39:Doctor Hedgehog

Tails sits in the chair closest to the wall and watches Big. He is certain that the large cat has some fiendish scheme devised for the day. He is certain that gloomy look on the cat's face is all part of that scheme. And after Eggman has walked in and been checked in by Big, he is certain that the cat's abrupt departure is all part of the plan. But Tails is ready for whatever Big dishes out. For he has a plan of his own.

Meanwhile, Eggman takes his seat on the burgundy leather couch and smiles at the doctor. "It's a very good day."

Eggman's file lays open on Sonic's desk. Next to it rests a clipboard for today's session. However, Sonic has no intention of writing anything on it. Sonic has begun to question the point of these sessions. "What makes it a good day, Eggman?"

Instead of answering, Eggman asks, "Why aren't you wearing your glasses today, Doctor? Did you get contacts?"

"I don't need them anymore," comes the offhanded answer. "So what makes today so good?"

"Oh, well," Eggman rubs his hands together, "I think he's finally made some friends." His hand fall to his lap and his smile widens. "And to think I'd been worrying that my trying to take over the world was making him feel left out."

Interested, Sonic leans forward. "You spoke about him during our last session. Who is he?"

Eggman laughs. "Oh, you know him. I sometimes wondered if he and Sonic might become friends, with them being so much alike." Face darkening and voice lowering, Eggman continues, "Though it wouldn't do for them to become friends. I'd have to end that friendship before it began." He suddenly laughs again and the light returns to his face. "But no worries about that. He has other friends now."

Still curious as to the identity of this unknown individual, Sonic decides to try another route. "So who are his friends?"

"Don't know."

Sonic blinks. "Then how do you know he and Sonic aren't friends?"

"Trust me, an Eggman knows these things."

"But you don't know who his friends are?"

Eggman shakes his head. "He's very private."

"So you've never seen these friends."

Eggman shakes his head. "He's very private."

"…Then how do you know he has friends?"

"Trust me, an Eggman knows these things."

Sonic blinks. Once. Twice. "And how does an Eggman know these things?"

"Well, for one, he hasn't been home in days."

"And that means he has friends how?"

"Well, he left me a note that said he'd be busy for a few days. And one can't be busy for days on end by oneself, right?"

Sonic blinks. Once. Twice. Thrice. "Aren't you busy for days on end by yourself when you plot to take over the world?"

Eggman laughs. He laughs again. "Of course not. I have my robots."

"Your robots?"

Eggman nods. "My robots."

Sonic frowns. "Is he a robot?"

"Who?"

"This guy we've been talking about. This guy who suddenly got all these friends."

"I'm sorry, Doctor, but I can't divulge that information to you. As I've said, he's very private." Sonic stares at Eggman hard, trying to think of how to phrase his next question. But before Sonic can even think of what to say, Eggman starts speaking again. "Though you know, maybe he hasn't gotten a bunch of friends. Maybe he just got one. One very special friend, if you know what I mean." Eggman winks.

"I don't."

A look of exasperation overtakes the mad scientist's face. "Come now, Doctor. Surely you know how every young lad eventually develops feelings that go beyond friendship." He puts his finger to his chin. "And if I were to guess, I'd say it'd be Amy."

Sonic slams his hands onto his desk. "It absolutely, positively would not!"

"My, my. I had no idea you had such strong opinions about who he dated."

"What? Him?"

"Yes, who did you think I meant?"

"N-nobody."

"Ah, Mr. Nobody. He does the mischief that's to be done in everybody's house."

"What?"

"Not a man of literature, Doctor?"

"What?"

"Oh, nevermind." Eggman stands. "I really should be going."

Sonic stands. "Wait, but our session—"

"Must end early today. You see, I'm working on a big project right now. I'll call to schedule my next appointment."

Sonic crosses his arms. "Big project, huh? Are you sure it isn't that you're seeing another doctor?"

"Excuse me?"

"I know about Doctor Hedgehog. Vanilla told me all about him."

"Doctor, I have no idea what you're talking about."

Sonic looks at Eggman's, and something about his beady dark glasses makes Sonic believe him. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have accused you." And yet, there is a feeling of disquiet in the pit of Sonic's stomach, a feeling which eggs him to keep Eggman from leaving. "If I could ask just one more question before you go."

"If it's just one question, I don't see why not."

"This guy with the friends or girlfriend or whatever…what are his initials?"

"I'm sorry, Doctor, but he's very private. However, if you insist on knowing more about him, you really should talk to Sonic." Eggman turns. "And now, I really must be going." He closes the door behind him.

Sonic returns to his seat. Slumped back in it, he ponders the anxiety that this unknown person has brought on. He questions why he, Sonic the Hedgehog, should know him but does not. And then as his thoughts drift to other subjects, as they tend to do, he finds himself thinking of Knuckles, who has not come to see the doctor in weeks. He thinks of the last time he saw Knuckles, of how Knuckles had been waiting at that restaurant for—

"It's him!" Sonic jumps to his feet and is in the waiting room in a second. He instantly notices Big's absence and turns eyes on Tails. "Where's Big?"

Tails shrugs. "He went out. He's probably doing number 2 in the park bathroom."

Sonic makes a face but quickly shrugs it off. "Come on, we've got to go."

Tails doesn't move. "But what about my pl—I mean Big."

Sonic waves this off. "I only had one appointment today. Big'll know I've left early and lock the place up. But we've got to go check on Knuckles, now." Without waiting for Tails' agreement, Sonic grabs his hand and rushes out the door.

Moments later, Big returns. He sits at his desk and puts his head in his hands. He has spent all morning sitting on the side of the practice, wondering if he should do it. He doesn't want to, but he feels there is no other choice.

The door opens and Big looks up. He is shocked by who he sees.

"Hello, Big. I'm Doctor Hedgehog. How would you like to work for me?"