A Sonic's Need Production

Porcelain

By Dib07

Hello! To all my dear faithful readers who have been with me from the very beginning, I thank you deeply. It was only from the pure support of Sonic's Need that I have got this far. There are simply too many of you to name and personally thank, but if you have ever reviewed, you already know how grateful and pleased I am from each of you. To all those new readers out there, I'm sorry. This story is going to be dark, bitter and full of dead roses. I am Dib07. I take no prisoners. But please enjoy. Like all my other fics, I pride myself on plot, as well as dark, oozing angst.

Now, for the story. For almost a year the need to write this next chapter in Sonic's life had been plaguing me. For each review or message I received from a reader in late 2012 and in the New Year, I was encouraged to write another instalment. Though I was pleased the readers wanted more, as I did, I had no idea, no 'plot' to do so. And as much as I love angst, I deeply invest in plot as well. It structures the story and keeps it rolling, and even if I took a week out of writing, I still know where all the characters are going. Then the idea hit me while I was at work and everything fell into place. On that very same evening when I got home, I wrote up the entire script of plot in a rough draft. At last!

Without further ado I shall leave you now to read and enjoy the story, but please do read the warning I have posted before Chapter 1. Please.

xxxx

DC, if you ever read this, I don't mind if you don't, but I would just like you to know that I am keeping up with tradition of the number (yes, that number) and apples! XD

xxxx

A special thank you to you, Sara (aka FullRings) I still leisurely feast my eyes on 'Inside the washing machine.' That picture was the breath of my story, and every time I think of 'I'll Be Right Here,' that picture comes instantly to mind like a poster for a film!

xxxx

MizukiiMoon I hope you enjoy this! Some part of me tells me you already will, but still I worry (Lol I am Mr Self Doubt!) Anyway, welcome to the new adventure I know you have been waiting for!

Pokemonpuck, thanks for the story titles! They are not easy to think of but I went for this one. It was my first gut idea and I wasn't sure about it at the time but then it just kinda...stuck. So yeah, please enjoy! The plot is going to get so horribly dark that you may just end up hating it, who knows lol.

xxx

What-went-before

Stretching all the way back to Sonic's Need, Sonic and Eggman squared off as usual but this time Christopher got caught in the middle of their lethal fight for dominance. In an avid act of bravery, Sonic stepped in to save the boy, only to get harmed himself in a blaze of smoke and fire. Though he was saved eventually, it wasn't until later in I'll Be Right Here that the full extent of Sonic's damage became clear. Haunted by doubt and denial, the family needed persuasive encouragement, and helped by Knuckles' guidance, took Sonic to see specialized care. His personality was different now and then, and his behaviour was odd and sometimes creepy with his manic need to dig holes.

After taking (stealing) the X-Tornado from Tails in a massive and unresolved decision to see Eggman, Sonic took himself to his base for a confrontation. The plane blew up when Sonic failed to apply the correct landing equipment and the engine caught fire, resulting in a catastrophic explosion. Left with Eggman, the evil scientist took him to hospital in a bid to save him, and during the trip to the hospital, something changed in Dr. Eggman too.

Eventually after many tests, Dr. C. Clover diagnosed Sonic with psychosis, brain trauma, and damage to the kidneys and stomach. This was a lot to take in. Though Dr. Clover was very encouraging, telling Christopher, Tails and Chuck that medication and early detection was vital for Sonic to live a normal life; it was still a heavy blow. The old Sonic, the true Sonic, was lost forever, trapped behind injury and could never be remedied, no matter how many drugs were employed.

Even Dr. Eggman, renowned for his employment of dark methods and deadly arsenal of robots and who accidently set Sonic on such a rollercoaster of insanity, came to personally apologize to Tails not long after the X-Tornado had been blown up by the confused hedgehog. Tails regarded Eggman's apology as the final knockback. If Sonic's famous rival was also giving up, then this undoubtedly proved that this was no joke. The world had slipped from beneath him like a rug being pulled under his feet, and nothing would be the same again.

Knuckles came to offer a final solution. To take Sonic to the Master Emerald just to see if it could unlock the old Sonic, heal the damage, and instil new life.

And here is where this new and final instalment begins.

STOP! BEFORE YOU READ, CONSIDER THIS NOTICE:

This is a Sonic angst novel – a typical Dib07 fanfiction story. All those who know me, know how terrible and dark I can be with said characters. On that note, may I warn you first and foremost that this is no fanfiction for the very young or those easily upset. This may only be a Teen fic, but Sonic's condition will and does deteriorate throughout the story. There are also lots of other dark things that cannot be yet said due to plot spoilers, and if the age rating goes up, it will. Please, I am warning you now, for there will be no further barriers. It will get ugly. I will show no mercy.

Thank you for reading.

xxx

Chapter 1: Butterflies in a Hurricane

"Morning! Morning!" Said the big man with a giant, diaphanous smile stretching across his far lips. In both arms he carried gift boxes filled with chocolate. There were Easter eggs for each of them, even for the human residents of the Thorndyke mansion. There they tied up in big, colourful ribbons (Chuck suspected that the florist or shop worker had dressed them up, for he couldn't ever possibly imagine him doing it), and before the big man had even set them down, Cream, Cheese and Amy were tearing them open as if the gifts were straight out of Santa's sack of presents. Of course, the real reason Dr. Eggman came was not to deliver presents as such (though it helped build a steady, friendly reputation nonetheless) his main intention was always to see his old rival. It wasn't guilt that kept bringing him back. Of course, he felt guilt. There was no denying it. Sonic had always been so wily, fast and immortal. Actually hurting him had never come to mind. And Eggman had hurt him. And it could never be taken back. But that was in the past. He came simply because his eager plot for world domination was over. It was hard to turn over a new leaf and begin again, especially when Earth was so boring without having to exert his authority, and execute a ton of war on people. He didn't like to class himself as 'retired' either. The word alone sounded too final, too ugly and abstract, and it also seemed to age him. So he was becoming a new uncle of sorts. At first he wasn't sure why he kept coming over, and delivering presents like some father going through the diarrhoeal runs of divorce. But as the months passed, and Amy and Cream grew more accustomed to his friendly visits when nothing ill followed, and even Chris began to relax, something happened. And Eggman found the reason he kept coming back, month after month. When he did find out, he recoiled from the very thought at once as if it was a sharp-toothed viper loaded with virulent poison. It was because he liked Sonic. Really liked him. He struggled to accept it.

Him, liking a dopey hedgehog?

After he denied his love for animals long ago unless they were cooked and slightly well-done on his plate dressed in a salad? Preposterous, surely? But as Sonic deteriorated – as they all suspected he would, Eggman was allowing that feeling of amity grow with each and every visit. Sonic no longer remembered who Eggman was and who he used to be. So why should Dr. Eggman hold a grudge and remember his tyrannical attempts when it was all but shadow and memories now?

Tails was standing in the doorway. He hadn't come over and taken his share of the Easter chocolate. Instead he was keeping a wary eye on Eggman. Everybody else had accepted the human. Everybody else except the two-tailed fox. His protection over Sonic had grown. Perhaps disproportionately so. And who could blame him?

Amy was unwrapping the pink, lurid foil wrapped around her Easter egg. Cream and Cheese both had smaller versions wrapped in gaudy yellow, or gold. He just sort of grabbed them off the shelf at the time and dumped them in a trolley with scant regard. All he did as count. One for each of the humans, and one for each of the animals, regardless of the milk content in the chocolate.

Three months ago, or was it four? Knuckles had taken Sonic to the Master Emerald as promised on a warm, sunny afternoon. Eggman wasn't particularly hopeful in any case. The animals still seemed devoted to magic, no matter the logic of the modern world. But despite how he disapproved of them, they still managed to surprise him every now and then.

His belief was confirmed. Knuckles led Sonic to that throbbing green Master Emerald that not so long ago Eggman would have looked upon in envy and spite. Now to him it was a giant, gaudy gem of beautiful radiance and fairy tale enchantment. It stood on the top of its stone podium where ivy and other weeds took their place and spiralled up and along old flagstones, pillars and chipped stone steps. Again Tails had avoided him that day too, keeping always a wide distance as if Eggman would suddenly snap out a rocket bomb and terminate them all in a folly of smiles and farewells.

Sonic's wide, vacant stare hadn't changed much since then. He stared at that emerald as if trying to comprehend it. Like a tiny toddler trying to comprehend a tower block made out of Lego pieces.

And oh, the disappointment. It was on everyone's faces really, like a particularly vituperative and contagious disease. And Tails was the worst affected. He looked so pale, even despite the fur covering the alabaster of his face, and looked ready to faint. He probably didn't believe in the Master Emerald either, but oh, hope was such a black charmer sometimes. Keeping you on your toes. Feeding you fake promises. And when that tiny, lying hope was finally subtracted from the equation Tails looked ready to collapse when he saw nothing but raw emptiness and well...hopelessness.

Eggman wanted to walk on over, close that filling gap and place a hand on the small fox's shoulder. But he didn't.

Knuckles had the same hunch and low stoop and mannerism of an outcast. He couldn't even look at Tails anymore.

Suffice to say, they took Sonic home.

And now here he is, some three or four months later looking on while Amy and Cheese tuck into their chocolate as if they have been starved all week. Chuck is rubbing his hands together like a preacher plagued with arthritis. Chris comes in with a mug of hot tea in his hand and looking delightfully at all the Easter eggs still in their bows and ribbons. However he too still carries that air of depression and dark sorrow.

He turned to Sonic who sat, despondent and overly quiet on the sofa not paying any attention to the ebb and flow of life around him. He was clutching a stuffed toy tiger to him with adamant strength. Eggman saw him with it all the time now, since last he visited and now today. At first he thought it odd and strangely disturbing to see Sonic, who was once intelligent and keen on the world in all his adult flair of life, to be with a stuffed toy. He took it everywhere with him, so his family had explained. From the bathroom, to shopping trips, to the cinema and to the park. The agony only started when the tiger had to be washed. And dried. Sonic could not cope with the separation, (so Eggman had been told) and wailed for its return. The tiger, with its button eyes and stripy fur of bright orange and yellow, even had a name. Sonic called it Arthur, from the fairy tales Tails read him every night.

And now, as Easter eggs were opened and savaged by the girls, Sonic sat in the middle of the sofa, hugging Arthur, and seemed utterly and totally distant from it all. Sonic was on the same plane as everyone else, but in a different dimension. Eggman approached him, and he saw Tails stiffen in the edge of his peripheral vision. The fox at once left the doorway to commence operation Defend. Eggman merely lifted up a toothy smile and sat beside his old nemesis. The blue hedgehog looked very sick. And thinner from last he saw of him. Ribs were showing through that once majestic shine of azure. Now that fur was turning to a dull, greyish blue and thinning irrevocably. Dark shadows of sleepless nights were violet crescents beneath the hedgehog's hooded eyes.

Tails was beside Eggman now, not too close, but close enough to be involved. "Sonic?" Dr. Eggman asked, not expecting a response straight away. He often got one if he exhibited patience. But this time the hedgehog responded on the very first try. He looked, his eyelids lifting up. Green eyes looked up at him and a peel of recognition blossomed there like a heavy rose of vitality. Then something grey and fleeting robbed it, and he only looked on dully.

"Who are you?" He asked in that flimsy, pale voice that simply wasn't how Sonic was supposed to sound. Something monstrous had robbed Sonic blind of his personality, voice, strength and spirit. To Eggman it was like he was sitting next to a stranger.

"It's me. Dr. Eggman."

"Ah yes. I know. You're the Easter egg man."

Eggman didn't know what to say to this. So he merely shrugged and asked, "How have you been, Sonic? Have you been running lately? Up to any coherent mischief?"

Again Sonic – or rather- the interloper - gave him that strange look. Something tiny and shrunken was in his eyes, some pale hope or light that knew Eggman. Knew his exploits and knew the full history of their lives. But it drowned every time, like a hulk of stone dropping into a miasma of oil. And he hugged his toy in comfort.

It was true that Sonic didn't run anymore. It wasn't because he couldn't. Tails and Chuck had made a machine – a running belt so that Sonic could perform his daily ritual as always, with an inbuilt strap to keep him on the conveyor belt as it moved. For he kept veering to the left. Either way, it was a grand thing: this machine. Chuck had even installed moving scenery to help give the illusion that Sonic was moving through countryside, a city, a rundown quarry, then more countryside, and finally a safari park. But it was painfully clear that Sonic didn't even wear his famous red and white sneakers. They had been shelved, along with his gloves. Now he wore slippers, just socks, and sometimes the old pair of sandals when they goaded him outside to go to the park or the Sunset bench at the beach or to the Mall. Sonic didn't have much interest in anything these days. Sometimes he'd colour for hours in his colour books, filling a horse and its rider in yellow felt-tip. Then he'd yawn, turn a page, and start filling in a dolphin and the ocean yellow. Or maybe green, or pink, depending on whatever felt-tip pen was closest.

Actually, that was a lie. Sonic did have one major interest. And that interest was Arthur the tiger.

"Coherent mischief." Sonic repeated in a tender voice that sounded ghostly, coming from a body that used to produce a wise-crack every second, and fill anguish with laughter.

"You won't get much out of him. He's tired." Tails said, still standing close-by like a concerned parent.

"Then take this little pip-squeak to bed." He said kindly.

Tails only shook his head. "He won't sleep."

"And why is that?"

"He just can't" Tails returned enigmatically, and sharply. It was obviously something he did not want Eggman to know, or care to know. Eggman wanted to persist on the subject, but retreated from the desire at once. Tails was tender. Maybe even close to tears if Eggman prodded him enough. Today was a sore day for whatever reason.

Eggman looked at Sonic again, and wished he had the wisdom to fix him.

Eggman went to stand, and placed a floppy straw hat on his head. "Well, it's time for me to depart. Engines to fix and oil to replace and all that. Can't have things rusting on me."

Chuck rose to see him out. "Thank you for the gifts, Dr. Eggman." He walked astride of him as they left the parlour and down the main entry hall. "That was too generous of you."

"Well..." He felt uncomfortable. He wanted to see Sonic, and buying eggs was a sure way of doing it. But no matter how nice he tried to play it, Tails still looked fearful every time he turned up. And sometimes, so did Christopher. It seems they were not ready to give up on the past just yet. "...It was nothing really. Can I come another time? Perhaps this Thursday at supper time?"

Chuck pursed his lips together, struggling to rethink the week's schedules. Mostly it was condensed into doctor's appointments, parent's evenings for Chris and his progress at school, and other things. "I can't think of anything right now that would prevent you from coming. I think it would be fine!" He and Eggman shook hands. The gesture was slowly starting to feel more natural.

"Thursday it is then. Oh, and before I go, the red egg is for Sonic."

"All right!" He waved Eggman goodbye, who proceeded down the gravel pathway in his straw hat towards the main gates that were already open. Beyond that was a parked white limoscène with blacked out windows. He clambered into the passenger's side, shut the door and in less than a minute the limo had done a three-point turn and was off down the road. Chuck watched the retreat of the limo and the gas trails from its exhaust pipes for a very long time, as he always did. Then he turned back into the house and closed the door.

xxx

Tails shuffled up to Sonic where Dr. Eggman had sat not a few minutes before. Sonic was making Arthur dance on his knees. The floppy tiger flounced about quite readily for a portly doll.

Sometimes silence was often best for Sonic. He entered his own world quite frequently through a door that stood open inside his mind, and he rarely ventured out of it unless he really had to. And Arthur was that key between worlds. If it wasn't for Arthur, Tails feared Sonic may have lost his cohesion with reality two months ago despite the drugs that were about as useful as popcorn.

"You want to do some puzzles?" Tails asked. "Or eat some chocolate?"

Sonic shivered at the mention of puzzles. It wasn't the homework of riddles he was chilled at. It was the thought of going back into his room where all the terrors lived and fed. "Chocolate." He said.

Tails smiled. "You'll make Arthur all sticky. I think you should put him down."

Sonic's answer was as automatic was it was expected. "Nope."

It was torture to take the tiger away from him. Last week they were walking back from the beach and the sky opened up in a blinding torrent of rain. They bundled Sonic up and kept him dry, but Arthur and Apple (his other stuffed koala) were both ringing wet. Chuck put Arthur and Apple in the washing machine with a jumble of other clothes to be washed, mainly their own that they had been wearing when they got caught in the storm.

With the toys in the machine, everything went okay. The tiger and koala went round and round as the washing machine performed its cycle, and Sonic sat on the tiled kitchen floor, watching them in fascination through the thick glass as they spun round and round. Then the trouble started. Chuck opened the washing machine when its load was done, and he dumped the wet clothes into the laundry basket.

"Now Sonic, I'm going to hang up Arthur and Apple in the garden so that they dry with the rest of the clothes."

"I want them back!" The hedgehog squealed in return, doing his very best to stand up and follow Chuck to the right in his passion to grab his toys back. He did one circle, bashed into a table leg but he did manage to propel himself right, something he had never been able to do before. He followed Chuck into the garden and down a sunny stone path that cut through the lush lawn. Chuck, true to his word, hung up Arthur and Apple with pegs on the washing line that was way too high for Sonic to reach. This tested Sonic's patience and after trying to jump numerous times to grab Arthur, he gave up and cried. At first his whimpers were small and soft. But fifteen minutes later and he was bawling his eyes out. Nothing would calm him. Not ice cream, candy or a hot drink. Chuck went periodically to check to see how dry the toy animals were, and in the end Sonic was becoming so hysterical that Chuck had to take them down and dry them quickly with the hairdryer. Once the hedgehog was reunited with them, his tears stopped at once.

But Arthur got so dirty, so quickly that this distressing cycle for Sonic was repeated sometimes once every week. It was a magnet for drool, biscuit crumbs, orange juice stains and so on.

It was funny, and ironic how Sonic found Arthur, or rather, Arthur found them. Either way it was a blessing. The tiger was far more therapeutic and more helpful than drugs could ever be.

Tails stood up and went to claim the red chocolate egg out from the others and proceeded to take it to Sonic.

He remembered that clear, warm day very well. And he was sure Sonic did too.


Dib07: It was a short chapter. Really it was a kind of teaser to get you all liking the flavour and wanting more. Lol. I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. I don't know how dark it's going to get, but it's going to get really dark. I bet you are all wondering how I am going to do such a thing. Keep thinking that! :D

Please review, I'm set on this story but a review would be like a little treat to me. It's tasty! Thanks again, and to you all: have a good day!