I normally start stories with a 'this is the version of Sonic reality I'm playing with today. This however is the story-writing equivalent of a doodle. Could fit anywhere, although perhaps suits STC's rather aloof Knuckles better than the gullible pratfalling individual from certain other continuities. Bit of an exeripement really and not quite my normal stuff so brickbats welcome.
There are over dozen different ways to say 'you' in the old language, and even in my own mind I'm no longer clear which one the hedgehog warrants. It was easy at first. Like all intruders on this Island, he began as you-I-do-not-know. Like most of them he rapidly became you-my-opponent, and not longer afterwards was driven by circumstance to become you-my-ally.
And now I no longer know. You-my-friend is too much. You-I-know is not enough.
Perhaps it is as well that I only speak to him in his own language and do not need to chose aloud and declare my opinion. In my own thoughts the lack of a suitable form is like an irritation every time I think of him at all, and so he stays the-hedgehog.
The surface dwellers have only one word for 'you' and it surprises how much they manage to put into the inflection. I expected it would be hard to understand the relationships, and often it is, but at times it's crystal clear.
I watch Sonic laughing with Tails, and without ever knowing the form his voice says you-my--sibling. Amy calls across to both of them and her voice says more clearly than words you-whom-I-care-for. Sonic yells insults at Robotnik in mid-battle and his open pleasure in the challenge, the contest, turns it from you-the-enemy-I-despise, to you-the-enemy-I-respect.
To Sonic it all seems simpler. As far as I can see he distinguishes little between friends and strangers in his tone or manner. Maybe that's where his fondness originates for throwing out nicknames as if it is meaningless how you address someone. He makes no effort to moderate his behaviour or casual language as a sign of respect and I'm quite certain he has never sat considering as I am, where someone falls is the spectrum of trust and familiarity.
I do not understand him, and perhaps that's why I cannot settle in my mind the correct form of words.
Perhaps, after all, I already have the correct form and he is still as he was, you-I-do-not-know.