Author's Note: I've decided to drop the song-fic version of this chapter with this new one. It didn't work out too well. Here's the new one! Yayz0r!11one

Chapter One – Right Here

Back on Earth again, Shadow thought to himself as he surveyed the scene before him. He had spent three years alone on the ARK, repairing the damage the Black Arms did to the space colony. During that time, he contemplated of what he would do in life. Though Shadow concluded that he had served his purpose in life, he felt unfulfilled…a great void was left in his soul, and he needed to fill it somehow. But first, he needed to see all his old friends. But he would surely be recognized by others if he did not obscure himself. He raised the hood of a brown cloak he had brought with him, and set on down the road to the city.

-- -- -- -- -- --

Westopolis was still being repaired from Black Doom's attack, but life had begun anew. People once again walked the streets of the city, milling around doing their business. Almost no one took notice of the four-foot cloaked figure walking in their midst. Even when Shadow was noticed, all he got was a casual and short glance, nothing more. Shadow felt himself blending into the mass of people, and wondered if he would ever get out of this living river.

As he reached a street corner, someone he recognized entered his field of vision. It was a pink female hedgehog...probably around fifteen years old. There was no doubt in Shadow's mind that the girl was Amy Rose, Sonic's number one fan-girl. But she had changed a lot over the last few years. She had exchanged her red dress for blue jeans and a magenta t-shirt that seemed to have dabs of paint on it. She had let her hair grow a little, and now passed her shoulders. And of course, she had been subject to the usual effects of female hormones during puberty, though to a lesser degree than with Rouge. He always felt Rouge was a bit too overdeveloped for his tastes. Slung over her shoulder was a dark blue backpack, also stained with paint. Shadow figured that the girl had dropped her cute girl routine for that of an artist. The yellow-and-red hammer she would always carry around was also absent from her person. As Shadow observed her more closely, she noticed a lot more tone in her, as if she had been working out. But that red ribbon that she always wore was still on her head.

Something inside Shadow suddenly stirred as he eyed the girl. He wasn't sure what to make of it…he just couldn't stop staring at her, taking in every single feature with a strange sense of satisfaction. It took him a minute or two, but Shadow finally found the term to describe what he was feeling:

He was attracted to her. This was what he needed…someone to care for. A void had always been in his heart, and his loneliness had forced him to deaden his emotions. But he could still remember her words…the words that awakened the good that he thought he never had:

There has to be! I know that people fight over the most trivial things. Some people may be selfish, like the professor said... but they're basically good, if they try their best and never give up on their wishes. They always have a reason to be happy, that's why you should help them out! Saving them is a good thing! Shadow, I beg you, please do it for them! Give them a chance!

Those words had given him not only the will to stop the ARK from falling years ago, but to stand up to the fiend Black Doom three years before. He owed Amy so much, and maybe a little affection would help them both.

Shadow decided to follow Amy and see where she was going…he dared not make a pun of his own name when he set upon that course of action. She simply went straight forward for about five blocks, then suddenly turned left down a side street…and now she was all alone.

As Shadow continued to trail the girl, she seemed to sense that someone was following her, and looked back every so often. Shadow was always able to find a hiding place, though. After looking back six times, she finally stopped.

"Whoever you are…show yourself!" she said, putting down her backpack, and assuming what appeared to a defensive stance. Amy had been taking martial arts classes as a way of keeping herself fit, as well as a form of self-defense.

Shadow couldn't help but find this completely amazing. Gone was the innocent and overly perky pre-adolescent, and in her place was a whole other person…as if Amy had shed an old skin as a snake does when it grows too large for its old hide. He finally decided that it was time to reveal his presence.

"It's been a long time, Amy…three years?" he said as he came out from behind a dumpster. He also removed his hood, and Amy dropped her guard.

"Shadow…you're back!" she exclaimed. "But…I thought you were going to stay on the ARK…"

"Let's just say…it's awfully lonely up there…" he replied, and started to approach her.

Amy nodded. "I would bet. No one else was on the ARK but you, right? What made you decide to come back all of a sudden? Are there still things on your mind?"

"No…my past is behind me…" Shadow answered, waving his hand as if he was swatting his past away like an imaginary gadfly. "I was looking for a different sort of fulfillment…"

"Are you okay, Shadow?" she asked, with a bit of anxiety in her voice.

"Yeah…now that I have the courage to tell you something…"

Amy quickly picked up on his message and started to walk away. "If it's about a date…forget it," she said, in a manner that almost made her seem disgusted with the notion.

Shadow wasn't about to take no for an answer. Something drove him on…he wanted her so bad. "Amy, you don't know just how it is to be lonely! I beg you, hear me out! I've changed!" he pleaded.

"You seem the same to me…besides, Sonic is the one whom I'll always love."

Shadow's tone was getting angrier. "Sonic! It's always about him! What does he have that I don't? The only thing he treats you like is dirt!"

"Shadow…you're acting like such a damn moron."

Shadow was taken aback by this. "Geez, you don't have to be that way. I can't help feeling the way I do now!"

Amy blushed. "Oh…sorry…it's just that…I've never seen you like this. It's awfully sweet, but my heart still belongs to Sonic. If he won't have me…no one will."

Shadow rose and shook his head. "…You're just like you were three years ago. You're stubborn and you refuse to give up on anything as long as there's a small chance of getting what you want. I admire that in a girl. Sonic just finds it annoying."

Amy was starting to find Shadow's words so similar to hers, when they were aimed at Sonic. Could she have been looking for love in the wrong place all along? She wasn't completely sure, but maybe Shadow could offer something that Sonic couldn't.

Shadow felt he was getting somewhere, and decided to press on with his courtship. He decided to get closer. "Amy…I would give myself up for you…I want to be right here for you…always…I'm nuts for you, girl."

Amy was exasperated by Shadow's words here…did he really find her worthy of his love, which had kept buried within him for so long? She still couldn't imagine herself and Shadow together…she had always thought that Shadow and Rouge would be a couple. As she thought this over, Shadow rose to his feet, and gently clasped her hands.

"After Black Doom's death, I wondered what was next. I needed fulfillment…and then I found what I needed in you…somehow."

"Is that…how you really feel…what about Rouge? I'm sure you'd find her much more of your type…" she thrust his hands away from her own. "Besides, you did nearly destroy the Earth…twice!"

Shadow was now starting to tear up…something he hadn't done in a long time. He fell into a kneeling position and grabbed onto Amy's pants leg. His tone had become a full-blown sob.

"Why can't you just forgive me…I don't want to relive all the mistakes I've mademistakes I've made alone…"

Amy thought back…it was the same way with Sonic. There was nothing she could do to win him. Now knew it almost for sure. Sonic would never give her the least regard…but Shadow, his supposed dark version, was begging for her affection. The thought to use him as a way to make Sonic jealous crossed her mind…but she decided not to. It would be too under-handed. She would give Shadow a chance. Love didn't exactly come this way every day.

Shadow knew victory was close "Will you fulfill me, Amy…because I'd be more than happy to do the same for you."

"You sure know how to woo a girl, Shadow…yes…I will…"