The Darkened Past
Chapter 17: Relief
By Shade Shadow
What is this feeling? I do not understand.
It is like my chest is burning, yet there is no fire…
Disclaimer: Don't own Sonic or any of the characters only the plot I have delved into
It was the softness that first caught his attention, curling around and over him, cocooning his body within its protective embrace. Next was the scent, of air so fresh and the well earned sweat of a good workout. But the last caused him to wrinkle his nose, for the sickly smell of iron and copper enveloped sensitive senses, causing a sneeze to jerk him awake and also disturb the other holding him.
A groan in a flattened ear clearly told the young kit not all was as well as it seemed. Bright blue eyes turned to look at the hedgehog that had captured his form, and grimaced at what passed his gaze. A pained curl of that muzzle was the most noticeable, for when had there not been such an expressive emotion upon those features until this moment? It seemed wrong. Such a thing should not be. For the hedgehog Sonic seemed like the wind he rode, free and fleeting like the air within the sky.
Blue eyes surveyed the wreck of the other more closely. One ear was torn, the cartilage having been ripped out. Like some being decided that it would do well to eat from the ear first and ripped a chunk in seeming enjoyment. Though from the burnt edges, it was clear that it had been shot at by some foe, probably when he himself had been taken in his 'dreaming' state.
The fur, of the usually blue male, was died near black from blood, splattered across his body like some monstrous painting from a lunatic. Streaks lay upon the floor, showing just where he had stepped. For when the male had finally brought them to safety and rest, a trail showed just where the anthro had been, almost mocking where it lay.
Other injuries were not as easily spotted, for the fur and quills were matted down together, creating a boundary and moist wall against further inspection. Ears half lay down, the ends curled downwards in instinctive reaction to the kits current feeling of anger and pain at himself and what the other had gone through to save him. Why? Why should the other have to put up with this and not want anything? It went against everything that Tails had learned about the population of people within the town. Nothing was free; everything had a price…yet. This hedgehog, with his bright smile and soft eyes, saved his life, and asked nothing in return.
Squirming out of the grip that the blue male had on the kitsunes form, the light brown male finally stood in front of the sleeping one, determined to not be a burden any longer. For even if the other was only playing the young one about, the two-tailed-fox would pay the other back by shifting his own weight in this seeming friendship that Sonic had begun.
'Now were is it? I can smell it and it seems close.' Tilting his head, the youngling walked towards the back of the cavern. Bright eyes searching through the darkness with unerring clarity. For the kit, unlike other anthro's had a special ability, he was granted the ability to see perfectly in the dark.
It was with this 'power' that the foxling soon came across the thing he sort. There, in front of him, was a hot-spring. Water trickled out of the rocks at the back of cavern in a mini waterfall, letting gentle streams fall into the curve and fill up into the back of the cave. And, when Tails crouched down at the edge and looked carefully, he could see many little holes at the sides and bottom of the natural bowl of rock. This let out the water, keeping it clean and continually flowing, creating a perfect bath for both himself and Sonic, who, as the kitsune pup could hear, was finally beginning to awaken.
"Tails?" It was more of a groan that came out of the hedgehog's throat, but the child heard it clearly. Moving quickly, the young one soon came into the front of the cavern once more, reassuring the other that he hadn't run away again.
"Where'd ya go kid?" At seeing the child was safe, Sonic relaxed his body, tense and sore muscles settling against the rock once more.
"Looking around. I found a spring at the back that you could use though…" Hearing that the hedgehog perked up, an eager look appearing on tired features; clearly the thought of a bath excited the other. 'huh…how strange the hedgehog is'
"Ya kidding? Let's go Tails!" A small smile twitched at the corner of the younglings lips, unnoticed by the blue-eyed one, but a telling sign of how the hedgehog was now beginning to become an important part of the kitsune. Moving foreword, the kit slung one of the hedgehog's arms around his shoulder, letting the male lean on him. Helping Sonic's careful and evidentially painful way to the spring at the back.
Seeing it, Sonic whistled in appreciation, shifting so much that the youngling had to hold the other up instead of just helping. For the other was almost wriggling in place to get in the spring. Stepping over and into the water, both suddenly made sounds of appreciation and delight at the feel of the water.
For Tails it was unlike anything he ever remembered. The warmth that was curling up through him suddenly relaxed his muscles and softened his flesh. Almost caring in its embrace and he didn't like it, fur stood on end as the kit scrabbled to get out of the water, panicking at the feel and not liking the way the heat made his walls almost come crashing down.
Two arms stopping his flight though. Crying out in distress at the restriction and fighting the comforting embrace, the other slowly but surely got the thrashing kitsune back into the heat and water, curling Tails into his chest and settling the other on his lap under the water.
"Lemmy go, lemmy go. Pleas' pleas' pleas'?" It was a whine that echoed out of the youngling's chest, as he panted and body slowed. Tiring far too quickly to the others ministration. Curling into that caring body, as gloved hands stroked down fluffed fur and tense muscles.
"Shhhhh Tails. I've got ya," Shuddering, blue eyes shut tighter, not wanting the sudden burning in his eyes to be released. Once was enough and he didn't want to embarrass himself any more by crying again. Though it was hard with the hedgehog being so…so caring like this. It was driving his mind and self to distraction. He didn't know what to do with this kind of attention! No one cared; no one liked one such as him! So why? Why? Why?
"Why? Why do I care? Cause ya worth it little guy."
"I'm not…" A hand gripped his chin and lifted his face, but he only clenched his eyes shut even more, though he had finally stopped struggling.
"Look at me." Tails tried to pull back, fangs gnawing at his lip, but the other would not let him go.
"Look. At. Me. Tails." It seemed that Sonic had finally reached a point that he wasn't going to take any more evasions, so Tails finally relented.
He opened his eyes to meet with sad but serious green.
"Look kid, I may not be the smartest. Or the most important. Or even the best there is. But I do know one thing. A little guy like you, who fights for those he protects. Gives his heart to those who he loves, and embraces that which most turn from in fear, that is worth something. Those who can't see what a bright and reasonable, but protective and reliable person you are, they are stupid. I'm happy to have met you Tails. It may have been hard, and is still going to be a long journey ahead. But it's worth every step that we take. I see you as a friend, a comrade in battle. So don't you put yourself down like that again. You are worth it Tails. You're worth it all."
With that, Tails finally couldn't stop the tears that had gathered from falling. This was no quiet cry, which most people used to hide their tears. This was a howling, snot filled cry that gave release to those wounds of the soul. It wasn't dignified, nor was it pleasant. Yet those strong arms of the hedgehog held him through it all. Weathering the storm that had grown for years, waiting for the right moment to finally let go.
But both knew this wouldn't make them any closer than before, for the kitsune may trust slightly more and the hedgehog might be more protective and caring. But it was still a very long road to go.
"Ya know? I'm totally terrified of water." Tails blinked tired eyes, rubbing one arm against the stinging gritty feeling within them, just wanting to sleep after the crying session he just had.
"Hm?" The kitsune pup looked up, arm wiping across his face to clear the snotty, saliva, mess on his face with the spring water they were still sitting in. A face of disgust watched the motion, before the blue male tore off one of his gloves that had been cleaned in the water and used that to clean the child's face, while earning a bewildered look on the younglings face.
It made him sad to see such incomprehension on a pup's face; Tails should have been wriggling to get away with a horrified look on his face for the 'babying' that the hedgehog had just given. Instead all he got was a blank look of confusion instead.
"Yeh, can't stand it. Yet I love springs and baths. Weird huh?" The kitsune just blinked at him with eerie blankness, blue eyes empty. Then shaking his head, the youngling ducked out of the arms surrounding him and swam underwater to the other side. Clearly going for the various plants and moss growing at the side, all glowing with a rainbow of colours and making the place almost look magical. It took his breath away and green eyes to stare in wonder…yet even a most beautiful place like this, had no effect on the young one. All he looked for were the practicals, like the medical herbs, or bathing plants for temporary shampoo, soap and edible ones to fill their growling stomachs.
"Kid?" Blue eyes looked back, suspicion filling them once more. Though the hardness had eased. The glacier eyes were not so sharp anymore, not as cutting and accusing at they had been. And even though the child still flinched away from touch, ran from confrontation and had a nasty temper, it was the closest person Sonic had ever felt to. For here was a being that he could relate to, in both experience and events past.
"Ya ok? Didn't want to embarrass ya with the session ya just had. But I'm a little concerned." The hedgehog felt a part of him relax as the suspicion eased a thoughtful look upon those surprisingly open features. Ears were currently relaxed; the tips hanging slightly downwards, giving the kit a very cute look.
Sonic couldn't understand why the people had treated the child like he had a plague and they had to beat it out. It had horrified and angered him greatly…for it reminded the anthro all too much of how people had laughed and picked on him for the change in the colour of his fur. Though certainly Sonic had been grateful for the gift of speed, the youngling hadn't had that choice; he had been beaten again and again, until finally all trust in everyone had been torn to pieces.
Hands flexed, making the hedgehog wince a little at seeing the sharp and clearly dangerous nails flash in the gentle light. The black specks of something under the nails, clearly defining them as the threat to those who would go after the child. Even his feet were the same, flexing with the body's movement, curling in to keep balance with the slight swaying of Tails body.
"I'm fine. It's nothing to be concerned over. So don't worry yourself." Blue met calm green again and the hedgehog nodded, letting the subject go for now. Looking down at his own hands, Sonic groaned at the sight of one hand completely covered, though with slight rips and tears in the material and the other partly missing, part of it having been used as a cloth to wipe Tails face.
"Damn…I'm gonna need a new pair."
A/N: Just a sort of resting period between the two, this gives you chance to see what is going on in both their heads and actually see what Sonic is truly thinking about. Next will be the beginning to the Chemical Plant Zone.
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