By Kirbymon (-^.^-)^
AN: Ha ha...I just can't stick to one fic at a time, can I? xD
Oh well. Here's a little Sonic X oneshot set during the Metarex saga, no Chris (because it's hard-and stupid-to work with him)...I really wish this would happen in the show, just for the fluffiness 3! Enjoy!
"You did it!"
"You're the best, Sonic!"
These were the celebratory cries of Cosmo the Seedrian, Cream the Rabbit, and Amy Rose, respectively. Miles "Tails" Prower sat cheering joyously in his seat aboard his spaceship, the Blue Typhoon. Sonic the Hedgehog had just defeated another Metarex robot on another helpless planet in order to rescue its Planet Egg (and succeeded, obviously), and all of his friends (especially Amy, who was literally squeezing him to death) were praising him for a job well done. ...Well, almost all of them.
Knuckles the Echidna stood a few feet away from the bundle of cheering females and the quite claustrophobic (at the moment) blue hedgehog. He sighed wearily and shook his head to himself. He found everyone's cheerfulness amusing, but it was hard to enjoy himself at that time.
To put it simply, Knuckles was being ignored (again). What everyone failed to notice for some reason was that although Sonic dealt the final blow, Knuckles was really the one to put the hurt on the Metarex robot. He was the one who not only exposed its weak spots, but protected everyone on the ship in the process-and he got absolutely no credit. No, instead, Sonic, who didn't do anything but spin into the robot-just barely denting it-a few times-and get shot out of a cannon, got all of the praise.
Knuckles honestly didn't see what was so great about Sonic the Hedgehog. Sure, he was a good friend of the echidna's, but by no means did he worship him like the rest of the Typhoon's crew. Was it because he had a friendlier attitude than him? If that was the case, that would be very unfair, because it wasn't his fault that he grew up without a family or friends, and therefore had no social skills for most of his life.
Knuckles put a hand to his head and winced. During battle, he had hit his head against the robot's metal coating. Thankfully, due to the crimson one's high durability, there was little blood and the blow didn't knock him unconscious. However, it still hurt-a lot-but unfortunately, nobody noticed. Not even Sonic, who apparently was the most heroic guy in the galaxy.
Seeing as his presence obviously wasn't going to be acknowledged anytime soon, Knuckles, clutching his head, trudged to his room on the inside of the Typhoon.
It was going to be a long, long night.
Meanwhile, Sonic and the others had just stopped their rejoicing. Tails then broke the few seconds of silence by asking, "Are we...missing someone?"
The rest of the crew looked around until Cream nodded and answered, "Yeah...where did Mr. Knuckles go?"
"Come to think of it, he's been going off somewhere whenever we defeat a Metarex," Amy pointed out.
"Do you think we should check on him?" Cosmo asked.
"I'll go see if he's in his room," Sonic volunteered, nodding. "Besides," he added, "I never really got to ask him how he was after all that ro-butt kicking." He gave everyone a thumbs-up and dashed off.
Less than a minute later, the speed demon was directly in front of the door to the guardian's room, which was conveniently stationed directly next to the Master Emerald control room. The room wasn't much more than a bed, a nightstand with a table lamp, and an alcove with a sink, toilet, and shower.
Sonic found Knuckles completely submerged in his bedsheets. He chuckled to himself and shook his head, then proceeded to the echidna's bedside. He playfully poked the lump of echidna. "Come on," he beckoned, "out of bed, or you're going to miss dinner." Knuckles just grunted in reply. The cobalt one rolled his eyes. He thought for a second, than came up with an idea. Grinning, he bribed, "If you come out of bed, I'll have Cream make you leek buns."
Knuckles licked his lips under the covers. He'd had become quite fond of leek buns in recent times. He poked his head out. "I'm going to murder you if I don't have leek buns tonight, hedgehog," he mumbled, and Sonic stifled a small laugh. "So what's bugging you?" Sonic asked, smile gone and replaced with a look of concern.
"Bugging me? Nothing's bugging me," crimson lied.
"Oh, really?" Sonic said, one eyebrow raised, "Then how come you just walk out on us whenever we defeat a Metarex?"
"It's nothing, hedgehog. Go away."
"You only call me "hedgehog" when you're upset."
Knuckles sighed in defeat. Sonic knew him all too well. "And what are you going to do if something is bugging me?" asked the guardian.
"Help you, duh," Sonic replied, rolling his eyes as if that was the most obvious answer in the universe.
Knuckles grunted. What would he even say?
The echidna took a deep, shaky breath. "...It's not fair, Sonic..." he finally mumbled.
"What?" Sonic asked softly, confused?
"It's...it's not fair!" Knuckles suddenly sat up and punched the wall in an attempt to show off his rage, thankfully not hard enough for it to be destroyed.
"Calm yourself, Knux!" Sonic exclaimed in a stern tone. "What do you mean by 'it's not fair'?"
Knuckles didn't know why, but there, he just lost it, letting out all of his bottled emotion. "Whenever I battle a Metarex-or anything, for that matter-you always get all the praise! Despite the fact that I'M the one out there getting my ass kicked to fight for you guys! I fight, nobody cares! You fight, everyone's cheering like crazy! I get hurt, everyone couldn't give a rat's ass, but if something happens to YOU, everyone's whining like little kids! Is there something I'm doing wrong? Why can't I be respected, too? Why do you all hate me? WHAT IS SO WRONG WITH ME THAT YOU ALL COULDN'T CARE LESS IF I THREW MYSELF OFF A CLIFF!"
After the whole scene, as much as he didn't want to...Knuckles cried. Not heavily, no dramatic sobs or anything...but Knuckles could feel salty tears slide down his cheeks. He could hear himself sniffling. But why...why did he have to cry in front of Sonic?
Sonic felt terrible. He had never seen the young warrior cry before, although he had come pretty close to it before. He never knew Knuckles thought all this...why hadn't he told him before? Was he too embarrassed?
At the same time, Sonic felt like Knuckles was just stupid. How could he think that his best friends in the entire world hated him? Unless...Knuckles thought that they weren't his friends? Or were they?
Sonic decided not to wonder why...just how.
"Knuckles?" Sonic finally asked after the longest two minutes of his life.
"How come you think that?"
Knuckles tried not to yell to the best of his ability. Between shaky gasps, he answered, "...Because...you ignore me a lot...everyone either argues with me or...or pretends I'm not there! I don't get why! What makes me so horrible that only what you do matters, even if I do the same exact things?"
The echidna seemed to have calmed down, but there was still plenty of despair and rage in his voice. Knuckles looked down in sadness, when Sonic noticed his injury.
"Knuckles...what happened to your head?!" he asked loudly. It was a big purple bruise on the left side of crimson's head that was very swollen (much more swollen than Knuckles thought it was). Wondering how he missed the bump before, he looked closer and saw that it was even pulsating a bit.
"I bumped my head while I was fighting," Knuckles mumbled.
"Why didn't you tell someone? It looks horrible!"
"I didn't think-" Knuckles started to raise his voice again.
"NO!" Sonic yelled, "FORGET what you think! We're really sorry if we're hurting your feelings, Knux-I'M sorry-we just thought you didn't WANT all the attention!"
"Well, what does THAT have to do with not even THANKING me for doing anything?!" Knuckles exclaimed, now screaming as well.
Sonic sighed and took a deep breath. "Everything, Knuckles...EVERYTHING. You obviously don't realize it, Knuckles, but you're more cared about than you think you are! You never told us you wanted praise, we were just trying to do what would make you happy! You HAVE to open up more!"
"I was afraid you'd-"
"You SHOULDN'T be afraid! We're your friends. Friends listen to what friends have to say! Isn't that what I've taught you before? When you asked me what friendship is like?"
Knuckles sighed softly and thought back to a particular day, not too long after him and the others had arrived on Earth...
Sonic and Knuckles are in Station Square shortly after Sonic defeated Perfect Chaos. Knuckles had to stay for a while as it was deemed too dangerous to go to the Mystic Ruins, his gateway to Angel Island (although it took a lot of arguing to convince him to stay). The two were helping at one of the few buildings that had not been damaged during the water monster's attack and made into shelters for those who lost their homes.
Sonic and Knuckles were in the upper floor of the building taking care of some of the peoples' pets. Besides the domestics, they were the only ones in the room.
Knuckles had been thinking about some of the things that had happened in the past few days. Besides him having to find the pieces of the Mater Emerald and Perfect Chaos nearly destroying Station Square, quite a few things had taken place. Knuckles remembered having to help defeat at least two or three of Chaos' forms. Thinking of Chaos made him wonder how the residents of the city might be feeling...probably in a worse situation than he or any of his friends was.
When he said the word "friends" in his head, he remembered something he'd been wanting to ask Sonic ever since they'd arrived on Earth. He'd seen Sonic make many different friends and allies. Heck, even he, Knuckles the loner Echidna, had made a new friend, a fellow treasure hunter named Hawk.
But what Knuckles never understood was...what was friendship, really? Was it just an alliance, two people who had similar interests and had the same goals? Or was it more?
"Hey, Sonic?" Knuckles asked, unable to contain his curiosity.
"Yeah, what's up?"
"What is friendship really supposed to be like?"
"This caused Sonic to give him a confused look. "What do you mean?"
"If you were to give me your own definition of friends, what would it be?"
"Well...friends are people who get along...they usually have things in common, or at least have the same motives in life. Sometimes people just like each other for their personalities. The most important part of friendship, though, is that friends care for each other. They give the other person someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, if you will. It's like having a brother or sister, kinda, you're just not blood-related."
Knuckles nodded and pondered over what the hedgehog had just said. "Like having a brother or sister?" if Sonic considered Knuckles his friend, would that mean he was like a brother.
The guardian quickly shook off the thought. They weren't brothers, they weren't even friends.
After thinking carefully and mulling over what Sonic had said that day, which took a minute or so of silence, Knuckles finally answered, "I...I guess so."
"So then you should know that we'll listen to you, Knux! But more importantly...WHY DID YOU NOT TELL US ABOUT THAT!" Sonic jabbed a finger at the swelling bump on Knuckles' head. He really was the most upset about that, he couldn't imagine how much it must have hurt.
"Well, maybe, even if YOU cared, that doesn't fix everyone else's problem with me! They HATE me, why would they care about a damn bump?!"
"BECAUSETHEYDOCARE!" Sonic spat the words out almost as fast as he could run. "You may THINK we don't care, but it's not true! Sure, you can be hard to get along with at times, but you're still a hero-and most importantly-you're our friend! We...we all love you, Knuckles...!"
Sonic pulled the echidna into a hug. This shocked Knuckles, as he had never been hugged before, and Sonic would be the lastperson to hug him. Strangely enough, though...it felt good.
When Sonic released the echidna from his embrace, he put his hands on his shoulders. "Please..." Sonic whispered, "Don't feel that way anymore."
The crimson guardian wiped away his tears. "If you say so..." he replied, deciding that he should maybe give the crew another chance before convincing himself that they hated him. Grinning, he added, "As long as you stop being such an attention hog."
Sonic chuckled. "Yeah, yeah, alright...why don't we head over to the dining room? Everyone's probably there already."
"You didn't forget my leek buns, right?"
"Of course not! I'll go ask Cream in a minute."
"Don't you be so demanding with me, mister!" The blue blur playfully punched Knuckles' arm.
"And by the way," Sonic added, just as the two stood up, "You'd better go to Amy and get that bump on your head fixed up."
"Yeah, I know..." the echidna paused for a moment. "It really doesn't hurt that much, you know...not anymore, anyway..."
"Yeah, right. I saw you wincing before."
"Well...maybe it hurts...but just a little!" "You don't have to be such a tough guy when it comes to your health, Knux."
Knuckles snorted, then gave in. Laughing slightly, he said, "Alright, alright, you win..." he put his hands up in defeat.
Sonic smirked. "About time."
Knuckles rolled his eyes. "Let's just go. I'm hungry."
"Best idea you've had all day, buddy!"
The two stood up and nodded to each other, then went to the dining room.
"Hey, Cream!" Sonic, shouted, waving to his little, peach-colored friend and her Chao, Cheese. She was standing in the kitchen area of the large dining room, cooking dinner. "Why, hello, Mr. Sonic!" Cream greeted, beaming. Cheese let out a happy "Chao!".
"Could you do me a little favor, Cream?" Sonic asked softly.
"Do you know how to make leek buns?"
"Hmm..." Cream wondered, her hand on her chin. "I think so. How come?"
"I promised Knuckles I'd ask you to make him some. He really likes them, for some reason."
Cream nodded. "Okay! Leek buns, coming right up!"
Sonic gave the rabbit and Chao a thumbs-up. "Thanks a bunch, Cream!" he thanked, and ran off.
Meanwhile, Amy was chatting with Cosmo and Tails when Knuckles came over to the dining room table and took a seat. "Hi, Knuckles!" Tails sang, beaming.
"Hey guys," the guardian replied, nodding. "Uh...I have to ask Amy something..." he turned to the rose hedgehog. "Sure, what is it?" she asked.
Knuckles, who wasn't used to asking for help, had quite a bit of trouble letting the words escape his lips. He knew it was for his own good, but his inner echidna made him stubborn. "Well, you see...I kinda hurt myself..." he let go of the bump on his head, which he had been clutching the whole time, so his friends could see the injury. The trios' eyes widened. "Yeah, I know, it looks bad and everything..."
Tails shook his head. "That's not the only problem..." he replied solemnly, his hands folded on the table, "See, you have very high durability, to which even Sonic's can't compare. We've seen you hit your head before, and none have left a mark that has lasted more than a few minutes. This means that whatever hurt you was super strong, and caused an injury that can possibly cause permanent brain damage if left untreated..."
"Oh. Well, that's...a problem..." Knuckles said in a monotone, noting the hint of worry in the kitsune's voice. He wondered for a moment about how his life would change if he was constantly suffering from brain damage, and shuddered from the thought. Not something he would want to experience anytime soon.
"So...you are going to get that fixed, right?" Cosmo, who hadn't spoken since crimson arrived at the table, quietly asked.
"Uh, yeah...I know that Amy is really the best at medical stuff like that, so-"
"You want me to help?" Amy interrupted.
"Well, I...yeah." the echidna said, blushing. He had been helped by the pink one a few times before, but he had never requested her assistance.
Amy giggled slightly at Knuckles' reaction to his own words, then nodded. "Well, of course!" She replied, looking concerned. Looking at Knuckles' face some more, then narrowed her eyes and smirked. "You aren't asking this on your own, are you?"
"Uh...what do you mean?" Knuckles asked nervously, anime sweatdropping.
"You were told to ask me to help you, I mean."
"Well, no...kind of...maybe...yes, well...not exactly?"
"It was Sonic, wasn't it?" Amy asked the question in a flat tone, as if it was a statement.
"Yes..." Knuckles sighed. Amy rolled her eyes. "Thought so!" She couldn't help but chuckle until she saw Knuckles narrow his eyes at her. Regaining a more serious look, Amy added, "He's just trying to look out for you, you know..."
"Yeah, I know. I know a bit too much..." Knuckles thought back to the awkward, mushy hug the hedgehog had given him before.
Everyone laughed at his statement, until the smell of food tickled their noses. "Seems like dinner's almost ready," Amy said, "Let's go do something about that bump." She beckoned for Knuckles to follow her into the medical room. As they walked, Knuckles decided he probably didn't want to ask for help like that again. One time isn't bad, though...I guess... the echidna thought.
A few minutes later, Sonic rushed into the dining room with a loud whoosh and took his usual seat between Tails and where Knuckles would be sitting when he came back. He casually put his hands behind his head, leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on the table. "Hey, lil' bro!" He greeted with a smile, completely ignoring the fact that he was showing possibly some of the worst table manners ever. "Uh, nothing much," Tails answered, "although Knuckles just came by and-"
"And asked about his head, I know." Sonic interrupted. "Did Amy take him to get healed?"
"Yeah," replied Tails. He stared down at his hands, and the two sat in silence (Cosmo went to the bathroom during the few minutes between Knuckles' leaving the table and Sonic's coming to it) for a few moments. Slowly lifting his head and looking straight into his friend's emerald-green eyes, Tails finally asked, "What happened to him?"
"Oh, I dunno. He hit his head on something."
"No, not that. I mean, on the ship deck, where he just went missing."
"Oh..." the hedgehog stopped to think for a second. He couldn't tell Tails everything, especially about the crying or the hug. That would piss off Knuckles so much he'd practically destroy the Typhoon. "To put it simply, he...well, he was just a little...upset, that's all."
"No, really?" Tails rolled his eyes and gave him an "I-want-more-specific-information-than-that-you-dumbass" look.
Sonic sighed and shook his head. Tails was definitely learning a lot of sarcastic terms. "You see, Tails...he just kinda felt...well, lonely, I guess. I mean, not really lonely lonely, like 'I have absolutely nobody in my life' lonely. Just...he felt like he doesn't really have the people he has."
"So, in other words, he felt like we aren't really there? I mean, he knows we physically are, but not emotionally?"
"Sort of. See, he thought...well, you may or may not find this hard to believe, but he thought we didn't care about him."
"Huh?" Tails exclaimed, raising his eyebrows. "Why would he think that?"
Sonic sighed. "I...I don't know. I remember him saying something about us not giving him credit when he fights Metarex, or anyone, for that matter."
"That's not true!" Tails said, then realizing his words were a bit rash, he added, "Well...not entirely true."
"Exactly. But I do know we do more for him than he thinks, he's just a pessimist or something like that. I didn't really wanna snap at him too much, though, because I could tell he was serious when he-"
Sonic stopped dead when he came to the conclusion that he would have to tell Tails about the tears to clear up what he was trying to say. "When he what?" Tails asked, unknowingly rubbing in the fact that Sonic would have to go against his rule of not speaking of the embarrassing things.
Sonic let out a long, weary sigh. "Please don't tell anyone unless you want my hide on Knuckles' wall, but...he started crying."
Tails just sat there in stunned silence with a blank look on his face. "Knuckles" and "crying" just didn't sound right in the same sentence, but he saw no reason to not believe his blue buddy. "That's...weird." he finally said. He then frowned and added, "I do feel bad for him, though. To think that your closest friends didn't care about you..."
"I know..." Sonic replied. "But I think he's feeling better now. The only thing I don't get is why he has hide when he gets hurt..." he jerked his head toward the direction of the medical room to let Tails know he was talking about the head injury.
Tails nodded. "So do I. But I guess it's just a guardian thing or something." Sonic shrugged one shoulder. "Probably." Just then, Cosmo came back from the bathroom. "Hello, Sonic," she said, smiling at the hedgehog. "Hey, Cosmo," Sonic replied, and waved slightly.
Cosmo took her seat on the other side of Tails. The two started chatting about the Metarex and the Chaos Emeralds and their next course of action. Sonic stared at the ceiling, thinking about how Knuckles was doing.
About 15 minutes later, Cream came from the kitchen and placed everyone's meals on the table. "Thanks, Cream!" Tails, Cosmo, and Sonic said simultaneously. Cream smiled. "You're welcome!" the young rabbit replied. "Chao! Chao!" Her little blue pet squeaked. She took her seat in between Cosmo and where Amy would be sitting. "Where are Knuckles and Amy?" she asked.
"In the med room," Sonic replied.
"Is everything okay?"
"Yeah, Knuckles just needs a little tending too, that's all..." Sonic answered, not wanting to frighten the little girl by giving her the details.
Sonic looked over at Knuckles' plate. "Thanks again for making those, Cream," he thanked, gesturing towards the plate full of fresh, steaming leek buns. "No problem! Anything to help out!" She beamed at her hedgehog friend.
At that very moment, Amy walked into the room with Knuckles following close behind. "Hey there, guys. Everything went well?"
"Yeah!" Amy exclaimed happily. "It was actually easier to fix than I thought! All I had to do was put some medicine and ice on it and bandage it up. As long as he's careful with that spot and leaves the bandage on for a few days, he'll be fine."
"That's good," Sonic said, sighing with relief just barely enough to make it slightly audible. Knuckles came out from behind Amy and they both took there seats. "Wow. You really did have leek buns made," Knuckles said, staring at his plate as if there were a hundred dollars on it.
"Of course! Is there a problem?" Sonic teased, stifling a laugh. "Nope." the echidna replied, licking his lips. He than began to scoff down his food. "This guy's got the right idea. Dig in!" Sonic hollered as he dove into his food. Amy rolled her eyes. "Boys." she said to herself, then giggled and began to eat.
Shortly after dinner, Knuckles was ready for bed when there was a knock on his door. "Opportunity knocking!" the voice on the other side blurted out. Knuckles rolled his eyes and opened the door to let Sonic in. Why does he have to make everything so cheesy? he thought.
"So what do you want?" the echidna asked flatly, coming off as cold even when he didn't particularly mean to. Sonic ignored his tone knowing that was probably the case, and replied, "Just coming to make sure everything's alright."
"I'm fine, Sonic," Knuckles stated, rolling his eyes as if he was annoyed by the hedgehog's sentence, but failing to hide a smile.
"You sure?" Sonic joked, grinning.
"Positive." Knuckles said and nodded. He then let out a big yawn. He looked sheepishly at the hedgehog. "Well, I'm kinda tired, I think." he mumbled, blushing.
"Hey, so am I. Time to get some shuteye, eh?" Sonic smirked as the echidna climbed into bed. Sonic smiled and, much to the Knuckles' surprise, ruffled his head fur. " G'night, Knux," he said. "And...you don't have to doubt us anymore. We all love having you here, bud...and we love you. I love you." Realizing why Knuckles was all of a sudden trying to stifle a laugh, he quickly added, "Don't you dare think of it that way or I'll beat your face in."
"Oh, believe me, I won't!" Knuckles replied, snickering. No way was he going to even consider something like that. "Well, goodnight."
"Sleep tight, bro." Sonic smiled and happily walked out, slowly closing the door. Knuckles rolled over, thinking about what his friend had just said. "Bro"? That was a word he normally used around Tails. Did he consider Knuckles close to Tails? "Bro..." Knuckles whispered the word softly to himself and smiled.
He vowed to never admit it for the rest of his life, but he was really glad to have been called that.
Ugh, finally. That took much longer than it should, but it was fun to write. Now that that's out of the way, I can get to work on my less-rambly fics. Poyo!