Disclaimer: Sonic the Hedgehog and all related characters are owned by SEGA.
Author's Note: This story explores the relationship between Shadow and Amy, and while there may be a few hints of romance, it's strictly friendship-orientated. Also, Amy is fourteen in this story which would make Sonic eighteen.
Under the Rain Clouds
"Sonic, wait for me!"
An extremely irritated blue hedgehog skidded to a halt near a cliff on the edge of Emerald Beach, waves crashing against the jagged rocks beneath him, spraying clots of water into the air. He looked over his shoulder, keenly watching a pink hedgehog in a red dress running towards him. Sonic's eyes narrowed at the sight of the girl. She was soaked with sweat and each step she took was unsteady and clumsy.
She must've been chasing him around Station Square for a while now. He had to admit, Amy had his schedule memorized pretty well for a girl of only fourteen. Each morning at exactly nine o'clock, he would leave his residence and go for a morning run around Station Square and almost each morning, he had Amy chasing him, which either ended in her giving up eventually or him simply shrugging her attempts for a date off.
When Amy finally came to a halt before him, she slammed her hands to her knees, taking deep and shallow breaths as she desperately attempted to bring some oxygen into her much deserving lungs. Sonic's eyes only became more slitted. She would run herself half to death chasing him, and for what? A hurtful rejection that even pained him when he did it? It was time to put an end to it, for her sake.
"Amy," the blue hedgehog began, immediatly catching the pink hedgehog's attention.
The girl straightened up, struggling slightly to do so, and looked her hero eye-to-eye. Was this finally it? Would Sonic finally agree to be her boyfriend after countless hours of product-less chasing?
Sonic's voice was carefully neutral as he spoke his next set of words. "Why do you kill yourself every morning for a rejection?"
This caught the pink hedgehog off guard slightly. It wasn't accepting a date, but at least it wasn't a denial either. Amy was an extremely optimistic person and she always stuck true to her colors.
"Because, Sonic," Amy responded, her voice full of warmth and emotion, "I love you and I want you to love me back."
There was a brief silence, in which only the waves crashing against the cliff they were standing on made any sound.
"But is that a good reason for chasing me around every morning 'til you can't move anymore?"
Amy's mouth opened, her female mind immediately coming up with a rather childish retort, but she bit it back and closed her mouth. Sonic studied her carefully, taking note of her controlling the outburst that was about to come. The rosette female carefully planned her next answer.
"It's to prove my dedication."
Sonic's frown was so obvious it actually stung a little. She took a swing at what she thought was a more mature answer and completely struck out. Obviously, that wasn't what Sonic wanted to hear from her.
"Dedication is one thing, Amy, but unhealthy obsession is something completely different," Sonic replied, his voice even and without tone.
Amy couldn't hold back a wince. Since when were his words so...cold and harsh? He would usually run away from her, a smile on his face, as if he was enjoying the whole thing but now he stood before her without an ounce of humor in his body. Did she finally cross the line, was Sonic going to snap and scream at her to leave him alone? No, she told herself. Sonic wasn't the type of person to do such a thing.
"You've got to grow up sometime, Amy. You can't spend your whole life chasing me around like a love-sick puppy. It's not good for you," came the reply of the blue speed demon.
The pink hedgehog blinked, her mind telling her that what she just heard wasn't what had actually been said. There was another brief flutter of silence between the two, then his words finally sank in. She was nothing more than an immature child in his eyes, a kid, a love-sick dog. Before she could stop herself, she felt her vision becoming hazy with a warm liquid. She snapped her eyes shut, trying desperately to block out the tears that were about to stream from her eyes.
"Sonic," she said, rubbing her eyes and opening them again.
He was gone.
Amy's world fell apart, her heart shattering like a crystal glass being slammed onto the ground. Her eyes scanned the area desperately for her hero, but she knew that there was no point. Sonic could travel at the speed of sound, he was long gone.
Sadness, of course, was the first thing that coursed through her veins at being left here at the edge of a cliff, just having been told off by her one and only. But then, a strange new emotion bubbled inside her, one she had suppressed while she was around Sonic all the time.
Lowering her head, the rosette hedgehog' peaceful jade eyes narrowed, her hands taking a tight grasp of the hem of her trademark red dress. Not a second later, Amy's head snapped up and her mouth widened, releasing the most frustrated and angry howl she had ever mustered.
In a fit of rage, she yanked the headband from her hair, the one she always used to stay pretty around her beloved Sonic and with a reel of her arm, sent it sailing over the cliff and into the churning ocean below.
She froze for a moment, realizing exactly what she had done and what she was feeling right now. She was angry - no, that was a complete understatement. She was absolutely pissed off. Sonic had crossed the line, releasing the young girl's pent-up anger that she had kept in check all those years. On top of that, she had just thrown away her favorite headband.
Calming herself, Amy slowly strolled over to the edge of the cliff, glimpsing over the edge for her lost headband, knowing that it was in vain. The headband, along with any chance of dating Sonic, was gone. Sighing heavily, the hedgehog sat down on the edge of the sharp rock, her pink boots and skinny legs dangling over the edge.
Watery green eyes stared into the vastlessness of the ocean, momentarily lost within nature's majestic beauty. It all seemed so calm and peaceful, nothing like her life. Sighing, the rose hedgehog closed her eyes and raised her head, leaning back on her hands, breathing in the fresh scent of morning.
Amy's face wrinkled in discomfort at just having been hit by a drop of water.
The second drop made her open her soft green eyes, glaring into the sky with all the force she could muster. "Thanks, that's what I needed. How about some more?"
Heaven curtly answered her call.
A soft downpour of rain descended upon the livid girl, her face remaining scrunched up in anger and her position not shifting by an inch. After a minute or so of glaring, her anger finally died down. The soft calmness of a light shower always quelled her anger, no matter what the case, and this wasn't any different.
Amy relaxed, her face still staring defiantly into the now cloud-filled sky, not caring that she was starting to get drenched or that her hair was matted against her head. She probably looked like a total skank right now, with her dress wetly hugging to her body and her hair tussled around her face.
But she didn't care. Why should she?
"You do know that you're getting drenched, right?"
Amy gasped slightly, her head snapping to the side to see the very last person she expected to see at that moment. Well, not that he didn't surprise her every time they met.
There he stood, his black and red fur drenched and clinging to his body as if it was being pulled away, his quills drooping as if to express his mood, his fists clenched lightly at his sides, and his blazing garnet eyes staring upon her with a quiet curiosity.
That was it? That was all that she could come up with? No "Leave me alone" or "Shut up and go away"? She was angry, why wasn't she acting like it?
Well, maybe it was because the black hedgehog had nothing to do with her problem, and on top of that, she just wasn't a mean person.
"You haven't answered my question."
Amy bit her lip, calling back a quick and impulsive retort. Scrambling her brain to find a suitable answer, she opened her mouth to speak.
"I was just enjoying the scenery."
Shadow's left eyebrow elevated, just by a fraction of a centimeter. Was this girl being a smart-ass or stupid?
"I'm not the idiot, I can think logically."
Amy winced. By "the idiot", he obviously meant Sonic. How terribly cliche, to bring him up at a time like this.
"Is there a rule against sitting here?" the rose hedgehog snapped, making Shadow raise his eyebrow a greater fraction.
"No, there isn't."
Feeling satisfied with herself, Amy turned back to the sea, ignoring the onslaught of lukewarm rain and the dark anti-hero behind her.
That is, until he sat down right next to her, mimicking her position to the inch.
The girl disregarded him for a moment, keeping her eyes on the ocean, thinking that he was just sitting down so he could jump off or Chaos Control away or whatever he did. A beat passed, in which Amy held her breath, ready for Shadow to flash away in a blink of light.
She was beginning to turn blue.
'Why isn't he moving?'
She exhaled rather loudly, catching Shadow's attention. With an irritated scowl, she faced him. "What are you doing?"
"Is there a rule against sitting here?"
'Smart-ass,' she growled in her mind.
Amy sighed. "What do you want to know?"
"That depends," Shadow replied evenly, "What do you want me to know?"
"That depends," Amy copied, trying to mimic his nonchalant tone, "What do you want me to want you to want me to know?"
"You're being childish."
"So are you!"
"There's a difference between curiosity and immaturity."
A sigh. "You won't go away until I tell you, huh?"
"More or less."
Amy's eyes closed for a moment, her nose taking in the scent of the fresh rain before she turned to Shadow. Peeling her eyes open, she studied the black hedgehog. Drenched to the bone, a lazy curiosity in his eyes, and a neutral expression. And she was supposed to spill her heart out to a robot like this?
"Fine," she sighed, "I'm sitting here because I'm angry."
"Unlikely," Shadow deadpanned.
"Why so?" she snapped back.
"But not impossible," he finished, making her feel like a complete moron.
She composed herself.
"I'm angry at Sonic for being such an ass to me all the time."
Shadow blinked slowly, very slowly, almost as if he was about to fall asleep. Amy's eyes glistened with curiosity as she studied the ultimate life form for a moment. He blinked again, and she could have sworn that it was slower than the first time.
"Sudden," he finally said.
She blinked, mimicking his lazy slowness of the action. "Huh?"
"Sonic," he explained with a reserved tone, "Has always been dismissive of you. Why react with anger so suddenly?"
She hadn't really thought of that before. In fact, now that he mentioned it, Sonic always had been the meanest person to her out of her whole circle of friends. Hell, she got along better with Knuckles!
"I...guess...it finally...just...I don't know...pushed me over the top?" she finished lamely.
Shadow's tone remained as indifferent as ever. "And what are you going to do now?"
Amy paused, coming up with the most logical and Shadow-satisfying answer she could think of. "I don't really know. I still love him, but...he..."
'Smooth,' she scowled herself.
Shadow observed her for a moment, then slowly leaned back onto his hands, eyes gazing into the rain-clustered sky. Ignoring the stinging sensations brought by the naked eye being hit by water drops, he spoke again.
"It's for your own good."
That caught Amy way off-guard. Mouth hanging open like a fish out of water, she stared at him with wide green eyes. "Huh?"
"Can you think of any logical reason why Sonic is so unwilling to be your partner?"
'Jeez, don't sound like a robot or anything,' she thought with lowered eyelids.
Not changing his position the slightest, he continued.
"Sonic has many enemies, who look for any open opportunity to destroy him, to bring him down, to use something against him."
The drenched, pink hedgehog still didn't catch the drift. Slapping her soaked, gloved hand onto the rough rock beneath her, creating a soft plop, her eyes narrowed intently.
"I don't know what you're getting at, Shadow."
The ultimate life form closed his eyes, frustration setting in. How could a girl of fourteen be so thick-headed, so blind? Deciding not to beat around the oh-so-obvious bush any longer, he finally voiced the breaking set of words that would make Amy understand.
"He doesn't want you to get hurt."
Amy blinked. She blinked again. She blinked once more just for the hell of it. The pink hedgehog had been tossed into a pool of ice water, courtesy of Shadow. It was completely obvious why the blue speed demon always rejected her, but tried to avoid being harsh to her. He cared about her, he genuinely cared for her well-being.
"If Robotnik, Metal Sonic, or anyone else found out that he was in a relationship with you, what do you think would happen?"
"They would...use me against him."
Shadow's smile was nearly microscopic as he opened his dark, blood-red eyes and fixated them on her. "That's why Sonic rejects you. He wants to accept you, but he can't for your own safety."
Amy's eyes lowered onto the waves crashing against the cliff below her, suddenly feeling extremely embarrassed. Feeling heat rise to her face, despite of the rain, a soft blush powdered her porcelain cheeks. It didn't go unnoticed by Shadow, but he wouldn't rub salt in the wound.
"How..." Her voice was meek. "How do you know all this?"
This time, Shadow's mouth arched into a full-fledged smirk, showing off his blistering while canines. "Sonic and I are rivals, we have a special bond. Even though I can't stand him, he tells me things when he has no one else to go to. His dilemmas, his problems, his heart-ache; and it's mostly always about you. I don't ask for anything in return, he does the same for me."
Amy smiled slightly, steering away from the current topic. "The same for you, huh? And what pesters the great ultimate life form's mind? Girl troubles, perhaps?"
Shadow's defenses kicked in. "Unlikely."
"But not impossible," she finished for him, mimicking his words from earlier.
'That's for the 'sitting rule',' she sneered.
"So..." she purred, "What lucky lady plagues the great Shadow's mind so much that he has to run to Sonic?"
"This is how you repay me for talking to you?" the black hedgehog shot back, leaning forward, his eyes narrowed slightly in playful anger.
"There's really only one girl I can think of." She lowered her eyelids teasingly at him. "A white bat with blue eyes."
"Her eyes are green."
"Thanks for proving my point."
For the first time since the start of the conversation, the dark one was completely speechless. He, the ultimate life form, had just been outwitted by a melodramatic teenage hedgehog? He was getting a little rusty.
Her tone became serious again. "Thanks for talking to me, Shadow. I really needed it."
Then, faster than he could say no or dodge away, she wrapped her frail arms around him in a tight hug, pulling him in so his chin came to a rest on her right shoulder. Feeling her wet body cling to him, but through it her luscious warmth, the ultimate life form allowed himself to be taken by this brief moment of gratitude.
Amy relinquished her hold after a couple of seconds, a blush once again settling on her face. "Sorry."
"Maria use to do that," he said before he could bite his tongue.
She froze. Shadow's fallen friend from the Ark was always an extremely sensitive subject, but seeing as how he had brought it up, she didn't have to worry. Trying her best to comfort him, she smiled sweetly at him, making his eyes go a little wide.
"Don't worry, Shadow. You have a new family now and we all care for you and love you."
The ultimate life form remained stone-silent, simply staring at the young pink hedgehog with slightly widened eyes. Then, he smiled back. It wasn't nearly as bright or big as Amy's smile, but the pink hedgehog knew that it was a sincere and rare show of affection from the ultimate life form.
Shadow stood to his full height in a flash, with Amy's eyes following his movements intently. Then, surprising even her, he offered her his hand. Shadow was never this kind or appreciative. He was a cold loner who shut out all of his emotions. In fact, with recent talks with Rouge, she knew that the huntress was the only one who was close enough to Shadow that he would openly converse with her.
Not even daring to let the oppertunity go by, Amy accepted. With a pull as if she weighed nothing, Shadow pulled her onto her feet. For a moment, their hands remained intertwined before Shadow's quickly shot back to his side.
"There's something else," he murmured, reaching a hand into his spiky quills and pulling out a small object.
Amy's eyes light up with glee. "My headband!"
He smiled and handed it to her, watching the female slick her wet hair back with an elegant flip of the head, putting the headband in place to keep the mass of pink under control.
She looked at the black hedgehog before her again, smiling. "I don't care what anybody says, you're a good person, Shadow."
Catching him off guard for the second time that day, Amy leaned in and gave him a soft peck on the lips. The ultimate life form's body iced over, the sensation of their lips meeting for a split second freezing his mind.
Just as fast as it had happened, the girl pulled back and giggled, astonished to see Shadow actually blushing. Then, with a wave, she turned tail and ran off towards the city, the curtain of rain letting her disappear from his sight after a few seconds.
Raising a hand to his lips, he touched them softly, still unable to believe what had happened. That was the first time anyone kissed him since Maria fifty years ago.
"You do know that you're moving into my territory, right?"
Shadow's small moment of heart-warmth shattered instantly. Cocking his head to the side, he saw a blue hedgehog, drenched to the bone, with a hint of jealousy in his eyes.
"Don't worry," he responded, beginning to walk away as well, "It was nothing."
"Better have been," Sonic shot back with a sly grin, "We wouldn't want Rouge finding out about this, would we?"
One leg poised over the ground, he froze in his tracks. With a painstakingly slow turn of his head, Shadow glared at his blue counter-part.
"Not if you want to keep your right leg."
The blue speed demon smirked, wiggling his eyebrows playfully. "Well then, see if you can get to Club Rouge before me!"
In a flash of wind and clutter of disturbed rain, he was gone. Shadow's fists clenched, his hover shoes activating. A split second before taking off, he touched his lips one more time, feeling them to be still warm from her kiss. Then, in a flash of black and red, he was gone, giving chase to his rival under the rain clouds.
Author's Note: Well, what did you think? Good, bad, in-between? I've never done a story with Shadow and Amy before, so this was interesting and fun. I hope some of you ShadAmy fans liked it, and maybe some day I'll write a real romance about them. As for the others, don't worry, I still support Shadow and Rouge, this was just to try something different!
Also, for those of you wondering about "In the End", its second part, starting with Chapter 35, will begin in the Fall of 2008. Once I get closer to that season, I'll know an exact release date. But until then, here's a little teaser for you. Be good and enjoy life, peace!
It was a door. He had slammed open countless doors in his search for his blue hedgehog's friend. But there was something dangerous about this one. It felt...frightening.
Knuckles' chest rose and fell rapidly, an expense from all the sprinting he had recently been performing. The tunnel had led him to another and then another but at the end of the latter was this door.
The one that hid that one elusive and betraying hedgehog that they had all been looking for. A dry lump formed in his throat as he contemplated his options.
Perhaps he should wait for Sonic and the others to catch up in order to have a better chance in case the ultimate life form performed hostile actions.
On the other hand, waiting now would most likely give the ebony hedgehog time to make a timely escape in order to avoid being confronted by his old friends.
The echidna's right, glove-less hand reached for the golden nob on the door.
He felt the cold material slid beneath his fingers as he applied pressure and slowly turned it.
Knuckles' breathing quickened when the door opened slightly with a creak. Forcing himself to continue, the guardian finally slammed the door open without any regard to danger or any sense of caution.
The room was dimly light by a few candles here and there. A small set of stairs led up to what looked like a semicircle of a platform, various computers and equipment littering its space.
A large hole was obviously present on the ceiling of the large room, reminding Knuckles of a skylight. Soft rays of sunshine occasionally tainted by the flickers of shadows danced across most of the ground.
But all this was not what caught the guardian's attention at all.
On the platform surrounded by all of the machinery was a large, stone chair that was carved out to resemble a single flame. It had no handles, only a seat and a back. The entire chair was plainly gray, the original color of the stone it was carved out of.
And upon that chair sat a figure covered in shadows. He raised his head slightly to reveal fiery, crimson eyes that burned hatred into everything they stared upon straight from his dark, ebony soul. For he was...
Shadow the Hedgehog.