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Prologue

Asonja the Hedgehog has been experiencing high levels of boredom, like every rainy, happiness-deprived day has always been. He's been wishing for something interesting/life-changing happen to him, whether it was good, bad, or truly terrifying like a test. The first day would contain anger as well as destroyed privacy. The 2nd day, a mixture between reaching happiness and only finding confusion. The 3rd day, tasteful revenge from the looked-down-upon, all the way to certain defeat. The 4th through the 7th day will be the most challenging days, as those are meant to test Asonja's patience, intelligence, and his emotions. The 7th day is meant to be a message, a message from either the heavens or from his own brain: the answer to what Asonja needs to do to gain what he truly wants the easiest way possible. Or something more...

In a sense, these days are meant to teach Asonja the ways of life; how he should be in control of his own life and how his decisions are greatly affecting his future by sticking to the past. His current mental set will never get him anywhere in life, and this week is meant to tell him what he needs to do. How will Asonja take this week? Find out...

Day 1

9 AM A loud bang and heavy vibration shook the sleeping hedgehog awake. He looked around, seeming to hide himself in the bed in confusion. "What the hell was that?!" He said to himself and got out of bed. He put on his trench coat as he opened his room door, only to find a news vehicle in complete disrepair. It seemed to have crashed through his window, breaking his TV and Sofa. It was smoking in the hood like it had already exploded.

He put his hands to his head, tugging at his messed up bed-hair. "WHAT THE FU-" But he was interrupted by a handsome newsman Tiger in a tuxedo who leaned next to him with a mic to his mouth, facing a short clay-furred lynx with large ears, who also waved with a small smile off-screen, giving a thumbs-up to indicate that they're rolling.

"This is James McGuffin on Channel 5, reporting to you live with the poorest and most anti-social hedgehog on Mobius!" He pointed to the hedgehog with a smirk. The camera zoomed in on the two, the hedgehog's eyes in huge surprise. His bags under his eyes were completely visible at this point and the light of the sun made it really clear.

"Now tell us your name so we can put you in the record books!" James said as he put the Mic near the hedgehog's mouth. He pushed it away lightly, his eyes going back to half-closed and his right eyebrow twitched. "First of all, who are you people and how did you get into my apartment?!" The hedgehog grumbled. "I could've sworn I locked the doors..!"

James still smiled and said with his arms out. "We built a ramp, went 90 miles per hour, and arrived in your apartment without asking for clearance!" He chuckled. The cameragirl veered the camera to the ramp at the bottom of the road and zoomed in on the skid marks. "Get a good look at those beauties!" James said, laughing.

The hedgehog looked down as well but immediately backed up as the sun got in his eyes, making him grunt in pain a little bit. The Tiger grabbed him back in to view of the camera. "Now don't be shy and tell us your name!" He said, bringing the mic to the hedgehog.

"Do you expect me to start saying these things in front of a live audience?!" The hedgehog tried explaining, flailing his arms about. "I'm gonna be judged and laughed at even though it's already been done and people can see how short and stinky I am I'M A FREAKING BEAN!" His pupils shrank as he grabbed James in his collar, pulling him close to his face. Then he quickly pulled him back, sweating and shivering. "S-sorry I freaked out there for a minute...I haven't been socially interactive for a while..."

James stood still for a moment, in mild surprise at how the hedgehog went from 0 to 60 in under 2 seconds. He tried again by asking with a hint of slyness "So is that a yes or a no on the name thing...?"

The hedgehog looked at James and then at the camera. He went up to it and turned the camera off, making the midget-lynx jump back slightly. The camera-person tried to protest but the hedgehog already went back to his room, shutting and locking his door.

Through the muffled doors, a brief "Maybe that was kinda really rude?" sounded from the cameragirl, but the silence afterward suggested there was a minimal impact.

2 PM

The hedgehog opened the door quietly, sticking his head out, looking around. His living room was still destroyed, but the truck was gone. He got out of the room and looked over the edge, seeing the truck at the bottom on its side like it was pushed down. “Are you joking…?” He grumbled to himself as he backed away from the edge. “As long as they’re not in my room, I’m safe.” He sighed and walked to the kitchen.

The hedgehog opened the fridge, pulling out a Root Beer bottle. He went to the cupboard next to the fridge and searched around in a mess of trash to find a bottle opener. “Come on, where's that blasted thing…” He grumbled to himself, shoving a few empty and dirty Root Beer bottles that reeked of raw sewage. “I’ll have to clean this out later…” He sighed as he finally found the bottle opener. He shut the cupboard and opened his new bottle of Root Beer.

But before the first drink could be made, a knock was heard at his door. Which made him lower his bottle on the kitchen counter to slowly walk towards it.

“Uhm...who is it?” The hedgehog called. No response. He decided to try again. “If you’re those news guys, I will find a restraining order with no signature on it, edit it with your names on them and claim it as mine...because I can’t afford one…” He blinked a few times, as if he was regretful for his gibberish sentences. There was still no response, but another knock. He mumbled something before opening the door completely, hearing a familiar voice.

“‘Tis I, James McGuffin and I have returned to-!” The door slammed on him almost instantly. “Aww, but come on! We just want a small 40 minute interview!” James complained. The midget-lynx was still recording behind James.

The hedgehog growled a bit and leaned against the door with his back. “An interview? With the most boring and unhygienic hedgehog on Mobius?! I’m trying to get my hands on some lunch right now and you’re in my way!”

“Oh, it’ll only be 40 minutes! I...I can make it 39 minutes!” James tried to negotiate. The hedgehog was starting to get infuriated as his right eye twitches a little bit. He growled and raised his voice a little bit, “Why do you even care about a person such as myself? I have no importance, I am on the lowest class, and yet you STILL want to put me on Television for embarrassment?! You’re out of your mind if you think that’ll get a good story!”

James’ ears seemed to droop a little bit on camera but the hedgehog took no notice. James spoke again, his ears going back up. “It’s because we have nothing left to do! And people adore us making fun of the lowest class, so we figured ‘Why not’! It’ll be a scoop for the public, trust us!”

The hedgehog was starting to get even more annoyed, growling quietly. The midget-lynx looked at James and tugged his shirt, trying to get his attention. She said quietly, “I...I really don’t think he wants us to interview him. I mean, it’s kind of rude to begin with…this is kind of like a form of bullying.”

The Tiger seemed to think about this for a moment and then nodded. “You do have a point! We apologize for intruding, Mr. Hedgehog. Have a nice day!” He made a cutting motion to his neck at the camera, a signal to stop the recording. The lynx turned the camera off and the hedgehog heard them walk away. He sighed in relief.

“Finally...now I don’t have to deal with them anymore. Though, that lynx did look uncomfortable during the whole thing. Or maybe that’s just me. Oh well, at least I’m not stealing a restraining order because that is rather rare to find on the streets. It would almost be coincidental if I find one the next day or something.” He sighed and went back to his Root Beer, taking a huge gulp. He already drank half of the bottle. “I suppose I’ll just take my mid-afternoon nap since I cannot watch TV at this point.” He yawned and went back to his room, bringing his Root Beer bottle with him.

5:30 PM

In the midst of having a dream, the hedgehog was awoken by a sudden jolt under his bed. He groaned and rubbed his head, checking the clock. “Five in the evening…? That’s pretty rare for rats to take up my bed…” He looks under the bed, only to see a familiar ear poking out from under his bed. This struck him as odd, but the moment he was about to say something, a tiger head popped out, looking at the hedgehog in the eyes with a huge smile.

“HELLO AGAIN MR. HEDGEHOG!” The tiger shouted, making the hedgehog yelp jump to the ceiling, hit his head and fall on the floor upside down. His eyes were swirling as he tried to regain his vision. Strangely, he couldn’t find the midget-lynx that was here earlier.

“Sorry to scare you Mr. Hedgehog, but I am not giving up on that interview just yet!” He said, smirking. “For I, Professional Interviewer James McGuffin, will get the juiciest scoop Mobius has ever seen on the Low and Powerless Class!” He helped the hedgehog back to his feet, who was still very dizzy from impact. He quickly shook his head after regaining consciousness. His eyes opened wide in surprise, pushing him away.

“Y-YOU AGAIN?!” He growled. “HOW DID YOU GET IN MY HOUSE AGAIN! I BARRICADED THE DOOR TO MY ROOM!” James only smiled still, like his face was stuck that way. “That will forever remain a mystery, my friend! Now please, tell me all about yourself and I will leave you alone! I do not have my cameraman...woman...very small cat-lady with me right now, so it is just a conversation between you and me!”

The hedgehog only glares, his right eye twitching. “How do I know that you’re not lying?” He asked as calm as he can. James smiled and checked his pockets for him. “I have no microphone on me, no hidden cameras. It’s all good! Now please, tell me about why you decided to live like this. It doesn’t look in anyway healthy and I must know for myself! And other people must know too!”

There was silence for a moment, looking at James. He only sighed and responded, “Fine...I’ll tell you. If only you’ll leave me alone after this…” He grumbled and sat down in front of the wall in front of James while he sat on the bed.

James clapped once and his tail flicked. “Wonderful! Could you tell me about the reason why you chose to live in a crummy apartment room?”

The hedgehog nodded, avoiding eye contact. “Sure. I can barely afford a bigger house, any food, or a car because I don’t have a job. I refuse to get one.”

James’ eyebrows furrowed a bit, intrigued by his answer. “And why is that?” he asked.

The hedgehog answered solemnly and carefully. “It’s because...I’m afraid that I don’t deserve it. I don’t have any special talents or strengths that everyone else seems to have; only weaknesses.” The tiger nodded and stayed silent for the hedgehog to continue.

“See, it all started when I was a little kid, about 4 years old at max. I lived with my parents in a rural area away from any civilization. We grew our own food, made our own wells for water, and all those kinds of things. We only had each other, including my brother. Though I didn’t own him as my brother since he was a wolf like my parents were. I got no explanation as to why, and I still haven’t today. And there is a reason for that.

“On Midnight of October 11th on that year, we received our first and last visitor. He went by the name of ‘Frederick Ivan’, a strange name if you asked me. He wore a red leather jacket with yellow buttons and white stripes, four buttons in total and black tight pants. He had this...weird mustache like he was some kind of scientist or something. I didn’t know about him until an accident happened 10 minutes later.

“The house exploded into flames, throwing us all out of the house. The horrible part was, I heard a laugh behind me as I was laying down in the grass choking on my blood. I didn’t figure out whose laugh it was until 2 years later. I found out that the person who visited our household was none other than that evil Doctor himself. I felt stupid for not knowing it before, and I had this...feeling growing in my chest. I couldn’t describe it if I could.”

James was quiet, seeming to have the thousand-yard stare. After a long silence, he spoke, “Hmm...do you at least remember what it felt like?”

The hedgehog looked down in thought. “It felt like I had the power to do anything I could think of, which continues my story. Ever since I had that feeling, I did the impossible; I was going to attempt to get revenge on my family’s death all by myself at the Doctor’s HQ in South Island. Unfortunately, it almost resulted in my death and I lost that feeling forever.

“The more I think about it, the more...envious I get. I can’t seem to get that feeling to return no matter how hard I tried. So I gave up on it all and...ran away. I ignored it all and decided to just...move on. And this room that you somehow got into without my permission, was the same room I have stayed in for a whole decade almost. I’ve lived off on nothing but Ramen, Pizza Rolls and Root Beer. It was all I could afford nowadays. I never talked to anyone again either. I couldn’t dare step outside in the dangerous world; not with the Doctor still roaming about.”

The room started to darken and turn a deep red as the sun was starting to set. Everything was silent, and only the sounds of passing cars and muffled music in the upper floor. The hedgehog’s hair was over his eyes, so his expression was entirely hidden. James stood up and patted his shoulder, his smile seeming to have faded during the entire story.

“I am terribly sorry…” He said quietly, his ears drooped and tail limp as a noodle. “You’ve been through too much and I’ve been too nosy about the whole thing. I shouldn’t have been so careless. I will leave you in peace, since it is what you truly want.”

He got back up and opened the door to exit the room but stopped suddenly, his back still turned. He asked, “What is your name again, Mr. Hedgehog? I do not believe I have gotten it.”

There was a long pause, but the hedgehog answered. “My name is Asonja Masenko. I came up with the last name myself to give myself cover.”

James nodded, and said one last thing. “Just know, Mr. Masenko, that there are not a lot of bad people out there as you think there are. You just need to get up, and try. And not just sit there and be a little pussycat!” He laughed a little bit, which made Asonja tense up and growl. “WHO’RE YOU CALLING A BEANSPROUT?!” He shouted a bit, but calmed down shortly after.

James chuckled a little bit and faced him. “Only joking, my good friend! But trust me on this, there are good people out there in the world. Hiding yourself forever won’t get you anywhere. If you’re just a shadow seeking help, how can anyone talk to someone who doesn’t exist in their eyes? Think about that for a minute, and maybe you’ll get that feeling you desire back. I know what that feeling is, but I will not be telling you what it is; It would spoil you for quite a while. Good luck, and good night Mr. Masenko.”

And with that James left the apartment, leaving Asonja the Hedgehog alone in his room once again. He hugged his knees, deep in silent thought. James’ words repeated and circled around his head as he thought harder and harder about what he had to do. But then he stood up, closed his door quietly and leaned against it.

“Hmm...I'll have to think about this with another Root Beer tomorrow...Now is not the...time...” He muttered, and drifted back to sleep against the door.

Day 2

2:30 PM Asonja gets up from his bed, cracking his back and neck. He was up all night thinking about a mess he was and why these strange news people decided to pop in and start filming him, humiliating him in front of a live audience. He gets up shaking his head to try to get the thought out as he gets ready to go to the outside world for the first time in 2 weeks. Asonja puts his trench coat on, along with his other clothes that he never bothers to clean and ventures off into the streets.

He digs into trash cans and bags for anything of use. He did find a barely used bottle opener, a list of groceries and a...check? “Huh…” He says, examining the check that had $200 written on it. He tosses it to the side, considering it to be trash and went back to walking.

Asonja suddenly gets the thought of being a shadow again, making him stop and think for a moment. So no one knows who I am? He thought. No one knows I exist? Sounds like my early life… He sighs and continues on down the busy street.

Since he had his hood up, people were starting to glare at him with certain hate, as if he had committed murder. A little boy pointed at him at the other sidewalk, but the mother seemed to tell him to keep moving. Asonja hated getting negative attention, but what can he do about it? Those kinds of thoughts are in his mind day-in and day-out. He continued walking across streets, avoiding eye contact with anyone.

Asonja suddenly stumbles across a Café, seeming to be pretty empty. It came with a bar, and inside eating area and outside hangout area with tables and chairs with umbrellas over them. He could smell pizzas from over there, making his stomach growl. He ran over and sat down, his mouth watering as he looked over the menu: They had chicken, pizzas, burgers and rotten flesh. Wait did I read that right? He thought, looking back over the words. Rotten Flesh wasn't on the list after all. He was confused at that for a moment but couldn't think about it for long when a gray wolf waitress came over to greet him.

“Hello!” She says, giving a sweet smile. “Welcome to the Grande Café, the best place to eat at Station Square! What drink could I get you?” Asonja seemed to feel something bubbling in his chest when he looked at her eyes, making him go into a small trance. He then quickly blushes and shakes his head quickly, getting out of the trance.

“U-uh…” He stutters, looking at the list of beverages on the menu. “C-could I have a Pepsi please?”

She smiles and wrote it down on her list. “Sure! Anything else for you today?” She asks, before going on a complete tangent. “Oh, I should recommend the Deluxe Pizza it's so good here! This one time I ordered here before I started working, I-” She stopped herself before sweating and looking very worried. “I'm so sorry about that, I got a bit too excited there…” Her ears flopped a bit as she said this.

Asonja didn't know what to say but something told him to smile and go with it. “It's fine! As a matter of fact, I think I'll try that.” He says before stopping and gulping. “Shoot, I just remembered...I don't have any money to pay…” He sighs.

The wolf’s ears perked back up. “Oh wait a second, you're the black hedgehog we were told about? We were notified earlier of you coming here just moments ago. Apparently anything you order will be paid for!” She seemed to smile. “Lucky you!”

Asonja sat there for a second, confused. “Did this person say who they were at all? No Mobian on this planet would be that nice to someone like me.” He says, looking at her directly again.

The waitress thought for a moment, but shook her head. “No, they didn't say. Though, I think it was a female caller the more I think about it. Perhaps a sister of yours or something?” She shook her head again, noticing she went on another tangent. “W-what I'm saying is, we don't know her name; she never told us but said you would be here. Your name is Asonja right?” She asks politely.

He nods. “Yes,” he says. “That is my name. But why would someone pay for my food for me? That's weird, don't you think?”

She nods in agreement. “Totally. So, you wanted a Pepsi with a Deluxe Cheeseburger right?”

“Yes I do.” Asonja nods. “Thank you very much.”

She smiles and says, “No problem! My name is Nariko by the way; I forgot my nametag this morning and I freaked out a little bit because I thought someone stole my identity I thought it was the craziest thing in the entire planet!” She giggles, not even realizing the 3rd tangent she went by today.

Asonja couldn't help but laugh a little himself; he rarely laughs. “Wow, that's crazy. Anyway, you should go back to work before the manager raises hell.”

Her ears perk up quickly, making her yelp. “You're right! I'll be back with your order!” She runs back inside with his menu and list. Now he must sit and wait.

3:25 PM

As Asonja was taking a quick nap, Nariko the wolf waitress came back with his soda, putting it on his table. He woke up, noticing this. “Oh! Thank you Nariko.” He says, looking up at her.

She nods, her tail wagging slightly. “You’re welcome!” She says with an honest smile. “Your burger will be just a minute; we have a new cook today and he’s a little...on the show-off side. Or at least trying to! He’s all like, ‘I can make the best burger in the world, just you watch!’ which usually results in a burnt burger or a misplaced cheese slice. I think he has OCD…” She paused and then yelped again. “Oh, I’m sorry I went off on another tangent! I need to go!” She says before she runs off, hiding a blush.

Asonja seemed to smile a little bit at this before taking a small sip of his soda. “Goofy girl.” He says to himself. “She must like me if she talked to me like that. It is nice of her but I still don’t think I could have a girlfriend…Well I'm only assuming; she's only trying to be nice.” He rolled his eyes and drank his soda.

Suddenly, he felt weight on his legs as well as a quick jolt from the table. He jumped a little bit at this and moved his chair back to see what caused this. What showed gave him a heart attack; a Mobian lizard with white hair, blue eyes and green scales jumped at him. Asonja yelps and falls backwards from his chair while the lizard shouts in a heavy German accent,“GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY! If it isn’t my assistant that I lost after 20 years!” He grabbed Asonja’s shirt collar, pulled him up and hugged him.

Asonja was surprised by this but pushed him off lightly. “Hold on a second pal,” he says, putting his hands up at chest-level. His forehead was sweating and his heart was beating at the speed of light. “I am not your lab assistant. You must have it wrong.”

“Ah, but you are Asonja correct?!” The lizard says, not lowering his voice. “From personal experience, you’ve helped me increase my knowledge!” He came up to him, smiling a toothy grin. “But after 20 whole years of searching for you with my trusty Assistant Finder 2000,” He held up a broken metal box with shattered LEDs, “I have finally found you! So let us head back to my lab in my invisible car!”

He grabbed Asonja’s wrist and dragged him to the corner of the street. Asonja resisted and managed to break his grip. “Whoa whoa whoa, hold on!” He says abruptly. “Can you at least wait when I’m done with my meal first? I’d hate to leave Nariko like this; it’s slightly embarrassing when you hold my wrist like that too..” He was a tad flustered afterward. The lizard scientist showed no signs of changing his energetic smirk.

“Okay okay, but immediately after you’re done, we go to my lab! To the Cafe table!” He points back to his sitting area and ran to it, jumping onto the umbrella and clinging onto it. Asonja blinked in the lizard’s sudden actions but shrugged it off as much as he could as he ran back. “Just...stay quiet alright?” He asks, looking at the lizard. “I don’t want people to criticise me for something as ridiculous as this.”

The scientist nods, still not lowering his voice. “You got it, lab assistant! I shall lower my sound waves to a minimum!” He saluted as he still clung onto the umbrella. Asonja sighed a bit, a sweat drop going down the side of his head as he continued to wait for his food.

3:35 PM

Asonja was woken up by the scientist as he points toward the cafe, “YOUR FOOD, IT ARRIVES!” Asonja growled and smacked the lizard in the back of the head. “Keep it down,” Asonja grumbled to the scientist. “You’re going to get me kicked out!”

The scientist nods and turns on his camouflage as he hides under the umbrella, which, unsurprisingly, didn’t work very well. Asonja sighs and shakes his head. “Whatever,” he mutters to himself. “He may have knowledge, but doesn’t have the correct ones known as Common Sense…”

He noticed Nariko coming up with his Deluxe Burger, which actually looked professionally made. The buns looked baked to perfection as well as the meat, which seemed to be cooked at exactly the correct temperature and time for a Medium-Rare result. The cheese itself looked gorgeous on its own as it seemed to fuse with the burger meat. This made Asonja’s stomach scream for joy, making a loud growl.

Nariko handed him his burger carefully with a smile and a quick tail flick. “Here you go, Asonja,” she says, her tail going crazy. “I made it extra perfect and special!”

“Oh, you did?” Asonja asks politely, and raises his eyebrows. “It does look a lot better than everyone else's burger. Did you make it yourself?”

“Yup! I do apologize for it taking it forever.” She cupped her hands together in front of her, and blushed, embarrassed. Asonja jumped a bit and looked at her worriedly.

“N-no need for being embarrassed, I understand!” He says, holding up his hands to his chest, remaining calm as he frantically tries calming her down. “I really do appreciate you taking your time and patience into making this; not many people do that to me at all. You’re probably in fact the first to be this thoughtful.”

Nariko looked back up at Asonja, and her eyes gleamed. “Really?” She says, while she smiles. “That’s great! I’m glad I could help!” She sits down across from him again, as she doesn’t appear to notice the poorly hidden lizard under the umbrella.

“Well go on, give it a try!” Nariko suggests, as she waits patiently and excitedly for Asonja to try the burger she worked so hard to make for him.

He nods, and takes the burger carefully. He takes a big bite out of it and he seems to stop after he swallows the burger chunk. Nariko looked at him, and leaned toward him. “Well?” She asks. “How is it? Do you like it?”

Asonja was quiet and looks up back up at her, his grey eyes seeming to dilate. “I-it’s…” He hesitated, but kept a smile on his face. “It’s...the best burger I’ve ever had!” He smiled even more, this time looking right into her eyes.

Nariko’s eyes gleamed again and squealed in joy as she cupped her hands together to her chest. “Yay!” She shut her eyes in pure joy. “I’m so glad you like it! I worked so hard on it and I was afraid you wouldn’t like it but now that you do I don’t have to worry about you not liking it anymore!” She takes a deep breath, as what she said was rather long and she didn’t have a chance to breathe at all during the sentence. Asonja kept eating it, but slowly as he wasn’t a very fast eater to begin with.

Nariko then decided to start a conversation. “So, what do you do in your apartment?” She asks politely. “I’m just curious, you don’t have to tell me if I’m being too nosy.”

Asonja looked up at her and answered after he swallowed, “Oh no, don’t worry,” he says reassuringly. “I don’t do much in my apartment as I’m usually afraid of coming out on days like these. You know, it’s  too hot and it’s really busy. That sort of thing.” He waved his hand around for a moment before he took another bite of the burger.

“Oh, I see,” Nariko responds, as she tried to think of a different topic. “Do you like science?”

“Why yes I do. What do you study?” Asonja answers blatantly.

“I study Computer Science. I totally recommend it! What about you?”

“Usually I go for Physics or Chemistry; Biology doesn’t come easy to me and it’s a rather boring type of science to look into, in my opinion.”

“I can agree.” Nariko nods. “But how come you don’t do much in your apartment? I could bring you to my lab if you want and we can talk about it.”

Asonja nods. “I’ll look into it, I promise. When do you think would be a good time?”

Nariko seems to blush as her tail wags in excitement; she can be seen as someone overly-obsessive with people she recently meets and knows a bit better. Asonja didn't seem to complain at all, as he is somewhat the same but at a more controlled manner.

“How about tomorrow at 4 in the evening?” She suggested. “I’m free on that date.”

Asonja nods and finishes the burger. “That would be good. Thank you for the grub.”

Nariko smiles and nods. “You’re very welcome!” She smiles, but it seems to fade fairly quickly. “But since someone is already paying for your meal today, you don’t have to pay. I honestly don’t know who it is, but it’s a bit strange don’t you think?”

“It is a bit strange,” Asonja nods, gets up from his seat, and yawns. “Anyway, I’ll be heading back home. Thank you again, Nariko.” He smiles.

“You’re very welcome.” Nariko responds as she walks away back into the cafe and waves to him, her tail still wagging. “Have a nice day, Asonja!”

Asonja waved back. “You too!” he calls after her. Once she was gone, the lizard scientist came back out and looked at her.

“Oooh, she’s a scientist too?” He asks, his awful german accent returning. “I think I found my next subject…” He mutters, smirks and rubs his hands together. “Perfect…she’ll be great for my next test subject!”

Asonja stood right next to the scientist, looking at him weirdly. “You do know that I heard what you said, right?” He questioned.

The lizard jumped and looked at him. “N-no you didn’t!” He lies. “It’s just a...uh...April Fools joke!” He says quickly, and holds his index finger up. His green glove didn’t match his white lab coat at all, as it looks like slime was on his gloves.

Asonja just gave a small glare. “Right…” He mutters as he went to his phone and seemed to dial a number for a moment. “Perhaps I should call the cops on you for possible kidnapping.” He threatened. Some Mobians started hearing the commotion and looked over at the two questionably and in total confusion.

The scientist grumbled and ran to him as he attempted to tackle Asonja to the ground; however, Asonja just quickly moves to the right, dodging the attack. He then noticed a piece of paper fell out of the Lizard's labcoat, which he grabbed and kept for safe keeping.

The scientist takes out his ray gun and fires upon Asonja, missing every single shot. “Dude, really?” Asonja scowls. “You’re like one of those troops from Star Wars…” He rolled his eyes, and put his hands in his trench coat pockets to keep the paper hidden from view.

The Lizard growled and ran to him again, but Asonja countered him by roundhouse-kicking the scientist to the ground. He placed his foot to his chest, sneering at the scientist.

“Now hold still while the police arrive.” Asonja says sternly, glaring at the scientist who was struggling to get out of Asonja’s hold.

“I didn’t even use my hands to bring you down.” Asonja shrugs. “Pitiful, if you ask me. I’d love to scold you more, but your reign of...kidnapping...ends here.” He sounded unsure and uncertain, which made him sweat.

The scientist smirks as he says, “Ah, I get it; you’re afraid aren’t you? You’ve never been a hero before, right? You’ve lived your whole life on your own and here you are, trying to be the hero! I will give you some credit, you do have some skill, but you’ll never be the hero you think you’ll be! You’ll live in the shadows, afraid to stand up to the people who put you down to the bottom of the lake! You want to put them down like me, don’t you? Then why don’t you show me what you’re capable of in the future and grow up! Quit hiding and show them who’s boss!

“Staying in the shadows won’t do you any good!" The Lizard continues. "Nobody’s going to do it for you! You’re all you have left, and sitting around crying about it will not make them go away; they will keep attacking you, feeding off of your fear and anguish. You want that to stop, don’t you? Then I suggest getting up off your hiding spot and conquer your fears. I say this because you have the potential to become one, but you refuse to realize your abilities. You know science more than any other Mobian, you know how to fight, you know how to defend yourself. I suggest putting that into good use for once in your pitiful life you deem, and make it better!”

Asonja was silent, his hair covering his eyes to hide his emotion. The sounds of police sirens were inching closer at a high speed to the cafe. The lizard just smirks and continues, getting a bit louder.

“You know you want to be powerful! You know you want to be recognized for your achievements! If you want it that badly, don’t wait for it to come to you; you have to get it yourself, and no one is going to help you! That’s the painful lesson of life, and everyone goes through it! You’re not going to be the special case of avoiding the most painful parts of life; you gotta take it like everyone else does!”

The police take the Lizard from Asonja, who stepped back suddenly as they took the lizard away.

“Remember what I said, Kariko! You’re going to need it if you want to be successful! GO STRAIGHT FOR YOUR GOALS, GUN FLARING! I'LL BE WAITING IN INTERROGATION!” The police throw the hysterically laughing Lizard in the car and drive off, wheels screeching.

"...What?" Asonja looks up at the police car looking away. "Did he say Kariko? I don't even know who that is...and what the hell was he talking about? I should head home anyway, I need a break from all of this nonsense..." He shakes his head and leaves the cafe.

Nariko came out of the cafe and ran to Asonja to try to cheer him up, but she stopped. She stood there, questioning whether or not to help him out, but she shook her head and turned back, leaving Asonja alone for the day.

But he was stopped by the police for a moment. "Excuse me, sir," the policeman says, getting Asonja's attention. "You claimed that the Lizard had 'subjects' correct?"

"Yes, I did," Asonja nods. "I think this should help." Asonja adds, and pulls out a crumbled piece of paper. He hands it to the policeman, who reads it over.

"It appears to be an address." The policeman says as he puts it away. "Thank you for this; we'll use this as evidence against him in court as well as sending troops to take pictures of his lab."

Asonja nods as the policeman walks back to his car and drives off in the direction with the others. Asonja headed a different direction back to his apartment.

4:30 PM - Epilogue

Asonja arrives back in his apartment and sat down on the couch to reflect on the day so far. "So let's see..." He mutters to himself. "This weird scientist lizard dude claims I'm his assistant, I disagree and meet Nariko, the nicest waitress I have ever seen whom is possibly a bit too obsessed with me...most likely something that I can relate to. Then finally the scientist claims to have 'subjects' in his lab and the police will investigate it. Man, this has been a weird day." Asonja shook his head for a moment, before stopping and going over the Lizard's words.

"I could've sworn I heard this before..." Asonja mutters. "I believe it was yesterday the Tiger dude told me the same thing; 'Living in darkness will do you no good...' " He repeats back to himself. "What is this supposed to mean? And why is this happening to me specifically and not anyone else?" He groans and collapses sideways on the couch. "I'm not that important anyway..." He adds before falling asleep.

Day 3

9:01 AM

Asonja burst awake, rolling out of bed suddenly. He collapsed and grumbled in pain. He got up from the floor, and checked his watch which shined 9:01 AM in painful red light.

“Ugh, great,” he muttered, and rolled his eyes. “I underslept. Perhaps I’ll make some use for it and watch some TV.” He unlocks his bedroom door, forgetting why he locked it in the first place, and sat down on the couch in front of his TV. He fidgeted to find the remote and found it between his feet on the floor. He sighs, and shakes his head.

“Some days are not my days…” He says to himself, picks up the remote and turns on the TV. There, the local news was the first channel to come on as Asonja got a sense of unwelcomed deja vu as he saw the Tiger newsperson from 2 days ago.

“...And that’s why you should never light your cat on fire; it causes major forest fires and everyone dies,” the Tiger says nonchalantly, and fixes his papers. “In other news, reports on the possible kidnapper scientist have came in just this morning at 2 AM. Witnesses claim that a black hedgehog, presumably the lizard’s assistant back in the days, came back for revenge against him and put him in custody.”

At that particular moment, a back-shot of Asonja showed up, his foot on the scientist’s chest. The tiger continues, “Witnesses say that the assistant’s name is Koriko, and will be credited for bringing his evil mastermind behind bars. And now, after this commercial break, we’re going to tell YOU what you’ve been doing wrong in your life: making Spaghet-!” Asonja cut him off by turning the TV, in total awe and disgust.

“Are you kidding me!” He shouts at his blank TV and his faint reflection. “That dude got the credit but I didn’t?! That was clearly me!” He slumped back against the couch, fuming. “Media these days; can’t get ANYTHING right...” He sighs and lays there for a bit.

“That was, by far, the worst one minute of my life that I am not getting back,” He shakes his head and gets up. “This is ridiculous, I’m going back to bed…” He says as he walks back to his bedroom, locks the door, and plops back into bed; he didn’t bother to put the sheets over himself as he was highly disappointed in the Mobian race for a while.

As if waiting till he was back in bed and comfortable, a sudden set of knocks started up on the opposite side of his bedroom door… his bedroom door.

He groaned and looked up from his bed, giving him a moment to open his eyes and see who was knocking. Though, his brain took a while to process. “Huh...uh...who’s it I’m tryin’ ta sleep…” He says, before becoming half-awake, or at least awake enough to comprehend his surroundings.

“Knock Knock,” came a feminine tone on the other side: one he knew a bit too well.

He narrowed his eyes at the door, questionably. He gets up, unlocks the door and opens it just a bit. “What do you want…? You sound familiar too.” He says quietly. He wasn’t looking at whoever was at his door. “And I could’ve sworn I locked my front door too…” He mutters to himself.

Strangely enough, all that stood at his door was a hanging paper sign with pink and red letters in crayon saying “Look behind you.”

He took the sign after opening the door entirely to see no one there. He put the sign back and looked behind him, rather cautiously.

Behind him was now another sign with the same words, an added heart at the end, also in red.

Asonja was startled at what was happening. He went up to the sign to read it and then looked behind him again, a bit quicker than last time.

“Sit-ups!” A pale dark brown-furred feline shoved him back before rushing behind him and pushing him to the ground on his hands.  “Push-ups!  Leeeeet’s go!”

Asonja yelped every single time he was pushed and shoved. He grumbled. “Damn it, I knew it was you...I thought you’d be coming next week.” He says, a little out of breath from being caught off-guard.

“Ooooooooooooooooooo,” She bent down, her neck stretching out and coiling around his a few times before facing him.  “Sounds like we’re gonna have to start a swear jar!  Yaaaaaaay money!”

He had a face of disgust at this, feeling a bit uneasy. “Yeah, I’d be getting millions at this point…” He rolled his eyes, trying to get the image of her head wrapping around his neck out of him, which made him shiver. “You also seem oddly more energetic than I have last seen you...did you take something you’re not supposed to take?” He raised an eyebrow.

“Well that’d imply I don’t do that anyway,” She winked, raising up to a taller height, and thus dragging him neck-up with her.  “And wha’dya mean I’m not energetic?”

“Well, I…” Asonja was about to say something but decided not to. “Nevermind, point taken…” He sighs. “A-also could you put me down please? I don’t want to be hanged by...your abnormally long neck…?” He seemed to be turning blue, as well as a small bit of red from embarrassment.

“Or suffocated I’d imagine,” The neck broke, slithering away across the floor and out of sight.  “So you seem incredibly the exact same… same you,” She noted while reattaching her head to her body.  Now standing fully in view, this was a black-haired cat, with dark red stripe designs, bright turquoise paws and toes, wearing some kind of strapless body-suit with short-ends, underneath a strange V-skirt, with a neck and shoulder red cuff-design just above her collarbone.

Asonja knew this look fairly well from her. He adjusted back to his feet, still slightly blushing from embarrassment. “You’d think I’d change in under a few days? I’ve been going through some strange crap daily and it’s starting to concern me…” He crossed his arms, looking to the wall to his right, as if thinking it had a missing spot of paint on it.

Noticing clearly the blush, she smiled widely, her glowing pale turquoise eyes with glowing pale yellow, pupil-less, irises wincing in a gleeful expression.  “Well what’d that be then?”

He poked his index fingers together, as if trying to figure out the words. “Well, let’s see. 2 Days ago, I get visited by a news group who crashed through my apartment window, trying to humiliate me in front of everyone. And then a Lizard scientist, who may or may not be a kidnapper for his strange experiments, claimed that I was his assistant, and then just not too long ago I check the TV to find someone else gets credit for putting the guy in custody. I swear, this world hates me and I hate the world for being stupid…” He took a deep breath and then sighed. “That’s all that’s happened in these two days.” He ends.

“Aw, I don’t hate you,” She grinned wider, toothily, her face growing dangerously close to his now.  “Course I also enjoy making you… a little miserable… nah more like miffed, when I’m not--y’know--helping train you into a super-powerful being… aaaand you’re still a big ol’ jerk.”

“I do appreciate you not hating me, least I haven’t lost ALL my faith.” He seemed to smile a bit, but then his ears went down a bit. “But what do you mean I’m still a big jerk? I’m trying not to be sometimes but it really just depends on my mood these days…” He says, looking at her eyes for a moment but then looking away; he never looks at anyone in the eye for more than 1 second, since he’s never had contact with anyone in awhile other than Nariko from the cafe. “I don’t really mean to upset you, ya know. I’m not really like that…” He adds.

“Well that’s good to know,” She leaned back.  “So after we get you exercised and a band-aid on your lip, we can go get revenge on the news.”

“I actually like the sound of that. Wait, what’s wrong with my lip?” He looked confused, and touched his lip for a minute. “Is it bleeding or something?”

“Snatch!” She swooped in, planting a large kiss on his lips, before a single tooth seconds later--after the sensation had sunk in--sank quickly into his lower-lip, making sure to hit the juiciest spot: the perfect bursting flowing spot.

Asonja yelped and stumbled back a bit as it started to bleed. He laughed awkwardly for a second, still blushing like mad. “You got me good there...you really got me off-guard...” Apparently, he didn’t notice his bleeding lip.

“That’s another thing we’ll have to work on,” She nodded.  “Anyway, SIT UPS!”

He jumped a bit and got down to the floor of his room. “How many again? One?” He asks, his lip still bleeding profusely.

“Fifteen at least,” She answered.  “... Let’s make it thirty.”

“Come on! I liked 15 better…” He sighs and went to work anyway without further complaints. He was groaning after he got past 5, which was worse than last time as he previously started struggling toward 15; this was obviously a disimprovement.

“Have you met Device yet?” The girl asked through the workout.

He seemed to stop, to think it over. “I think I have...It’s vague. Perhaps I should meet them again, that might jog my memory. Why do you ask?” He went back to attempting to go to 15 after stopping at 8 to talk.

“What does Device look like?” She arched her chin back, as if studying.

He stopped again, at 9. He was quiet as he thought. “Uhh...I don’t remember.” He answers after 1 minute of silence and goes back to slowly reaching 10, near the breaking point.

“You probably haven’t then… yeah if you’re not consistent with these in the future, I’ll have to send her over to supervise,” She grinned.

“Pretty sure she won’t be so bad…” Asonja shrugs and tried going to 11, but fails and falls back, panting.

“Yeah I’m sure you’ll have your right intestine still intact after she’s finished,” The red-striped woman nodded.  “Back up!  C’mon!”

Asonja sighed and stood up, rather slowly and painfully as his chest area was in pain. “Okay but...slow down for a minute I need to...catch my breath…” He bent over a bit, holding up his finger as he tried catching his breath. “What’re we going to...do now…?” He asks, once he finally regains his breath.

“You mean once you’ve done thirty?”

“But I thought it was…” Asonja groaned. “Nevermind…” He swished his hand a little bit, slightly annoyed. “Yes, whenever I reach thirty or whatever…”

“You’re at eleven,” She informed.  “You’ll get there and then we can go do stuff to people.”

“What kind of stuff? Prank stuff or something?” Asonja tilted his head, obviously not going back down to do more situps.

“Revenge on the news people, remember?” She noted.

“Oh, yeah, right.” He smacked himself in the head for a moment. He seems to inflict a lot of damage on himself as some previous scars and bruises were left behind in parts of his body. “I’d love to do that for my own reasonings.” He added.

“Yeah, because I’m doing it for my reasoning,” she replied sarcastically.

Asonja just looked at her blankly, crossing his arms. “Right...could I just take a break from all that situps and continue back from 11?” He asks.

“Nope.  Get to fifteen, then we can talk about breaks.”

Asonja groaned and fell backward to the floor as if he fainted. He got back into position and slowly made his way up to 15, which took no longer than a minute to do.

Once he finally got there, he groaned in pain and collapsed to his side. “Argh...God I hate this...it hurts…” He exhaled deeply.

“Unless you’re complimenting me, I don’t wanna hear any talk of gods, only sweaty breathing and beating hearts,” The striped-girl noted, pulling him back to a sitting position to recover.

Asonja straightened himself after he was suddenly pulled back up to sitting position. “Good thing I believe that there IS no god.” He responded. “It makes sense, in a way. That’s just me.” He shrugs.

“Who’s to say you’re not talking with one?” She smirked.  “I mean after all, ever hear of anything that can kill me?  Do I age?  Do I have limited power?” She taunted.

“...Well that just mean’s you’re immortal, not a god.” Asonja protests nonviolently. “There’s...basically a difference between the two…Just sayin’.” He shrugs again.

“Pfft,” She chuckled with a sort of cynical tone.  “Since when?  ‘Sides, you forgot the part about power, and lack of age… Maybe you just don’t want to believe I might be?  Then again, I’m also super vain…”

“Not that I don’t want to believe you are, I’m just in denial because I’ve always wanted that kind of power.” Asonja responds. “It’s always about the heroes and villains that are born and get these awesome superpowers and what not. And what do I get? Nothing.” He sloaches a bit. “I’m a freak of nature: I hide from people, I’m beyond weak, I underage-drink my depression away, and most of all, I can’t seem to fix myself from what I’ve been doing for 7 whole years.” He inhale and then exhaled as what he said took one whole breath.

She waited till he was finished, nodding at the end with a finger to her lip before asking “Okay so do you think I’m a god or not then?”

“No, I don’t.” He answered, in summary.

“Aw…” She chuckled with a grin.  “Well as for your whole problem,” She pulled him up, dropping him on his front to start up the push-ups again.  “Don’t complain if you’re self-inflicting the problem.  Aaaaaaaaaaaand action!”

“Seriously? I thought-” He groaned, not bothering to finish his sentence as he began doing push-ups rather slowly, and improperly.

She knelt down, holding on to his elbows to straighten his arms.  “Keep it straight.  Next we have sit-ups.”

“But I thought we already did sit-ups!” Asonja groaned as he was trying to do push-ups with his straight arms.

“We did, and we’re gonna do more after some revenge, and if you slack off AFTER revenge, there’s gonna be more after that… Oh and,” She leaned in.  “keep in mind, if it’s convenient, you’d better believe you’re gonna get your revenge right in front of her.”

“Wait, you saw that? I uh...didn’t know you would see that…” Asonja blushed a bit after saying that, before continuing on with the push-ups. “I just want to get it done and over with…” He grumbled.

“You don’t want to savor it?”

“Why would I savor something I don’t want to do?” He asked, but then seemed to hesitate. He looked like he was fighting his insides as he looked like he switched personalities again. “But...then again...I might use these later in life? I’m not sure what to do…” He responds.

“When did you start not wanting revenge again?” She asked.

“I…” He was going to say something but he trailed off in defeat. He sighed as well, as he continued to do the push-ups as instructed.

The red-striped feline left the room after some minutes, returning after Asonja was recovering on the ground post-workout.  “So you’re gonna take a shower after that right?  Or at least put some deodorant on?”

“Yeah, I’ll just put some deodorant on. I’m too cheap to take a shower these days…” He responds. “Are we leaving at this minute?”

“Depends on how fast you get the deodorant on,” She replied.

He grabbed a spray can of deodorant and sprayed it all over his body in just 20 seconds. “Done.” He adds as he throws the spray can away haphazardly.

“Hey, looks like you have some excess energy,” She grinned.

Asonja rolled his eyes. “Yeah yeah, whatever. Can we go now?” He says and crosses his arms.

“Only if you dress fashionably,” She noted.

“Dress fashionably? You mean the only clothing I have?” He replied with a stern look.

“Where’s your closet?  Or clothing drawer?” She folded her arms.  “Imma check.”

“Uhh...it’s over there…” He says, pointing behind him. “You won’t find anything in there…”

“We’ll see,” She walked over, opening a few drawers at once.

There was actually nothing in the drawers, except some drawers were filled with dust. There was another grey shirt in one of the drawers, but that was it.

“Oh, that other shirt is ripped.” Asonja says. “I use this one now as I stole it from someone else in the past. Strangely enough it still fits me.”

With a small yellowish-green glint coming from her eyes, the red-striped feline began tossing out various articles of clothing from the drawer, piles forming on the ground as if it was an endless hole… as it probably was at this point.  Most of them seemed to be forms of pants with a few shirts here and there and boxer shorts, but the only particle of clothing hitting Asonja’s face was of course the torn shirt that Virus seemed to take particular interest in, judging by the wide grin on her face.

Asonja slowly took the torn shirt off, looking rather shocked yet pissed at the same time as he thought he could get away with having to leave, as well as seeing the variety of color thrown about this room was also making him upset. This causes him to sigh and shrug.

“Alright, fine...you win Virus.” Asonja admitted, highly humiliated with his efforts to stall. “I can’t really bother to resist you anymore so...I’m going to have to roll with it for now…” He adds, and with that said he looks through the piles of clothing, trying to find grey or black clothing to wear much like his shirt and pants, only to find nothing but rainbow colors.

“Say that part about resisting anymore and you’ll make me blush,” She teased, looking over the torn shirt for where exactly the tear was located.  “How’d that happen exactly?”

He opened the shirt to its full length and the sleeves, which were long sleeved, had a tear in the wrist areas. “It would be best not to explain in explicit detail…” Asonja says, sticking a little bit of euphemism in is words. “Let’s just say it was a bit necessary to calm me down on times that stress me out.” He crumbles up the shirt and tosses it to a corner.

“Ooooooooooooooh yes,” A stretched arm snatched the shirt immediately, pulling it back over and straightening it.  The feline tapped her lower lip as if deciding if she was going to make modifications to the option.

Asonja just stood there, actually a bit worried if she saw right through his sugar-coated words. He decided to switch to a different subject. Asonja thought of what to say for a moment. “When are we going to go get revenge anyway? I don’t feel strong or ready to fight.”

“Do you ever?” She questioned, a blackish color beginning to spread around the lower-sections of the shirt’s arms.

“Not really, no. Is that bad?” Asonja questioned nervously, watching the color spread.

“Guess we’ll find out,” She tossed him the shirt again.  “Alright, let’s get it on.”

“Sure…” He says, catches the shirt but then tosses the shirt behind him again to the same corner. “You lead the way, I don’t know where this news station is.”

“Kay!” This time the shirt tore open, enveloping his waist, then neck, then arms.  It tightened just for a second at the neck with a small tug toward the door, as if an invisible leash were attached before loosening.  “Don’t expect any leather belts in the future.  Not a fan of that angle,” She reached for the handle.

Asonja was a bit shocked at what happened, but he sighed and followed Virus out. “You never cease to amaze me, Virus. You never do.” He shook his head, seeming to hide a smirk for a moment from her vision.

“I have that effect on people,” She noted as they strolled out.

“I can see.” Asonja responds, walking along side her. “So, how’re we going to get to the news area?” He asks. “You know I hate walking…”

“Your city: where is it?” She asked.

“Uhhm...I’m not sure.” Asonja says, scratching his head. “The only place that I have been is from my apartment to the cafe and back. I’ve never been anywhere else but those two places..” He groaned.

“There’s a long list of things that make me doubt that but we’ll deal,” She stopped outside the apartment complex.  “You know how to use the internet right?”

“Well...yeah. It’s been a while but yeah.” Asonja answers, striking a confused look, as well as stopping to face her. “Why?”

“Why do you think?”

“Of course to find the address of the news station.” Asonja shrugged and sighed. “Duh. This is why I call myself stupid, ya know? I can’t think at all…” He seemed to knock at his head like his head was hollow.

“Got a phone?  One with a screen preferably?” She asked, apparently ignoring the self-deprecating comment.

“Hmm…” Asonja looked in his pockets, pulling out a phone. “Uhhm...it’s a flip-phone.” He points out, showing it to her. “I’m poor, remember?”

“Then ask someone.”

“How am I going to ask someone for their phone without being punched in the face?” Asonja retaliates.

A steaming noise started up from the feline’s backside as she grinded to a halt with a long sigh.

Twelve minutes later, a somewhat tattered Asonja was pushed forward to the first-level elevator of the news building.

“Ow…” Asonja complained quietly, swinging his right arm in circles. “Was that really necessary…?” He asks, before switching to his left arm before suddenly stopping from pain again. “I have rashes all over my skin…”

“Think of it this way,” She replied while opening the elevator.  “We got here faster.”

“And more painfully.” Asonja added, and groaned a little bit more at the pain of his rashes. He then walked into the elevator with Virus, and went to the far corner of the elevator, as if trying to avoid her.

They soon arrived at the main office, just outside the doors.  Virus stepped aside, gesturing for Asonja to knock.

That took him a moment to register what she was doing, but upon figuring it out, Asonja walked forward and knocked on the door. He probably knocked too lightly, because after a while no one came to answer.

“Welp, I guess they’re busy. Let’s go home now.” Asonja says and decides to walk away.

The red-striped feline tucked her hand down the back of his shirt, and yelled “DOOR-KNOCKER!” as she swung the hedgehog into the door with a large thunk.

The door broke open at once, and Asonja hung limp after being used as a Door-ram. Everyone in the room seemed to look at the two, as Asonja had stars going around his head. “Why did I even decide to do this…” He whimpered.

Virus strutted into the room, glancing about for any person of importance.

The Tiger newsperson had just come back from the bathroom, just noticing the two. “Ah, it’s you! We were just talking about you!” He said, approaching Asonja and Virus. He was oblivious to Asonja’s current condition. “But, we’re still in the middle of an important news report. Luckily we’re on commercial break.” The Tiger continued. Asonja was still quiet and dizzy from Virus’ door-breakage.

“Well this is an interesting lack of security and people being upset with us being here,” Virus noted as she pulled Asonja up.

“Yeah, they’re all on break.” The Tiger replied. “We’re not the best there is but people still watch us.” He shrugs. “Dunno why, but, hey, people buy anything you say on TV.”

“So this is the guy, right?” Virus turned to Asonja.  “Anybody else?”

“Well, there was a lynx cat, but she didn’t seem to do anything harmful. So, yeah, it’s just him.” Asonja replies.

“Alright… well get creative then,” She waited on a wall.

“O-okay…?” Asonja said and came up to the Tiger. “Uhhm...I-I didn’t like the way you burst into my house and just humiliated me in Public. How’d you even know that I exist?”

“Well, we just look around, find the best material and get the best scoop as quick as possible!” The Tiger replies, with a smug smirk as if he was trying to stay ‘nice’.

“Sure, yeah, but could you NOT make a story about me? I prefer to be alone more than anything.” Asonja retaliates.

“Being alone won’t get you anywhere in life, kiddo.” The Tiger says, seeming to get more annoyed the more Asonja argued.

“Well, being alone has its qualities and benefits!” Asonja raised his voice a little bit. “I can teach myself not to trust anyone so they could embarrass me on TV!” He growled a bit.

“Now now, let’s not be hasty Mr. Asonja.” The Tiger says, walking back to his desk. “If you’ll excuse me and your...strange friend, I’ll be going back to my report that I made up entirely after being with you for a whole two hours.” He shuffled the papers on his desk, looking over them as well.

“Hmm…” Asonja thought for a moment, his eyes seeming to shimmer red. “Mind if I take a look? See if you have anything good on there?”

“I dunno why you would ask that but…” The Tiger handed Asonja the papers. “Sure, knock yourself out.”

Before the Tiger knew it, Asonja ripped the papers in half and threw them behind him. “Ohh, what’re you gonna do now, big boy?” Asonja grins sinisterly. “Without your papers, you can’t do a report! Well if isn’t that a damn shame!” Asonja’s voice was turning into a growl as well.

“Oh snap, torn papers,” Virus noted, glancing over at the fallen report.

The Tiger got up, easily upset now. “How dare you!” He shouted. “It took me all night to make that! I’ll have you sent out for this!”

“Cry some more, see if that’ll help.” Asonja smirked a bit. Some of the crew members were holding the tiger back, who was almost about to punch Asonja across the face. “Let me go! Let me break his face in!”

“You can run, but you can’t hide.” Asonja chuckled, his smirk making him more devious at the minute. His eyes even flickered purple for a quick moment.

“So, are we taking out the hard drive the whole thing would be saved on or a-, wait,” Virus walked over to the cameras, looking to the men directing them.  “This on?”

The blinking light on the camera indicated that it was on. The raccoon that was behind it nodded, even with a thumbs up. Asonja backed up a bit to see the camera. “Oh...the whole thing was on air? Interesting…”

“Hello flesh-bodies,” The red-striped feline waved.  “Wanna see something not safe for work?”

The raccoon quickly turned off the camera in a sweat. Asonja was interested as his attention was faced to Virus, but then noticed the camera turned off and he hunched a bit. “I knew it was too good to be true…” He mutters to himself.

Virus took a step toward the raccoon.  “Turn, it, baaaack…” She tuned.

The raccoon nervously adjusted his casual wear and turned the camera back on, the blinking red light appearing again. He seemed to have the face of a person saying, “please don’t hurt me, I don’t get payed that much and I have a life to live.”

Virus turned back to  where Asonja and the tiger himself had been.

Asonja looked back at Virus, and behind him for a moment to hope that she was just looking at someone behind him and not directly at him. Currently, the tiger was still being held back, his fur is disarray, shaking in fury. Asonja slightly gulped a bit and looked back, as if he was feeling guilty for what he did. He’s never done anything on these lines before, so it made him slightly uncomfortable thinking about it.

“You gonna do anything here?” Virus took a step toward the two.  “At this point, it’s probably going to end up with getting sued, that’s if he’s alive to sue you.”

Asonja was slightly confused with her statement. “Is...that a reference to me or...to him?” Despite what answer he would receive, he would still end up getting more worried in the end.

The tiger was quite calm for his appearance, as the one that held him back appeared to be an eagle of sorts, perhaps. The tiger responds with, “If he does sue, I’d be heavily ruined. If he’s smart enough to know that…” He muttered the last part to himself, mainly.

“I was talking to you, Asonja, yes,” The feline walked toward the exit.  “You two settle this.  At this point, I’ll just leave it how it ends up.”

The two sat there in silence. The raccoon camera man, still recording, turned toward the two. The eagle had left the room.

“Look, pal,” Asonja said normally, “I don’t mean to sound cheesy or anything, but, you seriously gotta stop dissing mobians. Not cool.”

“Well, how am I going to get views?” The Tiger replies. “If I have no views, I won’t get any profits.”

“Find something else to do, then. There’s loads of things to do.”

“Like what?”

“Anything that you wanted to do. You’re an adult and you should act like one, such as aiming for something else that doesn’t hurt the public, but should otherwise benefit them.”

“Hmm...you might be onto something…” The tiger gets up and walks past him to his desk. “I did have some dreams, but this was the second best option. Now seeing that this is the worst case out of my two options that I have picked years ago...I decided that I’ll just become a garbage man.”

“First you were talking nonsense about me, and now you decide to be a garbage man?” Asonja crossed his arms. “...You must’ve lost your mind.”

“Well, how am I supposed to benefit the public by NOT spreading drama?! The kids these days love their drama! Scandals, hoaxes, they all think it’s the truth!”

Asonja pointed his finger to the camera. “Perhaps you have forgotten that you’re on camera right now, and the people watching this just heard and saw EVERYTHING that went on here?”

The tiger looked at the camera for a moment, and sighed. “Yes, I have noticed. Just now. I feel no regrets, and I will be on my way…” He leaves the room, and Asonja makes a cutting motion with his throat to stop the recording. The raccoon camera man nods, and Asonja leaves the room where Virus went.

12:00 PM

“Your world is a Gee-Willikers world,” She titled, resting on the side of a wall nearby: arms folded and feet stiff toward the ground.

“...What makes you say that?” Asonja asks, crossing his arms and leaning against the exit door from the studio.

“Because ‘Oh Gee-Willikers, you done-did tear up my report paper.  That ruffles my feathers and jimmies at the same time’.  Or ‘Oh Gee-Willikers, that man broke into my house and started filming me.  Golly that sure does make me miffed.  I oughta strut over and tear up his report paper’.”

“...You’re giving me a whole bunch of reasons to punch you, but I don’t want to do that because, well, you figure that out.” Asonja got off the door. “But, yeah, you got a point. I don’t know what’s happening; every day it’s something different, bad luck after another. It’s like the world is telling me something important, but I don’t know what that would be.”

“I know it’s telling me that I should start biting off frontal lobes and blowing up hospitals until people start acting like not-40s television show characters.  That’s if Lassie doesn’t rat me out beforehand.”

“Who’s-” Asonja stopped himself, before shaking his head. “Nevermind...look, this is probably just some curse, or dream or something. I’m not this black-and-white, low-quality hero going about with these cheesy plots, doing the same thing over and over again. I’m an Anti-Hero. You know what that means, right?” He scratched his ear for a moment.

She dropped her head a bit, raising an eyebrow at the question.  “... Ask me that again.”

“...Asking if you knew what an Anti-Hero was?” Asonja tilted his head a bit.

“Hole’s getting deeper.”

“What hole?!” Asonja asked, confused and aggravated. “What hole are you referencing?!” Asonja shouts when he’s stuck.

“Hm… Yeah,” A blinking light went off in front of Asonja as he found himself now reappearing atop a pile of rubble.  It was smoking, as if just recently destroyed.  Glass, wood, concrete, and the occasional body lay on the remains.

“...What...Virus, what did you do…” Asonja looked around, trying to jump off of the rubble. A glass shard was stabbed into his shoe, which made him wince and almost yelp. “Drgh...Okay...Glass, in my foot now…” He tried pulling it out, in which he was successful, but some bits of blood was on the tip of the glass.

He was then lifted up off the building and onto the sidewalk.

“...I could’ve done that myself, but thank you anyway…” Asonja wipes off the dust and looks at the wreckage. “...What exactly happened?”

“Blew it up,” Virus’s voice replied.

“...You...You blew it up…? The news place…?” Asonja asked, turning toward Virus in a shocked way.

“Nope,” she replied bluntly… most-likely sarcastically.

“You do know that...wasn’t necessary, right…?” Asonja asked. “...There were innocent people in there who didn’t deserve to die...”

“Oh… right.  Uh… want me to put it back?”

“Please…” Asonja pinched the area between his sausage nose and eyes.

Creaking and slamming started up behind him as the pieces rose.  Glass span about as the structure was slowly set back in place.  The pillars, the skeleton, the muscle, the skin of the building restored, with the symbolic red glow lightning to the neon sign just outside blinking back to life.  The door opened up with a *fwap*, inviting inspection or admiration.

“...I have no idea how you do this.” Asonja shook his head, going inside. “Juuuust a dream, is all this is..”

His words echoed as he walked inside.  The receptionist at the front desk stood at attention, in wait.

Asonja said nothing, looking around at the people inside. He sometimes looked backwards, like he was afraid something might pop up behind him.

“Do you have an appointment?” The woman asked.

“Uhh…” Asonja thought for a moment, trying to remember the studio number. “Is Studio #11 on Air?” He asks.

“It was,” She answered.

“Oh.” Asonja says. “Am I allowed to enter? I was told that I was broadcasted live in that studio.”

“That isn’t an issue anymore.”

“...Rrriiiiight…” Asonja says, looking around. “I could’ve sworn this was...Hey uh...strange question, but, do you realize this place was just destroyed moments ago?”

“I do,” She nodded.

“W-wait you do?” Asonja shook his head for a moment, looking quite shocked. “I was expecting an answer like ‘Oh uh, no, I think you’re insane for asking such a stupid question…’”

“You may be insane, but this isn’t really too much to be worried about.  Everything’s gone anyway.”

“...I see…” He responds, scratching his head. “Well, at least nobody’s dead…I at least hope.”

“Everyone’s dead,” She clarified.

Asonja stood there for a moment, trying to bring all of that in. “...Ah...then how come you’re not dead?”

“I am dead,” She answered.

“...Ooooookaaaaay…” Asonja states, now getting extremely uncomfortable. “Then...how come you look...physical?”

“I think I’m here to prove a point, or… freak you out… for what comes next.”

“...Well you’re already doing a good job with it,” Asonja says, crossing his arms. He didn’t show it physically, but was creeped out internally.

“Good,” With that, the woman’s face peeled, then crumbled, then the rest of her body did the same, then the rest of the building did the same, and soon the entire structure was the heaping rubble from before, and Virus stood just inches from the lone hedgehog, fiery eyes and a wide yet angry-looking grin.

Asonja was shaking a little bit, and adjusted his coat. He cleared his throat, wiping some sweat. “...Well...you sure gave me quite the uh...startle there,” he states, trying very hard to hide his fear; he failed miserably at that.

“I don’t care about them, Asonja,” She shook her head, still having eyes dead-center on him.  “I don’t care if they scream or cry, in fact, that’s the best part.  What do you think that means for you then?”

“I am...not sure…” Asonja states, looking away from her by looking downwards at the rubble and climbing out.

“It means,” She continued as her hand stretched over, yanking him back over “Think twice the next time you talk to me about things that aren’t ‘necessary’ or about if people get hurt.  Oh I can show you exactly what they’re thinking every day, and maybe you’d want to strangle them yourself.”

“Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of what people are thinking,” Asonja says, politely getting her hand off him. “I know they hate every inch of my existence, and you know me fully well already that I can’t do anything myself, even when I supposedly could; I just don’t know how. I’m your trying-to-be-average hedgehog, and I just want things to go the way I want them to so I can avoid being a lump of trash all day.” He stays quiet after saying this, putting his head down and away.

“Ooookay no,” She pulled his head back up.  “This isn’t a ‘You get to make a speech about how you know how bad the world is, or poor you’ this is a ‘Now it’s time to get it through our heads that this smexy kitty lady doesn’t have the best intentions for people so we can acknowledge that when she smashes the building, she likes it and if you wanna be her buddy and get all the awesomeness she can give you, YOU,” she poked him, “get to have to get in that mindset too.”

“Killing people is a big no-no for me, even if it gives me a lot of power,” Asonja says. “I know that power is what I need, but I do not think I deserve it. It’s one of those cliche ‘I want it but I don’t want it’ internal conflict nonsense…” He waved his hands in exaggeration upon saying this. “I mean, sure, it doesn’t bother me if others kill people, but when I do it, I wouldn’t be sleeping at night. You get what I mean with that?”

“Does it mean I have to care?” She blinked.  “So you want to have power, and by extension me in the process or noooooo?”

“Uhhhh…” Asonja looked to the left, rubbing his right arm. He wasn’t exactly sure how to explain the reasoning, as if his excuses have gone dry.

“And THAT,” She noted, shoving him back with her finger while straightening up, “is exactly what’s gonna keep you from dying off, getting weaker, getting stronger, and getting any sort of allies.  Can’t say I don’t think there’s a little bit of you that doesn’t want to stay in that little bit of self pity, but it won’t last long and I DEFINITELY know that there’s a slightly larger--at least--bit in you that just wants to go full over the edge.  If not, tell me I’m wrong, reject me and walk away or something.  TO the sunset and such.”

“I’d say it’s more...half and half.” Asonja says, slightly hesitant as if he was in thought while he spoke. “Half of me wants to stay safe in my self-pity, regrets and guilt, while the other half desires power and...uhm...recognition?” He asked himself that question, but shook his head. “No, just desires power; to get stronger immediately so to speak.

“I’m on a strict mental bias that everyone, doesn’t matter who, ALWAYS has something negative hiding from me about myself. Such as,” he began to imitate a female’s voice, which was horrible considering his low voice, “‘Oh my, look at that emo-tistic hedgehog, he’s so annoying talking about his problems in public, gross!’” Then he began making a deeper male voice, changing positions as well, “‘What a baby, can’t even protect himself from the weakest of criminals. Man, what a loser that guy is!’” He cleared his throat and went back to his normal voice. “You see what I mean…?”

“Oh I know what you mean.  In fact, I know you, and the more you try to explain you to me, the more I’m getting ticked off, and the more you’re just avoiding giving me an answer, and lemme tell ya what, I’m not a patient person.  Sure, I could force you, I could do whatever, but I’m not sticking around for more talking.  You wanna actually say yes or no, then do it, because I’m really not into all these little moral speeches about how the world views you or me, or whatever, at this point when there’s nothin’ actually happening.  Maybe that could be taken advantage in some area, for some diabolical, but right now, can’t think of that type of scenario.  So, I’m gonna give you till the rest of this crazy week of yours to figure out what that answer might be, okay?”

Her hand extended out rapidly, imprinting something to his arm.  It was circular, with two hand- a clock… no, a timer.  “It won’t blow up… probably, but think of it as a reminder for ya.”

Asonja looked at it, rubbing it for a moment as if thinking it could be wiped off. “...I suppose so…” he says. “Dunno if I’ll survive for another 4 days, but, we’ll see…” He continued to look away, especially at the collapsed building. “Let me try to find my way back to my apartment..” He seemed to look defeated as he walked back to where his apartment complex was.

“Four days to think of an answer…?” He asked to himself. “What is the question, though? I can’t answer a question if I don’t know what it is…” He looked behind him for a moment.

She was gone.

He huffed in frustration and went back into his apartment, which he luckily found unharmed a couple blocks away. He went to his room, made sure that his door, windows, and blinds were shut as well as locked, and went to his room. “Alright...these last few days need to be a bit more...hefty on me. What’re you trying to do here?” He asked the ceiling, as he was laying there on his back. He sighed when there was no response. “Whatever...I’ll wait till tomorrow...an early bedtime sounds fine…”

6:00 PM

During this hour, Asonja was already inside his apartment. His TV and electricity was shut down as he had no money to pay for the bills. He also had a letter that he was going to be kicked out tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM sharp since he didn't pay his monthly rent.

"Well that's just great..." he muttered as he crumbled the paper into a ball and threw it into the trash can. "I'm forced to live on the streets again..." He groaned and flopped on the couch, his left arm on the rest and his right arm behind the chair. The only thing that could be heard was the ticking of the clock...

Except not the clock that was on the wall as it was off; Asonja took the batteries out from it the moment he moved in for the 10th time.

It was the one on his arm.

He looked at it with sharp eyes and covered it with his shirt. "Darn it...I'm worthless as it is, I don't need any help from some cat lady..." he sneered and laid down on the couch. He could've sworn he felt a sharp pain in the arm the timer was on after saying that, but he ignored it.

"I do want power. I want all the power in the world just to get what I want...but I feel that I don't deserve it at the same time. Why didn't I say that before to her...?" He continued to ask himself for about 3 hours before he fell asleep.

His answer may have been revealed, if anyone was listening.

Day 4

5:00 PM

An hour and a half after Asonja had woken up, there seemed to be nothing out of the ordinary, strangely. He still had the timer on his arm, and his apartment was back to the way it was supposed to be; even the plant in the corner was still perfectly healthy.

"This is odd.." Asonja mutters to himself and walks around. He hasn't eaten for a while but completely ignored his stomach's pleading for hunger. There still wasn't much to eat in the fridge to begin with, and this left Asonja hopeless.

"Damn it...I'd have to go back to that cafe area in town just to fulfill my hunger," Asonja crossed his arms and grumbled. "This is stupid...If those events never happened I'd probably have a fridge full of stolen food by now..."

He decided to sit down and wait for the time to go by. Unfortunately, his stomach growled some more, and this made Asonja groan.

"Fine, for God's sake I'll go outside and die in embarrassment, how about that?" He got up from his sofa and walked outside, grunting at the evening daylight which was shining right on him.

He slid down the outside apartment railings and landed on his feet normally. The annoying ticking of his timer was still going under his trench coat, which only made him seem more tired and ticked. Many people went by him, usually by means of looking right back away from him or stepping away. Asonja only ignored this and made way to the outside world.

The cafe nearby seemed rather busy, which was what Asonja was afraid of most. There seemed to be a party or something going on over there. “Well, this is just great,” Asonja muttered to himself, “guess I’m not getting anything good to eat today. Straight to the trash I go.”

Before Asonja would turn around, a familiar female wolf came behind and grabbed Asonja’s left arm, which made him yelp in surprise.

“You’re not going back there again, Mister,” she said. “I saw you several nights ago going through that disgusting trash just to look for food. I’m not letting you get sick from eating there, so you’re going to come with me, enjoy the food I make for everyone here, and be like everyone else.”

“W-woah woah, hold on a second!” Asonja got out of her grip, looking at her. “You expect me to come with you and get humiliated in front of everyone?! I’d be the laughing stock of this whole city!”

Some people who were in the cafe had noticed what was happening outside of the area and were watching to see if it’ll escalate any further. The female wolf’s hair had seemed to turn into a faint red for a moment before turning back to white. “I’m trying to help you and you yell at me for it?! The Hell is wrong with you?! You should know that as for a matter of fact, nobody’s laughing at you! You’re always thinking that, aren’t you?!”

This made Asonja back off a bit, looking away. “You don’t know that,” he muttered and growled. “I’ve been through a lot of crap and you shouldn’t butt into my business.”

“Excuse me, but it IS my business to help you,” she shouts some more and grabs hold of his arm again, literally dragging him to the cafe. “Keep shouting and bickering and you’re GOING to get laughed at. You want to avoid that?!”

Asonja growled and looked away again, saying nothing.

“That’s what I thought,” she sneered and set him down on an empty chair with hardly anyone around. “Now sit down, man up, and enjoy this party that we’re having. It’s tradition in this city, you know.”

“What do you mean tradition?” Asonja asked, crossing his arms again to hide the painful grip that the wolf had on him before. “Am I missing something important to your heritage?”

“No, not MY heritage. The founding of this city 200 years ago. Don’t you know your history?”

“Well, I’ve been homeschooled by my parents for a good 5 years before I ran away 8 years ago...so…”

“Oh my goodness…” She covered her face for a moment to rub her forehead. “I can’t explain it all in one night anyway, so please just enjoy this. I’ve been waiting for you to come back ever since that incident 2 days ago. I already knew things were off just looking at you, but hopefully you’ll be fine in the next few days.”

“Yeah, hopefully…” he grumbled, not having much faith in that.

“Anyway, back to what I was going to say before,” she continued, sitting down across from him. “All food here is practically free, and an all-you-can-eat buffet. I assure you this’ll be one of the only times you’ll get to have fun, and actually gain some pounds and meat on your bones. Seriously, you look like a mummy, especially with that outfit on you…”

She was referring to Asonja’s trench coat, that had suddenly gotten too thick and big for him. “Meh, it’s no big deal how you say it. I’ve worn this thing for years and it never got too big for me.”

“Well, it is now. See how your sleeves have a bigger circumference than your entire arm? That’s called being too small to wear it.”

“Pfft, it’s been that way for a long time. I’m comfortable with that.”

“But 2 days ago, your arms were a bigger circumference than they are now. Don’t lie to me, Hedgehog, I know you more than anyone else just by studying you and the way you act.” She pushed up her glasses, the light of the evening sun shining on them, which hid her expression from him.

“You’re creepy when you say it like that…” Asonja grumbled and looked away.

“You’re avoiding what’s right with your wrongs, hedgehog,” she replies. “The more you do that, the less you’re going to be successful. Keep looking at the wrongs and you’ll soon think they’re right, when they’re not.”

“Great, that’s helpful…” Asonja rolled his eyes. “I don’t care what you tell me; I want to believe what I want, no matter if it’s wrong or right. I’m more comfortable this way.”

“Oh jeez...your comfort zone’s already gotten stricter…” She sighed and rubbed her forehead again. “Mister hedgehog, you really need to get some help. Your mental set is horribly misaligned.”

“Help? Like professional help? Please, nobody’s able to comprehend what I’ve been through.”

“Not this one therapist I know,” she holds out a card, with a symbol on it that looked like two circles intertwining each other. “Doctor Thera P. Morgan. She’s helped children with abusive parents, compulsive adults with childhood fears, and more. Her worst case was almost about to be a third-degree murder suspect.”

Asonja looked at the card for a moment, looking uneasy. He was silent as well, looking at her and then the card.

“I know it’s hard to get help,” she said, “and I know you don’t want it to avoid failing. But trust me; she’ll be a massive help to what you’ve been through and explain everything to her and what you need to do. Because I’m not going to hang around with a toxic mobian all of my life. Hope you know that.”

She handed Asonja the card and got up to go back to the party, mainly to start cooking again. He watched her walk off and then he slowly went to the card that he was given. He grumbled a little bit, in massive thought. There was a moment in his thinking process where he could only hear nothing but himself…

...And the ticking in his arm.

After about 5 minutes of thinking, he sighed and ripped up the card. “I don’t need help…” he muttered to himself. “I don’t deserve it…” He brushed off the pieces off the table and walked back to his apartment with his hands in his pockets.

The wolf from before had gotten out moments later, taking notice of the shredded pieces. She sighed as well and looked off above her. “He’s too damaged to even think properly. Why is he so afraid of failing?” She was in her own thought for a short moment before running off in Asonja’s direction to search for him while the party continued.

5:35 PM

Asonja had burst into his apartment, shutting the door behind him and collapsing on the sofa. He didn’t bother to take any of his shoes or clothing off as he was too busy trying not to freak out and go into a mental breakdown. He was gripping his head and holding back sobs on the pillow.

“You’ve messed up for the last time, Asonja Masenko!” He could hear shouting of an older man behind him, whipping his back. “I told you to do it right, and like you always do, you screwed it up!” Another whip to his back, and a scream of pain.

“Stop this!” A woman’s voice was heard, that brought warmth to his body. “He did nothing wrong! It was my fault!”

“Get off me! You know he’s an imperfection in our family’s name!” The man shouted and smacked the woman to continue whipping the younger limp body of Asonja on the wooden floor. The woman tackled the man and took the whip away from him. They shouted curses back and forth to each other, the younger Asonja just sobbing quietly on the floor. These painful memories taught him; do not fail ever again. You will be ridiculed for what you do, and nobody’s ever going to like it when you mess up.

“Messing up is how you learn, child…” the woman said, holding up the younger Asonja in her arms and comforting him. “It’s okay to fail, as it yields success...please, don’t give up for me, okay?”

The young Asonja nods and continues to sob. “Don’t listen to what your father says...you’re my precious baby, along with your brother. Nobody’s imperfect in my family…”

The memory quickly searched the flames and gunshots. The horrific Civil War, where the man and woman he knew never returned. The younger Asonja screamed over the sound of the shots and flames before he was awoken back on the couch.

He had cried himself to sleep.

11:50 PM

Asonja sighed and got up, rubbing his eyes. He noticed a note on the bottom of his door, written in cursive handwriting. He sniffled and rubbed his eyes a few more from the tears he had before and knelt to read the note:

“Dear Mister Hedgehog, when I walked into your apartment at 5:40 PM, I heard screaming and crying. I didn’t want to disturb you, as I knew you were in great pain. I am here to let you know that I am willing to help you out if you just talk to me. I promise to not laugh at you, judge you, anything. I just want to help you and look into the future of success. I see a lot of potential in you and I’d hate to see that go to waste. Please, let me help you. Please see me at the cafe as soon as you can. -Nariko <3”

Asonja blinked a few more tears down and wiped them away, getting up after reading the note. He stood there for a good two minutes, reflecting over his nightmarish memory he had to think it through. He clenched his fists and emerged outside into the night, rode down the railing like before, and ran to the cafe just blocks away.

He didn’t push anyone out the way like he’d usually be doing, but he took detours around large groups and slowed down when he had to move through people, saying excuse me every so often. Afterwards, he’d go back to running. The cafe party had gotten more serious, as drinkers were joining in on the fun.

Asonja moved among the group, looking around in a panicked manner. Large groups of people made him fearful and almost go into a panic.

“Nariko?!” He called among the people, who were drowning him with laughter and clinking of drinks. “Where are you?!”

There was no response, as he couldn’t see the familiar white hair and grey ears anywhere. This made a sudden memory cloud his vision as a black figure of another hedgehog walking past the large group with Asonja left behind. He tried pushing his way through, shouting her name…

The memory snapped when he was suddenly tackled into a hug. “I knew you’d come!” the female voice shouted at him.

Asonja almost stumbled, but the group had moved away when Asonja had panicked. Nariko, the wolf that had sent him the note in his apartment, was hugging him.

“I’m here, I’m here...no need for panicking,” She let go of him and he looked back up at her. He was very quiet, having red eyes from crying for a long time now.

Nariko looked upset for a moment after the long silence between them, but that soon broke when Asonja gave her a returning hug.

“I’m sorry, Nariko…” he said. “I didn’t mean to make you panic and worry about me that much…”

Nariko only looked surprised and slowly hugged him back, patting behind his back. “It’s okay, it’s okay...I’m just glad you came, that’s all...now, we have a lot to talk about.”

She brought him to the very back of the cafe where there was a break room with a table with prepared food. She brought him a chair and motioned for him to sit down, in which he did. Nariko sat beside him.

“Now, let’s eat and talk about what needs to be talked about, if you don’t mind me being nosy,” she says, taking a slice of bread and putting butter and jam on it.

Asonja looked at the massive amounts of food he was given, all of which were cooked by Nariko. She had made him scratch slices of bread, pasta with melted cheese and herbs sauce with angel hair, sweet bread rolls and chicken wings. They looked perfect and smelled fresh.

He slowly took his time with taking this in, Nariko patiently waiting. He carefully took a bread slice and bit into it, chewing it softly. He stopped for a moment, swallowing it as well.

“This...this tastes like…” He looked at the bread again before suddenly spilling some more tears and eating the entire bread slice. Nariko looked confused for a moment, and asked, “Tastes like...what? Good?”

“...This bread tastes exactly how my mother would make them.” He answered Nariko’s question and looked at her with his waterfall eyes. It was this moment that Nariko noticed what was wrong the entire time; Asonja had lost his mother, the only person he truly cared about and loved.

This made Nariko tear up a bit herself and bring Asonja into another hug, where he gladly took and cried on her shoulder.

“Cry all you need to…” she said. “I’m here for you.” She rubbed his back softly as he continued to cry, the sound of fireworks going off outside. Asonja took this mental note to himself; he’s never felt this happy in his entire life when he found someone who he can trust and show his appreciation for.

Day 5

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