A/N: Hey all! And look here: I've updated! You guys all thought that I stopped writing, didn't you? Well, I'm back! And I am not promising to update any faster either. Too bad.

Just for anyone who cares, there will be ten chapters in this fic (including Ch. 1); six set in Silver's past, three in his present, and one chapter to wrap it up. I just figured I'd say that, I'm not really sure why.

And finally, yes, I know that the beginning of this chapter is basically a big bunch of boring. Keep with it though, this is just a set-up. I'm just trying to show that Silver's life wasn't always a complete disaster.

So yeah, let's go!

Nine years ago...

Silver the Hedgehog was running around in circles playing tag with his friends, despite there not being not much room to run, being indoors. Silver was a cute five year-old white hedgehog with chubby cheeks and quills that spiked out from his head in every which way. His friends were Blaze, a light purple kitty with straight hair flowing down her back (she had not yet tied it into a ponytail); Bean, a green duck who always said it looked "cool" when Iblis the Devil blew stuff up; and Honey, a yellow cat with huge ears and a red dress.

All four of them were playing in a building reinforced by the few survivors of Iblis' rampage. It was, you could say, a refugee camp, since all living things basically became refugees when Iblis was released so long ago. This particular refugee camp was one of the smaller ones, located in the remains of Central City. Silver's mother and father were both born there, like their parents and their grandparents before them. Most people in this life lived in a refugee camp all their lives before dying of sickness or being killed by the Flames of Disaster during a hunt for food. The lucky ones had children before they died.

However, kids will be kids, no matter what their surroundings. These few children had not yet been touched by Iblis' hand of despair. Lucky them.

"You're it!" Silver yelled gleefully.

"Am not!" Bean yelled back. "You tagged my feathers, feathers don't count!"

"Bean's it! Bean's it, you guys! Run away!" Silver called to the others, completely ignoring what Bean was saying.

"B-but, aww. I don't wanna be it." Bean cried with fake depression, hoping to get the pity vote. Unfortunately for him, neither Blaze nor Honey were buying it.

"Count to twenty, Bean! Close your eyes!"

"C'mon, let's go upstairs and hide from him!"

From that suggestion from Blaze, the three "non-'it'ers" scampered up the stairs of their apartment like monkeys, obviously running up much faster than was strictly necessary. But, it's a game. Who cares?

"I'm coming up!" Bean called up to them not long after they got to the top.

"That didn't sound like twenty seconds!" Honey called back down to him.

"Seconds depend on how fast you count." The duck retorted.

"No they don't."

"Yes they do!"

"No! They don't!" Honey was getting frustrated.

"How do you know, huh? I'm older than you!"

Honey just sighed.

"Hey, you two." Silver said, "How's about getting back to playing the game. This is boring."

"Hmph. I don't really feel like playing anymore." Honey said in the typical 'annoyed young girl' fashion.

"What?! But why, Honey?" Silver said, surprised. "Weren't we having fun?"

"Yeah, we were. But Bean always cheats. It's no fun when Bean cheats." Honey answered.

"I'm with Honey." Blaze said, going over and standing beside Honey. "It's no fun when Bean cheats."

"C'mon, let's go Blaze." Honey said, turning around and walking away with the other cat in hand.

Silver and Bean were left there, utterly confused.

"What did I do?" asked Bean as he turned towards Silver expectantly.

"I have no clue." the white hedgehog answered. "Girls are just weird, I think."

"Yeah, that sounds about right." said Bean.

"Er, should we go follow them?" Silver asked his friend, "We can't play any games with only two people."

"Yeah, why not?" Bean answered.

With that, Silver hesitantly started walking towards the "grown-up" section of the large apartment where they lived, following the path of the two felines. Bean followed close behind. Silver and his friends usually played and hung out in the "playroom" section -- two fairly large rooms that were used as a storage section (quite obvious considering the boxes that were stacked high at the walls). Both rooms were also devoid of any furniture, other than a small couch in the corner of the bottom room. The couch was placed there to cover an area where part of the wall was knocked away, an area that was home for the rats. The couch was now falling apart, infested with rats, and gave off a mouldy smell. No one had any incentive to remove it.

In comparison, the "grown-up" section, as the kids called it, was where the older persons and some of the mothers stayed while others hunted for food and supplies. Their job was to keep their shelter liveable and take care of the children. This section of the shelter was much larger, about four rooms including the kitchen. While the couches and carpet-covered area may look fairly safe considering that they were in a war between them and an unbeatable enemy, one may notice that under the couches and hidden in the far corners of the rooms were GUN brand shotguns and GUN brand bombs and GUN brand grenades and GUN brand machine guns and GUN brand remote missiles and every other type of war weapon you've ever seen short of a (GUN brand) nuclear bomb.

No, you wouldn't feel safe at all when you learned that these weapons were used on a regular basis to keep Iblis at bay.

This particular shelter was home to 37 sapient people, the youngest being a two year old chipmunk named Ry, and the oldest being Silver's grandmother, Ms. Garnet, who was a fifty-three year old (an abnormally large age for the time) dark grey hedgehog. Because of the large number of people living under the same roof, most people went out to scavenge during the day, only to return at night for rest. There weren't any beds to sleep in, you would just lay a thin sheet down on the floor in one of the five rooms (including the storage area/"playroom") and sleep there. The couches and/or cushions were reserved for the very young, the very old, or the very sick.

While Silver and his friends knew all of this, they were too young to really understand it. All Silver and Bean were thinking as they entered the "grown-up" section was where they could find their play-mates.

"Grandma Garnet, did you see where Blaze and Honey went?" Silver asked the old grey hedgehog who was cooking dinner, baked potatoes, in the kitchen.

The hedgehog smiled warmly. "Why yes, dear. They left to the other room," The old hedgehog pointed to a door on the other side of the room, "Do you want them to play with you?"

"Yeah!" Silver chirped.

"Have fun dearies." the hedgehog said before returning to her cooking.

The hedgehog and the duck entered the room where the cat companions should have been, but when the two looked around the room, they saw neither of the cats. In fact, no one was in the room at all! Silver was quite surprised by this, since, considering the amount of people that lived in these small living quarters, there was rarely a room not being used by someone.

"C'mon Silver," Bean said impatiently, "They're not here. What're we waiting for, let's check out another room." Without waiting, Bean turned around and walked back toward the door. He reached out his hand to grab the handle...only for the door to open from the other side and smash the doorknob against his hand.

"OWW!! That hurts!" Bean yelled painfully as tears welled up in his eyes.

Blaze, who was the one who opened the door from the other side, immediately rushed to Bean and apologized. "Bean, I'm so sorry! Are you okay?"

"Noo..." Bean scrunched up his eyes to keep himself from crying, "My, my fingers got bent back. It hurts!" (A/N: If this has, for some strange reason, never happened to you, know that it really hurts, especially when you're young.)

"Ah, you're just a big wimp," Honey, who was behind Blaze, said unsympathetically, "A doorknob hit your hand, whoop-de-doo."

"But it hurts!" Bean whined to Honey.

"That was mean, Honey! It's not good to not feel pity for others' pain!" Blaze told her off.

Honey's face softened for a moment as she looked with slightly brighter eyes toward the whimpering Bean grasping at his fingers in an unsuccessful attempt to relieve the pain. Unfortunately, this look left just as quickly as it came; her eyes darkened, her face hardened, and she utterly ignored Blaze's previous words.

"Whatever you say Blaze, but I still think he's a wimp!"

Silver sighed, "Bean, just ignore Honey and go see Grandma, I bet she could help your fingers. Want to go with him, Blaze?"

"N-No, no, I'm fine. I, can walk." Bean stammered as he left to go back to the kitchen where Silver's grandmother was.

"Okay then." Silver watched as Bean opened the door with his good hand and stumbled back to the kitchen. None of the other children knew it, but it was only now that Bean finally released his tears.

Silver pulled his gaze away from the, now closed, door and turned to face Blaze, "Speaking of my Grandma, she said that you two came into this room, but she didn't say that you left. Where'd you guys go?"

Blaze snapped her fingers, "Oh yeah, I totally forgot." Blaze re-opened the door of the room and peered outside. She didn't seem to see anything. "Dang, he must have left when Bean got hurt. Wait just a minute Silver," Blaze said as she hurried out of the room and off to somewhere.

Silver looked at Honey confused. "What's up with her?" he asked.

"You'll see," Honey replied.

In less than twenty seconds Blaze was back, now carrying someone in her arms. Silver saw that it was a young brownish-orange furred chipmunk with bright green eyes and large front teeth. He looked mildly confused about why he was being carried around but didn't seem to be resisting either.

"Blaze, why'd you bring Ry over?" Silver asked, recognizing the two year-old chipmunk as the youngest sapient living in their shelter.

"We're going to play dress up with him," Honey answered for her, "We lost our old dolls so we're going to use Ry instead."

"Wait, huh? You're using Ry as a stand-in Barbie doll!?" Silver asked the two felines, utterly confused.

"Yeah, pretty much." Blaze answered.

"You…you can't do that!" Silver told the two as he shook his head in disbelief.

"Why can't we Silver? Is there a law against it or something?" Honey asked Silver sarcastically.

"No, no laws; it's just…not right. Your dolls are toys, they're meant to be played with. Ry isn't a toy, he's living. You can't just do whatever you want with him." Silver explained.

Like usual, Honey decided to ignore everything Silver said: "Pfft. Whatever."

Silver was about to deliver a snappy remark about Honey's apparent heartlessness but Blaze interrupted him:

"Hey! It sounds like everyone's home!" Blaze chirped with glee.

Sure enough, Silver started hearing frantic voices outside their room, signifying that the adults were back from their scavenging hunt, though he also became slightly worried when he realized that the adults were back much too early. Silver went over to and opened the door of the room only to see Vix, a female, twenty-three year-old grey dog, frantically looking around in the adjoining room, apparently looking for someone. Her eyes quickly fell on Silver and, looking relieved, she swiftly entered the room where Blaze and Honey already seemed to be starting to dress Ry up.

"Silver, Blaze, Honey, can you three go downstairs to the storage for a while? And bring the baby too." she asked in a strained yet polite voice.

The children all nodded, they knew what this was. Iblis was attacking and they had to go to a safer place. Unfortunately, this was usual business.

The three children quickly left the room and headed to the stairs, with Blaze still carrying Ry. They had already made it to the stairs when Blaze remembered something important: "Hey, what about Bean?"

"Oh, I'll go get him." Honey quickly said before hurrying off where she thought Bean was. Odd. Maybe she does care after all…

…But that obviously wasn't on Silver and Blaze's minds as they ran (or in Blaze's case, stumbled since she was still carrying Ry) down the stairs and into the storage area. Entering the room, Blaze sat down on the ground holding Ry in her lap. She seemed to be shivering slightly.

Silver was quick to notice. "What's wrong Blaze? It's too hot in here to be cold."

"I dunno," she answered, "For some reason I feel like Iblis will win this time. I don't know why."

"But Blaze, why would you think that? We've won against Iblis every other time it attacks our home. There's no reason for the grown-ups to lose now." Silver said confidently.


"WHAT!? Our weapons are jammed?! Fix them NOW!!" Rocky the Mole ordered desperately, "Holy shit, Iblis is already here! Retreat!"


"Yeah, I know you're right," Blaze responded, "I just have a feeling, I can't help it.


No one was able to retreat quickly enough; the upper floors were obliterated in only a moment. The tortured screams of those who were being burned alive rang loud, easily audible from the downstairs storage.


Silver and Blaze jumped from shock when they heard the screams from above. "Did you hear that?" the frightened Blaze asked as Ry started crying from the sudden noise.

Silver was about to respond with a sarcastic "Obviously," to hide his fear. But before he was able to say this he felt a major increase in temperature behind him; a heat that only meant that Iblis was nearby…

"Watch out!!" Silver screamed to Blaze as he jumped toward her and pushed both her and Ry toward the room's couch. A moment later a huge horizontal pillar of fire and lava shot through the center of the room, destroying everything in its path and lighting the room on fire.

"Behind the couch!" Silver yelled at Blaze. She was still carrying Ry who was now crying endlessly and screaming at the top of his lungs. Blaze limped toward the couch as Silver pulled it away from the wall with all his strength. As he pulled it from the wall Silver noticed a small area where the wall was torn away, the home of the rats.

"In here!" Silver crawled into the alcove with Blaze to his right not far behind. It wasn't until he was fully inside that he realized that he was crouching in a hole full of dried rat droppings.

'Gross. Well, at least we'll be safe.' thought Silver.

Silver's delusions were proven wrong when the couch in front of them and the support beams surrounding them suddenly lit on fire, filling the alcove with thick, black smoke. Silver gasped for breath, trying to breathe the rapidly reducing amount of oxygen. The heat from the flames was unbearable as it closed in on him. It burned at his eyes with excruciating pain. His eyes tried to relieve the pain with tears even though it was hopeless at this point. Silver turned his head to the right to take one last glance at his companions in this alcove of hell: Ry was not moving, hopefully he only passed out; while Blaze was choking and shaking uncontrollably. Silver decided to take a lesson from Ry: close his eyes. He was no longer willing to live this torture.

But before he was able to close his eyes he felt a coolness wash over him, the smoke exited his lungs and the fire retreated. He turned his head to the right to see how Blaze was reacting to this, only to see her being surrounded by a fiery aura, which was getting brighter by the second, and staring straight ahead with empty, ghostly, white eyes. The aura got brighter and brighter until Silver could no longer see Blaze herself underneath, and then it all got expelled from her body at once in the form of hundreds of small golden needles. Wherever the needles struck, the fire there was put out. Some of the needles even went straight through Silver's own body, and yet he didn't feel a thing. Soon all the surrounding fire was put out and the needles stopped being expelled from Blaze's body. Silver closed his eyes in relief of still being alive. It was not until he closed his eyes that he realized how tired and worn out he was. He wanted nothing better than to just lie here and rest, to pass out and not worry about the consequences…

'No' he told himself, 'Blaze still needs my help.' So Silver regretfully opened his drooping eyelids and looked to his right, where he knew Blaze would be.

Only she wasn't there.

Startled, Silver looked every direction at once while still lying down, frantically trying to see where she went. His worries quickly relaxed when he found that she was just lying to his left with Ry beside her.

'Odd, I was sure that Blaze was on my right this whole time.' Silver thought. He ignored this flaw of logic though, and instead crawled to Blaze's side.

"Blaze, Blaze, you awake?" Silver asked the cat while shaking her shoulder. She didn't move, so Silver assumed that she was unconscious. He first grabbed Ry, who was passed out next to Blaze, and crawled out from underneath the alcove, putting Ry down on a stable surface inside the obliterated room. He then limped over to Blaze and was about to grab her hand to pull her out…

…When somebody suddenly tapped him on the shoulder behind him. "Want a hand?"

Silver jumped from shock and fright and quickly turned around to see… Bean! And Honey beside him. In fact, everyone who lived in the camp started to enter the room right at that moment, starting with Grandma Garnet. She ran over to Silver and gave him a big, bone-crushing hug. "Oh, I was so worried about you two," she wept, "I'm so glad you're safe!" She then let go of Silver and tried to be stern. "Silver, don't ever go into such a small, enclosed space like that when there's a fire, it's not safe. If you escaped like the rest of us then we wouldn't have needed to go looking for you."

"I'm sorry…" Silver whispered as he hung his head.

"Don't be sorry dear, you didn't know. Just don't do it again, okay?" Grandma said, "Okay, now you think we should be getting Blaze out of there?"

"Yeah, of course."

Grandma walked over to the alcove where Blaze lied unconscious and picked her up and lay her on the ground in front of Silver. She seemed to be twitching in her sleep and mumbling something. Silver put his ear close to Blaze's mouth to try to hear what she was saying: "Silver…Silver…Silver."

'Huh? Is she dreaming about me?' Silver wondered.

"Silver. Silver. Silver," she said a good deal louder.

Now Bean and Honey were next to him. "Why do you think she's calling your name, Silver?" Bean asked him.

"I don't know," he answered.

"Silver! Silver! SILVER!!"


Silver woke with a start, finding himself lying on something jagged that pressed into his back. He opened his eyes to see Blaze hovering over him with a worried look on her face. He pushed himself up into a sitting position, rubbing his aching back, and looked to Blaze. "What happened?" he asked.

"Y-You passed out when we were in that…that hole in the wall. I had to drag you and Ry out," Blaze said, seemingly struggling to hold back tears.

Silver noticed Ry asleep next to him, before looking back at the purple cat. "Why are you crying Blaze?" he asked.

"Are you that naïve, Silver!?" Blaze yelled accusingly, "They're all DEAD! Bean and Honey and everyone we've ever known! Do you understand this!?" Her tears were flowing now.

"What!?" Silver exclaimed, "B-But, I just saw them! They were all fine. They said they escaped!"

"Then look for yourself," Blaze mumbled, gesturing with her hand to look behind him.

He did so to see a destroyed room, destroyed by Iblis' rampage, and to see twenty blackened corpses littering the area. The closest to him he noticed had feathers…

A wave of understanding finally washed over his face. 'I really hate dreams now.'

The two children, already forced to mature far beyond their years, cried the remainder of the night for the death of their loved ones and the ruins of their life. They were now alone, forced to protect one younger than them, and at the mercy of a world inhabited by the Devil himself.

Stage one in the shadow of Shadow's plan was now complete.

A/N: Eh, I don't particularly like this chapter, though it's only an intro to the events yet to come. Though, come to think of it, I don't think I ever like what I write, so I'm not surprised. Yup, that's why I need reviews, I can never tell what parts are good and which parts need to be fixed, it's all the same to me.

One thing I should note: the kid's name is Ry and the grandmother's name was Mrs. Garnet, right? On my profile, you would notice that I list my name as "Ryan Garnet". That is not my real name (not even close), and I am not self-inserting myself into my fics by naming those characters that (rather, it's kinda the other way around).

Another thing: This story is still a one-shot, what I'm posting are completely optional extra chapters. If you hate where I'm going with this but like the first chapter, you can either ignore everything I add on to this fic, or you can just read every third chapter (which are set in the Silver's "present" and written in the same style as the first chapter).

(Vote on my poll! ...Oh yeah, and review too.)