Hold On by Skyblaze

Chapter Eight – Chain Reactions

Chapter Eight – Chain Reactions


Charge the common ground,
Round and round and round,
We living in gravity.


Sonic ran blindly on through the night. He ran over, through and around any obstacles he encountered, but nothing truly registered in his brain. It all seemed totally irrelevant in the face of what he had just been told. His thoughts whirled like a hurricane, twisting and tumbling over one another.


He had always been totally confident in himself, his certainty lying in the purest self-knowledge. He had always known who he was; he was Sonic the Hedgehog, the fastest thing alive, and that had always been good enough for him.


Now, though…now he was more like ‘the fastest lab experiment alive’. Robotnik had been right; he was a rodent – a lab rat escaped from its cage.

No, enough. He was still a living, breathing Mobian, still a Freedom Fighter, still big brother to Tails. His parents and his uncle had just been trying to do their best, he couldn’t blame them for that. He would probably have done the same…what was it with Rob-butt-ik’s family, though? Were they all cursed or what? The only one who sounded innocent in the entire mess was that girl – Maria, was it? Sounded like she had just been caught up in the crossfire.


A brief flash of pain penetrated his troubled mind, and he realised after a moment that his right arm was hurt. He glanced at it briefly, realising the fur and a significant chunk of skin had been burned off it. SWATbot fire? When had he run into SWATbots? A few miles back, maybe…it was hard to say, his memories were all blurred, he was pretty sure he’d lapped the Robotropolis and the Great Forest several times by now. It wasn’t much of a wound, though, he would ignore it for now - he was a hero, after all, he could handle it.  



He had always considered heroes to be people who pushed themselves beyond ordinary boundaries to reach a higher (and Nobler, as Sal would say) goal, but if he wasn’t ordinary, would just busting through ordinary barriers really count? He felt like he’d been running a race with a ten second head start – with that much of an advantage was it still an achievement? Could he still call himself a hero?


This wasn’t helping.


He skidded to a sudden halt, realising as he did that he had absolutely no idea where he’d ended up. Turning, he orientated himself and realised he was somewhere on the edge of the Great Unknown, somewhere North-West of the Great Forest. The area around him was arid scrubland, devoid of life. Out here in daytime, the place was like a furnace, heat waves rising so thick that the entire landscape became a muzzy haze. But despite it being a cold, dark night, his vision was still blurry, and he realised with a burst of anger and shame that he was crying.


He needed somewhere to go and get his head together. Somewhere quiet – like the Power Ring Pool. After he was done cooling down a little, maybe he could go talk to someone, someone cool and steady, someone who would understand…someone... well, it was obvious who he needed to talk to, really.

Then, maybe a game or two of street hockey with Tails, and he was sure he’d feel fine.


Gathering up his energy, he set off back towards Knothole, hoping absently that Shadow was still awake.




Shadow was perched on a large, flat rock above the pool near Knothole, which was still warm from the it had collected during the day. The tip of one foot was trailing into the water, creating ripples in the water that reflected the moonlight in interesting patterns. Sally had disappeared a while ago to start doing research on the Chaos Emeralds, apparently either not knowing or not caring that it was almost midnight. Shadow couldn’t bring himself to protest, though, since the sooner the Emeralds were located, the sooner he could get home.


Though to anyone watching he appeared to be lazily dozing on the rock, he wasn’t actually as idle as he seemed. He was attempting his own brand of research, attempting to centre himself and use his chaos sense to get a reading on where the Emeralds might be. It wasn’t bound to be terribly exact, but even a vague direction would be useful. And it was much easier to get the sort of concentration he would need here in this quiet grove than in overcrowded Knothole.


As he settled himself down in a quiet, relaxed pose, he stretched out his senses, searching for the pulse of Chaos Energy. His ears twitched as he felt something, intense and bright, burning vividly with Chaos power tightly contained, almost too vividly…an Emerald, so close?

No, it was moving, it was coming closer, it was…alive?




Shadow’s eyes flicked open as Sonic suddenly half-stumbled into the clearing near the pool. Shadow’s sharp eyes took in the state of the other hedgehog; Sonic’s quills were in disarray, dirt and soot stained his fur in places, he was covered in nicks, scratches and even one nasty-looking burn on his arm.


“Sonic, what happened?” Shadow asked, stepping forward. Sonic turned a startled glance on him, as though he hadn’t noticed the other hedgehog was there.


“Shadow?” Sonic murmured, his voice sounding odd – almost distant his eyes seemed glazed, almost blank, “Oh, I think I ran into some SWATbots…maybe some stealthbots, too. Hard to say, things got kinda blurry after the third trip ‘round the city.”


“Around the city…you mean Robotropolis?” Shadow felt very confused, this behaviour was out of character even for this strange other-dimensional version of Sonic.


Sonic nodded stiffly, “Oh yeah, took care of ‘em though. I always do. That’s what the Hero’s for, right? Right.” The gaze Sonic turned on him then was far too wide and far too bright to be natural. On a hunch, Shadow stretched out his Chaos sense again, feeling a sudden flare of erratic energy from the blue hedgehog, like a fire fanned by a sudden gust of wind. Shadow thought he recognised the symptoms now, it looked an awful lot like shock.


“Turns out, y’know,” Sonic continued in that strangely distant, almost emotionless tone, “That you and me got more common than just the quills, ain’t that something?” Sonic gave him a sudden, insincere smile and Shadow thought he saw, for a fraction of an instant, a flicker of emerald green deep in Sonic’s glazed eyes. Shadow felt the Chaos Energy in Sonic’s body flare once again, then die down like a guttering candle.


Shadow stretched out his arms just in time to catch Sonic before he hit the ground.


To Be Continued in Ch. 9 – The Damage Done

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