It was a beautiful day on Angel Island. The sun was shining brightly, the birds were singing melodically, and the clouds were as high and as white as...er, clouds.
Or, at least, it was like this an hour ago.
In reality, it was a miserable day on Angel Island. The sun had packed its bags and gone on vacation. The birds, noticing how dark it was, had gone to a distant night club where they could do some heavy-metal tweeting. And the clouds hung heavy over the island's head, seeming to say, "C'mon, somebody tempt fate so I can pour some rain on you all. I'm waaaiting!"
Fortunately, the cloud was hanging over Angel Island, which only had a single resident. And this resident never said anything while on the job, so fate-tempting was out of the question.
Knuckles the Echidna was sitting on the steps leading up to the Master Emerald shrine, staring into space. More specifically, he was staring at a single rock among the thousands that made a path leading to the Master Emerald. This rock path had been there for as long as he could remember, and for as long as he could remember he had used the path as a cure for boredom. He would spend all day staring at one specific rock, holding staring contests with it, of which he would always lose. He stared at a different rock every day, and never stared at the same rock twice. He had gone through about half the rocks so far. Knuckles sometimes wondered what he would do with his life once he ran out of rocks, but he mentally filed that under 'Somebody Else's Problem'.
After losing another staring contest (he would win one of these days...) the scarlet echidna leaned back and rested his eyes. He took off his gloves and raised his fingered hand to his mouth to use his fingernails as a toothpick.
Knuckles never took off his gloves when his friends were around. For his own entertainment, he pretended around them that he had no fingers, and that he wore mitts to cover up the deformation. At first everyone, especially Tails, for some reason, really wanted to see, but nowadays his friends avoided bringing up the subject. The Guardian didn't know why this was, but he accepted it.
Finally Knuckles had picked out whatever it was in his teeth that was bothering him. At first glance, it seemed to be hardened saliva. At closer inspection, it turned out to be hardened saliva. Knuckles' guess as to how saliva could even harden in the first place boiled down to: "Hey, I'm Knuckles. Cool stuff happens to me."
The Guardian suddenly realized that he had not seen if the Master Emerald was still behind him for a full thirty seconds. Already knowing that the worst had happened, he immediately turned around and started using his spidey sense to find out where the pieces of the Master Emerald had gone.
He then realized that the Master Emerald was right in front of him, right where it should be, and didn't get stolen after all.
The echidna looked around uneasily for a moment, then yelled "I know you're there! You can't fool me!" toward the forest. He did this every once and a while just in case someone actually was there—he figured a thief would be more likely to reveal themselves if they thought they had been caught.
He then turned back and sat in the exact spot he was sitting in before, one hand on the Emerald, one hand playing with some gravel, and both eyes having another staring contest with the rock.
As he had gotten a lot of practice over the years, he was able to hold his eyes open for a full thirty-five minutes before he blinked. He heard that some woman in Chun-Nan was able to hold her eyes open for a full twenty-four hours, his goal was to eventually beat this record.
Knuckles sighed and leaned back, closing his eyes. He would have to practice much more before he could beat that record.
He picked his nose.
*pitter-patter pitter-patter pitter-patter*
Was that the sound of rain? Was it raining finally?
*pitter-patter pitter-patter pitter-patter*
No, it couldn't be rain. He didn't feel any rain, at least.
*Pitter-Patter Pitter-Patter Pitter-Patter*
Oh no, Knuckles thought, when he finally realized what the sound was.
*PITTER-PATTER PITTER-PATTER PITTER-PATTER*
"NO! Not through the rock path!" Knuckles screamed at the body that was attached to the legs that were making the 'pitter-patter' sound.
"What?" asked Sonic, confused.
The Guardian stared at the blue hedgehog in disbelief. He had ran straight through the rock path and stopped at the very edge of it.
"You just made me lose! I was doing so well that time too!"
Sonic looked around. He saw nothing unusual, so he just said "What?" again.
Suddenly the scarlet echidna realized that if he told Sonic he was having a staring contest with a rock, he would be made fun of for years. "Oh, oh...nothing," he said, brushing off his loss.
"What?!" demanded Sonic. "What did I do? And how many more times will I have to say 'what'?"
"No more times, if you just shut up about it."
"Fine," Sonic pouted, and looked away.
"So! Why are you up here, anyway?" Knuckles asked to break the silence. Wait, why'd I do that? It's never silent between us two, I should've savoured the moment.
"Oh. Well, I mostly came up to get out of the rain," Sonic said, somewhat sheepishly. "You wouldn't believe it, it's raining all across the country! The only places it's not raining are places I wouldn't want to be in, anyway."
"Which places are those?" Knuckles asked.
"I can't say. I don't want to be racist to the people who live there."
"Racist...to the city's residents? That what you mean?" the echidna asked in disbelief.
"Do you even know what 'racist' means?"
"I think so."
"So, you think that 'racist to the city's residents' is a correct phrase?"
"I think so," he answered again.
"What about 'racist to fat people'? Do you think that's a correct phrase?"
Sonic paused. "...I think so," he answered once more.
"You're an idiot," Knuckles stated bluntly.
"What?" Sonic asked, yet again.
"You're an idiot."
"I caught that the first time."
"Just making sure you heard me."
"And why do you think I'm an idiot?"
"Because you are, and you have proven yourself to be one many times."
"Name one time."
"Thirty seconds ago."
"How does that make me an idiot?"
"The very fact that you can't figure it out makes you an idiot." Knuckles grinned. He had finally caught Sonic in the crushing grip of reason.
"...Fine. Whatever." Sonic decided to change the subject. "It's so much nicer up here than down there. And it's not raining."
The Guardian glanced up to the dark, heavy cloud hanging above their heads.
"Oh, that?" said Sonic, noticing Knuckles' glance. "That's nothing. That cloud has been over your island for hours and it still hasn't rained. It'll probably blow over to the sea before anything happens."
The cloud above squealed with joy. This area was known as the 'dead zone' among clouds, as no cloud had rained there for years. Such a large area owned by one resident that never tempts fate does that. But someone new had just tempted fate, so the cloud was finally able to release all the rain clogged up inside it.
It would have to brag about how it had beat the 'dead zone' to its friends later.
Knuckles, Sonic, and the Master Emerald were all suddenly drenched.
"You were saying, Hedgehog?" said Knuckles through gritted teeth.
"Well, isn't rain good? The trees and plants need rain to grow, right? Can't we go indoors until the rain lightens up?" babbled Hedgehog, missing only a single beat.
"Are you aware, Hedgehog, that there is no 'indoors' on this island?" angrily stated the dripping wet echidna.
"You're kidding. What about Hidden Palace Zone?"
"That collapsed. You collapsed it! Don't you even remember that, or does your whole 'never look back' attitude keep you from remembering your own mistakes?!"
"B-But, what do you do when it rains here, then?" Sonic asked, fearing the worst.
"It doesn't," Knuckles stated.
His blue 'friend' immediately deadpanned. "Yeah. Right. I don't believe you."
"It's true," Knuckles assured him. "I don't even remember the last time it's rained here. Occasionally the island runs into a cloud, which is good because it moisturizes the plants, but it seriously never rains here."
Sonic shivered from the cold rapidly closing in on him. "Well, it's raining now, and isn't it oh-so-convenient that it starts raining just as I get here? Explain that!"
"Well, obviously, you caused the rain," said the now-shivering echidna, completely seriously.
"What? How could I have caused the rain?!"
"'Cause you're an idiot!"
"...Is that going to be your answer to everything?" Sonic sighed.
"YES!" Knuckles cried, nodding his head furiously.
The two sapients crouched down and tried to get warm, despite the waterfall of rain pouring over them. Knuckles had a sneaking suspicion that the cloud above them was trying to make up for all the years of rain that hadn't fallen.
"Hey, Knux," Sonic croaked. "You think we should go into the forest and try to find a tree to keep us covered?"
Under normal circumstances, Knuckles would respond with "Are you #&%ing kidding me?! There's no way I'd leave the Master Emerald!" However, these were not normal circumstances for the scarlet echidna. Having not been rained on for many years meant that Knuckles was not used to what felt like ice-cold needles hitting him constantly, and so his duty to protect the Emerald was no match for his urge for comfort. He and Sonic dashed into the woods.
"This doesn't feel any better," Knuckles complained once he was under a particularly large deborah tree.
"Wanna go out and see if it's better out in the open?" Sonic, who was sitting under the same tree, said sarcastically.
The shivering echidna failed to catch the sarcasm and walked out into the open. He stood there for a moment, then rushed back to the "safety" of the tree. "I take it back, it's better here."
Sonic rolled his eyes. "Why am I not surprised?"
"Why aren't you?" Knuckles asked in response.
"...You need a new sarcasm detector, Knux. I heard Future Shop has some good ones."
Knuckles was tempted to say "Really? How much?" just to see Sonic's reaction, but he figured that it wouldn't go over so well, so he didn't say anything. He couldn't help but feel annoyed that people often mistake his sense of humour for stupidity. Maybe he had a stupid sense of humour.
The two shivered at the same time when a particularly cold gust of wind blew through. That cloud up there was having way too much fun.
"You know, I recently checked online and found that there's a lot of real person fiction written about me," Sonic said out of nowhere.
"...How does that have to do with anything?"
"Just trying to make conversation," Sonic said. "Anyway, you see how we're both next to each other wrapping our arms around ourselves to keep warm? This is like the perfect setup to a Sonuckles fic. We would now be expected to, since we're both so damn cold, cuddle up with each other to keep warm against all common sense, and then discover that we like it."
It was a testament to Knuckles's absolute stupefaction that his face didn't turn into the physical manifestation of the phrase "WTF!?"
"How the hell do you even know that?!"
Sonic shrugged. "I was curious. Boredom played a fairly big part, too."
Knuckles took this as a chance to make fun of his friend. "Why did you even bring that up anyway? Could it possibly be, perhaps, that you brought it up because you want it to happen?" Knuckles said to him while grinning slyly.
"NO! That's gross! What kind of a sick, twisted mind do you have if you can even think of that?!" Sonic exclaimed with a disgusted look on his face.
Knuckles frowned when he realized that his joke had backfired spectacularly.
The rain continued to pour.
On the west edge of Angel Island, there should be a miniature canyon, a sort of crevice. In the last half-hour, it had turned into a lake. Strange, isn't it?
"Anything else you wanna talk about to waste the time?" Sonic asked his very own neighbourhood guardian.
"Not to you."
The cobalt hedgehog looked vaguely dejected. "That's fine," he said, looking at his wrist as if he had a watch there. "I think I've given her plenty of time already."
"Huh? Who are you talking about?" Knuckles asked, no longer following the conversation.
Sonic got up and started walking back out into the open. "C'mon and see, Knux," he said, gesturing to him.
"Back out into the rain?"
Sonic grinned. "Why not? Aren't you supposed to be protecting that emerald of yours, anyway?"
Knuckles's eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. "THE MASTER EMERALD!" he yelled, racing back to it at speeds even Sonic was impressed by, but not by much.
But when he got there, he realized it was already too late. The Master Emerald was hanging much too high above his head for him to reach. Tied around the Emerald was one side of a piece of rope, while the other side was being gripped by a flying creature wearing a full-body suit of black, waterproof spandex.
This creature happened to be a bat of the female variety.
"Rouge! Get down here right now! Give me back my Emerald!" Knuckles screamed at her, as it was really the only thing he could do.
"You mean my Emerald, sweetie," she corrected, and Knuckles knew she was grinning as she said that even though her suit covered her mouth. "By the way, sorry for taking so long, Sonic. The rain slowed me down. It's hard to fly when my wings are wet."
"No prob, Rouge," said Sonic, who was smartly standing beyond punching distance from Knuckles. "Besides, you're not that late. It's only been twenty-four hundred words so far."
"True," noted Rouge.
"Wait, I don't get it, tell me what's going on here!" the confused echidna demanded.
"You see, dearie," began Rouge while Knuckles grimaced, "Sonic thought that you were too obsessed with my Emerald, and wanted to detach you from it for a while. I, of course, just wanted my Emerald back. As we essentially wanted the same thing, Sonic agreed to distract you while I took back my jewel."
Knuckles looked horrified.
"Oh, you're just so gullible! It's cute." Rouge laughed. "Well, ta-ta, and thanks for keeping my Emerald safe for so long!"
Knuckles looked on with continued horror and helplessness as he saw the bat casually fly away with the jewel that could doom the universe if it fell into the wrong hands.
The Guardian immediately turned to where he thought Sonic was, ready to beat the English language out of him if necessary. However, he found that the area around him was deserted, as long as he didn't count the seemingly-living, pounding rain that he had actually forgot about for a minute. He unfortunately realized that having the speed of sound on your side for a useful tool for a quick getaway.
The Guardian of the Master Emerald sat down on the steps that should lead up to said emerald. He held his face in his hands and reflected on what a miserable failure of a guardian he was.
The cloud above witnessed all the events that had occurred on this day on the Island of Angels. It witnessed the terrible trick played on the owner of the island, and thought that it was superbly unfair. It cried. It weeped for the Guardian's unfair life, and it sobbed for the author's ignoring of canon by not making the island fall when the Master Emerald was removed.
This made it rain even harder.
Knuckles pulls his head out of his hands and turned toward the fourth wall. "Yeah, you all think this is funny, don't you? Well just you wait, for laughing at my misery I'll find you and—"
The stage curtain suddenly closed as the theatre manager realized that Knuckles's speech could only inspire nightmares.