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Chapter 10: Tracking

Alright, Sonic was bored. Again. There was nothing on T.V and Shadow was gone. Wait, why did Shadow not being here bother him? He managed to keep himself occupied before he ended up staying under the same roof as Shadow. Although it was kind of nice to just know that someone will be home at some point every day. Since Sonic lived alone the only time he wouldn't be alone would be when he had company (obviously). And if he stayed with Tails at his workshop then he'll only see him when they're discussing things to try and stop who ever was crazy enough to try and take over the world or the young fox had remembered that he needed to spend some time away from his machines in order to eat. Sonic paused from flicking through the channels and looked at a blank spot in the room as he thought. Having Shadow around was kind of...nice. He had noticed something though last night when he woke up and spotted Shadow by the window. The black hedgehog, the way he saw it, had been acting a little different. What could cause him to do that? As far as Sonic knew, Shadow was a grumpy hedgehog who had a hard time trying to make conversation, making friends, preferred to stay alone most of the time, and still had a soft spot for the Maria he cared about so much. It made him wonder just what this girl was like. If Shadow liked her, she must be special.

Emerald eyes wandered the room, in thought of what he should do today. He stopped looking when he spotted another jacket hanging by the door, this one black, like Shadow's rain coat, only it looked more poofier; more for winter. Jumping up off the couch, Sonic opened the window (the one he fell asleep on) and poked his head out of the window, spotting the figure of Shadow not too far from the apartment block. Pulling his head back in and closing the window a grin made its way up his lips, one that said he was plotting something. He ran to where the coat was, putting it on and finding it to be almost a perfect fit. Almost because it was obviously made for someone with a broader chest. Come to think of it, Shadow was a lot more muscle than himself. Sure Sonic had his own share, but he was more slimmer, more lean and agile. But back to the tale...

Sonic pulled up the hood, hoping that it would hide his face and the eye patch before putting his shoes on and leaving. He went at a quick pace in the direction he had spotted Shadow, resisting the urge not to run a: because it would give away who he was and b: it may injure his leg again, something he didn't want. He soon pretty much was only a few metres behind Shadow, trying not to make himself look suspicious as he followed. Shadow hadn't actually told him where he worked, so he hadn't had the chance to spring up at work and annoy him for service. He slowed down as he saw the ebony hedgehog open the door to a small café that had already been open. Walking in front of it he looked at it. Huh. So that was where he worked. Nice place. And just by looking at it from the outside it looked like a cosy place. Sonic sweat dropped a little as he thought that who would guess that Shadow worked at place like this. He always thought that Shadow would work somewhere more...dark...or destructive...not cosy.

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Why did Shadow have the feeling that he was being watched? Well, he was used to the occasional look he got from people since he was the infinite Shadow the Hedgehog. But it had started when he was about half way to the café. It stuck with him even as he arrived. He tried to take a peak out of the corner of his eye when he opened the door but only saw someone with a black jacket with their hood up. Come to think of it, they looked too small to be human. Oh what did he care? They were just another pathetic creature to him. Unless it was the person following him. Or was it another member from the blasted cult?

"Shadow!" a voice called before a white and pink hedgehog jumped up on Shadow in a tight hug. It turned out to be Belle, in her usual café apron. And she appeared to be quite cheerful now that Shadow was there. "What are you doing here? You don't start work until a little later?" she asked, pulling away but still keeping her arms around Shadow's neck, making Shadow feel slightly uncomfortable.

"I thought I'd come earlier," he stated, which was true. "It is my last day and my trial." Why hadn't that girl let go of him? Having her arms around him like that was a little odd. It gave off the wrong message and he swore he could pick up a whisper somewhere in the café asking if they were together. "May I get to work?" he raised an invisible eyebrow.

Belle quickly pulled her arms back, her muzzle slightly red. "Oh, yeah! Sorry." As Shadow walked pass her to get to the back to get ready she glanced out the window, spotting someone who was apparently watching the two hedgehogs dressed in a black hooded jacket. "I wonder who that is?" she thought aloud. "A friend of Shadow's?"

- - -

So they hugged. So what? It's not like it meant anything! Right! Right!? Urgh, why was he getting so agitated about it? It shouldn't bother him. Shadow should be able to go around hugging whoever he wanted, right? Besides, if he hugged Shadow then the black hedgehog would probably freak. He obviously didn't like the other lying on top of him, as he kindly demonstrated earlier. Sonic ran a hand through his quills in the hood, trying to calm himself down. He looked over at the girl who had made a move on Shadow. Wasn't that the white hedgehog he had met the other day? When it had rained and he had pushed himself too hard? Yes it was her. Bill or something. So that was how he knew that girl. And she was looking right at him. Well just standing there would make him look like a stalker (Hold on! Wasn't he just stalking Shadow!?).

Entering the café he found that it was quite warm compared to the outside, that was pretty windy, and had a nice aroma to it. He found a seat in the corner by the wall and away from any windows. Seriously, why would you want people outside to see you eating or slurping at your drinks? Soon enough the white hedgehog came over and asked what he wanted. He just ordered a glass of water and an omelette to eat for breakfast since he hadn't eaten any. She nodded politely and walked away to go to the back where her grandpa was on cooking duty for the day and told the order.

Sonic looked around the café from underneath the hood, noticing that he couldn't spot Shadow from anywhere while calling himself an idiot because he had seen that the girl's name tag said 'Belle' not Bill. The black hedgehog soon emerged from the back wearing a plain white apron. Haha, Shadow in an apron looked pretty strange since he was all black, except for the white fluff which Sonic knew from experience that it really was very fluffy. Just thinking about how soft it was just made him want to brush his fingers through it again...Sonic really wished that he could slap himself right now. But in a public place that would look like he was a maniac. But for thinking something like that. And about Shadow! A guy! Come on! Sonic the Hedgehog wasn't into men! Well...some people can date one guy, but then date a bunch of girls afterwards. That technically wouldn't be classed as gay if it was just a one time thing. But with Shadow!!!

Said hedgehog was busying himself cleaning any dishes, plates, cups and silverware that had been used that morning, not at all minding that the water was boiling hot and would normally burn people. Hello! He was the Ultimate Lifeform! He could handle anything. Well...mostly anything. He looked up through the door that lead to where the customers sat, spotting that same figure that was behind him when he arrived at the café. What made him curious was that even they had sat down and seemed pretty comfortable they still had their hood up. Why not take it down? Come to think of it, didn't he have a jacket like that back home?

Belle suddenly came back in with another order for her grandpa, but before going out walked over to Shadow. "Um, hey Shadow?" he addressed, getting a 'hmm?' from the black hedgehog. "There's a person out there. They're wearing a black jacket. Whoever they are looked like they were watching us as you came in. Do you know them?"

Shadow again glanced up. The hood was pulled foreword, almost purposely hiding their facial features. But the hood looked long, like it was covering quills so it could be a hedgehog. Wait...black jacket from home...hedgehog...if it was that annoying blue thing he had come here to get away from then he was so going to get it. "I'm not sure," he replied simply. "Have they placed an order?"

"Yes they have," she replied. "A glass of water and an omelette."

Shadow thought for a moment. Was that the kind of thing Sonic would order? Then again, that sounds like something many people would order. "When they get their food ask them to take their hood down. If they protest say that it makes them look like some sort of threat."

Belle nodded. It was true, they did look a little scary. The way the hood shrouded their face...The petite hedgehog quickly went over to her grandpa to pick up an order for someone, quickly doing so before filling up a glass of water for this stranger like they requested. "Here you go sir," she said, putting the glass down in front of them. "Um, if you don't mind me asking, would it be possible to put your hood down? It's just that, well as funny as it is it kind of makes you look like some kind of threat." She laughed a little at this, trying to make light of the situation.

Sonic took a sip from the water, making sure not to tilt his head back enough for his face to be revealed. He gave the girl a look when she said the word 'threat'. 'Oh, I'm a threat? I've saved you and everyone else's arses hundreds of times and you have the cheek to call me a threat?' Sonic shook his head at Belle. "I'm sorry. I have...er...terrible acne."Lame excuse. But it should work, right? It would have to. What else could there be?

Tilting her head to one side Belle asked, "You do?" earning a nod from Sonic (but she didn't know it was him). "Oh I'm sure it isn't that bad."

"It is," the blue blur continued with his lie. "I'm still meant to be in school. But every day I was teased harshly by the other children. It was so hurtful. I was given nicknames like 'pizza face' or 'pimple boy'. All of the bullies would do horrible things to me like lock in my own locker, beat me up after school or just join in on the name calling. In the end it became so bad that I couldn't take it anymore."

Belle by name was holding her notepad to write orders on underneath her nose so it covered her mouth, tears in her eyes at this supposed sad story. "That...That's so horrible. Didn't you tell the principle know?"

Sonic nodded, rubbing his eyes that couldn't be seen because of the hood. Well eye, anyway. Just be dramatic. Which he could be at times. Hey, it's Sonic. "Yes I did," he tried to add a little sadness in his voice. "But he didn't do anything about it. So in the end my parents just came into school one day and took me home, telling me that I would never go back to that school."

Now the tears in Belle's eyes where falling down her face. "I...I'm sorry...that...happened to you," she apologized, hiccupping in between words.

Sonic just smiled up at the girl sadly, his muzzle being just about the only thing you could see. "It's okay. Most of the time I just stay home helping mom around the house. She's glad the extra help is there since dad doesn't really help out much. I guess some good came out of this."

Belle nodded politely at him. "Yeah...It was nice meeting you. I do hope you're acne gets better." She gave a slight bow before returning to the back to Shadow holding her hands together and looking down at the floor, ears folded. She looked up at Shadow who was giving her a look that said 'well then?'. She let out a sigh. "Acne. He has terrible acne...so bad...he had to leave school..." The girl burst into tears now.

Shadow just sighed. One reason being Belle was now crying and the other because that story seemed highly unlikely. Red eyes glanced at the crying girl. He was never one for calming people down when they cried. The only time he had ever tried calming someone was whenever Maria cried or that time that small rabbit lost her chao with the funny little bow and decided to get him to help. Him! Can you believe it? A strange question suddenly popped up in his head. Had Sonic cried before? He didn't know why he wondered it. Maybe because of what he thought last night was still eating away at him. But still, it was a pretty good question. He had seen him look down, possibly depressed (probably why Rouge gave him those pills) but never really cry. It made him wonder if Sonic did that whenever he was alone. Shadow knew that all of the hero work put a lot of pressure on Sonic. He knew of the thrill that he got as well for he had felt it himself whenever he had fought of evil. But then there would be the after feeling, once everything is over. Sometime it would be a good feeling, somewhat happy and satisfied. Until you learn that someone was either injured badly or even dead. Shadow knew of what Sonic was like. The blue hedgehog would probably beat himself up for days, months, years, possibly the rest of his life if that happened.

"...Shadow?"

Said hedgehog looked up from the plate he was cleaning towards the white and pink hedgehog. "Yes?"

"Um...Are you okay? You looked a little spaced out," asked Belle, giving Shadow a curious look. She had known Shadow for only five or six days and knew that it wasn't like him to just zone out like that.

Okay, yes, he had spaced out. Why? Because of thoughts about that bloody blue hedgehog again! Damn it Shadow the Hedgehog, you do not love him! You were just confused at the time and just immediately thought it was love. "I'm fine," he replied simply.

"Belle! We have an order ready!" Gord called over, holding a plate in his hand with an omelette on it. Belle just nodded and grabbed the plate, quickly took it out, figuring that it belonged to the hooded figure, placing it down on the table. "Here you are sir. I hope you enjoy it." She was about to walk away when the other grabbed her wrist to stop her.

"Excuse me but..." he was trying hard not to act like himself, otherwise if Shadow took note of it then it would blow his disguise. "If you're not busy, could you keep me company? It's not often that I leave the house."

Belle pondered for a moment and looked around the café. Well, there wasn't any other customers around. She turned back to the figure and smiled, sitting down in the seat opposite to him. "Sure. Why not? We're not really that busy today. Well. It is still morning." She let out a small laugh before giving the figure a puzzled look. "By the way, what's your name?"

Sonic looked up at Belle, having to think quick on his feet to come up with a quick name. "It's...er...Bill. Just call me Bill," he replied quickly before pretending to look over at the girl's name tag. "And you're Belle? Right?"

The white furry smiled and nodded. "Yes that's me. Um, I couldn't help but noticed that you were looking in when a friend of mine came in. He's a black and red hedgehog with a cute little white patch on his chest." The girl stopped there and looked away with a blush on her face. "...I mean um..."

Sonic tilted his head to one side, feeling something flare in him slightly when she said the word 'cute'. What was that? What was wrong with him? First he was annoyed with this Belle hugging Shadow and now at the fact that she called him cute. "Forgive me if I'm wrong...but do you like Shadow?"

Belle's cheeks immediately turned red and she shuffled in her seat. "N-No. I've only known him for about five days," she quickly said, wanting to just die since her face was so red. And because her fur was white it could be seen.

Why did he feel like he didn't really like this girl anymore? Well, it wasn't that he didn't like her...it was just her reaction. Why didn't he like that? But like Belle said, she only knew Shadow for a short while. Although there was that saying 'love at first sight'. But why did it irk him so much!? Argh, this was annoying! But to keep his act up he just grinned at her. "Whatever you say."

Shadow, meanwhile, had been occasionally glancing out of the doorway at his co-worker and the strange figure. He didn't mean to be sexist, but that was typical of a girl. He asked her to try and get his hood down to find out who he is (getting the feeling that it was the person he thought was following him after Belle mentioned that they were watching them) but instead she was now sat down and having a random conversation to them. Unless she was talking to him to try and get the dirt on him. But it was Belle. And as far as he knew she was like most dim-witted girls. He sighed and finished cleaning the plate he held and then put it on a small rack that held other plates, dishes, etc before getting on to drying them.

Throughout most of the morning Sonic, or Bill, and Belle were just sat at the table talking to each other and laughing at many things, Belle often leaving for a short while to see to customers. Luckily Belle hadn't managed to figure out that it was actually the world famous Sonic the Hedgehog sat right in front of her. Sure they had met and spoken once before and at first he didn't know who she was, but if he were to pull his hood down at this very second everyone would stop eating and come over to him. And most likely question his eye patch. Sonic's face dropped slightly as he thought about the patch. The female hedgehog was currently serving a customer so she didn't notice this. But the whole losing an eye thing...it was pretty sensitive to him. If he was forced to admit, then Sonic would say that losing his sight is almost as bad as his fear of water. Sonic hardly ever took a bath just because there was too much water. Letting out a sigh he sat back in his chair not liking that he brought up the subject of his eye again. Sonic loved to see the world around him as he went on all different sorts of adventures. Most people believe that because he runs so fast he doesn't take anything in. But he does. Whenever he finds a beautiful landscape, whether it being a field of flowers, a lake (just as long as he stayed away from the very edge of it), or even a desert he paused to just look at its beauty. He often found places that no other person would find. Like the Chao Gardens. Not many people found them. But when they did it was often destroyed. One reason why Sonic just liked to stop for a moment or nap close by. Because he knew that eventually...it would be gone. And if he lost his sight fully, then he would never be able to see it all before it goes.

"Sorry about that," Belle said, sitting back down opposite Sonic again. After talking to this guy for the entire morning she had become quite accustom to him and although she knew she should be working she couldn't help but just come over at have a chat. This guy seemed really interesting. Although the story about his acne still upset her (even though it wasn't real but she didn't know that). She just wished that he would take his hood down. Surely he couldn't be as ugly as he made himself sound like. Another part of her was just wishing that Shadow was more like him. Shadow was much more secretive than Bill. He kept things to himself. Like earlier, something was obviously going on in the black hedgehog's mind. But when she asked if something was up he just said he was fine.

"Oh don't worry about it," Sonic dismissed with a wave of his hand. But he soon gave her a serious look. Something was bothering him. About when he asked about Shadow. She flushed. It reminded him of when he had gotten that feeling after admitting about the pills. All the times Shadow had been so close to him. Telling him that he could talk to him. "Belle...can I ask about earlier? When I asked if you liked Shadow?"

Belle again flushed. "Alright, I may like him a bit," she admitted. "I mean, he's so dark and mysterious. A girl likes a mysterious guy."

Sonic just grinned at her. "Yeah. Well I wouldn't really know since I'm not a girl," he said with a shrug of his shoulders, secretly thinking to himself that he knew more about the black hedgehog than she did. Wait, was he feeling jealous? What did it matter to him if the two where always together because of work, or that they hugged, or that she thinks he's cute. Although, Sonic hated to admit it but he did catch himself staring at Shadow sometimes for no apparent reason, usually when the black hedgehog stretched his muscles.

Laughing a little, Belle just gave a nod. "Yeah, I guess you're right there. I asked him yesterday if he would like to go somewhere with me tomorrow since he isn't working then. It'll be just the two of us so it'll kind of be like a date." Her cheeks turned slightly red at this. She knew at the time that it would kind of be like a date. She wondered if Shadow saw it like that. If he didn't but found out half way through, man that would be embarrassing.

Sonic almost froze. "A...date...?" he questioned without realizing his sudden change in his mood. Shadow was going out on a date. With this girl. Oh he was getting that feeling again. That one that he thought was jealousy. Seriously, he wondered what made the black hedgehog wanted to go on a date with Belle. Well he didn't really see any discomfort on his face when they hugged. Had Shadow actually found a girlfriend? But why did Sonic care? What was so bothering about this? Seeing a customer, Belle quickly excused herself and decided to go and see to them.

Sonic glanced around, spotting Shadow out of the corner of his eye placing a few glass behind the counter. He was so confused. What was this strange feeling he was getting when thinking of Shadow? It wasn't the usual rival type he had when around him. And it wasn't friendship. It was something...more. But just what was this 'more'? The two were a lot like a reflection of each other. Where one lacked something, the other would make up for it. But even thinking that made Sonic wonder...Was it just really a reflection...or more?

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Two chapters in one month! A personal achievement for me :) Anyway I felt a little bad that my last chapter was just rushed so I spent all day despite feeling ill to make this little chapter for all you special readers. Now after checking just now this story has 8,594 hits and 75 reviews. Yeyz. Hopefully more. Currently its in fourth place in reviews, second for hits and first for favs :)

Please leave a review. Flames are slightly annoying to me but leave them anyone. Hey it boosts the review part. Honestly, I'm not that proud of it. There are far more better fanfictions than this and I often get down about it. But I still go ahead and write despite how bad this thing is.

Oh and btw, Animesaki, you are ery cheeky for saying such a thing ;) lol

Again, please leave reviews.