Sonic the Hedgehog
By Lucky_Ladybug

Notes: Nackie and Nic are copyright Sega (and Archie Comics for Nic)! Crystal Ka belongs to Miss Heather ('s Sonic Rose)! This story is, in fact, a sequel to her fic "I Wasn't There," and yes, it was written with her permission! :^)

Nic sprang up in bed, gasping and shaking with fear. Slowly as her eyes adjusted, she realized that she was in her bed in her hotel room in Seattle, not laying on the floor of an ancient echidna temple dying. Once again, the nightmares had come to her, as they had every night since her horrifying experience there.

She took a deep breath and tried to calm down. "Relax, Nic," she told herself, "you're fine, you ain't dying. Nack found you in time."

But as she settled back into the soft fluffy pillows, she suddenly sprang up again. "Crystal!" she burst out, aghast. It had suddenly come back to her who had done that to her, who had nearly killed her. . . . "And just to see what Nack would do," she said, barely above a whisper. She grabbed the bedside phone to call her brother.

"Yeah? What is it?" Nack's voice came on the line, gruff as usual, and from the sound of it, he had just been woke up. "And make it snappy."


"Nic? How're you doing?" Nack's voice changed. Now he sounded concerned and worried. It had been over two months since Nic's "accident," and since then, Nack had resolved to find whoever had done that to his sister and make them pay.

"I'm okay, Nack," she assured him, "but I remembered what happened."

"Yeah? What?" Nack asked, instantly on the alert.

"Nack, it was some girl from one of our previous assignments," Nic replied. "She said she was doing it just to see how you would react."

Nack was confused. Who could that have been? "What was her name?" he asked.


Nack gasped. He tried not to drop the phone, but he lost hold of it and it clattered to the floor.

"Nack?" Nic called. "Nack, are you still there?"

Nack reached for the phone again. "Yeah . . . yeah, Nic, I'm here." He sounded distant.

"Are you okay?" Nic asked, confused herself. Nack didn't know Crystal any better than she did . . . did he?

"Uh, yeah, yeah, Nic, I'm fine," Nack managed to choke out. "Hey, look, I've gotta go. . . ." Before Nic could even say goodbye, Nack had hung up.

For a long time after that, the weasel mercenary just stayed in the chair and stared into space. Crystal Ka . . . it couldn't have been her! Crystal would never do something like that . . . would she?

He had met Crystal on a solo assignment and they had been kind of a couple until she got shot and Nack decided that she wouldn't be safe with him. Crystal was sweet and kind, like Calia in a way, and in other ways her own unique person. But . . . attack Nic? Just to see what he, Nack, would do? What kind of person would do that?

"How could you, Crystal?" Nack whispered to the empty room. His expression darkened. "Goes to show what I always knew—you can't trust anybody."
Quite by accident Nack read in the newspaper that evening about a nearby archaeology dig to find ancient Native American relics. In the article, it mentioned the names of the dig members. Nack yawned as his eyes glanced over the unfamiliar names, but suddenly one stood out from all the rest—Crystal Ka the echidna.

"So that's where you are," Nack said low, his voice a mixture of anger and hurt. "You can run, but you can't hide." He paused, then added, "Backstabber."
"Alright, that's a wrap for tonight," Crystal Ka said to her fellow archaeologists. "We'll start again bright and early tomorrow."

As the others nodded and headed off to their tents, Crystal stood still, looking around. She had the strangest feeling that she was being watched . . . but by who?

"Who's there?" she called, squaring her shoulders and staring into the darkness.

"Me." Nack stepped out of the shadows, his eyes narrowed and flashing.

"Nack!" Crystal exclaimed, too shocked to say much else. Then she rushed forward and tried to embrace him. "You came back!"

Nack pushed her away. "Don't give me any of that hugging garbage, Crystal Ka."

"But Nack . . ."

Nack held up his hand. "I know what you did."

"Wha-? Nack, I'm sure I don't . . ." Crystal's eyes were wide with confusion.

"Don't play dumb with me, Crystal Ka." Nack's voice was firm and stern. "Nic remembered everything."

Crystal froze and her shoulders slumped.

"Why, Crystal Ka?" Nack said softly, and when Crystal looked up she could see the wounded expression in his eyes. "Why would you try to kill Nic? I thought you loved me."

"I do, Nack!" Crystal exclaimed.

"You sure as heck have a funny way of showing it, trying to murder my sister."

"Please, Nack, let me explain . . ."

"You explained plenty to Nic," Nack growled, "you witch!"

Crystal grabbed Nack's arm. "I wouldn't have let her die!" she insisted. "I would never have killed her. I only wanted to know what you would do if someone you loved was hurt and you weren't there!"

"Oh, so you were trying to torture me, is that it?" Nack wrenched his arm away. "Make me think my sister was dead to see what I'd do. I don't have any use for people like that."

"No! No, Nack, that wasn't it at all!" Crystal's eyes and tone were pleading, begging him to understand. "Ever since you left, I've been wondering what it would have been like if I had come with you, what would've happened. . . ."

"And Nic was the perfect little guinea pig for your sick experiment," Nack finished, not any more sympathetic than he'd been before. "Look, Crystal Ka—if your twisted mind could come up with such a thing (and it obviously could), then I'm glad I didn't stay with you. The fact that you could be so cruel shows that you're not the sweet, innocent flower I knew on my assignment." He turned to go.

"Nack, please!" Crystal grabbed for his arm again. "I didn't mean any harm! I . . ."

"Oh, you didn't, eh?" Nack whirled back to face her, outrage written all over his features. "Do you know how scared Nic was? She told me she'd never been that close to death before. Anybody who really loved me would never do something like that to my sister, whether she intended to go through with it or not."

Crystal's eyes filled with tears. "But, Nack, I do love you! You must believe me! You must trust me. . . ."

"Trust you? Ha! That's what I did from the moment I saw you." Nack paused. Slowly and quietly he said, "You know, Crystal Ka, I don't give my trust freely. It takes a long time for someone to earn it, but when they have, they can be assured that they will have it for life . . . unless they do something to violate it. And Crystal Ka, that's what you have done. You have seriously violated and shattered the trust I had in you." He turned to go again. "And I seriously doubt if you'll be able to repair it again."

"Don't go, Nack," Crystal pleaded, "not like this!"

Nack didn't pay any attention. Crystal watched him go off into the distance until she couldn't see him anymore. Then she sank onto a nearby rock and wept, for her lost love, for her foolishness, and for the way things could've been.