Chapter One

Shadow the hedgehog stands on a large rock, staring out at the ocean before him. The sound of the waves crashing is almost hypnotic, and he soon finds himself lulled into a calmer state of mind, something he can rarely afford.

"Hey, Shads!"

Shadow's eyes snap open, and he growls in the back of his throat. He turns to come face to face with a certain blue cretin that just won't seem to leave him be.

"What do you want, Faker?"

Sonic shrugs, "Nothing much, just a race."

"Not interested," Shadow turns away from Sonic, and watches the sunlight glint off of the waves in front of him.

"Huh," Sonic wipes his nose with a finger. "Looks like it's finally happened. Shadow knows he can't beat me, so by refusing he admits that I'm the better hedgehog!"

Shadow whirls to snarl at Sonic, "I'm going to make you eat those words!"

"If there's a Chili Dog in there somewhere, then sure!" Sonic takes a running stance, "First one to get to Angel Island, and tag Knuckles is the winner! 1, 2, 3, GO!"

Sonic bolts, Shadow in close pursuit. A family out for a picnic catches a glimpse of them, a flash of blue light followed by a flash of gold light. Shadow keeps pace with Sonic, and the two go neck-and-neck.

"So, Shadow, what's been happening buddy?" Sonic grins as he looks at the ebony hedgehog out of the corner of his eye.

"I'm not you buddy," Shadow growls. "How many time do I have to say it?!"

"As many as you like, but I know the truth. So how have you been?"

"Any time you're not around is a good time to me."

"Ouch," Sonic grips his chest. "That hurt Shadow, it makes me wanna cry... But not as hard as you're going to cry when I beat you!" Sonic dashes ahead after catching Shadow off guard with his talk.

Why you..." Shadow glares, speeding up on his Hover-Shoes to catch the cerulean speedster. "Chaos Spear!"

Sonic dashes left, and right to dodge the bolts of Chaos Energy, "Whoa, Shadow! That's cheating!"

"No rule against it, now is there," Shadow chops a hand filled with Chaos Energy at Sonic's head, who ducks out of the way as Shadow takes the lead.

"Okay," Sonic grins. "Two can play at this game!" He jumps into a Homing Attack which Shadow easily dodges. Sonic rolls into a Spin-Dash, which is slower than he usually runs. Shadow is caught off guard, and barely jumps out of the way before running into Sonic. A whirring sound reaches his ears as orbs of blue light begin to appear out of thin air, and rush towards Sonic.

Sonic uncurls, revealing blue Chaos Energy encompassing his body. Shadow watches him curiously from over his shoulder.

"Ready... Go!" Sonic becomes a flash of blue light, barreling straight towards Shadow.

"Hmph," red Chaos Energy flows around Shadow, protecting him from Sonic's Light-Speed Attack. Soon the light fades from around Sonic, and he's running neck-and-neck with Shadow again.

"You've gotten better," Shadow concedes. "But you're still not good enough to beat me. Chaos... BLAST!"

"Whoa!" Sonic, catching on to Shadow's plan curls, and begins gathering Chaos Energy again. The force of the blast pushes Sonic away, but doesn't hurt him.

Shadow ignores Sonic, instead pouring more energy into his shoes. He's made it to the Mystic Ruins now, and Angel Island isn't too far away.

"Hey Shadow!"

Shadow sees Sonic a few yards off to his left, surrounded by blue energy. Sonic gives him a thumbs up, "Catch you on Angel Island!" Sonic uses a Light Speed Dash to bolt right up a mountain to its summit.

"Don't think you can beat me so easily, Faker. Chaos Control!" Shadow appears right next to Sonic, and trips him up before dashing down the other side of the mountain. Angel Island is nearly right in front of him, and he dashes across the bridge to appear in front of a surprised Knuckles.

"What the-" is all the Echidna has time to say before Shadow throws a punch at him. Knuckles blocks it, and throws a punch right back at Shadow. He flips backwards, off of the Master Emerald's dais.

Shadow drops his fighting stance, and crosses his arms, "I win."

Knuckles growls at Shadow, and then Sonic all but tackles him.

"Score!" Sonic crows.

"Too late," Shadow says with a grin.

"What the hell are you two doing on my island?!" Knuckles grabs Sonic, and throws him down the steps towards Shadow.

"Ow," Sonic groans as he gets to his feet. "No fair Shadow, you attacked me."

"Again there was no rule against it. Aren't these races supposed to decide which of us is better? You can't expect me not to give it my all."

Sonic sighs, "Okay, I get what you're saying. But I call for a rematch!"

"Hold on," Knuckles yells, his temper rising steadily. "You mean you two were using me for a stupid race?"

"Yup!" Sonic gins.

Knuckles glowers at them, "Sonic I could expect this from, but I thought you were better than that Shadow."

"Why should your expectations mean anything to me?" Knuckles snaps some kind of comeback at Shadow, but he doesn't pay him any attention as his wrist communicator beeps at him.

Shadow answers it, "What is it Rouge?"

"Hey handsome," Rouge croons at him. "Long time no see."

"Get to the point."

"Whoa, touchy! Anyhow, Egghead's back in Central City. How soon can you get here?"

"I have a Chaos Emerald, I'll be there in a few seconds."

"It's a date," Rouge winks at him on the screen. "He's on west avenue, please hurry. Rouge out!"

Shadow ends the call, and Knuckles gets in his face, "Hey, I'm talking to you."

"Even if we had time for this, which we don't, I wouldn't be interested. The Doctor is in Central City, so I'm being called in."

"Sweet," Sonic pumps a fist in the air. "Now's a good time for that rematch, Shads. Lets see who can take Eggman down first."

"I'm not interested in your stupid games, Sonic. Not when someone could get hurt. Don't you ever take anything seriously?"

Sonic shrugs, "Fine, but I still wanna help. Hey, Knucklehead, wanna come?"

Knuckles crosses his arms, "Unlike you, Sonic, I have responsibilities to take care of." He turns, and trudges back up the stairs to the Master Emerald.

"I'm guessing that's a 'no'," Sonic says as Shadow pulls a dark blue Chaos Emerald from his quills.

In a flash of royal blue light, the two hedgehogs appear on a rooftop in Central City. Below is the usual mob of terrified bystanders trying to get out of the way. Sonic starts his warm-up routine while Shadow scans the area for Eggman.

Rouge flies down, and hovers in front of them, "It's about time you two showed up. Eggy is just a few blocks south of here, and he's already made a mess of the place."

Shadow nods, and bolts across the rooftops with Sonic on his heels. Within seconds they see smoke rising above the rooftops, a sure sign of a disturbance. They halt on the edge of another rooftop to appraise the situation. Eggman has resurrected his old robot Missile-Wrist, and is chortling his head off while it wreaks havoc.

"He is so running out of ideas," Sonic shakes his head sadly before jumping onto the street to confront Eggman.

"There you are," Eggman leans out of his personal carrier. "It's about time you showed up!"

"Sorry I'm late," Sonic quips. "But I had to bring along a friend of mine."

Shadow warps onto the other side of Missile-Wrist, arms crossed.

"Oh ho! Shadow, well this is an unexpected bonus!" Eggman grins eagerly, "I hope you two won't mind, but I need someone to help me test my newest invention!"

Sonic scoffs, "What are you talking about? I turn that bot into scrap years ago, remember?"

"Oh I remember quite well, Sonic," Eggman glares down at him. "But this is a new, and improved Missile-Wrist. Lets see how you fair this time, ATTACK!"

The green, and yellow robot turns to Sonic, and aims his arms at him. Sonic grins while going into a crouch, waiting to spring at the last minute. For a few seconds nothing happens, and then Missile-Wrist fires his grappling hands at Sonic. Sonic dodges, but to his surprise the hands are trailing him like homing missiles.

While Sonic has the bot distracted, Shadow launches into the air, firing a Chaos Spear at the robot's back. He eyes widen as the bolt of energy doesn't even leave a scratch.

Meanwhile Sonic leaps onto a streetlight with the missiles in close pursuit. He does a short hop just before the missiles make contact, and lands on top of them. A surge of electricity goes through Sonic's body, and he's sent flying with his fur smoking slightly.

Eggman laughs as Shadow dashes over to Sonic, "On your feet, Faker, the fight's not over yet."

Sonic winces as he gets up, "Of course not, Shads! I'm just warming up."

"Well I hope you're done warming up, because we're in trouble. Chaos Spear has no effect, and I can't use Chaos Blast in such a narrow street. I might end up bringing the buildings down on all of us."

"And we obviously can't touch it," Sonic notes as Missile-Wrist reels in his hands. Suddenly Sonic perks up, "Shads, I got a plan!" He whispers it into Shadow's ear.

"Hm," Shadow gives Sonic a look of mild surprise. "That might actually work." They both grin as they settle into a running stance.

"Ready... GO!" They both run straight towards the robot.

Eggman scoffs, "Missile-Wrist, destroy them both!"

"Affirmative," Missile-Wrist says in a bassy robot voice, and launches one of his hands at each hedgehog.

"Now," Shadow barks, and runs to the robots right while Sonic goes to the robot's left. The missiles trail after them as they start running/skating circles around Missile-Wrist.

Eggman watches for a few seconds before he catches on to their plan, they're trying to tie him up!

"Missile-Wrist, desist!"

"Affirmative," Missile-Wrist calls off his attack, and reels in his arms again.

Sonic, and Shadow regroup a few meters out of the robot's range, "Dang it, we almost had him!"

Shadow frowns, "Hm... Okay, now it's my turn." He turns to Sonic, "I need you to get that thing's attention, but stay mobile."

"No problem Shads!" Sonic gives a thumbs up while Shadow growls at the hated abbreviation of his name. Sonic runs up, and starts making funny faces, and mocking gestures at Eggman.

Eggman goes red in the face, "Missile-Wrist, pulverize that pest!"

"Yes Master," Missile-Wrist fires his hands at Sonic again, who takes off in the opposite direction.

Shadow warps to the side, "Chaos Spear!"

The golden bolts make contact with the cables connecting Missile-Wrist to his hands, and severs them. Shadow smiles, the robot can't be so heavily armored everywhere.

"Nice going, Shadow!" Sonic preforms a back-flip like something out of the Matrix as the missiles sail underneath him. They collide with the side of a building with such a force that a slab of concrete the size of a Volkswagen falls from four stories up. Sonic looks up in the nick of time to dodge it, and lets out a sigh of relief.

A bit too soon as it so happens, because the slab makes contact with a streetlight which comes down on top of Sonic. When the dust clears, Sonic is pinned to the street by his midsection.

"Ho ho ho ho ho!" Eggman laughs as he floats forward. "Is it my birthday? Because it certainly feels like it!" From the front of his carrier comes the barrel of a laser, and it's pointed squarely at Sonic.

"Thank you for volunteering to test out my latest laser, Sonic, and I'm not sorry in the least if you don't survive! Ho ho ho ho ho ho ho!"

From out of an alleyway, Amy Rose pokes her head out to see Sonic pinned in front of Eggman. She gasps, "Sonic!" before charging forward, hammer in hand.

Eggman doesn't even notice her as he presses the "Fire" button for the laser. The end begins to glow amber, and Sonic starts to panic. He can wiggle out from under the light, but not before the laser fires!

Suddenly Shadow appears between Sonic, and Eggman. He grits his teeth as his body becomes encased in red Chaos Energy. The beam fires at him, and Shadow holds steady, confident in his abilities.

He eyes go wide as the beam pierces his armor-like coating of Chaos Energy, hitting him square in the chest. The glowing energy fades as falls to his knees, and then his face.

"Shadow!" Sonic finally manages to get out from under the streetlight, and turns his buddy over. Shadow groans in pain, he eyes are barely open. Amy stops, lowering her hammer while staring at the impossible scene before her. Eggman leans out of his carrier, a look of curiosity on his face.

"Shadow," Sonic is panicking again. "Buddy, say something!"

"... Sonic?" Crimson eyes meet Emerald ones. "I can... feel it... Sonic..." He grunts in pain, "This is it for me..."

Sonic's eyes widen in shock, and he shakes his head, "Don't talk like that, Shads, you're gonna be okay!"

Shadow lets out a mirthless chuckle, "Idiot... I know when... I'm beat..." He raises a shaky hand to grip Sonic's arm in a weak grasp.

"Sonic... I made a... promise... so long ago... that I... would give... the people of Earth... a chance... to be happy..." A humorless grin curls Shadow's lips, "My job's not done yet... but I can't stay any longer... Promise me..."

Tears form in Sonic's eyes as he realizes the gravity of what's happening. Hesitantly, he nods, "I promise, Shadow."

Shadow's eyes glaze over as the world goes dark. Suddenly he sees a pinprick of light, and a familiar figure reaching out for him.

"...Maria?" And with that, his hand falls limply from Sonic's arm. Tears fall freely from Sonic's eyes as he squeezes then shut, and clasping Shadow's body closer to him.

It starts in Shadow's fingertips, and slowly spreads. All colors slowly turn a light brown, and his body begins to disintegrate. Sonic sees this, and desperately tries to keep what's left of shadow together while the wind blows Shadow away particle by particle. But it's no use, in a few minutes all that's left of Shadow the Hedgehog is a pair of Hover-Shoes, and two pairs of Inhibitor-Rings. Sonic sobs as the truth hits him harder than any of Eggman's machines ever could.

Shadow the Hedgehog is dead.

Eggman leans back into his carrier, and look of disbelief on his face. Suddenly he starts chuckling. Those chuckles escalate into guffaws, and then he's absolutely roaring with laughter.

"I did it," he shouts to the skies. "I finally did it! I created a weapon that will help me take over the world, and all its inhabitants!"

While Eggman is busy monologuing his soon to be victories, a glint of light catches Sonic's eye. He reaches over, and picks up Shadow's Chaos Emerald. He stares at it with tears in his eyes, and then his eyes harden. His hand squeezes the emerald, and his body begins to change.

His fur becomes much darker, almost black as soot. Quills splay out, and rise into the air like his Super form. His eyes go from green to black, and flecks the color of blood appear. He stands, and turns to Eggman who is too caught up in his own greatness to notice just how much danger he's in.

"All shall kneel before the might of the Eggman Empire, and then I'll take my conquest to other worlds, and-"

"SHUT UP!"

"Hm?" Eggman notices Sonic for the first time, and does a double take. Sonic raises the Chaos Emerald for Eggman to see, and tendrils of black smoke encase the jewel. The smoke seeps into Sonic's skin, taking the emerald with it. The air around Sonic becomes darker, as if the presence of the hedgehog is sapping light from it.

"Well, Sonic," Eggman grins, trying to look unperturbed. "That's certainly a new look for you, very nice!"

Sonic growls, "You... YOU DID THIS!"

Eggman powers the laser again, but Sonic breaks it with a kick before it can fire. Eggman pulls his carrier higher into the air as Missile-Wrist steps forward to crush Sonic.

Sonic chuckles darkly, "Too slow!" Missile-Wrist jerks as Sonic disappears, and then suddenly reappears behind the robot, holding the golden Chaos Emerald. Eggman just has time to make out the hole in Missile-Wrist's chest before the robot blows up.

Smoke absorbs the second emerald as it flows into Sonic. Sonic looks up at Eggman who is frantically typing a command into hi carrier.

"Huh," Sonic launches himself into the air, using a Homing Attack at Eggman. His carrier vanishes in a flash of white light as Sonic passes through the air where he used to be.

Sonic hovers in the air, and black aura swirling around him, "Eggman..." Sonic clenches his fists, and growls.

"EGGMAN!"

The force of that shout causes windows in nearby buildings to crack, or shatter.