Yes, this is based on two of my Sonic characters. But believe me when I say it has absolutely nothing to do with Sonic...
I remember quite clearly your great-grandmother. The day we met was the day my entire life changed, and set your own lives on the path to being created. That day was in January, and I was at the age of thirty-three. Yes, at one point I was young and feisty, ready to explore the world and take it for my own. Granted, things do not always work as we want them to, and I soon found myself working at a telescope with a doctorate in astronomy. I loved it, true, but coming home to a relatively empty apartment made it difficult to feel happy. I enjoyed my duty photographing the night skies, plotting star movements and I even was the first to confirm the location of a black hole. Yes, it was quite enjoyable having others congratulate me about it and to have my name forever engraved in the record books, but it still did not bring the joy I sought. I was left with an aching void – a living black hole to be relevant – within my heart, and it grew ever larger by the day, devouring my mind with little mercy. I needed a release before I lost my sanity.
It was a cold day when I left to get some coffee. I had the day off of work and was content to stay at home and read a book. There was a storm coming, and it would most likely result in a rather large blizzard, so getting some now was the best option as there would probably be no later. I had left around noon or so, and chosen to walk as it was a pleasant day out; it was the calm before the storm, as they say. The temperature was cold, perhaps in the low twenties for Fahrenheit. As I walked down the paved sidewalk of the city, I could not help but pay attention to those around me. Cars passed on the busy street, minding their own business and providing little threat. It took me just a scant few minutes to find the shop, and I entered as usual, ordering the same treat.
It was then I noticed a young hedgehog, quills pulled in a tight ponytail with a red sweater and jeans on. It hid her pale fur, a pure white, but it accentuated her crimson eyes that sat behind some glasses. Before her was a laptop in which she was typing away quickly, although I had no way of knowing what she was doing exactly nor was I inclined to snoop to find out. She had a bagel on a plate, and from how no heat rose out of her cup, she had either drank it all or had been there for some time. The poor dear looked absolutely exhausted, and as she groaned, it was clear she was frustrated as well. Taking some interest and noting all the other seats were occupied, I figured it would not hurt to approach and make some idle conversation.
She lifted her eyes to look at me as I approached and asked if I could sit down. She said she would leave soon as there were not a lot of seats available. I quickly stated I wanted to talk to her, as she seemed like she could use someone to complain to. She raised an eyebrow, before sighing. Noting my politeness, I apparently earned points for it. I introduced myself as Skye Silvart, and she in turn told me her name was Rikka Labatt. She had a major in chemistry, which is what she was working on at the moment. However, the formulas were proving to be difficult, and the upcoming deadline was driving her insane. I could not help but muse over how she was stressing, trying to find a solution when she quite clearly needed a break. Working hard was a good ability to have, but doing it too much was unhealthy and in the end, only frustrating.
Thus, I advised her to take a break. While she frowned at first, it seemed the idea quickly made her relax more as she had been given the excuse she needed to stop. Saving her work and folding the laptop down, I told her what my line of work was and what I intended to do with my skills. It was only fitting, as she had told me hers; upon learning that I had come up with a technique to discover and pinpoint the locations of black holes – known as the Blanket Method – she quickly snapped her fingers, stating my name had been familiar. It had been in her issue of Science How? magazine, about the award I had received due to it. Rikka was astonished I lived in the same city as she did, and was even more surprised that I was even talking to her. It really did not seem like a big deal to me, but I suppose I was somewhat of a celebrity in the science world, something I did not anticipate.
We talked about many things which included our lives, our career paths, and even family. Rikka had a loving mother and father, but she was astonished to learn I never knew either of my parents. My grandfather had raised me, but he had died of cancer early on in my life so I had to go to an orphanage. I never had that sort of love or interaction so many others did, which is why I often found myself acting cold to others. With her, however, I found a kinship which left me feeling comfortable around the albino. A chemist with such a condition was not unheard of, but it was rare. It made me wonder if she was trying to find a “cure” for it, as many often were not very healthy due to the sun’s damaging light.
Time passed, and before we knew it snow was already falling. Wrapping her scarf around her neck and tucking the laptop into its carrier, we both began to leave. I would never have forgiven myself if I allowed a young woman to go out into the world all alone with a storm brewing. What kind of man would I have been? Rikka did not seem to mind much due to me being somewhat famous and polite. Perhaps she was not treated with such kindness for some absurd reason? Well, there was not much I could do about it.
As we walked and got closer to my own apartment, however, the wind had picked up to send the frozen particles slicing through clothing, fur, and skin. Ms. Labatt still had another twenty minutes to walk to get to her home, and in that time the blizzard would have been upon the city in full force. Hesitating by the door, I asked her if she would like to take shelter in my living quarters. While it was clear the idea made her uncomfortable, Rikka recognized the dangers of trying to leave in a snowstorm, and climbed up the staircase to my apartment.
My house was truly nothing of worth, scantily clad in terms of furnishings. There were plenty of books on a bookshelf that I loved to read, and the television rarely saw use other than weather and news. As for my kitchen, well, just a lot of stainless steel sinks and wooden cabinets. When I said my home was worthless, I really did mean it. Rikka quickly found comfort in the couch, while I went to the kitchen and prepared a meal – and by “prepare” I really meant “pop something into the microwave”. Once that was done, I brought it over to her, sat down, and turned on the television as we waited for the storm to blow over.
The only problem with that plan of action was that the storm refused to perish. The next night, when it became apparent it was still going strong, I slept once more on the couch. It was wrecking my back, but I had no choice, as I had given my room up to Rikka. What we had talked about continued to bug me; she was defensive about her albinism and intelligence due to being bullied as a child, as when I had finally decided to ask her about it Rikka had nearly bitten my head off. She accused me of being judgmental when I was not, and lying when I tried to explain myself. Ms. Labatt had gone to bed shortly after that outburst, and now I found myself wondering what I had said wrong at two in the morning.
Later on, despite the blizzard still raging, her temper had not cooled at all. As we spent days together in the worst storm the city had seen in one hundred years, I found myself enjoying her company more and more, my thoughts growing weary if they were not focused on my temperamental friend. So, over a bowl of soup one week later, I told her how I felt. I told her that I could have cared less about how her eyes looked, or the way her glasses fell on her nose. I said that pale skin only made her cheeks all the cuter when she blushed, and her white fur was just as pure as the snow that fell outside. Her temper was refreshing, bringing excitement to my otherwise dull life, and I wished to have more of it. With great trepidation I asked if this could be our first date, noting that it would be remembered due to how unconventional it was.
I was so relieved when she said yes.
Weeks passed since that night, and we went on numerous dates. I took her to as many places as I could - restaurants, movies, theme parks, even the telescope where I worked. The more time we spent together, the more my heart ached the longer we were apart. Every waking moment I thought of her, wondering what to tell her, and growing frustrated with myself over not being able to come up with an answer. It filled up my mind, and my gut would twist when I tried to avoid thinking about it, plaguing me with its memories. I finally worked up the courage to ask her to move in with me, which she responded to with an affirmative. I was thrilled. It was just as great as our first kiss, which had filled me up with energy and joy thanks to the nectar of sweetness that it was. In a similar manner, I was content.
One evening in front of the ocean during a beautiful sunset, its rays painting the sky with a myriad of colors while the sea was smooth as glass, I knelt down on one knee. I took her hand and told her how much I loved her, how the world stopped revolving if she was not by me and how my mind always focused on her. I could not breathe without her, let alone live without her. She was my one and only, my everything, and if I could not have her I refused to go on in a world where my feeble existence meant nothing. I was attached, and to sever that bond would create recoil so harsh that it would snap my frail heart in two before yanking it out completely. So I asked her the simple question that could fell the entire relationship built over months of hard work; I asked Rikka Labatt if she would marry me.
A few months later, we stood on the altar and joined our lives together, vowing to live to the age of one hundred years old unless an extremely good reason came up for betraying that oath. Granted, that would mean I would die first, but she assured me that she would spend her last five years thinking only of me. Our marriage had another happy story to tell, however. Rikka, a month prior, had become pregnant with our first child. She was due in two months, so getting the marriage over with now was better off for the child in the long run. That was not to say we skimped on it. Oh no, it had everything. It was a nice place by the ocean with crimson roses – her favorite flower - and silky trees overhanging the church, a shining limousine which drove us away to our honeymoon - which was a cliffside picnic beneath the full moon - and the best catering around. Her dress was a thing of beauty, and it accentuated her glowing figure with its intricate lines and lace, while providing little discomfort to the unborn child. As for myself, well, a black suit really is not worth mentioning compared to her beauty.
Before I knew it, it was time for my son to be born. I rushed my dear wife as quickly as I could to the hospital, and from there into the emergency room for the delivery. Granted, I detest blood in any form, but I could not wait outside. I had to be with her and my child in this time of utmost need. Of course, Rikka grabbed me by the throat and told me she would kill me for this, so I had to question if it would have been safer for me to stay in the lobby. I digress, her screams of agony I will never forget as they are forever painted onto my eardrums. Hidden amidst the folds of pain, however, was a notable tenor of excitement. It is simple to explain but so powerful in its meaning, for a new life was coming into the world and our little family was expanding. Had she not felt that emotion, I would have been deeply worried.
Clutching her hand and talking to her, time swirled into a blend of monotony. Seconds were minutes, minutes were hours, hours were days, and days were weeks. Watching her struggle was one of the hardest situations I had ever been in, as I was completely powerless to help her other than offer words of comfort which were lost on a muddled mind. The doctors provided their own form of sympathy, talking to Rikka and telling her she was almost there or announcing a random joke to take the edge off. That being said, doctors were not exactly funny, and the condition she was in made them fly over her head.
On March twelfth at six seventeen, my son’s wail broke the tumultuous strain we had all been under. It did not take long before we could see him fully, and my wife was positively beaming as she held him. I commented how he had her face, while she retorted he had my eyes. His fur was a very light blue, the same shade as my own which was a pale sky blue, but I knew it would darken as he grew older. When I was allowed to hold Darrell, I felt my heart nearly burst from joy as he slept soundly, snuggling into my chest. Raising him up a little, I lightly kissed the infant on his forehead, and I grinned when Darrell in turn reached up with a chubby hand to grip the skin on my muzzle. It was the lightest touch, soft as a feather, yet it moved me beyond words. Leaving both my child and wife at the hospital that night was one of the most difficult choices I ever had to make, but for their recovery it was necessary.
The next day when they were both given permission to leave was a rainy one. The planet was renewing itself as it thawed from the winter, and as I helped Rikka out of the hospital with Darrell, she chose to remain beneath a bus stop so I could bring the car around. As I rounded the corner to get the vehicle, however, I heard the most awful sound my ears had ever heard, causing me to turn. A semi going too fast had lost traction on the slick road, its wheels screeching as the driver hit the brakes. It jackknifed, and I caught one last glance of Rikka as we locked eyes. In the next instant she turned her back to the approaching threat, clenching the baby seat against her chest as the truck pulverized the flimsy cover of the bus stop. The metal bench went flying, crashing into the hospital to break a window, while the vehicle continued to slide into an intersection, taking out more cars in its uncontrolled rampage.
I ran as quickly as I could to where I saw the limp figure of my wife, sliding to a stop beside her. Rikka’s normally white fur was covered with red in various spots, and I tried to wake her up, gently prodding her and slapping her cheek. I pleaded with her, telling her she could not die as that would break the oath we made, but there was no response. I felt no pulse; there was nothing. A scream so distraught and agonizing ripped itself from my throat, so high in pitch that a few seconds later it cracked and cut out, rendering me without a voice. I buried my face into hers, hot tears trickling from my eyes as I lamented my loss. My heart had been torn asunder, the semi having hit me without ever coming close. My love was dead, and I could not do anything to change it.
For what I felt was hours I sobbed, until I heard the muffled crying of a tiny voice. It was then I realized that Rikka had given me one final gift; in giving up her life she had protected the life of our son. Picking up the dented car seat, I observed that Darrell had very few cuts or bruises, but the infant was wailing for the loss of his mother. He barely knew her, but the bond had already grown over three months of nurturing in the womb. I was all he had left.
I made a vow that I would not let Rikka’s memories die with her that night, and that I would do everything within my power to raise our son right.