A/N: Hello, fellow Sonic fans! I'm kind of new to Sonic and this is my first (completed) Sonic fic. I've watched all the episodes of all four animated series (including the movie) and I own Sonic Mega Collection Plus, Sonic Heroes and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity for PS2. Hence the 'kind of' part. I'd love to read the Archie Comics, though. Sadly, I'm too poor to buy them. :(

This one's a Sonic X one-shot. In episode 53, when Eggman finds Sonic after his first battle with Dark Oak, he takes him back to his base and looks after him. It irks me that they downplay that kind of serious stuff in the show. When I saw it, I was wondering what was going through Eggman's mind during 'the better part of a week'. I wanted to explore his mind, so I wrote this.

Disclaimer: I don't own the rights to Sonic the Hedgehog. He's all Sega's.

His feet steadily pounded into the soft sand, shifting to partially fill in the holes left behind. A towel hanging around his neck was doing a wonderful job of soaking up any sweat.

Decoe and Bocoe, both having opted to stay behind and guard the base, were wondering what on Mobius had inspired Dr. Eggman to go jogging on the beach tonight. They kept taking turns to glance at Eggman's back on the monitors. Bokkun was almost running beside the Doctor, his pace faster to keep up with the other's much longer legs.

They had only been jogging for a couple of minutes. They hadn't gone all that far as Eggman's base was still in plain sight. Eggman was, for once, enjoying the non-mechanical activity despite his puffing. He would never tell anyone, but he quite enjoyed the beach and the sound of the ocean. Especially at night when there were so few to possibly spot him doing such an uncharacteristic thing.

The robots were getting bored. As usual, they felt the need to strike up a conversation. It would be much easier now that their boss was gone. He wouldn't be able to berate them for anything they said.

"How long do you think they will be exercising?" Decoe asked his silver counterpart.

"I do not know," Bocoe honestly replied. "But I am glad I am not out there. The sea air does not agree with me very well."

The tall one nodded. "I know what you mean. Still, it is healthy for Doctor Eggman to do some exercise. You know we have always told him that he should get into shape."

"Yes, and he always yelled at us for suggesting it. I wonder what changed his mind."

Decoe fell silent, pondering this for a moment. "I am unsure, but it must be a good sign," he replied, turning his gaze back to the monitors. He was not focused on them, though. He appeared to be simply looking through them instead.

"I hope you are right. I would like some peace and quiet around here for a while," Bocoe added wistfully, sighing in a strange, robotic way.

"I agree. It is not exactly a vacation, but it is certainly better than nothing."

Eggman was breathing a little heavily, unused to such physical strain upon his own body. This was part of the reason why he had built the Egg-O-Matic in the first place all those years ago. Despite his low comfort levels, he felt strangely good about the exertion he was putting himself through. He didn't plan on going too far; however, his run was cut even shorter as he came to a halt.

Bokkun had been concentrating on using his legs. The temptation to use his jet was almost overwhelming. He had been concentrating so hard that he almost ran right past his jogging partner. "Hey, why'd you stop?"

Eggman ignored his small messenger. All of his attention was on a figure laying face down a few metres ahead. He cautiously walked over to investigate. He let off an involuntary gasp of surprise as the moonlight revealed the figure.

It was Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic's small, spiked form was bruised, burned and battered. He was covered in numerous scratches and blood had dried and matted portions of his fur. Some of the blood had been washed off by the ocean, which must have stung the cuts badly, but the hedgehog still looked terrible. Some of his azure fur was singed in places, leaving him with patches of black dotting his body. Even unconscious, Sonic's teeth were gritted in pain.

As he took in the pitiful sight of his hated nemesis, Eggman's mind began to race. 'What could have hurt Sonic so badly? I know how resilient the little rodent is, yet he looks as though someone put him through the ringer! Who could have such amazing power? Chaos himself was not really much of a match for Sonic in the end!'

Bokkun let his eyes dart from Eggman to Sonic and back again. "Doctor?" he inquired, unintentionally interrupting the other's thoughts. "What are you gonna do with him? Capture him and keep him prisoner in the base? Is he even alive?" Curious now, Bokkun walked towards the prone figure, intent on finding out if he was dead or not.

Eggman shooed him back and stepped forward to check himself. He knelt down beside the hedgehog and reached for his arm. He wrapped his fingers around Sonic's thin wrist surprisingly gently and, pushing back the hedgehog's glove, felt for any signs of life. He waited anxiously for a few seconds, secretly fearing the worst, when a faint pulse registered under his fingers. It was slow and weak, but Eggman was, for some reason, simply pleased that it was there at all.

"Well, has he kicked the bucket?" Bokkun asked, watching the Doctor with some confusion. He'd never seen his master so gentle with anything before. Besides, perhaps, a Chaos Emerald of course.

"No, he's alive. Barely." Now that he knew Sonic was alive, if only just, Bokkun's earlier questions flooded into his mind. 'Hmm, what AM I going to do with him? I could leave him here. If he doesn't die before the tide comes in, he'll certainly drown when it does lying facedown like he is. It would solve so many of my problems if he was gone!' Casting his eyes to the unmoving bundle of fur and quills, he suddenly realised that he didn't want Sonic to die like this.

Without quite knowing why, he reached out for the hedgehog once more. Being careful of Sonic's sharp quills, Eggman gently picked him up. Sonic hung limply in his grasp, not stirring a bit. 'I don't think I've ever seen him so…injured. It's rare if he's brought to his knees and even rarer if he passes out. But every time he did pass out, he'd stir seconds after.' The sight of his nemesis so beaten down was completely foreign to the genius and it sent chills down his spine.

"Oh, so we're taking him prisoner? We must be if you're bringing him with us," Bokkun piped up, his high-pitched voice grating on Eggman's slightly frayed nerves.

"No, you dimwit! I'm bringing him back to the base, yes, but for medical treatment," Eggman announced, quickly, yet as smoothly as he could, striding back the way they had come. He didn't want to jolt Sonic in case it aggravated any internal injuries.

The little black robot activated his jet, not willing to run all the way back if he could help it, and hurried after the plump human.

While walking, Eggman was trying to rationalise his sudden actions. 'Why am I helping this thorn in my side? By all accounts, I should have left him. With him out of the way, no-one would be able to stop me! His little friends would be too heartbroken to fight in his place. Not that they'd be able to hinder my progress anyway. So why am I saving him?'

Decoe and Bocoe had dozed off. They didn't really need to sleep, but they enjoyed the small luxury all the same. Because of this, they missed the screens displaying the return of their master via the security cameras.

It was not until a rough voice barked at them over the intercom did they rouse themselves.

"Decoe, Bocoe, make yourselves useful for a change and come down to the medical bay!"

The voice cut off and the gold and silver robots were left with many questions. "The medical bay? You do not think he had an accident, do you?"

Decoe jumped out of his seat. "We had better go down and find out or he may get so mad that WE will need medical attention!"

With that, Decoe scrambled to hurry out of the room with Bocoe right on his metallic heels. They headed for the nearest elevator down and stepped on it. As the hidden gears that drove it whirred softly, the two shared an apprehensive look.

Eggman barely acknowledged their arrival when the elevator came to a stop. He was still wearing the red tracksuit he had donned to go jogging. He had removed the towel, though. It lay draped over a chair where he had flung it carelessly. His back was facing them, obstructing their view of what he was working on.

"You called, Doctor?" Bocoe asked warily.

"Yes, I need you two to get a few things for me -"

"Are you sending us shopping again?" Decoe whined, cutting off Eggman.

Eggman remained facing away from them as he snapped an answer. "No, you stupid bucket of bolts! I need you and Bocoe to fetch a basin of clean water and a small, clean towel. Do you think even you two dunderheads can manage that?"

Both quickly saluted and said, "Yes, sir!" They hurried off to complete their errands, almost jamming each other in the doorway in their haste to leave.

Eggman had been standing hunched over the only bed in the room. Bokkun was sitting at the foot of the bed, avidly watching the whole scene.

When they had reached the base, they had immediately come to this room. Eggman had deposited his burden onto the mattress and called for his assistants. He hadn't moved away from the bed until now.

"Now where did I put…?" he muttered to himself, searching around the sterile room. Half a minute later, he let off a triumphant cry. He returned to the side of the bed, a pair of scissors and a couple of rolls of bandages now resting next to the hedgehog.

At that moment, Decoe and Bocoe re-entered the room. The former was carrying a large bowl full of water, the latter a duplicate of the towel that the Doctor had tossed onto the chair. Both sidled over to the Doctor's side to hand him the items. This now gave them a clear view of what was in front of Eggman. Decoe almost dropped the bowl in surprise, barely managing not to spill any of its contents.

Bocoe was the first to speak. "Doctor Eggman, why is Sonic here? Did you fight him on the beach?"

"No, I found him on the beach already in this condition. I'm patching him up so that he can tell me what put him in such a state," he absently replied, having thought of this answer beforehand. He reasoned that this alone was the whole motivation behind his actions concerning the unconscious hero. He relieved Decoe of the bowl and placed it near Sonic's feet. Grabbing the towel, he dabbed a bit of it into the water and ran it over Sonic's fur and quills, removing the blood and sooty patches along with all the sand and grit the hedgehog had picked up lying on the beach.

When he deemed Sonic clean, he started cutting lengths of bandages. Decoe, being the taller, helped prop Sonic up while he wrapped the thin, white cloth around the blue and tanned peach-coloured fur. When he finished, he stood back to admire his handiwork.

Just then, Bokkun returned. Eggman had sent him off for a glass of water. Taking the offered cup, he held it to Sonic's lips and tilted it. A small trickle made its way down Sonic's throat, the hedgehog swallowing reflexively. Eggman turned to his three robots. "There, that's all we can really do now. I'm going to have a shower. Someone keep an eye on our guest. If he wakes up, come and get me right away."

The next couple of days passed uneventfully for all who occupied the base. There was always someone watching the monitors, one screen constantly showing the medical room. They were all wondering if one of Sonic's friends had gotten worried about his absence and gone searching for the missing speedster.

Decoe and Bocoe shuddered to think what his friends would do if they found out that he was in their base.

On the third day, Eggman visited Sonic to give him some water as he had been doing periodically. Sonic had not stirred at all and Eggman was starting to wonder if he would ever wake up. On an impulse, he sat down in the lone chair. Without giving anyone, including himself, a reason, he kept vigil over the hedgehog until he fell asleep right where he was.

Eggman woke with a wince, his muscles protesting to the uncomfortable positions they had held last night. 'What am I doing in the medical bay?' he thought groggily as he realised where he was. 'Ah yes, now I remember. I sat down to observe the little spiked rodent. I must've fallen asleep. Oh well, no matter. He's still unconscious, but I think the bandages can come off. I know he heals rather fast.'

With that thought in mind, Eggman grabbed the scissors he had placed aside. He shuffled over to the bed and hesitantly began cutting away the cloth. When the task was done, he looked over his patient with a critical eye. The bruises had faded; any left were light enough to be covered up by fur. All the scratches had healed and any of the tiny traces left would most likely be gone by tomorrow. The singed fur had regrown enough to be indiscernible. The only injury remaining was a half-healed gash high upon Sonic's left arm, just below the shoulder joint. Eggman decided to leave the bandage off that one anyway so that the air could get to it.

The fifth day started like the previous ones. Eggman's behind was firmly parked in the solitary chair. Decoe and Bocoe were lounging against the wall and Bokkun had been sent to make the genius a mug of coffee. The three conscious beings in the room were simply twiddling away the time. All of them were bored, not having anything in particular to do. The monotony was broken when their patient's eyelids began to flicker.

Eggman waited with baited breath as Sonic's eyes slowly came open. He was a little taken aback when Sonic's eyes snapped open completely and the azure hedgehog jolted up into a sitting position with a gasp. He watched as Sonic took in the sight of the silver, metal walls in confusion. He could almost hear the gears turning in Sonic's brain, trying to make sense of things.

"It's about time," he gruffly stated, swivelling the chair slightly to face Sonic.

Sonic's eyes widened at the sight of the portly human not two metres away. "Eggman! What happened?" he asked, thoroughly confused by the situation.

"I've been sitting here for the better part of a week waiting for you to wake up and tell me!" he replied. "I was out jogging to maintain my perfect physique when I spotted something," he added, sounding like a storyteller. "You were in pretty bad shape, Sonic. You were battered like a fish-stick! It was a tough decision," he continued theatrically. "I didn't know whether to save you or wait for the tide to come in!" he finished with a laugh.

Just then, Bocoe butted in. "You were in terrible shape, Sonic. Doctor Eggman saved your life!"

Decoe then decided to add his own two cents. "If he hadn't, he wouldn't have anybody to pick on!"

Bokkun chose that time to enter the room and fly down to land in front of Sonic's feet. "So how'd you end up passed out on the beach anyway?" the little robot inquired.

"I was fighting somebody," Sonic said before getting to his feet.

The unexpected action startled Bokkun and he fell backwards, landing on his butt with a cry of dismay. The coffee he had prepared for Eggman now splashed all over his face.

Sonic shrugged, looking apologetic. "Hey, sorry, but I can't say anymore." He dashed off the bed, whizzing past Bokkun and making the robot dizzy.

"You're leaving?" Eggman asked, sitting forward in his chair.

Sonic swiftly doubled back from the doorway to stand before his arch-enemy. "See ya later, Eggman!" he said, somewhat sarcastically before he dashed off again.

Eggman looked nonplussed and simply sat back in his chair, his usual scowl back in place.

Decoe, however, had no such plans of letting Sonic off so easily. "Hey, you owe us, Sonic!" he said in a miffed tone.

Bocoe backed up his counterpart. "You run fast, but when it comes to paying your debts you sure are a slowpoke!"

"Yeah!" Decoe added whole-heartedly.

Bokkun hovered above. "What a deadbeat, ugh!" he complained, disgusted by Sonic's blasé attitude.

Eggman's thought were churning. 'I could've sworn I saw a bit of gratitude in his eyes when he looked at me. He's unwilling to discuss what happened in that fight and who exactly was involved. Is he trying, in his own way, to protect me?'

"Sonic, you ingrate!" Bokkun yelled.

"That is the last time we help YOU!" Bocoe shouted straight after.

"Yeah, patients like you make me sick!" Decoe announced.

Eggman tuned his robots out. 'Sonic's come to my aid before, so the idea is plausible at least.' He heaved an internal sigh. 'You seem so straightforward, so clear-cut, but…you are certainly a puzzle to me. A puzzle I fully intend to figure out.'

A/N: How was that? I had Eggman wash and bandage Sonic for a reason. He was all dirty and scratched lying on the beach. When you see him on the bed, however, he's clean and injury-free! Except for the wound on his left arm where I'm pretty sure Dark Oak cut him with his sword. Had to explain that somehow. Yes, the last section's dialogue was taken from the English dub word for word. I wanted to compare it to the Japanese version, but I couldn't find it.

I figure that Eggman sees Sonic as a twisted version of a pet. Eggman builds himself a new 'toy', goes out to let his 'toy' have some fun, and Sonic comes to 'play' with the Doc and his 'toy'. See? Twisted, but it makes a weird sort of sense if you think about it. That's why Eggy didn't want Sonic dying on the beach like that. I suppose he feels that the honour of ending Sonic's life is his alone.

Well, I hope you enjoyed! I would really appreciate some feedback from my first foray into the Sonic section. I like constructive criticism, but flames will be ignored. It's hot enough where I live (blasted heat wave) so I don't need anything adding to it.

Thanks for reading!