Disclaimer: Not mine.
Just another little short story. What exactly would Sonic think of his wolf form after it was all over...?
Days of the Wolf
„Nnnngh – come on!"
Sonic the Hedgehog was not having a good day.
Or night, to be precise.
It had only been two weeks since Dark Gaia had been defeated and he was once more enjoying his 18-year old life, running through the world as carefree and fleet-footed as the wind. But on a whim, he had decided to visit the hilly plains of Windmill Isle again, just to see how it would be to speed through them on two feet instead of four. He had enjoyed himself and laughed as he weaved through the ruins, jumped over debris and danced with the breezes through stone arcs and derelict, ancient buildings.
Laughed right until the ruins collapsed on top of him.
"You stupid…! Lemme go!"
Oh, they hadn't crushed him.
"I swear, if Knucklehead was here, you wouldn't be so smug then, you friggin pillar – NOW MOVE IT!"
Certainly not his lungs.
Sonic, of course, had been much too fast to be caught in the thick of the crumbling building. But he hadn't escaped all of it. Right now the hedgehog was clawing at the grassy ground, trying uselessly to tug his leg free, which had been trapped between a pillar and two rocks. It had been a stroke of luck, really. Had his limb been a couple of inches to either side, it wouldn't have been wedged into the tight fissure between the pieces of debris before the column crashed down on them but would have been smashed to pulp. So the leg was unharmed, but nevertheless a source of great annoyance for its trapped owner. Everything from the lower half of Sonic's calf was now buried beneath the rubble and so far, it had proved impossible to pull his foot free. The hedgehog's leg was securely encased in stone a foot from the ground, which made it impossible for him to even upright himself, a lying or sitting position all he could manage.
"I hate you, you know?"
Right now the latter was the case, as the hero of Mobius was glaring balefully at the evil pillar, wishing it to feel his wrath. Not like he could do much else. The spin-dash he would have needed to break it and free himself was impossible to execute because he was trapped.
This sucks. Nobody knows I'm even out here.
Of course, he hadn't told Tails or anyone of his plans – not even Sonic himself knew where he'd end up whenever he went on a run and this little detour had been entirely on a whim. And so he had been trapped for hours by now, the afternoon turning into evening and finally into night, silver moonlight falling onto the straining hedgehog who would turn into a wolf no more.
I bet two weeks ago I could have lifted this thing no sweat.
The thought came to Sonic unbidden. It was nothing unusual – the hedgehog's brain, used to compute a landscape moving at hundreds of miles an hour, or to uphold a conversation when its owner was talking a mile a minute again, often wandered down the strangest of paths whenever the hedgehog was forced to hold still and had no one to talk to. And now the hero of Mobius could not help but remember the raw strength he had possessed as the hybrid creature Dark Gaia had turned him into. Oh, how he wished for those powers now…
Maybe I would even be able to reach the communicator I dropped like an idiot.
The wolf had been able to extend his arms at will. Sonic remembered losing the walkie-talkie Tails had forced upon him ("Repeat after me, Sonic: 'I will call Tails when I'm in trouble.'") as he had been flung onto the ground when the pillar came down onto his leg. Now it was probably lying somewhere in the tall grass in front of him, teasing him with its closeness. He couldn't even see it anymore, the pale moonlight dulling all colours to silver and grey.
As a wolf, I could see in near darkness…blue lids covered emerald eyes in defeat as Sonic let himself slump onto his belly on the cool earth again.
Of course, there had also been drawbacks to his new form.
He hadn't looked very hot, for starters.
Sure, his ego had managed all right, but a tiny part had always felt as a bit of a monster, when small children even had been scared of him…but of course, at times that had been an advantage, too. When he looked his regular self, (and had had a bad day) the 'Hey, there's Sonic the Hedgehog! Let's bother him with whatever improbable and ridiculous problem we managed to create for ourselves today!' –reaction happened just a little bit too often.
'My Chao is stuck in a tree!' 'An Eggman robot stole my washing!' 'I need a delivery boy and Shadow hasn't lost his memory recently!' 'Somebody killed Chris Thorndyke and we need you to arrest all 100 000 people with a motive!' Honestly.
Sonic sighed. He knew he preferred his hedgehog form to the wolf. After all, there was nothing he loved more about himself than his speed. When he had found that in trade for the new strength, they had taken his velocity, that he was now confined to a sluggish jog where he had soared across ground before, he had almost freaked. He had tried to hide it from Chip, of course, not wishing to upset the little …mouse…hamster…gerbil... thingy. But at night, when Chip had been sleeping, the hedgehog had often desperately tried to push himself when running, feel the same rush it gave him when he tore through the world in his original form and then felt wretched when it just wouldn't work, a slow, 40kmh trudge all he could manage. He had even tried to run on all fours, which had felt a lot more natural, but even that had been useless. It had been an odd sensation, too, one which at times had even let him feel more animal than Mobian, to the point where it had almost become scary. He had cherished the mornings that would let him turn back again, but still…
Why do we always wish for things to be like in the past even though we know we weren't really happy back then either? Sonic wondered. And again tugged uselessly with his back arching, like a dog straining against his chain.
"Sonic leashed. Who'd have thought?" he grumbled, sarcasm dripping from his words as he flopped down again.
This didn't seem like it was going anywhere fast.
Out here he was also prey for any wild animals – ferals, of course, had a healthy fear of humans, but Sapients like him had been a comparatively recent development in evolution, which meant that to any passing bear or mountain lion he'd still smell like a pet hedgehog, a handy snack to devour…and his trapped leg meant he couldn't even curl up for protection like his ancestors would have done. No wolf teeth for biting, either.
I am so screwed.
Earlier, when the sun had still been shining, he had even (after his Common Sense had spent the good part of two hours beating his Ego into submission) screamed for help. But of course, in this hilly country, winds from the nearby sea rippling the grass constantly, his voice had been thin and probably not been heard very far. Sonic didn't even know how long it was to Station Square or any civilization from here.
The prostrate hedgehog again propped himself up on his elbows, raising his face to the black night sky. A pale, pitiless moon shone down upon him and Sonic, a cool breeze making him shiver slightly, already couldn't help but think that this was because the night star only cared for its nocturnal children, to which he no longer belonged…
He shook his head.
Great. By the time someone finds me here I'll probably have gone completely bonkers. I'll be calling the rock trapping my leg 'Nelson' and having a conversation with him.
Well. So far he was only feeling like ramming his head against it. A futile kick from his free leg proved to be a less painful and more satisfying alternative. Still useless, mind you, but at least he had been able to work some of his frustration off.
Groaning, he got into a half-kneeling position again, using his hands for balance, and looked up at the sky once more. He felt lonely. And bored.
But then again, there was one wolf-thing he could still do and it had always been fun… and it was full moon…
Sonic threw back his head and howled.
It sounded good. He knew that technically his larynx had completely reformed again, his voice sounding light and not at all deep and raspy anymore (he left that to Shadow), but…
For a moment, it seemed as if the wolf suddenly was howling with him, and the song was strong, and full, and haunting over the plains...
"Huh. Well, that was kinda cool." Sonic couldn't help but manage a little smile, imagining that he could still hear faint traces of the wolfsong in the far distance, despite having stopped himself.
He lay down on his side in the grass again, preparing for a night spent as a prisoner of the rubble. At least now he felt a bit more relaxed and might be able to get some sleep.
I'm probably lucky this is a summer night. I don't have that thick pelt anymore, either…
As a rodent, he didn't grow a winter coat like canines did. Or felines and vulpines, come to think of it.
His lips twitched as he recalled the yearly chaos that ensued in spring when Tails was shedding, the only one of their group who was unlucky enough (well, apart from Cream, but females generally were less messy) to have to molt. He could almost hear the shrieks from the young kit whenever Sonic had had to chase him around with the shedding brush…
Wait, that was a bit too realistic.
"Is that…is that really you?"
The hedgehog twisted around on the ground. Then his face spread into the most brilliant smile he could manage as his gaze fell onto the two-tailed fox he called his kid brother, staring down at him from the small grassy hill closest.
"Tails! Li'l buddy! You came just at the right time!"
"But what happened to you?" Tails called, immediately sprinting down to his side and dropping down next to Sonic, placing a hand on his side as if to ensure his big brother was unhurt.
"Well, you know me, never a dull moment." Sonic grinned, wondering whether Tails noticed they were nearly re-enacting word for word their meeting three weeks ago when he had saved the fox kit from monsters. Tails had seen him for the first time as the wolf back then, in these very ruins they were in now and their dialogue had been nearly the same.
"How'd you find me, anyway?" The blue hedgehog asked, wresting himself up on his arms once more as Tails sat back on his haunches, satisfied now that his best friend was not injured.
"Well…" Tails gestured a bit vaguely. "I was getting a bit worried because you hadn't answered your communicator for the last few hours – I flew out to trace its signal, but its battery must've died, because it suddenly vanished before I could come too close…I only knew you had to be somewhere within a radius of almost 200 miles. I was almost tempted to give up and go home for the night until I…well…heard that howl. Was that you?"
"Heh, yeah." Sonic rubbed the back of his head with a lop-sided grin. "I guess I got bored. Did you seriously recognize it?"
"Yeah, sort of." Tails grinned back. "You used to howl quite a bit when you were a wolf. It sounded like then."
"Probably because I was wishing I would transform again. In my wolf-form I could have lifted that annoying pillar like a breeze."
"I'm glad you didn't," Tails replied, serious again. "You know, we never told you because it sounded kinda weird, but Amy and me, everyone, we…we missed your smile." The little fox now looked at his shoes. "You were different, when you were the wolf. You didn't even ask us to come with you."
Sonic remembered. The wolf had fought alone…not one of his friends had accompanied him.
"But hey, no worries. At least you're back to hedgehog now, right?" Tails smiled, obviously glad to change the topic. "Now we need to get you out of there."
"Hmm…you could call Knux?" Sonic suggested.
"Good idea." Tails nodded. "Of course, I also still have some explosives in the Tornado, I'm sure I could-"
"Or you could call Knux." Sonic cut in, lacing his tone just with a tad bit of a warning. Tails laughed at his unease.
"Okay, okay. Heh, hope he's awake at this hour…."
The two-tailed fox got out his own communicator as he said this and dialled a number. At first there was only static, then obviously the echidna had to have picked up as Tails began speaking.
"Hi, Knuckles. Sorry for the late call, but Sonic is trapped under a rock and….err, right. Yeah. Yeah, but…I know, but…okay. Ouch. Please don't do that to him. Uhh…Knuckles! I'm only a kid, you're not supposed to say stuff like that when I'm listening!" Tails squeaked, while at the other end there still seemed to be some sort of rant going on as the kit held the communicator a bit away from his sensitive ears. He gave Sonic a pained look, then spoke again.
"Yeah. Yeah, he's sorry. Will you come, though? ...thanks! Our coordinates are…"
The hedgehog breathed a sigh of relief. After Tails had ended the connection, it only took twenty minutes for Angel Island to float into view, Knuckles' home fortunately having been close. A speck in the sky quickly grew closer as the echidna descended with flaring dreadlocks and Sonic only felt slightly uncomfortable as he was now trapped and relatively defenceless with a seriously ticked-off Knuckles in the near vicinity. The Guardian of the Master Emerald strode forward briskly and Sonic already curled up on the ground in nervous anticipation as the echidna swung a fist at his stretched-out body. Emerald eyes opened a cautious fraction as it seemed to have embedded itself in the ground next to him, though.
"H-Hi, Knuckles…." He managed a small grin. "Thanks for dropping by."
"You're only escaping a serious thrashing right now because you happen to be incapable of fighting back," Knuckles growled. "Otherwise, waking me from my nightly rest and making me take a serious detour with the Island would have been quite painful for you."
"And maybe cuz you're an itsy-bitsy bit thankful to me cuz I saved the planet two weeks ago? Again?" Sonic asked, already perking up now that hurt was not an immediate prospect anymore.
"Yeah. That, too." Knuckles gave a twitching of the lips that for him could almost have been qualified as a smile. He then proceeded to wedge both of his massive hands underneath the pillar, giving a powerful heave that resulted in the tons of stone being lifted enough so Sonic could finally pull his leg free.
"YES! Knux, you're awesome!" Sonic jumped to his feet, loving the feeling of being able to stand again.
"Chaos knows how long you'd last without your friends, hedgehog," the echidna commented dryly. Sonic only smiled, but didn't reply.
Heh. Maybe I wouldn't even want to last.
"Thanks, Knuckles. Tails. I owe you one."
"Yeah. That makes how many now?" the red Mobian asked with a hint of sarcasm, and dusted his hands off. "Tails, you told me the truth when you said you had the Tornado here so you could fly me right back up, right?"
"Yeah, it's just beyond that hill," the fox kit replied, pointing. Looking at Sonic, he added:
"You'll be okay, or…?"
"Yeah, sure!" the hero of Mobius jogged a bit on the spot to demonstrate. "Nothing broken or anything, I'll be fine if you guys go. "
"If you say so. But don't lose your communicator again. See you at my place for breakfast, okay?" The fox kit smiled, before heading off with Knuckles in tow. Sonic watched them take off and then immediately broke into a run, loving the feel of the cool sonic night wind on his face.
He'd missed that too, as a wolf.
But of course, the little episode just now had showed him what he'd missed most - his friends, because the wolf had fought alone.
The blue hedgehog pushed himself harder, speeding towards the east, toward the dawn.
There was no sense in wishing for those times to come back again. The wolf had had his advantages, but there were too many people who saw things past often through rose-tinted glasses, forgetting about the wonderful things they had in the present, and the hero of Mobius wasn't one of them.
Sonic grinned. He would not forget. But he would always live in the moment and cherish the life he was able to share with the people he loved, no longer the lone wolf.
And then the sun rose, and there was only the faint laughter of the hedgehog rushing towards the bright new morning, and the fading howl of the wolf who always vanished with the first ray of light.
Heh, nothing much, only a bit of fluff-for-thoughts for your weekly update. I'll be off to Australia again this week, but this time only for a very short while, so I hope all of you are looking forward to the next installment of Hedgehogs and Relative Chaos In Time, starring our favourite Doctor of them all (no, not the one with a moustache...). :P Hope you liked and if you read, please review? :D