# Disclaimer

—The author does not own the cast of SonicTeam, but the author does own their mental maladies.

I milked this old-saw in the twelfth year of my childhood, and with it being my very first spin-off, it had its plot holes. These hairy bits were "chopped off" in 2009, but the storyline could not be revised without changing the whole point of its existence into something completely different, so I did not cut the "shopworn" plot. Writing tone and initial depth has been restyled, but they are marinated in dark themes, so heavy flanderizations of the characters are at work here to execute that ploy. Timeline launches off of Sonic Adventure 2! If you find a "sense of insensitivity" in the opening, it's only drawing on the lack of emotion to SA2 that the cast displayed in SH when Shadow "reappeared after death."

# Publish Date: 2004 | Post Date: 2009

#Genre: Psychological Thriller | Macabre | Romance


:: Opening Prologue ::


"There are some qualities
Some incorporate things
That have a double life
Which thus is made
A type of twin entity..."

~ Edgar Allan Poe


A.R.K.

It was all but a subsciously bobbing memory at the surface of her brain, like an empty plastic bottle floating in a pond.

"...So it's still there..." She glazed over recognizable scenes and mawkish dialogue, only filing through main events with a mental cursor.

"Can you both hear me? The ARK is close to the Earth! Please hurry up!"

"As a child, I looked up to my grandfather because of all the great things he accomplished in his life. He was my hero, and I wanted to be a great scientist like him. But...did he really mean to destroy us?"

"I don't know...but what I do know is, we all did it together!"

"Sonic? What's taking you so long? If you don't get here soon, she WILL die!"

"Just letting Knuckles pilot the ship over here was more dangerous than you could ever be!"

"It's all going according to plan; there's no reason for me to help them..."

"There has to be!"

"...Do you really think...that the professor created Shadow to carry out the revenge on all those who live there, on Earth?"

"What's the matter, Sonic?"

"Oh, it's nothing. Come on! Let's go home! To the planet as cool and blue as me!"―

For a year, Space Colony Ark had been just another star on Orion's belt, and like an artifact lost to history, it was a star no one looked at. As she turned her ear away from the old monodies of what was echoing, she fell in with the lion's share of tight-lipped citizens; unspeaking, unaffected, and undistorted by the glint of last year's adventure on the Milky Way. Her eyes were for others stars - stars that raced the sun with red sneakers and blue legs. Her mind was for other things - things that mooned over romantic dates and wedding bands. Old mindsets and habits that censored out tragic sagas in space to keep up a delusion of rainbows; to bury her double-sworded deed of having saved a planet by reconciling and ending the life of a characterless shadow who'd misheard the light.

She never thought of herself as any kind of hero when she already had a hero to do her saving. And her hero, alas, hadn't been seen in six months, but it didn't stop her from seeing his image. She saw blue in the sky when she looked up; blue in the ocean when she looked down, {oh, how ironic; he hates the water, but it's bluer than him!}, blue in the laces of shoes she purchased; blue in the newspapers flashing a cheesy grin; blue on the magazine rocking a thumb's up. She missed him to tears and sighs; she missed him to hallucinations and insanity!

Six months before his disappearance, he would even talk less, stare more, rescue off time, and disappeare all the time. He wasn't impatient anymore; he was indifferent. There was a questionable nature of bipolarity - some kind of bipolar depressionthat made him bluer than fur could get, and then perkier than cheeks could smile in another moment. Yet it was still reflex that made her want to cling onto him and crush him into a hug until his ribs cracked when he made his way back to Station Square.

But when she saw him, and he saw her, she had no desire to smother him in lip-glossed kisses and sobbing hugs. His eyes didn't 'wink with a twink', as she had often petnamed their green personality. They were these unsmiling, stale types of jade...well, things to look at! And instead of giving her a wave, his lips contorted into this upside down smirk, and he turned to glare at the ocean. She rubbed her ankle with her toe in angst at his change of character and, in self-conscious shame, looked down at her feet.

She talked and he mumbled.

{...S—Sonic...}

She walked and he staggered.

{Sonic...!}

She hated brushing shoulders with him.

{SONIC!}

She hated it when he didn't look at her.

...And she hated wondering if he hated her. Vaguely she knew he was going to pieces in some way. Vaguely she knew he was out of touch. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Forever. {My God. Not forever. Please not forever...}

And when they took a train into Mystic Ruinsto visit Tails on the fifth week of his arrival, she had never heard him murmur, "Pathetic..." in such a foul breath as he watched the city's gray towers warp into the jungle's green trees outside the window.

That recognizable quote was used by only one hedgehog; the one her hero was now morphing into it.

And she hated it.


"Sonic!"

A blue dash-mark zigzagged between the trees, taking their hair with it.

"SONIC!"

A classic game of cat and mouse under more depressing circumstances.

"This is getting a little old, don't you think?" The nasally voice whined, hearing herself echo back to her.

...Old.
...Old!
Old was good.
Old was habit.
Old was normalcy.

She thought about it, chewed it up, and swallowed it until it left her body shivering with excitement — with possibility.

Thus, the flavor in these lines had never tasted better: "Darn it! Why does he always have to play so hard to get? Not to mention leaving a poor defenseless girl like me alone in a place like this!" She pretended to pucker her lips like a blowfish and set her hands on her hips for further improvisation.

And then, suddenly — oh! just beyond the trees! — there was a two-second sighting of a blue fugitive on her right!

She blinked, her 18mm eyelashes accentuating the cuteness of it, and cried out in an overdramatic squeal, "Sonic!"

The pink hedgehog was chasing zaps and zips of blue through the heart of Mystic Ruins like an elementary schooler tracking an Easter Bunny, but it wasn't to hammer him down until he agreed to take her paw in marriage. It was to kick him back into standard routine, the coined juxtaposition of their characters, and dress him in Sonic's skin again...—and then, maybe later, discuss which restaurant to eat out at. An hour ago, he had sworn on his right paw that all he needed to shake his mood was a few laps around the jungle before they headed to Tails, but Amy wasn't convinced. By now, she was gaining on him, and he didn't even peek over his shoulder. Did he even hear her?

"HEY! Slow down, wouldja?! Y'know I can't run as fast as you can!" Amy huffed and puffed, still grinning among the sweat, but all her funning dropped from her face when something wet hit her cheek. Hard, and wet. '...A teardrop!' She touched it. Glints of translucence. 'His teardrop?'' "S—Sonic...?" Her scared expression switched to the epitome of determination.

That was it — she was going to accomplish this mission and bring "Sonic" back.

"Ready or not, hear I COME!"

A chill fired down his spine and fizzled all the way up to his quills. Amy swung out her Piko Piko Hammer and slammed its massive head against the jungle floor to launch herself into a high jump. The shadow above Sonic began to triple in size, and once it had blocked his sun completely, he looked up to see a laughing, hysterical Amy with her arms and legs spanned out like a flying squirrel. The two tumbled down a mudslide in a fit of squeals and hollers before he could get his breath. He hacked up the muck and its fetid flavor after surfacing from a puddle of sludge with Amy's legs and arms circled around his near-broken back.

She snuggled his head of spikes and claimed her trophy with the usual giggly line, "I got you now, my dar~ling Sonic!"

For some reason, she was hoping this would trigger old customs; the traditional roundabout of banter and bicker, but there was no hopeless groan or lip-quivering suspense in response. He lifted himself emotionlessly—robotically—and caused Amy to slip off his back and skin her elbows on a bed of rocks.

After wincing from the sting, she wiped her cheek, flung her head up and attacked him with a scolding, "What's your problem?!"

He didn't turn as he cleaned his ear with his pinky, and his body language was stiff; off.He couldn't even fake acting like himself!

"I said, 'What's your problem?!'" Amy's temper was a front for her fear. "What? My hero forgot how to have a sense of humor? Loosen up, Sonic! Have some fun!" She splashed some mud on his back laughingly, hoping to lighten both their moods.

The filth sludged down his back in dripping gunk as he stood afield. Amy stopped in mid-throw; hands full of the mud sloshing down her knees.

...Birds catcalled.

Squirrels tutted.

"...I don't..." His limp hand barred into a fist. "I'm not going to be around for a little bit longer, Amy."

Gasp. "...Son...Sonic?" Tears.

"I need more time." Guilt.

Amy heaved herself off the ground in a panic that almost made her fly backwards. His legs began to squat as he got into position to run. To run again, run and...leave her here? No!

She hurried to him, hands asking for his embrace, eyes watering for his submission, "B-But you HAD time! You've been away from all of us for six months!"

"...Amy..." He relaxed his eyes, pausing.

"...Sonic..." Amy whispered in a knowing sense.

"...Understand..."

"I do understand!" Amy cried for her Sonic and not this one.

"You don't—...You can't...I don't even—..."

She crept closer to him and touched his shoulders, smiling in 'understanding,' oblivious to the muscles that flexed under her touch.

Done.

"Understand!"

His eyes were redder than blood; his face was black with shadows; his teeth looked like fangs to Amy's imagination, but his outcry had something of a sob and a growl to it. It was like he was horrified to be in his own body, and that scared her even more.

"..." Speechless with no rational explanation to fall back on, Amy backed up and tripped on her own sandals.

Her back slammed against the mud and arched a breathless yelp out of her. When she managed to double over and roll onto her side, she cowered up at her hero with brown muck sopping down her mortified face. But that monster, that blue demon was gone, and there stood a traumatized blue hedgehog.

"..." He looked at his palms, shaking and almost to the point of tears.

The Sonic in front of her wasn't breathing right. Looking past his madness, there wasn't any aminosity shearing off him; there was regret, pain and horror. He stumbled up to shower her in repetitive apologies, but she smacked his hands away.

"Don't TOUCH me!" Amy shook her head, eyes squeezed shut with tears down her cheeks. "What's wrong with you, Sonic? Why have you been acting like...-Why won't you let anyone in?"

"...Amy..." The unrecognizable hedgehog gulped hard, "...it's because I need you," his pointing finger shook into a gesturing palm for her to back away from him, "...I need everyone, to stay away from me for the time being. That's all I'm asking for."

"You were alone! You've been alone! So now that you're here, you should've known that I was going to do my best to try and bring you back! I spent all my time kissing the ground the Sonic I knew once w―walked on—"

"Exactly, Amy!" His pitch went higher in a sing-song chirp as his head perked up with the shrugging out of his arms in the most sarcastic mockery. "...You've spent your time kissing up this "one-hero glory" stuff after the one ally who no one even had a memorial for died on our watch! You've been acting like you've had amnesia over what went down a year ago...over who saved what...—as if you don't even care, as if it never happened, as if the entire world just woke up one day and forgot, like you've all been spitting on it on purpose! I've practically inherited his suffering..." He turned away and grabbed at his head, shaking it and sobbing angrily with a tone torn between a beast and a peasant, "I...couldn't save someone...for the first time in my life. I vomit up my shame in bathroom sinks after every press "interview." Is it in your power to stop and think about how sick that kind of thing is?" His laugh was dry, his eyes' yoke were prickling with unshed tears, his pupils weren't focusing, and he was salivating.

"..." Amy crept closer with all the longing she could muster in her eyes as she dragged her feet onward. "Son—"

"Stop," He snapped his head up. "The color BLUE is holding you BACK. Go to school, Amy...! Live! Get a career, make your own happiness, chase a life, fall in love with yourself," His throat grew sore and tight as the ferocity in his face softened into grief, "...because Sonie can not be your life goal after you find out he's not...as squeaky-clean and heroic as all you think h―he's made up to be..."

Amy's face was frozen in a wet-eyed frown, but her pupils just seemed to shrink after every word he tongue-lashed at her. With the last words of slow burn, Sonic the Hedgehog, the Sun of Station Square, sprinted out of sight. Amy sat there on her knees, stricken with 'how?'s and 'why?'s. A tear squiggled down her cheek. It lingered on her chin, before bouncing off her bracelet in a soft 'ping' once it leaked.

He had never shown such symptoms of bipolarity before. No, no, Sonic would kept his cool in death! He would smile in darkness, run endlessly over the globe, grin in the face of pain. The abandonment and betrayal that Amy had worn for five seconds soon melted into fury.

She squeezed the muck in her fingers and jumped to her feet, "FINE!" She cried to him as he wandered far out. "Y...you...OOOH...y-you...!"

No comment back.

She cringed back in shock and tears but then became a volcanic hurricane all at once. "G'head, then! Run away from your problems, because running is what you love best!" She kicked up some mud after him and broke down the opposite road.


Lost.

She had been lost for a good few forevers without even realizing that nightfall had dawned on the jungle hours ago.

"Run away!"

Hearing her own voice was giving her a migraine.

"...That was wrong of me." Dragging her feet, Amy slowed to a stop in front of a lake. "I should've went back after him, no matter what he said. I should've helped...I should've tried harder to listen to him, to understand what he's transforming into..." she bit her tears back. "Oh, Sonic..."

She collapsed onto her skinned knees and continued to stare at the water's ripples. Amy dipped a finger in the lake and swirled it in the moon's reflection. With a whining gasp, she blinked up at the night sky.

...For a year, Space Colony Ark has just been another star on Orion's belt.

"...So it's still there, huh?" She could feel the tears building up, seething out, pouring down...

Amy hid her shame in her hands. "Sonic…" She sobbed and hiccupped; ears flattening against her head. "Just how could this day get any worse…?!" A roar of thunder caused Amy's left ear to spring up. As if she had chanted the spell in elfin, down came the rain. Amy blinked in disbelief as gallons of it soaked her down. With a growl, she flailed her fists before inhaling a breath to holler, "…Why is this happening?!"

Lightning flashed under the whirlpooling clouds above her. She spent another hour marching in the slush and slappng tears off of her cheeks, and then spent another in search of an exit in hopes of finding Tails' Workshop.

'And I have to get back to Sonic! I can't leave him like this!' Lightning electrocuted a tree beside her and torched its leaves into embers of fire and smoke. In tears again, the pink girl leapt out of the way of a flaming branch that had snapped off.

"Why is this happening…?" Amy's jogs broke into a run; the owls' hoots around her bestialized into demonic laughter. "…Why is this happening?!"

There was nothing to see; everything was black; eyes and fangs in trees and bushes with air the color of blood; clouds above swirling like tornados. In spite of everything, she kept on running to escape the nightmare she had created in her head, she kept on falling and crawling in the mud, she kept on running for a life that was never in danger. Once she'd squeezed her eyes shut and started wailing, her toe tripped over a vine on the road. Her sob caught in her throat and gurgled out in a choke as things went in slow motion from there - her body being yanked forward, her head snapped back, her arms in the air, her eyes pinprick dots of green, the world turning upside-down. Then it sped up, just as she skidded face first into the puddles. She slammed her palms down on the ground and pulled her face out of the dome of hard mud. Shaking, sobbing and slobbering, Amy retched up the brown sludge she'd inhaled.

"S—Stupid rain…" Amy almost scratched her eyes out to get the muck out of them.

But just when she was smudging tears across her muzzle with the heels of her hands—she stopped. The wind blew her hair sideways, making pink strands straddle across her wide eyes. There was a gap of missing earth in front of her; a meteor-crash. Amy crawled to it on her belly and peeked into the hole's mouth. She squinted; her vision was weak in the rain that fell harder than chunks of hail, but once her concentration had concentrated, her pupil sucked back into her iris.

Lightning lit the dark.

There, lying in cakes of mud, was a ball of black fur striped in splints of red. Slabs of mud, urine, and rain slimed its face as the storm roared overhead.

The lightning flickered out and the vision was lost in the dark again.

...Amy covered her mouth and wheezed out a shuddery breath; she didn't need to think about it, or ask if she was imagining it. Instead, she denied it, "I—It's not him...it's not HIM..!"

Like a reactionary spasm to her lies, her stomach folded and throbbed. The voice in her head was telling her she was nothing but a fool in pink.

The hedge of ebony quills, streaked in vermillion, and the white, rusted air-blades layered in dirt and animal feces, belonged to no one else. Even if it was him, she didn't want to see his dead body, or remember how she pressed her fingertips against the glass of the space shuttle to brood about his death for less than twenty minutes.

"Get a hold of yourself, Amy…" She stood up dazedly and gulped as she wrinkled the hem of her shorts. She tried to close her eyes, regain her sanity, and about-face, but karma wasn't having it.

Her clumsy footing made her slip and slide down the hole's muddy walls. She tumbled in front of the body, hugging her shivering body as rain beat down on her shoulders, drowning her in her cheese-thin clothing until it looked as transparent as soaked plastic, all enough to see the goosebumps pimpling her breasts. She had no choice but to lift her mud-caked face and see the truth lying a foot away from her behind all the tears. Roots, vines, destroyed flowers and even moss had grown on his body, shackling his wrists and ankles, greening his back and spikes, making him a part of the Earth.

"I—It is him..." She knew it long ago, but it made her feel less woozy to say it aloud.

The unnerved pink hedgehog edged near the anicent corpse. She whimpered and longed out her hands to touch him to see if he was alive, but she was too afraid to find out.

Animals that looked dead were known to jolt to life with shock value in mind, but this wasn't a suspenseful horror movie on Lifetime.

"Sh—Shadow...?" Amy stressed on the syllables of his name, trying to will him awake by her plea without having to web her fingers through his fur and check for a pulse. "Oh God, y—you're..."

She had forgotten about Shadow the Hedgehog over the one year period. Tails, Knuckles, Rouge, and even Eggman never mentioned Ark, Professor Gerald or Shadow the Hedgehog. It was like it never happened. It appeared to her now that Sonic was the one who dwelled on it the longest.

Sonic was the one who turned away when G.U.N. thanked him for saving their world and ridding them of the Professor's "weapons" like "Project Shadow." Even those who thanked him without spitting on Shadow's name never mentioned the black hedgehog's fallen alliance. He looked at her digustedly with his lip curled back around his teeth when she worshipped him for being everyone's hero, but she never worshipped Shadow. Never spoke of him. Never cared to think of him even though she was the reason of his death.

Amy Rose's now quaking fingers squirmed out to Shadow the Hedgehog, but they cringed back into her palms as a tear dripped off her top lip with the rain.

Had Sonic been the one hurting, and the one resenting her because she was a representation of all who praised him while ignoring Shadow's death?

Her dripping bangs dangled over her face.

...Was she truly this one-dimensional?

Amy stared at the black creature's face, inhaling it all in, trying to imagine Sonic's pain, trying to feel it and make it her own, but she could only think one selfish thing: '...You're the reason Sonic hates me.'

The glare that had always been there the cleft in his eyebrows with the red highlights in the arches of his lids — was stuck on Shadow's face, even in his death. They always say if you frown too much, your eyebrows get stuck together. Did that household myth prevent him from smiling?

'Shadow...S—Sonic...' Amy hiccupped a little on a sob as she rested her hands on Shadow's furry back.

Red eyes flunked open.

Amy gasped and scrambled back on her hands, jaw dropping open. She was going to die. She was sure of it. Sure of it the moment she saw his eyes fly across the jungle and catch hers.

The Lord of Hades rose up like a shadow that'd materialized from the very Earth as his horned quills mirrored a crown for all his damnation.

Rain rolled off Amy's eyelashes as they flickered feverishly in overwhelm. His shadow towered over her with the forked, demonic pair of ram-like quillls blocking her view of the clouds above his head. Shadow's eyes darkened into a bloodcurdling glare, and his fangs became glinting sabers in their grit.

Amy wept his name, inhaling rain, "...Sha...dow..."

Suddenly, Shadow crumbled to his knees. He steadied up on his elbows just to keel over in pain in the end. His grimace never stayed off hers as strings of saliva drooled from his chin. Amy, for the third time, gulped down her fear and leaned in little by little, but he jerked back and tensed himself into a defensive stance. Right then and there, Amy did not see him as a murderous somebody, but a frightened anybody.

"Who...are you?" The hedgehog's shadowy voice rasped, but gaspingly too. His eyelids were twitching-fighting to stay open. "What do you want? ...SPEAK."

The only thing Amy could mouth was the hoarse, "I—It's...me...d...d—don't you remember?"

Without another warning, he winced; arm snaked around his chest and curled fingers clinging to the white star of fur. Amy moved her attention away from his face and brought it down to the glove that was now blackened in blood.

"Shadow, you're bleeding!"—And from the heart.

Amy watched him collapse, shriveled up and hysterical. His body began convulsing from head to toe until he froze into unconsciousness and hypothermia again. Amy's fist hovered by her mouth in panic of what to do.

Oh God, what COULD she do?

She touched his soaked back with the scared tremors in her fingers. No temperature. He didn't feel like anything but bristly hair that hadn't been groomed in a millennia. Amy stroked through the knotted mats of fur and moss to feel scabs and crusted old blood.

There was only one thing left to do.

Amy nodded to herself and balled her hand into an encouraging fist. She had to do it, because she'd never leave a soul out here to die.

With her tank top and shorts drowned to the small hips and flat stomach of her dripping-wet body, Amy hiked up the slope's walls to find shelter nearby in knee-deep mud. She spotted a cabin a little further up the road. The cabin's roof was hidden under beds of vines, mounds of dirt and broken tree branches, but she still prayed to whatever God up there someone would offer them a night to stay. In minutes, Amy was climbing out of the large meteorite crash site with Shadow's limp body dangled over her back. She failed many times before with the result of Shadow toppling back into the concave bottom like a puppet without strings, and had to use a vine to tie them together.

"Oi, Shadow," Amy puffed as she tried the effort again. "You're heavier than you look..." 'Has he really been out here for a year? That long?' Her thoughts spoke in worries.

All atmospheric electricity contracted to one area in the middle of the thunderstorm as Amy reached high ground. The earth was showered with purple lightning bolts that rampaged in tantrums, almost hitting Amy and Shadow. She dove into a puddle and scrambled under a large leaf big enough to be mistaken for a green kanoe. She clinched the sides of it and pulled it over her and Shadow's head uptill the lightning shower was over. When she reached the cabin's porch, she remembered her manners and knocked first. The door was worn and less than sturdy, but she didn't want to be rude. Amy looked around the jungle to occupy herself. Still waiting, she wiped her stuffy nose and heaved Shadow's body a bit higher up onto her back to keep him from sliding off.

Nobody answered.

"Hello?" Amy knocked again.

Not even a creak on the wood inside the cabin to say that someone was coming to the door. The devil-born eyes watching her from the jungle terrain numbed her will to keep herself under control, and the growls grumbling from the bush beside her caused her to snap.

"Is anyone H—HOME?!" Amy coughed and sneezed, sobbed and slobbered. She shivered from Shadow's hot breath smothered into her neck and the cold weather raising hairs on her skin. "I need h—help! Oh, please!Pleasehelp me!"

Her knees sagged into squats; Shadow was getting heavier. She could feel the blood from his chest bleeding itself into her own fur.

"Anybody, please!" Amy knocked harder and flattened herself against the door to emphasize her desperation as she sobbed harder, "S—Shadow needs help! He'll...he'll die! Please, HELP me!"

No one was coming for her, or 'Shadow.'

"...Arrrrgh, is ANYBODY — HOME?!" She banged and banged on the door with her fist, and then used her foot to kick at it to exercise her temper.

The door itself flew wide open at the demand of her sandal and granted her access. She stood in the doorway blinking in dumbfound, before remembering Shadow's condition. Amy hand-swept the debris and leaves off an old blanket that had already been laid out on the mold-guttered floor and rested Shadow down on it with extra caution as though he'd break. She massaged her thumbs into his shoulders all the way down to his forearms to knead in some warmth, and then sat up on her knees, sniffing up her cold. The cabin had one room and one room only, with two windows, an independent mat to brew a fireplace, a few shelves of empty or broken jars, and a badly-patched roof that leaked nearly as much as it rained outside. It was indisputable that no one had lived here by the roaches and mice hiding behind the crushed cans wedged in the back of the shelf. She'd have to adapt.

Amy kept tabs on the thunderstorm outside and the black hedgehog, whose now curly-furred body, was forming a rumpled spot in the blanket from the rainwater drenched on him.

"…If I don't hurry to keep him warm and healed…he could probably get blood poisoning! But that storm is suicide…!"

Although she had no knowledge of whether an artificial entity was immune or prone to infection, she wasn't going to risk her lack of it. Amy bit the tips of her gloved fingers and watched Shadow breathe out fogs of white through his nostrils along with a forced exhale that appeared to hurt him.

He looked as helpless as she did everyday...

"But Shadow might die if I don't do something now!" She might've known he was immortal, but instinct conquered memory.

The storm orchestrated louder as the winds howled and the rain roared the moment she closed the door behind her. She had to strain to walk through the air current's gravity. It would change directions here and then, blow her right, then blow her left, and sometimes make her spin in a dance with a twisting mini-tornado. The pink hedgehog could find no wood in the storm or the godforsaken cabin, so she'd just have to chop her own. She smashed the stomach of trees with her Piko Piko Hammer and carried as much as she could back to the shelter. When she got back, Shadow was still out cold, and in a critical state. His white patch was now entirely red.

If he'd been out there for a year, then where'd this wound come from? Was it an old wound that had opened up?

Amy dumped the wood on the wooden floor and clambered over to Shadow to rest a hand on his frowning forehead, almost trembling that she had even touched him. His body had temperature now, but it was at a freezing temperature, like metal left out in the snow.

"I have to get this campfire going, but before that..." Amy stripped off the bottom of her tank top, balled it up, and rinsed it in a bucket that had filled up with water from the rain dripping through the roof.

After she'd lapped up the blood on his chest feathers, she rubbed an herbal tea leaf into the crux of the wound she found out in the jungle that Big the Cat had taught her to identify from Poison Ivy. Once this was tended to, she grabbed the nearest rock, dumped herself on her rear and curled her tongue to the side of her mouth as she burned the rock's friction against wood to recreate what cavemen did. Of course, since the wood was sodden and drying it with her clothes did little to no good, it was hard to burn anything. Although, it wasn't impossible. Not after an hour of in between nurturing Shadow, anyway. At the final try, she alighted the wood into a hiss of fire on the already arranged fireplace, and grinned. She dragged Shadow next to the fire by the armpits, and found unused muscles she never knew she had.

All was finished, and this was all she could do. Amy folded her legs into their tucks and watched Shadow from behind the fire. Shadow's eyelids, muzzle, forehead, and lips — the beige appendages quirked up in an arrow-like smirk — glowed with the firelight. He didn't look scary or unpredictable. He looked — and Amy's eyes gentled with this — safe.

All was quiet and intense, except the natural exceptions.

Drops of water on the bucket's pail. Wind threatening to destroy the roof overhead. Rain tackling the door. Mice squeaking and roaches crawling up the windows.

Amy crushed her legs against her chest and plopped her chin on her knees. The embers of the fire filled her eyes, manifesting them into burning emeralds. The burning emeralds watered, and she dropped her face in her knees, her shoulders soon trembling with her smile.

...What now?


# Author's Note


—* The excuse disguised as a point for Sonic's flanderization, is that old blue has been slowly malforming into "Shadow." The cause? Losing a potential friend whom he could not save for once and being exposed to the idea of death. It doesn't make sense, for me, for Sonic's shiny world to not be affected by such a jolt of reality-and for this I just pushed it into mild psychopathy. He's not seeking sustenance from his companions; he's disconnected and wants to be away. On the contrary, he's going through what Shadow went through when he lost Maria, since it was implied for Shadow to have been "perfect and pure" before his own calamity struck. Sonic, on the other hand, is torn between sanity and insanity altogether in here, so that's the route I took. Partially like the route that was taken for Fleetway Sonic when he lost his bunny comrade. We always see Sonic so well put together with his feelings, even in the worst circumstances, so I wanted to stash him some severe trauma at the loss of Shadow.

—* Critiques: This is an old story, so I don't want/need them. I know where it falls, and I know how I've improved since this time.

I was one of those earlier willows when this shipping first came around the ben, so it's obviously not too fresh when it comes to scenario. I was probably one of the first to invent that stupid "Amy gets lost in the jungle/finds Shadow's body" plot. After that several just seemed to mimic it. But enjoy.