Sonic the Hedgehog
Time Stands Still
By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: Nack is Sega's, and Nic is Archie Comics'. Story idea based on a groovy pic by Diane Olexa. The rest is mine!! Yeah, it's another lil h/c fic. Deal with it! ^_~

Nicolette narrowed her eyes as she pointed her stun gun into the shadows. She was deep in the heart of an ancient steel-making company in Salt Lake City, and she knew her bounty was hiding around in there somewhere—she just had to find where that somewhere was.

She pushed a rusty chain out of her way as she crept into the next room, which was dimly lit by the moon through a small, dirty window near the arched ceiling. "Come out with your hands up!" she growled.

As her eyes adjusted to the near-darkness, she noticed a still form on the floor. "Ohh, he's gone and offed himself, eh?" she muttered.

But as she came closer, the gun fell to the floor as her hands flew to her face in horror. "Nack!" she gasped.

Her brother was sprawled faceup on the floor, his limbs akimbo, his head turned to the side, motionless. His beloved Stetson was laying a few feet away, nearly hidden by a stack of crates. It was such a complete shock for Nic to see Nack laying there like that that the only words she could manage to say were, "Oh Nack! You've lost your hat again!" before running over and dropping to her knees next to him.

"Nack, what happened to you?" she whispered, trying in vain to turn him to face her. "And what are you doing here? What in the heck are you doing here?!?" She laid a hand on his head, discovering a bump under his fur. "Someone clunked him," she realized.

Nack remained unresponsive to Nic's touch, but instead lay deathly still on the floor of the building. Nic gathered him into her arms, hoping desperately that the warmth of another living creature would revive her battered brother. "Come on, Nack," she whispered. Vainly trying to retrieve her "tough girl" image, she added, "I can't stay with you all night. I have a bounty to catch. Just . . . wake up. Say something! Tell me you're alright!" Her facade shattered as quickly as it had been erected, and Nic could feel tears ready to prick her eyes.

Nack always seemed to wind up getting bashed on his cases, Nic thought to herself. She didn't like to admit that she also often had the same fate. "But you always wind up being okay," she said aloud. "You better be okay now," she added in a hushed tone.

"Dang it, Nack, what were you doing on my turf?" she blurted suddenly, looking down at his limp body. "Just like you, always poking your nose where it don't belong." She paused, holding him close to her. "Wake up, Nack. Please!"

Suddenly she felt him stir slightly in her arms and she breathed a sigh of relief. "Nack?" she whispered, feeling his soft, velvet-like ear brush against her arm.

Nack's bright blue eyes opened and stared seemingly through his sister. "Nack?" she said again, creeped out by his blank look.

Nack blinked, trying to focus. "Couldn't figure out whether there was one of you or six," he explained with a self-depreciating smile.

"What were you doing here?" Nic burst out.

Nack winced at her loud tone. "I don't know," he admitted. "I just wandered in and . . . some guy jumped me or something."

"Heh. That *would* happen to you," Nic replied gruffly.

Nack stumbled out of her arms and groped for his hat, finally procuring it and plopping it back on his head. "Happens to you yourself often enough," he grumbled.

Nic turned away. When she turned back, her eyes were glistening. "Dadgumit, Nack, I was worried about you! You're always getting yourself wonked, and one of these days, you ain't gonna walk away with just a bump!"

Nack grinned, his fang shining in the moonlight. "Maybe we should get out of this line of work, eh?"

He and Nic stared at each other for several minutes before they both said in unison, "Nah. Pay's good."

Nic paused. "I'm going after Malconi now," she said.

"How odd. I'm after his henchman Lasparri," Nack returned.

"I suppose we might as well team up for this," Nic said. "Especially since the both of 'em will probably be in the same place."

"I suppose." Nack pulled his Stetson low, shading his eyes from the gaze of anyone they might meet.

"Well, then . . ." Nic laid a hand on Nack's shoulder. "Let's go get 'em, brother!"

The two weasel siblings left the steel-making company, united . . . at least for a few hours anyway.