Puzzle Pieces

Chapter Seven

We soon had everything packed up and tossed into the Jeep; Shadow grabbed onto my hand tightly and placed his other on the Jeep. "Chaos Control!" A bright light consumed us, and it faded just as fast.

I looked around curiously, wondering which area we had ended up in. "Angel Island?" I titled my head.

He smirked, "Yeah. It is. No one should bother us here as long as we stay out of sight, and don't approach the Master Emerald. If Knuckles finds us, I'll take care of him."

"Technically if there is a flying threat we aren't safe." I poked his nose playfully.

"True, but even then, I'll protect you." He grabbed my wrist and pulled me close.

Suddenly I felt him tickle my sides, without thinking, I smacked his arms away and slammed him into a tree. Once I realized what I had done I felt guilty, and I am sure I looked it too. "Don't tickle me…" I muttered.

He sighed softly, "… Sorry…" he gently brushed back the quills from my face. "Apology accepted." He could tell I was upset. He looked around for a moment. "Hm…?" He turned towards me for a moment. "Close your eyes for a sec."

I looked at him weirdly, "Why?" I asked.

"Just do it." With a moment's hesitation, I obeyed, wondering what he was scheming. I heard him walk away and then some rustling of vegetation off in the distance. After it stopped, footsteps came towards me and I felt something being placed in my quills. "There."

I opened my eyes and looked at him, "What did you do?"

He grabbed a small mirror and showed me my reflection. A huge beautiful blue and orange flower was holding back my bangs. It had bright yellow filaments with dark brown, yellow pollen dusted anthers. "Wow… it's so big and pretty. The colours are so intense…"

"And for once, I'll be able to see your face instead of your quills." I slowly pulled up my clothing to hide my face as much as I could. "Really Cat?"

I nodded and hid my face in his fluff. "I feel exposed when nothing is hiding my face, and I feel vulnerable."

"You have no reason to think that." He grabbed onto my shoulders and pushed me back enough to grab a hold of my chin and have me look up at him. He was blushing some. "All I see when I look… is your beauty…" He looked away, his face getting redder.

He must feel uncomfortable saying those things. I could feel a burning sensation all across my face from blushing. "You're cute… but that sorta sounded cheesy." I stuck out my tongue. This is starting to get a little awkward. I'm thinking about it too much.

He looked at my tongue. "You better put that away before I decide to do something with it."

I slipped it back and intended on remaining a good girl, or at least for a little while. My ears perked up when I heard a twig snap not too far from us. I turned around to see a familiar face. Knuckles? Well this visit was short lived

"What are you doing here Shadow?" Knuckles asked, clearly annoyed, as usual.

"None of your business." Shadow growled lowly, pushing me behind him.

I sighed and held onto him. "Look, Knuckles, we don't mean any harm, or trouble okay?" I wanted to try and avoid conflict.

"You both don't belong here." He sternly said, "If you're here for the Master Emerald you can forget about it!"

"We can be here if we want to be." Shadow spat out at him.

"We don't want any Emeralds, including the Master Emerald." I tugged on Shadow's quills as a dog would to try to tell him to stop without using words. He looked back at me briefly.

"Leave, before something follows you, or finds you here. I don't need any more attention being brought to this Island." Knuckles growled.

Shadow looked more pissed off. I knew if I did not do something, they were bound to fight. Without much delay, I pulled Shadow close enough to the Jeep and grabbed a hold of it; with haste, I Chaos Controlled without much thought. "I don't want you fighting! I don't need to see you get hurt!" I scolded him.

He scoffed, "Fine…" I could sense there should have been a 'for now' at the end of that. I grumbled under my breath. After a few moments of silence, Shadow quickly broke it, "Um… Cathy? Where are we?"

"Huh?" I looked around finding that there were only plains of grass surrounding us in all directions as far as the eye could see. "I… I don't know…"

"You must, you are the one who used Chaos Control."

"But… I don't know… or at least I don't remember this place…" Puzzled, I tried to search for any memories of this land. I breathed deeply to see if my olfactory sense could aid me, in the end I got no closer. I shook my head some, "I got nothing."

"Well, since we are here, we might as well investigate a little bit… It really doesn't appear to have anything in this area though." He peered at the sky. "We may want to do it tomorrow though… There is only five hours left in the day here, we should make camp, find what we can for fuel, and rest for the night. We'll eat whatever you happened to have packed, hunting here may prove difficult unless you happen to like snake, which I doubt you do."

"Never tried snake, but, unless I'm starving, I'm not big on the idea of eating one. Not right now anyways." I sighed then started to prepare for the night with Shadow's aid.

"I'm not tired." I was staring at the night sky. Time seemed different here, off somehow.

"I'm not either… There's something strange with this place. I just… cannot seem to figure out what." He shook his head. "It's driving me nuts. The energy of this place… It's out of control, like there is a disruption in the space-time."

"I know what you mean. It should be day still, well at least… that's how it feels. Like maybe anywhere from three to five in the afternoon? But it looks like midnight." I kept staring deeply into the limitless canvas of space.

"I think I would have rather stayed where nature would not." He started to pet me. "This place sickens me."

"You saying that makes me feel sick." I looked into his eyes. "I wanna go back home, to GUN. It felt safe there… I also want to find out why we ended up here."

"I know." He rested his head on top of mine carefully. "At least your Chaos Control energy is about where it is supposed to be."

"Hm? Oh! Yeah. It is. Kinda forgot about that actually." A shooting star flew across the sky causing a small gasp of awe slip past my lips.

Shadow snickered, "Make a wish, my love."

What do I wish for? I thought for a few moments; I wish that Shadow and I can live peacefully together. I smiled softly. "No one shall take you away from me!" I cheered happily.

"And no one shall take you away from me." He growled lovingly.

I purred lowly and darkly. With one swift movement, I pinned him down with his hands above his head, making him vulnerable. I kissed from his chest to his neck then to his soft lips. He kissed back with passion despite the small growls that came from him. I smiled playfully and growled back, my tail swaying.

"I'll get you back, just wait." He had a smug look from his devious planning, clearing wanting to take back and maintain his dominance.

"I look forward to it, my handsome, sexy, black hedgehog." I chirped; kissing his neck again, I began to leave little nibble love marks wherever my lips touched.

"Mph…" He relaxed and exposed his neck more; this just caused my grin to widen.

I purred seductively. All mine! I cheered in my head excitedly, my tail beginning to wag uncontrollably. A few tears began to roll down my cheeks. "I love you so much!" I nuzzled his chest.

"Is everything okay?" He saw my tears and became concerned.

I nodded.

"Then why are you crying?" He slipped out of my grasp and sat up, swiftly holding me close and wiping away my tears.

"I'm really happy that I have you. I'm even happier that you love me, and I'm happy that I can toy with you however I wish." I ran my hand from his side to his firm chest.

He sighed in relief then kissed me tenderly, keeping his hand loosely on my cheek, the other along my side. He soon rested his head on my shoulder, against my neck. I wrapped my arms around him tightly. He's so warm and solid I feel safe like this. He laid back, pulling me down with him, but kept me close in his arms.

"You've had enough excitement for tonight… Focus on resting now." He closed his eyes.

I pouted, "Fine… I'll just have all the fun and excitement I want in my dreams." He smirked and chuckled some.

"Fine. I'll be sure to be in your dreams to stop it then." I smiled some.

"I'll be waiting for you then." I snuggled up against him as close as I could manage, while remaining in a comfortable position. I shut my eyelids and drifted off into slumber within a couple of hours.

The light lit up the inside of the tent as if its windows and doors were open, despite that they were not. I looked around for Shadow but there was no sign of him. I slipped on my shoes and slipped my head out of the tent. "Shaddie…?" I called out half-asleep-like. I listened and waited a few minutes. No reply. "Shadow?" I tried again, louder this time. Still no response. I quickly slipped out of the tent and looked all around the tent and off into the distance for him; still there was no trace of him. Panic settled deep in the pit of my stomach, my breathing quickening, the sickness taking a firm grasp on me. I had to sit, I was becoming light headed; I felt abandoned, not to mention worried for his safety.

Where did you go? I pulled my knees against my chest, my hands shaking uncontrollably. I need to get a hold of myself He'll come back soon Right? Why do I feel like this?

I concentrated on my breathing, keeping it constant and steady until I began to calm. Once I had achieved that, I searched the tent for any notes to no avail. My stomach growled soon after, allowing me to realise I was ravenous. I took out some pasta and Kraft parmesan cheese in a plastic container, a little camp stove, a bit of butter, some salt, and cooked myself a meal. I devoured it within minutes of it being complete.

I looked around again, wondering if Shadow had returned, but he was still absent. I sighed and cleaned up my mess swiftly. Where are you Shadow? I wonder if I should look for him What if he comes back while I'm out looking? I'll miss him completely and he will probably start looking for me. It might be better if I stay put What if he's injured and needs me? I slowly stood. I'll look around for a bit. I began searching the tall grass in hopes of finding him.

As the hours passed I found nothing, no footprints, and no trails, not even a snake path. What is with this place? I'm lucky I found an insect in here, even if it was just the one Something came to mind then; What if I summoned him with my powers? I slipped back to the tent and sat down, my legs crossed, hands clapped together. I closed my eyes and focused on his image, his voice, his smell; a bright light formed in front of me, dragging Shadow from wherever he had been to my current location. The light fizzled out shortly after. I peeked opened my eyes to find him standing before me.

"You could have just called me… Couldn't you have gone a few minutes without me?" He pat my head.

"Minutes? It's been a few hours!" I glared at him, "You could have left me a note or something, and I thought you were hurt, I didn't know if you would come back, I didn't know where to find you!" My body started shaking again.

"I haven't even been awake for a few hours. It's been maybe thirty minutes?" He crouches down to my level.

"Not according to my watch…" I tried to hide my unsteady hands.

He stared at me for a few minutes. "You remember how I said something was off about this place?"

"Yeah…" I muttered.

"Well, this place seems to be a bubble of a different universe, of a different time. About 1000 yards out from here in each direction there is an invisible 'wall' that allows any object to pass through into this place. Almost like the zones on Mobius." He tried to explain.

"So… everything in this 'bubble' is different or perceived differently from our original world outside of the 'bubble'?" I asked.

"Basically. So I guess what was a half hour to me was a few hours to you. I'm sorry for worrying you." He grabbed my hand gently and placed something in it.

I looked at my hand and he removed his allowing me to see what he had placed. An old, large, flat coin or unknown origins laid there. Its markings were worn and hard to make out. "Cool." I examined it closer. "Do you know where it's from?" I asked.

"No, but I figured you'd like it. I found it in the grass." He smiled softly.

"Of course I like it! It is an old coin! Like buried treasure!" My tail had begun wagging.

"You want to go treasuring hunting someday?" He asked me.

"Hell yes!" I replied, definitely excited about the possibility.

"Then we will do it someday. I'll need to research some before we do anything to dangerous, not to mention we need to find the actual location first, and if there is still any loot to be found." He brushed his fingers along my cheek.

I tackle hugged him in glee, "I love you!" I exclaimed.

He chuckled, "I love you too."

"So…" I looked into his eyes, "we should probably leave this place before we find ourselves stuck."

"Yeah I suppose. It is possible that this land is only here for a brief moment in time. So I suppose, we shouldn't dawdle here for much longer." He kissed my cheek and packed up swiftly.

"You learned how to pack efficiently and fast pretty quickly." I muttered and went to the jeep; there was no point in trying to help him.

"We could go back to GUN for awhile." He slipped everything into the Jeep effortlessly.

"Okay. Doing a mission or two might be nice." I held onto his hand when he finished, my fingers slipping between his.

"I suppose, but… it would depend on what kind of mission, considering your work is different than mine." He used his Chaos Control to bring us to our decided destination.

"I'll do my own thing… okay? You shouldn't know what I do, and you shouldn't see me like that." I ran my hand along the rim of the vehicle.

"Then who is going to protect you?" Concern in his voice was evident.

"Me, myself, and I." I poked his nose to try to lighten the mood and direct the uncomfortable sensation away. He sighed softly. "Come on, let's go put away our gear." I urged him, grabbing my bags.

"… Okay." He took his own and obeyed.

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