A Tale of Two Brothers

Hey Peeps, I don't own anything related to Sonic or his universe, that's SEGA and all other companies relevant to the creation of his various back-stories, and even though most of them have tanked it now that is beside the point. Honestly, I actually own very little in this fic (next to nothing to be exact) but this is my story and even though I am using characters from Archie, DiC and SEGA I will be fleshing many of them out because they were only 2-dimensional so in some ways they will appear very OC hopefully you'll bear with me! Anyway, I've bored you to tears with this disclaimer so enjoy and let me know what you think! X

Review Replies:

Nyx27Seth: Nice to see you're still following hun and enjoying the story. LoL how did I know that sex was going to be asked about? But I have a solution to solve this query once and for all! X

Slayer 666: Hey hun, I agree with you on the whole (and so does Jules) that Chuck's idea to invent the robotisizer was not his best idea but machinery is not inherently good or evil it's how it is used. And yeh, I imagine the guilt would be crippling. As for your ideas regarding Jules: what you suggested is basically the Archie backstory which I don't want to copy but you'll just have to wait and see what happens… I promise it's just as dramatic though! And yes, yes, I should've figured the sex argument would rear its ugly head again haha, I have devised a way to solve this argument once and for all!

Attention: Because I've grown a little tired of the sex argument I'm going to let the public decide whether or not I should put an intimate scene with Jules and Aleena in. The poll can be found in my profile! This chapter is dedicated to anyone who votes! Do you want to see a scene or not… let me know now!

Chapter Ten: Jules The Birthday-Hog!

Jules Hedgehog found himself lazing high up in the branch of his favourite lounging tree, which just so happened to be around the back of his log-cabin home. It was the early afternoon of his birthday and the newly-turned seventeen year-old hedgehog was sprawled out on the wide branch of the ancient sycamore tree that had been there probably as long as his family had lived in Knothole. The sun was high above his head; poking its bright, gleaming rays through the canopy of leaves causing light and shadow to glitter over everything below the tree-line. The cobalt-blue hedgehog had only got up recently, which was the norm on a day off. And since Jules' friends were bringing most of the things they'd need to stay over in Knothole with them, and a few things he had forgotten as well, he had nothing to do but kick-back and relax until the rest of the gang arrived to get the party underway.

The cobalt-blue hedgehog sighed peacefully, enjoying the gentle rustle of leaves in the warm summer breeze and the soft chirping of native mobian-songbirds as they twittered contentedly away. Despite being known amongst his peers and colleges as being fast-footed and slightly spine-headed Jules liked nothing better than sitting still, surrounded by simplicities of nature. He liked the city it was true. There was always something new going on, but at the same time there was nowhere to switch off, to get away from it all and just be at peace. It was the main reason that he was happier living in Knothole and had no desire to move into the city… But the Hedgehog family home seemed a little empty now that his brother Charles had left. The house was quiet now and although he knew it was only a form of empty-nest syndrome that was obviously down to the fact that he was the last Hedgehog left at home, it didn't ease the slight pit of isolation in his stomach. Ever since his older brother had moved out Jules had not spent a lot of time at home. He filled his days off with visiting his brother or his friends. He hung out with Lionel in his make-shift bedroom laboratory, loitered with Sherman in the mechanical hanger of the Mobian Army base as he fixed up their high-tech machinery and just chilled with Tiger who was enjoying his R&R break from tour of duty. Today was the first day he had really spent time at his home alone and it felt weird. He guessed it would take time for him to get used to living by himself…

As Jules stretched out one cobalt-furred leg he peeled an eye open and gripped the head-stock of his maroon acoustic guitar as it slipped from its resting place in his lap. As he moved into a more comfortable position the seventeen year-old hedgehog pulled his guitar back into his lap and smiled fondly at his most coveted possession. His white-gloved fingers stroked the smooth silky-finish of the varnished body, enjoying the familiar touch of the caresses before moving his hands into playing position. The hazel eye that was half-open rolled shut as he casually plucked a few strings and enjoyed the harmoniously deep, soothing notes that vibrated through the sound hole.

Almost immediately following his guitar the exact same notes sounded from somewhere nearby making Jules' cobalt-pointed ear twitch and swivel around curiously. When he plucked his strings he didn't usually get a response, in fact he didn't know anyone in the tiny Knothole community who played a stringed instrument besides him. The seventeen year-old hedgehog's hazel eyes opened with surprise as the strings that had made the sound had a light, rich tone and more pronounced twang than his guitar did. With his interest peeked Jules plucked a few more strings and sure enough the stringed instrument repeated the notes the teenage hedgehog had just played. Jules listened carefully to the notes and finally deduced by the harsh twang and echoing ring that the other instrument was a banjo.

But who was playing it?

His curiosity was positively aflame now; so Jules pulled out the black shoulder-strap for his guitar and attached it to his instrument then slid down the wide trunk of the sycamore tree. Once his brown-booted feet hit the mossy ground of the forest floor the cobalt hedgehog pulled his guitar back around to the front of his bright red vest and plucked a few strings in a short melody, then listened for the response, trying to pinpoint the location of the mystery musician. As the strings of the banjo played Jules' cobalt-pointed ear swivelled before he grinned widely, pinpointing the direction of the strums and wandering off to find the banjo responsible. He wasn't in a rush to discover his anonymous banjo player; music was not something to be discovered all at once but to be explored at a leisurely pace. So he walked through the trees at a comfortable pace, passing the back of a couple of neighbouring log-cabins still strumming away at his guitar as the sounds of his acoustic notes melded with the insistent tones of the banjo. They're playing tempo increased to a country jig and as the hedgehog's white-gloved fingers danced over his strings. When he turned the dusty path corner Jules' strumming immediately ceased and a wide grin curved his muzzle when the mystery banjo player was revealed.

Sitting on a rickety old wooden rocking-chair was a twenty-something light-brown-furred mobian-rabbit with dark-brown fur circling his dark-green eyes, a small dark-brown nose covered a white-furry muzzle and his ears were bent slightly forward in a natural kink. He was wearing a pink flannel shirt and a set of dark denim dungarees while his huge feet were bare. The male rabbit twanged an impressive country riff on his shiny white banjo before strumming with a flourish for an impressive finish. When he stopped the mobian-rabbit looked up towards the cobalt-blue hedgehog with a grin that displayed two very large buck-teeth right at the front of his smile.

'Howdy neighbah.' He suddenly spoke with an upbeat southern drawl. 'Yah sho-areh good at playin' that city slickah's banjo yah got thereh.' The mobian-rabbit then leant back in his rocking-chair with a lazy smirk twisting his fuzzy muzzle. Jules kinked a brow in slight confusion.

'You mean my guitar?' The cobalt-blue hedgehog asked unsurely as his instrument rested comfortably in his grip.

'Yup. Back whereh Ah come from, the Southern Baronies, that's what we folks call a gee-tah.' The mobian-rabbit drawled as his banjo rested in his lap with the deep-brown headstock laid across his left armrest.

'Oh. So you've just moved in, right?' Jules sounded conversationally as he swung his guitar around so the instrument was laid alongside his jagged cobalt back-quills. He vaguely remembered a 'For Sale' sign picketed by the log-cabin the mobian-rabbit was sitting in front of now.

'That's right.' The light-brown-furred rabbit drawled before setting his banjo aside then hopping out of his seat, landing neatly beside the cobalt-blue hedgehog and holding out his hand for a handshake. 'The name's Buchanan Rabbot but mah pals call me Buck!'

'Jules Hedgehog, nice to meet you.' The cobalt teenager shook hands warmly with the southern mobian who was half a foot taller than him. 'And my friends call me 'Juice'.' Jules grin widened, flashing the chip on the right-side premolar.

'Juice huh?' Buchanan sounded curiously then scratched the tuft of light-brown fur in-between his large rabbit-ears. 'Now how in tarnation did a crittah like yahself land a name like that?'

'My speed earned me my nickname. Wanna demonstration?' The cobalt-blue hedgehog asked then kinking his brow as his white-gloved hand rested boldly on his hips.

'Go ahead li'l partnah.' Buchanan Rabbot replied lightly and the moment he agreed Jules pulled his guitar off of his back and slung it high in the air by the shoulder strap so the instrument flew upwards. The southern rabbit-mobian gasped out in shock but was barely able to absorb what Jules had done before the seventeen year-old hedgehog tore after it, his brown boots blurred swiftly down the dusty track that served as Knothole's only road. His large feet screeched to a halt as Jules stretched out his arms, caught his precious guitar before sharply swivelling around and racing back to where the mobian-rabbit was stood gawping. 'Whoo-wee! You're fastah than a desert road-runnah!' He grinned widely before adding lightly. 'Ya fancy meetin' mah gal Missy?'

'Sure, why not?' Jules shrugged amiably as he slung his guitar back over his shoulder.

'Hey! Missy!' Buchanan Rabbot bounced around to face the front door of his log-cabin and hollered out loudly. 'Git your cotton-tail out hereh an' come meet ouah new neighbah!' Jules winced slightly at the mobian-rabbit's way of calling his other half feeling a little uncomfortable by it. He guessed it was a southern-thing to speak so assertively to a girl.

'Ah'ma comin', Ah'ma comin'..' The gentle tones of a slightly stressed southern belle responded before the front door of the log-cabin opened to reveal a teenage female rabbit with soft honey-fur and pale-pink shadow around her soft-brown eyes. Her fur was smoother than her spouse's though she had a long tuft for a girly fringe, a little pink nose surrounded by a neat white muzzle while her ears sat perfectly straight. Missy was wearing a loose-fitting but pretty white shirt that was held in at the waist by a brown belt and accentuated her curves. She was also sporting a set of light denim cut-offs that were very short and elongated her honey-furred legs. Unlike Buchanan, her hands and feet were much daintier and Missy looked like she was built for running rather than leaping incredible heights in a single bound. The female rabbit blinked as her soft-brown eyes settled on the cobalt-blue hedgehog beside her other half and immediately a wide smile curved her neat muzzle. Whatever worries she had vanished the moment she was in the presence of company.

'Well hi thereh!' Missy sounded in a bright and breezy drawl, her voice had a naturally sweet, breathy tone as she too spoke with a southern twang. The female rabbit then sashayed down the steps and stood beside Buchanan Rabbot as he wrapped an arm casually around her waist.

'Missy, this here is Juice an' Ah reckon he's got mighty fast feet for a porcupine.' The male rabbit drawled with a grin which highlighted just how large his two buck-teeth were.

'I'm a hedgehog not a porcupine.' Jules replied and folded his arms across his chest with a mild frown of offense. Porcupines were a completely different species to hedgehogs; their noses were longer and their quills were finer for a start.

'Yah areh?' Buck kinked his brow curiously before leaning forward and scrutinizing the cobalt-blue hedgehog before him. 'Ah thought that was justa name.'

'Oh, don't mind mah big galoot of a husband, sugah. Heh, back in the south thereh was mostly porcupines. We've only been livin' hereh a couple o' days, it'a take ol' Buck a while to adjust.' Missy drawled apologetically towards the cobalt-blue hedgehog, winking when she called him 'sugah'. Jules flashed a nervous grin and glanced at Buchanan to make sure he was ok with this behaviour. The male mobian-rabbit merely smiled at Missy looking relaxed proving that this was clearly harmless banter his wife was displaying. Immediately Jules exhaled silently with relief.

'No hard feelin's good buddy.' Buchanan added as his gaze returned to the hedgehog, completely missing the seventeen year-old's moment of discomfort.

'So what made you come to Knothole?' Jules asked curiously and the married Mobian-rabbits exchanged a smile, still holding each other dearly before turning back to the teenage hedgehog.

'Well, Ah recently signed up foh the Mobian Army, originally in the Confederate Regiment but was tranfehed hereh onna count of they need moreh Mobians to help out with the 'Overlander-problem'..' Buchanan Rabbot drawled as he scratched his furry white-muzzle absent-mindedly.

'Buck's brothah Beau was awful soreh when he found out we was movin' up north.' Missy added lightly causing her husband to roll his deep green eyes with a mix of light exasperation and amusement. 'What was it he said ahgen? Somethin' about how yah was just gonna be servin' the whims of the oppressors?'

'It was somethin' like that honeysuckle.' Buchanan responded agreeably as his deep green eyes narrowed further.

'The oppressors?' Jules kinked a brow in confusion, having no idea what these rabbits where on about. Immediately Buchanan's eyes widened before his expression turned serious and he untangled himself from his wife and moved beside the teenage hedgehog.

'Down in the south the royal hedgehogs ain't looked upon too kindly by many folks.' The light-brown-furred rabbit sighed heavily before continuing. 'It's nuffin' personal ahgenst the current royals; this is bad blood that dates back to the foundin' o' the Liberty Bill. Many o' the southan states in the Kingdom o' Mobius weren't happy with the way things were worded in the bill; they felt like many of the freedoms they wanted wereh denied. Many of them broke off an' created the Confederate Liberty Bill which reinstated the freedoms that the Kingdom o' Mobius had previously denied them.'

'Was that not what started the Mobian Civil Dispute?' Jules rubbed his tanned-muzzle thoughtfully; all this did sound kind of familiar to him. He'd learned all about this in school but the exact details were sketchy as this had all happened before history was recorded properly.

'That's right.' Missy replied with a slight smile. 'The Southan Confederate Mobians an' the Northan Kingdom o' Mobius fought ovah these changes foh yeeahs before both sides wereh fohrced to stand togethah an' face off the Overlandahs who sought to use the feud to theyah advantage. It was only aftahwards that the two sides met an' diplomacy was reached.' The honey-furred female rabbit placed her smooth-furred hands on her sweetly rounded hips.

'Though many in the Baronies believe ouah ancestohs wereh cheated with false promises an' that someday the south will rise ahgen.' Buchanan Rabbot added grimly before holding up his hands in a gesture of friendly defeat and added as he was determined to make his own feelings plain. 'Although Missy an' Ah areh both proud to be southernah's we don't believe that fightin' ouah northan brothahs is the way fohwarhd. We'll admit that we ain't the biggest fans o' the royals for what they've done in the past but we areh citizens of Mobius an' Ah'm willin' to do mah bit to presurve the freedoms mah forefathah's stood foh.' The mobian-rabbit's chest swelled with pride as he placed one hand over his heart and shut his eyes, looking every bit the proud solider he was destined to be.

'So, yah doin' anythin' the night sugah?' Missy suddenly cut in changing the subject, causing Buchanan's deep green eyes to open and look around to the cobalt-blue hedgehog he was stood beside. His stance relaxed immediately as a wide grin returned to his furry muzzle.

'Actually, yeh.' The seventeen year-old hedgehog found himself reminded of the fact that he had plans. 'I'm having a bunch of my friends over for a camp out by the lake on the other side of those trees.' Jules gestured vaguely towards the trees behind his row of log-cabins where he had spent the last week taking down the assault course his friends had rigged up.

'Ooh. Sounds nice.' Missy replied, clasping her hands together. 'Any perticulah reason yah all gittin' togetha?'

'They're all coming up to help me celebrate my birthday which is today-' Jules only managed to get this out before finding himself interrupted by Buchanan Rabbot.

'It is?' The Mobian-rabbit declared with loud surprise before his deep green eyes widened with excitement. 'Well, why didn't yah say so! Missy, did yah find the dregs of ol' Rusty's moonshine yit?'

'No. Goin' through the stuff foh the shed was your job, remembah yah lazy bump on the log?' The young female Mobian-rabbit scowled through her soft-brown eyes as she folded her arms across the bosom of her white-shirt. 'It's what'cha shoulda been doin' while yah wereh strummin' on yah banjo.'

'Oh right, sorrah 'bout that honeysuckle. Guess ah got distracted when the road-runnah hereh started strummin'.' Buchanan grinned sheepishly at his wife.

'My bad.' Jules raised his both his hands, not wanting to insight an argument.

'Don't yah drag him into this, it ain't his fault.' Missy sounded crossly before her expression switched to a slightly reprimanding pout. 'Besides Buck, this ain't the south we live in now. Yah can't just barge in on some strangah's hootenanny, even if yah do bring a bucket o' moonshine. Northan crittah's do things different, yah gotta be invited first.' The female mobian-rabbit added with a snooty southern drawl.

'Why don't you guys join us?' The cobalt-blue hedgehog suddenly sounded as he flicked his quiff of quills out of his eyes.

'Say what?' Missy sounded with shock, her brown eyes widening comically.

'Yah wereh sayin'?' Buchanan Rabbot grinned widely to his wife but the shorter honey-furred Mobian-rabbit elbowed him sharply in the gut causing him to wince. 'Aw, dang it!' The four and a half foot rabbit-mobian bent over clutching his abdomen with a painful grimace.

'That's mighty sweet o' yah sugah-quills but Buck an' Ah wouldn't wanna impose on yah li'l git togetha.' Missy sounded as her husband finally straightened and throw a slightly disapproving scowl at his wife.

'You wouldn't be. It's my party and my friends won't mind; you'd be more than welcome to join us.' Jules sounded persuasively with his most charismatic grin.

'Whatta yah reckon then?' Buchanan sounded with a slight sigh, he was game but the male rabbit didn't want to agree if his wife was going to sock him in the gut once more.

'Yah sho we ain't gonna be a bothah?' The honey-furred female drawled as she blinked her pink-shadowed eyelids while looking at Jules. Her soft-brown eyes looked a little nervous at the prospect of meeting a whole group of new mobians so soon.

'I swear by Sauna it won't even be an issue Missy.' The cobalt-blue hedgehog replied without even thinking on it as he waved his hand in a lazy dismissive manner, flashing a cocky smirk as he did so.

'Well then, we'd love to join yah.' Missy finally smiled sweetly and immediately Buchanan Rabbot whooped gleefully, stomping a large furred foot off the ground and using the force to bounce several feet in the air. Jules grinned widely as the male rabbit shot up higher than any jump he'd seen before.

'See, this is why Ah love yah Missy.' Buchanan declared as he landed back on the ground and pulled his honey-furred wife to him and kissed her keenly. As she giggled he returned his gaze to the cobalt-blue hedgehog with warm hazel eyes now standing opposite him. 'Just give us some time to find ol' Rusty's moonshine an' we'll be right on ovah.'

It was early evening in Knothole and as the sun finished setting laughter could be coming from the lake at the far side of the sleepy hamelt. On the sand and pebble beach the group of late-teenage mobians had created a makeshift campsite and begun celebrating Jules Hedgehog's seventeenth birthday. Buchanan and Missy Rabbot appeared shortly after the rest of the group bringing with them a wooden barrel. While Missy had separated from the group of males, heading off to introduce herself to Cocoa and Ginger, her husband pulled a keg spout out of his dark-denim dungarees and screwed it into the barrel. Buchanan then picked up the first tin-mug and poured out the illicit booze then passed it to the birthday hedgehog.

'So…' Jules looked tentatively into the golden-coloured alcohol as it slopped inside his mug. 'What is moonshine exactly?' His warm hazel eyes looked up towards Buchanan who sat beside him on one of the strategically placed logs.

'It's a home-brewed hooch, made it mahself with ol' Rusty's recipe just beforeh Missy an' Ah moved up here. Now git it down the hatch birthday-hog!' Buchanan replied brightly as he lifted his own tin-mug of illicit whiskey.

'Yeh, you heard the rabbit Juice, don't be such a wimp.' Tiger Stripes said loudly as he held his own mug and grinned widely at his best friend.

'Who's Rusty?' Lionel asked the southern rabbit-mobian as Sherman made a loud noise of agreement to the mobian-tiger's statement. Jules threw a narrow-eyed scowl towards the two friends that were goading him on to drink the strong whiskey in his mug.

'Rusty was mah grandpappie, Terra rest his soul. Beforeh he died he showed both me an' mah brothah, Beauregard, how to brew his patented moonshine. I'd tell yah what's in it 'cept it's a family secret.' Buchanan winked at the seventeen year old blonde mobian-lion next to him before Sherman and Tiger's loud taunting chant interrupted them.

'Drink it, drink it, drink it, drink it…'

'Ok! Ok!' Jules declared loudly with a wide grin and this instantly caused both the navy-skinned walrus and the white and silver-stripped tiger to quieten down. 'I'll drink it… but first, a toast!'

'Hold on sugah-quills..' Missy suddenly called out from the opposite side of the fire where she'd been sat with the two feline girl-mobians. '-just let us gals git a drink fuhrst.' The three of them then got up and grabbed three mugs, pouring themselves a large shot of moonshine before Missy slipped some lemonade in to weaken the mixture.

'Alright, carry on Juice.' Cocoa sounded gesturing for him to continue once the three of them were sat down on the logs again.

'To good times..' Jules raised his cup, looking around the group as they all copied him by lifting their cups too. '-good friends, good health and, hopefully, a good future.' He finished with a tight smile; the hedgehog had only added this last bit as Sherman, Buchanan and Tiger would all soon be leaving to fulfil their military duties to the kingdom.

'And may I just add.' Tiger suddenly stood up with a smirk. 'To Jules; the hedgehog who brought us all together. Happy birthday buddy!' He then cuffed his best friend playfully.

'Happy birthday!' The group cried out and as the three girl-mobians and three guy-mobians clicked mugs together Tiger and Jules did the same. Everyone then took a swig of their mug of home-brewed hooch. The moment the strong-tasting alcohol hit the back of the cobalt-blue hedgehog's throat it sent a burning sensation that made him gasp out the moment he swallowed it. Fortunately, he wasn't the only one who reacted this way as his three best friends were pulling similar faces of punch-drunk surprise.

'W-wow!' Jules coughed slightly as the potent alcoholic liquid struggled to go down. 'That's strong stuff!' He cleared his throat as a warm feeling spread over his body that had nothing to do with the newly lit campfire they were using to stave off the cool night air.

'Good for what ails yah though.' Buchanan drawled once he'd finished downing his mug of hooch.

'Ails us, we'll be lucky if it doesn't kill us!' Lionel sounded after abandoning his mug, deciding he did not want to drink the rest of it.

'Oh it's not that bad Lionel.' Sherman sounded before taking a large gulp and coughing slightly once he'd swallowed.

'Yeh, quit being overdramatic.' Tiger added taking a swing. 'It's like a stronger version of the whiskey my dad let us have a shot of on my seventeenth.'

'Yeh, and I didn't like that either.' Lionel pulled a grimace at the memory of Commander Stripes' best bottle of two-stroke whiskey.

'If it's too strong foh yah sugah just put some limonade innit an' that'll soften the bite.' The honey-furred female rabbit-mobian said helpfully from her seat beside Cocoa as the three girls drunk their mugs quite happily.

'Aw shoot Missy, puttin' limonade in moonshine's a gal's thing.' Buchanan drawled with disapproval at this suggestion.

'I don't care.' Lionel sounded dismissively. 'If it makes it taste better I'll try it.' The blonde lion-mobian then let Cocoa pour some on the lemonade into his cup.

'Some folk don't like theyah drinks as strong as yah do Buck.' Missy replied to her husband's words with a smug smile on her smooth-furred muzzle.

'Pffft, lightweight.' Jules snickered in amusement at the blonde mobian-lion. Lionel immediately responded by pulling an immature face at the cobalt hedgehog. Jules then drained his mug then made a 'whew' noise, looking like the strong alcohol had gone straight to his head.

'Someone git that crittah anothah cup!' Buchanan cried out with a wide grin and immediately Tiger grabbed Jules' empty mg and filled it again.

'Here you go Juice!' The white-furred and silver-striped tiger-mobian said brightly as he pushed the tin-mug into the hedgehog's white-gloved hand. 'Drink up buddy!'

'You guys trying to get me drunk?' Jules asked with a smirk of mock-disbelief.

'Uh, yeh…' Sherman drawled as if stating about the obviously. 'What else did you think we'd be doing on your birthday?' The navy-skinned walrus' brows raised in a crafty manner as he flashed a wide grin.

While the group of mobian-males where laughing together, drinking and goading each other to drink more in a typically guy-like fashion the three girls were chatting amongst themselves. They're eyes glancing over occasionally and throwing an almost withering look at the idiots on the opposite side of the campfire to them.

'So how long have you and Buck been married Missy?' Ginger asked the honey-furred mobian-rabbit as she sipped her tin-mug of lemonade and hooch.

'It'a only be a yeeah in a few weeks.' Missy replied lightly as her soft brown eyes turned to the yellow eyes of the orange-furred mobian-tiger with black stripes. 'But Buck an' Ah have been togethah since Ah was twelve. He asked me to marry him when Ah tuhrned fifteen and we married shortly aftah Ah turned sixteen.'

'Sixteen?' Cocoa cut in at this point looking confused. 'Isn't that a little young to be married?'

'Cocoa!' Ginger sounded with a scowl of disapproval.

'I just meant that it's a little young to be committing yourself to one guy, that's all.' The black and white-furred mobian-cat sounded flicking her long white fringe out of her blue eyes.

'Ah undahstan' what yah sayin' Cocoa but with Buck an' Ah it was love at fuhrst sight…' Missy tailed off as she put a well-manicured finger to her lips thinking before continuing. 'It's hard to explain but when yah meet the right guy..' Her soft-brown eyes glanced over to Buchanan who was laughing with the others. 'Yah jist know.'

'Oh please.' Cocoa drawled as she rolled her blue eyes.

'Ignore her.' Ginger sounded dismissing her best friend's words causing the mobian-cat to scowl briefly at her. 'She's not got a boyfriend so she doesn't really get it.'

'Oh-hoh! Is that right, huh?' Cocoa sounded with a sly smile.

'Well I have managed to tame the 'untameable' Tiger Stripes.' The mobian-tigress replied with a smug little smirk. At this point a loud whooping noise from the males on the other side of the fire caused the girls to look around; only to see Tiger and Jules monkeying around while the others drunkenly jeered and laughed. The only exception was Lionel who only glanced up with a slight smile from a small power-stone-charged radio before his attention went back to the knobs he was twiddling with.

'You were saying?' Cocoa sounded, looking back at Ginger with narrowed eyes.

'Ok. So it's a work in progress.' The tigress replied with a casual shrug. 'He behaves much better when Jules isn't around to influence him.' These words made Cocoa laugh and both Ginger and Missy looked confused by it.

'I'm sorry hun, but Alicia used to say the exact same thing about Tiger when she was dating Jules.' The mobian-cat covered her mouth to cover her smile before composing herself.

'Hey guys, the election results are in.' Lionel suddenly exclaimed excitedly once he'd finally tuned into the station he'd been searching for. 'They're gonna announce the new Mayor of Mobotroplis any minute!' The blonde lion-mobian grinned.

'Turn it up!' Tiger cried loudly with a wide smile. 'Did everybody remember to vote?' He asked keenly, turning to look around the group.

'Sure did!' Sherman sounded brightly.

'Yup.' Lionel nodded casually in response.

'You know we did!' Cocoa said laughing lightly. 'You dragged Ginger and me down there to vote as soon as the polls opened.' The orange-furred mobian-tigress with black stripes giggled silently into her hand at her best friend's words, knowing they were true. Jules snickered in amusement at this before stretching out along the log with his gloved hands behind his head.

'Well, since I only turned seventeen today and I never left Knothole, I didn't vote.' The cobalt-blue hedgehog said lightly as he made himself comfortable.

'A nonconfomin' democrat. Juice, I'd take mah hat off to yah..' Buchanan drawled with a smile that displayed his two buck-teeth. '-if I was wearin' one.' He added with a wink to the newly-seventeen year old hedgehog.

'Thanks man.' Jules replied to Buchanan's words before Lionel shushed them.

'Guys, it's on..' He then turned the volume dial up so the radio could be heard clearly around the campfire…

Well, this mayoral-election has been an amazing campaign but there is nothing more that either candidate can do. The booths are closed and the votes were in and counted by the Mobius Council Ministers themselves …

'I hope it's Acorn..' Tiger sounded eagerly as he pumped his furry-fists, grinning widely. His father, Commander Stripes, had always taught Tiger that voting was an important part of their democratic society and never to waste it. He'd grown up following the political elections of the Mobotroplis City as his father walked him through how they affected the Mobian Army, moulding his son to follow in his very steps. The silver tiger had been enthralled by it all, eager to learn and since he admired his decorated military father Tiger couldn't wait until he could vote and make a difference.

'Shhhhh!' The rest of the teenage mobians hissed him to be quiet. Tiger rolled his eyes and shook his head.

And, yes, we've just received word from the Council Building that our new Mayor of Mobotroplis has been announced. It's Maximilloin Acorn! He is collecting the keys to the city from former Mayor Whinyham as we speak. The new mayor is accompanied by his lovely young sweetheart, who has been by his side throughout the campaign for support. He won the election by only ten percent of the votes. It was a tight result but a well-deserved win for Mayor Acorn. More details coming through now, and apparently Mr Whinyham is not upset, the former mayor seems in good spirits about losing. He even surprised mobian-reporters by saying he's considering retirement, apparently it's clear that the times are changing and he's confident Acorn is the mobian to watch. And we've just received a sound-bite from our new mayor's first interview: 'Although I am happy to have won the election, I have to say that running against an amazingly tough candidate like Whinyham was only the fun part. Tomorrow, the real work begins!'…

'Wow…' Jules drawled with narrowed unimpressed eyes, cutting in over the rest of the news report. 'He sounds like another upper-class suit.'

'Juice!' Cocoa scowled at the cobalt-hedgehog; her black-furred arms crossed over her denim-vest-covered chest. 'Don't be rude, you don't even know the guy!'

'Why do you care? You don't know him either!' The cobalt hedgehog glared back but before the mobian-cat could argue back a short, sharp whistle made both them look around for the owner of it.

'Quit fussin' an' feudin'!' Missy Rabbot sounded sharply as her honey-furred hands rested on her hips. 'We'ah supposed to be celebratin' a birthday, ah we not?' Her soft brown-eyed scowl flashed from both Cocoa to Jules clearly showing her annoyance at their argument.

'Yes. Your right Missy, I'm sorry.' Cocoa immediately sounded with a heavy sigh, willing to admit she had started this argument.

'Aw, its ahright Cocoa-gurl yah just got a little excited!' The honey-furred mobian-rabbit then grinned widely towards the boys who were chilling on the logs nearby. 'I don't know about yah all hereh but Ah feel like dancin'. How 'bout some music fellahs?'

'Yah got it Missy!' Buchanan sounded with a wide grin as he picked up his banjo and rested it in his lap. 'Hey Juice, yah ready to duel with banjos?' Immediately the cobalt-blue hedgehog swivelled his head and quills around to the twenty year-old mobian-rabbit and grinned widely.

'I thought you'd never ask Buck!' Jules declared brightly as he picked up his deep-red acoustic guitar and began strumming a fast-paced tune while creating a drum-beat by tapping his brown-booted foot off the log he was slouching on. After giving the hedgehog a few moments so he could follow the improvised melody Buck began to twang his strings at a similar pace, bringing a country twist to Jules' tune. The others cheered with delight and the three girls immediately grabbed a dance partner. Ginger seized Tiger and the two spun each other around joyously, Missy and Cocoa danced together laughing gleefully while Sherman and Lionel smiled widely clapping along..

Unbeknown to the group of mobian-teenagers celebrating by Knothole's lake an automobile was zipping towards the sleepy hamlet. Its wrought mobibindum frame painted in a light turquoise shade. In the back Princess Aleena was seated with only one guard; cadet Argus Fletcher while in the front driving was the other cadet; Jasper Jacks. Right now they were the only ones the princess could trust. She had accosted them after General D'Coolette had left the palace, leaving Captain Prower in charge of night-watch. The lilac-furred hedgehog knew that they were associates of Jules and that they would also know where to find him tonight. Princess Aleena had convinced them to take her out of palace grounds, his home-hamlet of Knothole was too far for her to travel alone and she had to be careful. The princess had left her crown in her dressing room and was wearing a deep red clock with a simple white dress and yellow corset. Since she was going in her alias of 'Bernadette' the blonde-quilled hedgehog would need to dress the part.

Argus and Jasper had just finished their evening shifts and had changed back into their civilian clothes. They had been about to leave for Knothole to meet up with their fellow cadet; the cobalt-blue hedgehog had already issued them with instructions on how to get there the day before. At first they were shocked when they found themselves accosted by the princess pleading to go with them to Knothole but eventually relented, remembering their oath to protect and serve the whims of the crown.

As Jasper's automobile pulled up to the small log-cabin that Jules now had all to himself the three mobians could hear the strings of a guitar riff fused with the strums of a country banjo melody. Argus and Jasper lead Princess Aleena through the darkened wood, aided by the distant glow of orange from the campfire poking through shadowed trees in front. As they closed in they could hear laughter and cheering as well as making out some silhouettes of teenage mobian-girls dancing around the opposite side of the fire in an almost country-style figure of eight dance.

It was these three girls who spotted the new arrivals first as the two male-mobians appeared out of the trees, revealing themselves to the group sprawled out on the beach.

'Um guys? Were we expecting company?' Ginger asked the group as a whole causing Tiger, Sherman and Lionel to look around in surprise as Buchanan and Jules carried on too absorbed in their playing to notice.

'I don't know but I wouldn't mind getting to know the one on the left..' Cocoa sounded as her eyes fell on the all-black-furred mobian-cat now walking purposely towards the group with his friend. She suddenly felt her face heat up and it had nothing to do with the campfire nearby. Her instant coyness and the reason for it wasn't missed by the shorter mobian-rabbit next to her.

'Mmm-mmm yah go get him gurl, he's a humdinger of a mobian.' Missy said with a wink to the black and white female mobian-cat who flushed at her words. It was at this moment that Buchanan noticed the group was no longer paying attention to their playing. Then when the male mobian-rabbit noticed the newcomers he instantly stopped playing and nudged Jules.

'Hold up li'l partner, we got company.' Buchanan uttered and the cobalt-blue hedgehog stopped strumming instantly and grinned as he recognised his two work-buddies.

'Argus! Jasper!' He cried out immediately and bounced to his feet, resting his guitar back against the log. 'You guys made it!'

'Happy birthday Jules!' Argus sounded with a wide smile, clapping Jules on the shoulder when the hedgehog jogged over to them. He'd drunk enough moonshine by this point impairing his running speed.

'Sorry we're late… we, uh, had had to bring someone with us.' Jasper added with a slightly sheepish grin before he and the yellow-furred mobian-wolf with a tuft of orange fur on his head moved aside to reveal the princess.

'Hi.' The lilac-hedgehog waved with a slightly nervous smile on her muzzle as she was still covered by her red clock. For a long moment the male hedgehog stared at Princess Aleena in shock before frowning slightly and leaning into Jasper.

'What is she doing here?' The cobalt-blue hedgehog flicked his quiff of blue fringe-quills as they fell into his eyes at his sudden head movement. His tone was hushed and a little irritated.

'She practically begged us to bring her, we couldn't say no.' Argus responded softly.

'You should've left her at home!' The male blue hedgehog hissed back before flashing the princess a grin, wondering if he could get rid of her before his friends spotted her… or worse, General D'Coolette or King Ogilvie the Third realised she was missing!

'Is that Bernadette?' Jules sighed heavily with irritation as the sound of Tiger's voice indicated that the white-furred mobian-tiger with silver stripes had already spotted her. His best friend could be annoyingly sharp sometimes.

'Hello Tiger.' Princess Aleena called out, suddenly waving to him with a wide smile. Feeling instantly more confident now that she'd been recognised by Jules' friends, the princess passed her three guards and moved towards the campfire. There was less chance of Jules sending her home immediately if she integrated with the group.

The cobalt-blue hedgehog's hazel eyes narrowed as Tiger met 'Bernadette' part way towards the fire and greeted her warmly before leading her back to the group. Cocoa and Ginger enveloped her in hug before promptly introducing her to Missy Rabbot.

'Bernadette?' Jasper sounded slightly confused as to why Jules' friends knew the princess under this name instead of her real one.

'A few of months ago the princess snuck out the palace and into Macey's where she introduced herself under that name, obviously so she didn't draw attention to herself. It was the first time I'd ever met her and since I never thought I'd see her socially again it never occurred to me to tell my friends the truth.' The blue male hedgehog replied, bending the truth ever so slightly.

'That should work in our favour. In the interest of both the princess' safety and to stop the king from finding out we sneaked her out of the palace we should probably keep up the pretence.' Argus sounded reasonably, nodding at his own suggestion as if it made perfect sense.

'Agreed.' Jasper and Jules chipped in together.

'Hey, you guys joining us or what?' Sherman called out suddenly causing the three of them to look up and across at the campfire, seeing the others looking at them while sat around the flames.

'Yeh, yeh, we're coming..' Jules drawled waving a hand and the three cadets began wandering down to the campfire to the rest of the group.

'Here yah go, git this down yah neck birthday-hog!' Buchanan suddenly appeared beside Jules with yet another cup of moonshine. Argus and Jasper moved away from the cobalt-blue hedgehog and shook hands with Tiger, Sherman and Lionel as they introduced themselves.

'Ok, but I'm starting to feel a little wasted already.' Jules sounded before taking a large swig of the strong booze, feeling the effects of it go straight to his head and throw the mobian-rabbit a drunken smirk.

'Only a li'l wasted? Ah shoot road-runnah, you ain't quittin' on me 'til yah paralytic!' The southern mobian-rabbit said sternly, sounding like a true mobian solider.

'You're the boss!' Jules said cheerfully, lifting his mug as if this was a toast to Buchanan before taking another mouthful.

Buchanan then turned to Argus and introduced himself while a little way away Missy was whispering heatedly with Cocoa. The honey-furred rabbit-mobian was shoving the white-furred female cat towards Jasper while Cocoa was shyly trying to resist. However Missy soon won out as with one sharp push the white and black female mobian-cat found herself shoved hard towards the all-black-furred mobian-cat. Cocoa staggered slightly before she fell forward with a loud cry of surprise only to be caught by Jasper. When her blue eyes lifted they were met by his green ones and she flushed slightly.

'Hi.' Cocoa murmured with a coy smile, her white paw-hand instantly lifted and pushed her long white fringe out of her face.

'Hi.' Jasper smiled warmly, helping her to her feet. At this point Jules' attention was brought back to Buchanan and Argus who were now discussing the mobian-rabbit's surname as the yellow-furred wolf had mistook it as 'Rabbit'. While they were talking the southern rabbit was softly plucking his banjo, playing a slow country tune.

'Y'see, 'Rab-bit' is actually a suhname of belongin' the North but down in the South we-folks go by 'Rab-bot'.' Buchanan drawled good-naturedly, not wanting to make a big deal of a small pronunciation mistake but simply explaining the difference.

'This was the Southern Confederates way of distancing themselves from their northern brothers wasn't it?' Argus asked grimly. War made mobians do things for strange reasons.

'That's right.' Buchanan nodded solemnly in agreement as he continued to pluck his banjo strings gently.

'Jules…' The sound of a polite and soft-spoken voice made the cobalt-blue hedgehog look towards its owner swallowing hard when he saw the blonde-quilled royal hedgehog approach him. 'May I speak with you privately a moment?' Aleena asked gently as her emerald green eyes looked to him with a mixture of hope and nerves.

'Uh, sure Bernie, justa sec…' He finally replied to her words then turned to Buchanan who was still standing near him. 'Here, hold this for me bud.' He passed the southern mobian-rabbit his half-drunk tin-mug of moonshine.

'Sho thing partnah but yah'll be finishin' it when yah git back.' Buchanan replied with a roguish smirk that flashed the bottom-half of his large front teeth, pausing in his string-plucking just long enough to take the mug and set it down beside him. Jules flashed him a grin back before his attention returned to Princess Aleena.

'C'mon, we'll take a stroll along the beach.' The cobalt male hedgehog sounded lightly to her and the lilac-furred female hedgehog smiled back.

'Ok.' She said simply in response and the two of them began to head off along the darkened stone sand beach of Knothole lake. The pair attracted a glance from Tiger and Ginger who were cuddled together by the campfire and the two mobian-tigers shared a smile.

Jules and Princess Aleena walked further into the darkness away from their friends and the strums of Buchanan's banjo. For a while the two hedgehogs merely walked in silence, following the tideline of lake while the moonlight bounced off of the dark waters lighting up the sand around them. They turned a slight bend so the campfire was merely a distant glow from the other side of a line of trees. It was at this point that Princess Aleena stretched out her fingers and gripped Jules by the tanned forearm, stopping him in his tracks and causing his hazel eyes to turn to her.

'I know it was risky coming here tonight but when I learnt it was your birthday today I really wanted to see you.' She sounded gently and her words made Jules frown slightly.

'Risky? Ali, it was completely reckless! If General D'Coolette finds out about this all three of us are in serious trouble..' The cobalt-blue hedgehog responded seriously before his hazel eyes widened and he added confused. 'Wait, how did you even learn it was my birthday?'

'A little bird told me.' The lilac-furred hedgehog replied lightly and Jules' eyes narrowed in a deadpan expression of disbelief. 'Alright, fine. I heard Argus and Jasper talking about it in the hallway earlier.' Princess Aleena eventually confessed to him. They were stood quite close to each other with nothing but dark trees and moonlit beach surrounding the two of them. There was nothing but the sound of crickets coming from the long tufts of grass marking the border between sandy beach and woodland. After a few moments of silence passed she spoke again.

'Happy birthday Jules.' Her voice was quieter and a nervous glimmer twinkled in her eyes now. She turned her body to fully face him and took his hands in hers. The cobalt male allowed her to do so without any resistance. The cool night air that was blowing a gentle breeze was making his head spin, his true drunken state of mind finally surfacing now he was away from the cosy heat of the campfire. But even with his tipsy state of mind the seventeen year old hedgehog couldn't help but notice that the blonde-quilled companion's dainty hands were freezing and when he surveyed the princess she shivered slightly in the cool night air.

'Your cold.' The cobalt-blue male stated matter-of-factly. 'We should go back to the fire-'

'No. I'll be fine.' Princess Aleena cut him off before he could even finish his words and the seventeen year old male threw her a sceptical look. 'Really, I will.' She added reassuringly, ignoring the fact that she really was cold for the moment.

'Alright, if you're sure.' Jules finally said, relenting to her stubbornness.

'Close your eyes, I want to give you something.' The lilac-furred female hedgehog said gently with a sweet smile and Jules kinked a brow at her, his larger white-gloved fingers rubbing the back of her hand as he tried to project some heat into her.

'You don't have to give me anything.' The cobalt male said plainly but his words only made the royal hedgehog sigh lightly.

'Please Jules, just close your eyes.' Princess Aleena said with a slightly unrelenting hint in her sweet voice meaning she wasn't taking 'no' for an answer.

'Ok.' The cobalt hedgehog exhaled before obeying and closing his hazel eyes and standing perfectly still. Princess Aleena pulled both her hands out of his before closing the very slight gap between them. Jules' brow twitched slightly when she rested her dainty fingers on his shoulders but his eyes remained closed. Her face was inches from his now and her emerald eyes skimmed over his handsome features. Her gaze lowered to his mouth which was set in a line of uncertainty. She'd imagined kissing him more times than she'd even care to admit to herself but to actually do so would be a very bold move indeed. Ladies of a certain class, such as herself, were supposed to be reserved with their feelings and wait for a gentlemobian to show a clear interest and woo them first. Princess Aleena hovered in front of Jules' face as he merely stood ridged with his eyes closed. He was not a gentlemobian as such; he was merely a junior cadet of her father's Royal Guard. When they were together in the palace the cobalt male was always respectful, keeping his contact well within respectful boundaries which sometimes frustrated her. Princess Aleena often wished he'd just be like he was when they'd first met in Macey's, before he'd even known she was a royalty. It seemed like her title of 'Princess' scared him slightly, did he now think he wasn't worthy of her affections? The female hedgehog always knew she would have to be the one to make the first move; out of politeness Jules would never do it. Princess Aleena then steadied her nerve and pushed her lips to his, closing her eyes as she kissed him tenderly.

She'd only intended it to be a short kiss, nothing more than a fleeting brush of the lips to show him that she liked him. The lilac-furred hedgehog had braced herself for his reaction. She half-expected him to push her away and rebuff her affections but as her pouted lips made contact with his Jules gasped sharply in surprise before his lips responded.

Somewhere in the back of his alcohol-battered mind the cobalt hedgehog knew he shouldn't be kissing her back but at this moment his heart and inner desires ruled his actions. He raised his hands and one settled on the small of her back, pulling her closer against his warm body so he could project some warmth into her cold frame. The other white-gloved hand stretched up to her face and gently tilted her sideways, giving him more control over their kiss. His fingers then stroked her pale-skinned muzzle tenderly before traveling behind her head and entwining themselves in her soft blonde quills. The lilac-furred female in his arms offered no resistance, allowing him to take control as she remained pliant and submissive. With his concerns and doubts temporarily incapacitated by alcohol Jules dared to push the boundaries a little further by deepening the kiss. It was obvious even to him in his inebriated state that she'd never been kissed before. Her breathing was slightly erratic as she struggled to control it and kissing her was a little wetter than it should've been as she clearly didn't know how to deal with her saliva.

At first Princess Aleena didn't quite know what he wanted when she felt his lips press harder onto hers and his tongue gently flicked the line of her lips. Then taking advantage of a little intake of breath Jules' tongue slipped inside her mouth and his kissing suddenly turned more passionate. The white-gloved hand resting on her back began to caress her up and down, staying just within civilised boundaries but still enough to stimulate his mind. She could feel the slight smirk of triumph that twisted his lips and hear the soft groan of satisfaction that came from deep within his throat. He was clearly enjoying this moment. Her dainty pale-skinned fingers had slipped around his shoulders and were laid on his back on either side of his back-quills. The heat emanating from his body was incredible and she pressed herself into him, clinging to the warmth they were sharing. She had heard other young mobian-ladies of the royal court share stories of being courted, listened eagerly to their girlish giggling as they recounted stolen trysts with their lovers and how 'utterly glorious' it felt to be in their arms. In her innocence Princess Aleena had never fully understood how one could feel such contentment purely from being in the arms of a male. But now she could agree with their sentiments as he kissed her with such desire she could barely think, it was so perfectly bottomless that she didn't want the moment to cease. Princess Aleena may be new to this intimate act but even the lilac-furred hedgehog could tell Jules was a good kisser. She clearly wasn't the first girl he had locked lips with and she doubted any gentlemobian in the royal court would be this skilled either. It made her heart flutter just to know that she was lucky enough to share this amazing illicit kiss.

All too soon she felt Jules pull back and the princess suddenly felt bereft without his touch as she swallowed to rid her mouth of saliva, still tasting the bourbon-like alcohol of his mouth on her lips. She could feel his breath on the side of her pale-skinned muzzle with the smell of stale booze hitting her neat black nose. Her emerald eyes opening only enough to see the cobalt male hedgehog stood close to her face with his eyes still shut. He seemed to be trying to compose himself and control his ragged breath. Jules' white-gloved fingers let go of both the back of her head, where he'd been supporting her during the kiss and the small of her back. They then moved up and gripped her wrists and he gently prised her hands off of his shoulders before taking a small step back. His warm hazel eyes opened revealing a mix of emotions, the most prominent of which was confusion and instant regret although there was also a small glimmer of desire still evident too.

He seemed to have regained some of his self-control and sobered slightly, his head back in the driving seat of his body as he gazed at the princess before him. Princess Aleena blinked unsurely back as he suddenly dropped her wrists and sighed heavily.

'You should probably be heading home now.' His voice was soft, cool and straight to the point as he turned away from her and buried his hands in the pockets of his bright red vest.

Little Notes:

Hey peeps! Sorry about the wait, this chapter turned out to be far more complex than I first thought. There's probably a few more characters in this chap than I'm used to writing and keeping them all in check took a lot of scrolling back and forth. Also notable, this is the first chapter which Charles is not in but he'll be back next chapter, so I'm sure he won't be missed.

Ok, I introduced twenty year old Buchanan 'Buck' Rabbot and his teenage wife Missy in this chapter, the future parents of Bunnie. These two are the first proper OC's I've added to the story aside from King Ogilvie and Jasper Jacks. There is no background to Bunnie at all in the Archie Comics so these characters' backgrounds belong to me. I hope you all enjoyed my little 'Deliverance' moment with how Jules and Buck meet through their guitar and banjo. There's also a side mention of Bunnie's uncle Beau (pronounced Bo) who will make some kind of appearance later.

Again, more Mobian history coming out here. The Mobian Civil War is loosely based on the American one, with the principles of the war being replaced with the lack of certain freedoms rather than slavery of course. Even though something as this was not recorded in dates the aftermath of the affects are still clear with the northern and southern divide in the kingdom. It sort of suggests that the truce was uneasy with the threat of the Overlanders on the horizon. War is a back-burning theme in this story so it will feature in most of the chapters from here on out.

I kinda feel bad because Jules and Aleena's first kiss wasn't the most romantic moment ever but I did tell you that their relationship is complicated. There will be more about that when the next chapter comes up which will also have another slight time jump before the chapter after it which will time jump again.

Until next time!

~Ditzy x