A lone creature with gleaming white fur hovered over Earth's remains, surveying the damage. There was not a soul to be seen. Not a shred of life to be found, anywhere. Everything had died with the shattering of the earth, the sudden temperature change, and the lack of sustaining gasses to breathe(oxygen, and for plants, carbon dioxide).
He did not need air, or heat. He was immortal.
On wings he gently glided, looking, searching for anything that lived at all… He scanned with his mind, quickly, three or four times in every direction, and found something…
A frown twisted his expression. Someone, somehow, had lived.
The Voice rocketed in that direction. He was curious to see who could have possibly survived the holocaust… He swooped over what appeared to be something that was enclosed, and had air trapped inside. It may have been a refrigerator, he thought. A girl was trapped in as well, quickly running out of air. She was terrified and alone.
He snickered at her fear. "You already attempted suicide before. Isn't death what you really want?"
The girl did not answer. She could not see the Voice, and did not recognize him by his voice. She knew what had happened to the earth; it had been some sort of sub-explosion that had knocked her into this contraption, and sealed her inside it. It was already very cold, and dark. She had the feeling that leaving the refrigerator would mean a quicker death… She didn't want to die. Not anymore. Even if she felt unimportant, she was afraid to die, just like anyone else.
"So you say death is not your desire… But I say you are in dire need of it. Would you not like to see the world, sweetheart, as it is after the blast?" The white tenrec purred, trying to coax her into leaving her sanctuary. However, this only really pushed her further into her fear. She pressed herself as far away from the door as possible. "You will die in there anyway… You might as well behold the awesome obliteration of the planet on which you lived, since no one else can… At least, you will see it's aftermath." He laughed darkly. He moved to open the door.
"N-no one else…?" This shocked her. Still being alive was a freak accident, and worse, there was no way to keep him from opening the door. She felt defenseless… But how is he still alive too?
"No one at all… it's just you and me." He said in a seductive tone, just for the pleasure of messing with her mind. He had no real interest in her, no matter how beautiful she may or may not be. A laugh followed, and he continued on. "I suppose I'll be very lonely for the rest of my life… Maybe I should keep you as my pet. That way, neither of us will be lonely…"
The girl stiffened. She had no interest in spending time with a creep, especially one who's words were drenched in innuendo. The Voice wrenched his claws between the door, which was jammed. A small amount of air moved to escape. "What do you say, darling?"
The Voice froze, cringing with disdain. The girl had not spoken. It was someone else…
Someone who was like him.
In fact, he sensed there was more than one; there were at least twenty of them behind him. He had no real fear, but he was outnumbered, and outmatched, and it was not possible to outrun them.
The tenrec pulled his claws from the door, which sealed the small gaps in which air had been escaping through. He turned to look at the crowd behind him, all its members exhibiting looks of disapproval. The one who had spoken was a white owl; he was scowling at him. "What have you been doing, and where have you come from?"
The Voice scoffed, rolling his eyes. "I could ask all of you the same thing."
"We were where we always were." The cruelest of them spat.
"So we were…" The owl agreed. "But what about you?"
"I was here. Like I've always been! Trapped, **** you! …I never wanted to see you again."
"You blame me?" The owl sighed.
"Yes! I blame all of you!" He slammed a fist against the refrigerator, evoking a faint cry from the girl inside, who hadn't the slightest clue about what was happening.
"That certainly isn't fair…"
"Certainly, nothing is. You all made my life a living Hell, so guess what? I got rid of the problem, and sent them all to Hell so they can see what it's like! If I could, I'd send the rest of you!"
"Excuse me?" The cruelest one snapped.
"You heard me!" The Voice growled. "Listen, no one stopped me, and I was entrapped. The rest of you had powers and gadgets and gizmos and friends in high places, whatever of the like. Why didn't you stop me if this is so important?"
"We were not informed of your conspiracy." The owl said, pushing aside all annoyance.
A new voice cut in. "And we thought you had brains! We didn't know we had to monitor you like an infant to keep you out of trouble."
The tenrec sneered. "I have plenty of brains. I have more brains than all of you, which is why I was able to pull this off!"
"You think yourself to be so great, little one?" A Great Voice spoke, shaking the foundations of the tenrec's soul.
He shut his mouth, falling completely silent. If he could manage to get away with it, he would not say another word.
"…No." The tenrec answered weakly.
"You have done no damage as great as you think you have. I will restore everything to its state as it was two days before now, and your pride will die. You have done an evil thing deserving of instant death… but you will have one last chance." Some in the small crowd mumbled over this, but they all nodded in agreement.
"…Chance for what?"
"Look at the mortal whom you have hurt!" The owl opened the refrigerator, but kept the air from leaving it's place. He forced his brother to look at her shaking form, shivering from cold and struggling to breathe what little air had not been used up already. Tears fell, though she tried to suppress her fear… it was unsuccessful. The tenrec looked at her without interest.
"So what?" He asked carelessly.
"See, little one, the path you have chosen, and the path that was neglected."
So the white tenrec looked.
And looked some more. Nearly all the others kept him from moving in case he spontaneously decided to attack the already-suffering girl. It was cruel and unusual punishment. At first, he was only looking, but not seeing. Then, he was only seeing, and not perceiving. But once he perceived…
His mind was blown away.
Weather or not the girl meant anything to him was irrelevant. What he saw in her was something he might have seen in anyone, had he bothered to even look before. It was a greater significance. A greater meaning that he had been trying to understand his whole life. Everything had seemed so useless and worthless, and now he saw meaning… Next to that, he saw something else…
Something he had seen in Shadow. Hope.
How could she still have hope when all was clearly lost? The tenrec kept trying to perceive, and trying to understand. He felt as if he was looking at the last pieces of a puzzle. He felt closer than ever before to getting somewhere with this life… but he couldn't place what he saw.
"What have I neglected?"
"You know part of what you have neglected." The white owl said.
"But what else?"
The realization hit him like lightning. He had once understood love. He had once understood how powerful it was, and how Love was everything. He had forgotten. He had forgotten long ago…
He didn't know how to love anyone, or be friends. All within him was corrupted. Love was what Shadow had valued; what all of his friends had valued. Love was something that nearly everyone valued. The whole Earth's wellbeing had relied on Love to stay well…
And neglecting it had given way to the opposite of love; hatred. He had destroyed the earth… Now, he saw, and now, he had regret.
Because he could remember Love now.
This girl needed someone's love to live and stay alive. She needed someone to put her aboard the ARK so she wouldn't die of suffocation. The ARK had managed to escape any sort of destruction, and lingered in place exactly where it had been before.
If no one cared for this girl, she would be left where she was… He wanted to care about her. Even if he just left her on ARK, which he intended to, she would be a thousand times better off. He moved to go towards her, but found he could not. He was held back. He was watching her slowly suffocate and die. It began to torment him, and drive him mad. He had even started to cry by the time she drew her last breath.
He regretted everything, and he wasn't allowed to set even one thing right. He became an emotional wreck.
"Your love has not yet died… From this, all you will know is not to end the world before its time."
A brilliant flash of light split the skies.
Shadow the Hedgehog strolled over to a bridge, heading out of the city. "It's funny… When you tried to tell me to kill Rouge, I had almost forgotten what love was…"
That was the entire point. You spoiled it by giving into her pathetic fussing over you.
Shadow glared at the ground. "It's not pathetic to care about someone else. She was just worried about me… I think it was very considerate of her, especially when we had to fight that faker named Thorn."
Of course you would think that.
"Can't you lighten up?" Shadow sighed. "Your moods always weigh down on me."
Worry about yourself.
Shadow looked over the side of the bridge and at the water. Ducks swam in the pond below. "I don't like you, but I care about you a little… From the way you act, it seems like no one's ever shown you affection."
This received no response. "…You don't want to be cared about, do you?"
"Well that's… depressing… I think if you'd allow someone to care, you'd be a lot nicer…"
You wish. Just be happy you're finally out of the hospital and stop worrying about other people's business, or I'll recite "The Raven" for twenty-four hours straight!
You and your Edgar Allen Poe…
Best poet in the world!
Too bad he's dead…
Shadow smirked. There was one particular poem the Voice couldn't seem to stand.
"But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;"
"With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me-"
Of all the vile imagery…! Stop it! That line is the worst! It's portrayal of Seraphim, which is the correct plural tense, is absolute blasphemy! They covet nothing! Now, let's think about doing something worthwhile.
…I haven't the faintest idea. But in reality, the Voice did have an idea.
He wanted to learn to Love.
A/N: Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed it, in all it's misery… Until next time~