The Echidna's Guardian


Chapter 1: Just A... Normal Day?

It was a bright, beautiful day on Angel Island. Knuckles, who lived there, was guarding as usual. He guards the legendary Master Emerald, which is said to contain unimaginable power. For all the thieves out there, the ones who know about it go after it, searching for unlimited power. Well... almost everyone. There was one animal who didn't want the Master Emerald to obtain such power. Besides being infinitely powerful, the Master Emerald shines with a glow that no other gem has. Its beauty as a gem is unmatched. That makes it a perfect target for Rouge The Bat, a female thief who loves the shine and glow of pretty gems.

Secretly, Knuckles actually felt her to be very attractive, but he couldn't bring himself to tell her that. He blushed a little as he thought of it and looked around. Everything was quiet, and he liked it that way. He was leaning back, lying down, against the Master Emerald. There was very little wind, and it blew through his dreadlocks quietly. He relaxed to the cool breeze, but then looked up to a faint sound in the distant. It was... a voice? Knuckles listened harder, then saw Rouge coming into view."Hey Knuckles!"She greeted playfully.

Knuckles groaned. Her visits had been getting closer and closer together. He sat up and looked down as her boots touched down to the grass. She looked up to the top of the shrine, where Knuckles and the Master Emerald was. She giggled."Hi Knuckie. How's it goin'? "She asked, waving a hand."Oh, good. It's just there's a bat hanging around my Master Emerald. She wants to steal it, but she knows that that's never going to happen."Knuckles answered, standing up.

"Oh? "Rouge asked, placing a hand to her chest."Well, we simply MUST do something about her!"She shouted. She pointed her index finger up as she put her hand out."Oh!I've got an idea!"She exclaimed."Why don't you go looking for her? "She asked, flying up, then landing in front of Knuckles."I'll stay here and guard the Master Emerald, kay? "She asked, smiling. She was about to walk up and embrace the Emerald in a hug, but a sudden quake was felt, knocking her back a little. She tumbled back even more on the second quake, knocking her off the shrine and knocking her down the stone stairs.

"Rouge!"Knuckles yelled, holding a hand out. She fell hard onto the grass and groaned, lying on her back. Knuckles looked to his left to see none other than Dr. Eggman, flying in his Egg-Mobile, being followed by a giant robot, who was causing quakes with each step. Knuckles was able to stand his ground, unlike Rouge, who still lied there beside the shrine's stairs. The Doctor stopped, a few feet away from the shrine, flying eye-to-eye to Knuckles. The robot stopped as well."Eggman."Knuckles growled."Come now Knuckles. Just give me the Emerald and I'll be on my way."He said.

"Not gonna happen Doctor."The red echidna insisted."Fine, have it your way."Eggman said, turning to the giant robot."We'll just take it by force!E-9001, beat that echidna 'till there's nothing left!"Eggman yelled, pointing towards Knuckles. The robot put its arm back, then swung it forward, destroying the roof and pillars of the shrine in seconds!Part of the roof slammed into Knuckles, sending the echidna flying!

Chapter 2: Knocked-Out Knuckles?

Knuckles fell, then crashed down, landing on something... or rather, someone. He pushed himself up with his hands to find that he had landing on Rouge. He blushed, because the shock from his landing had woken her up, and she was looking right at him."K-Knuckles? What are y-"Rouge was quickly interrupted as the giant robot's foot slammed down next to them. Knuckles carried Rouge out of the way and the other foot came down to crush them."Are you alright? "Knuckles asked, sounding a little stubborn, trying not to sound like he really 'cared'. Rouge shook her head and stood up."Fine."She answered."Stubborn pests."Eggman said, flying towards them.

Rouge charged towards the robot and jumped high in the air, spinning. The robot hit her hard though, and she fell to the ground. Knuckles growled, then dug into the ground. He dug around under the robot, trying to make the ground colaspe. But the robot merely stepped back, causing Knuckles to get covered in dirt and grass. He leapt out of the colasped mess and growled at Eggman, then charged towards the robot and rapidly punched it. The robot was beginning to break under the echidna's punches, but then it grabbed the echidna and threw him back near where Rouge was standing."Knuckles!"She shouted, putting her hands under the echidna's head and lifting him up. He groaned a little, then charged towards the robot again.

"Oh, I don't have time for this."Eggman said, then he flew towards the Master Emerald. But just before he could grab it, Rouge jumped up in front of him."You're not going anywhere with this gem Doctor!"She said, giving a strong kick to the Egg-Mobile. Eggman was blown back a little, then looked at Rouge angrily."Blasted bat!"He yelled. He suddenly calmed down as an evil grin time to his face. He pressed a button on his machine, and the large robot came back over and knocked Rouge straight back to the ground!"Now, let's test this out, shall we? "He asked, and a large machine suddenly appeared in front of his Egg-Mobile.

He pressed a few buttons, and the machine began charging up. Knuckles turned to see Rouge lying next to Eggman and the machine."Rouge!"He yelled. The bat began to stand up, but she didn't seem to have enough time to get away. The machine fired, and Rouge shielded her eyes. She heard something being hit, but... it wasn't her. She looked ahead to see red. It was the back of Knuckles's head!The echidna fell to the ground, uncounscious from the blast."Knuckie!"Rouge shouted, kneeling down to the echidna.

"You... you... why did you do that? !"She asked. She glared up at the Doctor, then stood up and spun again, this time avoiding the robot's grasp. She spun through the middle, then spun again through the head. The robot was already weakened from Knuckles's punches, so it was practically useless now. Rouge landed softly and put her hands on her hips."Take that."She said plainly. She turned to Eggman, then flew up and landed on the side of his Egg-Mobile."Not so fast Egghead!"She yelled."Ur, um, can't we talk about this? "He asked. Rouge hopped off and pointed in a random direction."Leave, NOW!"She yelled.

Eggman quickly left, leaving the destroyed robot on the island. Rouge sighed, then looked around. Her eyes caught sight of the Master Emerald.

Chapter 3: A New, Guardian?

"Hello."Rouge whispered to the Emerald, putting her hands onto it."Well, I'm sure Knuckles won't mind if I..."She suddenly backed away from the Emerald. *He did save me... *She thought. She turned back to where Knuckles had been lying, only to see that he... wasn't there? "Hm? "Rouge asked herself, looking around. No Knuckles. She looked back to the spot. It was fairly far away from where she was standing, but she saw something in the grass. Something small. She flapped her wings and floated up a bit. It was buried in the grass slightly, so it was hard to see. Rouge floated down towards it, then landed softly on the grass. She gasped.

It was Knuckles, only he was a LOT smaller!She picked him up carefully."So that's what that thing did."She said to herself. She shook him with her index finger."Knuckles... Knuckles, are you alright? "She asked. The echidna stirred a little, but then fell back into unconsciousness. Rouge stood up, holding the tiny Knuckles gently, and walked into the forest, looking for something. Then she wondered. Why was she doing this? She came to Angel Island to take the Master Emerald, right? The plan was to knock Knuckles out in the first place, so, why was she helping him? This would been the perfect shot to take the Emerald. Rouge pondered this over and over, but couldn't bring herself to come to a conclusion that made sense.

After a little more mind-rattling thinking, she found a large tree which was blooming flowers. They smelled as sweet as could be. She set Knuckles down and picked a red one from the tree, then held it up to his face. The scent wandered past Knuckles, and the small echidna began to wake up. He gave a loud groan and opened his eyes slightly."Wha... What happened? "He asked groggily, his vision blurred badly."Knuckles? Are you alright? Can you hear me? "Rouge asked. The echidna looked towards Rouge and blinked a little."R-Rouge? "He asked, his vision slowly returning."Yes."She answered plainly.

Knuckles's eyes suddenly shot open as he stood up quickly."The Master Emerald!Eggman!"He yelled, looking around frantically."You're cute when you're angry!"Rouge exclaimed."Huh? "Knuckles asked, turning."Up here Knuckie!"Rouge said. Knuckles looked up to her face and jumped back."What happened to you!? "He asked."I should be asking you that question. But I already know that this was Eggman's doing."The bat answered."Eggman? I..."Knuckles looked around to see all the huge surroundings that was Angel Island."But... why... what about you then!? Where's Eggman, and the Master Emerald!? "Knuckles asked the perspectively large bat."I was able to tell Eggman off, and... about the Master Emerald..."Rouge turned her head nervously. Should she tell Knuckles that she DIDN'T take the emerald because she had to make sure he was alright?

"Yeah, out with it!"Knuckles yelled impatiently. Rouge turned to Knuckles angrily."Hey!I just saved you and the Master Emerald, so don't be that way with me!"She yelled back. She closed her mouth. She didn't mean to say that. Knuckles's angry look turned to genuine surprise."You... you did? "He asked. Rouge put her arms down in defeat."Y... Yeah, I did. I just couldn't take the Emerald when you took the blow for me like that."She said."Oh..."Knuckles said softly, looking down. He didn't know that Rouge actually cared."H-How do I know you're not lying? "Knuckles asked, feeling a little nervous.

"I'll take you to the big robot I defeated."Rouge offered."I guess..."Knuckles said. He suddenly felt Rouge's fingers wrap around him."H-Hey!"He yelled."Don't be like that. You'd rather walk? At your size, it'll take you a long time to get there."She said, standing up. She released her grip on the echidna, letting Knuckles just sit on her palm. She walked back through the forest. Knuckles felt helpless in her hand. Then, a realization came to him. How was he supposed to protect the Master Emerald?

Chapter 4: A Lost Connection?

Knuckles sat impatiently in Rouge's palm. Anyone could take the Master Emerald at his size. He clenched his teeth and tightened his fists."Can't you go any faster? "He asked quietly in a low growl."Oh calm down Knuckie. Your precious emerald is fine."Rouge insisted."I guess, but-"Knuckles stopped and looked ahead to see the giant robot's shattered parts. Knuckles jumped down from Rouge's hand and stared at the mess."It... And I thought it was huge before..."He said, shivering a little. Rouge smirked a little. Maybe it was time that she tried teasing Knuckles. At his size, it might be a lot more fun.

"So, Knuckles, I bet a big strong echidna like you would be able to protect little me back at my place, huh? There's so many bad things going on there. I might need you."She said, poking Knuckles a bit. He turned to her, and Rouge looked at him in surprise. Those purple eyes... they seemed so, odd. For once, Knuckles looked like an innocent little echidna, rather than the tall, proud one he usually was. He waited for something else to come out of the bat's mouth, but she couldn't seem to grasp any words. He turned and ran up to the Master Emerald shrine. He climbed up the stairs with haste, then walked up to the giant green Emerald.

Rouge flew up and landed a few feet away from him."What are you doing? "She asked. Knuckles didn't answer as he placed his hands on the Emerald. He waited, then suddenly got shocked and was blown back!He hit his head hard against Rouge's boot, then yelled in pain."Knuckles!"Rouge said in surprise, sitting down and picking him up."Ow. . ow..."He said. He looked up to Rouge."I... I lost it."He whispered. Rouge gave him a confused look."What did you lose? "She asked."My connection with the Master Emerald... it's gone."He replied.

Rouge set Knuckles down and looked to the Master Emerald. It was glowing its bright green light as usual. Rouge, naturally, was drawn to it as she stood up and began to bring her hands around it."Rouge!Please don't!"Knuckles begged, holding a hand out. And to the echinda's surprise, she stopped. Rouge gritted her teeth. Why did she stop? This was the perfect moment!Knuckles was shrunk down to three inches tall, so he could do nothing to stop her... and yet... she just couldn't do it. Rouge slammed her fists down on the Master Emerald in anger."Why can't I do it? !"She asked angrily.

"... Do what? "Came the small echidna's voice behind her. She turned with a face of somewhat regret and sighed."Nothing Knuckles."Rouge lied, leaning against the emerald. Knuckles sighed as well."How am I supposed to protect the Master Emerald now? "He asked. He wasn't exactly comfortable with asking the top jewel thief that, but in a way, he would've felt worse not asking her. Rouge suddenly smirked and walked up to him. She picked him up with two fingers and gave an evil look."I know what you can protect..."She paused, poking Knuckles in the stomach lightly.

"... you know Knuckles, there's a rare gem near where my place is. It's impossible for someone my size to get in, but-"She smirked again, releasing Knuckles and grabbing him again in her left hand, holding his whole body, aside from his head, in her hand."-you'll have no trouble getting in, with a little help from me of course. You can protect it after we take it."She said. Knuckles gulped. Rouge would do anything to get her hands on a jewel, so she'd do anything to HIM if he didn't get it for her. Before Knuckles could answer, Rouge jumped off the shrine and flew up, flying towards her house. *If I can't bring myself to get the Master Emerald, then I'll have to redeem myself by getting one of those pretty gems. *She thought, keeping a strong grip on Knuckles.

Chapter 5: The Little Captive

Knuckles, in a way, was both happy and scared from the tight grip Rouge was giving him. By the look of it, she wasn't trying very hard for her strength, so she could probably crush him if she wasn't careful... maybe even if she wanted to. However, Knuckles seemed happy that she had a nice firm grip because they had just left Angel Island, and if she dropped him, it'd be a long way down. He pondered other things as Rouge flew to who-knows-where. Even if she did drop him, couldn't he just glide away? No, his new size might make it harder to control. Before he could think about other things, he felt himself land on something soft. He looked around."Where are we? "He asked, looking up to the perspectively large bat staring down at him.

"You're in my room Knuckie. Now..."Rouge paused as she turned and walked across the room, opening her closet. She pulled out a black suit. It looked fairly small, even to the skinny and curvy Rouge, but even Knuckles knew that Rouge always wore clothes too tight for her."Alright, we might need to get something black for you too."Rouge said."What? No way!"Knuckles yelled, standing up. Rouge gave a stern glare to the echidna, who quickly sat back down when he caught sight of it. Rouge glanced around, but found nothing."With red all over you, you'll be easy to spot."She sighed as she slipped on her outfit."Here, grab on."She said, walking back over to Knuckles and holding out a hand.

Knuckles was hesitant, but jumped on anyway. Rouge flapped her wings, then flew out a nearby window."Alright."She said, looking around. It was now night-time, a time when Rouge preferred to strike. She covered Knuckles up with both of her hands, then flew towards one direction."Okay Knuckles, listen up."Rouge whispered. She took one hand off of him and grabbed something from a pocket in her suit. She handed it to Knuckles, who grabbed it. It was a tiny device."Keep that with you. I'll give you instructions on what to do. You follow them, and you'll be in and out in no time."She said.

Knuckles nodded, though Rouge couldn't see it as she covered Knuckles up again."We'll go with the basics. Going through the vents."She said. Knuckles heard a few loudish 'clang' noises, then was dropped onto the cold ground of the vent."What does the jewel even look like? "He asked."You'll know it when you see it."Rouge answered. She pointed furthur into the vent, then flew off."Knuckles... Knuckles, can you hear me? "Rouge's voice rang through the device. Knuckles held it up. It was fairly large to him. About as big as one of his hands."Yeah, I do."He answered.

"Good, now, there's some alarm beams through here. Just stay on the bottom-left side, and you should be fine."Rouge assured."Got it."Knuckles said, placing the device between his back and his dreadlocks, where it stuck quite well. He got down as best as he could, then crawled along the vent. *Why am I doing this for Rouge? I should've just yelled 'No!I won't do it!'Why didn't I? !*He wondered. His mind wandered away from thoughts of Rouge as he looked around nervously. He couldn't see the lasers, but he knew they were there. Knuckles kept going and going, then got a noise coming from the device.

"Alright, you're past that. Now, head right and keep going. I'll tell you when to stop."Rouge said."Alright Rouge."Knuckles said back, unusually happy. He was confused suddenly as he stood up. Why did he say it like he wanted to do this... was it for Rouge? No... no, that didn't make sense. Knuckles groaned a little, then ran down the direction Rouge told him.

Chapter 6: Gem Stealing-Rouge Style!

"Stop!"Rouge commanded. Knuckled did as told."Alright, now what? "He asked."There should be a fan to your left."Rouge answered. Knuckles looked."Yeah, there is."He confirmed."Alright. Walk up to it, and bust it right open!"Her voice boomed through the device."What? Seriously? "Knuckles asked."There's no opening to the gem room, so we'll have to make our own. Be careful though!Set the ripped out part aside."The device answered."Easy enough."The red echidna said confidently, busting open the non-turning fan, then pulling it into the vent and setting it aside.

"Alright, so how do I get the gem? "Knuckles asked, looking down to see a gem in a glass case."With your size, it should be no problem Knuckles. I'm right outside. All you have to do, is get the gem, get back into the vent, and head outside. I'll be waiting!"Rouge replied."But Rou-"Knuckles started, but was cut off as the device shut down. Knuckles looked back down, then leaped down and broke open the glass case. *That probably set off an alarm. Better make this quick. *He thought, reaching inside and pulling out the gem. He stepped back a little, then ran forward and threw the gem as hard as he could.

It tumbled into the vent, and Knuckles took a high jump back into it. He grabbed it and ran through the vent, reversing the order Rouge had given him when going through it. He was almost there now. He threw the gem past the lasers, then crawled through them himself. He picked the large gem back up and ran outside and made a mad jump, but Rouge was there, as she said, and caught both Knuckles and the gem and flew off."Whew. That jump back up to the vent wore me out a little."The echidna admitted."You're smaller, so I guess your lighter, which makes it... easier to jump higher? "Rouge guessed.

Knuckles just shrugged."That was... actually kinda fun."He admitted. Rouge blushed under her outift, then made it back too the window and flew inside to her room. She set Knuckles down on her bed and slipped her black outfit off, then left the room to change into her night-wear. Knuckles just sat there, then laid back on the bed and relaxed. Something inside him was worried about the Master Emerald, but, for some reason, the voice in his head was much more quiet than usual.

*I'm sure it's fine. *Knuckles thought. *After all, it IS a gem of ultimate power. It can probably protect itself for one little day. *He added."Hm..."He said softly to himself, staring up at the ceiling. *I can probably just ask Rouge to take me back to Angel Island tommorrow. Then everything should just fall into place. *He thought. He heard Rouge walking towards him, but didn't bother to look. He was much too relaxed.

Rouge laid down on the bed too, then picked the small echidna up, setting him down on her chest, making him blush furiously. Her outfit was fairly loose on her, but she still looked highly attractive to Knuckles, especially at his new size. Rouge stroked his fur a little, then laid back and fell asleep, as did Knuckles after getting comfortable.

Chapter 7: Headin' Back

"Ugh..."Knuckles groaned as the light from the window shone in front of his eyes."Okay... okay, I'm up."He said groggily, sitting up. He sighed as he looked around. Everything was still giant-sized to him. He stood up, then noticed something. Rouge wasn't around."Rouge."He called softly. No answer."Rouge!"He called, loudly this time. Still nothing. He sat back down."I hope she didn't get caught."He said softly. He looked to his right to see the gem from yesterday sitting on Rouge's table."Alright, so that's out."The echidna added. He looked to the door as it slowly creaked open."Ur... hi Knuckles."She said shyly, walking in.

"Where'd you go? "Knuckles asked."I just went to think a few things over."She said, scratching her ear. Knuckles just stared at her, then felt his face get hot. He immediately shook it off and stood up proudly."I can't stay here any longer Rouge!"He shouted, trying to act as tough as he could."The Master Emerald needs me!"He added."Didn't you say you... lost some sort of connection with it? "Rouge asked."Well, yeah, but..."He started. Rouge extended a hand towards the door."If you wanna get back there, go yourself."She said, slightly stubbornly.

Knuckles just stared at her, trying to conceal the small blush coming to him from looking at her."Y-You'd just let me leave? "He asked, pointing out the door. The bat nodded. Knuckles walked slowly to the edge of the bed, then hopped down and ran to the door. He paused and looked up to the bat. He waited, then ran out. Rouge sighed, leaning against the wall."I guess things just don't last."She whispered, walking over to the gem. She picked it up and smiled."At least I still have you."She said, smiling. She stared at it for a while, then frowned and set it back down. *They... just don't glow like they used to. *She said. She clenched her teeth, then swiftly kicked at the table, crushing it to pieces. She breathed a little, then colasped to her knees and began to tear up.

Back with Knuckles, the echidna was already out of the bat's large home. *Maybe I should head to Tails's lab. He should be able to return me to normal. Even if he can't, he should still be able to get me to Angel Island. *He thought, running through the forest."Knuckles!"He heard behind him. He turned to see Rouge. She looked around, searching for him. *What's she looking for me for? *Knuckles wondered, clearly confused."Where are you? "She asked, oblivious to the echidna standing a few feet away. Knuckles quickly turned and climbed up one of the trees.

After a moment or so, Rouge gave up and ran back to her home. Knuckles sighed in relief."That bat is... well, batty. She wanted me to leave one minute, then wants me to stay another? "He asked himself."This is such a weird day."He said, hopping down to one of the branches, then jumping from tree to tree, hoping he remembered where the young fox's home was.

"Drat, I'm really wearing out fast."Knuckles thought as his jumping began to weaken. He stopped at one branch and sat down, letting out a loud sigh."At this small size, it could take me an hour or so to get there..."He said to himself. He paused, then looked around. *Do I even know where I'm going? *He wondered. He leaned back and looked to the leaves of the trees. *I GOTTA start thinking these things over. *He thought. A sound began to ring in his head as he looked ahead. Through the forest, he could see something large and blue headed right for him!He stood up panicly as the blur got closer."Sonic!"He yelled as the blur flew by, sending a large gust of wind through the trees.

Knuckles fell hard to the ground, then became covered in a few leaves that had fallen from the wind. He growled as he sat up, pushing leaves off him. He turned a little and shook a fist."Watch where you're going you blue jerk!"He yelled. No answer. He sighed again, sort of knowing that Sonic wouldn't hear him. He stood up."Well, I guess I better keep going."He said to himself, turning back in the direction he faced last time."This place is like an endless path with it looking so big."He pointed out as he began to walk."Maybe if I'm lucky, walking there won't wear me out as quick."He told himself, looking around.

He noticed something else coming towards him. But this time, it came from the sky."Whuh oh!"Knuckles yelped as he was suddenly tackled by a few flickies."Ow!Hey!Knock it off!"He yelled. All but one flicky backed away at the sound of his voice. Knuckles growled at the last one and punched it hard. It fell on its tail and whined. Knuckles slid his hands along his fur, as most of it was now fairly messed up. After taking only a short time fixing it, he crossed his arms."I can't get a break today..."He whispered. The flicky stood up and began to make angry noises at him."Hey, you attacked me first."The echidna said plainly."Look, if you don't know where my Tails's house is, I'm out of here."He explained, walking past the flicky. It stood up and gave a peck to him.

"Hey!"Knuckles yelled, turning. The flicky spread its wings out, then flew up and spun in a circular motion."That how his tails spin... you know where Tails is? !"He asked. It landed back down and nodded. Knuckles crossed his arms, while the other flickies just watched."How do I know I can trust ya? "He asked. The flicky shrugged. Knuckles sighed."Alright. I'll walk a little longer. If I don't find Tails by the time I get tired, you can take me."He said. The flicky nodded in agreement, then shooed the other flickies away and happily followed Knuckles.

"Hm..."Rouge said, leaning against one of the trees. *Where would he be going? He wouldn't go straight to Angel Island, would he? *She wondered. She flew up and looked around."I better check it out just to be sure!"She told herself, flying over the forest and looking down, heading in the direction of Angel Island.

Chapter 8: Little Lost Echidna

"Drat,I'm really wearing out fast."Knuckles thought as his jumping began to weaken.He stopped at one branch and sat down,letting out a loud sigh."At this small size,it could take me an hour or so to get there..."He said to himself.He paused,then looked around.*Do I even know where I'm going?*He wondered.He leaned back and looked to the leaves of the trees.*I GOTTA start thinking these things over.*He thought.A sound began to ring in his head as he looked ahead.Through the forest,he could see something large and blue headed right for him!He stood up panicly as the blur got closer."Sonic!"He yelled as the blur flew by,sending a large gust of wind through the trees.

Knuckles fell hard to the ground,then became covered in a few leaves that had fallen from the wind.He growled as he sat up,pushing leaves off him.He turned a little and shook a fist."Watch where you're going you blue jerk!"He yelled.No answer.He sighed again,sort of knowing that Sonic wouldn't hear him.He stood up."Well,I guess I better keep going."He said to himself,turning back in the direction he faced last time."This place is like an endless path with it looking so big."He pointed out as he began to walk."Maybe if I'm lucky,walking there won't wear me out as quick."He told himself,looking around.

He noticed something else coming towards him.But this time,it came from the sky."Whuh oh!"Knuckles yelped as he was suddenly tackled by a few flickies."Ow!Hey!Knock it off!"He yelled.All but one flicky backed away at the sound of his voice.Knuckles growled at the last one and punched it hard.It fell on its tail and whined.Knuckles slid his hands along his fur,as most of it was now fairly messed up.After taking only a short time fixing it,he crossed his arms."I can't get a break today..."He whispered.The flicky stood up and began to make angry noises at him."Hey,you attacked me first."The echidna said plainly."Look,if you don't know where my Tails's house is,I'm out of here."He explained,walking past the flicky.It stood up and gave a peck to him.

"Hey!"Knuckles yelled,turning.The flicky spread its wings out,then flew up and spun in a circular motion."That how his tails know where Tails is?!"He asked.It landed back down and nodded.Knuckles crossed his arms,while the other flickies just watched."How do I know I can trust ya?"He asked.The flicky shrugged.Knuckles sighed."Alright.I'll walk a little longer.If I don't find Tails by the time I get tired,you can take me."He said.The flicky nodded in agreement,then shooed the other flickies away and happily followed Knuckles.

"Hm..."Rouge said,leaning against one of the trees.*Where would he be going?He wouldn't go straight to Angel Island,would he?*She wondered.She flew up and looked around."I better check it out just to be sure!"She told herself,flying over the forest and looking down,heading in the direction of Angel Island.

Chapter 9: Gettin' Late

"Ugh, how long have we been walking? "Knuckles asked the flicky as his legs began to weaken. The flicky poked him a little, laughing at his weak and small size. Knuckles grunted, then straightened up."Not that I'm tired or anything!Haha!"He claimed, giving off a fake laugh. The flicky chuckled at the echidna's proudness, then looked up as it heard a sound. It began to chirp loudly."What is it? "Knuckles asked, turning to it. He looked up to see a bat flying over the forest not too far away."Quick!Hide!"He shouted, not wanting to be stuck with Rouge another day.

The flicky pushed Knuckles over to one of the trees with its wings, then looked back up as the bat passed over them. It chirped lightly at him."Hm, who is she? Oh, it's just Rouge. She's looking for me, but I don't really know why."Knuckles explained. He scratched his head a little."Now... er, what were we doing? "He asked. The flicky sweatdropped, then gestured its wing in the direction they were walking."Oh yeah!Right."The echidna said, walking again. The flicky sighed, then followed.

"Oh!I'll never find him!"Rouge shouted as she neared Angel Island. She flew down and stood on the cool grass, looking around."Doesn't look like he's around here..."She said, sighing. She looked up to top of the Master Emerald shrine. *Maybe he's up there. *She thought, rushing up the stairs. She circled the Master Emerald, but Knuckles was nowhere around it either."This is hopeless."She groaned, sitting down and leaning against the large emerald. She yawned slightly, then looked up at the sky."I should... probably..."She started, then fell asleep next to the emerald as the night darkened the sky.

Knuckles stopped and colasped on the ground, rolling over a little."I'm exhausted. We've been walking for hours."He sighed. The flicky pecked at him a little, making small noises. Knuckles sat up and looked around."Alright, alright."He said, moving away from the middle of the path. He laid down and groaned."You can take me to Tails's tommorrow."He inisisted. The flicky nodded, then sat next to him, waiting for sleep to take over. Sure enough, Knuckles fell asleep. The flicky flapped its wings and flew up, looking about. It saw a house made of metal in the distance and cheered a little. They were closer than they were before. It flew back down and rested beside Knuckles, falling asleep shortly after.

Chapter 10: Found Him... ?

Knuckles stretched a little as light hit his eyes."Oh!Geez!"He shouted, as the light was hitting his eyes brightly. He stood up and rubbed them a little, then looked to the sleeping flicky."Hey, wake up."He whispered, shaking its head slightly. It groaned and chirped a little angrily at Knuckles."We better get movin'. Rouge'll be here any minute."He said. The flicky stood up a gave a winged salute, remembering what Knuckles had told it about Rouge. It turned its back to him and sat down, then chirped a bit. Knuckles looked at it and smirked."You're not gonna drop me, are ya? "He asked. It turned its head to him, giving him a sly smirk.

Knuckles just looked at it for a moment, then hopped on. The flicky smirked, then flew up, looking around. Knuckles did too, then pointed down to the lab."There!"He shouted. It chirped, then flew towards the large lab."Hm... wonder where Rouge is..."He said, looking around, but there was no sign of the bat. The bird sped down, landing safely near the entrance. Knuckles hopped off and held a hand up."Thanks."He said. The flicky nodded and flew up, landing on a nearby branch. Knuckles walked into the fox's lab."Yo!Tails!"He called out. No answer, though it was to be expected. He was about 3 inches tall, and even with the echo in the metal lab, it was fairly useless as Tails didn't seem to be around.

Rouge slowly rolled awake."Ugh... oh no!"She said, standing up."Darnit Knuckles!"She shouted, flying up and taking off, leaving Angel Island.

Knuckles sighed, then turned to the flicky."You think you could get Tails for me? "He asked. The flicky gave him a bored stare, then stood up and slowly flew up, then inside the lab. It scanned around, then heard a noise and flew downstairs. Knuckles waited impatiently."I don't have time to be so small."He complained, still concerned about his Master Emerald. He heard flapping behind him and looked up to the sky. *Rouge!*Knuckles thought, running back and hiding under one of the tables. The bat landed in front of the lab and walked in."Hey Tails!"She called.

The fox came upstairs, trying to sheild himself from the flicky pecking at him. It stopped as he looked at Rouge."Rouge, what are you doing here... did you send this flicky after me? "He asked, slightly annoyed."Hm? "Rouge asked, looking at the flicky. It stuck its toungue out at her. She shrugged."No, I didn't."She answered. She casually walked up to Tails, blushing a little with embarrassment."Hey... did you, maybe see Knuckles around? "She asked, batting her eyelashes a bit."Are you kidding? Have you checked Angel Island? "He asked in reply."I checked there."She answered.

"Well, then where could he be? "Tails asked, more to himself than Rouge. He looked up at her."Why are you looking for him? "He asked. Rouge's face went red."Erm, well, I'm just... worried that he'll get hurt."She said."What? Knuckles? "Tails asked."Yes."Rouge answered. *Is that all? *Knuckles wondered. He thought for a moment. Should he reveal himself to Rouge?

Chapter 11: Help From Fox-Boy

Before Knuckles to make a decision, Tails interrupted his thoughts."Why are you worried about Knuckles? He's super-tough!"The fox exclaimed, throwing a few fake punches."Er... well... something... happened a few days ago."Rouge answered, blushing. Tails suddenly became worried."What happened? "He asked, concerned. After all, Knuckles was the guardian of the Master Emerald. Anyone could take it since it was unguarded. However, this thought made him ponder something else.

Why hasn't Rouge taken it yet? "Erm, Eggman came and took out this machine-thing."The bat started, gestering her arms out like she was holding a large machine. Tails nodded."Then what? "He asked. Rouge blushed."I was a little weak. Knuckles just came out of nowhere and sheilded me from the blast. And... er..."She paused, not sure if she should tell Tails anything since he hadn't seen Knuckles.

"Yeah, and then? What happened to him? "The fox asked, pressuring Rouge to go on with her story. The bat looked at him for a minute, then shrugged, finally giving in."He shrunk."She said."Shrunk? "Tails asked."Ahuh."Rouge confirmed."Whoa, never thought Eggman could construct such a device."The fox said in awe."So, how small is he? "He asked, shaking off his amazement."About 3 inches, I'd guess."She answered.

"Wow. So, where do you think he'd be? "Tails asked, becoming concerned again."At first, I thought he'd head to Angel Island, but I couldn't find him on my way there, or on Angel Island itself. So I figured I'd come here. Don't you have some sort of radar-thing that could find him? "Rouge asked. Tails thought for a moment, while Knuckles finally chose to come out of his hiding place.

"Hey!Down here!"He yelled. With the help of the echo, the two broke out of their conversation and looked down at him."Knuckles!"Tails said in shock. Rouge scooped him up in her hand."Were you there this whole time? You had me worried!"She shouted. Realizing what she had said, she blushed. Tails took Knuckles in his own hand."Well, we found Knuckles. By the way Rouge, why didn't you take the Master Emerald if Knuckles was defenseless? "He asked, getting a swift glare from the red echidna."Well, I..."Rouge paused, blushing again."I had to protect him."She answered softly.

Chapter 12: A Little Explanation

"Wow, really? "Tails asked. He scratched his head, trying to take all of this in."This is one weird day then."He said. Knuckles huffed a little."No kidding. It's more like a week."He grumbled."Well, anyway, I'll do my best to try and fix you Knuckles."The fox assured. He began to pass him over to Rouge, then stopped."Would you, rather go with Rouge, or me? "He asked. Knuckles blushed. He couldn't say that he wanted to be with Rouge, could he? "Er, just, set me down. I don't like being held."He answered."Well, alright."Tails said, setting the echidna down.

Knuckles looked up at the two, blushing slightly as he looked to Rouge."Are you sure you just wanna stay here with Rouge? I didn't think you liked her, and I'm heading downstairs."Tails said."I'll be fine. If she tries anything funny, I'll..."He paused, then held up his fists with a nervous look on his face."... I'll rough her up a bit."He finished."Er... well, okay."The fox said, turning and flying downstairs, leaving the two alone.

"So... Knuckles..."Rouge started."Yeah? "He asked, turning and looking up to her."I'm... sorry. If you want to go to the Master Emerald, I'll take you."She insisted. Knuckles sat down, sighing."I see no point in that. I can't protect it anyway."He said. Rouge sat down as well."What are you gonna do? "She asked."The only thing I can do."He answered, leaning back and using his arms for support."Stay here until Tails finds, or builds something that can fix me."He explained."And what if he can't? "Rouge asked.

Knuckles paused and pondered this over."I might have an idea for protecting the Emerald, but that still won't help what I'll do after it's taken care of."He replied."Why not stay with me..."She said, but began speaking again as Knuckles gave her an odd look."... or Tails, or one of your other friends? "She asked nervously."I dunno."He said, lying down, hands behind his head. He looked to the ceiling."I don't think I could get used to such a thing. I'm used to being alone, you know? "He asked.

Rouge frowned a little."Oh... of course."She said softly."So-"Knuckles started, sitting up. Rouge quickly put on a smile, hoping he didn't notice her sad look."-you just didn't take the Master Emerald because you had to make sure I was still breathing? "He asked. Rouge choked a little."Er... um... yeah, I just... couldn't take it."She said. Thinking about how odd that sounded, she quickly came up with something extra to say."-After all, it just wouldn't be fair to take it if we didn't fight for it first!"She said panicly."Oh."Knuckles said softly, leaning back again.

Chapter 13: Erm... Jealousy?

"Did I say something wrong? "Rouge asked."Huh? Oh, no... not at all."Knuckles replied, turning his head slightly."Why do you ask? "He questioned."You looked a little disappointed after I stopped talking."She answered."It was nothing."The echidna assured, waving a hand. Rouge sighed, then turned her head towards the flicky, who gave her an evil glare while sitting on the table."Hey Knuckie, is that flicky over there yours? "She asked, pointing to it.

Knuckles turned his head to it."Oh, well, yes, and no."He answered."Oh."Rouge said."I caught it attacking me, and it ended up taking me to Tails."He added. The flicky flew over to Rouge, stuck its tongue out, then gave her a swift peck."Ow!"Rouge yelled, holding where it pecked her."Knuckles, control that thing!"She shouted. The flicky flew down, gently nudging its head to Knuckles's head. Knuckles blinked a little, then smirked."I don't think it likes you OR Tails. I think its taken a liking to me. Hm..."Knuckles took a good look at it."I think she's taken a liking to me."He said. The flicky nodded.

The echidna laughed."She's jealous of you Rouge."He said. The bat huffed."What's not to be jealous of? "She asked. The flicky puffed its cheeks up in annoyance, then chirped a little. Rouge picked it up, then chuckled as it began to chirp wildly and angry."Does someone like Knuckles? "She teased. The flicky stopped, then pecked at Rouge's hand, which quickly made the bat drop her."Hey!"She yelled out. The flicky merely stuck its tongue out, then turned swiftly and flew back to Knuckles."Can we keep 'er Rouge? "He asked teasingly. Rouge fixed up the glove that the flicky had pecked, then chuckled evilly.

"What's on your mind there Rouge? "Knuckles asked."I'll make you a deal Knuckie."She started, picking Knuckles up and plopping him down on the flicky."We'll go flying. If I can catch you within 30 minutes, I can do what I want with this pest."She said."And if you don't? "Knuckles asked. Rouge chuckled."Oh, like that'll happen."She began. She glared down at the two."But if you DO somehow manage to pull off a victory, you can keep this pest-of-a-flicky."She finished. Before Knuckles could answer, the flicky jumped up and down, as if to say, "Bring it on!"

"Alright then."She said, standing up. She walked over to the table and wrote something down. She turned to the two."I left a note for Tails:'Back in half an hour', though, I probably won't need that long to catch a flicky, much less if one's carrying a tiny red echidna on its back."She explained. The flicky and Knuckles growled. The echidna smirked."We'll show ya."He said.

Rouge nodded, then walked a few feet behind them and got ready."I'll let you off easy by starting back here."She stated."No matter. We'll still beat cha!"Knuckles shouted back."Ready..."She said."Get set..."Knuckles continued. And with a big chirp from the flicky, both she and Knuckles took off."You won't get away!"Rouge yelled, taking off as well as the race began.

Chapter 14: Flicky vs. Rouge!

"Hurry! She's gaining!"Knuckles shouted, turning his head to see the bat nearing them. The flicky nodded, flying up. She twisted into the trees, while Rouge crashed into them. *Can't believe I fell for that. *She thought, trying to get herself untangled."Whoa, good work! "Knuckles exclaimed. The flicky nodded and kept flying, then turned slightly. Rouge was out of the tree, and heading right for them!

"Dive! "Knuckles shouted. The flicky flew down, flying just an inch above the ground."That won't help you! "Rouge laughed, flying down, reaching her arms out. Knuckles looked ahead, then patted the flicky's head and pointed to the right."Turn! "He yelled, seeing the big tree in front of them. She obeyed and turned swiftly, putting its feet of the side of the tree and running a bit on it before flying again. Rouge however... was no so lucky. CRASH!

"Ugh! I knew I shoulda practiced turning more! "She whined as she stood back up, her wings slightly damaged. She looked at them."I might have to wait a minute before I can fly again."She said to herself. She sat down and sighed."I'll get those two."She added.

"I think we got her."Knuckles said, turning and seeing no Rouge. The flicky slowed to a stop, then let Knuckles down."That was some nice flying there. I bet you'll be staying here a good long time."He said. The flicky nodded."Hm... you'll need a name."Knuckles whispered. She nodded again."How about..."The echidna thought for a minute before clapping his hands together."Yaku! "He exclaimed. She jumped in excitement at her newly-acquired name.

Knuckles suddenly turned."Did... did you hear that?"He asked. Yaku looked around, then shook her head. She looked up, then jumped back in surprise."What is it?"Knuckles asked. He turned."Rouge! "He shouted, seeing the bat that had just jumped out of a bush."That's the sound of your defeat! "She exclaimed. She jumped fully out of the bush, reaching for them. Knuckles acted quick, grabbed hold of Yaku's tail. The flicky took off, and Rouge just crashed to the ground. She grumbled a little. *Why can't I get them?*She wondered, standing up and taking off again.

Yaku flew fast as Knuckles climbed from her tail to her back."That was a close call, but we pulled through."He said. Yaku nodded, turning her head to him. She chirped a little, then became confused as Knuckles pointed forward."Look out! "He yelled. Before Yaku could react, she hit a tree branch hard, and tumbled to the ground, where Knuckles was swiftly knocked off.

Chapter 15: How NOT To Catch An Echidna... And Flicky

Knuckles landed hard on his face, groaning as he sat up and rubbed his head."What a rough landing."He said. He stood up and looked over at Yaku, who had taken most of the damage."Hey, get up."He said, kicking at her side a little. She groaned, then stood up, but fell back down in pain. Knuckles looked at her to see her left leg and wing had been harmed in the crash."Oh no. So what'll we do about-"The white bat suddenly came into his view, closing in fast.

"-Rouge?! "Knuckles finished, grabbing Yaku and running as fast as his small legs could carry him. With his impressive strength, he had no problem carrying Yaku, but the grass was still fairly tall, and he was slowly getting tired. He looked back at Rouge, then made a quick jump from the ground to a nearby bush. He poked his head out slightly. The bat flew closer to the spot, then stopped and looked around."Where's he go?"She asked herself. He put his head back in and released the flicky.

"I give you a good ten for your fast flying, but a big 0 for the landing."He said, rubbing his back, which was still hurting a little bit. Yaku groaned, as if to say 'Yeah yeah, I know'."We don't have much time before she find us."He added. He sighed as he looked to Yaku's injured leg and wing."Let's hope this doesn't prove too much of a challenge."He said, trying to tend to the wounds.

Rouge looked around, searching bushes and trees."Ugh, this is harder than I thought. Which one is he hiding in?! "She asked herself. She took off her right glove and shook it as a device dropped down onto her hand. She looked at it."13 minutes."She said, dropping it back in her glove. *How does time go by so fast?*She wondered."More importantly, how is he hiding so well?"She asked, slipping her glove back on. She made a fist, then pulled on the glove to make sure it fit nice, then she continued to search.

Knuckles scratched his head."What'll we do about that batty... trouble-bringing... attractive..."He quickly stopped and shook his head, with a fake laugh to match."A-Anyway, I'm usually fairly quick, but with the grass out there, it's impossible to run so much as a few feet without her catching us."He sighed, then heard a small rustling sound and turned his head. Many leaves in part of the bush were pushed away, and Rouge's pretty face shone through."Found ya! "She shouted, reaching in.

Knuckles dove out of the with ease, but Yaku was too slow, and Rouge had her tight in her grasp."Ha! I win! "She exclaimed."Na-uh Rouge."The echidna argued."What do you mean Knuckie?"She asked."You said you'd have to catch me for you to win. You only caught Yaku."He explained. She looked at the flicky, then dropped it back down beside Knuckles, who quickly picked it back up."Yaku, huh?"She asked. She giggled at the name, then got serious as she remembered that the game was till on.

She went to reach for Knuckles, but he was already out of the bush and moving along the forest path."I'll get you! "Rouge shouted, flying over the bush and chasing Knuckles. *This is hopeless! She's gaining fast! *He thought. A spark suddenly went off in his head as he smirked."We'll be winning soon, just you wait."He told Yaku.

Chapter 16: Knuckles's Big Plan

As Rouge slowly neared the echinda, Knuckles hopped up in the air, sending him swiftly back. He rolled up, keeping Yaku safe, then ran in the other direction. Rouge slowed to a halt, then turned and continued to chase him."Red Rock! Let's move! "He yelled. The gray bits on his shoes glowed, and a board suddenly appeared in his hands. But not just any board. Knuckles threw it into the air and jumped up. It landed on the ground and floated up as Knuckles came down and landed on it, setting Yaku in front of him.

"Alright! And I thought Tails was crazy to get this thing on me! "The echidna exclaimed, keeping a good distance between him and Rouge."Alright Red Rock. Let's win this thing! "He exclaimed, tapping on the board. It sped up, much to Rouge's amazement."That darn Knuckles."She whispered, flapping her wings faster, getting tired at this point.

8 minutes left.

Yaku looked at Knuckles and sat up on the board, which had expanded to fit the flicky."Hey Yaku, you think you can keep yourself on if you're in the back?I kinda can't see."The echidna said. The flicky nodded, and the two swiftly switched places."Great, now we just need to keep our distance from Rouge back the-AH! "Knuckles yelled as the bat neared them. He leaned back, and the board quickly flipped backwards, just missing Rouge's boots as she passed them.

Rouge turned."I'm gettin' closer! "She said proudly, pushing off the ground for a little more speed. Yaku hung on tight, making Knuckles laugh a little."Don't worry. I think the time's running out. We just gotta keep speeding along."He assured. He looked ahead to see a few trees, then looked back at Rouge and smirked as he headed towards them.

6 minutes left.

The white bat smiled. She felt like she could almost reach Knuckles Extreme Gear. Victory was close. She began to reach out, then looked ahead to see many trees. Knuckles shifted to his right, sending the board into a barrel-roll. He spun through the trees with ease, thinking that Rouge would make the same mistake."Oh, no you don't! "Rouge shouted.

She flipped around, her boots now closer to the trees, and spun, doing one of her skillful moves. She teared through the trees as easy as Knuckles did and smirked proudly. Yaku chirped, pointing its good wing back at Rouge. Knuckles looked back."Whoa, she really got those trees..."He said, then resumed flying his Gear.

4 minutes left.

"I wonder how long this thing can keep this up."Knuckles commented. Yaku chirped a little."It takes more energy when its high in the air like this."He explained. He pressed forward on the board, and it slowly went down."So, you're Gear's running outta speed Knuckles?"Rouge asked. Knuckles turned, then grumbled and resumed flying. He suddenly began to notice the wind on his face lessen."What the..."He started, looking down. Yaku chirped in confusion."It IS running out of speed! "The echidna shouted.

Yaku looked back to Rouge, then stood up, her leg and wing healed up. She jumped up from the board, and onto Rouge's face, where she then continued to peck her."Ow, ow, hey! "Rouge yelped, trying to pull the flicky off of her. She then threw Yaku off of her and continued to chase Knuckles.

2 minutes left.

Yaku shook it off and flew up to Knuckles, chirping wildly. He looked back."Whoa, she's catching up fast! "He shouted. He looked ahead to see Tails's lab far off in the distance."Whoa! "He yelled, then calmed himself down, thinking the time would run out before they got there. He panicked a little as he looked back to Rouge. She was SO close! Yaku went to the back of the board and flapped her wings hard, pushing on the board as best as it could. Then it resumed flying beside Knuckles.

"Thanks, but I don't know if we'll make it! "The echidna doubted. Rouge reached forward, and both Knuckles and Yaku looked back."Almost... there..."Rouge strained her arm reaching for Knuckles and his board. The echidna suddenly felt feathers touching him and looked to Yaku, who pointed its wing forward. Knuckles looked forward as the time device in Rouge's glove began to count down from five."I... can... almost... reach."Rouge said, her wings flapping with all their might. Knuckles suddenly began to scream, but Rouge was too distracted in the game to notice. The three suddenly collided with something, and all of them blacked out as the device began to beep.

Time's up.

Chapter 17: Winner Take...Er...Nothing Really...

Tails ran upstairs as he heard the noise."What happened?!"He asked,looking at the three.They had crashed into Tails's couch and wall.A little debris was on them,as well as bits from the now-broken couch."Oh...ow..."Rouge groaned.Knuckles stirred slightly and sat up,pushing debris off of himself.He felt something soft under him,and looked down to see a white fabric."Ah no!"Knuckles yelled.Rouge looked at him from her partially twisted position,then cheered as she stood up,knocking a few chunks of debris off of herself.

"I won!"She exclaimed.She set Knuckles down and took off her glove,taking out her device.She gasped,then became angry."What does that mean?"She asked.It beeped a little more,then Rouge threw it at the ground and huffed.Knuckles looked down at it.'YOU LOST' in big letters."Who did?"Knuckles asked.It beeped,then flipped to what it saw through Rouge's glove just before the timer ran out.At 2 seconds left,the three collided with the wall.At 1,Rouge fell to the ground,but Knuckles and Yaku were sent flying into the air.The timer ran out,and Knuckles fell onto Rouge palm.

"YES!"Knuckles cheered,jumping up and down.He looked around,then saw Yaku underneath a hunk of debris.He ran over and pushed it off."We won Yaku!"He exclaimed.Yaku stood up and cheered,with little damage done to its body."What happened?"Tails asked again.Rouge stood up and shrugged."We were just playing a game."She explained."What were you doing out there?I heard beeping and shouting from downstairs."The fox said.Knuckles looked up to him."It was just a bit of fun to see if we could keep Yaku or not."He answered.

Yaku nodded,and Rouge continued."But I guess we overdid it a little,huh?"She asked,looking down at Knuckles.He looked up at her,and the two blushed in embarrassment."No kidding!You destroyed that couch and part of a wall!"The fox shouted.He didn't sound angry.More like,surprised."Hey,I'm sure you can fix it Tails.And while you're at it,you should help me out too."The ecidna stated,smirking slightly.

"Like I said,I'll do my best Knuckles."The fox looked to Rouge."I'm going back downstairs.Rouge,keep an eye on Knuckles,and this time,try not to break anything."He said."You can count on me."Rouge assured."I wish that were true..."Tails groaned,then headed back downstairs.

Chapter 18: To Rouge's Delight

Knuckles and Yaku cheered a bit more,then decided to stop.The echidna looked up to Rouge,then jumped back a little as he saw a sly smirk on her face."Eheh...something up Rouge?"He asked.She picked him up and smiled."Well Knuckie,you may have won the race,but that doesn't mean I can't have some fun with you,right?"She asked in reply."W-What kind of fun?"Knuckles asked nervously."You"She answered.

Before Knuckles could ask another question,he was swiftly thrown up into the air."Oof!"He shouted as he fell back onto Rouge's hand.He was about to react and stand when Rouge tossed him up again!She laughed a little as she continued to throw the echidna up into the air.Yaku chirped,loudly and angrily.Rouge laughed a little,then grabbed her as well!She juggled the two a little,giggling all the while.

Knuckles chuckled a little as Yaku freaked out.He was beginning to have fun.But,then she ceased in throwing them."Hey,why'd ya stop?"He asked.

She placed him up on her head."Hang on Knuckles."She said plainly."What do yo-AH!"Knuckles yelled as Rouge began running towards the exit."Tails doesn't want us to leave!"He shouted."But I just wanna have some fun Knuckles."Rouge argued.Before Knuckles could argue back,Rouge jumped off the ground and flew up.Yaku chirped angrily,then flew after her."Hey,I'm just having some fun with Knuckie."The bat said,smiling as she rolled in the air.

"Wah!"Knuckles yelped,gripping her ear just so he could stay on.Yaku began to peck at Rouge."Hey!Hey!"Rouge yelled,smacking the flicky.It chirped more,now being a little annoyance to Rouge.Knuckles tried keeping steady,but he was being thrown around as Rouge did tricks in the air.She stopped and looked at him."Having fun yet Knuckles?"She asked."Please...get me...down for here."Knuckles begged,his head going back and forth,showing that he was extremely dizzy."Alright,alright."The bat said,landing on the ground and running back to the lab.Yaku followed.

As they got there,Tails came back up."I'm just letting you know Knuckles.It'll be hard to return you to normal.It might even be painful,but we'll see,I guess."He said.Knuckles nodded as he jumped down from Rouge's head.He staggered about a little,then shook his head as he stopped being so dizzy.Yaku pecked Rouge a little,but she was used to it by know."You're a real jealous flicky,aren't you?"She asked.Yaku's face went red as she landed back on the ground.

Tails sighed."Don't worry though.I won't need to test you or least,not as far as I know."He said.Knuckles nodded,then watched as the fox went downstairs.""Rouge said before a slow silence kicked in."Yeah?"Knuckles asked,turning and looking up at her.The bat knelt down,picking up the echidna and stroking his fur slightly.He sighed happily.She smiled,then looked at Yaku,who seemed like she was trying to get some sleep.

"So Knuckles,what will you do when all of this is over?"She asked.Knuckles looked up at her,blushing slightly.But,still attached to his pride,he leaned back slightly and put his hands behind his head."I guess I'll go back to the Master Emerald.I could probably restore the connection."He said confidently.Rouge frowned a little,then put on a fake smile."And I can go back to stealing it."She teased.Knuckles huffed a little."Your batty antics are always getting to me."He said,looking annoyed.

Rouge tilted her head a little in confusion,then picked Knuckles up,holding him to her face."You think I'm annoying?"She asked."Erm..."Knuckles said,blushing as he looked at the bat.Then,Rouge did something that Knuckles really didn't expect.

She kissed him.

Chapter 19: Rouge Comes Clean?

Rouge blushed.Why did she just do that?She turned her head a little,pretending that it hadn't happened."So...Knuckles,is it hard guarding the Master Emerald?"She asked in a rush.No answer.She looked to Knuckles,who's face was even redder than usual."Knuckles,are y-"Rouge started."-Why did you kiss me?"Knuckles asked,interrupting the bat."Er...well..."She blushed pink,looking at him nervously.

"It's just...that"Rouge sighed.She was never really like this.She was usually calm and collected.Why was she so nervous."Why did you kiss back?"She asked,tranferring the pressure to Knuckles."Ur...I-I didn't!"He lied."Yes you did.I felt it."Rouge said,pointing at him."Well,I...ur..."Knuckles stuttered,scratching his head.He looked over to Yaku,who was fast asleep on the floor.

Rouge gave a loud sigh,then a small giggle."I' sudden..."She said.Knuckles looked at her."What do you mean?"He asked."Just...everything.Ever since I started taking the Master Emerald...there was,something about you Knuckles."She answered.Knuckles's face went bright red."There was...something about you too."He said softly."Really?!"Rouge asked suddenly.Knuckles winced a little."Y-Yeah."He uttered.

The bat calmed herself,then set Knuckles back down."I didn't like me at all."She said."What?Of course not Rouge.I do like you.A...Actually...I..."Knuckles paused,blushing even more."You...what?"Rouge asked."Actually...I sometimes...kinda wished you'd just come over to see me rather than to steal the Master Emerald."He admitted.Rouge's eyes widened a little."I...I didn't know."She said.

"Now you do."Knuckles sighed,knowing that his secret was out.He turned away,then suddenly jumped up and turned back to Rouge."We gotta get to Angel Island!"He shouted."Wh...Why?"Rouge asked."Just trust me.I have an idea."He said,a light blush still on his face."A-Alright."The bat said hesitantly,picking the echidna up.She grabbed Yaku with her other hand as her wings began to flap.

Tails came back upstairs,looking at her."Rouge,hey,where are you going?!"He asked wildly."Sorry Tails!We'll be back!"She answered,flying out of the lab.Tails ran after her,then stopped when he got out of the lab.He sighed."I'll never get those two."He said,then walked back inside.

Chapter 20: Loving The Game

Rouge landed softly on the ground of Angel Island and set Knuckles down."Alright,so,what are we doing here?"Rouge asked."I wanna try something."Knuckles replied,running up to the shrine.Rouge followed.They got to the top,and Knuckles ran up to the Emerald,putting his hands to it."I thought you said you lost a connection with it or something."Rouge said."Yeah,but that doesn't mean I can't give one."The echidna pointed out.Rouge looked at him,clearly confused.

The Master Emerald glowed brightly for a moment,then it dimmed back to its original glow." you,become the Emerald's guardian?"He asked,turning to her,a small blush on his face." actually trust me?"Rouge asked."Of course."Knuckles said,smiling a little."Well well,Knuckles and Rouge,eh?"A voice asked.Rouge and Knuckles turned and looked down beside the trees.

"Shade!"Rouge and Knuckles said in surprise."What are you doing here?"The bat asked.Shade gave a questionable look to the two."I live here!"She pointed out,walking up to the shrine.She looked down and picked Knuckles up,placing him on the Emerald."Don't tell me YOU forgot about me too Knuckles!"She shouted."I didn't.I'm just kinda surprised that you didn't come when we were fighting Eggman."Knuckles argued."I was on the other side of the island.I didn't hear much."She said.She looked to Rouge."Didn't know you two were a couple."She added.

The two looked at each other,then turned away and blushed.Knuckles's mind suddenly clicked."Hey,why don't YOU become the guardian?"He asked.Shade gave a confused look."Oh,so you shrunk AND lost your connection?Way to go."She said.Knuckles blushed in embarrassment."It's not my fault..."He said softly."Mmhm."Shade chuckled,then poked Knuckles a little."Alright,alright.So,how do I do this?"She asked.Knuckles smiled,then jumped back down and placed a hand on the Emerald."Just put your hands on the emerald."He said.

Shade nodded and touched the Emerald.As she did,a surge of the Emerald's green glow went through her.She jumped back,and the glow dissapeared."Whoa...amazing."She said."Now you're the official guardian of the Master Emerald."Knuckles said."But wait,what about you?"Shade asked.",Rouge?"Knuckles asked,turning to the bat."Yeah?"Rouge asked."Would you...e-ever consider,letting me live with you?"He asked.

Rouge's eyes suddenly brightened."Oh,of course Knuckles!"She exclaimed,picking him up.She gave him a light kiss,then began to flap her wings.Shade waved."Just promise to come back sometime.I get bored!"She shouted."No problem!"Knuckles said back as Rouge flew off."I gotta admit Knuckles.This new size thing has been the best thing that's ever happened."The bat said,smiling at him.

"Yeah,I guess so."Knuckles agreed,relaxing on Rouge's palm.She continued to fly,then stepped down to the ground as she reached her home.She opened the door and set Knuckles down."This is your home now."She said plainly.She walked forward and went into another room,as Knuckles looked around to take in the sight of it all.His heart raced a bit."So,this is what things'll be like now,huh?"He asked himself.He smiled,then chased after the bat,ending this adventure,but sure to start a new one.


It's been so long since Eggman came to Angel Island that one day.But don't worry,Sonic was happy to take care of him.Knuckles and Rouge were living happily at Club Rouge,then decided to move to Angel Island,where everything's always so quiet.Shade still keeps a close guard on the Master Emerald,but Knuckles always likes to do his occasional guard,just for pure fun.Both him and Rouge are a full couple now,did you know?

Rouge always questions Knuckles on his size,and everything that happened since he was shrunk.He says that he doesn't miss his old life all that much.Tails is still working on his machines and what-not,occasionally working on the machine to get Knuckles back to normal,but the red echidna has already assured Tails that's it's no big deal. Yaku's found a place at Tails's lab,but comes to visit Knuckles and Rouge often,occasionally meeting with Shade,who she's found a good friend in.

All in all,it was a fairly funny and adventurous journey,with a few mess-ups,but when Knuckles thought back to it,he wouldn't have it any other way.