The Truth, If You Dare

A black out in Tails' workshop calls for one thing, a good old game of truth or dare. Truths are revealed and the dares bring out the laughs and the arguments! But when Knuckles confesses his deepest secret, how will he handle the after math?

So this is my first Knuckles and Rouge story on this site. It's a one-shot but erm.. longer ;) The idea is basic, and perhaps a little over-used, im not sure? But anyways this is for silverdawn2010's competition and it also dedicated to her because she really is a great author, she writes brilliant stories and she gave me lovely feedback on mine. If you haven't read her stories, I would strongly recommend it. So I hope you like it!

The snowflakes gently stroked the window pane as they tumbled downwards. The landscape was buried under fluffy whiteness as far as the eye could see. What would have been lush green was now a blanket of glistening snow, as the tiny frozen flakes continued to add to the display. The crimson echidna who was watching them wiped his gloved hand over the forming condensation in order to get a clearer view. He sighed, spreading the mist of his breath all over again. With a grunt of frustration he lifted his fist to wipe again, when a soft, sultry voice made him stop.

"I never knew you were an out-the-window gazer, Knuckie," Rouge smiled, one eyebrow raised. Knuckles faced her so that their eyes were locked onto each others, acknowledging her. The pearl coloured bat was posed in the doorway, her high-heeled boots clacking softly against the hardwood floor. She stood out from the bluish -grey of the wall, a perfect contrast to the dull surroundings. A storage room didn't need to look as nice as the others, he supposed, but a little more decoration wouldn't have hurt. Of course, now that Rouge was there, the atmosphere had brightened considerably, although he'd never admit it. He turned back to the window, half of his attention still on what she had to say. "You know, if you keep staring outside like that people are going to think that you're turning into a certain black hedgehog. A depressive one," she added. He frowned at her. She chuckled, achieving the reaction she'd hoped for.

"Well if you keep teasing me like that then people might get the wrong idea," he warned. Her smirk grew, a mischievous glint in her eyes.

"What kind of idea?" she said, swaggering over to him. "You mean because I'm flirting with you?" she murmured playfully. A blush spread across his cheeks as his eyes widened. "I thought you liked it."

Knuckles looked in the other direction, causing Rouge to lean closer to him, stretching his limits. It was hard enough to control his speech around her, and she wasn't helping. He cleared his throat, his face burning. "Why in the- … why would I like it?" he stuttered. Despite what he expected, she grinned rather than walking off.

"Because," she purred, "you can't resist me." His eyes darted around the room, just not at her. He was fuming at how easily she wound him up. His embarrassment was transferred into shocked annoyance.

"I can't stand you!" he spat.

"It's okay Knuckie, don't you worry your little – or – big head about it. Your secret's safe with me." His face flushed even brighter, a stronger shade than even his fur.

"At least my head has brains in it, yours is stuffed with marshmallows!" Rouge blinked.

'Marshmallows?' she thought. 'Wow, he really knows how to push my buttons, doesn't he?' She couldn't contain the giggle that escaped her lips. 'But he sure is cute when I work him up, so it's worth it.' "So you don't deny your feelings for me, then." Her smirk widened further as his eyes bulged. He was rooted to the spot. He stuttered, grasping for an insult.

"You…you…I swear if you go making up stuff, I will-"

"I love it when you threaten me," she breathed, her eyes dancing.

Knuckles felt his tolerance dropping dangerously low. He would usually ignore such remarks, but this was Rouge. He had to put up a good fight or she could get suspicious. I can't let her find out how I feel, he thought desperately. If I even know how I feel. He felt her watching him impatiently, as he realised how long he must have been standing without a word. He shifted to the side, daring to look into her eyes; a big mistake. He was instantly lost in the rifts of blue that so often occupied his dreams. They were just like the sea; sometimes calm and sparkling, sometimes raging and full of cheek and deception. He was succumbing to them, falling under her spell, until she snapped her fingers at him. He gasped, blushing furiously. Anybody who looked into the room at that moment would have seen one very red echidna staring at the bat with his mouth hanging open. He reached into his mind, searching for a response but it was as blank as his expression. "I…err…I…" he stammered. He swallowed, panicking slightly. He'd eventually decided that running away would be a good idea when the lights suddenly flashed and blew out, earning a startled cry from Rouge.

They were shrouded by darkness, and she grabbed his arm. If it weren't for the unexpected blackout, she would have noticed his cheeks turning even darker. He was shocked by her grasp, and he felt a small smile creep onto his lips at her touch. She suddenly realised she was clenching his arm and recoiled nervously. Her eyesight may've been hindered but her sensitive ears detected his breathing easily. Her heart was pounding quickly, although she wasn't sure if it was because of the lights going out or holding his arm. "Looks like a power cut," she commented.

"How can it look like anything, if we can't see- OW!" he yelped as she thumped him.

"Just because I can't see you, it doesn't mean I can't hit you," she muttered. He rubbed his arm, aiming a pout in her direction. She clasped her hand around his wrist and dragged him towards the doorway, using her sonar ability to weave in and out of boxes that crowded the floor. He staggered along behind her, trying to conceal his grin with a forced frown.

Rouge paused in the hallway, sensing another person further down. "Is that you, Tails?" she called. Knuckles leaned forward to listen for a response, and the fox shouted back.

"Yeah! I'm just getting some torches, hang on!" he yelled. Rouge persisted, Knuckles muttering as he collided with almost every object in the corridor. She reached out with her free hand as they reached the one room with a small glow of light, and Tails handed her a torch. The bat watched as he lit several lanterns, and handed them to her. "Can you pass them round?" he asked. She nodded, her face illuminated by the brightness. She let go of Knuckles, to his dismay. He frowned.

"I'll take some." She raised an eyebrow scornfully.

"I wouldn't worry about it, Knuckie. You'd only hurt yourself," she said, walking back down the hall. His expression contorted as his temper rose.

"Are you trying to say that I can't handle it?" he roared. Tails covered his mouth, muffling a giggle. Rouge smirked as she continued to saunter down the hall, without replying. Knuckles grumbled under his breath and Tails handed him a lantern.

After minutes of confusion, everybody was gathered in the main living room, by the gentle glow of the lamps. Amy was standing as close to Sonic as possible, earning a few unsettled glances from him, as well as red cheeks. Tails was perched on the couch, contemplating what to do. Knuckles finally spoke out, bored.

"Are we going to do something or just stand here?" he exclaimed. Rouge chuckled.

"Aww, Knuckie's getting restless," she laughed, rubbing his head playfully. He slapped off her hand, neatening his fur. Charmy buzzed up and down excitedly.

"Let's play a game!" he cried. They all turned to him in approval. "Like hide and seek!" Their interested gazes turned to frowns, reminding him of the age difference between them.

Amy glanced upwards in thought, and her eyes shone with an idea. "How about…. Spin the bottle?" she smiled. Rouge perked up, nodding in agreement.

"Truth or dare," she purred, looking at Knuckles. Everyone cheered and began to settle into a circle; Knuckles held down by Rouge, Blaze sat next to Silver and Tails, along with Sonic, Cosmo, Cream, Cheese and the Chaotix gang. Amy grabbed an empty 'Fanta' bottle, dropping down next to Sonic, who was looking rather nervous. She placed it firmly in the middle. After grinning excitedly, she spun it with a sharp flourish.

The bottle whizzed in circles before slowing very gradually. They watched it intently, as it finally came to a halt in front of Sonic. Knuckles slapped his back as he mirrored the echidna's grin.

"Sonic, truth or dare?" Amy smiled, her eyes dancing playfully. His smirk leaned to the side, challenging her.

"Dare!" Knuckles leaned forward.

"I dare you to kiss Amy!" he cried. His expression gleamed with triumph as Sonic's eyes widened.

"No…way," he stated, keeping his gaze locked with Knuckles'. The group looked worriedly between Sonic and Amy, awaiting reactions. But before she could speak, Sonic explained. "I'm not going to waste our first kiss on a dare," he said firmly. They gasped. Amy's eyebrows shot up as she lingered on the word 'our'. Sonic glanced about the troupe, realising what he'd said. "I- I- I didn't mean it like that!" he stuttered. "I meant my first kiss and also Amy's. Nothing else!" He cursed mentally, when he took in what he'd said. "I mean, I'm not that bothered but I don't want to spoil it for Amy." Every eyebrow in the room was raised, some in disbelief, some in curiosity. 'Shut up now, Sonic,' he thought to himself. If his cheeks got any redder he'd be mistaken for Knuckles.

Amy allowed a small smile to herself. She couldn't help feeling a little disappointed that she missed out on a special moment with Sonic, but mostly she was overwhelmed at how sweet he'd been.

"You know what this means, Sonic," Silver said.

"Forfeit!" sang Knuckles. Blaze shook her head, wondering why she was taking part.

"Okay," said Tails. "You have to let Amy sit on your lap for the rest of the night!" Sonic's blush was practically burning him, it was so dark. He nodded, covering his flushing cheeks with a grin. He patted his lap, signalling to her. Her eyes almost fell out of their sockets. She bounded over and let herself rest on his legs, his arms supporting her. She was beaming so brightly she thought she'd explode.

Her mind was racing, repeating the same words over and over: Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Sonic was looking casual as he always did, despite his heart pumping at incredible speeds. He hoped she wouldn't feel it thumping against his chest.

Rouge flashed a wink at Amy, returned by her smile. Tails eagerly twirled the bottle, and they watched as it stopped at Cosmo. She smiled, turning to face him.

"Truth or dare, Cosmo?" he said. She contemplated this.

"Truth please, Tails," she replied, blushing slightly. Amy piped up.

"Isn't it true that you have a crush on Tails?" she cried. Both the fox and the seedarian were red now. His gaze was fixated on hers, mesmerised. She finally answered.

"Well, yes if that's what you call it," she murmured. Everyone stared. Tails locked his eyes on her for a moment, before giggling sheepishly and turning away. His tails were swishing around him. Amy squealed happily and turned on Sonic's lap to face him.

"Aren't they such a cute couple?" He recovered from the surprise and chuckled at her excitement.

"Yeah," he laughed. She swivelled back to the group.

"But of course, so are we!" she trilled. Her comment dragged out his flushing cheeks again, making him glad she was in front of him; hiding his face. Luckily Knuckles' mutter of, "Not even a couple," wasn't heard.

Cosmo reached for the bottle, glad for a distraction. It decreased its speed to land in front of Rouge, who showed a devious smile. "About time some style was added to this game," she drawled. "Dare." Sonic and Silver smirked at each other, obviously thinking about the fun they could have with this. Sonic flashed a grin at Knuckles, a revengeful look his eyes.

'Payback time, Knuckles!' he thought triumphantly. "I dare you to spend three whole minutes in the storage cupboard with Knuckles!" he cried. Knuckles glared at him. Rouge glanced between the two, looking amused.

"Aw come on, Knuckie. It's only a little dare." His eyes expanded so much that they reminded her of dinner plates. Then they narrowed again, squeezing a growl out of him.

"Fine," he scowled. "At least I'm not afraid to do a simple dare." He threw a deliberate glance at Sonic, enjoying the opportunity to taunt him. Sonic just shrugged, a challenging smile still plastered on his face. He flicked his hand at the bat and the echidna, dismissing them to the cupboard.

"Off you go," he laughed. Rouge grabbed Knuckles' arm, sauntering towards the closet. He watched nervously as she stood inside, swinging him with her and closing the door.

The silence pierced his ears, and every shuffle was magnified and echoed around inside the cupboard walls. He cleared his throat, just as she did.

"So…" she said. "What shall we do?" She eyed him in amusement at his horrified expression.

"WHAT?" She laughed, her tone lowering seductively.

"Is something bothering you?" His eyes were panicked, his mouth slightly open.

"I- I'm not doing anything with you!" he spat. Rouge furrowed her brow, annoyed.

"I didn't mean it like that!" she hissed.

"Well that's what it seemed like!"

"If you took it that way it's because you wanted it to sound like that."

Knuckles was dumbstruck. Great. How to answer that one? "No! It's…it's because everything you say seems like that!" It was as if his words had punched her. He noticed the insulted look on her face, and his gut clenched in guilt. Suddenly, the hurt cross faded into anger.

"Just what do you mean by that?" she cried. He felt his own frustration rising, suffocating any embarrassment left.

"Exactly what you think it means!" he yelled.

"So that's all I am to you? You think that I'm some kind of nymphomaniac?"

'Does she want to be anything else to me?' he wondered briefly. He was shocked that she'd say such a word, and surprised at himself for understanding it. He was about to speak but she continued to shout.

"What? You're amazed that I know a word like that! So I'm uneducated too? Well I'll tell you what, echidna; I know a hell of a lot more than you! Don't even think about criticising me!"

The rest of the group stared between themselves, glancing at the muffled shouts from the argument in the closet.

Rouge's last sentences rang out clearly, shooting through and resounding in the living room. They winced.

"Hasn't three minutes gone yet?" whined Charmy. Vector nodded quickly.

"Yeah, I think they need to come and chill!" Silver took the chance to call to the bat and echidna hoping to dowse their flames of anger.

"Hey guys, you can come out now, you know!"

A loud, "Good!" could be heard along with Knuckles muttering, "Finally," under his breath. The closet door flew open, both of them storming out and rejoining the circle. Annoyance was etched onto their faces, and the others glanced at them nervously. Vector spoke up.

"So! What did you guys do-"

"Vector!" hissed Espio, giving him a sharp nudge. Vector frowned in disappointment at the younger colleague, before returning his gaze to the group.

Sonic coughed in attempt to shrug off the awkwardness. He slowly stretched out his arm to spin the bottle again, and to his relief, they let their eyes fall to rest on the next player. The bottle slowed down and came to a stop. A deep, husky voice spoke.


"Shadow?" they chorused. The red and black hedgehog looked up at them, grunting in acknowledgement. Sonic was the first to speak, as usual.

"What are you doing here?" he questioned. Shadow showed them his typical expression, a careless scowl.

"Don't think anything of it," he warned. "I'm only here to pass the time." Sonic's eyes gleamed with the challenge of his rival appearing within the group.

"Well you picked dare, so we better think of one," he grinned. Shadow concealed his growing smirk.

'I accept your challenge, Sonic,' he thought, confidence surging through him. Knuckles and Rouge were still disengaged from the games, turned away. Amy watched them worriedly. Tails' face lit up with an idea.

"I dare you to speak in a Scottish accent!" he declared. Shadow raised his eyebrows.

"I am not going to embarrass myself by impersonating someone from another country," he sighed. Everyone breathed a disappointed groan, except a certain bat and echidna, who were both still brooding over their argument.

Suddenly, everyone started to attempt Tails' dare. It was if the same idea struck all of them.

"Come on, Shadow. Yuur nut goin' to let a little dare get you down are you?" giggled Tails, in the best Scottish accent he could manage. The friends laughed at his interpretation, each of them trying themselves.

"Yer Shadow! Don' be such a party pooperr!" crowed Silver. Giggles emerged again. Amy perked up, wanting to try it out.

"We onl'ey want you to say a lit'le sentence!" she cried. Their chuckles grew louder. Shadow was darting his eyes between them, obviously concerned for their sanity. Although it was hidden, he was finding it increasingly difficult to ignore it. Vector tried to yell in the same way but it failed.

"Jus' doh it, Shadow!" After releasing more sniggering, they all turned to Sonic expectantly. He flashed a cheeky smile.

"Och, Shadow! Couldn't you do a wee dare furr us? Wee're begging you!" he shouted. They burst into laughter. Even Shadow felt his mouth twitching at the corners. He rolled his eyes, and sighed. They watched him in anticipation. Even Knuckles and Rouge had sneaked a peep at him, waiting to hear his accent.

"Ah did yurr stupid dare noow leave me alone!" There was a pause. The whole group erupted into fits of laughter. They lay sprawled on the carpet, like a colony of drowning flies. Silver was banging his fists on the floor, Amy was almost crying and Sonic was practically howling. Shadow frowned, not understanding how they found it so hilarious.

"Aw Shadow!" Sonic wheezed in between giggles. "You…I've never heard you…speak…like that!" He paused the struggle to talk to allow several hiccups to escape his lips. "Y- you truly…are…the ultimate!" He had collapsed on the floor, not even caring that Amy was so close she was nearly on top of him. They were too busy laughing themselves to tears. Charmy was like a windup toy, he was giggling so hard and shaking. Rouge and Knuckles found themselves smiling too, and their eyes met, before they quickly turned away. Shadow looked slightly alarmed at their amusement, but eventually sat down to join them as the calm began to settle again. Cream spun the bottle once more, satisfied at having her chance.

There was a small moment of quiet as it halted in front a moody echidna. He glared at it, before lifting his head to look around his friends. "Truth," he murmured. Vector was the first to shout out for once, being the only one to think of something despite the discomforted atmosphere.

"Who do you like more: your trusty Master Emerald…or…Rouge?" he finished dramatically.

Espio's hushed moan of, "Inappropriate as always," was cancelled out by his boss.

"They don't call me Versatile Vector for nothing!" he announced proudly.

"Yeah, and they call you a lot of other stuff too," Charmy said, pulling a face. Vector snarled.

"Why you little-" Espio grabbed his fist, shushing him. The rest of the gang watched Knuckles patiently, most with surprise stamped on their faces.

"I didn't even know that he liked Rouge at all," Silver whispered to Blaze. She rested her head in the palm of her hand and sighed. It looked like it was going to be a long night.

Knuckles' mind was spinning. 'How the hell do I answer this?' he thought. He picked truth, so he couldn't lie. But if they knew how he felt… 'No way. But I can't hide it. What's she going to say?' He knew that if he put it off, it would only become more difficult. 'She's going to hate me...or at least avoid me. She's never going to talk to me again!" He felt as if he were being dragged downwards, it was impossible to escape. The words were jumping around in his throat, forcing him to voice them. He clamped his mouth shut, before realising that it was pointless to resist. When he finally spoke his voice was almost inaudible. "Rouge…" he whispered. Loud gasps could be heard from each member of the circle. Every pair of eyes was wide open and fixated on him, including hers.

Knuckles shot his gaze to the floor, forcing it from her reaction. He was sure what it would be anyway: disgust. She would probably be staring at him, horrified. The silent ambience was almost painful. Of course, a certain hedgehog broke it almost instantly. Sonic breathed an amazed whistle. "But you love the Master Emerald! I thought you really loved it. I swear you spend half your life with that thing, man…" He rambled on, his expression animated with his speech. Knuckles scowled. Sonic's nattering was beginning to get on his nerves. It was becoming unbearable.

"I love Rouge more!" He whacked his forehead with his fist, scrunching his eyes shut. Well, there's no backing out now… He lifted his head slightly so that he could catch a glimpse of Sonic. At least that had shut him up. He darted his eyes down again, not daring to face anybody.

He felt embarrassment boiling inside him, like a kettle about to explode. A sudden rage took over him, fuelled by pure humiliation. It was as if the walls were closing in on him. He felt trapped. He lashed out in the way that he had done ever since he could remember. "JUST FORGET I SAID ANYTHING!" he yelled. Within seconds, he'd jumped up and stormed out of the workshop, leaving the rest of them to stare in bewilderment. Vector opened his mouth to comment, but decided against it after a stern frown from Espio. The awkwardness made them shift uncomfortably, until Amy managed to start up a conversation. Rouge did nothing. She sat in a shocked silence, staring after him. The sound of muttering and idle chatter evaporated around her, drowned in her thoughts. She was too amazed to move. Knuckles had always been fairly close to her. To others it seemed like he was her experiment, her favourite thing to wind up, but he was more. She'd never understood it, or what it meant. She couldn't help but notice the happy giddiness in her stomach.

'He likes me…Damn it, he said he loved me!'

She found a smile forming on her lips, hidden by her worry for him. Suddenly she whipped her head round to face the window, surveying the outside. It was still held captive in the world of whiteness; frost lined the window panes. Her brow furrowed. 'He shouldn't be out there. Not in this weather…not on his own.' Realising that Amy had neatly created a distraction for her; she got to her feet and flew out of the same door as the embarrassed echidna.

The warmth of the fire did nothing to melt the frozen barricade of fear and anxiety that possessed Knuckles' mind. The walls filled with old photographs didn't help his nervousness at all. His rickety hut was hardly used; staying outside was much more advantageous for guarding the Master Emerald, and for looking out for thieves. He drew his knees up to his muscular chest, holding them there. Maybe he wouldn't have to wait too many years before he would show his face again. It wouldn't be too bad. He could face the world - take on any foe, he just couldn't face her. The wave of trepidation rose up again, making him groan.

A sudden knock on the door dragged him out of his thoughts with a jump. It was sharp and urgent. He lifted his head, still brooding anxiously. "No one's home!" he called gruffly. A sigh was heard from the other side of the door, followed by a hopeful yell in a voice that he had been dreading but at the same time praying to hear.

"Knuckles?" The echidna's eyes shot open, his senses on full alert. Why was she here, to gloat? Probably to tell him to stay away from her. He summoned his courage to shout back again. "I told you, I'm not home!"

"Please, Knuckles." His eyes opened wider. Her response had been so quiet and almost… pleading.

'Is she begging to talk to me?' he thought in wonder. He kept his voice veiled in stubborn annoyance. "Why are you even here? So I admitted some stuff in front of everyone, so what? I don't need you to come and rub my nose in it! Just get out of here!" Rouge narrowed her eyes slightly, partly to shield them from the snow that was tumbling from the sky.

"I'm not here to rub your nose in it!" she cried. Her tone lowered again, completely sincere for once. "I'm here to tell you what it…meant to me," she finished.

There was silence, which she took as a signal to continue. "It was…brave of you to say that. I- I don't think I would have done it." She felt her cheeks redden, the heat battling against the frosty flakes. 'Since when I start blushing? I'm starting to look like the man himself!' She stood up straighter, trying to sound as serious as possible. "I always knew there was something there but I never expected you to announce it like that. And I don't think it's stupid to feel that way about someone, because…I do too. Actually it was quite sweet," she smiled, oblivious to the fact that he was starting to share the same expression. "I may seem like just a pretty face, but I have feelings too, you know. And what you said, it gave me quite a surprise." Rouge wiped her eyes - clearing the snow from her lashes – and inhaled deeply. "But what made it matter the most, is that I feel…I feel the same. I really care about you," she finished.

Knuckles rose from the carpet, eyeing the door. His face was filled with half-hope and half-suspicion. "He strained his ears, intent on listening for more.

"I love you," she said quietly. She wasn't even sure if he'd heard, or whether or not she'd wanted him to hear it. The stillness from inside the house disturbed her, and she wished desperately that she could see his reaction. The door suddenly opened a few inches, startling her. In the gap between the door and the frame, a violet eye could be seen in the shadows.

"Do you really mean that?" His voice was laced with a guarded hope. She grinned, as relief flooded through her. The snow clung to her fur, making it sparkle.

"Knuckles," she giggled, "Do you think I'd be out in this blizzard if I didn't mean it?" The door opened wider, revealing his face. He shrugged with an embarrassed smile on his face.

The door swung open to its full capacity, leaving the two to face each other. He stepped out of the heat from his house, met by the chilled winds of the outside. But it didn't bother him; the warmth he felt was all that he needed. Their faces were parallel to each other, gazes locked. He leaned a little closer, daring to show that he meant it too. She mirrored his action, not bothering to hide the happiness in her eyes. Their lips grew closer, until they touched, buzzing with the contact. Their minds raced as their hearts thundered with the passion and love for each other. The snowflakes continued to rain down on them, lining them with icy shimmers. The warmth shared between them left them unaware of the frozen droplets that surrounded them; they were completely drowned in the adoration that united them. As they stood together, bounded in the whiteness, they knew that it was truly the best game of truth or dare that they had ever played, and the best that they ever would play again.

So there it is :)

Hopefully you enjoyed reading it. Very simple idea I guess but I wanted to do it so I did :P

Please review ;D and I hope that you like your dedicated story, silverdawn2010! :D (and its not just because of the competition, i was dedicating it to her anyway so you can all hush now ;P )