"Where's that emerald?! I'm starting to not be able to feel my legs…", he thought.
Sonic had been out for hours that day searching for a Chaos Emerald that was rumored to be hidden somewhere in a remote forest to the west of Knothole. He wanted to reach it before Shadow; the two hedgehogs had reached a point of reconciliation many moons ago, but that did not mean Shadow abided by Sonic's values. He was still out to collect all the emeralds, even if he no longer had the desire to kill Sonic on the spot.
The biggest problem the blue hedgehog was facing was not an inability to locate the treasured bauble, but the slowly building winter storm he had been trudging through. The snow was knee-deep and Sonic was fighting against the gusty winds blasting through the trees; he feared he might be developing frostbite…or worse, hypothermia. As he scoured the area with his eyes looking for any signs of the emerald, he suddenly felt an odd presence. He just knew by instinct that someone he knew was nearby.
"Shadow…", he whispered.
Sonic knew the dark hedgehog was lurking about somewhere in the forest, most likely also in search of the emerald, but he saw no sign of his enemy. As he continued moving through the forest, the storm was intensifying by the minute. He was getting very cold and weak, and he knew if he went on in this way for much longer, his body might succumb to nature's cold forces. No longer was the Chaos Emerald his main concern – now he was looking for shelter until the storm had calmed down. The snow was heavy, but not heavy enough for Sonic to run on, and he was struggling through the snowfall, ice and wind with each step; tears that seeped from his eyes when his legs began to burn from the cold air froze on his face. He knew he had to find haven fast or he was going to freeze to death.
He pressed forward, trying his best to ignore his frozen body and the stinging in his eyes from the harsh storm winds. He felt like he'd been walking through the storm for hours when it had not been nearly that long. He couldn't see any end to the snowy ground – the horizon, the ground and the sky were all white. But even in the face of such jeopardy, Sonic found a light of hope. Among the raging storm and massive piles of snow, Sonic managed to find a small cave nestled within a wall of rock. He wasn't sure if he smiled or not – he could no longer feel his face. Regardless, he slowly traipsed through the dense precipitation and crawled into the cave.
This small cavern felt very cold, but it was dry. And there were twigs and branches scattered about on the cave floor, which meant Sonic had fodder for a fire. The snow outside was covering up the opening to the cave about halfway, so Sonic's light source was becoming more and more restricted as every new inch of snow fell. As he began wandering the cave, he felt the strange presence a second time. Was he imagining things? As he advanced further into the cave, he picked up on a new sound…the sound of labored breathing. It was not his own, so where was it coming from? In the now faint daylight shining into the cave, it reflected off a figure huddled against the wall. Sonic immediately recognized the dark spines.
It was Shadow, breathing quite heavily and curled up in a tight ball trying to stay warm. Sonic began to approach Shadow when he accidentally stepped on and snapped a twig on the ground.
"Who's there?" Shadow reeled around.
"…Shadow?", Sonic asked in a shaky voice.
"Who the hell are you?" Shadow still could not recognize his foe.
"It's me, dummy. It's Sonic".
"Sonic?! What are you doing here?", Shadow asked in a huffy voice.
"I could ask you the same thing. All I know is I came in here to get out of the blizzard".
"Well go find your own damn cave – I was here first", Shadow spat and stared Sonic down with his arms folded.
"I don't care, Shadow. I'm not going back out in that storm".
"Get out! I'm not sharing this cave with you!", Shadow shouted angrily.
Sonic stuttered and tried to shout, but he fought the urge and just walked away with an irritated grunt. He went toward the front of the cave and sat down in the dust. The blue hedgehog was cold, he was tired, and he just wanted to be back at home. He leaned up against the cave wall and curled his knees up under his chin and did his best to stay warm. So badly he wanted to build a fire, but his limbs were aching from the cold air and he just didn't want to move them. He remained curled up for about an hour or so before his ears picked up on a disturbance in the air. The crunching of twigs and dead leaves invaded his silence…was Shadow walking toward him?
The crunching noise became loud enough so Sonic could sense whatever was causing it was very close to him, but he pretended to be asleep. He heard footsteps approaching him, but he knew who it was and did not feel anxious.
"I thought I told you to get out", Shadow muttered in a rickety voice.
Sonic lifted his head weakly and mumbled in a frozen, trembling voice, "Fuck you, Shadow."
"Get out, or I will throw you out, hedgehog".
Sonic became enraged and stood up. He let out a screech of pain as his frozen limbs came out of their bent position. "Shadow, look…can't we just try to be civil to one another this once?"
Shadow growled, and Sonic went on. "We'll share the cave, okay?"
"Hmph", went Shadow. He was silent for quite a while before grumbling, "Fine. But don't think this changes anything between us, hedgehog".
The two hedgehogs agreed to deal with one another until they got back to their homes. Both set out to find firewood with what few daylight hours they still had to light up the cave, and they were able to start a fire after about an hour of trying and scattered moments of Shadow throwing sticks at Sonic. Night had descended, but the fire they'd built lit the cave and kept them fairly warm. Each sat on either side of the cave, not saying anything. Sonic poked at the fire while Shadow sat with a scowl and his arms folded.
"So why were you out in the forest anyway, Shadow?", Sonic asked.
"None of your fucking business".
"I figured you'd say that. But something tells me you and I were out here today for the same reason".
"Maybe. Look, just because I'm putting up with you doesn't mean I want to get all buddy-buddy with you". Shadow snarled.
"Okay fine. I don't know about you, but I think it's getting colder in here".
"Well no kidding – it gets a lot colder at night around here."
Sonic looked at the fire and then at Shadow, "I don't know if this fire is going to keep us entirely warm tonight".
"Probably not. So what do you propose we do? Go make sweaters out of pine needles?", Shadow said, still sounding rather toxic.
Sonic got up and walked over to Shadow; he eyed the blue hedgehog with contempt with each step taken, with a stare so fiery he hoped it would burn holes through his enemy's body. Sonic knelt down in front of his rival and sighed, "Shadow…if we intend to live to see tomorrow morning, then we might need to take some drastic measures to stay warm".
Shadow's eyes got big, but retained their fury. "If you're suggesting I do anything that involves putting part of my body into part of yours, then I'm going to kill you where you stand".
"That's not what I meant!", Sonic shouted.
"Well then what did you mean??"
"I know you won't like this, but if we want to stay warm…I think we might need to use our body heat."
Shadow cocked an eyebrow. "Okay. What the hell does that even mean?"
Sonic sighed, knowing Shadow would go ballistic once he knew what was being described. "I'm saying maybe we should sleep close to each other so the heat from our bodies will keep us warm".
Shadow's eyes turned a deep shade of red and he shoved Sonic away. "No fucking way! It's bad enough I have to share this cave with you, but there's no fucking way I'm going to sleep beside you! No, no, no! Fuck that shit!"
"Look Shadow, if we don't, then we'll freeze to death", Sonic explained.
"Fine! I'd rather fucking die out in the cold than be caught sleeping next to you. Go find some forest creature to spoon with because I'm having none of it!"
And with that, Shadow turned his back to Sonic and curled up against the cave wall and tried to fall asleep. Sonic watched – within minutes, Shadow's body was shaking from the cold and he was breathing hard again. As much as he wanted to slap the dark hedgehog across the head, Sonic couldn't stand to see his rival suffering. But he knew Shadow would not allow him to get close to him to keep him warm, so all Sonic could do was turn his head away and close his eyes. Eventually, Sonic did pass out, despite being cold. Right before he drifted off into sleep, his last thought was, "If I am to die out here in this cold, I hope I do so quietly in my sleep".
It had been a few hours, and Shadow was still awake. He was sniffling and gasping as the coldness plagued him – he could not feel any part of his body. He felt almost as if he was going to cry because he was in so much pain from the cold, but he held back. Refusing to cry, he eventually got up from his fetal position and fought back screams of agony; his limbs had partially frozen in their bent position. Tears rolled down his face and he choked, hoping his foe wouldn't hear him having a breakdown. He wiped his tears away and looked over at where Sonic was sitting. Shadow disputed if dying in the cold would really be worse than curling up beside his rival for one night. At least by perishing in the cold, he would retain his dignity. But…he just didn't want to die. He debated over his options for quite a while before reaching a decision.
"He better not get any fucking weird ideas", Shadow thought to himself. He slowly got up and approached Sonic, who was still asleep, or so he thought. He sat down beside Sonic and nestled against the blue hedgehog. He winced at the fact that he was cuddling with his most hated opponent, but when he calmed down and accepted he was doing this for the sole purpose of saving his own life, he began to not think so negatively.
"Hmm…Sonic has really soft fur", he thought as he nuzzled his face into Sonic's chest. Then he stopped in his tracks…why was the first thought in his mind about the quality of his adversary's fur when he was close enough to feel it? He rested his hand warily on Sonic's abdomen and pulled himself closer. His foe was right…with the heat between their bodies, it felt much warmer. The warmth from the fire and from Sonic simply put Shadow in a euphoric mood and he continued to cuddle against his enemy's body without a second thought. Regardless of how humiliating his actions were, Shadow just knew he felt wonderful being warm. And he seemed to also derive some sort of odd pleasure from being close to Sonic. He didn't think he'd be so comfortable around his enemy, but he somehow felt safe with Sonic, and he was no longer ashamed to hold the blue hedgehog close.
Little did Shadow know that his adversary was not quite as asleep as he had perceived. Sonic had roused from his sleep many minutes before and, through a squinted eye, he watched Shadow get up and come over to him. He felt butterflies rise up in his stomach when Shadow buried his face in his flesh-toned fur. Sonic swallowed hard and did something he figured he would regret. Once Shadow settled down, Sonic placed his hand on Shadow's head and began to gently stroke the sleek black fur. He paid special attention to the area right behind Shadow's ear. A tiny whimper escaped Shadow's lips and he cuddled himself deeper into Sonic's fur. Then Sonic began to feel something pulsate against him – something he couldn't quite place his finger on. He felt it in his chest – a gentle, steady quivering. Eventually he realized it wasn't him or his heart going pitter-patter. Shadow was purring.
Sonic stared down at the dark hedgehog…he was happy? He enjoyed Sonic's hand on him? Perhaps he was deriving his pleasure more from the touching more than the person touching him. Sonic wrapped his arm around the black hedgehog and began to rub his sides and shoulders. It never quite occurred to him how nice of a body Shadow had. Then again, he'd never been close enough to his adversary to caress him like this. Sonic felt intrigued by all of this and he was curious to see what kind of response he would get from different areas of Shadow's body. He gently rubbed the dark hedgehog's head, spines, back and tailbone. He couldn't really reach much further than that, which he didn't necessarily want to anyway. He wasn't aroused by any of this – he just somehow found it pleasurable knowing he had his rival in the palm of his hand.
"I hope you know I'm not sleeping", Shadow murmured.
Sonic felt his heart jump up into his throat and start to thump frantically. Shadow had been awake the entire time?
"Oh…umm…I…", Sonic stammered, his face turning several shades of red.
Shadow sat back up and looked right into Sonic's eyes. The blue hedgehog's expression was full of panic and embarrassment; his eyes were wide as saucers and his cheeks were beet-red. Shadow's piercing glare felt as though it went right through Sonic's eyes and deep into his heart.
"I didn't tell you to stop, hedgehog", Shadow said.
Sonic's face went from scared to confused in a split-second. "…what? You mean…you liked what I was doing?"
"Well yes. It's been a long time since I've had anyone show me any kind of affection. No one's rubbed my shoulders or scratched behind my ear since…since Maria".
Sonic just sat with a cocked eyebrow. "So, you didn't mind that the person rubbing you was me?"
"Well you wouldn't have been my first choice, but it still felt nice. You've got a very gentle touch". Shadow realized what he said and he turned his face away – now he was the one wearing the red mask. An extensive silence ensued before Shadow piped up again. "Sonic…can I ask you something?"
"Umm…sure", Sonic stammered.
"Why is it that you would be this nice to me when I've been so mean to you? Why would you pet me so nicely after all the shit I said to you earlier?"
"I…don't really know. I knew I was treading pretty dangerous ground when I started rubbing your head, but I guess I just wanted you to feel relaxed. Just because you can be an asshole doesn't mean you don't deserve to be comfortable".
Shadow didn't know what to say; his enemy still cared enough about him to keep him warm and ease his tensed muscles. He didn't know if Sonic was insane or if he just had a big heart. The dark hedgehog sat facing the fire and twiddled his thumbs. Sonic noticed Shadow's apprehension and slid his arm behind the dark hedgehog's back. Shadow looked up with a confused expression and Sonic shot him a little smile. The black hedgehog stared back for a moment and then shook his head and smiled. Perhaps their battle could be put to rest for longer than one night. Shadow rested his head on Sonic's shoulder and Sonic gently rubbed his back. Both hedgehogs had been so rapt by their cuddling session that neither was still concerned about their previous coldness.
The dark hedgehog felt a shiver go up his spine as Sonic ran his nimble fingers over his back and he let out a tiny gasp and folded into Sonic's arms.
"Did I hurt you?", Sonic asked.
Sonic smiled at him, "Did I take your breath away?"
"Very funny. You just hit a nerve".
Sonic turned his face away for a moment and thought, "Did I just make a pass at Shadow? And he didn't clobber me for it? I'm so confused".
Shadow was thinking similar thoughts as Sonic sat blushing. "Did he…just hit on me? Does my enemy have feelings for me, or did he just pick a really unflattering choice of words? Sonic's been awfully nice to me tonight and he's been rather touchy-feely with me too…I really don't think he's just being considerate".
The two rivals sat in silence beside one another, each too embarrassed to say something to the other. After what seemed like hours of silence, Shadow finally piped up and said something.
"Sonic…can I ask you something again?"
"Umm, yeah sure. Go for it".
"…why did you ask me that one thing earlier?", Shadow asked meekly.
"I asked you a lot of things earlier. What one?"
Shadow rolled his eyes. "When you asked me if you took my breath away".
Sonic chuckled, "Oh that. I don't know, I thought it would be funny".
"Yeah, but you didn't say it like it was funny. You said it kind of…I don't know…umm…lustfully".
"…I…uh…sorry about that".
Shadow peered into what remained of the fire. "Did…did you want to take my breath away?"
The blue hedgehog stared hard at Shadow, so hard, in fact, that Shadow could feel the green eyes upon him without even having to look to the side. "Oh crap…I think I've escalated the situation".
Sonic cocked his head to the side. "Shadow…"
Shadow looked up at him, expecting a horrified expression on his foe's face. However, much to his surprise, he was met with one filled with kindness. He had a hard time looking Sonic right in the eyes.
"Shadow, your lips are blue. Are you getting cold again?"
"Umm…", he spluttered, still not quite sure how to react. He didn't feel cold either.
Sonic leaned in closer and dragged his fingertip down the side of Shadow's face. "I can fix it".
And with that, Sonic wrapped his fingers gently around the back of Shadow's head and pulled the dark hedgehog's lips to his own. He figured he had nothing more to lose since Shadow was already thoroughly freaked out. Shadow's body stiffened up as if he'd been jolted with electricity; he was so staggered by what was happening that he couldn't even muster up the strength to breathe. The world just seemed to stop right then for him. The dark hedgehog had never been kissed this way and he wasn't sure if he felt more tense or excited. Sonic's touch was very warm and soft, and he was tender in his kisses. Eventually the initial shock wore off vaguely and Shadow responded by wrapping his arms around Sonic's neck and holding his enemy closer. The blue hedgehog slid his arms down Shadow's back and pressed their bodies together – it was quite clear that Sonic had wanted this for a long time.
As the two hedgehogs kissed passionately in the light of the fire, Shadow wondered if his enemy had loved him the entire time. Oh, what irony if he had. But it was no matter – Shadow would have no problem upholding the façade of hating Sonic to the ends of the earth by day, and then seducing him ardently by night.
Author's Note: This was my first Sonadow, so one or both characters have probably drifted out-of-character at some point. Also, I'd like to thank Sakka Neko for pointing out to me my gross overuse of a certain word throughout the story. It's been fixed. :)