Sonic the Hedgehog
The Phoenix
By Lucky_Ladybug

Disclaimer: Ha! Nack and Nic belong to Sega (or does Nic belong to Archie Comics?). Nova the Weasel belongs to Diane Olexa (Cynicallia). Reporter Lana Afghana belongs to unknown (Joe Camp?). Webra Walters belongs to Disney. Everyone and everything else (including the story idea) belong to me! ^_^

The cold Pacific waters off the Washington State coastline churned rapidly. Fur, human hair, and blood flew every which way. Suddenly all was still. The only sound was the rushing of the ocean. A few bubbles rose to the surface, but popped quickly and were not replaced by more. No one broke through to the surface. No life appeared.

A half-hour later, the half-dog, half-mermaid creature looked down at the ocean from the high cliff where she was and slowly shook her head, then turned to the camera, holding up her microphone. "Hello. This is Lana Afghana, reporting from the Washington State coastline, where, only moments ago, notorious bounty hunter Fang the Sniper disappeared under the raging currents, along with the Mafia don Alonzo Simon, whom Fang was apparently chasing at the time."

The anchorwoman back at the station, Webra Walters, asked, "Lana, have the police concluded that they are both dead by now, or is there still a chance that they, or at least one of them, survived?"

"Well, Webra, I spoke to the police about five minutes ago, and according to Lieutenant Garvey, someone has been patrolling the coastline ever since they fell in, hoping to find a survivor or a body or something, but they have turned up nothing. Recovery crews have been diving under the ocean searching for bodies, but also have found nothing." Lana paused. "Right now, the police are saying that both are dead for certain. Someone was also watching them when they fell in from up on this cliff, and they didn't leave until the police arrived, so someone has always been here."

The leader of a group of weasels watching all this on the TV screens in the window of an electronic store somewhere in the Rocky Mountains laughed. It was a cold, heartless laugh. "You hear that, gang? Nack's dead. Nack the Weasel, my annoying, troublesome cousin is dead! Gone to Davy Jones' locker!"

He laughed again, and was joined by most of the group with him. Suddenly a softer, timid voice spoke up.


The leader, Rocky McCallon, turned, his gaze fixing on the younger weasel with the black ponytail. "Yeah? What do you want, Andre?" He folded his arms.

Andre DuBois, relieved that Rocky hadn't snapped at him, asked, "How can you be sure Nack's really dead? He's cheated death before."

Rocky only laughed harder. His red eye gleamed as his mop of lavender hair fell across it. "Because, you idiot, everyone knows that *Nack the Weasel* can't swim!"

Angel, Rambo, and Tanya all grinned wickedly. Andre's pink eyes widened in surprise. "I didn't know," he said softly.

"That's because you're ignorant," Rocky shot back.

"Always carrying on about your stupid phantoms and killer Christmas trees!" Rambo added. The powder blue weasel who was Rocky's right-hand man longed to advance on the daffy mechanic Andre and beat him to a pulp, but he couldn't do it in front of Rocky, who reenforced the "no beating-up on other Whipped Cream Avengers" rule. Even though Rocky didn't keep it himself and sometimes beat up on Andre, he never allowed anyone else to, thereby restricting Rambo to waiting for the right time to leap out of the shadows when Rocky wasn't around and take care of Andre for good.

Rambo could tell he'd struck a nerve with Andre, but the poor fool tried not to show it and stood up to Rambo, staring him down defiantly. Rambo only laughed.

Rocky laughed too, and put his arm around his girlfriend Angel. "Nack's dead and that's that," he stated flatly, without emotion.
Nicolette watched her bounty in the Washington State wilderness intently, any minute now preparing to pull the trigger on the stun gun she was holding and take him down temporarily, long enough for her to tie him up and contact her employer.

Suddenly, without warning, a strange creature somersaulted down out of a tree right in front of her. Nicolette's bounty, hearing the racket, suddenly took off.

Grumbling angrily to herself, Nicolette sized up the creature standing in front of her. It was a female weasel with green-and-white fur. She had long hair pulled back in a braid like Nic's, only this critter's hair was jet black. Her hat was black also, with a light green band around it. She sported a light green tank top and shorts like Lara Croft's and was wearing a brown vest. In her gloved hand she held a rope, which, Nic saw, was hooked up and over the tree branch.

"Who the heck are you and what are you doing?" Nic demanded. "You just scared away my bounty!"

The other weasel crossed her arms and looked back at Nic, unblinking, unabashed. "Oh really?" she said casually.

Nic was a little taken aback at the critter's boldness. She stepped away slightly from this newcomer.

"My name is Nova," the green weasel announced, her soft Southern voice indicating a homeland of Mississippi or perhaps Tennessee. She smiled slowly. "And I know who you are."

Nic gave her a doubtful look. "Oh really?" she said, repeating Nova's phrase.

"You're Nicolette the Weasel, and you have—or should I say, had—a brother named Nack, who was called by other such names as Fang the Sniper and Jet."

Nicolette was very curious about how Nova knew all this, but right now, she was much more interested in something else she had said. "Wait a minute—what do you mean I *had* a brother??!"

Nova paused, staring at Nicolette intently. "You didn't know?" she said slowly.

"Know what, sister?" Nic demanded, getting upset.

Nova chose her words carefully. "Your brother drowned in the Pacific Ocean chasing a Mafia don."

Nicolette just stared at Nova in disbelief, then finally shook herself out of her trance and pretended to be totally indifferent. "Well, I knew it would happen one day. Nack took far too many chances."

"You're not upset?" Nova asked.

Nicolette shook her head vehemently, knowing inwardly that she was lying. "Why should I be upset? Out here, it's everyone for his or her self."

Nova adopted an "Uh-huh" look as they started walking through the woods.

"May I ask just what you were doing scaring off my bounty?" Nicolette demanded.

"You'll have another chance to catch him," Nova assured her, offering no explanation as to what her motives had been for dropping out of the tree. She paused. "But don't try to fool me, honey. You're upset about your brother's demise."

Nicolette stopped and gave her a Look. "Why does that always happen?" she muttered.

"Why does what always happen?" Nova asked.

"Why does someone always manage to see into my mind?" Nicolette grumbled. "The same durn thing happened last year when I thought Nack had been killed in an explosion! I don't want people to know how I feel. Especially my clients. They'd think I was going soft!"

Nova smiled mischievously. "Be mindful of your feelings. I can read you like a book."

Nicolette stared at this newcomer. "Oh you can, huh?" But Nova had suddenly disappeared into the shadows. Nicolette looked around, perplexed. "That was very, very weird," she said aloud to no one in particular.
He was cold. Totally drenched in water and very cold. He lay there, semi-conscious, trying to remember where he was or what had happened. He could vaguely feel himself clutching something in his hands.

Something was dripping on his nose. When he had recovered sufficiently to open his eyes, he realized it was his hat, also drenched.

Still too weak to reach up and wring his hat out, he coughed up water before collapsing back to the ground listlessly. He shuddered, the cold winter wind blowing through his fur.

Finally he struggled to get up, leaning against a nearby pine tree dizzily. He looked down at his gloved hands, discovering that what he was holding was a businessman's jacket. Then, looking at the ground, he noticed footprints going off into the distance and started to laugh hysterically.

Apparently, his plan had worked. He thought back on what he remembered had happened after he and Simon had fallen into the ocean. . . .

"You're not gettin' away from me, you varmint!" Nack had yelled. "I'm takin' you in!"

"Not if I can help it!" Simon had growled.

They had fought wildly in the water for a minute or two, both getting various cuts and bruises in the process. Then Simon had pushed Nack under the water and wound up going under himself.

Nack had gasped for air and tried to get back to the surface, but Simon had pulled him further under, intending to leave him dead in the water and swim back to shore. When Nack was weak and exhausted from struggling, Simon had finally let him go, figuring he would just drown there and then since he couldn't swim.

Nack had figured the same, but even though he was dizzy and about ready to pass out, his mind had been clear enough to form a plan. He knew Simon was heading back to shore and wouldn't want to drown himself, and if Nack grabbed on to him and wouldn't let go, Simon would be forced to take him up with him.

The weasel had reached out and grabbed hold of Simon's jacket with his last ounces of strength. Simon had turned to look at him angrily and tried to push him away, but Nack's firm grip held. The last thing Nack remembered was clutching onto Simon's jacket as the Mafia don started to make his way back to the surface. . . .

Nack grinned, looking down again at the jacket he was still holding. He figured Simon probably thought he had drowned when he had fallen unconscious and had left the weasel's "dead body" on the beach when they reached the shore, to be found by some unfortunate beach-goer the next morning, and then skipping it before anyone would see him. He had to laugh picturing Simon trying to pry his jacket away from him, and being unable to, finally giving up.

Nack yanked his hat off his head and wrung it out. "You were wrong, Simon," he said out loud to the night air. "I'm not dead. You can't kill me."

Placing his hat back on his head, Nack inspected his gun to make sure it was still in working order, which it was. He stood up, looking at the footprints on the ground. His eyes narrowed. "And I'm still gonna bring you in," he said softly.
Simon, by now, was far away from where Nack was. Holed up in Walla Walla, he watched the news, waiting to hear of any reports of finding Nack's dead body on the coast. Lana Afghana did mention finding a business jacket and several pieces of lavender fur, but no bodies.

Simon sighed. I suppose it could've washed back out to sea, he decided. That might be for the best anyway. He grinned a wicked Mafia grin. Anyway, he's out of my hair.
Nack soared over the buildings of Walla Walla with the aid of his grappling hook. He knew all of Simon's favorite hideouts, and Simon knew he knew them, too, but Simon, poor fool, thought he was dead, and so he was probably holed up in the city somewhere.

On this particular night, Nack was sporting a black cloak he'd had for a while, but had never really worn. He wore it now not so much for the cold as for the fact that he wanted to give Simon a good scare.

Nack landed softly on the balcony of a high-rise hotel and peered through the glass doors.

A woman was sitting in a chair reading. She looked up suddenly and saw Nack standing on her balcony and shrieked.

"Ooops. Excuse me!" Nack tipped his hat to the woman and sprang to the next balcony over. A teenage girl was in the room, bopping along to the new album by *Nsync. Nack chuckled and tried the next balcony.

Simon was in there (finally), wearing a disguise and watching the news. Nack's eyes glinted with mischief as he carefully picked the lock on the doors without Simon noticing. He heard a soft click, indicating the doors were now unlocked.

Suddenly without warning, Nack burst the door wide open and "flew" into the room. Simon sprang up and backed against the wall, petrified. "You?" he gasped.

Nack didn't say anything, instead preferring to stare at Simon in stony silence, like a phantom.

Simon gulped. "Are you going to haunt me for the rest of my life?" He paused. "It was just an accident, you know," he bluffed.

Nack glared at him, finally speaking in low tones. "That was no accident, Alonzo Simon. You murdered me. You know it, and I know it." He folded his arms. "And what're you gonna do about it?"

"Well . . . there's not a whole lot I can do," Simon replied, attempting to regain his composure. "After all, you're already dead. I can't do anything about that."

"You could turn yourself in." Nack's eyes narrowed.

"I am very sorry, but I cannot do that." Simon didn't look the least bit sorry, though Nack could tell that behind the calm front he was trying to put up he was very nervous.

"Well, then, I'll just havta take you in myself, like I was going to do earlier."

Simon started to laugh. "A ghost? Try to take me in? I don't think so." He pulled out a revolver.

Now it was Nack's turn to laugh. "You? Try to take a ghost down with a revolver? I don't think so," he said, mimicking Simon's voice.

Simon fired the gun anyway. The bullet went through the cloak Nack had been wearing, but the way it hit gave off the illusion that it had gone through Nack as well.

Simon gulped. "You are a ghost, aren't you?"

"You were having doubts?"

Simon didn't answer. Instead he made a break for it, heading for the balcony in a foolhardy attempt to escape by leaping off.

"Hold on there, I havta take you in alive!" Nack protested, leaping in front of him.

Simon shrieked and turned around to try to run out the main door. Nack responded by tackling him, bringing him to the floor.

As Nack restrained him by tying up his hands and feet, Simon suddenly realized, "A ghost can't tackle people! You're . . . you're alive!"

"Alive and kickin'," Nack agreed. "You can try to kill me, Simon. Try it anyway you want, but it won't work. You can't kill me, Simon."

Simon struggled to get free but found it fruitless. He sighed. "I can see that."
Andre DuBois hid amidst a cluster of large boulders, terrified. Somebody had been chasing him down ever since he'd crossed the border into Wyoming. He had no idea who it was . . . he'd never seen him before—a lavender-and-white weasel with longish red hair.

Now as he curled into a tight furry ball, wrapping his long tail around him, something swooped out of the sky, landing on the largest boulder. Andre uncurled and leaped a mile high, yelping, his hair flying every which way.

"Keep it down, Andre. You're liable to wake the dead!" The figure turned toward the moonlight, revealing . . .

"Nack!" Andre shrieked, his voice only increasing in volume. "But you're DEAD!"

Nack's cloak blew softly in the wind. His fang glistened in the moonlight. He started to laugh. "Word gets around fast, now, don't it?"

Andre slapped his forehead in dismay and fell forward, passing out in Nack's arms. Nack looked as though he half-expected the reaction. He shook the other weasel by the shoulders to wake him up.

Andre's eyes flickered open. "I can't deal with this!" he moaned, shuddering. "I thought my days of being haunted by phantoms were over!" In his mind, he remembered one of the most horrific foster homes he had been in, where he was pursued, teased, and tormented by phantoms all night long.

Nack found himself feeling sorry for this "poor fool," as he called Andre in his head. "I ain't no phantom, Andre," he said aloud. "It's okay. That critter—and the ocean—couldn't kill me."

Andre looked up at Nack with his expressive pink eyes. "You're not dead? But . . . you can't swim!"

"I have ways," Nack replied mysteriously.

Andre shook his head. "But you couldn't have survived," he objected. "You must have come back to haunt me because you're mad about the time I hit you with a wrench!"

"Now, you told me that was an accident," Nack returned.

"It was!" Andre exclaimed.

"Then why would I haunt you about it?"

Andre shrugged helplessly.

Nack sighed. Andre would probably never be convinced.
Nicolette flew out of nowhere, wielding her stun gun and shooting it at her prey before he could react. Laughing to herself, she tied him up and put a phone call through to her employer.

Without warning, the same strange weasel dropped to the ground in front of her again, this time with a catch of her own.

"What is it with you?" Nic demanded.

"I've been observing you," Nova replied. "Not too bad of a bounty hunter, I must say. I'm impressed."

"Why are you observing me?" Nic pressed.

"That's for me to know and you to find out," Nova said smoothly. She turned to go, dragging her bounty with her. "I expect we'll be meeting up again sometime." She paused. "Oh, by the way—your brother's alive."

Nic put her hands on her hips. "What's going on here?"

"Hey, I'm not playing with you," Nova said. "I really thought he was dead. But I just found out he's alive. You'll havta ask him yourself how he survived." And with that, she was gone again. Nic stared after her.

As Nova darted through the woods, she reflected. The bounty she had just caught had been overheard a day or so ago talking about a bounty hunter named Nicolette, and, incase she related somehow to the case, Nova had decided to watch her for a while. She had come to the conclusion that Nic had no connections to her case whatsoever, but decided to pop up and talk with her a little bit to see further.

She did expect to meet up with Nic again, and probably very soon, too. Maybe they would even work together on a high-stakes case if the necessity arose. Nova felt that Nic, unlike many bounty hunters she had encountered, would be smart enough to do the job right.

And that Nack, too . . . Now he was a clever one. Nova smiled. A weasel after my own heart, she thought. Nack had cheated death many, many times over, just as Nova had, and they both seemed to greatly enjoy shocking whoever had tried to murder them.

Nova dragged her unwilling bounty along, deciding that after picking up her pay, she would continue to quietly observe these two very interesting weasels.