AN: Body swapping stories are usually lacking. They're played for comedic relief, rarely delving into anything deeper than a puddle in the desert. This story hopes to deviate from that, and create something decent as a result. I hope you enjoy!
You and I are the same in the way that we have our own styles and we won't change.
Yours is filled with evil and mine is not, there is no way I can lose.
He felt like puking.
Sure, chaos control always induced a sense of vertigo. Hurtling through time and space would do that to a guy. But it usually wasn't so intense that Sonic actually collapsed after the trip, panting heavily, feeling as if his eyes had detached from their sockets. That wasn't the only thing, though. Sonic knew the instant he hit the ground that something was wrong.
He'd heard a rather unfamiliar clunk resonate with him upon impact. The normal rush of adrenaline he had from running all the time was gone, replaced with something vile, almost alien pulsing through him. His breathing was rough; not at all like he had come to know it. It was like he wasn't even himself.
And that was when Shadow spoke.
"What an amateur—"
Sonic tensed immediately. Shadow did as well. That was not Shadow's voice. Slowly, both hedgehogs raised their heads, fearful that their eyes would confirm their fears. When green met red, time stopped for the second time that day.
Of the few times he'd traveled by emerald before, this time certainly took the cake.
Chapter One: Moving Through Your Mind
"I—I didn't think this would happen, really!" said Sonic, pacing quickly. Shadow's heavy boots clunked with each step he took, unsettling him further by the second.
Shadow scowled. Normally, such an action was par for the course for Shadow, but Sonic couldn't help but shudder as he saw his own eyebrows, his own eyes, and his own face scrunch up in anger. Blue and green replaced black and red, and for once, Sonic could understand why people thought he and Shadow looked alike.
"What were you thinking?" Shadow seethed, fists clenched. "You've induced chaos control, what, once? Twice? What made you think you could do something as complicated as chaos controlling it out of my hand?"
Sonic grimaced, stealing a glance at the purple emerald that lay carelessly on the pavement of Central City, which was a convenient place to end up considering the emerald's volatility. "I wasn't trying to warp it away. I just made a grab for it."
Shadow's expression was more than incredulous. Sonic suddenly realized how stupid and weak he was being and glared back.
"Oh, come on, Shadow! You were the one who said 'chaos control'!"
Shadow rolled his eyes (No, that wasn't right, they were Sonic's eyes. Shadow stole his eyes.). "Only to get away from you. You had to have been thinking of using it, otherwise the emerald wouldn't have caused this to happen."
"So it's my fault, then?" Sonic asked, affronted.
"As it always is," Shadow replied.
"Listen, faker," Sonic spat, his blood boiling. The deep, methodical, totally-not-Sonic voice he was currently speaking with didn't help. "All I needed was one lousy emerald. I asked nicely—"
Shadow scoffed. "Like I'd ever let you just take an emerald from me! Either way, there are seven, you know, you could have looked for another—"
"Yours was closest!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know you were the laziest thing alive, too!"
The two hedgehogs glared at each other. Never before had Sonic felt such an intense feeling of hatred overwhelm him, entice him with violence and enrage him even more. If this was what Shadow went through on a daily basis…
"Look," Sonic said steadily, summoning all the willpower he could to keep him from punching Shadow in the face. (He didn't want to blemish his own snazzy mug, after all.) "Why don't I take the emerald… and try to do what I did before again. Maybe it'll reverse this mess."
Shaking his head, Shadow scooped up the emerald. "Unfortunately, Sonic, I don't trust you with this 'mess'."
Sonic's eyes widened. "Hey! What do you think you're doing?"
"Figuring things out for myself," Shadow replied coolly, tossing the emerald in his hand. "Goodbye, Sonic. Chaos control!"
And suddenly, Shadow was gone. The asshole.
Sonic rubbed his forehead with a groan. Great, just great. Of all the things to have gone wrong with everyday emerald hunting, it had to be this, didn't it? Sonic looked at his arm in disdain.
Black, with a red stripe down the middle. Gloves with rings and other unnecessary add-ons. Rocket-boot-things that wouldn't stop clunking. Sonic was in Shadow's body, and had no idea how to get out.
It certainly didn't help that Shadow was now, to Sonic's knowledge, parading around in his body as true and blue as could be, irritated but otherwise unscathed. Seriously, how could Shadow act so casually about everything? It was a complete and total nightmare, one of Sonic's worst. At least he still had his speed…
Sonic blinked. He broke out into a dash.
…Or tried to.
"Gah!" Sonic exclaimed as he tripped and fell, face first onto the rough pavement. Stupid Shadow shoes, only they would make someone like him trip over his own feet. He got up hastily, once again feeling aggravation beyond what was standard for him. Great.
He breathed, trying to calm himself down. Gingerly, he took a step forward, going as slow as he had patience for. Thankfully, Sonic did not lose his balance and fall this time. After a few steps of that, he quickened the pace to a brisk walk, carefully watching his feet clunk along. Clunk, clunk, clunk. How utterly annoying.
As Sonic got faster, he wondered how Shadow could wear these and go so fast. Not that the faker was anything close to what Sonic was, but Sonic couldn't deny he had a… greater than average speed, at the very least. Meanwhile, the shoes were so foreign to Sonic compared to his regular ones that he was sure they were draining his energy or something. There was no way the fastest thing alive would ever go this slow.
Sonic attempted a jog, no longer watching below him and instead keeping his head up to avoid any potential collisions. What the heck. Shadow went faster than this, didn't he? What was the problem, here?
That was it. Sonic burst into a run once more, awaiting the feel of the rushing wind going past his quills; the ground pounding the soles of his shoes. The rhythm of the run, the one thing he lived for more than anything else – but he didn't get it. All he felt was a tiny breeze blow by his face, not even strong enough to push back a quill or two. If this was a rush, then he wasn't Sonic.
He stopped. He looked down at the shoes.
Shadow didn't run.
The black hedgehog's speed was artificial, just like the rest of him. There was no natural talent or rigorous exercise pumped into these legs, no waking up at sunrise for a run around the world. These legs were stronger than average, they had to be from all the skating, but they were nowhere near capable enough to perform the frictionless footwork Sonic was known for.
In short, he'd lost his speed. It really was a living nightmare.
Sonic closed his eyes, his mind in a frenzy. What the hell was he going to do? Without his speed he was as useless as a bird with clipped wings, especially since he had no idea how to work the shoes or even use Shadow's chaos powers. Sitting around and waiting for Shadow to solve everything didn't sit right with his head or with his stomach; it was like giving up. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. That was the way to live. The only way.
He frowned, eyes still closed, and tapped the heavy shoes on the pavement, as if he was warming up. Clunk, clunk. His eyes opened slowly, taking in the path before him. It was a basic, flat road, and thankfully not part of Speed Highway or similar. It was simple to pinpoint where he was specifically; he'd passed this part of town almost daily. All right, then.
Sonic took a deep breath, and ran, at normal speed, to Tails's workshop.