"Okay… Open your eyes!"
Sonic did so without any hesitation, focusing on the brightly smiling fox in front of him. The blue blur rose a brow at his kid brother before looking around the slightly cluttered garage. He was searching for anything new he hadn't seen coming in; Tails obviously had a surprise waiting for him. But what?
"Uh." Sonic refocused on the kit, putting a hand on his hip. "So, what did ya call me out here for, bud?"
Tails' namesakes were wagging back and forth in excitement. "For this!" His hands, which had been hidden behind his back, sprung forward. Sonic leaned forward to get closer to the open palms, and he noticed that the fox was showcasing a tiny black box.
The hero didn't know what he had been expecting, but this wasn't it. It was so…small. Tails was more into building things flashy and high-tech, the opposite of this box.
Sonic was still curious though. Tails was known for exceeding his expectations. "What is it?"
The kit was clearly proud of his accomplishment. "It's a multilingual translator! It can translate any language into our own!" Tails giggled, positioning the petite device between his pointer finger and thumb. "Additional features include simple functionality! There's only an on and off switch!" He pointed to the tiny lever. "And it's easily portable so it won't become a burden!"
Sonic laughed. "Careful Tails! You're startin' to sound like an infomercial!"
Tails chuckled a bit sheepishly. "I did sound like one, didn't I?" Enthusiastic sapphire blues shined up at the speedster. "How sold are you?"
"If I had money, you'd be takin' all of it." Sonic ruffled the kit's bangs, snickering at Tails' half-hearted attempt to swat him away.
After fixing his fringe, Tails held the translator out for the hedgehog to take. "Here! Try it out!"
"Right now?" Sonic asked, the device being dropped into his open palm. "But there's nothin' to translate!"
"I added something special to it!" Tails was rocking back and forth on his heels. "Go ahead!"
"Okay okay!" Sonic better get started before the kit became any more impatient. He inwardly chuckled. He was really rubbing off on this kid. "So I just flip the switch and talk?" Tails nodded adamantly. With a flick of a finger, the translator was on. A tiny green light was blinking. Sonic thought of what to say. "Um…"
He startled a bit when his own voice emitted from the translator. 'My mind is totally blank right now.'
"Wha…" The hero blinked in shock. "What?"
The device started up again. 'What is this thing doing?'
"It's translating what you really mean!" Tails happily chirped. "Along with languages, it basically reads your mind!"
'Man, I am such a genius!' the translator said in the kitsune's voice.
"Wow Tails!" Sonic looked at the device in newfound awe. "This is awesome!"
'I'm going to have so much fun with this!'
The fox cocked his head up at the grinning speedster. "Fun? What do you mean?"
'Sonic…what are you going to do…?'
The azure hedgie's grin widened when an idea popped into his mind. This translator would be best used with people who barely talked, was angry ninety percent of the time, and had striped quills. Today was one of Shadow's days off, right?
Sonic turned the device off and patted the other's shoulder in reassurance. "Nothin' too dangerous!" Though, it really depended if Shadow had a gun on him or not.
Tails didn't look to sure. "Just don't get it destroyed. I worked long and hard on that!"
The hedgehog turned in the direction of the exit, waving the kit off. "Don't worry about it, bro!" Sonic then tucked the device inside his quills. "I'll keep it safe and sound!" He blasted off before Tails could reply.
Sonic's smile couldn't be wider as he knocked on Shadow's apartment door. This was about to be grade A entertainment right here. He'd have to thank Tails for this opportunity.
The speedster didn't hear any noise from the inside for a long while, and Sonic was beginning to wonder of his rival was even home. Just because he wasn't busy being an agent didn't mean that he was just lounging around. Sonic pursed his lips, glancing behind him at the busy city. Maybe he could run into him somewhere out there…?
However, that thought was soon forgotten when the sound of someone unlocking the door reached his ears.
Sonic decided to control his smile so Shadow wouldn't be suspicious right out of the gate. He had to look natural, not like he had just won the lottery.
The door was opened to reveal a grumpy Ultimate Lifeform, and wow, bedhead alert. Shadow most likely had just rolled out of his bed. His quills were in disarray, his eyes were droopy, and he didn't even have his shoes on yet. Sonic was surprised that the other actually got the door in that state. Sonic would've just ignored the knocking.
The blue blur waved, disregarding the slightly irritated look he was receiving. "Long time no see, Shads! Missed me?" He then used his other hand to pretend to scratch his head, finding the translator and turning it on.
"No." Shadow was about to shut the door in his face. "Leave, hedgehog."
A robotic version of his voice filled the air. 'A bit, actually, but come back when I'm more awake.'
Sonic rose a brow at that, smirking, while Shadow froze where he stood, eyes wide. "I always knew that you valued our friendship!" He pushed past the petrified striped 'hog, entering the spotless apartment. "And well, you seem more awake now!"
'You're a great actor, Shads, I give you that! I'll just let myself in, hope you don't mind.'
Shadow turned toward him, closing the door. His eyes were now narrowed into slits. "Faker, what is talking?"
'What in the absolute hell is that?'
Sonic chuckled. This was getting better by the second. Shadow couldn't hide behind that stoic exterior of his anymore. "It's a translator! Tails built it! It can translate any language and well…" He gestured to Shadow. "…call out any liars!"
'My bro is amazing, and it's time for you to open up!'
Shadow blinked before scowling at him, throwing his shoe-less feet a swift glance. He couldn't utilize his usual speed, and Sonic couldn't feel any type of Chaos emerald nearby. Shadow couldn't get away. Perfect.
"Turn it off before you regret it." Shadow threatened, stepping closer to Sonic.
'Destroy that damn thing before it says something it shouldn't.'
Sonic's grin nearly covered his entire face. Half of his amusement came from the fact that he was about to get something juicy, and the other half was Shadow's hilarious reaction. His muzzle had paled somewhat, and his glare had a small bit of panic in it. Oh man. What was about to be dug up? Shadow slept with a teddy bear? He secretly adored sappy romance movies? He actually loved chili dogs as much as Sonic did?
"Nah uh uh!" Sonic wiggled a finger before taking out the small translator. Shadow's heated scarlets snapped to it. "Promised Tails that it wouldn't get destroyed!" He replaced it, and his rival's frown deepened. "Now, what are you hidin', Shads?"
'Tails will throw me out if it gets broken. Spill the beans! I know there's something!'
"There's nothing!" Shadow snapped, fists clenched at his sides. He closed the distance between the two a little more.
Sonic spread his arms out wide. "C'mon Shads! I'm your friend, right? You can tell me!"
'I totally wouldn't tell anyone. Probably.'
Shadow was about to respond, but he snapped his jaw shut. His quills bristled as he growled loudly.
The device still somehow translated that. 'More than a friend, and that's why I can't tell you.'
Sonic's brow furrowed, his smile melting off of his face at that. "Wha-" He didn't finish his inquiry, for a frenzied Shadow launched himself at him. The azure hedgie had been too caught off guard to properly dodge the attack, breath being knocked out of him. "Gah!" He gasped in pain when his back hit the floor.
His scrambled brain snapped back together when he felt fingers in his quills. Sonic grabbed Shadow's wrists and struggled to hold them away from his head. "Gonna have to stop you there, Shads! No touching the goods!"
'Gotta try harder!'
The striped hedgehog continued to try to get to the device, teeth bared. "Give it to me!"
'Give it to me!'
Sonic needed to mend this situation. He wouldn't admit it out loud, but Shadow was the tiniest bit stronger than him. In his current position, the translator wasn't going to make it out of this apartment. With a strong twist of his torso, the speedster quickly rolled them over, him now straddling the other and using his weight to pin Shadow's wrists to the floor.
Shadow didn't stop fighting him, glaring with the heat of a thousand suns. Sonic wasn't affected. He simply smiled, glad that his rival was still tired. At a hundred percent, Sonic would've been thrown off.
"So tell me…" The blue blur began, mentally going through theories himself, "…what do you mean about me being more than a friend to you?"
'I'm super curious and I'll never get this chance again and I'm not letting you go unless you spill.'
Shadow's ears were plastered against his head. He had ceased growling, apparently learning that any sound could trigger the device, but his red orbs were still enraged. He didn't answer.
Sonic hummed before leaning closer to him, a lightbulb going off in his mind. Shadow turning his head to the side didn't deter him. "I'm more than a friend…" He smirked. "I'm your best friend then! Aw Shads, that's so sweet!" The azure speedster then imitated a girl's voice. "We're gonna be best friends forever!"
'Rouge is so gonna be ticked off when she finds out. You're going to be the one to break it to her, okay bestie?'
That seemed to push Shadow over the edge. He snarled deeply. "That's the most idiotic thing I've ever heard! That translator is wrong, dammit! I-" The striped mammal gritted his teeth together, the regret in his eyes clear as day. Before Sonic could question that however, the device spoke up.
'You're not my best friend, but the device was still right. I like you, you damned idiot. Why can't you see that?'
Those words repeated in Sonic's head over and over again. "Like me? What…" It all clicked with the help of context clues, how tense Shadow had gotten, and how his rival didn't even attempt to refute it. Once he understood, his mind short-circuited and he yanked away from Shadow like he had been burnt.
'You like me, as in romantically?'
Sonic winced at the words the translator emitted, feeling highly uncomfortable now. He didn't know what to do nor say. Shadow wasn't looking at him, his jaw clenched. His ruby irises were duller now. Sonic was keenly aware that he was still straddling the other.
He made a move to put more space in between them two, but Shadow's arm suddenly shot out, grabbing his chin. It would've been easy to just jerk out of the hold, but Sonic went stock-still when his rival's other hand fingered through the fur on his shoulder. It then journeyed up into the hero's mess of quills, the digits leaving tingles in their wake.
Ruby orbs were focused on him now, but they lacked something. If Sonic hadn't been so distracted by his increased heart rate, the fingers combing through his spines, and the verbal bomb that had just been dropped on him, he would've pinpointed that Shadow's eyes lacked spark, resolve…hope.
The azure speedster forgot the ability to breathe when Shadow pulled him closer, noses almost touching. Sonic was mentally screaming at himself to stop whatever this was and to just go, but his body wasn't listening to him because Shadow was pretty much showing him right now that he liked him romantically. Shadow had feelings for him! Sonic couldn't comprehend this.
They were friends, yeah, maybe leaning towards good friends depending on the day and whether Shadow was in a positive mood or not. But that was it! Nothing else…or was there? Sonic thoughts were a whirlwind high on sugar and was Shadow about to kiss him?!
The striped one was so close. Sonic could feel his warmth, his breath…but in a blink, his presence was gone.
Sonic's breaths were rapid and shallow, wide eyes watching Shadow watch him. His rival had swiftly leaned back. His scarlet orbs were unreadable as he held up his hand. Sonic tore his attention from Shadow's face and focused…on the translator now in the other's possession.
The blue blur's lips twitched downwards as Shadow turned the device off with the flick of a switch. It was tossed his way, and Sonic instinctively caught it. He didn't care about the invention right now though. He was more confused than ever. The whole…whatever it was…had been done to get the translator? Sonic guessed that he was relieved…? But Shadow still liked him though…and that…
Sonic was thrown out of his musings at Shadow's voice. It was quiet and hollow. The azure hedgie scrambled to his feet, not taking his eyes off the other. The striped 'hog got up as well, avoiding Sonic's gaze. Without saying anything, Shadow turned away and walked in the direction of a branching hallway.
Sonic finally got his voice back as he reached out. "Wait…Shads!" The other paused in his stride, his back to the hero. Sonic floundered for something to say, anything to say, to make things…better? Less confusing? But, all he came up with was, "W-Where are you going?"
"Back to bed." Those toneless words hit Sonic like a bag of bricks. "Let yourself out."
Shadow disappeared deeper into the apartment, and Sonic still had no idea about what to do. He could go talk to him, but he was sure that Shadow wouldn't appreciate it. At all. It wasn't like Sonic had anything to say anyway.
However, he couldn't just ignore it, right? Shadow wasn't Amy. Shadow wasn't Amy…
Sonic let out a shaky breath. He gingerly rubbed his head where his rival's hands had been.
Shadow and Amy weren't identical, but…maybe pretending it didn't happen would work for him too? Amy always bounced back. Shadow was strong. He should too. Things would go back to normal.
With one last long look, Sonic left the apartment and ran away from his thoughts.