Facade, a story by Anna Marcelli Palmer


They were trying to kill each other.

Pointing the gun to each other's head, standing amidst the empty street.

Two versions of the same profile. Darkness and Light. Thesis and anti-thesis. Mortal and immortal. Their similarities stemed from their differences. Their differences stemed from their similarities. Alongside and apart. Comrades and rivals.

Enemies.

None of them knew how it had reached this point. It had all began as mere competition. A demonstration of power, speed, stamina. Then, as though due to a cosmic cospiracy, a series of coincidences had urged them to fight together. Looking at the same direction. Sharing the same objective. Ready for the ultimate sacrifice.

A sacrifice the dark twin made for both. And he had thought... he had lost him.

The same sacrifice the light twin never managed to accept. But he never spoke of what was left unspoken. All that remained to do was to shut his mouth and his heart, and move on with life the way civilised rebels finish their personal rebellion. Because he was everybody's hero. Because the smile was for the cameras. Because it would be wrong to do otherwise.

Because everybody knows God created Adam and Eve. Thus, a hero needs his damsel, his shiny profile to the world.

Not that she wasn't attractive. Actually, as time passed, he grew more and more fond of her. Even managed to love her. To make love to her. To daydream of their shared future. It seemed to be a good future, after all; it would make them both happy. Her, because it had always been what she wanted. And him, because he could see she was happy.

That is...until Sonic's counterpart returned...alive.

The bastard was alive.
He hadn't died up there.
No part of him was missing anymore.

Shadow had no choice but to watch his rival move on. From afar. From the shadows where he'd never be seen.

After all, he didn't belong to that impeccable world. Nobody adored or admired him. The only woman he had loved with all of his heart was long dead. The anti-hero, the lonewolf, the dangerous machine, the weapon wasn't entitled to taste a spoonful of that beauty.

It started as an ominous attraction, but rapidly grew to a treacherous obsession; obsession as in changing frantically the channels on the TV so as to catch a glimpse of the blue speedster on the newscast; obsession as in throwing in the fireplace every newspaper that carried his smiling face on it.

The face the ebony hybrid couldn't destroy nor kiss. The life he could not steal nor share.

...Sonic, in the meantime, was trapped in something that, to the outside world seemed impeccable, while in reality comprised a personal hell.

Not that she wasn't attractive. It was just that, as time passed, he had grown too fond of her. Even managed to love her. Make love to her. But the perspective of a shared future had turned to a nightmare; it would make them both miserable. Her, because it by no means was what she had wanted. And him, because he could see that she was miserable.

It started as an ominous attraction, but rapidly grew to a treacherous obsession; obsession as in casually mentioning Shadow's name to the team, in an attempt to learn something new; obsession as in luring him to new challenges and races, only to feel his presence nearby. To see how it feels like to be away from the lights, the media, the facade.

The presence the cobalt hedgehog couldn't enjoy nor stand losing. The life he could not steal nor share.

When I hate you, I love you to a point of passion.

How could they not hate each other?

When I love you, I hate you to a point of passion.

How could they not love each other?

That's how it had now come to this insanity. They were trying to kill each other. To set themselves free of what they wanted and nevertheless couldn't have: each other's life, each other's affection.

...It was the only way Sonic could continue playing his role, the only way to make his fiancee happy. Because he had noticed, when the anti-hero was presumed dead, he had actually managed to want her.

...It was the only way Shadow could live his never-ending life in peace, the only way to seek an absolution anymore. Because he had noticed, when he had no news of the Faker, there had been nothing to be jealous of.

They were trying to kill each other.

And the Universe stopped and stared, for it was an unprecedented phenomenon, a creature pointing the gun at a piece of itself.

Standing amidst the empty street, pointing the gun at each other's head.

The rest of the world had melted down to an elusive blur, swirling and dancing around them to ultimately reduce itself to nothingness, leaving only the erratic duet, with no other choice than to pull the trigger. Eyes engaged, earth on fire, hate and desire. Hands shaky; eyes damper with every blink.

Time was frozen, petrified. Someone had to live, and someone had to die. And yet, it all seemed entirely wrong.

Then, all of a sudden, something moved. A gunshot echoed morbidly within the walls of that newborn Universe, comprised only of the potential murderer and his potential prey, threatening to make it collapse in a heap of its own ashes.

But, when the smoke goes down, it's still two reversed images facing one another.

The light twin still has a finger around the trigger.

The dark twin has turned the gun to the air, still looking at his anti-thesis.

Something unexpected happens. Nobody wants to kill anymore. Nobody talks, because a glance can be more telltale than any confession in the world. They just stand there, defeated, devastated. Because now it's clear.

Should they kill the person standing before them, they will have either to live as handicapped, half beings forever, or to commit suicide the second after.

So, the guns simultaneously point to the ground.

Light and Darkness uncertainly take a step forward, examine one another, as though looking at themselves through a distorting mirror.

Faces slowly touch, they exchange an awkward kiss; not a sign of affection, nor a pleading for corrispondence. More of a present goodbye, as the sun slowly climbs up to its celestial throne.

Sonic left in a hurry a moment after, like a rude guest. The streets would soon get filled with citizens, and he couldn't allow himself to get caught like that.

Shadow remained numb, unmoving, a dark expression on his face. He knew they wouldn't meet again. It was part of the silent contract that had just been created between them.

He shook his head and walked to the opposite direction, a cheerless smile on his lips.

It was part of the facade.


A/N: I just feel the urge to admit, I am not a fan of slash pairings. It is just a short experiment I made, (both writing-wise and scenario-wise) in that I had always wanted to write something against homophobia, and the way it makes its victims miserable. And to eliminate distances, I used two straight males, that both used to love a woman, in order to pass the message that love has nothing to do with gender; it may happen to find deep feeling it the eyes of a person of the same sex.

I hope "Facade" only has to do with that.

~Anna