Tails persuades Sonic to come with him to a university lecture and Knuckles decides to come along...but of course something has to happen on the way there! One-shot.
"Eh. Don't feel like it."
Sonic looks up from his computer, his brow raised, and he doesn't look impressed. "Tails, stop. I don't wanna go to that thing at the university on...uh…"
"Quantum physics. Look, it's just not my thing."
"You don't have to pay attention! You can daydream or something. Just don't make me go by myself…"
Sonic now gives Tails all of his attention.
"Who in the world did you think was gonna go with you?"
Tails just looks at Sonic hopefully. Sonic growls in frustration. "Okay, okay, fine, I'll go with you. Long's there ain't a quiz after."
"I don't think there is…"
So a few hours go by and Sonic spends them trying to figure out why the heck he agreed to it in the first place, and obsessively making sure his iPod is charging (since he's using a cord that doesn't have the insulation cable on it for some reason), and Tails is happily chattering on about how exciting quantum physics is and all the capabilities of it (it's all very technical and I'm not going to recount it for you). Finally Tails tells Sonic it's time to leave.
"What time's your thing on quarter physics at?"
"Quantum physics. And it's at 7."
Sonic looks at Tails in that sort of big-brother way he does sometimes. "Tails," he says very patiently, "it's 4:30."
"Well I don't want to be late…"
"Trust me. We're not gonna be late."
"Not if we leave now, we won't!"
"Dude, I'm not going to a seminar on quantum kicks three hours early. So cool it."
"It's on quantum physics, Sonic. And I don't want to miss any of it!"
"You won't. I'm never late."
Tails almost relaxes when he hears this, then remembers how many times Sonic was late to his own birthday party.
As 7:00 approaches, Tails is sitting there staring at the clock, getting more and more panicked with every second that goes by. He is in fact about to have a nervous breakdown.
"Uh…I think you need to blink sometime soon, buddy."
"SONIC! WE NEED TO GO NOW!"
"Mm…gimme five minutes."
"NO! I HAVE TO GO NOW!"
"Well don't let me stop you," says Sonic, wondering if he's going to get out of this after all.
"SONIC!" yells Tails, and he goes to grab Sonic's shoulders and shake some sense into him, but he's been staring at a clock for three hours and can only see red numbers and ends up tripping over the coffee table. Sonic starts laughing as if it's the funniest thing he's ever seen but Tails is kind of dazed and confused, having gone from a sort of closed-in digital clock world to a place where nothing is green.
When Tails recovers enough to yell at Sonic for laughing at him, they go out to Sonic's car. Sonic sticks the key in the ignition and turns it, but the engine just clicks and won't turn over.
"Hm," says Sonic. "That's weird."
Tails of course knows exactly what the problem is and starts yelling. "MAN SONIC IF ONLY YOU'D LISTENED TO ME EARLIER YOUR BATTERY'S DEAD AND NOW WE'RE GONNA BE LATE BECAUSE IT'S GONNA TAKE FOREVER TO CHARGE IT—"
"Calm down kiddo," says Sonic. "There's always another way."
"You're right!" says Tails. "The bus it is!"
Sonic silently curses himself for not remembering that busses existed and hopes Tails doesn't notice there's no gas in his car either.
"Hey guys wait up!"
Sonic and Tails are both very surprised to see the red echidna. Tails is so surprised it can be described by the expression "it knocked his socks off."
"Wow, what are you doing here?"
"Oh, I'm bored," says Knuckles. "Tails, put your socks back on."
Tails wasn't paying attention when that sentence was written and so doesn't understand why he's not wearing his socks, but he puts them back on and resolves to go back to putting those weird belts back around his ankles until he figures out how it happened.
"We have to take the bus," says Sonic.
"Cool," says Knuckles, all cool-like, and he is now in fact wearing sunglasses even though it is 6:30 at night.
"Isn't that kind of hazardous, to wear sunglasses when the sun's not out?" asks Sonic. Knuckles and Tails have a good laugh over the fact that Sonic said the word 'hazardous' and Knuckles doesn't answer him.
"This is why I pretend I'm dumb," says Sonic.
"No one else thinks you're pretending ," says Knuckles, and he and Tails go back to laughing. Sonic crosses his arms and sulks the rest of the way to the bus stop.
The three of them don't say a word as they wait for the bus, but as soon as the bus pulls up all three of them simultaneously pull out their iPods and try to start a conversation.
So they get on the bus and sit down in the back. No one wants to sit next to Sonic because his iPod is so loud the bus driver can hear his music (and this is an articulated bus), but since Tails is his best friend and there are no more seats on the bus he gets the honour of sitting beside him. The sound is a bit tinny so it's hard to make out what it is but it sounds like dubstep with some sort of heavy guitar and some drums and a harp thrown in for good measure. Tails is listening to a podcast on quantum physics and Knuckles is listening to Unknown from M.E. for the 6,778th time (he hates it but he can't not listen to it…poor guy). There's a crazy guy sitting next to Knuckles who keeps going on and on and on about how he's German and how awesome being German is, and Knuckles is getting increasingly uncomfortable at having someone so chatty sitting next to him.
This is a very long bus ride, with people getting on and off at EVERY stop (which is pissing Knuckles off, big time). Sonic is oblivious to everything around him and Tails is almost as anxious as Knuckles.
Then there's an explosion and the bus is all but thrown off a bridge.
"Well," says Knuckles. "This is inconvenient."
"OH GOD WE'RE GONNA DIE!" screams Tails (who's really freaking out because he's DEFINITELY late for the lecture now and would gladly trade his life to go).
"Tails," says Knuckles, "of all of us on this bus right now, you're the one LEAST likely to die. You can fly, remember?"
"Oh yeah," says Tails, and then the bus shifts eerily and he instantly forgets and starts yelling again.
Sonic is still oblivious to everything going on around him.
People are trying to climb out of the bus and help other people climb out (which is good, because only the articulation thingy is holding the other half of the bus up in the air from certain doom), and by the time they get to the back of the bus, where Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles are, it's about two hours later (they kept sending the wrong fire truck to get the people out with).
Then there's a loud creaking noise and Sonic looks up, annoyed.
"The bus! It's about to split in half!" says Tails.
"That must be why Sonic started paying attention," says Knuckles, at the same time as Sonic says, "Why is there so much noise? I can't hear my iPod."
"Sonic," says Knuckles, "I think you have a hearing problem."
"What?" says Sonic.
"Oh no you don't," says Knuckles. "I'm not getting into one of THOSE arguments."
"Fine," says Sonic. "Keep it to yourself then."
"We can only rescue two of you," says the fireman. "After that the bus is gonna be too unstable, and we'll lose more lives than we'll save. Who's staying behind?"
"It's you or me, blue," says Knuckles. "We can't leave Tails to die, now can we?"
"Well, whoever stays won't necessarily DIE," says Tails. "They'll just have to wait until they tow the bus back on the bridge."
"Who's it gonna be?" asks the fireman. "And be snappy , Canada's Got Talent is on in 20 minutes and I don't wanna miss it."
"Whoever's iPod has the lowest charge gets to go," decides Knuckles. "So he has something to do while he waits for the tow truck."
"I guess you're staying then, Knux," says Sonic.
"My battery's dead," says Sonic, and he promptly jumps out of the bus with no help from the fireman whatsoever.
"Sonic! Wait for me!" says Tails, and he flies out of the bus.
"Well, my job here is done," says the fireman. "You can wait for the tow truck."
"But—but they didn't even need your help!"
"Tough world, ain't it?" says the fireman, and he jumps out of the bus and drives away within 35 seconds.
Knuckles sits down in the bottom of the bus and looks sadly at his iPod.
"I really don't know how many more times I can listen to that song…"
Three days later
"Wow Tails what do you know, that lecture on quantum sickness actually was pretty cool," says Sonic, as he and Tails are on their way back from the university.
"It's quantum physics, Sonic. And you're only saying that because of the party they threw for the people who got off that bus and made it there in time for the end of the lecture."
"Yep, one hell of a thing," says Sonic, as if he hasn't heard (and he hasn't, his ears are still ringing from listening to his iPod three days earlier).
They happen to walk across the bridge and they see the bus hanging off it. Obviously the tow truck never arrived.
"Holy shit," says Sonic. "Knux is still in there."
"His ears are bleeding," says Tails.
"Oh not again," says Sonic, exasperated. "Every time we leave him with his iPod this happens."
Sonic jumps into and out of the bus with no effort at all, bringing Knuckles on the return trip. Knuckles is shaking and muttering to himself.
"What's he saying?"
"The usual," says Sonic. "'You can call me Knuckles, unlike Sonic I don't chuckle, blood of my ancestors flows inside me, yadda yadda don't need a posse blah blah blah."
"My spike goes through boulders…" says Knuckles dazedly. "Did you know that? I'm so cool…"
"We really ought to show him how to use his iTunes…" says Tails.
"Well, he won't bother us again until this wears off at least," says Sonic.
"Okay. You wanna go see a movie?"
"Yeah sure. Let's just keep quilting physics out of it, huh?"
Tails goes to correct him, then thinks better of it. Sonic only smiles and continues to drag Knuckles along behind him.