It was getting late.

Time ticked on both too fast and too slow. There was no official clock he could follow-- well, there was his communicator, but he didn't feel like turning it on just to see that it was impossibly late.

Shadow blinked slowly, eyes trailing to the stars lazily as he mentally traced patterns he memorized years and years ago. Some star patterns were new, or maybe he was too used to making some of them up as he went. A rabbit, a mouse, a tree… some were more vague, and some far too specific. He remembered Maria once tracing out a rather complex pattern, then dubbed it 'scientist bending over a table looking at test tubes' and while he could never once see the exact same thing, he always laughed at the memory. She was so adamant that she was right that she rushed to Gerald, where he was nearly forced to agree with her so she would move on, confident that she discovered a new constellation.

"Is this going to be another night of no sleep?"

Omega's voice startled him out of his daze, ears pulling up to hear his 'night voice'. Aka, his normal, just the volume lowered until it was a booming whisper.

"I'm getting there," he replied, pushing his back flush against the robot. "You talking is keeping me up."

"That is entirely false. I have not been speaking for three hours, twenty--"

"Yeah yeah." Shadow tilted his head back, looking up to Omega looking straight ahead. Then, his optics shut off, the equivalent of closing his eyes.

Shadow frowned, the expression only deepening when he felt a metallic claw tap one of his shoes. It was a mission, afterall! He was supposed to be fully dressed! He looked up to Rouge, who had perched on Omega's shoulder instead for her rest. She had removed her gloves and boots, leaving her in her socks instead.

...well, he supposed he could take off his shoes. Another pointed tap and he kicked them off, carefully putting them together and setting them next to Rouge's by the robot's hip. Easy access, can get to them in a split second if need be.

Then, a tap against his hand.

At first he assumed it was to console him for listening, but when it happened again, and then a third, more harsh time, he finally realized it was towards his gloves. He didn't know why he kept them on, really, and slid them off to lay next on his shoes. If he tried to get his socks off next he'd have another thing coming.

"There, hap--" his sentence cut short, feeling claws touch his wrist for the briefest of seconds, and his body reacted on pure instinct as he grabbed Omega's claws, pinning three of his fingers together so hard there was a threat of them bending under his hold.

"I will not," the hedgehog growled, nearly forcing himself to take a breath and calm down. It didn't really work, but his hold loosened. "I will never take these off. Not to sleep, not to relax. I take these off--"

"I do not want you to." Omega cut in, lifting his other hand to place on top of Shadow's. He carefully took his hands into his own, turning one of them over and carefully tapping at the ring hanging loosely around his wrist. "I am simply looking. That is all."

Maybe it was Omega's voice that got him to calm down, or maybe it was the fact that the robot did exactly as he claimed and simply looked at his rings that did it, but he finally sat back again and stared at the gold metal.

Though there was hardly any light out with the thinning moon, his inhibitor rings still gave off a soft shine. The one Omega held was turned carefully around his wrist, the cool metal tapping his skin a few times as the red attachment came into view. Shadow could feel Omega pause, metallic claws tapping parts of it as if that would help him discover what it was.

"It's a meter," he finally spoke, voice only loud enough to be heard. "Well-- it does many things now, but when I was first gifted them, it was simply a way to measure how much chaos energy I had stored, and how much I was using at once. It… functions more as just a communicator now. Plenty of people assume it's attached to my gloves."

"I see. Was there ever a time where you were not entirely aware of your chaos energy usage?" Omega did the same thing to his other wrist, his left, just to be surprised when Shadow allowed the screen to show. It showed a contact list, a general GPS, and another icon in the corner that seemed like more of an afterthought. When tapped, it opened to show a green meter that seemed to waver, almost entirely full but dropping and refilling every few seconds or so. Under that meter was a small circle that was coloured a light blue, and under that was a meter that was entirely empty. None of them had labels.

Shadow pulled his hand free and shut off the screen, closing his eyes at the memories that it brought him. "Yes, back on the Ark…" he sighed. He felt so tired suddenly.

"Back when I first found out my powers, I had no control over them whatsoever. I would teleport randomly, create chaos spears anytime I sneezed, the works. Gerald created these rings and added something I could easily understand at the time. The first meter was for how much chaos energy I built up, or had stored inside of me. The second picture was of my personalized mood chart, where every emotion I had was assigned a colour. And the last was something called 'chaos sickness'. It was only full… twice in my life, when I get so overwhelmed with everything that I can't control what I do."

But, that was a story for another time. Shadow crossed his ankles and stretched his legs out slightly, realizing he was leaning on Omega's arm heavily. Was that even comfortable for the robot? Was that a stopid question?

"That was nice of him to have helped you. You always have fond memories I do not know yet every time you speak about the Ark." Omega laid his free hand over Shadow's shoulder, the gentle pressure keeping him still. He felt as if he was holding a small, precious item, and one false move would break it and he would never be able to return it back to its normal shape.

But that was wrong. Almost to prove a point to himself, he pushed Shadow carefully and the hedgehog chuckled, moving aside until he was properly curled into Omega's lap. Shadow wasn't fragile. He wasn't broken, nor was he on the brink of being so. Shadow was Shadow.

"It was, and still is, an important part of me. Every so often I open that meter up to give myself a mental check up. It's refreshing whenever I see blue or red."

"Why is that?"

"They're my favourite colours." A yawn. His voice sounded heavy with sleep. "Blue means happy, and red means calm."

i feel its fitting shadow would have odd colours associated to his feelings

Blue - Happy. Reminds him of the times when he'

was with Maria and Gerald.

Red - Calm. The colour of his stripes, what makes him special.

Yellow - Unease, anxiety. The colour of his chaos energy.

Green - Wonder, curiosity. The colour of the Earth from afar. And his favourite chaos emerald.

Brown - Excitement. The colour of dirt surprise of what colour plant may grow out of it.

Grey - Sickness, horror. The colour of the inside oh his stasis tank. Always means he is heavily injured.