Mating Season Chapter 2
Shadow got his wish, or at least it seemed like he got it during the first few weeks.
The beginning of mating season started out pretty well: the delicious scents of potential mates filled the air, but Shadow was able to resist it. He and Rouge were given a mission that took up a huge chunk of the first month. Though they suffered many injuries, they were more or less fine when they returned. Shadow enjoyed the escape from reality and not having to worry about any hedgehogs finding him. For those three weeks he could have tricked himself into believing it was a normal month, a normal time. He faintly wished the mission would've taken at least until August. He would've been safe then, but no they had to finish right before July. What sucked even more was that G.U.N. assured them they were to have no more missions until fall.
Once the partners returned home, Shadow all but locked himself inside their shared apartment. He silently refused to come out – he still helped out in Rouge's night club, but as soon as he believed the air in the room smelt differently (in a very good way) he was back inside their apartment so fast it seemed as if he was never there in the first place.
Last year the bionic 'hog was able to hide from other hedgehogs. He found a nice, secluded area far from civilization that only he knew about. When he checked out that place a month before mating season, he found many male hedgehogs residing in the area. Apparently, they decided it was a great place to hide from the girls for the summer. Plus it was a great vacation spot. Any other place Shadow found ended up being too close to other hedgehogs (and other people overall) for his liking.
The black hedgehog was able to convince Rouge for half a month to take care of anything they needed that involved stepping outside. Sadly for the ultimate lifeform, Rouge's patience was running low. She was not going to run errands for him any longer; he needed to pull his own weight around here if he wanted to continue living with her.
The two anthros argued back and forth before the male relented and was given the job of obtaining their groceries for the next week. With a grumble and a silent plea to whatever deity might be listening so he wouldn't be forced into this, Shadow grabbed his wallet and left the building for the first time in almost two months. He forced himself to relax as he opened the door then quickly dashed off before any hedgehogs could smell his scent.
The dark being quickly grabbed all the products he and Rouge needed (courtesy of the list she gave him prior to his exit) trying to be as accurate and as fast as possible. The registers seemed fairly empty so he believed he would be in the clear. He believed that there was a good chance he was safe.
How wrong he was.
As soon as he let his guard down slightly, his nose was overpowered with a familiar, amazing scent. The scent of female hedgehogs in heat. He was glomped, kissed, and groped all while waiting for the teenage employee to ring up his provisions. Apparently, the human thought nothing of the molestation the hedgehog was receiving from two females or didn't care. Heck, as far as Shadow knew the dude was jealous!
The ultimate lifeform forced the girls off of him and took a tight grip of his bags. He found himself being tackled by the same two hedgehogs that violated him inside the store. Their scents were pretty irresistible, but not so much that the male was going to claim either of them. He pushed them off irritably and ran off before they could get back up. If all worked out well, no one else picked up on his scent and he could get home without having to endure another encounter like that.
Sadly for him, more hedgehogs became evidently more aware of his presence as he was tackled and chased after multiple times. He wondered how the hell could these regular anthros were able to catch up to him so quickly. What was supposed to be a five to ten minute grocery shopping turned out to be almost a half hour of having to lose the horny stalkers.
By the time he returned to Club Rouge losing the other hedgehogs, he had been glomped, groped, humped, kissed, tackled, violated, molested, and – in the case of one overeager hedgehog – almost kidnapped. He regretted not making sure he had a chaos emerald with him. Chaos control would have saved him so much trouble. It had taken all of his willpower not only to not respond to the mates and to not kill them. Due to these happenings, he arrived at his apartment fur disheveled, decorated with lipstick, and seriously pissed off. Suffice to say, the white bat was worried about her partner.
"Whoa, what happened to you?" she questioned teal eyes widening.
Crimson eyes glared fiercely at the bat, their owner barely biting back curses that would leave a sailor in shock. Instead, he shoved the groceries into her hands and pushed his way past her.
"Next time, you get the groceries." He grumbled.
Rouge had already put away the freshly-bought groceries and now sat waiting for Shadow to finish his shower in their living room. Teal eyes lazily scanned the smallish room: the green couch she sat on that could easily seat three; the brown love seat that faced the couch in a slight angle; the brown coffee table in the middle of the seats; a small wooden table between the couch and love seat; the medium-sized TV that faced them; the counter resting against the wall; and the random, generic pictures hung on the warm brown walls around them. White boots impatiently tapped against the plush maroon floor as the bat waited for the running water to stop. Once it did, she stopped her tapping and looked towards the opening of the hallway.
Minutes later, the ebony hedgehog stepped into the room, a white tower swung around his shoulders. His fur was still slightly wet, but he looked better than when he returned. He continued drying himself off without acknowledging her, but it was clear to the both of them that he knew she was there. He was trying to avoid the line of questioning that was certain to come with his strange appearance and prolonged outing to the store. Moments of silence passed before the bat decided to speak.
"So…" Rouge let the word hang in the air as she tried to figure out how to get him talking. He continued his drying without giving a clue of whether or not he heard her. Though of course he had heard her.
"Any reason why you came back looking like you've been mobbed by fangirls?" Teal eyes studied his reaction.
The male stopped his drying in favor of glaring at her. "Because in a way, I was."
She smirked a little in amusement; she forgot at times that the ebony 'hog was almost as popular with girls as Sonic.
"Horny fangirls and fanboys."
Her smirk faltered slightly. It wasn't the prospect of fanboys liking Shadow in that way that surprised the female – she had suspicions that some guys did – but the way that Shadow had phrased it as well as how he said it caused Rouge a little worry. It wasn't the regular annoyance that laced his voice; frustration and a bit of whining was evident in his tone like a child who didn't want to play a game everyone else did and was forced to. There was something more to this than ordinary fangirls. He usually was able to scare or fend them off and he never, ever came back home looking even remotely similar to how he looked when he came back today. Plus he wasn't normally this bothered with fans, annoyed yes, frustrated no. This was different, but how?
Wait a minute…
His reluctance to go outside for past weeks, Sonic and Tails leaving for a camping trip and inviting Shadow along, Shadow returning looking like that, and frustration evident in his behavior… Didn't Amy tell her something about this when she asked the older female for help in finding Sonic?
"These fans wouldn't happen to be solely hedgehogs?"
There! A wince! Hardly noticeable, but it was there!
Her smirk grew; this could either be a lot of fun or could end up with her in the hospital. Unlike Knuckles, Shadow had almost no problem hitting a girl. He preferred not to, but he would if they didn't heed his warnings.
"So they were!" Rouge practically purred. "Seems like mating season does a number on you, huh?" A crimson glare was all that she received as an answer. The bat remembered something from earlier causing her a hint of confusion and curiosity. "But wait, didn't you say that guys also 'attacked' you?"
"…" He turned his back on her.
Teal eyes widened. This was getting interesting. Amy had educated her on some extent of the hedgehog mating season and while the bat had zoned out more than once during the pink being's blathering, she had listened enough to know that males weren't affected by other males' scents only by females and vice versa. Considering that Shadow had also been attacked by both genders had left some questions about his gender.
"How can that happen?" she questioned. "Aren't guy hedgehogs only able to detect female scents? And I know you aren't a girl. That little bathroom incident was more than enough for me to know you're a guy… aren't you?"
Shadow forced down the blush that threatened to overtake his tan muzzle as he both recalled that incident and tried to avoid thinking about how Gerald created him. He did not want to talk about that.
"Shadow," The bat tried again, "how come male and female hedgehogs are throwing themselves at you?"
Agonizing minutes passed by as the ultimate lifeform debated internally whether or not to let Rouge in on his little secret. Right when she thought the hedgehog wasn't going to answer, he (he is a 'he' right?) spoke.
"If I tell you, will you promise not to tell anyone else?" he slowly turned to face her, but avoid looking at the female.
"Really, promise," Crimson met teal, "because I swear if I tell you and you blab it to someone, I will find out and when I do…" he let the threat hang.
The world's greatest thief gulped in fear, but refused to show it. Instead she smiled holding up her right arm and crossing her heart with her left hand. "I swear not to tell anyone your secret whatever it is."
Shadow studied her for a moment before deciding the promise, as mocking as it had been, was good enough. He exhaled deeply before plopping down on the love seat. He rubbed his face as he tried to figure out how to begin.
Eyes studying the ground, he mumbled something. It was hardly audible so the bat asked him to repeat it. He did, but his words were only slightly louder so she asked again. He forced himself to speak louder.
"I'm not a male…."
A white brow arched in curiosity. "You sure, hun? 'Cause from what I remember –"
"… but I'm also not a female." He interrupted her. He looked up. "I'm a hermaphrodite. To be more exact, I'm a true hermaphrodite. Which means, I have the reproductive organs of both sexes."
Rouge blinked as the information slowly sank into her. Shadow was a hermaphrodite? He was half a girl?
The hedgehog waited semi-patiently for Rouge to absorb the shocking bit of news, but grew more anxious the longer the silence stretched.
Finally, "So, you're a hermaphrodite and you have a... womb?" Dark shoulders shrugged at the somewhat accurate name before nodding. Rouge slouched; disbelief evident in her eyes. "Huh, guess that explains a lot."
A dark eyebrow was raised at her statement as if he was verbally asking, Like what?
Gloss lips stretched into an amused half-smile. "For one thing it explains why you're cranky all the time." Seeing a hint of confusement in crimson orbs, the bat elaborated, "I already know how moody women get when they're on their period. Add your time of the month with the testosterone from your 'boy' side – which makes guys violent – and you get a grumpy Shadow who's first response to a situation is violence."
Shadow crossed his arms over his chest glaring at the female. He did NOT always react violently to things and just because he had estrogen and testosterone coursing through his body did NOT mean anything. His body was created to be able to handle and control anything in his body including his hormones.
"Oh, do not give me that look, Shadow." She crossed her arms. "You know you resort to violence at least half of the time." He snorted before looking away. A more thoughtful look crossed the treasure hunter's face as she remembered the reason for this conversation. "That's why both female and male hedgehogs are after you and why you came back from the store like that." She chuckled. "That must be fun."
"I was chased by lust-filled hedgehogs who wanted to jump me." he spat out.
"I know, I know." The bat raised her arms as if surrendering before giggling a bit at the strange image of Shadow the Ultimate Lifeform running away from over-excited hedgehogs. A more serious and somewhat frightening thought passed her mind. "Shadow, how come you didn't fight them off?"
She knew that the hermaphrodite most likely did, but something must've happened for him to still return looking disheveled. Even when he did run into hard-core almost Amy-like fans, they wouldn't get near him if he threatened them. Were hedgehogs in heat worse than that?
Shadow shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His ears threatened to flatten against his skull.
Crimson eyes studied his hands which were on his lap. Hesitantly, he said, "My instincts refuse to let me damage a potential mate violently." He sighed. "I can't force myself to hurt them so they end up getting too close for my liking. In other words, during mating season," he swallowed hard trying to keep his voice steady as he looked up at her, "I end up being defenseless enough that I can actually end up getting raped by a hedgehog that can't control themselves."
Rouge stared at him trying not to laugh in case he was being serious, but then again, when wasn't he serious? Besides, he wouldn't joke about something like that. Despite how he may seem like on the outside, the bat believed he was terrified of this fact. His scent attracted both sexes couple that with the fact that he becomes virtually defenseless during hedgehog mating se – Wait a minute.
That's right. He was a hedgehog.
Shadow was a hedgehog.
Scourge and Sonic were hedgehogs. Hedgehogs that ran at the speed of sound; that matched Shadow in almost every way; that had the skill, the abilities, and the raging instincts that could end up with one of them…
She gulped slightly; a sudden fear for her partner's wellbeing consumed her. "You haven't run into Sonic or Scourge yet, have you?"
He shook his head, eyes narrowing. "And I don't plan to during the months when mating season gets... intense." He studied her for a second as he weighed the negative results that could occur should he run into one of the speedsters during this time. Normally, he would be able to take care of them or they wouldn't bother him or hurt him in such a way. However, this was a different subject altogether.
Professor Gerald had made him into a hermaphrodite for a reason. The scientist wanted Shadow to find a mate of his own when they returned to earth be it a girl or a guy. In the human's eyes, this would more or less ensure that Shadow would find someone to love no matter their gender. To further ensure this, he had the bright idea of making the ultimate lifeform's pheromones as irresistible as possible. Shadow loved Professor Gerald and admired the man, but sometimes the scientist made stupid mistakes.
Making Shadow's pheromones that strong was one of them.
If the crimson-streaked hedgehog ran into either Sonic or Scourge and they caught his scent, Shadow was fucked, literally. He could chaos control away from them, but they'd be able to find him eventually. And what happens when he uses up all his energy running away? He'd have a better chance surviving the season if he had some outside help.
Swallowing his pride, the bionic hedgehog asked Rouge for help in case that did happen. The female was surprised at the request, but did not tease him on the matter. Even the strongest would crumble if they believed they would get raped. Instead, she promised him to help him out during the next month whenever he needed it against a horny hedgehog. Her friend was not going to get raped on her watch.
She excused herself shortly afterwards to tend to her club. Before leaving, she had one more question lingering about her friend's unique gender.
"Are you the reason why my tampons go missing?"
Her response was a pillow tackling her face.
At least he didn't throw the lamp.