Disclaimer: LOL, I don't own, and don't even want to own Sonic the Hedgehog anymore, frankly. This disclaimer applies for the whole fanfiction.


Okay, so Cold Compassion is still waiting to be finished, and The Business of Living has just started... Well, this is my main project. Aces is sick at the mo', so hold onto your horses. The Business of Living... As I said, it's my "DIE WRITER'S BLOCK!" fic, so it's not going to be concentrated on as much.

This fic, however, is the one I've been wanting to write for a while - the one based off of my one-shot, "No More Rings." Don't worry, for those who have read it, this is going to follow very little of the brief timeline I had laid out in the beginning of that fic, and for those who haven't read it, you won't be affected by it or anything.

So since this fic is going to be very different from what I normally write, I'm getting a lot of help with it. This is basically my attempt at an epic... let's hope I don't fail too miserably XD

Thank You's!:

Just a quick word of thanks to the people who made this fic possible (since thank you's are too important to leave to the end, anyway XD). Thanks to Rau866 - without him, this fic would have about as much depth as your living room carpet. Thanks to Frozen Nitrogen for beta-reading for me - if you haven't read his fics, than shame on you! SHAME! Lastly, thanks to all the wonderful people I've met over the years on fanfiction - you're my source of inspiration, seriously XD

(Note that azngirlchibi does that endorse the use of subliminal messaging.)

The ring was sad. He could smell it.

Sonic watched in silent, slack-jawed wonder as the tiny bit of gold spun slowly, just out of his reach. Looking at it, he didn't care that he was bleeding profusely. He didn't care that his open mouth was inviting bits of dirt and wood into his tongue. He didn't care that it was getting hard to breathe, that his heart was finding it harder and harder to beat.

He could only direct all his senses to the wonderful, warm glint, as the ring threw off a luminous glow of a thousand colours.

"Hey… it's alright," he said to the ring. He couldn't stand to see anything sad. "It's not that bad… see?" He moved his fingers away from the wound that was slashed across his stomach.

He grimaced when blood pulsed out, colouring the dirt a rich burgundy. He covered it quickly again, but his glove was too saturated to absorb more of the sanguine liquid. "Not… a good… idea, huh?" he asked the ring, panting. His voice sounded too feeble, even for his own ears. At least he was too numb to feel the pain by now.

The ring shone a little in response. How could he have ever taken them for granted? He had held beautiful bits of life in his hand, and he had used them up like they were nothing.

"What? You… wanna show me… something?" Sonic gasped through gritted teeth, as he held back the sour bile rising in his throat. He took a deep breath; felt cracks along his wound widen when he inhaled.

The ring sparkled, drawing Sonic's eyes as they blinked spastically. "… Oh…" His eyes widened, and a smile spread across his face. "That's cool…"

He could smell the wind blowing around him, greeting him in whispers. He could hear the breath of a bee as it lighted on him, poking at his round, metal form curiously. Grasses reached out towards him, buzzing with conversation. He felt the ring wonder as the trees changed colours, their leaves becoming flushed splashes of reds and golds. Clouds belled above him as they rained. He remembered the first time he had felt snow. It hadn't been cold, exactly, but he loved the way it melted into him, so soft… so soft…

He heard a women whistle pleasantly past on bare feet, before casually throwing a wrapper into the stream. He had seen a man skipping rocks, smiling while tears rolled down his cheeks. He had seen children laugh, even as their knees bled when they fell. He saw faces – many, many faces – crowd around him curiously, too scared to touch him, but too enamored to move away. He saw a human coax down a hedgehog child that had scrambled up to the top of a tree and was too scared to get down.

He had seen that child fall when a bullet skewered his heart.

He saw metal forms running over and around him, loud rumblings that shook him. Horror – that was a new emotion for him, and he felt sick every time he thought about it. Blood… fire, sap popping… heat, not like the gentle caress of summer… Bangs, screams, weeps, fear, sweat, tears.


A giant egg-shaped thing falling out of the sky… Blank. Fuzzy memories, too scary to remember. A lifeless hand picking him up, one that didn't pulse from a heart, but rather, buzzed with something that made him tingle. Being taken… somewhere. Yes, somewhere. A man… Robotnik? Eggman?

Sneering… he remembered that. A man that sneered… kindly? Someone who used the same hand to stroke a robot's shell with fatherly pride – he could almost hear the light bouncing off of it, it had been so well polished – and used the same one to put a bullet through a child. Someone who loved a different kind of life, who celebrated the lives of entirely new creatures that lived in a different way.

Being piled up with lots of other rings – he had never seen so many in the same place! They were all scared, he thinks. Some of them tried to be brave, but many screamed in terror inside their confines. Forever shackled, never free.

Despair, another new emotion.

Then… him? Was that him? The hedgehog-him, or the ring-him?

He had glowed with life, this blue hedgehog. He could see it in his eyes – they were so impossibly green! He could feel how green they were. He remembered how his feet had flown him with a freedom that he couldn't help envying. He had chased the bad man away, protecting life that sang and cried and danced and breathed.

This hedgehog had been so full of life that it had made him giddy.

Machines… limbs and screws and bolts that laid scattered on the ground. Oil that could've easily been blood. Carnage everywhere. He would never forget the way the hedgehog; the one who had destroyed them; picked up a broken, metal head, its eyes smashed, and bowed his own face as if in mourning.

'Sacrifice,' one of the rings who had been much older than him whispered. 'Life is life, no matter what it is.'

Then he remembered being taken away, scattered to the winds. Where was he? Back where he had started, but a little further away. The gurgling river had dried up, and the trees and grass were all dead. Butterflies shimmered past on broken wings, sighing as they fell. Roots panted as they desperately searched for nutrients that no longer existed.

More machines. Big ones, but they weren't destroying anything… they were building.

Magnificent towers that reached above the sky. Walls of beautiful, frosty windows, cars zooming past, many, many feet hitting the pavement in rhythm. Him, forgotten on the ground, but somehow, he didn't mind. There was so much to see. The man who coughed and smoked past him, dirty rags pressing into his large stomach. The prim and proper hawk lady who always had her eyes on another hawk that walked the same way as her. A tiny little girl gasping when the city flooded and the moon shattered, cheering when someone saved them.

Same little girl, but this time, sobbing and crying as someone screamed and shook her. "Rings, girl. I know I saw one!"

"I'm right here!" he had wanted to yell. "Leave her alone!"

The little girl had been dragged into an alley, away from the prying eyes of street lights. Her screams still made him feel nauseous.

Many, many days had passed. He had experienced the smell of concrete after the rain, the sound of silent snow falling on roofs, the sight of sunshine.

Then, the hedgehog who had screamed with life fell from the sky.

And he was dying.

He was sad that he had to die.

Sonic laughed weakly as the flow of sensations slowed. "You and me both…" he managed to utter. He squinted as the rainbow of lights started to disappear, the light ebbing away into blackness.

"So beautiful…" he whispered hoarsely. "Such a beautiful life…"

He reached out his fingers to touch the ring. He wanted to feel it, hold the beautiful soul that shimmered just inches away from him.


His fingers… he could only see his fingers now.


'I'm going to make it-'


A/N: Thank you for taking the time to read this through to the end! This is a bit of a new start for me, so I'd be grateful for any amount of criticisms you can throw at me :)