Author's Note - This story takes a more serious and deep tone than the other oneshots I've written (minus Curse of Immortality), so strap yourselves in for an angst-fest!

Just the two of us

We can make it if we try

Just the two of us

Building castles in the sky

Just the two of us

You and I


Dirty, heavy, tired feet dragged themselves over the moist, dew-covered grass. Worn arms hung limp, unused, unwanted. Hollow green eyes searched for any sign of salvation, of peace. There was a grunt, followed by a soft thud as the lone traveler sat down, his back against a piece of withered gray stone: a tombstone.

His legs and arms sprawled out in no particular direction; he allowed rest to take him into its sweet embrace for a few fleeting moments. A soft whisper of a breeze rustled the grass nestled in the moist soil, giving the solitary figure a wave of fresh air.

His eyes reopened when he heard another set of feet not too far from him, coming from his blind spot: his back. It was in the opposite direction of whence he came, a place where he never went. Almost completely mimicking his movements, the second traveler grunted and with a thud, sat down, his back resting against the other side of the tombstone.

A peaceful moment of silence danced between the two before the first who had arrived decided to speak.

"You're a little late today, Shadow. Usually you're the one here first."

The ultimate life form took a moment to formulate his answer before responding. "I had some trouble with the mission."


Shadow, despite being out of his friend's view, shook his head slightly. "I still haven't managed to catch him."

A growl of anger from the other, amusing the dark hedgehog slightly. "What's the matter, Sonic? Afraid he'll stay alive for another week?"

The famous blue blur closed his grass-green eyes, shifting his head against the tombstone so it was in a more comfortable position. "That's not it."

Shadow quirked an eyebrow. "Then what is it?"

Sonic's response was almost instant. "You've been on this GUN mission for over a year now! Mephiles almost killed you when he came back and you expect me not to worry that you're out there looking for him by yourself?"

The crimson-streaked hedgehog chuckled, his laugh half-hearted and light. "He's been a thorn in my side since we first met at Soleanna, and now that we know he survived, it's no different than before." His garnet eyes narrowed. "I will find him, and when I do, I will bring him to his knees."

"I could help you," Sonic suggested, his voice heavy and low.

Shadow shifted his position slightly. "You know that's not possible."

The speed demon sighed. A soft breeze swept through his fur and quills as he closed his eyes to take in the fresh scent of oncoming rain. When his green orbs revealed themselves again, Shadow was gone.

Sonic tapped his foot impatiently, his eyes searching for any sign of his friend. He had already been waiting here for an hour, and Shadow still hadn't shown himself. Multiple scenarios ran through the blue hedgehog's mind, all involving the ultimate life form somehow dying at the hands of Mephiles.

His right ear flicked at a faint noise.

A beat passed, and a lone silhouette stalked through the darkness surrounding the lonely, mist covered hill. Its form was hunched over and limping; there was no mistaking that this person was gravely injured.

Sonic rushed forward without another thought, making it to the figure just in time to catch the beaten and bloody mass of his best friend before he fell to the ground. Shock and worry dominating his features, the hero slung his friend's arm around his shoulder and led him back to the single tombstone on top of the hill, carefully setting him down so his back could rest against it.

Shadow's breathing was heavy and strained, but he managed to produce a few words from his dry, bloody lips. "I almost had him."

Sonic managed to smile, a gesture that was meant to comfort himself more than Shadow. A sort of reassurance that everything the ultimate life form was going through was for the good of the planet.

"He really did a number on you this time, Shads," Sonic murmured, carefully examining the dark hedgehog's pulverized body.

There were cuts, burns, broken bones, and a literal sea of blood. Never had Sonic seen Shadow so utterly beaten within an inch of his life. The anti-hero had always seemed intangible, partly because of his speed and partly because of his persona. Seeing Shadow like this only fed Sonic's growing hatred of Mephiles.

Shadow laughed dryly. "You should have seen the state he was in when he ran away like the coward he is."

Sonic smiled again, sighing as he took a seat directly next to Shadow, his legs sprawled out on the wet grass. A moment of peaceful silence passed between the two before Sonic decided to break it.

"You should get medical help."

Another beat of silence.

"You know I can't.

Sonic's head shifted in the dark hedgehog's direction. Shadow was gone again.

"Rouge and Amy miss you."

Shadow's head lifted slightly at the mention of the two females. On the other side of the tombstone, Sonic laughed.

"I mean, they really miss you. So much that they won't even mention your name."

"Then how do you know?" Shadow asked, his eyes half-lidded.

"By the look in their eyes whenever they see me."

"That could mean anything," the ultimate life form replied idly.

"Stop avoiding it," the hero smirked. "You're a ladies-man."

Shadow quirked a brow. "Surely you don't think Amy would every stop worshiping you?"

"You're like a brother to her."

"I'm not cut out for something like that."

Sonic shifted, the hollowed-out engravings on the tombstone irritating his skin. "It doesn't matter what you think. Amy looks up to you and she treasures you just like she treasures me."

"I'm flattered."

"You should be."

"And Rouge?"

Sonic winced slightly. Shadow took the pause in the conversation as an obvious answer.

"It's that bad, huh?"

"You have to take her view into consideration, Shadow. You were everything to her, and now you're gone all the time. It's just as hard on me, but I think she took it worse."

Shadow sighed, his next few words feeling like sharp needles in his mouth. "She'll move on."

"And you'll dream on."

The ultimate life form leaned back against the tombstone. "It's for her own good."

"But not for yours," Sonic replied.

"I'm not a child."

"I never said you were."

"But you insist on lecturing me like one."

"If that's what it takes to get through that thick skull of yours."

They laughed. Sonic stood up, his back sore from leaning against the rough rock. Moving his head slightly to look over the tombstone, his heart sank.

Shadow was gone.

"It's funny, isn't it?" Sonic asked, his smile half-hearted and fake.

Shadow raised a brow. "What is?"

"That at one time, we were trying to kill each other."

The ultimate life form held back a wince. The memories of him trying to destroy the Earth not once, but twice, were never ones he wanted to reminisce about.

"And now…" Sonic said with a smile.

Shadow lifted his head.

"We're best friends."

The dark hedgehog blurted out his next sentence before he could stop himself. "Maria died today."

There was silence, complete and utter silence. Not once had Shadow mentioned Maria since Black Doom invaded Earth. The ultimate life form had claimed that he had put his past behind him, and Sonic believed him.

Ark, the GUN massacre, and Maria were delicate subjects, so delicate that they might as well have been made of glass. One slip, one wrong touch, and everything Sonic and Shadow had built up over the years shattered.

"Fifty-five years ago to this very day."

Sonic couldn't help himself. A single tear slid down his cheek.

Shadow had been through so much, more than a person should have to go through in one life time. He was artificially created by an alien overlord, his closest friend and first love had been killed in front of his eyes, and he had manipulated by others more times than the blue hedgehog could count.

No one could fathom the depth of Shadow's pain. Not even Sonic.

Sonic knew that if those things had happened to him, he wouldn't be as calm and collected as the black hedgehog. Not even close. The hero's sanity was on the brink already as it was, with just the loss of one friend to a year-long mission. These meeting with Shadow were the only things that kept him from slipping off the edge into a sea of madness.

"I'm sorry, Shadow," Sonic whispered. "I'm sorry…about everything."

The ultimate life form laughed. "You're saying that as if you're the one who did all those things." His tone dropped. "You have nothing to be sorry for, Sonic. In fact, I should be thanking you…"

Sonic perked up.

"You're the first one to acknowledge me the way Maria did."



The blue hero perked up. That voice, it was definitely female.

"Where are you?"

A second voice, belonging to a female as well.

Sonic stood up, wiping away the wet pieces of grass that were strewn over his body. Through the mist surrounding the hill he was on, the hero could clearly see two silhouettes making their way over to him.

A moment passed, and then Amy and Rouge were in front of them. The worried looks in their eyes were enough to tell Sonic that something was horribly wrong.

"Is this where you have been going every night?" Amy asked, her voice quivering. The shock in her jade-green eyes was so clear it caused Sonic's stomach to churn.

"We heard you talking," Rouge said, her voice equally low and her eyes holding a sense of fear. "Is there anyone else here with you?"

"What are you talking about?" Sonic asked, his voice rising in tone. "Shadow's sitting right there!" He hiked a thumb towards the tombstone behind him without turning around.

"Oh my…" Amy trailed off, tears beginning to well in her eyes.

Before the rose hedgehog could stop herself, she flung herself into Rouge's arms, sobbing. The bat spoke to the younger female quietly, reassuring her that everything was all right.

"What the hell's wrong with you guys?" Sonic yelled.

"Sonic…" Rouge whispered.

Her voice was so low and serious that it caused the blue hedgehog to back up a few steps until he felt his back collide with the rough form of the lonely tombstone.

"…Shadow's been dead for over a year."

Sonic's eyes doubled in size. "What are you talking about? He's right behind me!"

The blue hero spun around, expecting to see his dark counterpart stand there with that look of annoyance and curiosity. But, there was no one.


"No, no, no…"

Not once since he started coming to the lonely hill had Sonic bothered to actually take a closer look at the tombstone he always sat against. Now, with his mind shattering, he lowered his gaze until he could clearly see the name inscribed into the dirty, withering rock.


Sonic fell to his knees.

Shadow the Hedgehog.

Author's Note: Wow, don't know where that came from. But, I hope everyone enjoyed it! Be sure to drop a review and tell me how it was!

Also, here's the final preview to In the End Part 2. The release date is at the bottom, so be sure to check it out!

'That doesn't matter,' the sea-blue hedgehog decided in his mind. 'I've gotta save Rouge!'

Eclipse's half-lidded, ragingly impassive lead-colored eyes landed on the charging white bat. That look sent shivers down her spine. But she ignored it.

Just like she ignored her friend's frantic calls...

Just like she ignored Shadow's cold, piercing red eyes darting through her mind again and again...

And just like she ignored the ball of spiking silver energy that Eclipse was gathering within his right palm.

"Foolish little bat," the eldest ultimate life form muttered impassively, indifferently releasing the meager-sized ball of concentrated energy.

The silver ball, surrounded by sparking and dancing bolts of white energy, flew at the huntress faster than she expected it to, creating a loud whizzing noise as it past through the air. There was also way more power concentrated into it than she expected.

And, to add the icing to the top of the cake that marked her doom, the swirling mass of sapphire-blue energy-water surrounding her decided to fade away into nothingness at that very moment, leaving the huntress completely vulnerable.

Rouge could only watch in horror as the spiraling ball of lightning-like energy headed straight towards her, a mere arm's reach away from scorching her body...

...Before a mass of blurry blue and beige jumped into her line of sight, outlined by the light given off the attack. The very next moment, there was an explosive sound, followed by the blood-chilling scream of whom she knew was Sonic the Hedgehog.

In the End

Part 2

October 29th, 2008