He always just watched. He sometimes would indulge his best friend's love of the ocean, but he always just watched, never coming too close to the lapping water.

The orange-furred Tasmanian Tiger didn't get it. Ever since he had learned the art of swimming from his platypus friend Rex, Ty couldn't live without an occasional dip in the big blue waves. He just didn't get Sonic's fear. Sure, he understood the fear of drowning part. Anyone who didn't have serious problems would be freaked out by the thought of drowning. But Sonic seemed to have a fear of the water itself. A few droplets presented no problems, but anything more then a bucketful and the hedgehog would be on the verge of a panic attack. Every time Ty asked his friend about it, the blue anthro would either change the subject or make an excuse to run off. But today, with the hedgehog just lounging around in the sand, watching as Ty rolled and played in the endless waves, there weren't any excuses for him to make, and Ty was determined to get an answer.

He first paused at the edge of the water, enjoying the caress of the liquid around his paws. "Hey, Bluey! Why don't ya come in with me? The water's better then a hot chili dog in winter!" He called, using that particular analogy to try and tempt his friend.

Sonic only gave a carefree smirk and shook his head. "No thanks Tony Tiger. You go ahead."

That was always his answer, and Ty wanted to know why.

Not bothering to shake the water from his dripping fur, the tiger headed up the beach toward the hedgehog. Even from the closing distance, Ty could see those emerald eyes fixed on him, Sonic's ears twitching warily.

"Well, why not Bluey?" He asked once he arrived, plopping down in the sand in front of Sonic. He could tell he was making the blue blur nervous, no matter how hard Sonic tried to hide it.

"I don't do water bud, you know that."

The tiger's arms crossed over his chest, his expression curious. "I know, but why? I know yer scared of drownin', but I wouldn't let that happen. You wouldn't even be in deep enough for it ta be a problem! I-"

"I don't want to talk about it Tiger." The hedgehog interrupted, his eyes narrowed.

A grim look crossed Ty's face. "Well then," He jumped to his feet, taking a step closer to Sonic. "If you ain't gonna talk about it, I'm gonna try and fix the problem."

Moving surprisingly fast, he grabbed Sonic by his shoulders and waist, crushing him to his chest as he made for the water. Immediately Sonic began to thrash and kick out with his powerful legs, doing everything within his abilities to try and get away. "Ty, let go of me! Don't do this! Please!"

At the sound of the hedgehog's shameless begging, Ty began to rethink his idea. He had never heard Sonic beg for anything before. His friend's usually relaxed body was trembling uncontrollably, and he swore he could feel fresh dampness seeping into his fur near Sonic's face.

They were only a few feet from the water now, but Ty made a decision.

"I'll put ya down right now Bluey, but ya have to promise not ta run off."

He felt the hedgehog nod against his shoulder, his white-gloved hands grasping the tiger for dear life.

"Alright then..." Ty said, slowly relaxing his grip. "I'm gonna put you down now..." He carefully placed Sonic on his feet, watching closely to be sure he wouldn't suddenly dash off. But the blue hero didn't, merely standing there instead, trembling and wiping sparkling tears of terror from his eyes.

Ty frowned with concern; he hadn't expected this kind of reaction at all. "Sonic, mate, I really am sorry. I didn't know it's scare ya like that..."

A thought crossed the tiger's mind; what if, after this, Sonic would walk out of their dynamic duo and go solo again? The tiger hated the idea of working on his own for Bush Rescue like old times, after everything that had taken place.

"No, I'm sorry."

This reply shocked Ty, his clear green eyes wide. "F-for what mate?"

Sonic sighed in response, his head lowered shamefully. "For not telling you sooner why I'm so scared of the water."

The Tazzy Tiger remained silent, sensing that his friend needed quiet, though the constant roar of the ocean could hardly be helped.

Sonic's eyes gazed out toward the water-logged horizon, his expression distant. "I was real young when it happened, maybe four or five. I was already alone, without any parents to help me along. I was playing in a small lake and took a bad step. I slipped and fell into the deep part of the water. Something...something grabbed me. I can't explain it. There...there was nothing there, but..."

He shivered violently, his hands rubbing up and down his arms as if trying to warm himself.

" was as if the water itself was dragging me down to die. I breathed in a lot of water. Lucky I've got so much fight in me, or I wouldn't have made it."

The blue hero turned to face Ty, his expression showing more vulnerability then the tiger had ever seen in him before.

"It took a Sonic Spin and a lot of panicked thrashing and kicking to get away and back to the surface. Even then, I had to force myself to get sick in order to get rid of of all the water. Since then, I...I haven't been able to go near water without remembering the feeling of drowning..."

He gave one last shudder, one that traveled from the tips of his quills to the tip of his tail. A sad smirk appeared on his muzzle as he crossed his arms. "So, that's why I hate water. Pretty lame excuse, huh?"

Ty firmly shook his head, using his hands to stress his point. "Bluey, that ain't lame. It all makes fair dinkum sense now."

He frowned with a sigh. "I'm sorry ya had ta explain in order to get me off yer back."

A playful expression crossed Sonic's face, and he reached foreword to punch the tiger's arm. "Yeah, you should be sorry, but I forgive ya."

A smile replaced Ty's frown at this. "Good. Now we can quit with the emotional stuff and work on fixin' yer problem."

Sonic took a wary step back, one eyebrow raised. "I told you Ty; just being near water gives me a nervous breakdown..."

Ty gave a knowing smirk and placed a hand on his friend's shoulder. "Then don't look down."

Of course, the curious hedgehog did anyway, then gave a shocked yelp, for water licked at his shoes, threatening to completely cover his feet. His hands gripped Ty's arm, his emerald eyes huge with fear and his body paralyzed with it. "T-Ty..." He whimpered, unable to manage anything else.

"Its alright Bluey, the water ain't after ya. The tide's just comin' in is all." The tiger reassured. "Now is the perfect time ta face yer fear."

Gently as he could, Ty pried the hedgehog's hands off his arm and took a few steps away to the point that the water came to the middle of his legs. He turned back to face sonic, eyes bright with encouragement. "Come on Bluey. Just walk a few steps in."

The hedgehog gave a tiny shake of his head, his eyes glassy with terror. "I-I can't..." He whispered, on the verge of tears.

Ty crossed his arms, a serious expression on his face. "This ain't the Sonic I know, all frozen with fear like you are. Either you can take a couple steps in and I'll help ya, or you can run away and always be scared. What are ya gonna do Bluey? The water ain't gonna wait, no matter what."

This was fact, for already the water lapped at the edges of his cuffed socks.

Nervously, Sonic swallowed, his eyes a little less wide as he looked at his friend.

"Come on mate." Ty said with a welcoming smile, offering Sonic his hand. "Let's show that water it can't scare ya."

Slowly, the blue blur took a cautious step foreword, followed by another, then another. One last step, and he was up to his knees in the deep blue liquid, standing next to his best friend. A spray of wind and sea foam hit their faces, but Sonic didn't flinch. He only gave the smallest of smiles, happy to know that his old friend, the free-blowing wind, had not abandoned him to this watery world, nor had the Tazzy Tiger.

"Thanks Ty, for everything."

Ty smiled broadly at this, his eyes closing happily. "Anytime mate, anytime..."

The End

Author's Note:

Welcome to my universe, in which Ty the Tasmanian Tiger and Sonic the Hedgehog are best friends and partners. Confused why? Take a look at my profile or drill me with questions, either/or. Please no flamming, and again, this is NOT a pairing fic!