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In Your Eyes - Chapter 4

Written by Felicia Rondo

Summary: It’s the screening of Love Dawn at last, but the already-miserable time Rouge was having goes from bad to worse when the dreaded dudebros make a scene! Things don’t go according to plan, and Rouge begins to reconsider whether or not she’s all that upset about it…

Contains: A Cheesy Romance flick, Dudebros, an Anxiety-Ridden Teen, and a heroic rescue!

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They were exactly 30 minutes into the movie. She knew they had to be, as that was what her phone told her the last six times she checked it - the twelve times before had shown they were 29 minutes in. Time was passing linearly as always, it only felt like they were two and a half eternities in.

She had assumed it wouldn’t be a peach for her to sit through, but she thought she would at least have the respite of being able to glance over at Sonic’s face contorting into so many expressions of anguish… “and yet,” she thought, for what must have been the thirty-seventh time that same day, this was yet another plan that just had to go up in smoke.

Instead of getting to watch the hedgehog quickly lose his resolve, big blue had the utter nerve to seem to be enjoying himself! The normally-chatty Sonic had not made so much as a peep since the opening credits, and every time she glanced over at him he looked as if he was hanging on every overwrought line of the film.

Mercifully, they had at least managed to secure a pair of seats far, far away from the dreaded dudebrethren. The theater wasn’t very packed, though, so whenever one of them had a no doubt insightful bit of commentary, she would only just be able to not make out exactly what had been said. It was for the best.

Whenever she did bring her focus back to the film, it wasn’t that the film was at all offensive. No, it was just so by the numbers, so standard for a Hollywood production - a drifter has her world turned upside-down by a moody, handsome man that inadvertently teaches her a little about herself as she gets to know him.

At every scene, she was hoping, begging the film to come to an abrupt ending. Leading lady says goodbye to the leading man at a restaurant? Great, cut, call it a 45-minute movie. Ending an argument with “and that’s final?” Iconic, quit while you’re ahead. She would have no such luck.

Eventually, there came a moment where the leading lady confronted her partner, declaring that he shouldn’t love her because she couldn’t love herself, and… in a show of rather explosive emotion that felt close to moving, if it wasn’t appropriate for once, the man replied, “then let me love you enough for both of us. At least until you can love yourself.”

This was, according to the dudebros, the funniest shit they had ever heard, as their insufferable-but-quiet chuckling erupted into raucous, obnoxious laughter. It wasn’t even the cheesiest part of the film yet, but they arbitrarily chose now to absolutely lose it, and it was enough to snap big blue out of the trance the film had put him in.

In a turn of events that made the bat’s heart sink, however, it was then that that teen girl from earlier revealed herself, standing just a row ahead of the bros. “Oh honey…” Rouge sighed under her breath, fearing what was to come next. She began to say something, but was drowned out initially by the laughter of the bros. So she spoke up.

“Hey, I-I’m trying to watch the movie!” the young girl asserted, her shaky voice betraying her efforts to seem strong. “You d-don’t have to like it, b-but can you p-please keep it down?”

“What, you LIKE this garbage?” one of the adult men guffawed at the teenager, “you should be thanking us for sparing you some of this cringe dialogue!” The other men joined in, causing any resolve the girl had to crumble away in the face of the ridicule. It was an all too familiar sight to Rouge, and… all she could do was watch, as the moment brought her back to a time in her past that she had tried so hard to forget…

“Be back in a minute,” Sonic whispered over to Rouge in a cold tone, and, before Rouge could turn to look back over at him, he was gone. When she looked back at the scene taking place in front of the big screen, Sonic was tapping the shoulder of one of the men. When the man turned, his face lit up at the sight of the hero.

“Whoa, guys, look! It’s Sonic!” he said, his tone hushed once more, “Dude, we’re like your biggest—”

“I don’t wanna hear it,” Sonic interjected flatly, his emerald eyes somehow contained both a fiery intensity and the iciest contempt. “Either you and your pals get your act together and leave that girl alone, or I make you.”

The main dudebro looked at Sonic, eyes widened, then back at the girl they had been harassing. “Uh, y-yeah, sure, dude - let’s go, guys,” he stammered, waving for his bros to come with him as he walked out. He was followed shortly by the others - one of which turned back to Sonic to say,

“You know, it was just a jok—”

“Didn’t ask. Get out,” Sonic sneered, causing the dudebrother to hurry his way out with the rest of them.

When the men had left, Rouge stood up from her seat and swiftly descended the stairs to check on the girl, tears staining her furry cheeks. She couldn’t have been older than 15, and her ears had flopped down in sorrow.

“Honey, are you okay?” the bat asked.

“It doesn’t matter…” she sobbed, hugging her shoulders anxiously.

“I promise it does,” Rouge responded, placing a hand gently on the dog girl’s hand that rested on her shoulder, keeping it there when her shoulders loosened. “This movie’s still got an hour left to it, doesn’t it? Would you mind if I sat through it with you?”

The teen looked into Rouge’s teal eyes with her own eyes, red from the copious amounts of crying that had occurred, and had uncertainty painted all over her face.

“You won’t make fun of me when I react to the movie, will you?” asked the teen, to which Rouge shook her head. “C-can I hold your hand during it? I-I get nervous during the tense parts, but the cup holders give me hand cramps if I try to grip them tightly…”

“Of course,” Rouge answered, “whatever you need, sister.” She flashed a reassuring smile at the girl, who returned it with a small, shy one of her own.

“D’you mind if I sit with you too?” a kind, warm voice chimed in from behind the dog girl. When the two turned to look, there stood Sonic, smiling brightly as if he hadn’t just threatened to throttle a group of men.

“Oh, oh my gosh, oh, my gosh,” the teenager nervously stammered, her face lighting up red for entirely different reasons from before, “I mean, if you, uh, I mean, you can, uh…” Yes, big blue’s popularity stretched across the divide between dudebros and awkward teen fangirls. To Rouge’s relief, he seemed to be using that notoriety for good.

“What’s your name, hon?” Rouge asked, gently.

“S-Stephanie… M-my friends call me Stephy, though…” the girl answered.

“Nice to meet you, Stephy, I’m Sonic - Sonic the Hedgehog,” Sonic said, “and this is my friend Rouge.”

“N-nice to meet you, S-Sonic the Hedgehog… and Rouge…”

And so, Sonic and Rouge sat through the rest of the film with hands clenched tightly by Stephy. Her more-animated reactions to the movie were… different, from what Rouge thought she’d be getting, but they helped make the experience a lot more… ‘gripping,’ so to speak.

When they left the theater, the sun was setting and it was looking like their first day out together would be coming to a close. Sonic made sure to take a selfie with Stephy before they said their goodbyes, while Rouge kindly declined the offer to join in. As they watched the dog girl walk off, tail wagging happily at the turn her day had taken, Rouge couldn’t help but think back on how much trouble she could have saved herself if she had just let the day happen as it would.

“So, how’d ya like Love Dawn?” Sonic asked, looking back at her.

“Oh… um…” she shifted her eyes from left to right, choosing her words carefully when she eventually answered, “it… had its moments… If I can let you in on a little secret, I didn’t exactly go in expecting high art.”

“I thought you weren’t enjoying it that much,” the hedgehog said, with a sympathetic look on his face, “I hope it wasn’t too bad for you. I know those jerks from earlier didn’t help the experience for me…”

“Actually, I think you confronting those two was my favorite part of the whole film,” remarked the bat, causing Sonic to chuckle embarrassedly. “How’d you like it, anyway? You seemed captivated by it,” she asked.

“Oh, yeah… I really liked it,” Sonic admitted, sincerely, “I loved the bond that the guy and the gal developed, over the course of the film. The way each moment pushed and pulled them from each other, but every time they’d always come back together…” To hear the hedgehog go on about it was surreal, like learning they had somehow watched completely different films. What was it that he saw in that movie that she didn’t?

“And I uh… I saw a bit of Shadow in that leading gal, actually…”

“Really?” Rouge’s eyes widened, “I… honestly didn’t make that connection, but…” her mind drifted back to the memory of the leading lady, coldly warning her partner not to get close to her, and how that reminded her of the walls that Shadow had put up around himself. “… I can see it.”

Sonic took a deep breath as a silence grew between them.

“Can you tell me if he’s been doing okay, lately?” asked the blue blur.

“He’s… been doing better, lately,” the spy replied, “I think, with Omega and I, he’s got people he can trust… but I think he needs you too.” Sonic looked at her with a little shock in his eyes, after that last sentence, but only nodded quietly when she returned his gaze. It’s getting late, that familiar voice in her head reminded her.

Rouge wondered for a moment if she really wanted to let it end yet… but relented. “I think that’s enough for today. You got any plans for the rest of your night, by the by?” asked the bat.

“Well…” the hedgehog turned to look back at the setting sun, “I was actually thinking of heading off someplace else, about now… But I mean, if you’re staying here, I gotta stick around til you gimme the deets on Shadow, don’t I?” remarked Sonic.

“Oh, right, those details,” Rouge said out loud, before catching herself and seeing Sonic’s grin widen. All she could do was laugh, genuinely and happily, with the hedgehog joining in soon after. Before she could realize it, the words escaped her lips, “I can come along wherever you want to go, big blue, don’t worry.”

“Really?” Sonic asked, “You mean it?”

Caught off guard, Rouge questioned herself. Was she really about to leave the direction of what could be her next few weeks to the whims of big blue? Throughout the time they had spent together, there was always something nagging at her in the back of her mind.

She looked back at Sonic, into those emerald eyes of his that had repeatedly almost contradicted what front the hedgehog put forward all day, wondering what it was that was so necessary to keep secret…

I have to know,” she decided, then nodded in the affirmative to Sonic’s question shortly after.

Those same eyes that intrigued her so lit up once the hedgehog received her answer. “Meetcha same time, same place tomorrow?”

Maybe a little later than when we started today, hon,” she stated, before sighing and stretching out her wings. The day had felt a lot longer than it was in reality, and she needed a nap before she could face the rest of it. “Ahh… Let’s have more fun, next date, shall we?”

Sonic laughed, “What, like this one wasn’t already ridiculously fun?” Rouge shook her head and flew off, waving back at the hedgehog who watched on with that confident smile of his…

“A date, huh?”

To Be Continued

Author’s Notes: And there’s a second new chapter published in as many weeks! Yay! Go me! This IS the last one I had ready in advance, though, so please be understanding if it takes longer for me to get another chapter out. :’(

In the first drafts for this and the past two chapters, it was a lot less fun. I’ve been doing my best to rewrite where I can so I don’t stray far from the tone I want to keep with this story, and… I think I did pretty good! In particular, I liked illustrating the different kinds of Sonic fans - and how Sonic is more inclined to stand up for his more-vulnerable fans.

Thanks for reading!

Originally-published on September 28, 2020

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