Author's Notes

Re-uploaded because it got deleted for "bad grammar". I have made little or no grammatical changes here, so I'll let you decide how bad my grammar is.

I started this a few years ago as a Christmas story, and never got around to finishing it. It's still not finished, actually, but I hope to get the last chapter written soon. n.n; Be warned, there is lots of sappiness, but also lots of humor. Anyway, enjoy!


Sweet and Sour


Chapter 1: Toys and Troubles


Why am I here? Shadow thought, more than a bit annoyed. He disliked large crowds, which is exactly where he found himself on this busy winter morning. This was December 22, and anxious last-minute shoppers were scurrying throughout the shopping district of Central City to find the perfect gifts. In the middle of this mess were two hedgehogs, a fox, and one very disgruntled Ultimate Lifeform.

"Why did you have to drag me along with you on this pointless trip?" he half growled.

Sonic grinned over his shoulder at him. "Aw, come on, Shads! Show a little holiday spirit!"

Shadow glared in return. "Don't call me that."

Sonic shrugged, exasperated. "Bah humbug to you, too."

The young, two-tailed fox looked back at Shadow as well. "It's Christmas-time, Shadow! It's a time of love and kindness--"

"--and lots of great shopping deals!" the pink hedgehog interrupted with a giggle.

Tails sweatdropped. "Right…" The trio laughed, while Shadow snorted in disgust.

They continued down the street, Shadow's quills bristling each time he was jostled by one of the careless humans. Before long, they came to a fairly large shop displaying various plush toys and other cute collectibles in its front window. Tails and Amy's eyes lit up.

"Ooh, Sonic, Let's go in this one!" Amy pled.

"Yeah! Can we?" Tails begged, his twin tails twitching excitedly.

Sonic looked at Shadow out of the corner of his eye. The black hedgehog returned with what could only be described as a 'death-glare.' The blue hedgehog grinned mischievously. "Sure, why not?" Amy and Tails both cheered and dashed into the store. Sonic turned back to Shadow and grabbed his arm, still grinning. "Let's go, Shads!"

Though it didn't seem possible, the dark hedgehog glared even more fiercely as he was dragged into the store. "I'll get you for this, blue hedgehog," he growled through clenched teeth.

Inside the store, plush toys of every kind lined the walls and shelves in between. Amy and Tails were already running around, gawking at the cute toys. It didn't take long for Amy to find a stuffed likeness of her blue idol.

"Sonic!" Amy squealed, running up to him. She held it out for him to see. "It looks just like you! Isn't it cuuute?"

Sonic eyed the doll's blank expression and lopsided grin skeptically, and he could have sworn he heard Shadow snicker quietly behind him. He sweatdropped. "Yeah… sure, Amy…"

Amy snuggled the doll and was about to go look at more dolls when Tails ran up to them, tears of mirth in his eyes.

"You guys… have to come… see this!" he gasped between spurts of laughter. "It's great!"

Tails led the group through the store to an area near the back, finally stopping in a somewhat open area. In the middle of the clearing stood a single bobo doll in the likeness of the infamous Dr. Eggman.

Sonic burst out laughing. "An Eggman bobo doll! That's awesome! That'd make a perfect gift for Knuckles!"

Tails could no longer contain his laughter either. "Or I could send one to Eggman himself. Maybe Metal Sonic would have fun with it."

"I wouldn't mind hitting his ugly face a few times, myself!" Amy declared, giggling as she bopped the doll a few times.

"Hey, let me have a shot at 'im!" Sonic cried, jumping in with a few quick jabs to the doll's belly.

They continued in this way, each taking turns hitting the Eggman doll and laughing as it bounced back. Shadow stood back and watched them, rolling his eyes at their antics. "Like a bunch of children…" he muttered. He was just about ready to walk out on them when he felt something grab his waist.

"Mommy! I want this one!"

Shadow looked down to see a little girl, no more than four years old, with blonde hair and blue eyes. She was clutching and cuddling his torso happily while Shadow sweatdropped, immobilized by his awkward predicament.

"Pleeeaaaase, Mommy? It's so cute!" the child begged.

An older woman walked over and eyed the 'doll.' "Are you sure you want that one, honey? It looks a little scary…"

"Aw, he's not scary!" Sonic said, strolling over with a gleam in his eyes that Shadow didn't like one bit. Grinning impishly, he then proceeded to pull the dark hedgehog's mouth into a smile. "See?"

Shadow immediately felt the urge to kill, but before he could act on this impulse, Tails appeared on his other side to join in the fun. "And look at his cute little ears! Makes you just want to grab 'em!" And he proceeded to grab Shadow's ears and rub them, grinning at Sonic.

The little girl gazed in awe. "Ooh… I wanna try, too!" She jumped up and grabbed his ears just as Tails let them go. Unfortunately, her diminutive size resulted in the girl dangling from his ears, pulling on them quite painfully. "Wooow… they're so soft!" She cooed, smiling broadly. Amy took the opportunity to pull out her camera and snap a picture, the trio stifling their laughter.

Shadow, on the other hand, had reached his limit of tolerance. "ENOUGH!" he roared. The girl let go of his ears in surprise, falling to the floor. Shadow seethed. "I… am NOT… A TOY!!"

The mother shrieked and grabbed her stunned daughter, running away as quickly as possible. The child looked back over her mother's shoulder, starry-eyed. "It's alive? Spiffy…" she said dreamily.

As soon as they left, Sonic, Tails, and Amy burst out laughing. "That was great!" Sonic exclaimed, tears in his eyes.

Tails was also doubled over with laughter. "The way she was hanging from his ears…!" Another fit of laughter interrupted his sentence

Amy giggled uncontrollably. "And I got it on film!"

Sonic stopped to catch his breath for a moment. He turned to Shadow. "Oh man, Shads, you make a great plush t--"

He stopped mid-sentence as he saw the look of fury in the black hedgehog's entire countenance. Their laughter stopped abruptly, quickly replaced with nervous sweatdrops. They recoiled as Shadow slowly advanced on them, the enraged hedgehog seeming to tower ominously over them. His voice was low and deadly. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you all right now."

Tails smiled nervously. "Uh… because it's Christmas?"

Amy gave it a shot, too. "Because… um… I'm cute?" And she put on her cutest smile.

Sonic backed away, sensing that he would be Shadow's first victim. "Uh… uh…" He grabbed the Eggman bobo doll and placed it between Shadow and himself. "Why don't you beat this up instead?" he suggested with a nervous laugh.

Shadow stopped and stared at the doll in annoyance. Watching Eggman's stupid grin bob back and forth really did make him want to punch it, but he refused to give Sonic the satisfaction. He growled and turned away. "That's it, I'm leaving." And he did just that, storming angrily out of the store.

The black hedgehog continued marching down the street, not bothering to avoid bumping into other people. He was going nowhere in particular, aiming only to distance himself from that store. Eventually the crowds of shoppers began to thin, and Shadow slowed down to a calmer pace. As he walked he saw all of the cheerful people walking by, some with excited children in tow. He felt resentment at the sight, and at the same time… envy.

Something small and cold abruptly landed on his head, and he looked up to see small flakes of white beginning to drift down from the sky. He held out a gloved hand caught one of the flakes. Snow… she would have liked to see this… he thought sadly. The snowflake soon melted in his warm hand, and he clenched his fist around the cool dampness that remained. I'll never enjoy this season again, never--

His train of thought was interrupted when a young boy bumped roughly into him as he dashed by. "Hey, watch it!" Shadow yelled to the boy's back.

"Please, come back!" a small voice cried behind him. "Oh no, LOOK OUT!"

Shadow turned around just in time to see a flying rabbit coming right at him, futilely trying to stop. Before he had a chance to react, the rabbit collided with his face, sending them both tumbling to the ground.

Dazed for a moment, Shadow slowly sat up and shook his head. This is not my day… He heard a gasp and the rabbit scrambled to her feet and started bowing repeatedly in front of him.

"I'm so sorry, please forgive me!" the girl apologized emphatically. She was young—around six years old— and had cream-colored fur with light brown markings and eyes. She wore a warm red-orange coat with a light blue scarf, and red and yellow boots.

Shadow eyed the girl with some annoyance, his mood tempting him to yell at her. However, when he noticed the tear streaks on her face, he thought better of it. He stood up, brushing himself off. "It's all right… why are you in such a hurry?"

The girl gasped again, straightening up. "Oh no!" she cried, looking down the road. "Now I'll never catch up to him!" Her eyes began to well up with tears.

Shadow grew a little nervous at that, and kneeled down to try to calm her. "Wait, catch who?"

The rabbit sniffled and pointed over his shoulder. "The boy that ran by… he took my Chao friend… oh, what am I going to do?" She started to sob into her hands.

Shadow looked over his shoulder just in time to see the boy in question turn a corner in the distance. He turned back to the rabbit and gently placed a hand on her shoulder. "I'll get your friend back for you."

She looked up just in time to see the hedgehog dash off in the opposite direction. Her eyes widened at his incredible speed. She knew only one hedgehog that could run that fast… "Was that… Sonic-san?" Brimming with curiosity, she trotted after him.

Shadow rounded the corner and saw the boy not too far ahead in a long alley. He chased after him, his hover-skates casting a soft glow on the thin layer of snow below. Within seconds he caught up to the boy and leapt over his head. The boy skidded to a halt as the hedgehog landed in front of him, clutching the upset Chao in his arms.

"That Chao doesn't belong to you," Shadow said, glaring at the boy. "Return it. Now."

The brown-haired boy backed away slightly. "M--make me!"

Shadow snorted in amusement. For a kid who was no more than 12 years old, he had guts. "All right, I will." He slowly advanced on the boy, who turned and ran in the opposite direction. Shadow simply ran past him and blocked his way again. The boy stopped abruptly again, but this time slipped on the snow and fell backwards. The Chao rolled out of his arms as he hit the ground.

"Cheese!" The rabbit girl cried as she ran to them. She bent over and picked up the little Chao. "You're all right! I'm so glad!"

The black hedgehog looked down at the boy, who was shivering fearfully on the ground. "P--please don't hurt me!" the boy pled.

Shadow frowned. "Why shouldn't I, thief?"

Now the boy looked like he was going to cry. "I--I'm sorry… I just wanted to get something for my little sister… but I don't have the money to buy anything…"

"That doesn't give you the right to steal from others," Shadow retorted. "I should take you to the police."

The boy's fear heightened at that, but the rabbit girl intervened. "It's all right, you can let him go." The other two stared at her, but she simply smiled. She walked up to the boy and held out her hand to help him up. Hesitantly he took it, though it wasn't much help since he was so much taller than she was. "Thanks…" he replied.

The girl smiled again. "You're welcome. My name is Cream." She bowed again. "And this is Cheese," she said, gesturing to the Chao in her arms.

"Chao!" Cheese chimed happily, apparently having already forgotten the incident.

"Hi… I'm Chris," the boy responded nervously.

"Nice to meet you, Chris-san!" Cream said cheerfully. "I can understand that you'd want to get something nice for your sister… why don't you make something nice for her?"

Chris looked down at the ground. "Maybe…"

"Then you could put your whole heart into it and really show her how much you love her! I think that would make her happy, don't you?"

Chris smiled a little, infected by her cheerfulness. "Yeah, I suppose you're right… I'm sorry I tried to take Cheese…"

Cream shook her head. "That's all right. Just promise not to do that anymore, okay?"

"Alright, I promise," he replied, laughing a little. He glanced at Shadow, who closed his eyes and turned away. Chris sweatdropped. "Um, I guess I should get back home." He started to trot down the alley. "Sorry for all the trouble! Bye!"

"Bye, Chris-san!" Cream waved along with Cheese. When he was out of sight, she turned back to the dark hedgehog. "Thank you so much for getting Cheese back for me… oh! How silly of me! We haven't properly met! I'm Cream the Rabbit, and this is Cheese." She bowed yet again.

Her politeness made him feel a bit uneasy. "I'm Shadow… Shadow the Hedgehog."

Cream smiled sweetly again. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Shadow-san!" Cheese added an emphatic "chao, chao!"

Shadow looked away again. "Well now that you've gotten your Chao back, shouldn't you be with your parents or something?"

"Oh, Mama's probably worried about us, Cheese! We'd better go find her!" She looked up at Shadow. "But I'd like to introduce you to her. Would you come with us?"

Shadow looked at her out of the side of his eye, hesitant to accept. But the look on her face was so expectant… He sighed. "Alright, I'll come…"

Cream and Cheese cheered and began to lead the way. "I think I remember where she was… this way!"