A Sight to Behold
There was nothing but a frozen darkness that went on for an eternity. Nothing he did forced it away. Shivering, blinking, screaming. Yet when he shivered, there was no movement. When he blinked there was no change. When he screamed there was no sound.
All was blank. All was nothing.
And then a hand was placed on his shoulder, his name was spoken. First quietly, then louder. Louder still, but he couldn't tell who was calling out. He couldn't see who was touching him.
Something pinched his shoulder, and he jerked forward, gasping. Light exploded around him, causing him to blink to rid himself of the flash of pain it caused. His felt his hands tightly gripping supple hips, but everything remained black.
"Amy!" The name burst from him in a bout of startling recognition. What was he doing here? And, for that matter, where the devil was he? Why couldn't he see anything?
"If he knows who you are, I'm guessing we won't have to worry about another bout of amnesia," another voice said.
That was Tails, his foggy mind recalled. A twin-tailed yellow-orange fox with blue eyes. The inventor of the group, the intelligent one.
"He still looks out of it, though." Another male. Sonic was the main hero, faster then sound, a blue hedgehog with emerald eyes.
An annoyed sigh. "We don't have time to get him outta here." Knuckles. Red echidna with violet eyes, guardian of the Master Emerald.
"Amy, keep him with you and try and stay out of trouble for once." He wanted to growl at the impatience in Sonic's voice, but his throat seemed incredibly dry. And why couldn't he see anything?
There was a feminine hiss. "Fine, Sonic." Everyone was gone except for Amy. "Shadow? Look at me." Her voice was soft. Amy Rose was the pink hedgehog, a wielder of the Piko-Piko Hammer which became more deadly as her fiery temper grew. Once upon a time, she'd clung to Sonic, but that had stopped. Why had she stopped doing that? Did he know? Had she ever told him?
Panic began to beat into him. "Amy," he said again and clung tighter to her hips.
She tried not to let her own pain show. He was holding her so painfully tightly, but there was fear in his eyes. Cruel, plain fear. He was usually so dispassionate, emotionless about everything unless he was showing disdain. Just how hard had be been hit?
"Shadow, I asked you to look at me."
His eyes were sliding side to side and, to astound her even more, his breath began to hitch. "Where are you?"
"I'm right here. You're holding on to me now. It hurts, by the way."
"But I can't…"
As realization hit, she took his hands in hers. Partly to prevent her hips being bruised, partly to comfort. "You can't see me?"
"No. No, I can't see…anything. It's black."
Tears welled up in her eyes. Oh, poor Shadow. "Amy!" she heard from Sonic. "Get out of the way!"
She glanced up, saw the heavy plaster sailing their way, and winced. It wouldn't be possible to move herself and Shadow away in time. Thankfully, a white bat swooped down. With a swift kick, the plaster was split in two, the halves landing on either side of Shadow and Amy.
The bat landed, turned back with annoyance glinting in aquamarine eyes. "That's right, make the pregnant woman do everything."
"Rouge!" Knuckles shouted. "I told you to stay home!"
Eyes bland now, she glanced back to see the echidna holding back one of the 'bots that had blinded Shadow. He wasn't having much luck – none of them were. Slightly worried now, Rouge went to Amy and Shadow, crouching as well as she could with her rounded belly. "What's going on?"
"There's too many of them and we can't figure out how to beat them. They're new Eggman 'bots. Mean and vicious."
Nodding, she turned to ask Shadow a question, but it dried on her tongue. Fear pumped from him in waves, startling her. "Shadow?"
"He was hit," Amy explained when his response was a panicked wheeze. "Now he can't see."
The fear made sense to her now. Shadow couldn't use Chaos Control without his sight, wouldn't know when to use it. Useless. Shadow the Hedgehog greatly feared being useless. "Help me to my feet," she demanded.
Her elbow was grasped by Amy; she was standing. Bombs burst a distance away, rattling more of the weakened ceiling loose. Inside her there were more rattles that had her eyes squeezing shut, breathing deeply to let it pass. "Damn…Amy, get Shadow up. We have to go."
Knuckles was at her side. "He's still got a problem?" It wasn't derision, just surprise. He'd seen Shadow get struck before, much harder than this had been. The hedgehog usually was up before any of them knew he'd gone down.
"He can't see," Rouge murmured, taking his arm. "And I came here to tell you…"
He put a hand on her belly, eyes wide. "Now?"
"Not exactly now, but…You're hurt." The crescent across his chest was splotched with red.
"I told you this is serious, bat girl." He leaned in, kissed her quickly as his lip was split and stinging. "We'll see you at the hospital. Now go."
Plaster fell. Rouge hardly had the time to gasp before it landed square on Knuckles's. But he'd braced for it and was able to catch it. Pain shot into his shoulder, had his eyes crossing. "Fuck. Get outta here, bat girl. We'll be fine."
It was a struggle for composure. "All right. I love you, Knuckles."
It was a struggle to keep the plaster from crashing down on all four of them. "I love you too, Rouge. Be safe."
"Back at you." With half a salute, she turned and helped a limping Amy get Shadow away from the fighting.
Every breath was a struggle. Every step was a battle against pain and a fear that danced coldly on his spine. Useless. Yes, he was that. More, though, was the blackness. It was eternal. Hadn't he escaped the eternal darkness before? Hadn't he? When Amy had snapped him out of it just a few minutes before and…When else? There was a time where he had swam in black, searching for meaning, for answers.
How had he been freed from that? How would he be freed from this?
"Chaos Emerald," he snapped.
He'd spoken. The fear was nearly choking him, but he'd managed to give an order and expected it followed.
"You can't use Chaos Control, Shadow. You told me you had to see where you were to know where you were going."
That didn't matter. Rouge. Couldn't she see such a thing didn't matter? "Chaos Emerald," he said again, not knowing just how weak his voice sounded.
The two women exchanged looks, frowning deeply. "I'll get one."
A hand left one of his and the body at his right was gone.
A few tense moments later, something was pressed into his hands. The familiar pulsation of power calmed him a bit. The green Chaos Emerald, his preference among the seven.
"Chaos Control," he managed and felt heat zing up his arm, engulf him entirely. A separation of time and body occurred. Clicked back together.
A single second only and the sounds of battle were gone. The bodies at his sides remained and the jewel slipped from his sweaty hold. A hand replaced the gem. "Oh, Shadow, you did it. We're right at the hospital."
Hospital. Yes. Did that mean he could fall into the pool of exhaustion? The body at his left cringed, gasped. "Oh, that was a rough one," she murmured a moment later.
"Are you in labor?" came the squeal from his right.
The answer was affirmative. He would have to remain awake then.
"You go ahead, then. We'll be right behind you."
"Fine by me." His other hand was released; the body left.
Arms twined around his waist, a face buried itself against his shoulder. "You'll be all right. Okay? You'll be just fine." Comforting lips pressed against his cheek. "You won't be blind long; I'm sure of it."
Someone was trembling. Himself or her, he couldn't say. Perhaps both. "I'm going to collapse," he managed and did just that.
Refusing surgery? How ridiculous! He wouldn't be able to see again without having surgery! Probably, the doctor said. The blindness could be temporary. It could be forever.
Stretched out beneath crisp white sheets was Shadow. He didn't move in sleep. Only his chest with each shaky breath. Rise, tremble, fall, tremble, rise. He'd woken long enough to refuse surgery and had fallen back into an exhausted state once again.
Furious shouting could be heard behind a nearby curtain. Knuckles's shoulder was dislocated. He couldn't see his wife until it was back in place. A sick crack. The curtain was ripped back, nearly off the hangers. A gold band hanging from the slim chain about his neck glinted in the bright ER lights. "I don't need a damn sling. Or a damn wheelchair. Take me to Rouge. Now."
Bandages covered stitches across Sonic's chest, more on his arm. An icepack minimalized swelling in his knee. A white patch covered his left eye. Blood dried on his split lip. "Third floor, Knuckles. Nurse told me room 192."
The echidna was gone, ignoring his doctor's protests.
Tails, facedown on a stretcher, a tail being stitched back in place. He wouldn't fly for weeks. Both eyes were blackened; he squinted to see. Ten stitches in his cheek, holding the pieces together. A top portion of his right ear, gone. A tooth was gone, he spit blood.
Success had come with a heavy price this time. Hours of time, a plethora of injuries.
Thirteen hours. A boy. Five pounds, eight ounces. A small red echidna, the crescent moon and the North Star displayed proudly on the small chest. He was quiet, instinctively understanding the tensions within the room.
An MRI. Fried optic nerve, damaged occipital lobe. Permanent blindness. Minor brain swelling. Empty words: He should wake up soon.
Amy placed a hand on the baby's head, smiling softly. Grief and joy tangled, fought for dominance.
So much damage.
Big eyes stared, blinked. Wriggled in the soft blue blanket he'd been bundled into. Tiny fists flailed until they could be wrapped around his mother's finger.
Joy won and had Amy's smile widening. "He's adorable."
Good eye sparkling, Sonic nodded. "Yeah. Nice to know something good came out of this."
A small laugh from Mom. "I guess he knew you'd be at the hospital anyway, so why not?"
A proud smile from Dad. "He was due today, anyway. Right on time."
Amy rose, brushed off her skirt. "I'll go check on Shadow and Tails again."
Knowing he'd be the fourth wheel, Sonic rose as well. "I'll go with you."
They were silent as they walked down the hall. "Does your knee hurt?"
"Eh. I'll be fine. Sorry I yelled at you earlier."
Dismissive wave. "Don't worry about it. I know you were just worried. I've never seen Shadow like that."
"Me neither…" A long sigh as they turned into one room.
His legs were shaky, but he was on his feet, his hand pressed against the glass of the window. He could feel it, cool against his palm. Birds chirped beyond, easily audible. He could also smell the strong scent of hopeless clean and sick. Hospital. He was wearing something, could fell the brush of cotton. A hospital gown?
What kinds of birds were they? Perhaps just one? Was it night outside? Or day? Where were his gloves? And his shoes? Why couldn't he see? When would he be able to see again? How had he managed to use Chaos Control without his vision?
Sonic bent to whisper in her ear. "Stay with him a while, okay? I'll check on Tails myself."
A nod and he was gone to the next floor.
She stepped into the room, closing the wide door carefully. "Shadow?"
His back straightened, tension filled his stance. "Amy."
Pressing her lips together, she walked to him, hugged him. His hands remained fisted at his sides, but he didn't shove her away. She was warm, real. He knew just what she looked like, so he could fool his mind into seeing her if he put enough effort into it. The effort made him tired.
"How do you feel?"
"As if I've suddenly gone blind. As if I made a complete and utter fool of myself." Weak enough to ask you to stay just as you are forever.
"Your sight…" How she wanted to tell him that it was temporary… She couldn't lie to him. "You didn't make a fool of yourself."
"It's permanent." It was an effort to keep his breath steady. The black void was permanent this time. Endless.
He didn't know she was looking at him, that she could see that struggle for calm in eyes he could no longer control. He wouldn't be able to hide from them any longer. Pleased yet depressed, she lowered her brow to his chest, let the tears roll. "It's not fair. It's not fair to you."
"I wasn't hit that hard." Slammed through the wall. He'd been getting to his feet when the wall fell onto him. Dodged; it had clipped him and he'd gone down. He hadn't been able to escape the darkness since.
"I know. Oh, Shadow." When his arms came around her, she knew what this meant to him. There was still fear in him that made her heart ache. "You'll be all right. At least you can still use Chaos Control. You aren't defenseless."
You aren't useless.
It remained unspoken, but hung between them until, with a sound of unbearable sadness, Amy took his mouth with her own.
Heat flashed, threatened to engulf them both. At her back, his fingers curled to clutch her dress. He struggled to keep his mind clear so that he could step back. Kissing Amy Rose was an impossibility. A dangerous impossibility, he realized as his tongue slid into her mouth. His body wasn't listening to his mind. No control.
Maybe she would find third-degree burns on herself later. As the fear had before, heat poured from him in waves. It wrapped itself around her even as she lifted a leg to wrap it about his waist. What had been meant as comfort had warped into desperate. Her breath was gone; she didn't want it.
He needed control. Hands grabbed her waist, hiked her up so that they were center to center. He couldn't get his control. Tongues engaged in an erotic dance as she arched close, gripped his shoulders, lifted her other leg. To hell with control.
Teeth grazed her lip. He was devouring her. She could only moan and let the flames burn. His need was overpowering and astounding. She'd never expected this from him.
Perhaps she should have.
Mouths tore apart in sync with one another before the heat could consume them. Breaths were panted out against ears. Bodies stayed pressed together.
Amy opened her eyes and could see how dark his ruby orbs had gotten.
Shadow opened his eyes and violently wished to see anything.
"Shadow," she breathed. The window was cold against her back.
On an oath, his hands swept from her bottom to skim up her back. Sensations filled him, but their accompaniment was blackness.
"You don't have to swear at me."
"I wasn't." At this irreversible damage. At the kiss. At both of them. Not at her.
Anger. Desire. Frustration. Need. His eyes were a canvas, each emotion clear. There was still no control. A hand on his cheek. "All right. Will that happen again?"
Blunt. She was always so. "Yes." More if she didn't untwine her legs. Gloveless hands were against exposed fur. Much more.
One by one her legs lowered. Knees trembled; she held on. "Okay." Amy didn't question her heart. It was in his hands for him to do whatever it wished. Shadow's own was guarded and wouldn't be so easily lost.
"How is everyone?"
"They were all hurt pretty bad," she admitted and ran through the injuries. "But Rouge had her baby."
"He's a very healthy little boy." Her smile was radiant; it didn't penetrate the darkness. "They named him Swift. Isn't that just so cute?"
Regret. He wouldn't be able to see the child of the woman he considered to be his closest friend. "Describe him to me."
She understood, laid a hand over his heart. "He's incredibly tiny. A little red echidna with white circlets around his dreads. His crescent mark is tilted to the side and there's a small dot just above the curve. Like the crescent moon and the North Star. His eyes are blue right now, but that'll change pretty soon. I wonder if they'll be aqua or violet?"
As did he. His nod was careful and slow. His step back was careful and slow. Insecurity. The picture in his mind was hazy at the edges.
Release forms were filled out. Rouge and Swift. Knuckles. Tails. Sonic. Shadow. They could all go home.
The baby closely guarded, Knuckles and Rouge flew off to Angel Island.
His tail still paining him, Tails climbed carefully into the Tornado 2 to fly to his workshop/home.
Limping slightly, Sonic ran for his rarely used apartment.
Amy leading him, Shadow walked home. Insisted on walking, declined the embarrassment of a cane. The black was not as hard to deal with. Other senses had always been above average through vigorous training. Forced to use them alone, he would without a damn cane to help. Without anyone to help.
Her hand was warm in his. More kisses had been shared, each initiated by her at just the right moment. How did she know when he needed?
"Wow! You live here?"
Thoughts were broken. "Maybe." An unseen blush of embarrassment. The address rattled off, a brief description. Arching windows, two floors, wrap-around porch, two intricately carved columns holding a balcony.
His nod. "Yes."
The walkway was winding, the lawn surprisingly lush and green. An old swing hung from the branch of a tall, wide oak. "It's lovely."
"It's a roof." His new prison.
"Mmm…" His hand was squeezed gently. "Would you like me to stay with you for a few days? Just until you get your feet under you."
No. "Yes." Damn.
His fingers were brought to her lips; he could feel them curve. "Okay."
Scare her away. "I only have one bed."
"You'll stay there." Take what he wanted. His finger traced her lips, his other hand turned her. Bodies meshed. "With me."
The thrill brought color to her cheeks. "Okay."
His hand was dropped, replaced by his lips. Her taste slid into him. Sweet here. Tart there. The heat was warmth. Devastating. Yearning. Needing.
Eyes steady on his. The window to his soul now. The need was so big, she hurt from the sight. "Now," was her whispered request. And they were inside.
Twenty-four steps. He'd counted before; the third and twelfth creaked. He didn't have to hesitate; he'd taken these stairs in the dark before. Never the eternal black, but he wouldn't let his feet fumble. He needed. She would give.
They were in his bedroom; his own scent was familiar and filled his senses. He turned to her, laid his lips on hers. She trembled. His hands hesitated. Why? "Are you sure?" He wanted to see her. Was she nervous?
His gloves were removed by trembling hands. "I'm sure, Shadow." Even her voice shook. He wanted to see her. She was nervous.
"Do…" The lights. Did he want them on or off? It didn't matter. They would stay off for both of them. "What do I do?"
An open mouth was on her shoulder, the teasing hint of his tongue had her legs going lax. His name was a murmur of surprise, of arousal.
He would be careful with her. His need was great, but he wouldn't injure her. "All you have to do is enjoy." She was swept into his arms, his mouth found hers once more. The bed was where it always was; his legs brushed it; the mattress sagged slightly under her weight. Under their weight.
Rings, hers and his, fell to the hardwood floor with gently pings. Shoes with thuds. Her dress with a whisper.
Were her jade eyes dark or bright with arousal? Were they even open? Or closed to better internalize sensation? He was desperate to know, couldn't ask.
The final barriers were gone. A careful brush of fingertips, a quiet gasp, a languid sigh. The warmth spread. He drew her to her knees, linked their fingers, leaned in. Lips met. Heat flashed quickly, painfully, before being tamed back to warmth. Names were whispered, his sighed when she slid over the first crest.
He knew, instinctively, where to touch. A brush to the thigh, a caress to the hip, a stroke within that wet heat.
He knew, instinctively, where to taste. Following his hands his lips cruised, his tongue teased. Her body writhed, her sighs went to moans.
What did she look like? Frustration. A fusing of mouths, a desperate plea unable to be spoken. I need to see you.
Soothing, hesitant hands. Murmured and sweet endearments.
An easy slide within, a gasp of pain, barriers broken for the first time. Fingers linked, mouths met.
Pain eased, slow movement began. Her name was groaned. Faster. More. An outcry of unbearable pleasure. The need to see was forgotten, replaced by sheer ecstasy. A velvet fist, she closed around him. And they were lost.
Habits and quirks. They were picked up on, adapted to. Compromises made with little argument. The bed, couch, floor, shower – all were used to mutual satisfaction multiple times as days melted into weeks. Weeks into months. One and then two.
Curled against him, her breath was warm on his shoulder. The blackness hadn't ebbed. It was night, he knew. Amy woke him when it was day and slept against him in the night. In her subtle, sweet way she was keeping him on track. Helping him get used to being unable to see. He couldn't get used to it, but was dealing with it.
But she wasn't failing. He was just stubborn. Clinging to a desperate, unspoken hope. One day. Maybe one day. His lips brushed her hair, she murmured quietly and snuggled closer. He wanted to watch her sleep. Did she look innocent in sleep? Surely, she did. But he didn't know. He hated not knowing.
One day. Maybe one day.
Closing his eyes didn't change the visual. He tried to ignore it as he turned to her and drifted to sleep.
Blue. A double-check of the box's instructions. Blue was positive. And the stick in her hand was blue. It was tossed into the trash and her hands were washed.
She walked out of the bathroom. A clean, damp hand pressed to a queasy stomach. How would he react?
In the kitchen, staring towards the window. In the darkness he could see, maybe, a little bit of light. Experiment. He turned his head towards the floor. It was darker. Lifted his head, it was brighter.
He turned towards the voice, unable to tell if he was even looking at her. He couldn't be annoyed at that; she sounded upset.
Curiosity. Worry. "What's wrong?"
A hand in his led him from the room. "I think you should sit down before I tell you."
His legs brushed the couch; he sank down and tugged her with him. "I'm sitting. Tell me."
Under his thumb, the pulse at her wrist was jerky. "I'm pregnant. Probably two months along."
Understanding. She has my child within her.
Shock. What am I going to do?
Worry. Is she healthy? Does she want it?
Joy. She has my child within her.
Sadness. I wouldn't be able to see our child.
So much was in him. So much that passed so quickly. His name was a whispered question.
One question at a time. "Are you sure?"
One answer at a time. "Yes."
"Will you keep it?"
Her hand pressed to her belly once more. "Yes."
"You'll have to marry me."
A heart danced with joy. "Only if you want me to."
A minor hesitation. His hand covered hers on her belly. An admission he hadn't wanted to make, not until he could see again. "I love you. I want you to marry me."
"Oh, Shadow." Lips brushed softly. "I love you too." Brushed again. "Yes, I'll marry you."
Met firmly, held. "Now."
"But…" There were things to do, weren't there? Arrangements to be made. A marriage license. People to tell. Rings to buy.
He needed. His hand tightened on hers. "Amy, we're getting married now. Today," he amended. There were things to do.
A gentle kiss on her palm. "I think I know how I managed to use Chaos Control before."
A quiet sigh. There could be no refusing him. "How?"
"You've already told me that you were picturing the hospital in your head. I'm sure Rouge was doing the same. I had nothing in my mind at all." Annoyance. "If you'll imagine the places we need to go, I can use Chaos Control."
Another sigh. She rested her head on his shoulder. "All right."
More months passed. The darkness remained, but it had dimmed. If he was near light, he knew it. Shapes and shadows didn't form. Doctor insisted that he was imagining it. Shadow was stubborn.
Amy supported him. He would know, she insisted, a hand resting on her rounded belly. My husband would know.
His hand was there now, felt the movement within. What did she look like seven months pregnant? And did her wedding band still glow like new? Or had it dulled after five months? What of his own? What in hell did their rings even look like?
Her hand covered his. "He's busy today."
"Yes. Are you all right?"
Her smile was soft, lost to him. But he could hear her laugh and wished he could see her eyes fill with the joy of it. "I'm fine. Great."
The kiss was gentle, loving. "Good." He wanted her, but the stirring beneath his hand made it impossibly uncomfortable to act upon those wants.
"Shadow–" A knock at the door. "I'll get it."
Sonic. "Amy, listen, Eggman's acting up again. Tails can see more of those 'bots from the last time. But he thinks they're stronger now."
She couldn't help. She wouldn't let Shadow. "Why are you telling me?"
"Because if we don't defeat these things, that spells huge trouble for you and Shadow. Eggman'll be here next."
Fear had her rubbing her belly in slow, careful circles. "You'll beat them. Have Rouge or Knuckles bring Swift here so they can both help."
He nodded, placed a hand on her belly to feel the child within kicking and rolling around. It was the other reason he'd come. A reminder. This was what he was fighting for: the future. And he wouldn't fail.
"All right. Thanks, Amy." A movement within. Sonic saw Shadow, shame in those sightless eyes. What could he say? What could possibly ease his old rival's obvious suffering? Nothing Sonic could think of.
With a final nod to Amy, he was gone.
"Shadow." She'd seen him, just as Sonic had. Her arms twined around him, held him close. Between them, the baby shifted and rolled to locate a comfortable place within his mother's womb.
"There's nothing I can do." Useless. Powerless. A sudden stab of pain. He would never be able to protect the child that continued to grow within his wife. Not without his sight.
He moved away, walked up the stairs. Amy watched him go. Helpless. Hoping. "Oh, Shadow…"
Someone cleared their throat. Rouge. "You shouldn't leave your door open," she advised. But her eyes were also on Shadow's retreating back. Always sadness clung to him. How could Amy stand to be around such pain for so long?
"It was just for a minute."
Rouge lifted a brow. She'd been standing at the doorway for five, watching them hold on to one another. "Sonic told me you were willing to watch Swift."
"Yes." Smile bright, eyes brighter with unshed tears, Amy walked over and slid the sleeping echidna from the bat's arms. "Everyone has to do what they can. Be careful."
Just as Sonic had done, Rouge laid a hand on Amy's stomach. The future. "I'm pregnant again. No one knows that but you and me, all right?"
"Because I can still fight. And I'm damn well going to. I'm not stupid, so I'll be careful. Take care of my son until I can come back and get him."
Forced a smile. "Okay. Good luck."
Sightless, his hearing was very astute. At the top of the stairs, filled with shame, he heard the door click quietly closed. Pregnant. Because he was blind his pregnant friend was forced to fight a battle they could very well lose. Devastatingly lose.
No. No. No. Hands fisted. Why? Why? Why?
No. Why? No. Why? No. Why?
A hand on his shoulder. "I love you." A belly full of life against his side. "I love you so much. Everything will be fine."
He turned to her, couldn't see her. Would he ever see her again? How he yearned to.
"I love you, too." Palms met. Shame. Fingers linked. Anger. "I hate this."
"I know you do." Hope. Hope. Hope…less…
Hours dragged. Worry was a knife, slicing away the patience and faith. The door slam was a gunshot. Amy was out of the room immediately to see.
Blood. Spilled, dripped onto her floor. A body slumped against the door. Sonic. Bruised. Battered. Bleeding. "They're close, Amy. We've done everything we can, but they're too damn close for you to be safe here. We still have a chance, though. There's only ten of 'em left."
"Out of how many?"
A scream. "Was that Cream?"
A shaky breath. "Just get out of here! You and Shadow need to go, now!" Collapsed to his knees, clutched at his chest. "Go on, Amy."
Glass shattered. Amy screamed. In the living room, Shadow felt something tap against his foot. Chaos Energy flowed around him; he gasped. It had been months since he'd been in the same room as an Emerald.
Power sang through him, the black exploded with color and then darkened again when he tried to hold on to it. "No!" He stooped down, grabbed it. Which one? Which one?
Calm. Energy reading. Red. It was the red Chaos Emerald.
"Shadow?" Barely restrained pain laced her voice.
The scent of blood. "Amy? Amy, are you injured?"
"I…" A gash up her forearm. A shard in that shoulder. "I'll be all right." Uninjured hand on her stomach. "We'll be all right."
Rouge's voice. "Amy, where's Swift?"
"Upstairs. Are you okay?"
"I'll be fine."
"But your stomach…"
A choked sob. "I'll be fine."
Slow, careful steps. Past Amy, down the hall. The blackness brightened just a little. There was light in front of him. The door was open. The red Emerald was clutched in his hand.
"Shadow, you need to get out of here." Sonic's voice was wheezy.
"But what can you do? You could hurt somebody with Chaos Spear, Shadow."
Pain. Shame. Fury.
"Then tell them to move."
"Some of them can't…"
"Shadow?" Amy hand on his arm. "Shadow, come on. Let's go."
Pain. Shame. Fury. Love. The need to protect. Emotional chaos within him raged. His eyes closed.
The Chaos Emerald began to pulsate in his hand. Amy closed her hand over his. "Shadow, please."
A loud bang. Sonic was on his feet in front of Amy and Shadow. A split second. He crumpled to the ground. Still conscious, he got shakily to one knee. But could go no further.
Eggman's laughter, that hideous mocking laughter danced around them with maniacal glee. "Let's see you do that again, Sonic! I couldn't kill Swift that last time, but I will not allow Shadow the Hedgehog's child to be born!"
Pain. Shame. Fury. Love. Need. Fear. It all entangled, all fused. He couldn't do nothing! His eyes opened.
And she was there. Glass in her shoulder. Her belly was swollen and there was such worry and exhaustion in her eyes. Those lovely jade eyes. A gash along her arm. Sonic was on his knees, hands pressed to his abdomen, blood seeping between his fingers. Rouge was holding a baby echidna, her clothes and skin torn very close to where her second child was forming.
Beyond the doorway were metallic monsters. Tails was pinned by his namesakes, his forehead split and bleeding. Knuckles was trying to lift the wreckage off of the fox with one arm, the other hanging uselessly at his side. Cream was hanging from a spine of one of the ferocious 'bots by an ear that was slowly being torn in two.
On his finger, his wedding band glowed like new. On the outside was an ornate carving that he'd ran his finger over countless times, trying to picture it. Amy's matched his. She wore no engagement ring because she'd never been given one.
"Shadow?" And he saw her lips move to form the word.
Acceptance. Questions were for later. He left the Chaos Emerald in Amy's grasp, stepped around her. For a moment his vision wavered and then, as he just accepted that the Chaos Emerald was the only key to his sight, everything cleared again.
He let out a slow breath and, with Eggman's laughter and threat still echoing in his ear, he ran. The wreckage was flipped off of Tails, he and Knuckles dumped at the front door. Cream was off the spike, left alongside the others. Her small chao was scooped off the charred ground.
And the Chaos Emeralds began to gather on their own.
"I…already…went Super," Sonic managed, spitting blood to the ground. "It didn't…work."
When the red Chaos Emerald began to tug away from her, Amy released it and watched it join the six others as they spun about Shadow's waist. The glow was so bright it brought tears to her eyes. "It'll work this time."
"How did he get his sight back?" Tails asked. There was a hiss of pain when he tried shifting his tails.
"I don't know," Amy whispered. One was sent back, two more advanced. Two were sent back, seven advanced. He was piled upon by tons of metal. "No! Oh, Shadow, no!" She thought she'd screamed it. It had been no more than a hoarse whisper.
Eggman's laughter. "Perfect! I'll take them all down with this one shot!"
His thumb moved towards the button that would fire his deadliest weapon.
No air. No movement. All pain.
Eggman, smiling in triumph, pressed the button.
Metallic remains were flung into the air. Eggman's laser struck them, ended them. And Shadow's hand was around the doctor's throat. "No," the human rasped. "You…you were blind…"
"Past tense, doctor." The Emeralds still spun around his body. "Chaos Blast." And the doctor was also past tense.
His feet touched the ground, the Emeralds fell, Shadow's pelt turned from glowing silver to sheer black. In the distance, sirens blared. Closer and closer. With that sound ringing in his ears, with his eyes locked on Amy's, the ground rushed towards him and the world went black once more.
Antiseptic. Detergent. Blood, sweat, and tears.
"One more push, ma'am."
Pain had her screaming. Determination had her pushing. Moments later a cry could be heard. Relief had her laughing. Exhaustion had her leaning back against her husband. "Oh, Shadow…"
Her eyes said it all. Her smile confirmed it. His lips brushed against hers. "I love you."
She wanted a better kiss, but didn't think she could come up with enough air for one. Her eyes closed. "I love you, too."
"Ma'am?" Her eyes opened. "You have a beautiful baby girl."
Shadow stared at the black and pink ball of fluff as it was bundled into his wife's arms. Careful. The soft pink blanket was brushed aside. Gentle. A single finger stroked the tiny cheek. Yes. As love slid into him, his lips curved. He could see that his daughter was beautiful. And so was his wife.
Even a blind man would be able to see that.
All together now: Awwwwwwww!
Yeah, did you really think I was going to let Shadow stay blind forever?
Let me know if you liked it. It was my first time writing in this stilted kinda style...
I dunno if I did a good job or not, so I'd really like some feedback.
Thanks a lot!