Fading Shadows

Bonus Chapter II


A.N. This is some supernatural thing where Shadow's spirit leaves his miserable life behind forever.

* * * * * * *

My eyes opened again. What in the world was going on? Aren't I... dead? Confusion filled my mind as I stood up with ease, unimpeded by the great amount of blood loss and worst of all; the hole in my chest was healed. What's going on? I'm dead! The last thing that clicked in my mind was more of an afterthought than anything else. My pain was gone.

With hesitance, I decided to glance back at my intended resting place. What I saw left me with even more shock than it would if my body and the blood wasn't there at all. My body was there! I turned back to stare at it in absolute disbelief. I was rendered speechless.

"You are dead now, my child," spoke a gentle, heavenly voice. I whipped around to discern the voice. I didn't need to look very hard. Standing meters before me, a beautiful arctic fox with silky white shining fur in a flowing black robe watched me with soft blue eyes. "You don't need to say anything, Shadow. Let me explain this for you. I am Death. I have been sent here to bring you home."

Home? My home is gone...Gone. My home was my loved ones, my loved ones are dead. Dead.

"I know what you are thinking. I can read your thoughts. Your loved ones are dead on earth. But now, they are liberated from their bodies and will live forever."

She appeared far gentler than everyone has portrayed her. Concealed by a flowing black cloak... Brandishing a long scythe that had blood dripping from the blade...

"I am not in my hooded form because you are not destined for Hell."

What? I have caused the death of my family. Hell is where I belong. I could feel my eyes brim with tears... The beautiful arctic fox giggled softly. Her laugh was so motherly and soothing!

"Shadow! Don't be silly! Your heart is pure and blameless. Take a good look at yourself."

I looked myself over with reluctance. I had changed... I was wearing a white robe that had appeared from nowhere, and I glanced at my arms. The red streaks that have cursed my ebony fur were gone, now I was once again solid black with no scarlet that looked eerily like stains of blood. From the corner of my vision, I saw something white. Directly behind me, a pair of white feathered wings was neatly folded, and I followed my instinct, trying to turn further to get a better look at them. They turned with me, causing me to growl in frustration. Death softly laughed again.

"Shadow, those are your wings. You are an angel, like me."

I stopped in the middle of my attempt and looked back at Death. My eyes widened as my mouth gaped open. I was speechless again, my voice smothered with the shock of her revelation. "An... angel?" I am... an angel? But I have caused death and misery for everyone I have tried to bond with! How could I be an angel!? The next sound I made since I died was a sob. "How?" My word was followed by a bitter sob as tears fell from my eyes.

"No wonder you are an angel, Shadow. You are so modest! Now get ready. It is time to go home..."

Home... Home... For the first time in a long time, my tears were tears of joy, not tears of misery and grief as they always have been. I am going home...

Something I spotted from the corner of my eye interrupted my thoughts. I saw a golden and white shape approach us. Oh no... Tails... He found my body... I turned back to Death. What now? I am sure they will question my death and just let me slip from memory.

"Tails... Look at him, Shadow."

I hesitantly did as I was told. I could see shock flash through his deep blue eyes, followed by guilt. I felt the sting of guilt myself as I saw tears fill his large blue eyes. Poor Tails! He cared about me? But he had no time for me! No one did...

I could see Tails mouth something softly before he embraced my body. Unexpectedly, I felt his arms wrap around my chest and his warmth filled my heart. Finally, he screamed something out to the sky, but I could not hear it. He said my name...

I turned back to Death once more. "What will happen to him?" I asked. "Shadow, he will be fine. Everyone will miss you. They'll regret ignoring you for a long time. Now that you're gone, they will give you a funeral. Now, let's go home..." I want to be at the funeral. Death, please allow me to be at the funeral... "As you wish my angel..."

* * * * * * *

Without warning, a white flash burned my eyes before we stood beside a coffin and a familiar group. The day was bright and sunny. We were standing between two birches that were in the cemetery, and they provided moderate shade from the bright, warm sun. Wind caused the shadows from the leaves to dance gracefully with the penetrating sunlight. In front of us the coffin waited. Behind it a deep hole was excavated from the damp earth. The coffin was black and gold. Its edges were gold, and its handles were gold, but each face of the coffin was black. The coffin was open, and I saw my own tranquil face. It has always been a sad face, but finally, my face looked peaceful. Bouquets of white roses were placed on and beside the coffin, bringing bright contrast to the dark coffin in a beautiful arrangement.

Everyone showed up; Tails and his parents. Sonic and his parents showed up. Amy and her parents came. Even Knuckles, Rouge, Cream and her parents were there. Tails was wearing a black dress shirt with black pants. Sonic, for once, was dressed up in clothes similar to the golden fox. Cream was wearing a slight black dress and held firmly onto her parent's hands with her amber eyes full of tears. Amy wore a modest black dress that had no sleeves and she had a beautiful, shiny onyx that was the deepest black I could imagine on a silver necklace. Rouge had chosen to bring herself in a black dress that had embroidery of small silver beads covering her breasts. Her aquamarine eyes lacked the life they have always contained, and Rouge was sluggish, exhausted. The pastor, a middle-aged white man with red hair closed his Bible and finished his service.

"...Remember, brothers and sisters. There is a time for everything. Everything, even Death, has a time. Dear Father, we bow our heads to you in mourning. Recently, a lonesome soul cut his life tragically short. He was a good boy. He was pure, honest, kind, and caring. These many things he was, but we did not try to help him when he was alone and heartbroken. We now must face the result of our actions. The angel now is gone from us. Receive his broken heart today, and wrap him in your arms. Give him the love that he so greatly deserves. Amen."

They called me... an angel... Death laughed again. "You are an angel, Shadow!" I smiled as I turned to her. Death, you have such a beautiful voice and laugh. Has anyone told you that before? A faint pink blush could be seen under Death's white-furred cheeks. "Shadow... you are so sweet..."

"I want to, no, I need to say something guys," Sonic started as we all turned to him in solemn silence. "I first met Shadow with envy. I hated him. I hated how he matched my every move, matched my speed, how he talked, the way he scoffed me. I was too busy hating him and watching how tough he seemed until I noticed something about him when he and I fought the Biolizard." Sonic swallowed and took a breath.

"What was it, Sonic?" The pastor gently urged him.

"I saw him when he was almost killed and noticed something in his eyes I never saw before. He looked like he was hiding pain, a deep pain inside. He was just a frightened teenager that was wronged by the world, and I began to respect him after he supposedly died when he fell from ARK. I knew he wasn't a villain at all. He's a hero, and a true one; he never got welcomed back, never got a medal, never made friends. He got no gratitude for his brave fight, and he's a true hero. When he returned, I thought he was better. I believed he was getting over his pain and didn't know he was still hurting inside." The rest of us started to tear up. "He was so lonely, so sad, and yet he was so tough. I was busy trying to get something done when he came to the door. I never knew how much turmoil he was enduring, and now he's gone... forever," Sonic's eyes dropped a tear as his voice broke.

Sonic's tribute for me left me in tears. A hero? I am... a hero? I could feel my tears drop onto the grass.

"I also need to say something." Knuckles spoke up the second time. "Shadow, I never grew close to him, especially him. I felt that he wanted to be left alone, and I was right until he came to the shrine that one time. I was trying to solve a problem with the Master Emerald that seemed solvable and told him I was busy, so Shadow left me by that time. I feel so stupid... I should've seen it. I should have seen his need, but I didn't." Knuckles stared at the coffin as a gust of wind brushed through all of us and rattled the trees leaves, whipping their branches around.

Cream spoke up her tribute and it was simple and innocent. Poor Cream did not do anything wrong. "I want Shadow back!!" Cream broke down crying as both of her parents embraced her. "I liked Shadow. He was so nice to me... s-so n-n-nice t-to m-me!" She screamed again, and Tails started to softly sob as tears left his eyes.

"Shadow, angels have magical properties. You might be able to talk to them to heal the wounds and guilt of your friends." The very thought of that made my eyes water even more than they already were. The one thing I didn't want was to leave the others with grief and guilt.

I walked over to Cream and softly whispered into her ear. Cream. You made me happy. You were so innocent. I will never forget you... I heard her whisper. "Goodbye, Shadow."

Rouge decided to speak. "I've never gotten used to someone's death as an agent, but now I see I never will. I remember first meeting him, how cold he seemed to be. I insulted him before he almost died, and I regretted that bitterly. He seemed to be a monster, but inside he was pure and soft. I can't help wondering; if I could have done something differently, would it have made a difference? Would Shadow still be...?" Rouge trailed off as silent tears dripped down her cheeks.

Amy let out a quiet sob before she stated her own comment. "When Shadow interrupted my date with Sonic, my plans for that moment fell apart, and I slapped him... He ran off after I was yelling at him, and I didn't know what I had caused. I feel like this is my fault!" Amy stopped talking and clung onto her parents. "I'm so sorry, Shadow..."

"Shhh. Rose, this wasn't your fault. His death isn't your fault," Mrs. Rose embraced the quivering pink female in her arms and Amy let out a pained sob.

"I became a friend with Shadow. He seemed to be so happy, and he was very sweet. He was an angel. He was funny, and I thought he was cute. I never told him this, but he had gorgeous crimson eyes. I loved Shadow's ruby eyes..." Amy's voice broke.

Her apology made another tear fall from my eye, and I softly spoke to her. Amy, don't worry about me. I'm ok now. My pain and sadness are finally gone. I am free. The girl's response was a whispered cry. "Shadow..."

Tails sobbed quietly as he wiped a hot tear from his blue eyes. "Shadow... I should've seen your pain, Shadow. I couldn't see your pain, and I'm sorry about how I treated you." He paused to sniff his runny nose. "I remember that a tear dropped from Shadow's eye when he said hello and I was busy with something else. I don't know how to feel with inventing anymore. I make inventions to help others, and I was too focused on inventing to help Shadow... when he needed help most of all..." The vulpine had one more thing to say to me as one of his tears landed on the green grass while he looked at my peaceful face. "Rest in peace, Shadow." None of you need to worry about me anymore. I am finally free from my misery. My suffering and grief are gone at last... All of the guests turned to watch my body with wonder glimmering in their eyes, as well as relief. The group turned to one another for a moment and all of their eyes held the same emotion. Peace. I believe they heard my message. One after another, each of them left.

"Shadow, now it's time to go. Are you ready?" I felt hesitant as I watched the others silently cry while they left. The angel's next statement stopped my hesitation completely. "Maria can't wait to see you..."

The End