Teaching Darkness: Rift C7"So... You wouldn't happen to know how to get us out of here and back with our Iblis, would you?" Mephiles asked hopefully. "He's probably just as confused as we are, but probably way more scared..."Teaching Darkness: Rift C7 by RaeLogan
"Well, actually, that one's an easy one once you realize what happened from the start." Phee said. "See, the both of you have some pretty amazing abilities, right?"
"Mine's mostly defensive and healing, though..." Mephiles shrugged. "And even then, they hurt me when I have to use them extensively..."
"'Amazing' is putting it way too nicely, I think 'destructive' is a closer fit..." Dark said with a hint of envy, letting his ears droop ever so slightly. "... They're more trouble than they're worth..."
"You really shouldn't think so lowly of yourself." Phee said, almost sadly, as he shook his head. "But anyway, your powers are emotionally controlled. It sorta decides how your Auras manifest, really. Like, for example-" He gestured to Dark. "-You're afraid of being hurt and
The fun thing about fic writing is drawing the scenes as they’re being made, and presenting them without context at first.
Without spoiling up the upcoming chapter, let’s just say that Dark didn’t like what he saw in the mirror, and he and Mephy are having a late night discussion.
I should note that Dark’s eyes are not really a good indication of anything right now, as he’s only having an episode of insomnia at the time. His quills are actually quite nice at the moment, indicating he’s been taking care of himself lately.
Also, I’m proud of that towel rack.
"So... You wouldn't happen to know how to get us out of here and back with our Iblis, would you?" Mephiles asked hopefully. "He's probably just as confused as we are, but probably way more scared..."
"Well, actually, that one's an easy one once you realize what happened from the start." Phee said. "See, the both of you have some pretty amazing abilities, right?"
"Mine's mostly defensive and healing, though..." Mephiles shrugged. "And even then, they hurt me when I have to use them extensively..."
"'Amazing' is putting it way too nicely, I think 'destructive' is a closer fit..." Dark said with a hint of envy, letting his ears droop ever so slightly. "... They're more trouble than they're worth..."
"You really shouldn't think so lowly of yourself." Phee said, almost sadly, as he shook his head. "But anyway, your powers are emotionally controlled. It sorta decides how your Auras manifest, really. Like, for example-" He gestured to Dark. "-You're afraid of being hurt and you get frustrated easily from being confused about how to feel, so a lot of the time, your Aura is scary looking and lashes out, because it's trying to keep things away from you."
Mephiles had never seen Dark's cheeks reach that shade of red before. The shadow sank a bit and tried to hide his face in his hands, peering up almost in embarrassment.
"... I don't try to do that..." He mumbled. "... It just happens..."
"If it helps any, when you get older, you get a better control on that. It's actually pretty cool." Phee offered, grinning sheepishly before waving a hand in Mephiles' direction. "Anyway, with our Aura, it's more consistent and calming. You can probably figure out why..."
"Not really, no..." Mephiles shook his head. "... But... Um... Dark said that I'm more of a 'Protector' than a 'Fighter', so I always figured my abilities are like this because I want to help... Or many I want to help because I can do that..? Ugh, I dunno..." The hedgehog grunted in confusion. "I know that my Aura helps Dark feel better, but I never really questioned why."
"Have you ever considered the possibility of them mixing?"
"... We can do this together, if you mean that." Mephiles said before holding his free hand out to materialize a softball sized purple orb of a strange, translucent, swirling substance, before nudging Dark with his shoulder while making an encouraging noise.
Dark got the idea, grunted an awkward acknowledgement, still a bit embarrassed about the attention, and bit his lower lip before flashing a look at the orb briefly, which was now about the size of a beach ball.
Kole cooed in awe, bouncing excitedly as she pointed at it.
"... I'm not making it any bigger, so don't ask." Dark looked away in a huff, rubbing his fingers on the side of his head. His headache was now a buzz.
"That's fine, Dark." Mephiles smiled at him before looking back at Phee. "See, as long as we have contact, we can make these big, because I make them and he can make them grow... But, I guess you already know that, so I guess this was a bit useless to show you..."
"Well, yeah, but it doesn't hurt to show me that you kinda understand it."
"But, shouldn't you already know if I know it?"
"We're not that kind of psychic, kid. My timeline is an alternate timeline that could or could't happen to you, depending on a few things."
"Gosh, this is so weird." Mephiles squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head. "But this still doesn't explain what happened."
"Let's try it this way..." Phee shrugged. "The two of you can stack abilities because you used to be one at one point. You had the ability to alter Time as 'Mephiles the Dark'. In the moments leading up to you being here, you-" He pointed to Mephiles. "Wanted to leave Soleanna as soon as possible. And you-" He pointed to Dark. "Wanted to be left alone at the moment. In that exact moment, both of you were very upset and hit the exact same intense emotional wavelength while making contact, and for a brief moment, you were granted your wishes here. You left Soleanna, and you were left alone. The combined ability treats you both as the same individual, so it stacked."
Dark was instantly appalled, while Mephiles gasped sharply.
"Th-that's not what I m-meant at all!" He stammered, tearing up. "I just wuh-wanted us to go huh-home!"
Dark, on the other hand, paled a bit more.
"... I suppose it's a good thing I didn't want them to just go away..." He laughed weakly as the horror of that possibility sunk in fully. Another dangerous ability, it seemed. All the more reason to restrain himself...
"It's Time altering, not magic." Phee explained a bit more clearly, taking note of how shaky Dark had gotten. "You were just moved to another point in Time. It won't erase Iblis, at least not as a direct order, if that's what's got you worked up. There's some restrictions, thankfully."
He offered a small, friendly smile at the shadow, but it was not returned. Dark, however, did mutter under his breath something to the effect of: "... Oh, thank you, Solaris..."
"So, how do we get back to where Iblis is? We both want to get back, but we're still here!" Mephiles asked with a clear sense of urgency. "I don't know how much time has passed, but he's all alone, and we don't know how he's reacting right now."
"It's not for lack of caring, if you're worried about that." Phee noticed the brief flicker of resentment in Dark's eyes. "This is still new to you, so you're kinda on a limit as to how often this can be done in a short time."
"Wait, so we're stuck here?" Dark shouted frantically.
"I said that you have a limit right now..." Phee shook his head as Kole slid her backpack forward on one arm and rummaged through it, pulling out, much to Dark and Mephiles' surprise, the green Chaos Emerald.
"... How in the-?" Mephiles whispered, eyes wide.
"I can use these just like Dad!" Kole grinned, holding it above her head.
"Actually, she's got some room for improvement, but the idea's just the same..." Phee added truthfully as Kole stuck her tongue out at him in annoyance. "I can't really do anything with this Emerald, so... Yeah..."
"But it's the green one!" Mephiles shook his head, pulling Dark a bit closer as a reaction. Dark looked at him in mild confusion. "Dark can't touch that one, it could wipe his memory!"
"I already know that, but the only other Emerald we could find at the time was the red one, and we all know how that one works..." Phee said grimly, shaking his head in exasperation. "It was either be in pain and drive him insane, or risk a little memory lapse. Believe me, it was not an easy thing to decide on... I know how you feel about tampering with your brain, Dark, but I really didn't want to have us deal with the alternative..." He sighed. "... I did have a bit of a theory, though. I was curious if Chaos Auras could cancel the effect, or at least hold it off. Since you've always reacted positively to mine... Eh, I mean his..." Phee quickly corrected and waved a hand towards Mephiles. "I thought maybe with the presence of both his and my Aura, we could stave the effect or something..?"
"... I don't wanna forget anything again..." Dark said quietly in a shaky voice. "... I don't wanna lose another memory..."
"Isn't there another way we can do this?" Mephiles cringed. "I don't wanna risk damaging his mind again..."
"I'm sorry, but without my Dark, I can't do anything..." Phee frowned, shaking his head. "I can't use the green Emerald, either. Believe me, I've tried."
"... Will it get us back to Brother..?"
"That's the plan."
Dark blinked and looked at Mephiles anxiously, appearing to be quite distressed over the idea. He valued his memories highly, but he couldn't stand to be separated from his brothers...
"... Okay." He finally said, giving a short nod as he looked at Phee.
"Dark... Are you sure you're alright with this..?" Mephiles asked in a serious tone. "... I mean... Wuh-what if it d-doesn't work a-and you forgot the last t-two hours..? Or worse? What if you f-forgot-?"
"Brother needs us... I'm not going to let him hurt..." Dark gave a flat smile, looking as though he would have rather been any other situation than this. "Besides... If I forget anything, you can be my brain..."
"You'll tell me what I lost, won't you?"
"I-" Mephiles started before inhaling sharply, eyes wide and wet near the corners. "D-Dark... I d-don't like you t-t-talking like this... It's scary..."
"I'm not dying, I'm just risking memory lapses." Dark said bluntly, shaking his head irritably.
"Exactly! We worked hard to sort that out!" Mephiles shouted. "I don't know if you've noticed, but I take your memories almost as seriously as you do!" He sniffed loudly. "... What if it makes your migraines even worse..?"
"... I don't see how-"
"When you repressed them, and they started coming back, you said you started getting headaches..." Mephiles said over him, half closing his eyes and looking away, cheeks tear stained now. "... When you hit your head on the stairs, they started coming back more often... When Dire attacked you, your head hurt even more... When the hospital collapsed on you, they got bigger..."
"... How could you even gauge that?" Dark asked quietly. "I never even said half of that..."
"... When I use my healing powers on your migraines... I feel how they feel, Dark..." Mephiles clenched his teeth and shuddered. "... I actually understand what kind of pain they are, more than you think..." He pressed his forehead against Dark's, who briefly tensed from force of habit before relaxing. "... I remember what the green Emerald did you you. I only touched it for a barely a minute, maybe half that, and you lost at least two hours in short term memory, and you would have forgotten that you had had migraines, if one didn't flair up at that time... You almost forgot my name, even..."
"Mephy, that was so long ago, it was a different time then, and things have changed..."
"You c-can't be sure of that. If just t-touching the Emerald for a bit d-did that, what would using it d-do to you..?"
"... I... Don't know..."
"And th-that scares me..." Mephiles grabbed Dark's shoulders and squeezed them. "... I love you th-the way you are... I c-can't stand another thing th-that changes you..."
"... I haven't changed much since-"
"You really haven't b-been the s-s-same since D-Dire..." Mephiles said thickly, pulling back a bit and staring at Dark blearily, face flushed and nose dribbly once again. "I know you're truh-trying to be really tuh-tough about it, buh-but you're still scuh-scared of him. You don't f-feel safe enough t-t-to even sleep until one of us is huh-holding you, or at least nearby. I know about th-the nightmares, t-too..."
"... I never told-"
"I mean, you've guh-gotten better at hiding them, b-b-but you can't honestly th-think I wouldn't notice?" Mephiles grit his teeth as he lifted his arm to rub his face dry. "Why d-don't you talk about th-them? I won't laugh-f-f-f, I promise!"
"Mephy, I really don't think now's the time to discuss this..." Dark frowned, looking sidewise at Phee and Kole. "We really have to get back to-"
"When, th-then? When are you going to t-t-talk about it? It's been s-s-six months, Dark! That's a long t-time to keep something like that t-to yourself!"
"You already read my notebooks about it..." Dark said in a matter-of-fact tone, as if that answered things.
"Those were written b-before you were abducted!" Mephiles howled miserably, looking Dark right in the eyes. "All you p-put in those b-books now is drawings, s-s-suh-sometimes hardly even resembling th-that!"
"I honestly don't think they looked that bad..." Dark was missing the point.
"You f-filled one of th-them with nothing but black!"
Mephiles was referring to an incident shortly after returning home from the hospital, where Dark had collected all the black pens, markers, pencils and crayons in the house and had presumably spent the night saturating the pages of one of the notebooks with the color. Shadow had been the one to happen upon Dark sitting on the living room floor early that particular morning, ink and wax residue smeared on the side of his hand that rubbed on the paper. Discarded crayon nubs and empty markers and pens scattered around him, and he gripped a bundle of black colored pencils in his left hand, scribbling away feverishly while muttering under his breath. There was some question as to whether or not he was even aware of what he was doing.
By the time Shadow roused Mephiles to alert him of the issue, Dark had retrieved a pair of kitchen shears and began cutting apart the notebook, getting only halfway to the spiral binding before the scissors jammed from the amount of paper and card-stock between the blades. Before they could decide what to do in order to get the chewed up mess away from him, Dark simply dropped the heavy duty scissors, and by that extension, the notebook, and stared ahead blearily as he sat on the floor.
When Mephiles had approached him carefully to check on him, Dark merely shifted his unfocused gaze at the hedgehog once his shoulder was touched, and mumbled tearfully: "... I'm so tired right now..." before leaning into Mephiles and breathing out a long exhausted sigh.
He stayed there well into the afternoon before standing up and retreating to their bedroom, crawling under his blankets and staying there for the remainder of the day in silence, which concerned Mephiles greatly.
Dark never did explain what that had been all about, and he seemed adamant in being sure to never bring it up.
"... I have no idea what you're talking about, Mephy." He said, proving that to still be true. "We really should hurry this up."
"Of c-course you (hic) don't want to t-talk about it, you never want to (hic) talk about it!" Mephiles snapped back, annoyance and anger fueled by months of helpless observation, as well as their current predicament. He sniffled again, this time rubbing his nose on the fur of his arm to wipe away the drying blood. "I'm sorry, D-D-Dark, (hic) but how can I help f-fix you if you won't let me!"
Dark's ears shot up in surprise, and he quickly broke his gaze with Mephiles, vaguely aware now that Phee and Kole were still present.
"... I don't want to discuss this... I'd rather forget it..." Dark said quietly, gritting his teeth and trying to keep from frowning so deeply. "... It's bad enough that Dire hurt you, but because he used me to do it... I can't get over it, he made me hear it, he made me see it." He gave the awkward sort of grimace that came about when one was trying to hide their emotions, but was failing miserably at it. "... And the worst part is that no matter how much time passes, no matter what we do, I can't forget it because when I look at you, I'm going to remember that. He marked you, and he used me to do it... He used me to hurt you, because it would hurt me, and he lives off that..."
"... (hic) I d-dunno, I think this scar (hic) kinda makes me look t-tough..." Mephiles tried for a bit of humor, but his already small smile faded when Dark stared at him apprehensively. "... I don't (hic) blame you, y'know that, doncha..?"
"But I do!" Dark howled, shaking his head, smacking his hands into it, and then grabbing his quills roughly. "I do! I blame myself! I did nothing and you got hurt! I tried to stop him, but you got hurt! I couldn't do anything, and because of that, you got hurt!"
Mephiles blinked sadly, and reached his hands for Dark's, carefully prying Dark's fingers from his quills.
"... Don't pull those out, (hic) please..." He said quietly. "... I got hurt because I kicked Dire in the shin... He did that to me, not you. It was never you. He was literally a force of nature we couldn't stop. It wasn't your fault."
"Everyone said that! Everyone said that it wasn't my fault! I waited for you to wake up and tell me the same, but it took a month! It felt longer than it took for you to find me, but it wasn't! I thought you were never going to wake up again!" Dark snapped back, sniffling and shuddering. "This is why I didn't want to t-talk about it! It d-doesn't help! It just hurts!"
"... I'm sorry, Dark, but it'll hurt even more if you keep it all to yourself..." Mephiles sniffled a little himself, which was completely understandable at this point. He pressed his forehead against Dark's again. "... Trust me, you'll feel a lot better when you start telling us about it. Me and Iblis have been waiting on you, and Rouge says that it's not good for you too keep quiet about it this long, and even Shadow's a bit concerned..."
At the hybrid hedgehog's name, Dark gave that annoyed, straight-mouthed expression he usually did, followed by a brief huff.
"Hey! Don't you think it's about time to stop being so sour about Shadow?" Mephiles huffed back, causing Dark to flinch. "I think it's been long enough that it's just pointless to be this angry! I've seen you two get along before, so I know it's possible! Rouge told me about you guys being nice to each other when I was in that coma, so it's just stupid to be such a grump about something that happened because of an alternate timeline!"
Dark blinked dumbly, slightly taken aback by both being chewed out as well as what was said. He shifted his eyes to the right and muttered under his breath: "... Can't believe she sold me out like that..."
"Really, at this point, I think you're just trying to keep up appearances when it comes to Shadow." Mephiles stuck out his tongue like a brat and prodded a finger at Dark's snout.
"I could care less what he thinks. I just live there." Dark grunted and shoved Mephiles' hand away.
"I doubt that. Know how I can tell?" The hedgehog grinned a little when Dark gave a halfhearted shake of the head. "Why else did you seem so offended when we found out who Kole is?"
Dark cringed, his fingers and toes curling slightly as a visible chill rippled through his fur and quills, causing them to stand briefly. He heard Kole giggle a bit in amusement.
"... I wasn't." His pale face flushed a deep shade of red, and he quickly looked away to hide his face from everyone.
"Yeah, sure. You basically said that we're Shadow and Rouge's kids, and you asked if we'd been replaced." Mephiles couldn't hide the pleased tone in his voice. "Admit it, you know that they've done enough for you that you actually do care what they think."
"Shadow doesn't like me, he just tolerates me because he knows he'll get in trouble at his job for keeping the remaining part of the Scepter artifact for the past two years." Dark glanced back at the hedgehog.
"I swear, you made that up in your mind to justify all this, honestly..." Mephiles shook his head. "Shadow has special rights at GUN, he can't actually be fired unless... I dunno, like... He sold out the planet to an alien race again or something. He's literally the best agent they've got, and they kinda owe him for what happened years again, so I doubt dropping a fancy glass vial on the ground is going to get him kicked out, much less so because seriously: who else knows about our link to it besides you, me, Iblis, Rouge and Shadow? GUN just thinks we're some weird looking orphan kids Shadow and Rouge found in Soleanna. Your fear here is really unrealistic, sorry to say. If Shadow was really going to do that, he'd have done it a long time ago, nothing's stopping him."
Dark inhaled slowly and deeply, puffing his cheeks out and giving a glare as he squeezed his hands at his sides, shaking a little.
"Dark, you don't have to act like a tough, grumpy meanie all the time. You worry so much about what everyone is going to think, that you really restrict yourself and they don't get to see how-"
"Absolutely weak and pathetic I really am?"
"I was gonna say 'nice and caring', you didn't let me finish." Mephiles sighed. "Did you actually forget all the good stuff you've done? I'd really would be dead by now, if you didn't save me all those times. If you hadn't kept me awake during that avalanche, I wouldn't have been able to dig my way out, and probably would have either frozen to death or suffocated."
"... At the time, it was because I thought I'd die if you died..." Dark gave the most dismally ashamed look he could manage. "... It was purely survival, there was nothing heroic about it... I don't deserve you..."
"Yes, you do. Let me ask you something?" Mephiles reached for Dark's cheek tufts and tugged them in a playful manner, trying to get him to lighten up. "When I woke up from my coma, you were right there. Why was that?"
"... Because I didn't want you to be alone when you woke up..." Dark mumbled, reaching his hands up again to grab Mephiles by the wrists. "... I barely left your side because I was afraid I'd never see you smile again... Or hear you talk to me... I was afraid you'd be scared of me, and I was just going crazy over the thought of it..."
"You were worried about me, then, like always." The hedgehog smiled and wound his fingers around the tufts away. "Let me tell you something now, a little secret really. I felt you there the whole time."
Dark gave a shuddering gasp, and squeezed his fingers around Mephiles' wrists, eyes wide and jaw clenched.
"... Don't do this to me, Mephy, please..." He whispered shakily. "... Let's just get back to Brother, he's probably out of his mind right now..."
"Okay... But, I'm really not comfortable about using the green Emerald with you." Mephiles exhaled slowly. "... If I'm, uh, I mean Phee, if he's wrong about this, I don't know what it's going to do to you. If touching it wiped a couple hours from your memory, I'm seriously afraid of what using it will do..." He looked at Phee and Kole anxiously.
"... Mephy, can I ask you something..?" Dark added meekly.
"... Why do you never want to talk about these things when we're alone?"
"Because you ignore my questions about them when we're alone. It's the only way I can get a good answer out of you, really." Mephiles shrugged sheepishly, then looked at Phee. "... How sure are you that this is going to cancel it out? I don't want anything else to mess with his mind in anyway..."
"It's a theory, but I'm sure it's better than nothing."
"It's weird talking to myself and knowing full well that I can't really offer myself solace..." Mephiles groaned and moved his hands from Dark's cheek tufts to clutch at him protectively. "If anything happens to him or the state of his memories, I won't forgive myself, and by that, I mean you."
"I... That's understandable. Just hold on to each other and I'll see about getting a shield around us." Phee nodded understandably, and explained. "Our shields are essentially our Auras' being projected, but at the age and experience you are now, the thing won't be remotely powerful enough on it's own to do much to cancel the effect without draining you severely. I figure you don't fancy being unconscious for a day or two straight, after all."
"I got out of a four week coma about six months ago, I don't fancy non-sleep unconsciousness at all." Mephiles frowned slightly. "So, then... How do I help out with this?"
"Just keep your Aura active, anyway possible. Use your powers, if you have to."
Mephiles looked at Dark, trailed his eyes to the faint electrical burn scars on his neck, and slowly reached out to touch them, but Dark, still holding Mephiles' wrists, stopped him. Mephiles looked up at him, and Dark shook his head carefully, lifted the hedgehog's hands to place them on the shadow's forehead.
"If anything, I'd prefer you'd take care of this instead of that..."
"... Oh, Dark, do you have a migraine right now?"
"More of a small headache than that, probably from all this happening right now, but I really don't want you trying to heal those at this time..." Dark slid his hands on top of Mephiles' and held them in place. "... You've never really tried healing old scars, and we honestly don't know how that's going to feel. That collar really hurt, and I don't want you to know that firsthand..."
Mephiles stared at him sadly, letting his ears droop at the thought.
"... In those two months, you went through a lot that I wasn't there for, huh?" He mumbled, spreading his fingers out a bit more to cover as much as he could. "... When he took over, Dire told me that you had a heart attack when you saw a picture of me with Sonic, Tails and Chip. I dunno if I should believe him or not, I'd hate to think I made that happen to you..."
"... Not sure what that was, kinda fainted, so Brother probably knows more about that than me..." Dark shrugged and looked away. "... I wasn't thinking rationally, and I was afraid that Dire was right and you had given up on me and just repla-" Dark stopped and inhaled deeply, dropping his gaze to his feet. "... It was a stupid thought, I should have known you'd never do that to me... But he was so persistent and he'd say all sorts of things that really got to me... It was just how constant he was that really drilled it in." He blinked. "Can we get this done now? Brother is alone and I hate that."
"You say my name too much, Mephy. What?"
"I'm sorry for hurting you."
"... It's alright, I've probably done worse to you, anyway."
Mephiles was silent as he tapped into his Aura to use his healing abilities on Dark. As his hands lit up with a faint purplish glow, he added in a quiet, forlorn tone: "... Yeah, but you've never broken my heart... I've done that to you at least twice without meaning to..."
"True, but I forgive you."
"Then why is it so hard for you to believe that I can feel the same way?"
Dark didn't answer. He simply kept his hands on Mephiles' and closed his eyes, giving a single nod as if to say that he was ready for the Emerald to be used now.
The moment Phee put up the bubble shield, Mephiles couldn't help but notice something quite strange about all that. Yes, it was his own Aura being projected around him without his own input, but he had to wonder to himself as to why it felt so... empty, was that the right word?
He was about to dismiss it as simply feeling his Aura outside of his own body, when Dark's eyes snapped open and narrowed slightly in confusion, as if he also wondered the same thing, now that he had direct contact with it. If Dark knew that something was up, well then...
"Chaos Control!" Kole's voice chirped before either of them had time to voice the concern. And then all was silent.
Mephiles could never recall being so pleased to see this ratty old motel carpet in the few times he stayed in such an establishment in Soleanna, but it was somewhat of a comforting sight after spending who knows how long in that void.
Once it settled in his mind that the plan had worked, he quickly turned his attention to Dark, who was staring bleary eyed, as if his consciousness hadn't quite caught up with him yet. Fearing the worst, Mephiles took his hands of Dark's head and grabbed the shadow's shoulders, giving him a careful shake or two.
"Dark! How'd it go! Are you still here!" He wasn't quite sure what and how to ask, as he had dealt with Dark and memory loss several times before but still didn't know how to handle the situation, much less by himself. "Do you remember what just happened, or where we are, or who you are or... wh-who I am?" Mephiles had stuttered on the last question, fearing for the worst.
Dark's eyes blinked repeatedly, and focused on Mephiles, flashing a recognizing look before a grin spread on the shadow's face.
"We just used the green Emerald, we're back in the motel, I'm Dark and you're Mephy."
Mephiles stared before grinning as well, grabbing Dark's hands again, and proceeding to jump around excitedly, laughing and crying at the same time, pulling Dark forward with him as he did.
"Oh, Dark! I'm so happy! You're okay! Everything is okay! And-! Wait... Why is it raining indoors..?" Mephiles added dumbly, looking up at the active fire extinguishing sprinklers above. It took no less than a couple of seconds before it clicked that this was a problem and he cursed to himself before shouting out for Iblis, Dark following suit with his own name for him.
It didn't take long to find him, as he had taken the plastic shower curtain, bar and all, out of it's place and was using it to take shelter from the cool mist that would easily hurt him. Perhaps it was his tendency to not show his emotions clearly, but he appeared far more distressed than either of them had ever seen him before, once they found him in front of the tub.
He clenched his teeth in a grimace when he looked at them with wide eyes, shuddered and ask: "... Are... Are you real..?"
"About as real as you are. Are you alright, Brother?" Dark cringed, seeing quite clearly, from what was visible, where Iblis had been sprayed with the sprinklers, as several raw, reddened patches could be seen on his forearms and cheek. Dark had to refrain from reaching out for him, as the sprinklers were still going and he was currently saturated with cool water. He glanced at the floor and saw what appeared to be a handful of two of quills, with their bases broken and jagged, indicating they had been snapped and pulled, instead of just falling out. "That's not a good thing to do to those, they'll grow back crooked, or worse, ingrown..."
"The first thing you tell me after you just up and leave me like this, is to lecture me on what I do with my quills?" Iblis half shouted, relieved that his brothers were back all the same. "Maybe you didn't notice, but it's raining indoors and I'm fire!"
"... The sprinklers shouldn't have gone off unless..." Mephiles started before trailing off when he set his eyes on the melted mess that had been the light switch. He put two and two together quickly enough. "... Yeah, that'd just about do it. I wonder how many Rings it'll take to pay for the damages here..?"
"We don't have money, Mephy, we spent it all on the room and food." Dark said wearily, hardly bothering to turn his head took look over his shoulder. "All of which are now soaked."
"Where were you two? I was afraid you weren't coming back!" Iblis said before sneezing and letting out a pitiful groan as a small cloud of smoke escaped him with a short cough. "... That's not good on several levels..."
"Normally, if I were to sneeze, it should have at least a spark somewhere in there..." Iblis looked at the hedgehog with tired eyes. "Because I'm a flame, y'know? But it's too damp right now, so not even a tiny ember. Second: have you even known me to be sick?"
"Not really, no. But, everyone gets sick eventually."
"We literally have no idea how my body will react to that."
"It can't be much different than me and Dark, right?"
"My average body temperature is higher than a normal Mobian's, so a fever wouldn't really affect me, I think, but I'm probably more sensitive to hypothermia, like Dark is to heat stroke." Iblis frowned, blinking slowly. "And that's a problem because cold can actually physically hurt me."
"Oh." Mephiles said sheepishly, looking up quickly and wondering where the shut off valve was. "Right, I suppose that's a bad thing, alright..."
"Where were you?" Iblis asked again with more persistence.
Both Dark and Mephiles shrugged.
"We honestly don't know. Some kind of 'nowhere'? It was like what I'd assume the space between Now and Then to be like... Just a void?"
Iblis looked as though he didn't quite comprehend the concept, but all the same, he was upset about it.
"How on Mobius did that happen?"
"It's purely speculation, but we suppose it was our abilities mixing in the right way at the wrong time..."
"... Don't leave me like that again, please. If it wasn't for these things..." Iblis gestured awkwardly upward, keeping himself under the curtain. "I might have flared up and burned the place down from losing my mind..." He paused when he took note of the other two that had accompanied his brothers back. "... Uh... Who... Who are they..?"
"You're actually probably not gonna believe this at first..." Mephiles started, squeezing water out of his lower quill clumps, seemingly not realizing that it was a futile effort so long as the sprinklers kept going. "But that's me from the future, and Shadow and Rouge's kid, like, also from the future."
Iblis stared at him for a good long minute before saying simply: "You're right, I don't."
"Y'know, before we continue further, it's probably a good idea to see about getting the room taken care of and maybe getting another room?" Phee spoke up, eyeing Kole, who seemed to be enjoying the puddles in the carpet, as she was currently jumping around in them.
"We blew all our Rings on renting this room." Dark reiterated, tossing his hands up halfheartedly. "I doubt we could get another one, much less pay for the damages."
"Just let me handle this." Said Phee.
And handle it, he did.
Somehow, they were able to get away with the explanation of faulty wiring in the bathroom sparking and causing the sprinklers to go off, as the building was several decades old and had it's electrical system installed about that long ago, so it seemed legit. They had even been reimbursed their Rings and offered a discount once it was made known that Iblis essentially had a water allergy, likely to deter a lawsuit (not that either of the brothers understood what that was); and should they take the same deal again, that would be saving about half the Rings in the process.
"That's about the most fortunate thing to happen to me all week..." Dark said, holding down Iblis' arm carefully as Mephiles examined the severity, as Iblis kept flinching away too much to be properly assessed. "Just terrible that you had to be hurt for that to happen, Brother..."
"I lost control, and started burning." Iblis said simply before inhaling sharply. "Stop poking, at me, that hurts!"
"Yeah, you burned yourself alright..." Mephiles said grimly as Iblis managed to wrench himself free from his twin, holding his arm protectively to his chest.. "I'm no doctor, but from what I can tell, the good news is that it's not going to blister if I do what I can, but the bad news is that it's going to peel for a little while like a sunburn, and it's going to itch, and because of our claws, you can't scratch at it unless you want to tear yourself up."
"Isn't there something we could use to make it not itch?"
"They're all made with cool liquids, I don't think that'll help much... Probably just make it worse."
"Let me try something." Phee said, holding his hand up to get their attention. "Since you and I are the same, why don't we just pool our abilities together and heal it all at once?"
"Can we even do that? I'd figure we'd cancel each other out or something." Mephiles tilted his head questioningly. "Under normal circumstances, that kind of pooling wouldn't even be a thing, we shouldn't have even crossed paths, if I'm being perfectly honest."
To be more perfectly honest, Mephiles didn't quite trust Phee to do that at the moment, given that he was still puzzled about the "empty" feeling Aura, and what it meant. He knew Dark's Aura to be full of manic energy, and Iblis to be of a swirling warmth, and he often heard of his own to be comforting (Dark once referred to it as being like a hug), so it didn't make much sense for an Aura to be devoid of any sensation at all, given what he knew.
Something felt wrong to him, and therefore sent his instinct into overdrive. He was the oldest of the trio and he was going to protect his brothers.
"You and I both know that asking either of us to not scratch with our claws is darn near impossible, Mephy." Dark reasoned. "The only other options would be to either tie his hands together so he can't reach it (which we're so not doing), wrap his hands up to where his claws can't be used (which is silly looking and would restrict the use of his hands), essentially restrict his ability to use his hands in any way (again, not doing), or pray to Solaris, Chaos and Gaia all at once that he doesn't go mad from the time it takes to heal over."
Mephiles huffed a frustrated sigh and looked back at Phee, who was sitting on the edge of the bed.
"How are we gonna be sure that us making contact with each other won't make our existence implode from the timeline or whatever it is that's been shown in movies and shows?"
"... What, like '12 Monkeys'?" Phee said, fiddling with a strap on his sandal.
"... The story or the movie..?" Mephiles blinked, recalling of a time a couple months prior to when this whole mess started, the trio had caught it being played on that science-fiction channel, and it caught their interest mostly because of the way time travel was handled (even so that Dark himself was mildly surprised, as he wasn't able to accurately predict the outcome as he normal would with other films).
"Actually, I was thinking more the show..."
"There's a show? When?"
"Aw, geeze, I forgot, that's not for another at least another six or seven years for you guys, oops... Was that a spoiler?" Phee let go of his shoe and held his hands up defensively. "Um, it's certainly much longer than the movie, and a lot was expanded on, but some things were changed a bit, and it's actually really-! Ah, y'know what? I won't ruin it, you won't enjoy it as much if I told you."
"Then why bring it up?"
"Well... Geeze, this would spoil the story, if I explained how it came about... Um..." Phee thought for a moment. "Okay, let's try this... Dark, can you get a quill from my head, and a quill from his head, please?"
"I know what you're thinking about, and I doubt it will work, those quills are not the same, too much time has passed."
"But we're the same person, so we've got the same DNA stuff, right?"
"Technically speaking, whatever event led to you being here already altered you enough to be different from Mephy, so I don't even think this will be needed, but whatever." Dark rolled his eyes briefly before complying, reaching over to carefully cut a quill of either head with a claw, and holding them up, one in each hand, grasped between forefinger and thumb. "For starters, Mephy's has crystals, and yours doesn't. Plus, yours isn't blue." He tapped them together. "See? Nothing happens."
"It's not too bad of a burn, I think I could handle it by myself." Mephiles said insistently.
A look passed over Dark's face in the briefest of moments and he shot a glance at Mephiles, making note that the hedgehog was purposely keeping himself between Phee and them. He's ask about that later.
"It's nothing short of a chemical reaction, it'll be too much on your nerves." Dark reasoned. "Even if you do heal fast, it's still going to hurt. And we haven't even gotten into the matter on the ones elsewhere."
"I brought you back from near death, didn't I?"
"You had Chaos Emeralds, especially the purple one, which is absent from here, by the way. And we don't know what exposure to the green one will do to Brother."
"It's no problem, I'm sure I can do this on my own." Mephiles insisted, reaching out for Iblis' arm. "How else am I gonna get better at it if I can't test my limits?"
He could almost feel Dark's stare of "You're lying, and you know it" bearing into the back of his head. He tried to ignore it as much as he tried to ignore the steady stinging, no burning, sensation that arose in his skin as he expended his energy to heal Iblis' burns.
He felt Dark grab and tug at his arm, which caused the sore area of skin to flare up briefly in pain.
"Mephy, that's enough. You already proved whatever point it was you were going for."
Mephiles was about to protest that he could handle it, when his brain, for lack of a better word, "exploded". It seemed that all his senses fired off at once, with his sense of touch into overdrive from the nerves being frazzled, his sense of hearing being bombarded with what he could only describe as a repeatedly loud BANG, his sense of sight going dark, his mouth tasting like metal, and several unfamiliar scents assaulting his nose.
He was certain he had screamed in shock, and his could swear that his head felt lighter, perhaps from his quills dropping off. He felt an intense feeling of terror at this and screeched as loudly as he could manage, feeling far too overwhelmed. When his senses finally began to equalize back to normal, he found himself to be crouched on the floor in a hunched position, clutching his upper arms tightly, rocking back and forth frantically, shivering and teeth chattering as if he had been freezing, though he had felt as though he had been on fire before coming to.
He knew Dark was beside him and holding onto and rocking with him in a certain way, as if afraid the hedgehog was going to disappear if he dared to let him go. He could hear Dark whisper in his ear, under his breath: "... Come back, please come back, I tried to tell you not to, Stupid Hedgehog, Stupid, Stupid Hedgehog..."
When his vision cleared, he could see a pair of dimly glowing eyes in front of him, with a hand waving carefully as if to test his reflexes, which he had to admit that it took him a few seconds after focusing to realize that he was supposed to follow the hand with his eyes.
"I think he's coming to, Dark..." Iblis said in a low voice, as if concerned that his tone would set something off again. "Chaos, I think he tapped a little too far this time..."
Mephiles let go of his arms and slid his hands across his chest, with his wrists crossed on each other, and gripped at his fluff in big handfuls. He wanted to talk, but he couldn't make his mouth work. He looked at Dark with wide eyes, mouth agape, and could only manage a weak chitter in his native tongue, which could only translate to: "... What..?"
"You went too far, and overloaded yourself, it looks like." Dark got the gist and sighed a bit in relief to see Mephiles functioning again. "It took you ten minutes to stop screaming, and longer than that to finally snap out of it." He shuddered with Mephiles, and added: "We were all this close to actually calling for help, even though I doubt any doctor here would understand how we're made. Are you going to be alright now?"
Mephiles looked at him for a good long while before managing an uncertain moan. Truthfully, he wanted to just lay down, and he wanted to be reassured that what had happened hadn't actually been near fatal and most importantly, he wanted Shadow and Rouge to be there.
"... Do you feel like you're going to be sick..?"
The hedgehog paused before nodded slowly.
"... Can you stand?"
Mephiles shook his head.
He heard a distant scuffling before a wastebasket was held in front of him as a hand rubbed his back gently and thought to himself "... At least I took care of Iblis' burns..." before his stomach twisted before it purged.
An hour later, Mephiles was sitting on one of the beds, a blanket cocooned loosely around him as he shivered and wiped a bit of drool from his mouth with the edge of the blanket. He felt like he had swallowed dish soap (a feat he wasn't too proud to admit he had tried before in his earlier days as a Mobian, due to his confusion of what the thing was, as he used to have a habit of tasting new things, before Shadow and Rouge had managed to train that out of him before he had made a terrible mistake), and it didn't help that his mouth was frothing slightly from the way he was breathing and the vomit residue in his mouth.
It didn't help that he was not only miserable, but that this had happened in front of people he was not completely comfortable around, even if one of them was his future self.
"Gosh, I forgot how sick I used to get..." Phee noted sheepishly, holding out a styrofoam cup with a hot liquid in it. "Good thing I carry around some tea bags just in case. I know you like coffee better, but the caffeine would be a mistake right now."
"Hey, two beds and a coffee machine." Kole said loudly, pointing to the things in question. "Like the song, but a lot happier. I get it now."
"Yes, Kole, but that's not really relevant." Phee said, shaking his head exasperatedly, before turning back to Mephiles. "She's really a bright one, but she thinks in music, so not everyone gets her. Also, she's like, eight, and has the attention span of any typical kid that age."
"... Can I ask you something?" Mephiles said while reaching for the cup, taking a small sip, then placing the rest on the night stand to wait for it to cool down.
"... Why are you called 'Phee'?" Mephiles disappeared a bit more under his blanket, to where only his face from the eyes up could be seen. "I'm called 'Mephy' because it's short for my name, but I don't see why I would need another nick name if I'm already 'Mephy', 'Meph', 'Hedgehog', 'Stupid Hedgehog', and 'Kid'. It's kinda a nickname of a nickname at that point..."
"Well, originally, it's what Kole called me when she was learning how to say my name..." Phee said, folding his arms lightly, laughing a little. "In addition to being sure I don't get confused for you when we get called out to, I decided it was best to take the name for now. That, and I really don't feel like 'me' without my Dark, so if you take 'Me' out of 'Mephy", you get P-H-Y, or 'Phee'."
"Mmm-hmm..." Mephiles hummed, exchanging a glance with Dark and Iblis. "Is that why your Aura's so empty, then?"
Phee actually flinched. His fingers curled a bit and his quills bristled before he calmed down and exhaled carefully.
"You caught that, then?"
"I sense Auras, you should know that."
"I should have guessed, we're the same, after all..."
"It shouldn't have felt that empty, I don't like that."
"Neither do I. That's why I'm trying to find my Dark." Phee half hid his face behind a hand. "I have a theory of what happened to him, but I hope to Solaris that I'm wrong."
"What?" Mephiles said, leaning forward in interest. "What do you mean..?"
"Think for a moment: How common are Time altering powers? Why would you have been pull to be here on the day of your birth?"
"That's why I hope I'm wrong."
"... M-my Dark would never-"
"Yours might not, but mine... I'm not so sure."
"What happened?" Dark demanded, speaking up for the first time in a while. "I really don't think you've been entirely truthful to us. Start talking."
"Everything I've told is the truth."
"Yes, you can tell us the truth. But you can leave stuff out that you don't want to explain."
"Are you really one to tell me what to do? I'm the adult here." Phee stood up and slammed a hand to his own chest to gesture at the infliction made.
"And I'm the 'Dark' here." Dark bared his teeth as a warning. "I am totally within my right if I think you are endangering me or my brothers, should I choose to defend us."
"... You wouldn't hurt-"
"YoU'rE nOt mY mEpHy." Dark growled in his dangerous tone as he stood up as well and, being a bit shorter than Phee, tilted his head back to stare him in the eyes intently.
Phee actually swallowed in unease.
"... Please, we have a kid present..."
"No, We HaVe An AdUlT pReSeNt." Dark didn't drop his growl, and he kept the stare.
Phee shifted his gaze around the room before holding his curled finger against his mouth in the most awkwardly anxious way possible, appearing as though his hand was trying to atrophy from the shock. Then he sat back down.
"... My Dark did disappear. I dunno why or how exactly, I can only guess... but he did disappear." He said desperately, staring at Mephiles' Dark with big, sad, soulful eyes. "... In our time, a solar storm happens, in 2020. While we, as a planet, are very much prepared for such an event, it seems that it reacts to Iblis in a similar way heatstroke does to Dark..." He ran his hands through his quills almost frantically. "... We didn't know. We didn't know that, and we didn't know how to prevent it. We weren't ready, and we weren't prepared. We almost lost him, and it crushed Dark that none of us, even him, had any idea that this was even a possibility. We almost lost him, and Dark just... lost it." Phee shuddered at the thought, appearing to stare distantly now. "... I mean, he was there, but he wasn't there... He wouldn't talk, but it wasn't like when Kole was born. He wasn't doing it to spite us, he was just broken, like he forgot how to function. The last complete, coherent sentence I heard from him was 'He's going to be alright, right?', which was a week before he disappeared."
Dark's glare slowly faded as he listened to this with his brothers, each one of them letting a look of horror cross their faces.
"Worse yet, Iblis had been getting better, even if it was slowly, but news of Dark being gone just made it worse. This is why he's in this pendant shard. It's the only keeping him from burning out before we find Dark again." Phee held his hands protectively over the necklace on twine. "... I know that he hates being held in something just as much as Dark does, but it was the only way, and I didn't want to lose either of them. You understand, right? I just want my brothers back. I'm doing what I can, but I really don't know what I'm doing. I feel like I'm still a kid, and that someone will come and help me take care of this, but it's not going to happen unless I do something."
Phee inhaled sharply, and shook his head helplessly.
"No one else can do this Time Travel thing, Shadow can only warp between locations, not moments in Time. The only one who's able to help me on this is an eight year old girl, my little sister. I didn't want to bring her along, I would be sick if she got hurt, but I had no other choice. I need Dark and Iblis as much as they need me."
Dark's eyes blurred a bit, but he hid the tearing by acting as though he was pinching the bridge of his nose.
"... But why would you assume that your Dark had something to do with this Time anomaly?" He said, frowning. "Surely such a physical reaction could not have been reasoned to have started this far back..?"
"Unless he thought that he could prevent it by altering key points of Time?" Phee said in the most dismal tone ever heard from a Mephiles. "You're forgetting, he's not well and not in his right mind right now. Think for a moment, and recall your thought process when you weren't stable."
"... I'd have prevented the hurt from happening by making sure that hurt never happens..." Dark said slowly, as his pale face fell a few shades close to paper. "... You said your Dark seemed 'broken', and wouldn't talk... 'broken' in what way?"
"... It was really scary. It was like every emotion was fighting him at once, and he didn't know whether he was supposed to be angry, or sad, or happy, or scared, or horrified, and there were times where he'd laugh while crying. Not laughing tears, but sad tears. While laughing."
"He tried disconnecting them." Dark whispered in horror, shaking his head as he dropped to sit on the opposite bed. "... The Emotions, he tried to disconnect them and they fought back..."
"If he tried, that means he didn't actually do it, right?" Mephiles said, knowing all too well what it meant. He lifted his head out of the blanket cocoon. "That's good, right?"
"No, it's not. Attempting enough to actually get to the first stage of it throws the connections out of whack for an unknown amount of time. It... breaks everything."
"But if you know what it does, then why would you even try, Dark?" Iblis said, gripping his fingers into the edge of the bed he was sitting on.
"You've overlooked something, Brother: I'm likely to do anything after receiving a huge traumatic shock, because I don't handle stress well."
"... I-If your Dark alters anything in the past... whuh-what will happen to us..?"
"Nothing, you're too far removed from the Prime Time Line that you cannot be erased, if that's what you're worried about." Phee explained with a weak smile. "Not to mention, because all of you, and myself, are intertwined with Solaris, we can't really be erased, because Solaris exists in all of Time regardless. We're Time-Proof, really. One good thing to hear out of this, eh?"
"... That hardly makes either of us feel better..."
"Hey, I'm sure that this can be fixed..." Phee offered, reaching out to place a hand on Dark's shoulder, but was immediately slapped away with a backhand.
"You're not my Mephy, don't touch me." Dark growled, reacting as though he was being approached by a stranger. "I'm not your Dark, you're someone I don't know. Keep your hands off me."
"Dark! That's a bit rude!" Mephiles said incredulously.
"No, no... he's actually right." Phee excused the shadow's behavior, though all the same, he looked a bit hurt by those words. "... My Dark is different. I forgot for a moment, and just reacted to him being a bit upset. It's my fault, not his..." He cleared his throat. "Well, it's getting a bit late, we all had quite a day, but I think it's a good idea to think about going to bed..."
"After all the bombshells you just dropped, I don't think any of us could go to sleep as easily as we want to..."
"Fair enough. I'm not your parents, I can only suggest it... But Kole shouldn't be up this late."
Dark crawled on the bed closer to Mephiles, sat beside him, folded his arms and leaned against him, only to be puzzled by the hedgehog's swiftness in making sure the blanket was between them so they didn't touch physically.
"... Sorry, Dark, but I think my Retrocognition ability is flaring up again... I don't want to risk another set of memories that aren't mine right now..."
The shadow stared at him in mild shock.
"How can you tell? It's been like a year since the last time it-"
"Because I'm very sure that when I took care of Iblis' burns, I tapped into his memories." Mephiles said grimly, pulling the blanket up to his nose again and drawing his hands in his safety bundle. Iblis bristled at this, but Mephiles assured: "It wasn't anything embarrassing, it was more like just an intense feeling of betrayal, so I'm a bit sure when that was supposed to be... I'm sorry..."
"... Wow, Mephy, you have the chance to see exactly what happened with me and Dire, and you're not taking it, that's unexpected..." Dark blinked.
"I'm not gonna make you go through that again until you're ready, Dark." Mephiles admitted. "I didn't intend to tap into Iblis' memories, it was an accident, and I am very sorry."
"Well, you didn't mean to, so-" Iblis started before he was cut short.
"No, no... Iblis, please. I'm sorry." Mephiles shook his head, keeping the same tone.
"I heard you the first time."
"No, Iblis, I don't think you get it. I said 'I'm sorry'."
"And I said I heard you."
"I'm not apologizing for seeing your memories now, I'm saying sorry for making you feel the way you did when you thought Dark replaced you with me."
Iblis looked up at eyes in the bundle of blankets, and saw that they were teary.
"... I finally understand why you did what you did. You were in pain."
Iblis blinked, forced a short laugh, and smiled smally.
"Aw, forget about it, bro."
How long have you been on DeviantArt? - 9 years. More specifically, about 7 months longer than Sonic 06 has existed.
What does your username mean? - "RaeLogan" was a username I picked for myself back when I was deep in the Teen Titans craze when I was 15. It's my OTP, Raven and Beast Boy, with "Rae" being short for Raven, and "Logan" being Beast Boy's last name. It also ended up being my pen name and psuedonymn.
Describe yourself in three words. - "Dorky", "Odd" and "Friendly"
Are you left or right handed? - Right. My mother is a Southpaw, and she thought until I was 12 that I was one too, so I tend to make characters who share the lefty trait.
What was your first deviation? - This old thing in MS Paint, which was a proto-version of a guinea pig character I have for a personal set of characters of mine. Done with a mouse and saved in good old jpeg format!~
What is your favourite type of art to create? - That depends on what you could call "art". I enjoy drawing, but I also like to write and I have recently taken up knitting... really, I like anything that gives a face and some life into my ideas.
If you could instantly master a different art style, what would it be? - What I would give to be able to draw semi-realistic animals...
What was your first favourite? - This Harry Potter/Lion King thing. I actually forgot about this...
What type of art do you tend to favourite the most? - Fanart
Who is your all-time favourite deviant artist? - Really putting me on the spot, are you? Too many to say, but chances are, if I have you on watch or favorited a great deal from you (but somehow missed hitting that watch button), then I like your art a lot.
If you could meet anyone on DeviantArt in person, who would it be? - I... dunno..? Maybe NetRaptor, as her Sonic-verse is what really got me into wanting to create my own and tackle making fanfiction so many years ago. I seriously love her version of Metal Sonic, and the world her stories take place in. She is... for lack of a better term, what I would call "senpai", though she's already noticed me, so I don't have to hope for that.
How has a fellow deviant impacted your life? - Y'all are wonderful, and the sheer fact that you guys look at my stuff, leave comments, make fanart, and talk to me is way more than what Pre-15 year old me could have ever hoped for.
What are your preferred tools to create art? - I like to use whatever I can get my hands on, but my favorite methods are colored pencils (with or without markers), MS Paint with my tablet, or this one outdated GIMP program (because I didn't like the interface of the newer one) with my tablet
What is the most inspirational place for you to create art? - Oddly, I seem to have gotten my best ideas just out of nowhere.
What is your favourite DeviantArt memory? - That one time someone bought me a 3 Month Premium Subscription to DA for Christmas, and did so anonymously. I never got to thank them personally. I'm still blown away that someone I have never really met would do something so nice for me.