Disclaimer: Not mine. Never were.
A/N: For my anonymous lurker on LiveJournal, who requested Sally/Lupe, and who shall henceforth by known as Nonny, for the sole reason that I can then legitimately say “Hey, Nonny Nonny” without risk of a thrashing. While the pairing isn’t obvious in this fic, I did the best I could with the canon and characters who fought my intentions at every turn. Durn characters.
Influences: Robin Jarvis’s Deptford Mice Almanac, and A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett.
Feedback: Yes please! My SatAM fics rarely get many reviews (which is to be expected, since the canon is thirteen years old), so any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
© Scribbler, August 2006.
Knothole slept under a blanket of thick snow. It had actually stopped snowing two days ago, but the temperature had been such that what already lay on the ground hardened until a beast could be fooled into thinking he could walk across the top without breaking the crispy outer layer and falling into the treacherous drifts underneath. Storybook weather, in other words. Weather that lent itself to cosy armchairs and fireside tales.
It was also the perfect weather for raiding Robotropolis. Robotnik’s operations could combat icy conditions, but they were still hindered by the extremity of recent weather. Oil and coolant froze, caterpillar-treads found little grip, and SWATbot patrols slipped and slid and crashed without the Freedom Fighters needing to do a thing.
Unfortunately, these same conditions had ground Knothole to a standstill, too. The little village was self-sufficient all year round – in Spring, Summer and Autumn different crops fed the villagers, as did bounty from the Great Forest itself. In Winter they ate mostly stored foodstuffs, which they prepared earlier in the year. Rosie had taught Sally from a young age how to pickle cabbage and cucumber, how to salt and smoke fish, and a hundred other ways to make perishables into the imperishable. Sally had, in turn, taught the rest of the village these valuable lessons as she grew older. Sometimes Knothole exchanged goods with travelling traders for more exotic fare, but traders were few and far between this close to Robotropolis, and far too unreliable to be part of any long-term survival plan. Nobeast wanted to be caught alone and in the open with Robotnik’s wide patrols on the loose.
For the most part, Knothole could outlast any type of bad weather. Which wasn’t to say that they just shut their doors and sat on their hands until Spring. Quite aside from Freedom Fighter duties like guarding their borders and raiding Robotropolis, there were still ordinary tasks that needed attending to. Baby kits needed birthing, feeding, changing and caring for. Sick and elderly beasts needed tending. Floors needed sweeping. Huts needed maintenance. The village chronicler needed to take down a record of their lives for future generations. Snow just created new jobs. It meant digging out doorways, fracturing the millpond’s surface to break out the wheel, repairing roofs and leaky huts, lagging pipes and organising temporary privies when the regular ones were frozen.
For Sally, this also meant putting together a roster and making sure everybody stuck to it, which meant touring the entire village as well as completing her own chores. Just because she was a princess and a Freedom Fighter didn’t mean she didn’t do her share. In Knothole, everybody worked. When the sun set each day she was exhausted.
Things had been easier since the Wolf Pack arrived to share the load. Normally reclusive, the wolves, led by their Alpha, Lupe, had come to Knothole after the first snowfall. They said it was a tactical decision, so they could better confer with the Freedom Fighters about Robotropolis’s wintry vulnerabilities. However, Sally knew that this was only half the real reason. The wolves were spiritual creatures, married to tradition and greatly influenced by customs that seemed ancient to most Mobians. This time of year was close to what they called ‘Escobar’, the period when Midwinter Death pressed His closest. Seeking companionship in other packs was how wolves of previous generations had ‘put Him off’ and survived Winter’s stark grip, but those wolves who hadn’t been roboticised in Robotnik’s takeover had turned in on themselves, cutting themselves off from the rest of the world. Now Lupe was tentatively trying to break her pack out of dangerous habits by resurrecting the old customs and putting a new, inter-racial spin on them. It was innovative, and very tentative, but she was slowly winning the older pack-members around to her ideas.
Sally was grateful. Having the Wolf Pack around meant her own people weren’t stretched quite so thin. She didn’t have to worry quite so much about the amount of work left to do each day, and the strain on everyone to get it all done. Sonic complained that the wolves threw off his groove, but Sally knew him well enough to understand that he, too, was grateful for the help. Sonic would show off and complain by turns, but he would work himself into premature old age to preserve Knothole’s idyllic way of life. It’d be so easy to let him do too much, as Sally knew she did more than was good for her. She had to force herself not to rely on him – or on anyone else, for that matter. Everybody worked, but nobody did more than was healthy.
Except, maybe, for Sally herself. It was a leader’s prerogative to try and do too much, because there was nobody above them to still their hands at the end of the day.
Lupe was surprisingly good company. She was sharing Sally’s hut, and though she often appeared distant and enigmatic, she was anything but cold-hearted. Lupe was also a leader. She knew what carrying that sort of burden was like. Though Sonic was the Freedom Fighters’ official leader, everyone and their kid brother knew it was in name only, and that Sally actually did all the work. Sally was the strategist. Sonic was the hero. Lupe was both for her pack. Having her around was … comforting. Reassuring. Even heartening. Lupe had been Alpha for nearly eleven years, and she hadn’t broken yet. Plus, when Robotnik had taken her father, so she also knew what it was like to lose a parent to that madman. The kind of shared experiences between them helped take the edge off any depression that threatened Sally’s state of mind while the skies were dark and Mobius was dark and frozen over.
Right now, however, she was too tired to be depressed. It’d been a long, long day. Claire Piffle had finally had her twins, but the birth had been difficult for both mother and kits. The Wolf Pack’s midwife, Regeane, and their shaman, Medicine Father, had done what they could, but Sally had still been on tenterhooks until she heard the two little ferrets squealing. An upper level of the guard tower had collapsed when one of the ropes snapped under the snow’s added weight, injuring Antoine, who’d been on watch at the tim
[SatAM fic] It's winter, which means extra strain for the already stressed Freedom Fighters. Sally in particular is running herself into the ground, but maybe Lupe can help where Sonic can't. [one shot]
The whole fic can be found at [link]
The whole fic can be found at [link]
I liked this one.
wow i didnt know you were a sonic fan too! o.o koolio!
That was a nice one indeed! I wish I was tallented enough to draw the pictures that this story put into my head. I thik I will eventually.