The Brotherhood

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Amy rolled onto her side, blinking her eyes open. Knuckles was quickly wrapping his arms in the insulating furs, sitting crosslegged on his bed. Tails' bed was rumpled and empty.

"Where is he?" she asked, sitting up and grabbing her coat from the base of the bed.

"Says the shield broke overnight," Knuckles replied, jumping off his bed as she did and walking out with her.

"He should know better than to go out alone," Amy said. "The temperature has been dropping like crazy, which means the monsters are going to come out of their holes again." With Sonic in brighter spirits, the monsters had steered clear of the camp, and ghosts didn't want to challenge him. There had been relative peace, as peaceful as their world could get.

Except for the past few days. It had reminded Amy of the first few weeks. Too cold. Odd wails coming from Sonic's cell. Why now?

"Tails!" she called when they reached the surface, the fox looking up from the device he was crouched beside at the edge of the clearing. He was shivering, his hands unsteady as he worked. Amy jogged over to him while Knuckles stalked the perimeter of the camp.

"I was going to be quick," he said, twisting the device aggressively and cracking an unusually thick layer of ice. "The temperature's making it hard."

"So I'm not the only one," Knuckles said as he rounded back to them. "It's weird. What's up with Sonic?"

"I don't know. Maybe something happened to (Y/n)? It's been a good long while, and I know she's working with the other hedgehogs, and I'm trying to give her some slack, but we all don't have time for her to be taking a vacation around the Zones," Amy said.

"She'll come back," Tails said resolutely. "We don't know what the others are like; maybe they're worse than Sonic."

"It was too big a job for one person," Knuckles said quietly. "I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't make it past the Assassination Zone."

"Stop saying that!" Tails cried, standing up. Amy flinched at the noise. "You don't believe in her at all! What happened to you guys?"

"This happened!" Amy snapped. She couldn't help herself. She waved her hands around the frozen, ravaged land. "Our heroes are possessed by ghosts and we got left with an untrained (a/t)!" She shut her mouth at the tears in the fox's eyes. Knuckles stepped between them.

"I can handle it from here," he said gruffly.

"Look, Tails, I'm sorry," she said, forcing calm into her voice. "I just...I don't know. Look at Sonic! Look what happened to him, what's still happening to him." She felt her own tears welling up. She swiped at her eyes, pulling out her hammer. "I'm going to scout a little further out. You get the shield up and running. I'll be back by lunch." She stalked off before she could hear their replies.

~

"Do you hear that?" Blaze lifted her head, ears twitching. Rouge was upright in her own bed, her large ears twisting back and forth. "Shadow's calling."

Blaze couldn't hear it, but she assumed the bat could, and she nodded, following her friend up to the surface. Omega was already at the door, guns trained on it.

"Hold on," Rouge said, nudging the Badnik aside. "He's been fairly easy to communicate with, and he was calling for us." She looked up at Omega. "Right?"

"Yes." She nodded and unlocked the door. Omega charged his guns nonetheless. Blaze stepped forward beside the bat, sparking her hands reflexively.

But the door opened and Shadow looked between them with a look so full of relief that she instantly cut off the flow of her power.

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