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Chapter Two - Know Thy Enemies

Sonic's ear pricked and he shifted uncomfortably, trying to ignore the coughing. Tails coughed like that when one of his experiments went wrong and blew up in his face, leaving soot and ash everywhere, but the kit could take care of himself usually, and would let him know if something really was wrong. Then again, he hadn't heard an explosion...

'Wait...Tails' should still be out...and his machines wouldn't blow up if he wasn't here to tinker with them...' His tired mind tried its hardest to put two and two together before lapsing into another fit of slumber. A losing battle.

However, when Sonic rolled over to find a more choice spot on the sofa, he jerked awake again, realizing his hands were, strangely enough, empty of the patient he could've sworn was there a while ago...

That woke him up, and with a cry of surprise, Sonic tried to stand while still laying, finding himself tangled in his own limbs on his floor.

Managing to subside his coughing fits, the black hedgehog had crawled to the table and helped himself up and in the chair using the table as a support. Now that he was sitting, he could somewhat relax, albeit the hardness of the chair prevented him from doing it.

Ten minutes and he would finally eat something after two days without food.

Sonic scrambled onto his feet, looking around wildly, and chiding himself mentally for falling asleep on the job. What kind of hero was he? For all he knew, his charge could be anywhere in the house, dying or something. And how had he moved himself, the unnamed hedgehog should have been too injured to move.

After checking for wounds of his own, for he had once tried to choke himself in his sleep, an experience he would not soon forget, he noticed that he didn't hear the water in the kitchen boiling, even though his clock, if it was right, clearly stated that it should've started doing so by some time now.

'Obvious choice...the kitchen.'

So, he headed that way, peering in to check on the soup water, but surprised when he found that the timer had been set, and the package of Insto-Soupo was missing. Perhaps Tails had come home early? He was getting ready to look for the missing hedgehog, when a shape at their table caught his eye.

The black creature was somewhat dozing on the kitchen table with his arms folded on it to make a improvised pillow for his head; hearing someone walk into the room, he raised his head and looked with tired eyes at his caretaker.

Sonic, disbelieving, took a tentative step toward the hedgehog, startled by the fact that not only was he still awake, but he had gotten into the kitchen to start on the soup and had made it then to the table. The first part in itself was a miracle. Still, he might as well check on him, since it paid well to be cautious.

The black hedgehog, knowing that the other was going to examine his wounds or something like that, stood back up and leaned his back on the chair, earning him a small cough that threatened to bring another fit; however, he managed to successfully hide the fact that he was in pain.

Noting the small cough, Sonic placed a hand onto the dark furry's forehead, finding it far cooler than he expected it to be, though still somewhat warm. Setting about taking his charge's pulse and checking to be sure the bandages were still in order, he found himself speaking to the hedgehog, though softly.

"You shouldn't scare me like that, I almost had a heart attack. Shouldn't be walking around anyway. You'll get sick, and it's bad enough that I'm worrying you'll cough up your liver and kidney or something." He grumbled, pulling a few wrappings slightly aside to make sure the wounds hadn't started bleeding again.

"Jeez, something banged you up pretty bad..." He muttered, and fixed the other with a questioning look.

The ruby eyes of the dark one looked away, remembering the hellish week he had being chased by... by that thing. At first he had managed to counterattack it fairy well, but as time passed, he started feeling weak, meanwhile the thing was as fresh as it had started fighting just a minute before.

After a hour or so that he started loosing to it, he had decided that the only thing to do was to run away and hide until he was feeling back up for another counter attack. But as much as he tried, he could hide for only a few hours.

It seemed that the thing could track him wherever he was, giving him barely the time to rest a little and eat whatever he found in his run...then, the last two days it worsened so badly that he had barely the time to drink something before running away.

Luckily, now he could rest a little more before it returned, as seeing that he was supposedly a little pile of ashes in that old factory.

A sharp 'ding' broke Sonic's concentration on the well-being of the hedgehog in front of him, and he turned to look toward the kitchen, a thin pillow of steam rising leisurely from the pot of soup there. He grinned.

"Bet you're ready for that..." He chuckled, and left the amazingly-better hedgehog's side, searching through the cupboards for a few minutes before locating a clean bowl and spoon.

"Chicken Noodle ala King." He announced, pouring a fairly middle sized serving into the bowl, and pushing the pot off of the heated burner so that it wouldn't over-cook while the other chowed down. Then, checking to be completely sure the stove was off, returned to the table, food in hand.

The black one hungrily eyed the bowl filled with food, by now the smell was making him almost drool uncontrollably. Although he didn't know what was in the bowl, by the scent he guessed that it was damn good.

Sonic raised a brow, and rolled his eyes. If this was what he acted like when he was injured and starving... well, Sonic wouldn't go there. Before placing the bowl down in front of the other hedgehog though, he looked him over again, one last check. Then he set the food before his companion, the broth swirling as the spoon was placed inside.

"There you go. Enjoy."

The soup lasted only a few minutes as the black hedgehog literally devoured it; finally, after two days without food, his stomach stopped complaining brutally. And now that it was full, he felt better; this brought him into some sort of state of sleepiness, but at the same time, a state were he could walk around almost normally despite him injured state.

Sonic stared at the empty bowl for a second, and smiled. Taking the bowl in hand, he glanced at the other, now noticeably healthier looking. And content, it seemed, but just to make sure...

"If you want more, all you have to do is ask." He waved the bowl gently, the spoon clinking against the plastic.

The black one nodded his head, that soup was good, warm and inviting. He had never savored something like that, the things that who took care of him before the incident gave him to eat were dead plain tasteless.

"Okay..." Sonic frowned. "Is that a 'yes, I would like more,' or 'yes, I understand, but no thanks'?" He hated that the other wasn't talking, but if talking meant another coughing fit, Sonic would let him get away with being mute till he felt better.

The hedgehog, understanding the barrier that the lack of talking from his end was quite troublesome, settled on mouthing the word 'more' in hope that the other understood him better.

He noticed his companion mouthing something to him, but Sonic had never much for lip-reading. Seemed too hard in his book, listening was a better way to do things. Now he was mentally screaming at himself for not learning. He sighed, and ran a gloveless hand through his quills.

"Um, I'm going to guess, and you can shake yes or no on this, that you want more? Right?"

The dark hedgehog nodded slowly, careful to not get a headache or another coughing fit.

Sonic grinned proudly, feeling that they were finally getting somewhere, the fact that he had guessed correctly having also bearing on his good mood. He turned to refill the bowl, still the trademark smile still present.

The black one watched as the other refilled the bowl; it was so strange to be with someone that he didn't even know the name and be treated like a normal person and not like...

His train of thoughts, however, were interrupted as he heard a noise coming from outside the house; he abruptly snapped his head straight, forgetting all the pain and the urge to cough, and started concentrating on the faint noise as his ears moved around trying to pinpoint the source.

As much as he tried to deny it, he knew that they were there to bring him back to his cold prison.

Well, he wasn't going down without a fight.

Even if it killed him on the spot. Besides, if he died, nobody would feel his absence.

Sonic's ears pricked and he glanced out of the kitchen toward the door, a little surprised. It was far too late, or early depending on your view, for visitors, and Tails never knocked, since it was his house too. Setting the bowl on the table, he crossed into the living room and peered through the blinds of the window closest to the door.

Uniforms, dark in color, and similar to those of policemen, but not. Sonic didn't remember seeing them before anywhere in the city. A special ops team perhaps? Or maybe something else?

Somehow, he was glad that the dining room wasn't in sight of the doorway, though he couldn't find a good reason as to why. Casting a glance back to the other hedgehog, he growled as the knock came again, more urgent.

The black furry started to feel extremely nervous and on the edge of going savage against the humans outside; he wouldn't get back there. No way that he was going to be sealed away from the world again.
Raising his quills, he prepared for the incoming battle that would decide his destiny.

Sonic couldn't explain why he suddenly felt on the edge, but he did. Unsure and somewhat cautiously, he pressed the intercom Tails had recently installed, since a robot of Robotnik's had once come straight to their house to attack them, feigning like he'd only just woken up.

"I'm awake already...what do you want..?"

The human on the other side of the intercom cleared his throat, "We're following a dangerous escapee. It appears that he ran this way. We have to ask of you to open the door and let us check the house." He said trying to sound authoritative.

"Escapee...?" He muttered sleepily, sounding he was sure, as surprised as he felt. He cast a quick glance in the direction of the dining room, taking a small step backwards to catch a glimpse of his charge.

"What does he look like?"

"He's a black hedgehog with red streaks on his body. He's impossible to mistake. Again, I ask for you to open the door and let us inside. He may have sneaked into your home and took refuge somewhere. And since we have surrounded the house, he could take you hostage for a way out."

By now, the human sounded more irked than anything else, meanwhile, in the kitchen, the black creature was trying hard to keep himself calm.

Perfect match.

Great, the world renown hero had what was possibly a killer in his house. Didn't look like much of one, and he seriously doubted that the scraggly ball of fur could find the strength to flip a coin, let alone catch Sonic as a hostage.

"I seriously doubt he's in my house, Officer... um... who are you?" Oh great, now he was defending this guy... though, pushing this guy's buttons might make up for his sudden lack of sanity.

The human on the other side inwardly cursed the owner of the house on the other side of the door, "I'm sorry, sir, but this information is classified. It is extremely important that you open the door and let us in, or we will have to force it down."

The black furry, hearing that, felt his fur stand on end and started planning on how to take those humans down. A hand to hand combat was out of the question as he was barely able to stand on his feet.

"Alright, alright." Sonic sighed, feeling that his fun was being trashed. "I'll let you in, but you'll hafta give me a second. I've got to shut off the security system so you don't get incinerated the second you walk inside, which is what happens when your DNA isn't confirmed." He shut the intercom off, hoping that the point-blank lie bought him a second or two.

He had already decided that his charge wouldn't be going to these people. For one, he didn't like their attitude, not that he could talk, and they didn't seem to realize who's house this was, which gave him all sorts of reasons to walk all over them, in his own little world.

Of course, he would check with his companion first.

Hurrying into the dining room, he spotted the other in what looked like a state of panic, and placed a hand on his shoulder gently, to draw his attention.

"Friends of yours?" He inquired.

The black one jumped a few inches out of his nerves before shaking forcefully his head; damn, he couldn't fight, so the only option was flee again even if it didn't suit him.

"Thought that would be the answer." Sonic grinned and motioned for the hedgehog to rise. "...which means we hafta get you hidden before they bust the door down." He rolled his eyes pointedly. "Impatient and arrogant..."

The black one complied and managed to stabilize himself grasping the table; he was still weak, but he was gradually getting better even if he was covered in wounds. Especially after the soup.

Sonic immediately noticed his trouble, and took hold of the closet arm, looping it over his shoulders. "If this doesn't work, I plan to carry you again." He mumbled, smirking. Then he ran through his memory of the house to settle on a hiding place, before grinning.

Tails had a sort of 'second basement' beneath his downstairs workshop. It was were he kept all his failed projects, insisting that nothing should be thrown away, since it could save their lives someday. And it had, on numerous occasions.

This seemed to be one of them.

The black one looked at him with confusion, why was he helping him after what the people outside had said to him, even if a lie?

He took a deep breath and sighed, getting another fits of coughs out of his lungs. Without hesitating, he brought his free hand over his mouth to muffle them and squeezed his eyes shut. Damn internal wound...

He winced at the pained sound of his companion, and quickly set his feet into gear. Time was of the essence, and those people at his door wouldn't wait around forever, they'd barge right in, security field or not.

When they reached the workshop, he hurriedly flicked the light on, and leaned the other against the wall near in, before rushing to the far side and moving one of the large consoles out of place, revealing a small trapdoor with a password pad nearby.

The black one looked up the stairs as he heard the human starting to bang at the door and demanding immediate access to the house; he stood up from the wall and wobbly made his way behind the hedgehog as this last put in the code and opened the small trapdoor.

Sonic reached down into the dark room the trapdoor lead to, his ears picking up the impatient banging, and switched on another light, so that the small basement was illuminated.

"Okay, that's the best we got on such short notice, so you'll hafta make do." He motioned for him to climb down. "And be sure to turn the light off, it's this little button. The green one. Don't hit the yellow one, that trashes everything, plus screws up the upstairs power." He patted the hedgehog gently on the shoulder, giving him an encouraging smile.

The black one nodded and slowly made his way down the hatch; when he was on the ground, he looked around trying to find a more hidden spot. Seeing it behind a pile of garbage and a table, he turned off the light and was instantly met with darkness.

Soon, his eyes adjusted to the little light that was coming from upstairs and made his way behind the table and pile, crouching down so he would be ready to jump into action if something happened.

Sonic closed the door to the basement with the large piece of machinery as soon as he was sure his charge was settled, not locking it because he didn't want to have to struggle around with the lock when he came for him.

Then he hurried back upstairs and to the intercom, hearing the angry voices on the door's other side louder than ever. Pressing it on, he let his annoyance show.

"Stop griping, you act like someone's dying. Sheesh!" He then turned to the door and unlocked it, muttering about immaturity, as though he'd never shown any of his own, "Step lightly and mind the chandeliers." His voice dripped with sarcasm as he flung the entryway open.

The man widened his eyes a little on finding the world renowned hero in front of him; the report said that this was the house of a common citizen, not the house of Sonic the Hedgehog. That must have been outdated.

"We're sorry to barg in like this, Mr. Hedgehog, but we really need to catch that escapee. He is very dangerous."

'Nice change of tune, but it won't change my opinion of you.' Sonic thought, giving a neutral shrug on the outside, before sweeping his hand outward.

"Kitchen's that way, workshop's downstairs, and the backyard's nonexistent. Didn't mean to sound rude on the com, but I mean, it's two in the morning. What do you expect?" He pointed a thumb back toward the kitchen again. "Can I get you anything?"

The human motioned for his squad to start looking around the house, meanwhile the leader just stood in front of the hedgehog.

"No, thanks. we're on duty."

He was going to say more when one of the men returned from the living room, "Captain, we found something odd in the living room. There's a first aid kit and a first aid manual on the coffee table."

The leader raised an eyebrow at that.

Sonic rolled his eyes and held out his hands, the bandaged burns on his arms showing less than clearly, since after he'd used all the white gauze on Shadow, all that had remained was a roll of dark blue cloth for Tails to use on his arms.

"Got burned. It happens. What's odd about that?"

The human raised an eyebrow skeptically, he was not sure if the hedgehog in front of him was telling the truth or not, but since the hedgehog was Sonic, he could do nothing till he received new orders from the headquarters.

"Very well, then. We shall be off. Please, if you notice this escapee, warn immediately the authorities. We'll know straight away."

Sonic fought a grin from his face, and nodded solemnly. "Will do, and if he does come into the house without an invite, I'll be sure to give you first dibs on his ashes." He saluted smartly, the smile-battle lost.

The leader of the squad nodded solemnly as his quad slowly made its way out of the door; he then followed them and ordered his men to get back into the cars and go back to their base.

The minute they were gone, Sonic locked the door again and exhaled loudly in relief. He hadn't even realized he'd been so nervous till now. His grin triumphant, he hurried back to the basement, practically throwing the equipment aside and the trapdoor open.

The black one cautiously peeked out of his hiding spot, and when he saw the blue hedgehog, he moved to get up, only to fail and fall on the ground. He cursed the idea of staying in a crouching position. Yes, it would have been perfect for an emergency, but now he found that his legs weren't up for the strain.

The impact with the floor earned him another coughing fit with less blood than before. The wound was starting to heal, but it was still somewhat annoying feeling his own blood go up his throat and the taste of it in his mouth.

Sonic gave a start, and immediately dropped down to assist his charge in getting out of the second basement, his grin faded, yes, but not gone. By the time he'd hauled the other out from the hatch, Sonic felt like he could sleep for the rest of the day...night...whatever.

Noticing that there wasn't as much blood with this particular fit, Sonic frowned and tilted the injured's head upward, pressing a hand delicately against the throat. As he suspected, the hedgehog had coughed himself raw, and was probably a little more than annoyed about it.

"We'll have to see what we can find for that cough..." He mumbled, relocking the basement with one hand, and setting the other aside so he could shove the machinery back into place.

The black one merely nodded, as he felt that all of his fatigue was returning quickly; every time he tried to gulp down saliva or his own blood, his throat was screaming to him to stop as the pain was too much for it to take.

"Alright then, now... should I carry you, or do you think you might be able to walk alone?" He looked at him, calculating. The throat medicine would more than likely make him insanely tired, which meant they could both get a little sleep in before they collapsed from sheer exhaustion.

The injured furry tried to stand up from the wall he was leaning onto and tried to take a step onward. However, as much as he wanted, his legs were too tired and decided to give away under him, making him fall to the floor.

Sonic knew almost before the hedgehog took the step that he would fall. However, instead of letting him hit the floor, hero instinct demanded that he reach out and catch his charge before something unfortunate happened. He pulled the furry close and stood fully.

"Guess it's choice number one then," He said, moving toward the door. "By the way, any idea what those guys were after you for?" The question was out before Sonic could stop it, and bit his tongue, feeling stupid. Of course, the hedgehog couldn't answer without causing himself pain.

The black hedgehog merely nodded. He knew full well why they were after him.

Sonic raised an eyebrow, but decided to let the hedgehog go on with that answer. After a brief struggle, he reached the living room and set his load onto the couch again, leaving for the kitchen to grab the now cold soup and place it in the microwave to warm up, and dig around for the 'cough and sore throat' medication.

The black one merely sat there, his mind deep in thought. All that happened to him, the incident, the imprisonment, the liberation, the chase, and finally this hedgehog that didn't even know his name and was taking care of him instead of leaving him in a hospital, where he would surely be found in a bed, maybe under some drugs that kept him asleep.

As soon as he would get his voice back, he would make sure to thank him.

"Finally..." Sonic grumbled, having located the elusive medicine. "I think Tails is hiding this stuff from me on purpose..." Returning to the living room, he checked the directions. He was to fill up the little top with the correct amount of liquid.

Slight problem. The amount was depicted by ages.

"Crap..."

The black one was snapped out of his thoughts by the other hedgehog that was having some difficulties with a bottle in his hands; looking at him in the eyes, he raised an eyebrow in question.

'I could assume he's my age, but seventeen is right on the threshold between two and three capfuls...' Too much and he'd get sick, too little and he wouldn't get better as fast. His ear flicked back and froth, reacting to his frustration, 'Better less than more...but I'd hate having to sit with him an hour for the stuff to work. He'd be miserable.'

He had been focusing on the bottle so hard, he didn't notice the hedgehog looking at him at first. He grinned sheepishly when he realized it, and rubbed the back of his neck.

"Um...not to sound forward, but how old are you?"

The black one froze on the spot, then, very slowly he looked at his hands in something like regret; how old was he? He didn't know that. Not because he had forgotten it, but because he never knew it. The only thing that he knew for sure was that his body was the one of a youth, between 15 and 20...

The look of sadness made Sonic feel terrible, and his ears flattened against his head. "How about we go with my age? I warn you though, it might not be enough medicine, and if not, it won't start working right away like it's supposed to." He unscrewed the bottle's lid, eyes still on his patient.

The hedgehog on the couch nodded absently, still sad about not knowing even his age. What had he done to deserve the life he had? He just wanted to live peacefully, but after that incident, everything just became distorted.

Even him.

Sonic took in the nod and began carefully pouring the first capful, the expression on the hedgehog's face tearing at him. He hated it when people looked like that, depressed, unsure... it was the look of failure, and Sonic was well known for his hate of losing.

Gently, he pressed the cap of reddish-brown cough syrup into the hedgehog's hands, making sure he had a firm gasp on the cap before letting go. The sickly-sweet, yet bitter, smell of the medicine made him shudder.

"You won't like this part, believe me."

The black hedgehog shrugged, then gulped down the medicine; a second later he squeezed his eyes shut and hunched over, trying to not cough fiercely. Tears of pain left his eyes as the bitter-sweet syrup traveled down his battered throat.

"Shh... shh..." Sonic put a hand on the other's shoulder, squeezing gently, and patted the dark furry on the back, trying to help the discomfort pass. "Don't worry, it only tastes that bad for a little while. Much as I hate to admit, that stuff works fastest, and the longest..."

He took back the cap and poured another dosage for his patient, knowing he would be less than eager to take the last bit of his medication, a miracle cure or not. He heard a sharp beep as the microwave finished heating the soup and set the bottle in front of the hedgehog before standing.

"Think of it this way: you don't have to take three." Then he grinned and turned his feet toward the kitchen, calling back, "I'll get you the soup so you can wash down the taste." As an afterthought, he grabbed up the empty water glass, and the sandwich, now dry, before going into the kitchen.

The black one looked at the cap in his hands, then with a sigh he gulped the content down. Might as well get with it now since his throat was busy with the first wave and it wouldn't feel the second one.

Like he had guessed, the second wave went down smoothly; he placed the cap on the coffee table and waited for the other hedgehog to bring him the soup.

Sonic blew on the bowl carefully before reaching in for it again. He'd already made the mistake of trying to grab in straight off, and had burned his hands slightly, now wringing them together in an attempt to make the numb feeling go away.

Finally he judged the bowl cool enough to handle, and he removed it from the micro-oven, carefully shutting the door afterward, and grabbing the spoon up. Then he came back to the couch, and smiled at the empty cap.

'Good. He got it over with. Was afraid I'd have to force feed him.' He mused, placing the bowl and utensil down, before plopping onto the floor, tired.

"Be sure to blow on the soup first. Pretty hot."

After a quick questioning glance at the blue hedgehog, the injured furry cooled the soup until it was the right temperature to eat; again, the bowl of food lasted just a few minutes as he devoured it like there was no tomorrow. Once clean, the dark one set it on the coffee table and finally took the time to look around the house.

If Sonic wasn't so tired, he might have laughed. As it was, he simply gave a faint chuckle and pulled his knees to his tan chest, crossing his arms over them to rest his chin on and he sleepily watched his charge's curiosity.

Finally, after some minutes of careful inspection, the black creature looked at the hedgehog on the floor, "Thanks..." He whispered through the pain of his throat and body.

Sonic's ears perked and he blinked rapidly, before realizing that not only had he been spoken to, but it was the other hedgehog talking. He fixed him with a scolding look, trying to mimic the one he often got from Tails.

"You shouldn't be talking, your throat has to heal." He warned. "You don't want to start coughing up blood again, do you? After you finally seem to have stopped." An eyebrow raised to add emphasis.

The black one shook his head lightly, "Wound... healed. Almost." He said trying to speak as little as he could, "Just...sore."

"Almost doesn't count in this game..." Sonic said, pointedly. "You're not ready for chatting up storms, and if I have to suffer silence whenever I'm the injured one, you can too, believe me." He grinned.

The black hedgehog nodded, "Shadow..." He whispered again suffocating another fit.

Sonic processed that, while patting the hedgehog gently to help him with the coughing problem. 'Told him not to talk... wait... Shadow?' He glanced at the hedgehog questioningly.

"Shadow... is that your name?" He inquired, then added, "Just shake yes or no, cause if you start coughing again, I guarantee another cap of medicine as punishment." He jerked his thumb toward the table to get his point across.

The black hedgehog hinted a smile, "Not afraid...of medicine...but yes." He whispered just to prove that he was getting better despite the coughing fits.

"It fits..." Sonic praised, ignoring now that his patient was 'chatting up a storm' though he'd expressly forbidden it. The hero was too grateful for the conversation. "With the black and all. But are the streaks natural?" He was rather interested in them.

Shadow just settled on nodding, he knew that the less he talked, the less his throat hurt. Then he looked at the blue hedgehog, "Name?"

Sonic grinned, but slapped his forehead. "Oh sorry, where are my manners today? First the guy on the com, now you!" He rolled his eyes. "It's Sonic the Hedgehog, but that's a nice, big mouthful. So pretty much, just Sonic."

The black hedgehog just nodded, acknowledging him as just a normal person and not as a world renown hero, "Thanks, Sonic...for having...helped me." He whispered closing his tired eyes.

Sonic smiled, and felt his own eyes drawing close. "No problem...steer clear of burning buildings next time though..." It came out as mostly a sleepy murmur.

"Not...my fault...It wanted...to kill me." He whispered back coughing a little.

'Okay, halt all sleeping factors, WHAT was that?!'

He was upright already. "Kill you?! What did? There wasn't anything around but the fire, and I know that it wasn't alive, kindly as it tried to eat me..."

"Fire...alive...Thing...made it...alive..." He answered opening his tired ruby eyes by a crack and looking in the space in front of him.

The sapphire's first response to that was to be expected...

Disbelief.

He placed a hand against Shadow's forehead, his look nothing short of amazed when he found no fever. But fire couldn't come to life...could it?

"Alright, let's say the fire was alive..." Sonic tried to find his voice, "...how could that happen? And what's this...'thing'?"

"Thing...no name...no shape...at all." He whispered trying to not cough again, "Being chased...all week...It is...tireless...powerful...hidden...in darkness..." At this point he coughed, but when he was done he looked in the eyes of Sonic.

"It is...extremely dangerous...won't stop...in front of...anything..."

'Oh great, riddles.' Sonic's brow furrowed. "Okay... so this... shapeless thing wants you dead, am I right? What'd you do to it? I mean... you look harmless enough." 'Especially covered head to toe in bandages like a mummy.' He mused, but did not voice that, not wanting to offend.

Shadow pondered on what to say, then he decided to tell the truth to some extents; he didn't wanted to bring this hedgehog into something that he couldn't handle on his own.

"Doctor... asked me... for help... but I refused... Then... he got... angry... and sent... the Thing to... kill me." He paused to take a breath, "It follows... exclusively... the orders... of who... summoned... It."

"Well... that sucks. Especially with the whole ancient mumbo jumbo..." Sonic muttered. "Doctors are usually okay people, save one or two I know of... what'd he want anyway? An organ transplant?" It was playful, but not. Sonic was truly interested.

"Said... he wanted... the world..." He whispered closing his eyes once again, talking right now was a bit stressful and a lot painful.

Sonic almost asked the doctor's name, almost. But he also noticed that Shadow didn't look as 'I'm fine' as he'd been acting a few minutes before. Shaking his head, he settled back down.

"You should go to sleep for now." Sonic sighed, his words barely muffled by his arms. "We both should. So stop talking, before I'm forced to do something we'll both regret, and get some rest. If we're going up against this... shapeless... nameless... 'Thing' we might as well both be somewhat rested.

He moved his neck slightly so that a loud 'pop' was heard. "'Sides it prolly thinks you're dead now, if it thinks at all... gives us the element of surprise."

"Don't know... that doctor... says he's... a genius... countless robots... at his disposal..." He said shifting a little on his sitting position, "Says... he has... eyes everywhere..."

'Genius? Robots? A familiar tune, the canary sings...' He pushed sleep away again and raised an eyebrow. "Okay, countless robots and IQ to match his ego? By any chance does he look like his childhood idol was an Easter egg?"

Shadow nodded his head with closed eyes, "Yes... egg shaped..."

'Screw sleep, we're up now.' Sonic let his arms unfold and leaned forward to try and look at Shadow fully in the face, fighting off laughter. The coincidence was too great. Unless it wasn't an accident and Shadow was some sort of trap, but that was too well planned for his prime suspect's own good, and fair beyond his timing capabilities.

"The name Robotnik ring a bell?"

Shadow's blood froze in his veins as soon as his brain registered the name 'Robotnik', "How... how do you... know... about... Robotnik's name?"

Insert cheeky smile here.

"No reason..." He drolled happily. This was just too rich. Far, far too rich for his health. He'd never get to sleep now. "But nice to know Eggman's got some new tricks. He was starting to get so boring..."

Shadow sighed in relief as he realized that the blue hedgehog was talking about the doctor, and not Gerald Robotnik, "You... should... not take... this so... lightly..."

"Why not?" 'Feign concern, don't laugh, don't laugh...Knuckles just ate your last chilidog, Tails brought out the anti-bacteria...' He was well aware that he was shaking slightly, from the laughter bottled inside him.

"Because... I could... barely fight it... for a couple... of hours... before... getting tired... and..." He paused, "And... no matter what... I couldn't... escape from it... not even... breaking... sound barrier..."

'Okay... can't fight... hours... escape...WHAT?! Sound WHAT?!'

Sonic was suddenly choking on nothing more than his own breath, and he clutched at his throat for a moment, trying not to suffocate. When he finally got a grip on himself, he stared at Shadow. "You can break the sound barrier?!"

"Not... only that..." He managed before having a bad fit of coughs; he hunched onwards and clasped his hands over his mouth, preventing the blood that came out to not spill on the floor. His eyes closed, and a few tears were spilled for the effort of the abrupt movements.

Sonic started forward, but didn't lay a hand on him, waiting until Shadow had a grip on himself. "But you mean breaking like with a car or something, right? You can't mean on foot or anything cause well... I mean that... because... that's just..." He couldn't voice the right words, because impossible didn't mean what he meant.

"It can't be done! No one's ever done it!" '...cept me..'

Shadow finally got a grip on himself and stood back up on the couch; he looked at his gloves that were stained with blood. He had lost so much of it that a normal person would be in coma or dead, but not him.

"Don't need... car... I was brought... into this world... with this... and many other... abilities..."

Sonic was dumbfounded. "So... you just... run?" His arms were slack, dead weight, and he almost couldn't breath. Leaning back against the couch and trying to make sense of what Shadow was telling him... a wonder he wasn't already insane.

"This... this is impossible..." He murmured, raking his quills thoroughly with his blue-furred fingers. "Amazing...I was so sure... I mean, not even Knuckles could..."

The black hedgehog sighed heavily, "I wasn't... meant... to be... alive..." He whispered to himself.

Sonic was lost in his rantings, but he heard the whisper. Or at least the tone. "Don't talk like that." His ear had already started it's natural, agitated flicking.

"Why? I... deserve this..." he whispered, "As soon as... I was..." He paused, searching for the right words to explain without giving away his past, "As soon as... they gave me... life... they used me..."

"Well, if they used you, then the consequences aren't truly your fault, now are they?" He was pleased with his logic, it had been fine tuned over the years. The fact that he was stubborn helped a lot.

"Maybe... but it was... the sole reason... they gave me life..." He whispered back, closing his eyes in search of a peaceful slumber.

Sonic gave him a tired look, but with Shadow's eyes closed, it lost its effect. They both should've been asleep forever and a day ago, Shadow for his recuperation, and Sonic, since he just knew that there was gonna be trouble over this hedgehog. His early house guests had attested to that.

What was really nagging at Sonic right now was not so much the fact that Robotnik himself was after Shadow, but what Shadow had said earlier. Sonic had always been the only one with speeds beyond that of the sound barrier. The fact that Shadow claimed he also carried that ability... well, it was a little hard to digest after so long.

'Though it's nothing a little race won't cure...' He smiled. 'When he gets better of course. Can't have unfair advantages.'

The black hedgehog sighed a little, and fell asleep sitting up, not minding that he still wore his shoes and gloves. He was too tired to care about them; he just wanted to sleep and forget his current situation.

Sonic waited until he was absolutely sure the other hedgehog was fast asleep before closing his own eyes, though he knew already that sleep was going to be unreachable for the next few minutes, with his mind abuzz with question like this.

"Oh well," He grumbled. "Might as well clean..." Then with a loud sigh, he hoisted himself to his feet to gather up the cough medicine and empty dishes from the coffee table and headed toward the kitchen.

Mumbling out something under his breath, Shadow shifted in his position and fell sideways; now he was laying on the couch with his legs still in their previous sitting position and with his arm almost painfully under his torso.

Sonic's eyes perked when he heard the half silent muttering from the living room, and peered back out toward Shadow. Almost laughing as the other fell across the couch to lie sideways with his legs dangling halfway, Sonic crossed to the sofa and set about helping the hedgehog shift so he was lying on his back.

As an afterthought, he remembered how Shadow's cough was still an aspect, and so managed to prop him up onto the arm of the couch, a cushion under him, so that his head and upper back were raised and he could still be comfy.

The black hedgehog muttered something else, and shifted around till he was comfortable and trying to burrow himself into the couch in search of warmth since all his bandages weren't offering much. With a final small cough, he finally stopped moving and went dead still, the only evidence that he was alive was his chest that moved steadily up and down with the small breaths he took.

The blue hero raised an eyebrow at his charge's squirming and smiled, leaving him long enough to go search through his own room for a blanket, preferably a clean one. The best he found was thin, but warm, and there was fuzz on the underside to keep in warmth. He hurried back and draped it over the other.

Finally feeling the desired warmth, Shadow relaxed and fell into a deeper sleep; he would probably sleep for a few days seeing at how little he slept over the whole week.

Sonic looked toward the kitchen, and decided to gave into the more tempting offer of the night. Settling down in his now chartered place by the couch, he cuddled under some of the fabric hanging over the side of the couch. Though not much cover wise, it did its job, and within minutes he felt his eyes drifting closed.

Hehe...what? O.o

Yes. The chapter is over.

No. I'm not posting another right now.

Why? ...because I'm lazy.

And evil.

That's always a good excuse! :P