It all began at the beach. Somehow, Rouge had convinced me to accompany her and the others to the gathering. Despite my struggles and protests, she had dragged me down here.

I'm getting ahead of myself. My name is Shadow, Shadow the hedgehog. And I hate the Sonic Heroes, I hate the beach, and I especially despise the water. Besides my near-perfect design, I could not swim. Or… maybe I just didn't want to swim.

Everyone at the beach was having their own great time. The two-tailed fox, Tails, was bashfully flirting with the rabbit, Cream. Knuckles the red echidna was building a sand-replica of the Master Emerald. Rouge the bat, who had brought me here, was tanning in a rather tight swimsuit.

That was when it occurred to me: Amy and Sonic were nowhere to be seen. I put my hands behind my head and shifted my weight onto my heels. No matter; the two hedgehogs had probably gone swimming.

But then again, Sonic could not swim. I shrugged the feeling off and closed my eyes, letting the sunlight warm my face.

A high-pitched shriek pierced the air, causing my eyes to instinctively shoot open. "Amy!" cried the white rabbit, pointing at the water. "She's drowning!"

I cocked an eyebrow; this had just gotten interesting.

The group of Mobians swarmed to the shore, their eyes scanning the blue. Speaking of blue, the faker was still nowhere to be found.

Knuckles was shouting, "Hold on, Amy!"

Rouge called, "Amy! Just hold on!"

A hint of urgency touched my stomach. What was taking them so long? Wasn't someone going to save her?

The friends discussed what they should do, each nervously shuddering as Amy released a gasping cry for help. I marched towards the band of companions and glared at Rouge.

I asked, "What the devil is going on? Won't you go after her?"

The bat explained, "If I go in, my wings will get wet; I won't be able to fly us back."

I glanced away from her and queried, "And the others?" "Can't swim or too afraid," she answered.

My red eyes met the ocean and I shuddered as my body acted before my mind. I leapt forward, plunging into the water and after Amy. I heard the cries of the others as I went deeper. "Shadow!" they called, "Shadow!"

My arms cut through the water and propelled me towards a bright pink figure that hovered in the depths. Her jade eyes pled for help as I saw life fade from her body. I swam faster and reached for her. My hand clasped hers just as her face turned white. I pulled with all might, straining to lift her to the surface.

We pierced the surface of the water with a splash. I gasped for air and remembered that I couldn't swim. I hefted Amy over my shoulder, and her limp body leaned on mine. My feet kicked at the water viciously, propelling us to shore.

When we reached it, I promptly dropped her body upon the sand. I was panting heavily as the others surrounded us. Their voices were a mass of concerned gibberish. I ignored them and checked the pink hedgehog's vitals.

She was alive, but she wasn't breathing. I shot a glare at the Mobians that chattered about, asking questions and praising me for my heroism. I commanded, "Get back." They didn't hear me, and continued to approach Amy and I. "I said get back!" I suddenly roared, causing the others to back away a foot.

I glanced at Amy's pale body, swallowed my pride, and pressed my mouth against her own. Ignoring the gasps I received from the Mobians around me, I breathed into Amy's body steadily. I parted my lips from her, took a breath, and breathed it into her. I repeated this until she suddenly gagged, spitting salty water from her mouth.

Still not entirely conscious, she moaned and rolled around on the sand. I stood to my feet to find the others staring at me as though I had performed a miracle. Inexplicable embarrassment crept into my cheeks, sporting the color red. I muttered as I walked away, "What are you lot staring at?"

I heard a weak voice call, "Shadow?"

My red eyes found Amy as the owner of the voice, her eyes barely open and her body trembling. I huffed, "Hmph."

Cream rushed to the weak hedgehog's body, helping her to her feet. Amy stumbled towards me, her arms looking for something to balance upon. I felt my cheeks grow crimson as she fell into me. My arms reactively caught her, though her face was buried into my tuft of white chest fur. Amy looked at me as her head rose from my chest, and she smiled. My arms tingled as her fingers ran along them.

"Thank you," she said after what seemed like hours.

I gently pushed her off of me and retorted, "Whatever."

Turning my back to the group, I walked back to my original place on the shore. Things should've gone on after that. It was over, right? Wrong.

Suddenly, Rouge the bat gasped, "Oh, Amy! You're so pale! Are you alright?"

I glared at Amy. She looked well enough.

Rouge insisted, "You look tired. Shadow, you should take her to your house. She needs her rest."

This statement received mumbles from the group. My eyes widened as Rouge winked at me. I couldn't believe it. The blasted bat was trying to play matchmaker!

Amy was shaking, her hands trembling from the shock.

I sighed, closed my eyes, and gave in. "Fine," I grumbled.

Rouge smiled, knowing she won. I turned on my heel and marched away from the beach. Amy was quick to follow.

It seemed to last for hours; the walk from the beach to my house. Amy trembled as we walked along, only her red, one-piece swimsuit clothing her shivering body. It was going on six in the evening, and the cold of the night was creeping in.

I glanced at Amy, and for the second time that day, swallowed my pride. My left arm wrapped around her shoulders and I gently pulled her towards me. Amy looked at me, slightly surprised.

My face scarlet, I quickly explained, "You… need to keep warm. I don't want you sick." Amy looked at me curiously for a moment, and her jade eyes increased my heart rate. She finally smiled and nuzzled against me, burying her face in my white chest fur.

I gulped as she did so. No one had ever treated me as she did; no one except for… Maria.

"You saved my life," she said, breaking the silence.

I glanced at her, in a daze. "What?" I asked.

"You saved my life," she said again.

I shrugged. "Oh, right. Whatever."

Amy persisted, "I wouldn't be here right now if you hadn't done anything."

I tired of her praise and my brow furrowed. "I get the picture, Amy."

She giggled. "Sorry, but I almost died today. Give me a break."

I chuckled, something I hadn't done in years. Suddenly, an awkward question pierced the casual air. "Why?" My eyes grew wide as my cheeks grew red.

I asked to make sure I heard her correctly. "What?"

"Why?" she asked again.

I had heard right. Looking back, I hadn't quite known why I had done that; just that an unknown sensation swept over me as it all happened.

I tried my best to explain, "When I heard you were in danger, I just… felt… something. This feeling; it made me see life without you, and it seemed unbearable."

Amy blushed at this remark and said, "I'm taken, you know."

My temper flared as she said so. "Right," I growled.

The pink hedgehog cocked an eyebrow. "What's that supposed to mean?" As if she knew, as if she could know, considering how obsessive she was.

"Sonic doesn't love you," I stated firmly, closing my eyes.

Amy immediately tore away from me and she yelled, "You take that back!"

We were in the city by then, but only I noticed. Amy was too enraged to see her surroundings.

"Sonic loves me!" she insisted. "He does!"

I glared at her and struck a verbal blow. "Then where was he in your time of need?"

Amy froze and I, in turn, stopped walking. She stuttered, "W-what?"

"At the beach when you were drowning, where was he?"

Amy's face grew pale and she shook. "He… he was…"

That was when it hit me. She knew where Sonic had been. My question was merely one of accusation, but there was apparently more to it than that.

The rosy hedgehog wrapped her fingers together and looked at the cement. I asked again, more firmly, "Where was he?"

Amy Rose, the happiest girl I knew, burst into tears right before my eyes. Before I knew what was happening, her arms wrapped around my body and she hugged me tightly. The initial shock was frightening. Tears slid down her eyes and landed on my body with soft pats.

"He was there!" she sobbed. "He was there, and then he wasn't!"

I tried my best to stay uninvolved, but grew curious. "What? What are you saying?"

Amy sniffled and attempted to explain, "Sonic and I… I took him into the water. I was going to teach him to swim, but he was kicking around. When I tried to get him to stop, he… he must've pushed me under. After that, I didn't see him anymore."

Amy continued to wet my fur with her sadness.

I couldn't comprehend seeing her like this, and wanted her to stop. I comforted carefully, "Look… I'm sure it was an accident."

Amy shook her head and admitted, "No! You were right! Shadow, he doesn't love me!"

My heart ached as I realized how deep my words had cut. "I… that's not what I meant, I…" I stuttered. "Please, don't cry." Her tears seemed to multiply.

It was all I could ask, all I could ask her. That was all I wanted her to do at that moment. Her tears stabbed me with every sob. "Don't cry."

Amy peered up at me with jade eyes that were burning with heartbreak. "Does anyone love me, Shadow? Am I just a… nuisance?"

I shot a glare at her, cursing her for saying so. "No," I insisted. "They love you. Rouge, Cream, Tails, Knuckles… even Sonic."

Amy sniffled and looked deeper into my own red eyes. "Do you love me?"

My heart was racing by now, and it had to be going on seven.

A blue interruption suddenly pierced the tender moment. "Shadow! Amy!" the voice called. I immediately recognized the voice of Sonic, and Amy obviously did as well.

"Hi, Sonic!" she replied, hurriedly wiping tears from her eyes.

Absurd, that she would hide her true turmoil from Sonic. He needed to know how he had hurt her.

The blue hedgehog strolled over to us. "Hey, Ames, I haven't seen you since today at the beach,"

Amy smiled and said, "Oh, yeah. That was fun."

They seemed to ignore me, but I was going to be heard, just this once.

"Amy nearly drowned," I said, my deep voice cutting the discussion in two. Amy's emerald eyes widened and Sonic's did as well.

Sonic looked at me and asked, "Uh… what was that, Shad?"

I growled at the nickname. "Amy nearly drowned, you idiot."

Amy rushed to me and tugged my arm. "Shadow!" she hissed.

I ignored her, tearing my arm away and continuing, "She told me something about you pushing her under."

Sonic was silent, his brow coated in sweat. "It… must've been a mistake."

My ruby daggers pierced his emerald orbs. "You're nervous," I remarked, a small smirk growing on my face.

Amy glanced at me, then at Sonic. "Did you… mean to do that?" she asked, her lips quivering.

Sonic raised his hands, showing his palms in defense. "Look, it was an accident," he explained.

I felt my smile grow and the air touched my fangs. "I finally got you to squirm," I said with a chuckle.

The blue hedgehog shot a glare at me and jabbed a finger at me. "Stay out of it, Shadow," he commanded.

An unknown force pulled me in front of Amy as I strolled towards him. "I'm already involved, Blue Blur."

Amy's eyes filled with tears as she watched Sonic's feeble attempt to explain. Sonic said, "So what if I accidently pushed her? She's safe, isn't she?"

I growled, the distance between us a mere inch. "That's not the point, don't you see? She was as good as dead because of you!"

Sonic shook his head and retorted, "No! She would've been fine, you faker!"

Faker. The cursed name he had bestowed upon me when we had met. "What was that?" I yelled, my adrenaline beginning to flow.

Sonic shouted, "Faker!" With that, he delivered a punch to my jaw.

Blood flew from my mouth, and my rage fused with the already-pumping adrenaline. "You'll pay for that, blue hedgehog!" I roared and leapt onto him, my fists shooting at his face and connecting with sickening sounds.

Twice his fists met my body, but it only fueled my anger. I was called out of my frenzy by a soft voice. "Stop!" it cried. "Stop it, both of you!" The fire in my eyes died as they turned to face the voice.

It was Amy, tears rushing from her eyes and pooling on the cement. It had to be eight by now. She sobbed, "Just… just… stop."

My anger diminished as the unknown sensation again swept over me. "Amy," I mumbled, standing and walking over to her.

Sonic grumbled and grunted as he stood as well. I went to the pink hedgehog, whose head was lowered and facing the concrete.

She struggled to speak as her breath hitched between words. "I just… want… to go… home."

I nodded, realizing that no cryptic remark would make matters any better.

Sonic looked at Amy, muttered something of an apology, and left in a flash.

Amy and I walked off in the direction of my house. The silence encumbered the air around us, acting as a companion to the darkness. Despite the chattering of her teeth, Amy kept a good two feet away from me.

I was uncertain of what to say as we walked in utter quiet. "Amy…" I began to say.

The rosy hedgehog interrupted me, "I get it. You were right."

My crimson eyes widened at her verbal defense. "That's not what I was going to say," I insisted. "Amy, I made him angry. If anyone, blame me for what he said."

Amy's hair bobbed as she shook her head. I glanced at her, catching a glimpse of her green eyes. I asked, "Do you want to talk about it?" She whined and shook her head again.

Sonic had pushed her under. Whether he did it on purpose or accident he had done it. And the damage was done.

The unfamiliar feeling entered my stomach, making me feel sick. Why did she make me feel this way?

Before I knew it, we were on the porch of my house. The two of us stood before the door, and Amy still did not speak. The peeling paint on the house made it look trashy, and for a moment I felt embarrassed. I immediately shook the feeling off; what did she care if my house was broken down? And for that matter, what did I care?

I opened the creaking door and entered, motioning for Amy to come as well. She entered, her eyes focused on the floor. I sighed.

I led her to the couch in the center of the room, where she promptly sat. I sat as well, on the far side opposite of her. Amy fidgeted and continued to stare at the carpet.

After five minutes, I could stand it no longer. "Get over it."

My words shattered her saddened state and she glared at me suddenly. "Shut up!" she snapped. I was taken aback and I moved away slightly. The pink girl closed her eyes tightly and faced me. "Shut up!" she yelled again. "Shut up, Shadow! Shut up, shut up, shut up!"

I glared at her and asked, "What's your problem?"

Amy spat, "You didn't just lose your first and only love! So just be quiet, Shadow!"

The odd feeling in my stomach disappeared, and an ancient memory reawakened. "You think I don't know how you feel?" I asked angrily.

Amy quickly quieted down, her eyes opening and turning soft. "I… I…" she stuttered.

I cut her off, "No! Just get over it. I've had enough of this for one day."

I stood from the shabby sofa and walked off. "I'll get you something to wear." As I walked, my feet fled the carpet and met the loud groans of the wooden staircase. Amy was still sitting on the couch, silent and sad.

I returned with a black t-shirt, tossing it to the pink hedgehog. She didn't react and it landed in her lap. I glanced at her eyes and saw pools of tears. "Blast it all," I muttered under my breath.

Amy turned to me and sniffled, "I… I'm sorry, Shadow."

I sighed, "Forget it."

At least she wasn't talking about Sonic. The thought of the Blue Blur made my blood boil.

The rose hedgehog slipped into the shirt and wrapped her arms around herself. I tried to change the subject. "So… do you want the couch, or the bed?"

Amy glanced at me. "What?" she asked.

I said again, "Couch or bed."

"I don't care," she answered after a while.

This night was never going to end.

"Thank you," she said after a few more moments.

I was confused. I asked, "For what?"

She replied, "For saving me, twice in one day."

I glared at her; did her gratitude know no bounds? "Whatever," I scoffed.

Amy sighed. "A simple 'you're welcome' would suffice," she said.

I retorted, "Hmph." Amy sighed again. I changed the subject a second time. "It's getting late. Do you want any dinner?"

Amy looked at me and was silent. My heart raced at her eye contact. Bloody heck! What did I say? What did I do? That blasted feeling was taking over.

"That would be nice," she said. I blinked in surprise as I realized it hadn't even been five seconds. This feeling was throwing me off my game, making time seem to slow down, altering my view of reality. What in Chaos was it?

"I'll make something," I announced after a moment. Exiting into the kitchen, I began to boil water. As the steam rose and the room temperature increased, I decided to use my spare time for a little digging.

I snatched a few books from my shelf, grabbing the dictionary, my book of diagnoses for diseases and illnesses, and some others that covered nervous system and virtually every physical feeling.

I was going to get rid of this thing.

"Let's see here," I mumbled, flipping through the pages of the diagnosis encyclopedia. "Blast it, there's nothing here like what I'm feeling." Slapping the book closed, I researched the nervous system. "Anxiety," I muttered under my breath. That might have been it, but what from? What could be making me so anxious?

I huffed as I closed those books as well. My last option was the dictionary. With an unexcited sigh, I opened the large book and began to skim. Oddly enough, the page I opened to was the L's. My index finger ran down the paper slowly as I read.

"Hey, Shadow," a voice suddenly called.

I snapped out of my reading trance and turned to face the voice. "Rose," I acknowledged, feeling that sensation begin to crawl into my stomach.

"What are you reading?" she asked, her happier state of being seeming to return.

I glanced at the book and closed it sharply. "Nothing," I lied, standing and walking past her.

She shrugged and pointed towards the stove. "The water's boiling," she said.

Marching towards the pot of water, I thought back to the dictionary. What word had I been on? Lousy? No. Lose? No. Maybe it was…

My heart skipped a beat. My breath hitched. I knocked over the boiling water, splashing it everywhere. I ignored the searing pain and Amy's surprised cry as I remembered.

Love.

"Shadow!" Amy shouted. "Are you alright? What's the matter with you?"

I snapped back to reality, my heart hammering at my chest and my stomach somersaulting repeatedly. "It's…" I struggled to speak, "…nothing."

My gloved fingers clawed at my chest for some relief as my head spun. Love. Love. Love. The word replayed itself like a broken record. I hadn't felt love since Maria, and I could never love again, right? Right?

"Shadow?" her voice penetrated my state of utter confusion. I was brought back to reality, and remembered the burning sensation on my skin.

With a curse, I slapped my fur dry. "It's nothing," I lied all too clearly.

"No, it's not nothing," Amy declared, placing her hands on her hips.

I growled, "Forget it."

The pink hedgehog shook her head, her more stubborn form taking shape. "No, let's not," she said, taking a step towards me. "I poured out my heart, now you do the same. You've been acting weird since you asked me about dinner."

I cringed; was I that obvious? No matter; the calm and collected persona had always worked in the past. "Rose, you've caught me at a bad time. Tell you what, I'll call a cab and get you a ride home, eh?"

The pink girl crossed her arms and glared at me with burning jade eyes. I smirked at her persistence. "That didn't work, did it?"

Amy shook her head. "What's going on?" she demanded to know.

I futilely attempted to escape to my room, and was blocked by Amy. "Tell me," she commanded once more. I glared at her.

"You really want to know?" I asked, not sure where I was headed with this. The rosy girl nodded. I suddenly exclaimed in a burst of stupidity and frustration. "There is a high chance that I may be in love with you!"

I froze. She froze. We were silent, and both of our eyes were the size of eggs.

"Y-you what?" she asked slowly. The realization of what I had just said hit me like a bullet, and I blushed furiously. My stomach went into the feeling again.

"I-I… I…" I stuttered hopelessly. "I-I didn't mean…" Amy looked at me with a deep red color flooding her muzzle. I regained a shard of composure and frowned, grew silent, and stormed past her and into my room.

I didn't care what she thought, anyway.

My feet carried me to my bed, where I planted my face into my pillow. It was hard to breathe; I kind of hoped it would suffocate me.

It felt like hours before I heard a knock on my door. I didn't need to ask who it was. "What?" I asked loudly.

Instead of an answer, Amy opened the door slowly, her eyes focused on the carpet. "Shadow?" she asked shyly.

I removed my face from the bed and glared at her. She sat next to me quietly, and her fingers wrestled nervously.

"Spit it out," I demanded. Amy looked at me softly, and her green orbs pierced my soul.

"I'm sorry," she said.

I blinked. I blinked again. I blinked a third time and still couldn't understand. "What?" I asked.

Amy looked down at the blankets. "I'm sorry," she repeated. "I didn't know you felt that way, and… it was rude of me to treat you in such a way I had. It probably would've driven me nuts."

She felt… pity for me? I huffed, insulted. "I don't want your pity."

Amy snapped, "Dang it, Shadow! I just… I'm sorry, alright!?"

I sat up and looked at her. "Forget it," I growled, contemptuously. "You love Sonic, so how about you just forget me. I like it better that way." I was doing my best to push the loving feelings out of my stomach.

"You don't mean that," Amy said softly, her eyes growing sad. My heart sank slowly; that was the last thing I wanted to do: make her sad. I couldn't fight the protective instincts that compelled me after that.

I touched her cheek gently, my fingers caressing her smooth muzzle. "I apologize…" I whispered, "… I burden your eyes with my sorrow."

Amy was touched by my words. "No, Shadow," she insisted. "You're okay, you didn't do anything."

"But I did," I mumbled, hating myself. "Because of the things I have said today, I have thrown your world out of balance. I am sorry."

The pink goddess smiled sweetly. "I forgive you," she said.

I should've stopped after that, but I didn't… I couldn't… "I love you, Amy Rose."

Amy's eyes widened and I could feel her heart beat faster. My arms wrapped her up into my grasp, with one hand on her face and one holding her back. Her legs stretched out and around my waist in an attempt to be comfortable. I saw the red in her cheeks and the excitement in her eyes.

"I… think I love you, too… Shadow the hedgehog," she said slowly and quietly, for fear that someone would hear. I leaned forward, her nose millimeters away from my own. My eyes were begging: say it again, say it again.

"I…" Amy focused her jade orbs on my blood-red ones. "… love you, Shadow the hedgehog." My heart and desires defeated my logic and willpower as I closed the distance between our lips.

Our lips touched and sparks flew. The odd feeling in me was replaced with peace as we shared a moment of intimacy.

Then reality set in.

Amy's eyes opened and she pulled away violently. I opened my eyes as well and was embarrassed. "I…" I started to say.

She cut me off, "No, no. Shadow, I just… I…"

My heart was lit aflame as I heard her mumble under her breath, "Soniku…"

I glared at her, and then focused on the floor. My cheeks were bright red as I felt a mixture of jealousy, hatred, and humiliation. Amy was calling out to him, to Sonic. As though he would hear her and take back all the words he had said, right all the wrongs he had done, and whisk her away in his arms. His minimal love for her overpowered my own. He was the better half.

"So he's still better," I concluded sadly as realism began to take its toll. "You would prefer him to me…"

I hung my head shyly and my face grew hot. Warm, salty water began to accumulate in my eyes. She loved him over me.

"Shadow…" she said, as though to comfort my mortally wounded pride.

"Just go," I interrupted. "Just get out of here. I don't want to see you anymore… I don't want to see you ever again."

Amy walked out, without another word. I slapped the tears from my face as soon as she left. My heart fell into my stomach as I heard a car pull up to my house. I was unsurprised to find the pink girl hailing a cab.

She left.

I buried my face into my hands and let the tears flow onto my palms. It was times like these that I thought… maybe I really was just a faker. A sob shook my body at the thought.

These feelings I felt for her… were they not enough? Was there something wrong with me? I was the ultimate life form, the ultimate… the ultimate…

My eyes grew dry and I looked at the floor. Maybe I just wasn't the ultimate at everything.

The somber air of the night was shattered as the telephone rang. It rang a second time before I remembered what it was. Who would call me at this hour?

I hid my feelings deep within me as I picked up the phone and answered. I was good at hiding my feelings. "Hello?" I asked calmly.

An immediately recognizable voice responded, "Shadow?"

I was shocked. "Sonic?" I asked, surprised. "What… what do you want?"

"Hey, man," he said, seriously. "I wanted to know if I could talk to Amy."

I frowned at the sound of her name. "She's not here," I replied coldly.

"Oh," the blue hedgehog said. "Uh… well, look. Can you give her a message?"

Silence was my response to him.

He began to speak, "Tell her… I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt her. I would never intentionally hurt her. I just… I was scared. I was a scared fool, and I will never do anything like that again. Shadow, tell her I apologize, and that… I love her."

The last part paralyzed me.

"Shadow?" he asked. "Are you still there? I said I…"

I felt my short temper come to a point. Screams poured from my mouth, "Shut up, faker! Tell her yourself, and never call me again!"

My hands found the cord and the phone was dead within seconds.

It had been almost a week since the day I saved Amy's life, and now I found myself at the beach once again. My once sharp red eyes had become worn and dull from tears of anguish. The powerful voice that had been my own was now quiet, sad, and sore.

I cursed the emotions that had invoked it all, I cursed the woman that had awakened them, and I cursed the man that had fueled their flames.

My soul yearned for peace, but I knew in my heart that I would find none. So I stood here, on the beach where she had almost died. The thought of a watery grave crossed my mind and I almost gave the self-induced drowning a glance.

But I sighed and hung my head. Suicide would be redundant. I was already drowning.

It was late in the evening now, and the stars had begun to stab through the orange horizon.

"Shadow?" a voice inquired, a voice smoother than silk.

I did not turn to it, and grumbled, "Get out of here."

The sweet voice persisted, "But Shadow…" I was quiet as the voice trailed off.

Suddenly, a warm, gloved hand caressed my shoulder. The familiarly soft touch filled my being with anger, and I growled, "I will attack."

The hand momentarily flinched before defiantly grasping me. I began to feel the fury melt as the hand was accompanied by a face; a beautiful pink face… with emerald eyes.

"What do you want?" I asked, still indifferent.

Amy looked at me slowly. "I wanted to apologize." Apologize?

She was so naive.

"Nothing you can say will change what you've done," I said firmly.

Amy frowned and said, "My heart still belonged to Sonic…" I grew infuriated at his name.

"It doesn't make matters better when you rip out mine!" I roared, shattering the somber sea air. The fire in my eyes began to reappear.

"But Shadow!" she begged. "Just listen to me!"

I was fuming. "Shut up and go away!" I screamed, clenching my fists and taking a step towards her. Amy was intimidated and stumbled backwards. She looked at me sadly.

And that was when I caught her eyes.

The red light of the setting Sun glinted off of her emerald orbs, and I saw within them tears of despair. She sniffled and whimpered as the image grew familiar.

Amy had looked that way when she was rejected by Sonic. She looked that way when her hopeless crush was confronted. She looked that way when she had learned Sonic's true heart… and turned him down for me.

I was no better than him.

My eyes mirrored hers as I too grew sad. Regret permeated my body and showed itself through my stance as I let my fists unclench. I went to speak, but choked up and nothing came out of my mouth.

Tears fell from my face and I looked at the ground, so she couldn't see. But she did see. "I'm sorry, Shadow," her voice made my tears fall faster.

Though salty water streamed down my face, I shook my head and faced her. "No," I said. There was a long silent pause. "I'm sorry."

Her emerald eyes did not look sad anymore, but moreover curious. I explained as I composed myself, "I have not loved in so long… I was scared, frightened at the thought of losing you. I didn't take into account your feelings. But just…"

The tears began to fall heavily, but I held back any whimpers or sounds of sadness. I looked at her and my heart spoke. "Just know that I love you, Amy Rose." I was silent after that, and she looked at me with tears in her eyes. No… not tears of despair, though; but tears of happiness?

She stepped towards me, and I took a step back in apprehensiveness. "Please," I pled, "I don't want to hurt you again."

Amy grew a tiny smile and seemed to dismiss the thought. "Shadow," she began sweetly. "You've been through so much, and for me to put you through all my drama… I'm sorry, too. But I have to tell you something."

Amy walked towards me, and I did not back away. She pressed her body against mine and our arms intertwined as we embraced one another. The pink hedgehog closed her eyes and leaned forward.

She kissed me.

When our lips reluctantly parted, she grinned and stood on her toes to reach my ear. "I love you, Shadow the hedgehog," she whispered. The words sent shivers down my spine.

I gulped and looked her in the eyes, in those pools of jade. "Really?" I asked.

Amy smiled and answered, "Really."

My body could control itself no longer, and I gave in. I pulled her even closer to my body, and kissed her passionately. She moaned softly at my touch.

I had saved her from drowning, but now she was drowning me in return. Yes; I was drowning in love.

The End