It was all coming to an end.

That much Knuckles Echidna knew as his wife beated him upside the head for making her worry before he was engulfed in a hug of relief. Chaos called out to the former Guardian as the reunion took place inside the Blue Typhoon's hull.

"We need to leave."

The hugging and general "are you alright"s stopped as everyone turned to look at him as though he had finally lost it. "What are you talking about, Knuckles?" Amy raised clenched fists, her jade eyes narrowing in anger. "We need to take out these creatures once and for all!"

"I saw him." The other adults didn't need to be told who he was talking about. "Both Espio and I did. We need to get off this planet now!"

Silence reigned amongst them before Tails spoke. "Are you sure it was...him?"

Espio released himself from his husband's arms, turning to face the group. "I know of no other hedgehog I've seen so tormented and be able to act as though nothing was wrong." He spared a hidden glance at Knuckles, a concerned look on his face. They weren't about to mention the fact that Shadow had helped them escape, for who knew whose side the black hedgehog would be on if they met up again. "We're pretty much sure that the aliens who attacked Station Square, Central City and Westopolis were all under his command."

"But how can that be?" Cream looked down at the floor, wringing her hands in unease. "The last time we saw him, he..."

"People change, Cream," Tails spoke softly from the main pilot seat where he sat staring out the windows around them, making sure they wouldn't be ambushed. "They can change a lot. Don't you remember Knuckles telling us that he said he was never meant to be a hero? Amy's right; we need to stop them here and now."

"We don't stand a chance at our current strength," Eggman tried to reason with the twin-tailed kitsune, looking up at him. Even as an evil scientist, he had known when the time was to run. "We don't have the Emeralds on our side this time and it will only be us against them – G.U.N's forces were destroyed days ago. Everyone else is already dead."

"Don't forget that they've somehow poisoned the air," Charmy pointed out from Cream's side, his arm around her waist holding her tightly. "It's too heavy for me or anyone else to fly through and you can't breathe very well. The Blue Typhoon's the only thing that can sustain flight long enough to get through the atmosphere with the Master Emerald backing up its power supply."

Rouge crossed her arms and leant against a console next to her husband. "So what do we do? I'm all for staying and kicking some arse."

The group of adults looked at each other in silence – for once, through all their years of fighting, they didn't know what to do.

They were torn down the middle...

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Every soldier aboard the Black Comet had been gathered for this final moment.

Sonic stood quietly by his mate's side as the congregation was addressed in the tongue of the Black Arms, the Chaos Emeralds floating and spinning around him, the crimson and ebony one held tightly to his chest. He could understand every word of what was being said, yet he didn't want to know. Head bowed, he lightly stroked the Emerald he held, hearing its bittersweet humming in his mind much like a lover's whisper.

His heart and soul were torn...at least they would be if he had them.

He was confused, like memories had been ripped from the pages of his mind, leaving an empty void that couldn't be filled.

He knew that the one in front of him wasn't his mate...at least in essence.

A loud roar that cruelly mimicked cheering rose up from before him and he opened his eyes, looking down at the crowd. From larvae, to soldier, to giants, to hawks...they were all gathered, all looking up at them as though they held all the secrets in the universe.

An arm wrapped around him and he jumped, the motion causing him to drop the Emerald in his grasp, meeting the golden eyes of the grandmaster. Shadow leaned forward, leaning up to whisper into his ear.

"It's time."

Wordlessly, Sonic closed his eyes and concentrated on the Chaos, ignoring the cold feeling that had wormed its way into his stomach.

"Chaos Control..."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Bandit helped his mate stand from where he had collapsed onto the floor, sending a worried glance to his sister and the preteen beside her. Diamond was looking anywhere in the hallway but at them and Waffle's innocent green eyes were full of accusation and hurt... Crap; he'd forgotten all about the crush Waffle had on him...

"Shit! What the Hell happened here, you guys?" The four of them turned to see Lina poking at the frozen-solid mech, adjusting her goggles in astonishment as she examined the ice. While they were glad for her distraction, Waffle turned his attention back to the two older males and asked the question only someone in puppy love could ask.

"Why him?" the preteen rabbit asked, lowering his eyes to the floor of the Blue Typhoon and closing them. His hands clenched repeatedly at his sides as he breathed shakily, trying to remind himself that he had nothing to be jealous over.

Martina was the one to answer him, looking away to the side of the hallway. "Because we were destined, Waffle. We are each other's soulmate..."

"I don't want to hear it from you!" The older teenagers looked at him in surprise, for Waffle was like his mother and hardly ever raised his voice. It echoed ominously down the metallic hallway, and they could see him seething in nothing but hatred. He looked at the echidna hybrid imploringly, eyes wide and unfocused as his voice became its usual soft tone. "Bandit...Bandit, please...please tell me that I heard wrong..."

The Guardian shook his head, unconsciously reaching out and taking his mate's hand gently. "You...you didn't. Martina and I mated last night...we didn't know if there was going to be another tomorrow... Didn't want to take any more chances..."

Waffle's large ears drooped even more as he looked at his feet. "I...I see..."

"I hate to break up the love fest, you guys," Lina interrupted again, earning looks from her friends. "But, I repeat, what the Hell happened here?"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It appeared above them in a flash of blue-white light – a gigantic meteor at least a third the size of their planet. It crushed buildings, destroyed monuments, caused tremors and tidal waves in the nearby waterworks dam. Were there any humans around to witness it, they would have run and hidden in fear of what was to come.

The crew aboard the Blue Typhoon did no such thing however, but they took their other's hand in order to give themselves strength. There was a sudden noise and thundering sound; they watched thousand-year-old tree roots from a time long gone thrust themselves deep within the concrete streets devoid of human life.

Tails looked down at his long-time teammates from the pilot's seat, apprehension and worry etched in the far back of his eyes. The twenty-nine year-old fox wouldn't let on that he wanted to flee with his tails between his legs. No. Sonic had taught him... He trailed off at that thought, closing his eyes. He wouldn't think of him, not when there was a possibility they would have to fight. He didn't want to be caught up in the memories, didn't want to be...

"Tails!" The shout from his co-worker made him look back down again and see Eggman standing at a console, hunched over the computer keyboard. "The Blue Typhoon's detecting life signs on the very top of the Black Comet! Energy readings are off the scale!"

It was time.

He strapped himself back in, not sparing a glance towards the other adults as he started up the engines. "Knuckles, go find Bandit! The Master Emerald needs to be in the chamber for us to take off! Tell the kids to get to their rooms and stay there until we get off-planet!"

Everyone almost immediately went into overdrive at his order, taking their assigned seats and buckling up. Knuckles sent him a small smile before he rushed off down the cockpit entryway as Amy took her space beside her husband's.

'Please, God,' Tails thought, pressing a few buttons on his own console even as his own hands were trembling in excitement and fear. 'If you exist, please...whatever you do...don't let the readings be Sonic...'

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Time seemed to slow down as he stood on the rocky edge of the Black Comet, looking down at a demolished world. His eyes and face full of sorrow and sadness, Sonic proceeded to start the ritual he was born to do, performing hand seals as the Emeralds hummed and spun around him bar one.

He could feel those golden eyes on his back, could practically feel his mate's breath down his neck. But no, he reprimanded himself as he continued to whisper ancient Black Arms tongue, it wasn't his mate. His mate hummed and spun beside him, a jewel of crimson and ebony. Those arms he could feel around his waist as if his mate's soul was surrounding him; those hands he longed to feel gliding across his fur; those ruby eyes he longed to see as lips reassured him that he was loved and wanted and needed.

The ritual began to change.

The roaring of an engine swept up to his ears and he opened his eyes, finding himself staring at the blue and yellow and silver hull that was, undoubtedly, a Prower invention. Sonic smiled sadly, able to count every single person on board as tears slowly dripped down his cheeks even as the ritual continued. He could imagine the shocked looks on their faces right now, could imagine questions running through their minds. He sent a silent warning, just a jerk of the head telling them to head up and into the stars.

He knew they could. Tails would never make such a mass machine without some form of a back up plan. There seemed to be a moment's hesitation and the large jet began ascending to the higher skies.

Sonic lowered his head as the Emeralds began to glow and he lowered his arms, the hand seals having ended even as he continued to whisper in an ancient language long forgotten. The crimson and ebony gemstone encasing his mate's soul hummed in approval and encouragement, floating even closer.

A sudden searing pain and the hedgehog arched his back in a scream, hunching over and clutching his head. There was a flash of light and dark grey wings dripping with scarlet blood erupted from his back in a flourish. He breathed deeply, licking his lips as he closed his eyes.

"Lyuc," he whispered in ancient dialect, straighten himself and opening his arms with calm. "Lyuc, lmyea sa ym ouinc. E ys ouin cylnvela."

There was a roar of disapproval behind him but he didn't turn as the Emeralds spun and hummed for a final time...

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

They say that space stretches on infinitely.

That there are a million other galaxies out there beside our own and quite possibly even other lifeforms.

It could have taken a million years of star exploration and technological growth before they could find this tiny planet amongst so many others, fondly known to its inhabitants as "Mobius".

As one planet billions of light-years away exploded, a child was born in Mobotropolis Central Hospital, crying its anguish as though it had known what happened. A small, sapphire-cut baby hedgehog had been born, little fists clenched tightly as it was cleaned off by dutiful nurses and handed to his mother.

Bernice Hedgehog stared at her newborn son for a long time, even as her husband Jules entered the room after spending hours in anxiety outside. The new mother bit her lip and looked into the brilliant emerald green eyes of her child, thinking deeply of a name.

Something seemed to click into place as he stared at her innocently...

"Sonic," she announced suddenly, startling her husband from where he was rubbing proud circles on her back to soothe her tense muscles. When he asked her to repeat what she said, Bernie looked up at him meaningfully, cradling her baby as he began to fall asleep in her arms. "His name...will be Sonic."

Something flickered under the blanket wrapped tightly around his body; small, cherubic-like angel wings of ebony dipped in crimson blood.

Even during man's endless struggle against evil and its vile attempts to crush the human spirit, angels continued to fall and be reborn to begin anew.

Perhaps the same could be said about Sonic the Hedgehog, once a good and true champion of justice before darkness overtook his soul and corrupted him.

Yes. After all this time...

...Even angels fell.

– Fin –

Notes: This chapter is best read while listening to Evanescence's "Anywhere But Home" (live in Paris) CD, since that was where I got most of my inspiration from. Particularly the songs "Thoughtless" (originally by KoRn), "My Immortal" and "My Last Breath", which were constant inspirations for the dark-sided parts.

((sniffles with teary eyes)) My baby is complete. I'd like to thank everyone who has viewed and reviewed this fanfic – especially Chaos Shadow-san, who has given me the inspiration with his reviews (and his own Sonadow fics) to continue when I was distracted by other things and suffering from PMS. I'd also like to thank The Mouse of Anon-san, for her(his?) encouraging review for chapter ten. The rest of you rock just for reading.

I love all you guys and would love to do a sequel to this, but I'm afraid I have other commitments at the moment, such as completing AN5 and learning how to drive. I got my Learner's permit just the other day and my beta reader might maul me if I delay AN5 any longer.

There might be a sequel in the future but if anyone wants to write it for me ((gets spanked for being lazy)), contact me via e-mail to akiyamaryo2005 at yahoo dot com dot au. Fanart of this and anything else Sonic-related can be found by visiting http colon slash-slash strawberryhedgehog dot deviantart dot com, my DA site.

Until next time, this is Takato Metallium signing out.