Love and War

[Note: Antoine D’Coolette and other characters used belong to Sega & are used without their permission. I am building from the continuity established in Archie Comics’ "Sonic the Hedgehog" series. This story takes place sometime after "Endgame" and refers to events in "Countdown to Armageddon". This is my first attempt at a "normal" Mobian fan fic (i.e. no parodies, self-insertion, or alternate universe stuff), so don’t be -too- surprised if it stinks. Oh, and as the title implies, there’s some "mushy stuff" in this story. ;) ]

        A full moon shone in the sky above the Great Forest. Moonbeams reflected off the Power Ring Pool and gave its waters a silvery sparkle. Antoine gazed blankly over this scene; his thoughts were elsewhere.
        When Geoffrey St. John first showed up, claiming to be the leader of the Rebel Underground, Antoine had his doubts. It was over the night on which he had acted upon those doubts that he was reflecting. Tempers had flared around the campfire; accusations had burned through the air. First, Draco’s foul attitude spoiled the evening. Then, Geoffrey not only accused Sir Charles of being a spy, but he had also threatened to kill Sonic!
        "That skunk is -not- a man of honor!" the French fox thought darkly. Still, the traitor turned out to be Draco, not Geoffrey. "I should still be keeping an eye on the stinker, even though I am now knowing that he really -is- supporting the King."
        However, confirmation of Mr. St, John’s loyalties hasn’t brought Antoine any closer to discovering his father’s fate. (If -you- have read StH #58, -you’d- know that General D’Coolette was roboticized and hasn’t regained his memory. Antoine doesn’t know yet.) "What happened to him during the War?" Antoine pondered sadly. "If he was roboticized, would we not have found him, now that Robotnik’s control has been broken? Wouldn’t he have come home?" He briefly considered why his father has -not- come home. "Non! He cannot be -dead-!! If he were, they would have found his body--brought him back for the hero’s burial that he deserved! He cannot be dead! He must still be out there--somewhere." He tried to convince himself as he looked forlornly over the pool. "We thought Princess Sally was dead, but she wasn’t." He sighed.
        Princess -there- was another matter. For years, he sought her affection, or at least her respect. However, she gave him neither; perhaps she was justified. Was he in love with Sally for herself, or because she was the Princess? Antoine wasn’t sure. And if the later was the case, it wouldn’t be fair to Sally. Would he have persued her if she had been a commoner? Hrmm...maybe not, but the fact remains that she is -not- "common". There was something about her that made him want to move mountains, to defend her honor, to restore the realm for her. For her, he wanted to be...well, a hero. But, clearly, her heart belongs to another--the very hedgehog who had upstaged him many times. Antoine’s thoughts drifted to the time he had rescued said hedgehog from Geoffrey’s wrath. He did not regret the accusations he had fired at the skunky ‘James Bond’ wanna-be while wrestling him to the ground. After all, Geoffrey has yet to explain how he had become the leader of the Rebel Underground, the very organization that Antoine’s father had proposed to the King before Robotnik’s coup d'etat. Sally broke up the fight, alright, but she had been angry at -both- of them.
        "I thought you would be understanding, my Princess, for you are knowing what eet iz like to be missing a father." he inadvertantly said aloud.
        Antoine heard movement in the brush. Soon after, he saw Bunnie walk out.  "Antoine? What are y’all doin’ out here?" (Hey, no grammar flames! Bunnie often mis-uses "y’all", even in the animated series.)
        "Ze same could be asked of you, cherie." the fox teased and tried to smile.
She giggled. "Ah’m on Power Ring duty tonight, Antoine." The expression on her face went serious as she noticed his pitiful attempt at a smile. "What’s wrong, sugar-fox?"
        "Sacre bleu!" He thought. "She always seems to know when I am hiding something!" He then replied, "I was theenking."
        Bunnie thought, as she sat down beside him, to his left, and commented, "You don’t look  happy. What were yuh thinkin’ about?"
        "My father." he replied without even looking at her.
        "Still no word on him, huh?" she asked, knowing that there had not been.
        "Non. Not a one."
Bunnie looked at him sympathetically and placed her right hand on his shoulder. "Ah’m sure he’ll turn up. Some of Robotnik’s sub-bosses are still out there; -they- could be what’s keepin’ him away."
        "Eet has been zo long..."
        "Ah know, sugar." she looked at him tenderly.
As Antoine gazed into her eyes, it dawned on him that Bunnie had never said anything about -her- parents. Sure, she’d mentioned an aunt or an uncle in passing, but other than that, she’s never talked about her family. He began to wonder if mutual loneliness was what’s bringing them together. Then again, it could be--love?? Part of him screamed, "But she is a commoner!" Another said, "So what? At least -she- cares!"
        "After all, Sonic’s uncle was roboticized, but he got his freewill back. An’ Sally’s father disappeared, but we found -him-. Maybe we’ll find out where he is when we go survey Robotropolis." concluded the Southern Mobian hare.
        "Vou really theenk so, Bunnie?" the French fox asked hopefully and thought, "or are you just trying to be cheering me?"
        "Anything’s possible, sugar." she replied.
As they sat there and silently gazed toward the pool, Antoine began to feel better. Then, the surface of the water rippled. A glow became visible, and then a Power Ring surfaced. Bunnie shot out her  mechanical left arm, grabbed the ring, and retracted her arm. The Power Ring glowed brightly in her metal fingers. They gazed at it in admiration.
        "Ah always liked the lovely way they glow when they first pop out." the hare commented.
        "I am supposing you are to be taking zat back now, hmm?" the fox inquired gloomily.
        "Ah don’t -haveta- bring it back right away, sugar-fox." she replied with a friendly grin. "Afterall, a beautiful night like this just begs to be ‘preciated."
Antoine gazed at her in the glow of the Ring. With Bunnie at his side, the night seemed less dark; his life seemed less empty. Antoine wasn’t sure where this was going, but he was willing to find out.