japan…"
There was a collective sigh of relief. Tails especially, who thought hunting whales was just dandy as long as his two namesakes were safe.
Fox Hunting has been frowned upon in more recent times –
"Frowned upon – okay, that's it. Shadow, go decimate the population of this city and I want to hear how they talk about it in the news that that was 'frowned upon.'" Tails was breathing heavily, pointing out of the window at innocent passers-by unaware that Wikipedia had just likely caused their demise.
"Shadow, don't!" Sonic immediately moved to intercept the black hedgehog and shot a stern glance at Tails. "And you, stop telling him stuff like this! You know he takes every order literally!"
The black hedgehog glanced at him sternly. "But I have to! Otherwise, how will I find out about my past?"
"In your past you were mainly busy trying to get your name legally changed to 'Faker'. Now sit down!"
Main article: Domesticated Silver Fox
At which point Tails started screaming again and the others agreed that maybe, just for now, they should stop reading or hunting would have been kinder than this.
To be continued…
Heh, alive and typing again...I guess I should apologize for the sudden lack in regular updates, but yeah...surprise trip to switzerland, new zealand guests invading my house, a high-speed collision with a tree on a sled in the alps (that was me on the sled, not the tree...) and my first ever uni exams do tend to leave their mark on a human schedule...which also accounts for the missing christmas special this time around.(drop) It's almost finished now though and will be up in ten months, tho, if that's any help. XD
But yeah, hope anyone still reads this and found it something to laugh about. :) Regular updates - as in, once a week, almost every week should resume again, at least until I'm off to Austria. Let's see whether we can't get Shadow's lifestory, the Arabian Nights and the adventures with a certain time-travelling Doctor on Mobius finished, huh? ;) Now to get on that gigantic pile of PMs that is threatening to explode my inbox...:P
SO happy to be back and if you read, please review?^^