Hey folks! For starters, yes, this is SonicxKnuckles slash. The rating may go up later. Depends how the cookie crumbles, I guess. However, I fully intended to keep the characters as close to their game counterparts as possible, as characterization is really important to me. :) I don't see enough SonicxKnuckles fanfictions, and this pairing fascinates me for a lot of different reasons. The story can explain it better than I can, so I hope you like it. Let me know if you want more, yeah? Also, constructive criticism and suggestions are welcome.

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Disclaimer: all Sonic characters belong to SEGA.

WARNING: adult themes, sexual content, and violence.

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Be Still

Knuckles looked down at the blue blur. He was calm and happy as usual, and if he was nervous, didn't show it. The guardian swallowed, hoping he wasn't showing his own either. "For once, hedgehog, I don't want to hurt you."

"I'm used to it by now, Knucklehead." Sonic laughed, remembering all the fights they had been in. "Just hurt me gently, yeah?"

Knuckles stared blankly, suddenly distracted. "Yeah…"

"Is something wrong?"

The echidna met Sonic's emerald gaze. "We can't do this here," he said, suddenly decisive. "There is… something not right…"

"Hey, I thought we already talked about…"

"No, that's not what I mean. Something is wrong on this island. I thought I sensed it earlier, but… the Master Emerald's energies keep calling to me. Like a warning. Someone has been here… and they still are."

"Maybe it's Tails or something. He does keep wondering why I go to your island a lot lately."

"No. It's not Tails. Tails wouldn't cause this kind of distress to the Master Emerald."

"Then who is it?" Sonic asked.

"I'm not sure, but I don't want to say my only notion." Knuckles stood up and gazed off, looking without really seeing. The world was darkening but for the line of golden light setting on the horizon. In spite of its beauty, Knuckles closed his eyes.

"…I only hope they didn't hear what I said before."

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Chapter 1: Honesty

"I've always wondered something, Knuckles."

The red echidna eyed Sonic suspiciously, quirking an eye ridge. "Oh dear. Do I dare wonder what you're wondering?"

Sonic strode back and forth casually in front of the shrine's stairs. Knuckles was sitting on the bottom step, leaning on his hands, elbows on his knees. A little ways in the distance, the Tornado was parked in the grass. Sonic had flown up to Angel Island himself, wanting to talk to Knuckles. That alone unnerved the echidna… and slightly irritated him. Could he not find peace even on this island he was always stuck on? This place he was supposed to call home?

Finally, Knuckles said, "What." It was flat and quiet, and he made no effort to hide his lack of eagerness.

"Well, that." Sonic gestured to the echidna, pausing to look down at him. "All 'What' and stuff, like you don't like me or something. Actually, don't confirm that," Sonic added when the echidna drew breath. "The last few times we've had to work together, you're even more annoyed than usual. I mean, why you such a grump?"

Knuckles scowled at him, standing up. "I am not a grump," he said grumpily.

"No? Then what's wrong?" Sonic held his gaze, arms out as he asked. Knuckles saw genuine concern in his eyes behind the teasing. The expression sapped away the bitterness that would have been in his own response, which likely would have been something like, 'You.'

It would have been an acerbic remark, and not really genuine. There wasn't really anything wrong with Sonic, or with anything for that matter.

It was just that so much was not right, either.

"It's not that I don't like you, hedgehog." Knuckles's voice was hard and honest as always, but his eyes were downcast. Revealing. "There is so much I like about you. What I don't like is how much of it I can't have."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Sonic watched him in confusion, then slowly grinned. "You aren't… jealous, are you?"

The guardian crossed his arms and growled under his breath. His hot-tempered reaction was enough of an answer without him actually saying anything. Sonic, realizing his playful remark had actually hit home, dropped the smile and bit his lip.

"Knuckles, I was only…"

"Save it." Knuckles raised a thick, gloved hand. "You should leave. It's getting late."

"It's three in the afternoon," Sonic said blankly. "Listen, I'm not trying to bug ya, okay? I just don't think it's cool when my buds are upset." He shrugged and the smirk came back a little. "Even you."

"Curse echidna honesty," Knuckles muttered. "It's my business, Sonic, not yours. Go live your life."

"Aw, come on!" Sonic approached him insistently. "Hey, maybe you should be telling yourself that, if it bugs you that much."

"I'm already living the only life I'll ever know."

The blue blur's shoulders slumped. "No," he said quietly. "Don't think that way."

"I'm only being realistic." Knuckles looked at him. "Unlike some people, I have a job to do. I have a duty that I can never leave. I was born into it." The guardian closed his eyes. He held his duty in high reverence, and knew he was doing a great service to the world by protecting the gem from those who would use it wrongly, even if his role was behind the scenes. But sometimes it was hard to convince himself it was worth the trade-off. Feeling this way now, Knuckles sighed deeply and sat back down. "Just once I wish I could do the things you do every day."

"Just once?" Sonic repeated. "Dude, you've done loads of the things we've done! You've gone on adventures!"

"Exactly. I've been caught up with you and Tails. I've never had the chance to go see the world just because I want to. Yet you run around like a nut every day as though it's nothing. Do you even realize what you have?"

"Of course I do." Sonic sat down next to his friend. "It means a lot to me. Knux, if I could somehow give you the same opportunity, I would. I never knew it bugged ya so much." Sonic thought of something. It was probably a silly suggestion, but he threw it out there just in case. "I mean, if you want, I could stick around here for a little bit. A few days, or whatever. You could hang out with Tails and Amy, or just by yourself, and do somethin'."

"You'd do that for me?"

"Well, sure!" Sonic rubbed his nose. "I mean, not for, like, weeks or anything, but… I could handle a few days. Are you actually taking me up on it?"

Knuckles shook his head. "I can't. The Master Emerald is my responsibility, not yours. I shouldn't be gone even for that long. I have everything I need here. Food, water…"

"You call that everything you need? What about excitement? Hobbies? Companionship?"

"Yeah, you'd know all about companionship, Sonic. You run away from your friends half the time and you wouldn't touch Amy with a ten foot pole if you could help it."

"You know what I mean." Sonic looked at him. "Besides, I'm not into Amy like that."

"At least someone loves you. At least someone is willing to spend all their time being with you."

For several moments, they sat there awkwardly. "Well… what about Rouge?" Sonic said hesitantly. "I mean, if that's what you're after here…"

"Rouge is a thief," the guardian spat. "She doesn't come here for me. She comes here for the Master Emerald. I wouldn't trust her as far as I could throw her."

Sonic blinked. "Couldn't you throw her pretty far?"

"This is true." Knuckles indeed had stronger arms than anyone around. "I was only using an expression. You see? That's another reason I can't do the things that you and so many others get to do. I don't say things right. People don't… get me. I wasn't exactly raised to socialize."

"I don't think most people get most other people anyway. Not completely. 'Sides, that's why you get to know people, Knux!"

"And for what?" he demanded. "Only to have to come back here to my isolated island, never to associate with them again? What's the point?"

Sonic sighed, finally running out of things to say. He wanted to help; he truly did. He had always been one to believe that any problem had a solution. There was always a way to make things right, or at least make the most of the things you couldn't make right.

They couldn't do the former, but maybe they could do the latter.

Quietly, slowly, the blue blur turned to face away from the echidna, then leaned back against his side. Knuckles immediately stiffened.

"What are you doing?"

Sonic shrugged against him. "Just being here," he said. "Because, you know, even though you're kinda stuck here right now… the right friends can bring the world to you." Even though his friend couldn't see it, Sonic smiled. "After all, at the end of the day, it doesn't matter where you are, it's who you're with. That's what makes life memorable, right?"

"Please. That's stretching it coming from someone like you."

"Hey, I know I take off to explore a lot, but even I'd admit life would be crazy boring without my buds. I like seeing new stuff. But the best parts of my life are always on adventures with you guys. Really!"

"Yeah?"

"Yeah! And if you don't think you get to live the life other people get to live, I'll prove ya wrong. Right here on Angel Island."

Knuckles was still on edge, but managed to find it in himself to unclench his muscles. He hoped Sonic didn't feel his body sink slightly with the release of tension; that would be awkward. "Well, maybe," he said quietly, having a hard time finding his voice for some reason. He figured it was more because he was embarrassed than anything. It wasn't very often he confessed his loneliness and isolation to another, and he had no idea how Sonic of all people had gotten him to do so. It made him feel funny, but at the same time it made him feel good. Somebody cared. "I guess Angel Island is a pretty big place. It wouldn't hurt to explore it a little more often, even though I already know it like the back of my hand. I just would have to check on the Master Emerald frequently in between."

"Hey, I kinda know most of the area like the back of my hand, and I still have fun. I'm sure you could too! Maybe it'd even be fun, going out and doing stuff with someone for a change. And heck, I wouldn't mind seeing this island again. It's been a while!"

Sonic hadn't meant to rub in his lifestyle by saying he knew the general area very well, but felt bad when Knuckles shot him a sidelong glance, realizing how it must have sounded. He opened his mouth to apologize, but Knuckles cut him off. "Okay," he said simply. "Let's do that. And… uh… thanks, I think."

"Of course! Anything for a bud!"

"Anything?"

Sonic went silent momentarily, having no idea how to receive it. He decided to opt for a vague response, not wanting to make a liar out of himself to Knuckles of all people. "Well, I mean, I care about you and stuff."

"I see," Knuckles said neutrally. "Then, please get off of me."

It wasn't the request Sonic had expected after that confusing moment, but he did so all the same, turning to look at the guardian. Knuckles's violet eyes were bright in the sunlight. "As ya wish, Knux. As ya wish."

Feeling the atmosphere of closure upon their conversation, Sonic pushed himself up and trotted through the grass toward the Tornado. When he was almost there, he glanced over his shoulder and smiled. "So. Tomorrow, then?"

Knuckles nodded. "Tomorrow. See you then."

Sonic nodded too, and was gone.

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And, that's that. I'd potentially like to keep this going, and have a few ideas for what I'd like to happen. Please comment and lemme know if it's any good! Until next time.