A/N: This is another of those old stories. It's also kind of confusing, so sorry in advance for it. Also, all of this takes place as if Sonic Heroes never took place, but then that was because it was written during the DC days of SA2. It's also kinda short, so sorry for that too.

Shadow's Journey

Chapter One

Rouge ran as fast as she could, one wing drooping down her back, the webbing shredded, making it useless for flying. In her arms was a box with something shining inside. She stole it from a laboratory moments before it was broken into by a familiar evil scientist.

"I've got to get this to someone I can trust. Eggman can't be allowed to get this." Rouge muttered and called out for a taxi car as she emerged from the darkness of the city alleyways onto the night-time streets. She climbed in and directed for the nearest airport. On the way, Rouge tended to her injured wing and wrapped the box up with brown paper, tying it up with a string. "I can't give it to Sonic. He'll take it back to the lab and Eggman will have another chance to steal it." she muttered as she began thinking through her options of keeping the object safe. The cab arrived at the airport and Rouge got out. She raced to the port, bought a ticket and boarded the plane. She checked her watch.

"We'll be arriving in Station Square Airport in four hours." the attendant announced. Rouge hugged the package tightly.

"If I give it to Miles Prower, he'll give it to Sonic and we get the same situation." she muttered. "I don't trust the pink girl, and Knuckles is too busy with his Emerald. Maybe I can find someone else. I could have this mailed to a box number and no one will ever find it!" There was a beep in her pocket and Rouge blinked. "Oh! The CTU!" She dug into her pocket and pulled out the round blue device. A little screen lit up and the image of a Chao was on it. "Deiter! You just gave me an idea!" Rouge exclaimed, "You can deliver this package for me!" She frowned and looked around.

"But it could be dangerous. Someone could take it from you." she added and sighed, "Oh well. Wait." She dug into her pocket and pulled out a letter. "I remember. In his letter, Knuckles said Shadow was doing well in a Chao Kindergarten school. I thought Shadow had died, but it turns out he's just been hiding out from the military. Hey, if Shadow's into Chao kids, maybe he can deliver Deiter." Rouge thought hard and studied her package. "I know! It's perfect! I'll deliver them to Omochao! The robotic Chao! He'll know what to do with it! He'll keep it safe until I can find a hiding place for it."

"Chao! Meow! Hungry!" Deiter cried from the CTU device. Rouge opened the menu on the device, selected a snack and pushed a button. A tiny cake dropped into the screen. Deiter gobbled it up and laughed happily.

"Now arriving in Station Square!" the attendant declared as the plane touched down. Rouge ran for the city and called another taxi. She had to hurry, Eggman was on her tail. She knew it, she had a sense about it. Eggman wasn't happy that Rouge stole the package before he did. He wanted it and wasn't going to let her get away with it.

"Chao Kindergarten! And step on it!" Rouge ordered and sat back, looking back as the cab drove away.

Omochao looked out of the window worriedly. He had to go. He had to go now. Shadow was taking too long in the school's shower. Half a year since they met Cammy and Shadow still wasn't able to scrape together enough money to rent an apartment. He hated his other job, but it was all he could get. Omochao could sympathize, it was nearly impossible to picture Shadow asking 'You want fries with that?' every time someone pulled up to the drive-through window at the local McBurger. Pay was lousy, but at least it prevented the black hedgehog from making excuses about not being able to eat. Steps sounded on the attic stairs.

"Finally!" Omochao sighed and flew over to the table and sat there. "Shadow! Give me a wind up! I'm almost out of flying power!" Shadow entered the room, a towel draped over his head. "Hurry up! I have to go!"

"Go? Go where?" Shadow asked, dumping the wet towel into a clothes basket. He sat down and grabbed the wind up key, turning it. He gave it a few winds, then stopped. "That better?"

"No! I need more! Keep turning!" Omochao shouted. Shadow continued twisting the key, "More! More! Stop only when I tell you!" Shadow went on winding up the clockwork until Omochao finally said it was enough. He sat back and blew on his hand.

"You know, you could have waited until I got my gloves on before asking me to wind you up. Ouch! My poor fingers!" Shadow muttered and licked at them. Omochao hopped around and jumped to the window. "Now what are you doing?" he asked in exasperation.

"Gotta go, Shadow! Bye! Goodbye! I'll see you again one day!" Omochao waved and flew out the window.

"Bye? Wait! Where are you going?!" Shadow cried, sticking his head out of the window to watch him.

"Away! Far away! To the south!" Omochao replied.


"Don't know, but I gotta go! I'll be back when I find out!!" Omochao replied and vanished into the distance. Shadow scanned the skies and sighed unhappily. First Cammy, now Omochao. He pulled back and set about clearing the table of dishes. With them out of the way, he dug out his gloves and pulled them on. The cuff was still missing on the left glove. Sonic never did give back the torn piece. Shadow studied it for a moment, trying to piece together in his mind how it had torn. Sonic's cries of shock, his own voice calling out Maria's name for what he thought would be the last time, the heat of the earth's atmosphere burning him. So much heat and fire, Shadow remembered that most of all. The fire and the face of the Bio-lizard staring at him, challenging him to defy Gerald's orders and master plan.

"Hate fire. Hate cold. Hate small spaces." Shadow muttered, pulling his legs up and hugging them. He rocked a little on the bed, then shook his head. "Stop sniveling! Be strong! Where's my Flame Ring?" he muttered and put it on. He then looked down at a letter on the dresser and picked it up. "This is the last letter Cammy wrote when she went south. She talked about finding a really old temple that may hold clues about the Chao. She was going to explore it and see what she could learn." he murmured aloud and grew worried, "Then the expedition party said she disappeared inside. They couldn't find her and had to abandon the search. I don't understand. Why didn't she use Chaos Control?"

Before he could continue his thoughts, a knock sounded on Shadow's door. He ran over and let the stairs down. Prof. Chao stood at the bottom, smiling.

"Hello there! How's our teacher's aide? Be a good fellow and run and call Shadow, please!" the professor exclaimed. Shadow smiled and shook his head. Silly Chao.

"Mr. Principal, I'm Shadow. Remember? First you forget I'm the teacher's aide, now you forget I'm Shadow." he replied and headed down the stairs into the main part of the school. Prof. Chao pointed behind him.

"This young lady is here to see you. My, my, aren't we the ladies' man! First Miss Hedgehog, now Miss Bat! Ta ta!" the Chao remarked and headed off to check on the classes. Shadow blinked.

"Bat?" he echoed and turned around quickly. Rouge stood there, smiling.

"So, you didn't die." she remarked, "You're alive." Shadow stepped back, distrustful of her.

"Last time I checked." he retorted in a low voice, "What do you want? Who sent you?" Rouge did a little twirl as she walked up to him.

"No one at all, Shadow. If that's what you still call yourself. Not even the real Shadow." she remarked with a little laugh, "And you've been alive all this time, didn't even tell me. You let me think you were dead and burned up and I was so sad for you... shame on you for leaving me in the dark!" she scolded. Shadow stepped back further.

"What do you want? My Emerald? You're not getting my Chaos Emerald!" he snapped at her. Rouge clicked her tongue and shook her finger at him.

"Wrong again, little hedgehog! I'm not that into jewels anymore. I need you to do me a favor." she replied with a smile.

"And why should I?" Shadow growled and this time Rouge looked serious.

"Eggman's after me. He's been working on something big and needs a special part to complete it. I stole it first and have to hide it. Until I find a safe place for it, I need to leave it with Omochao." she told him.

"Dr. Robotnik? After you?" Shadow echoed in surprise, "For a missing component? Wait a second!" He narrowed his eyes at her. "How do you know Omochao? He's my friend, and the first teacher's aide here at the kindergarten."

"Omochao is very famous. He's the first robotic Chao to ever have a mind of his own. I came here once to find a jewel, but ran into him. He gave me a Chao Egg and told me to look after it to teach me a few things." Rouge explained and grinned, "I got a prize-winning race Chao out of the deal. And I learned to care for others as well."

"Well, okay. What's the favor?" Shadow sighed and gave her a look, "But if you double-cross me and send me walking into some trap, Rouge, I'll...."

"It's just a simple thing!" Rouge assured him and pulled out the CTU. "This is the Chao Transport Unit. My Dark Chao, Deiter, is in here." she explained and pressed a button. A beam of light shone from the device onto the floor and a Chao appeared. It was black with little yellow cat ears, a cheetah's arms, legs, and tail, and a grin. "This is Deiter. He's going to deliver a package to Omochao, and you're going to look after him."

"Oh, great! And Omochao took off for the south! I'll have to go track him down!" Shadow exclaimed. Rouge gave the little package to Deiter and straightened.

"Didn't he give you anything? A tracking device?" she asked. Shadow shook his head. "How about a clue?"

"He said he was going far south." Shadow replied, "But what could there be in the south that is important to a robot?" He stood in thought, then remembered Cammy's letter. The Chao temple was in the south, somewhere in South America from the looks of the stamps. "Omochao is like a Chao, so maybe he went to the temple. I'll bet Omochao went to the Chao Temple!" he declared.

"I know that place. They said there was a jewel there once that was a Chaos Emerald in disguise. He could be there to get the Emerald and bring it back here." Rouge added. "Please, take Deiter to Omochao. Look after him. He knows the way to the temple, right?" she asked the Chao.

"Meow, Chao! Sure!" Deiter replied, "Every Chao knows it!" Shadow blinked at him.

"Wow! It can talk! The Chao here barely know their ABC's." he remarked. Rouge laughed.

"That's my little champ!" she replied, then looked around. "I have to go now, or Eggman will find out where I am and find you. Here's a satellite phone. I'll call every now and then to check on you. Good luck, Shadow." she whispered and pushed a little phone into his hands. She hurried out the door and Shadow noticed her ruined wing.

"Rouge! Your wing! What happened to it?!" he called out but she was already gone. He looked down at the phone and frowned. Things weren't going right. The Chao tugged at his sock and meowed.

"Gotta go! Let's go!" he called up to him. Shadow nodded and picked the Chao up, running upstairs to his room. He had to pack supplies first. He threw a backpack out of the closet and began to pack it. First aid kit, Chao seeds, canteen, food, and a blanket. Shadow stuffed them in, zipped it up and pulled the pack on. He grabbed the red Chaos Emerald.

"All right! Let's go!" he cried, picking up the Chao. Shadow held up the Emerald and thought about a spot in Brazil that he had seen on a postcard from Cammy. "Chaos Control!" He and Deiter warped away to far south.