Sonic the Hedgehog
Loch Lomond
By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: Nackie is Sega's, and so is Nic (or is she Archie Comic's?). The song Mary sings (Loch Lomond) is copyright ???? Probably no one, since it's kind of a standard or something . . . LOL . . . (BTW, if anyone can help me decipher some of the Scottish words, I'd appreciate it! LOL) Everything else is mine!! BTW, this is a story about Nack as a kid, just in case you're confuzzled ;)

Nack fell out of bed with a loud THUMP. Moments later, his lovely, kind mother Mary appeared in the doorway, turning on the nightlight.

"What is wrong, my precious one?" she asked softly.

The four-year-old Nack looked up, his eyes still glazed from sleep. "Mama, he was mad! He was coming, and he was all mad!"

"Who was, my precious?"

"Daddy," Nack replied, barely above a whisper.

"Oh my darling!" Mary gathered her son into her arms and held him close.

"He was gonna hurt you, Mama!" Nack sobbed.

"It was only a dream, my darling," Mary said soothingly. "We are all alright. Your father isn't going to hurt me." Even as she said this, Mary realized that her words were spoken mainly to comfort Nack, and not because she herself truly believed them. Tecumseh, her husband, was a very angry, violent man, and, tho Mary tried to shield her children from it, they were often the unwilling recipients of his rages.

Mary started to rock back and forth with Nack, singing softly, "'You take the high road, and I'll take the low road, and I'll be in Scotland before you. . . .'"

Nack relaxed, listening to his mother's soft, sweet voice. Mary had immigrated from her beloved Scotland several years ago when she had married the Texas cowboy Tecumseh. Her voice carried a pleasant Scottish accent that Nack loved to listen to. He always told her that someday he would take her back to Scotland, someday when he was rich and hads lots of money.
The following day, Nicolette cornered Nack in the hall. "What was that racket last night?" she demanded.

"Nothing," Nack replied defiantly.

"Were you having another stupid nightmare?" Nic asked. She was tired of being woke up hearing Nack fall out of bed. Even though she and Nack were the same age, Nic thought that she was much more mature.

Nack glared at her and didn't reply.

Tecumseh opened his bedroom door. "Shut up, brats," he growled.

Nic headed off into her room, with another annoyed glance at Nack, who went down the hall to the kitchen, where, as usual, Mary had left an "I love you"note for both Nic and Nack.

Nack had just settled down at the table with a cheese sandwich when his dad came in, in a worse mood than ever.

"You!" he growled. "You're always underfoot. You're not even worthy to hold my name! You're a loser!" Nack could smell the alcohol on his dad's breath.

"I live here too!" Nack said defiantly.

Tecumseh pushed Nack to the floor and proceeded to spout off some very hurtful words. When he started throwing the furniture, Nack dove out through the door.

"Run, you insolent coward!" Tecumseh yelled after him, pitching a chair at him. Nack barely managed to get out of the way in time.

Nic, unbeknownst to either of them, watched from her window. She would've had to have been deaf not to have heard Tecumseh's rantings. When Nack was out of sight, heading Heaven knows where, Nic collapsed on her bed, crying into her pillow. "Why, Dad? Why? Why do you treat us so badly??!"

It seemed like hours had passed. Nic wiped her eyes, realized she must've fallen asleep.

"Mama?" she called.

The door slowly opened. "Are you alright, honey?"

"Mama, Daddy was saying awful things again!" Nic wailed, diving into Mary's arms. "He started throwing the furniture!"

Mary held Nic, relieved that she was safe. Her thoughts and worries turned to her other child. It was nearly dark outside, and Nack was nowhere to be seen. "How long ago was this, my darling?" she asked.

Nic looked at the clock by her bed. "Three or four hours ago, Mama," she realized.

Mary tried not to show her horror. "Stay here, my darling," she said softly. "Your father has already left for the night, and your brother is missing."

"Probably just goofing off again," Nic muttered low.

But Mary heard anyway. "Nicolette!" she scolded.

Nic shrugged and didn't apologize.

Shaking her head at her daughter, Mary left in search of Nack.
There were woods beyond the ramshackle homestead, and Mary feared that Nack had ventured into them to escape from Tecumseh's wrath.

She called his name rapidly with no response. Suddenly she stumbled across his cowboy hat. It was way too big for him, but Nack loved that hat and never let it out of his sight. Mary picked it up in horror. Now she knew something was wrong.

"Nack!" she called again, more frantically than ever.

And then she saw him. . . . He was laying facedown in the nearby creek.

With a shriek, Mary pulled Nack's little body out of the water and held him to her. "Dear Father in Heaven, no!" she prayed fervently, searching for signs of life.

Nack had already survived through several harrowing experiences in his young life—things had been rocky from the moment her precious son had been born, having difficulty breathing. He had also narrowly avoided being hit by a car and being bludgeoned with a ladder. Mary felt that Nack had a special purpose in life, and she prayed that it wasn't his time to go already.

With her apron, she began drying him off, relieved to find that he was still breathing. Nack was not a good swimmer; Tecumseh had tried throwing him in the water to teach him how last summer, and the poor thing had immediately gone under and hadn't come up. Mary, who was usually sweet and even-tempered, had yelled and slapped at Tecumseh and dove under as well, returning with Nack coughing and sputtering. Tecumseh had been disgusted that poor Nack couldn't swim, and he seemed to treat both him and Mary even worse than before after that.

Mary wrapped Nack in her apron and kissed him on the nose, willing him to wake up.

"'By yon bonnie banks and by yon bonnie braes,
Where the sun shines bright on Loch Lomond,
Where me and my true love were ever wont to gae,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond,'"

she sang softly, noticing Nack shudder in her arms.

"'Twas there that we parted in yon shady glen,
On the steep, steep side o' Ben Lomond,
Where in purple hue the Highland hills we view,
And the moon comin' out in the gloamin.'"

Nack moaned softly, flicking his left ear.

"'Oh braw Charlie Stewart, dear true, true heart,
Wha could refuse thee protection,
Like the weeping birk on the wild hillside,
How gracefu he looked in dejection.'"

Nack's eyes fluttered open and Mary hugged him tightly.

"Please . . . don't stop singing, Mama," Nack said weakly.

"My precious one," Mary whispered. She smiled. "My Felix. . . ."

Nack's blue eyes blinked. "Huh, Mama?"

"Felix, as in the cat. . . . You have nine lives like a pussycat, my love," Mary replied, slowly standing up with Nack in her arms. As she walked back to the house, she continued singing softly,

"'There the wild flowers spring and the wee birdies sing,
And in sunshine the waters are sleepin',
But the broken heart it kens nae second spring again,
Though the waefu may cease frae their greetin.'"

Nack fell asleep in Mary's arms, a contented smile on his face.

"'Oh, ye'll tak the high road, and I'll tak the low road,
And I'll be in Scotland afore ye;
But me and my true love will never meet again
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o' Loch Lomond.'"

Nack's eyes opened briefly. "I'm gonna take you to Scotland, Mama," he whispered. "I promise. . . ."

"You are such a sweetheart," Mary said softly, opening the door of their home. "But right now, you and Nic are all I need."