Hold On by Skyblaze

Hold On

Chapter Two - Shock To The

Jigsaw puzzle traitors
Set to spill the beans
Constitution screw up
Shattering the dreams

Inside one of the larger huts in the hidden village known as
Knothole, an argument was brewing.

"For the last time, Sonic, I don't know who he
is." Princess Sally Acorn snapped with more than a trace of irritability,
"Rotor and I just found him laying there in the middle of the great
forest. He was obviously injured and in a lot of pain, so we called you."

Sonic leaned back and tapped his foot, a habit when he was
impatient or annoyed, "I don't buy it, Sal. What was with that big scorch
mark around him, huh?"

""Maybe he was attacked by SWATBots,"
Rotor put in tentatively as he adjusted a few pieces of diagnostic equipment
over their 'guest', who was currently passed out on the only cot in the room.
Sonic shook his head, blue quills swaying erratically.

"No way. There were no sign of
any SWATButts around there. I looked. And man...for
all we know, *he* could be a robot."

"The equipment says not, Sonic," Rotor interrupted
quietly, "It says he's just a Mobian like
us...but there are a couple of unusual things about him..."

"Unusual?" Sally broke in, turning to face the
walrus, "What do you mean, 'unusual'?"

Rotor shrugged and glanced over the readings, the green glow
of the monitor shining on his platinum fur, "I'm not sure, Sally...but
some of the readings are similar to what I get when I try and scan Sonic."

"Hm," Sally said
thoughtfully, then she took out Nicole - her small
hand-held computer - and instructed it to download the information for later
study, "Maybe he's a relative of yours, Sonic." Sally said absently. Sonic's posture stiffened instantly, his arms folded over
his chest, and his eyes as hard as stone. Sally sighed,

"Is that all that's bothering you? That he looks so
much like you?"

Was the blue hedgehog's only response as he headed towards the door.

Just then, the black hedgehog began to stir. Sonic glanced
back in curiosity to see a pair of fire-red eyes open. They glanced around the
room briefly before settling unerringly on Sonic. The blue speedster felt a
strange sensation deep in his chest, like butterflies in his stomach as their
eyes locked for a long moment.

"Sonniku..." The black
hedgehog said softly with what could almost have been a smile, before those
incredible ruby-red eyes slipped closed again.

Sonic took a deep shuddering breath as that bizarre moment
was broken, only vaguely recognising Rotor's voice saying;

"Well, at least now we know he definately
knows you, Sonic."

All he knew right then was that he wanted that black
hedgehog to wake up again. He wanted answers.


Shadow floated serenely in the near-trance state that was
best for letting his accelerated healing powers do their stuff. It was
somewhere between sleep and awake, where you remained aware, but unable to act
on anything you heard or felt. He supposed some people would find such a
condition disturbing, but he had always found it comforting. It was like his
own private world no one else could enter, a place where he was safe. He had
spent the better part of fifty years in that state,
after all, it was almost like coming home to him.

It was obvious from the conversation that his...rescuers,
for want of a better term...didn't recognise him - not even Sonic. Which didn't make much sense. He doubted that his fall into
the atmosphere had damaged him sufficiently for his appearance to be unrecognisable...and
though Sonic could be flighty and unpredictable, he surely could not simply
have forgotten him.

A flash of memory, that instant of connection as their eyes
locked over the glow of the Chaos Emeralds...

No, Sonic would never have forgotten him.
What, then? Perhaps it wasn't Sonic at all, and just someone
who sounded like him. A possibility...and there was only one way to prove it.

Floating up through layers of consciousness, he opened his
eyes, looking around the room to find the source of that familiar voice, and,
as he had more or less expected, he found the sapphire blue hedgehog stood near
the door,

He whispered, using the nickname he had begun to use just before the whole mess
with ARK and the FinalHazard had begun. And for a
brief moment, Shadow again felt that strange rush of connection before his
strength ran out and his eyes slipped closed again.

But not before he had noticed something. Something
very wrong. Sonic's eyes were not their usual
brilliant emerald green, instead they were a deep,
fathomless jet black. Feeling slightly shaken, Shadow slipped back into the comfort
of his trance state. He began gathering the facts.

Fact One: He had used Chaos Control when his energy was
dangerously low, and his concentration scattered

Fact Two: He had arrived in a location unknown to him,
populated mostly be creatures he did not recognise - save one.

Fact Three: Sonic didn't recognise him, and Sonic looked

Shadow remembered Sonic telling him that his eyes had once
been a different colour, but had been stained permanently green by contact with
the energies of the Chaos Emeralds. So then, the Sonic he had just seen must
never had contact with the Chaos Emeralds for his eyes to still be their
natural colour.

A vague memory tickled him. Something he could recall the
Doctor - his creator - speaking of, a theory about how a person's choices
affected the entire world - the entire universe. He and Maria had made a joke
out of it, had giggled and called it 'the Trousers of Time' - one choice took
you down one leg, while the other choice took you down the other.

The recollection left him with a deeply disturbing

What if he was, indeed, in another dimension? A universe
where different choices had been made, and the world
turned out differently?

He needed more time to think.

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