Shadow stood out on the balcony of his condo, drinking a glass of wine with the bottle in his other hand. He looked back into his home through the glass, sliding doors and sighed. It was his birthday and he wanted to spend it alone: sitting down with Maria and enjoying a confetti cake cupcake he had bought at Amy's bakery. Somehow, Rouge had gotten wind of this and decided to throw him a birthday party. Most people had left before one 'o clock in the morning but, Rouge, Knuckles, Sonic, and Amy had decided to stay and clean up. It was the least they could do before he kicked them out.

Shadow looked back as the doors open and close, Sonic walking up beside him. He took a bite out of the confetti cake cupcake he held, swallowed, and began to speak. "What are you doing out here?"

"Enjoying the peace." Shadow looked at the cupcake and then at Sonic. "Which you have so promptly destroyed." He watched Sonic begin to take yet another bite. "Give me that!" He snatched the treat and threw it over the railing; the baked good landed in a downstairs vegetable garden. He would apologize later.

"Hey! That was a perfectly good cupcake!" He looked over the ledge to see where it had landed and sighed. Cupcakes never tasted good with vegetables in them. He looked back at Shadow. "What's wrong with you?"

"I don't know. I was planning on having a quiet birthday but, no, I had to have someone - no, people - break into my home and destroy my evening!" Sonic's ear flattened guiltily against his head. "You told her, didn't you?"

"Well, I found your files while I was snooping at Eggman's and I thought that, maybe we could-"

Smack!

"Who gave you the right to look at my personal file? I sure as hell didn't." Sonic breathed heavily through his nose, cheeks read with pain and anger. Shadow stared at him and turned, throwing down his glass and the bottle. "You don't have to go home but, you can get the hell out of here." Sonic stared down at the shattered glass; there wasn't any wine to drip downstairs because Shadow had drank it all. He was probably drunk right now.

"I just wanted to make you happy." He looked up at Shadow, watching his glare soften. "You seem so lonely all the time and I just hate seeing my friends like that. You remember having friends, right? There's three inside and one out here talking to you."

"They're not my friends."

"Oh? And why is that?"

"Because-"

"Because I believed in you when others didn't? Because we try to do something nice for you like throwing you a birthday party? Or is it because I try to make you happy? Dammit, Shadow! That's what friends do! That's what friends are for! To be there when you're down! There's a reason we do these things! So, why aren't we your -"

"Because if I get too close, I might lose you all all over again!" Sonic's guilt escalated once again. "I thought that maybe if I closed myself off, I wouldn't care if any one of you died." He kicked angrily at the glass shards, some flying through the bars of the railing. "But it's not that easy with you; no, instead I have to care for others, especially you!" He sighed and looked away, knowing he had said too much.

"What?" Shadow crossed his arms and moved to go inside. "Wait, what?" Shadow turned around, dodging Sonic's reaching hand.

"Infatuation." He watched the blue youth look confused and tried again. "I feel…" He tried to think of an answer even the idiot could understand. "I like you. A lot." Sonic stared, dumbfounded. "I think I'm in love with you. Are you that stupid, Sonic?" He leaned against the doors and sighed. "I push you away because I know that you'll never love me back."

"I wouldn't say 'never'." Sonic took Shadow's hand in his. "Maybe I love you too."

Don't play games, Sonic."

"I'm not. I promise."

Don't make promises you can't keep either." Sonic walked up to Shadow and nuzzled into the crook of his neck, inhaling his musk. "Learn from me and my mistakes." The youth wrapped his arms around his black counterpart.

"Teach me." Shadow turned his head to look into Sonic's.

"Once we open this door…"

"We'll handle it when we come to it." Sonic brushed lips with Shadow, intoxicated with the scent of his breath. Sweet yet, spicy with some mint to it. Shadow pulled away, all except for their hands, and pulled the other inside. "What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to get my other friends out of my home."