I ran down through the woods as fast as I could. Cuts and bruises were showing harshly through my fur. I looked behind me and instantly wished I hadn't. They were a lot closer than I thought. When he looked back, I had neglected to see where I was going. Tripping on a root, I was sent crashing to the ground.

I quickly rose up, adrenaline coursing through me, but a hand grabbed my shoulder and threw me to the ground. A boot came in contact with my side, and more joined in. Helpless, I just laid there and took the vicious beating. Suddenly, they stopped. A hand grabbed me by the chest fur and pulled me off of the ground, bringing me face-to-face with a jackal.

"Did you really think you could get away?" the jackal sneered. I was thrown to the ground and surrounded by the three people who had chased me. They all had cruel looks on their faces. The jackal pulled out his knife and bent over me, pressing the knife on my cheek. I let out a small cry as he started to dig it into my face.

"Hey."

The three turned around and stared at someone who was standing a few feet away. His knife came away from my face, but the pain stung horribly. I couldn't lift my head, but out of the bottoms of my eyes, I could see bright blue quills. I tried to sit up, but the jackal's boot came down on my throat.

"What the hell do you want?" the bear snarled. "We're in the middle of something!"

"Leave him alone," the person ordered. "Why don't you pick on someone your own size?"

"Very funny," said the lynx. "What can a stupid hedgehog like you do?"

A hedgehog? I thought. In this place? What would he be doing here?

I heard a chuckle. "I'll show you what I can do." Suddenly, a flash of cobalt zoomed above me, knocking the jackal off of me. The others didn't have a chance to dodge before the blur knocked them away, too.

"And don't come back!" I heard the hedgehog yell. There was a pause for a few seconds, and then something leaned over me. I was a little surprised when I saw the hedgehog for the first time. His eyes were bright green, but that's not what startled me. It was the kindness in his face.

"Are you all right, kid?" he asked gently, his emerald eyes filled with concern.

I tried to answer, but I was too weak to get any words out. The hedgehog shook his head, looking very worried. "You're not all right," he said. "Poor kid. Hang on, I'll get you some help." I let out a little squeak of pain as the hedgehog picked me up bridal-style.

"Wh-who are you?" I choked out quietly, coughing up a little blood.

The hedgehog looked at him and smiled. "My name is Sonic. Sonic the Hedgehog. What's your name, kid?"

I smiled a little, wincing at the pain. "My name is Miles. Miles Prower."

Sonic smiled. "It's nice to meet you Miles. Now, let's get you help." Suddenly, he broke off into a run, and I let out a loud cry of surprise. Sonic was fast. Really fast.

It was all too much for me. After a few seconds, I blacked out.

When I came to, I was laying on a bed, staring up at the ceiling. I let out a groan as a sudden wave of nausea hit me. Quickly locating the trash can, I grabbed it and puked my guts out.

Suddenly the door opened, showing the blue hedgehog who had saved me before. "Yikes," he squeaked. "I was about to ask how you were feeling, but that answered my question."

I couldn't help but laugh a little, which didn't help the nausea. I wretched a little, and Sonic walked over to me. His hand gently patted me on the back, his other hand ruffling my hair a little. The gesture was extremely surprising to me. Then, both of his hands went under my arms and gently lifted me onto the bed.

"I managed to heal most of your wounds, but you still have some little bruises and cuts. The nausea is probably from the medicine, injuries, and exhaustion all piled together. It should go away soon. We'll probably need to go shopping for more supplies soon."

"W-we?" I asked, wiping my mouth. "Who else is here?"

Sonic smiled. "Well, it's a few of my friends. They are all out, but they'll be back soon." He walked over to the door and then stopped to look at me. "You look hungry. Come on down and I'll get you some food."

I was a little stunned by the notion. But, I nodded and, standing up, walked out of the room with him.

"I couldn't help but notice you have two tails," Sonic said. "That's really cool!"

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. "C-cool?"

"Yeah! Totally! Oh, and just so I know, is there anyone I need to contact about finding you?"

I panicked. "N-no. No one," I lied.

Sonic looked at me, and I could tell that he didn't believe me, but he smiled and shrugged. "All righty, then."

He guided me to the kitchen and sat me down at the table. I was a little surprised at how plain his house was. The hedgehog didn't seem to like plain. But he walked over to the fridge and opened it, looking in.

"So, is there anything in particular that you like?" he asked.

"Hey, I'm home!"

We both turned to see a pink hedgehog walk in, looking flustered and a little worried. "I came as soon as I could!" She looked at me and then looked back at Sonic. "Is this him?"

Sonic nodded, shutting the fridge. "Yep. I found him out in the woods. He was being attacked by a bunch of brutes, and I had no choice but to step in."

I felt a little awkward. But the girl looked at me and smiled. "Hello. It's nice to meet you! I'm Amy Rose. What's your name?"

I was a little caught off guard, but before I could say anything, Amy's eyes widened. She let out a little squee and grinned. "That's so awesome! You have two tails?! You're so cute! Who would've ever thought!"

Sonic smiled at my shock. But I just couldn't help it. They seemed to be a little too excited that I have two tails. I mean, what's going on?

Suddenly, the door opened again, and I could hear others walking into the house. They were laughing and joking around, and I felt even more like an intruder. Two people walked in, and I thought I was imagining things. It was a bright red echidna, probably a little older than Sonic, and a small tan-and-brown rabbit with rather large ears, who looked a little younger than me. Neither species lived here, as I recall; that is, unless we were farther away than I thought.

"Hey guys!" Sonic called. "Nice timing, by the way! I'd like you guys to meet Miles-"

"Don't," I interrupted. "Please don't call me Miles. You can call me almost anything but that stupid name. And I literally mean almost anything."

Sonic looked like he was pondering for a second, and then he got a huge grin on his face. "Guys, meet Tails Prower!"

I don't know why, but that nickname made my heart soar. "That's awesome! I like that name!"

Sonic gave me a thumbs-up. "I thought so! Well, anyways, I found this kid being attacked by a bunch of thugs. So I brought him here and fixed him up as best I could. He's going to be staying for a while, so you should probably get acquainted. Tails, this is Knuckles the Echidna and Cream the Rabbit."

Knuckles stuck out his hand, and I shook it. Cream smiled at me, and then suddenly, her eyes widened and her grin widened. I pulled my tails towards my body, and then suddenly, Knuckles raised his eyebrows.

"You have two tails," Knuckles stated.

"You catch on quick, Knux," Sonic called. "Well, anyways, is there anything in particular that you like, Tails?"

I thought for a second. "Not really. I'll take some bread if that's okay with you."

Sonic stuck his head out of the fridge, looking stunned. "B-bread?"

I shrugged. "That's what I've lived off for the past few months."

Sonic face gave away his shock. "A-are you serious? How about something a little more filling?" He looked back at the fridge and then smiled. "How do chili dogs sound?"

I cocked my head. I had never had chili dogs before. "Um… whatever you want to give me. I'm not picky."

"Chili dogs it is!" He pulled out a bunch of food and set it on the counter. "Amy, could you help out? You've got an amazing recipe for this." He looked at me and smiled. "She's an epic cook. You'll love it."

Suddenly, I got this horrible sinking feeling. A question bounced around in my head, and I just had to ask it. It bothered me terribly, and before I could stop myself, the question crept out of my mouth in a miniscule whisper.

"Why…?"

Sonic stopped for a second, his ears sticking up as if barely hearing me. Without turning, he quietly asked, "Why what?"

I looked down at the table, unable to meet anyone's eyes. Anger and sadness suddenly flared in my chest, and I felt tears come to my eyes. Before I could control myself, a scream escaped me.

"Why are you being so nice to me?! I can't handle it! Everyone hates me! Why don't you?!" I let out a sob and banged my fists on the table. "It's unreal to me! I'm a freak! An outcast! No one accepts me?! So why do you?!"

Sonic turned, looking like he was going to say something, but I cut him off. "I feel like God hates me! Why?! What did I do to deserve this?! I can't take it anymore! Why?!"

Suddenly, a hand clapped over my mouth. I looked up to see Sonic, his eyes filled with sadness. Slowly kneeling down in front of me, he didn't remove his hand. "Tails, we are being nice to you because no one deserves to go what you went through. That means you, too. You're not a freak, kid. You're just unique, and that means you're special. God doesn't hate you, and it takes a lot for me to be unable to accept someone."

He pulled his hand away, but stayed kneeling in front of me. His eyes were sad, but he gave me a smile. I didn't know what to say. I was so stunned. But, slowly, I nodded to tell him I understood. Giving me a pat on the shoulder, he stood up.

"I think you should probably take a bath. Cream, could you help Amy while I get him cleaned up?"

Cream nodded fervently and ran over to help Amy with the food. Knuckles walked into the living room, plopped onto the couch, and started flipping channels on the TV. Sonic smiled and then gestured upstairs. I quickly got up and followed him.

For a few seconds, we said nothing. Suddenly, Sonic turned his head slightly and looked at me out of the corner of his eyes. "I know what it's like to feel like an outcast. You don't see many blue hedgehogs, do you?"

I shook my head and smiled a little. He smiled back. Suddenly, he stopped and opened a door. We entered a bathroom, a rather large bathroom. Sonic walked over to the bathtub and turned on the water.

"There's shampoo and soap in the little rack over there, and towels on the hooks right there. I'll go get you some clean clothes." And with that, he left.

I looked down at the newly filled tub, blinking a few times as I registered what was happening. Then, I shrugged and got in.

Shaking feverishly, I got semi-dry before I used one of the towels. Oddly enough, they seemed warm, like they were just out of the dryer. Shrugging, I scrubbed myself dry. Looking in the mirror, I let out a heavy sigh. My fur was poufy and unkempt, and my eyes gave away my fatigue.

Suddenly, a small laugh came from the door. Sonic stood there with new clothes, looking a little amused. Pulling out a small rag, he leaned in and started rubbing my face. "Your face is still dirty." After he was done, he smiled and handed me some clothing.

"Here," he said. "These are some clothes that I grew out of a little while ago. They should fit you just fine."

"Thanks!" I told him. I looked at the clothing and smiled. It was a dark blue jacket, a blue scarf, dark cargo pants and a pair of combat boots. Grinning, I quickly put the clothes on. They were a perfect fit.

"You look great, kid," Sonic told me. And with that, he guided me out of the bathroom. We walked down the hall and went into the kitchen, where a sudden aroma hit my nose. I was almost knocked off of my feet by the smell.

"What is THAT?!" I cried out.

Sonic laughed. "That, my friend, is the smell of chili dogs. Are you hungry?"

Before I could answer, my stomach growled, as if responding to his question. He laughed again and sat me down at the table. Sonic walked over to Amy, who handed him a plate with a hot dog on it. Then he walked over and spooned on what looked like chili. Then, he walked over to me and set the plate down in front of me.

It looked amazing. I was about to pick it up when Sonic suddenly shouted, "Oh! Hang on a second!" He ran over and grabbed something, and then came back to me. He sprinkled cheese on top, and almost all of it melted on contact. "Now eat," he told me.

I hesitantly took it, and then after a few seconds, took a small bite. I involuntarily whimpered with delight when I swallowed. Then, I devoured it hungrily. Within a few seconds, it was gone.

Sonic let out a whoop, looking a little proud. "You ate that faster than I've ever attempted! I tip my hat to you, kid."

Licking the chili off my fingers, I couldn't help but laugh a little. "That was the most amazing thing I've ever eaten!"

Amy looked pleased, and Cream clapped her hands together in delight. Knuckles let out a low chuckle, and I felt my heart soar once again.

Suddenly, there was a knocking at the door. Sonic looked confused, but walked out of the kitchen and into the mudroom. I heard the door open, and then suddenly, two familiar voices hit me so hard that I jumped out of the chair.

"May I help you?" Sonic asked.

"Yes, you can. We are looking for a small, two-tailed fox. Have you seen him?"

For a second there was a pause. "Give me a second. I'll see if the others have seen him." Then, he walked back into the kitchen and looked at me questioningly. I knew they deserved an explanation, so I gave it to them.

"They're from the orphanage that I live at. I ran away a while ago because they are particularly cruel to me. Every house that took me in instantly turned me over to them when they came ringing. I'm always punished with a beating, and the only person who was ever nice to me was fired recently. I hate that place horribly. But I didn't tell you because I was afraid you'd turn me in. Then I completely forgot about them."

Sonic looked at me, his face expressionless. We all stood in a standstill for a few seconds, and then he scratched his ear.

"That's it. You've sealed your fate. You're staying with me."

My heart leapt into my throat, and I got this huge grin on my face. But my heart dropped into my stomach as someone said, "I'm afraid that's not possible."

We all turned to see the two men I absolutely loathe. They were the enforcers at the orphanage. I hated them with a fiery passion, especially since they are the ones who dish out the punishments. One of them, a lynx, flashed me a smirk, and I returned it with a growl.

"You see, you aren't the legal guardian. Not to mention, this child is a danger to the public. His rather aggressive nature has actually caused problems for many people."

"I wouldn't be so aggressive if I didn't have to fight for my life in that God-forsaken place!" I snarled at them.

The other one, a badger, glared at me, raising his nose high in the air like he was some important person who was given the displeasure of being around others. "As I recall, child, you have no say in this conversation. Now, why don't you keep that big mouth of yours shut while we adults have a conversation."

"Um, I'm fourteen," Sonic said.

"All the more reason he can't stay with you," the lynx told him. "This child needs proper supervision, and I highly doubt that a child of your age is capable of taking care of such a…" he looked at my tails with disgust, "…special child."

Sonic's smile was definitely forced at this point. "Well, apparently this orphanage isn't capable of taking care of such a special, unique child either. You guys have this little issue called prejudice. We do not. So clearly, we win. Now, if you'll be so kind, you should leave the house that I didn't even invite you into."

They looked a little surprised by his sudden hostility, but the lynx scowled. "You want to take care of the brat? Fine. But he's your problem now. At least now we can stop spending money on feeding and clothing the little fleabag!"

The words stung, but Sonic backed up to me and wrapped his arm around my shoulder. "I think we can handle the 'little fleabag'. Now if you'll excuse us, you already know the way out."

And with that, he shoved them out of the room, and I heard the door slam. Sonic came back, and he looked exasperated. But then he let out a heavy sigh, and then a smile spread on his face.

"Looks like this is your new home, kid," he said.

I sat there for a second, my mouth hanging open and at a loss of words. Then, I let out a cry of joy and leapt into his arms, crying hysterically. He put his arms around me and returned the hug. We sat there for a few minutes, until I stopped crying with a few small hiccups.

"Well, Tails, wanna finish dinner?" Sonic asked me.

I looked up to him and nodded, wiping tears away. We stood up, and everyone gathered at the table. When we ate, I couldn't help but think with excitement about the best day of my life. And not to mention, what's waiting in store for the future.