Author's Notes: I don't know how this happened, but I was reading through some of my files and I realized that Partners did not have the right story. Whoops! So after looking and looking, I found to my horror that I did not have any saved copies for this story and am writing from scratch. Hooray for me! (Please take note of the sarcasm...)

Anyway...Rouge and Shadow don't belong to me! If they did I would be living the rich life...

Please R&R!

Forming a partnership was never easy for Rouge. She usually stuck to herself and when she did have a major heist with another partner. She would always work with them like she was planning on splitting the treasure, but it would ended with her betraying them and taking the jewels for herself. It went this way for a while and she would never really have anyone to actually call to her partner. It was just a word she used to make the another agree with her to until the end. Something she carelessly threw around when it meant so much more.

To have a partner was to have a friend. Someone you could rely on in tough spots. Someone who you could talk to and they would never tell a soul. Rouge did not have that. She hadn't really thought about wanting that. In her eyes it was about the treasure, not the partner. They were just a means to get by. Someone you used and ditched.

Things changed though. Rouge couldn't really say if it was for the best or not. Sure you had someone to rely on, but you also couldn't always agree on something. She had found a friend in Shadow though. She found that partner to help her on missions and hunts. It was when GUN, her side job, had told her of a mission that needed her to have this partner. She was a little suspicious about why they wanted her, a top GUN agent, to team up with a rookie until she actually meet her partner.

Shadow the Hedgehog, or the Ultimate Lifeform, was what everyone said to be the best of the best. Rouge didn't honestly understand why they were setting her up with him, but at least she wouldn't be slowed down by a common Rookie. What she didn't realize at the time was that she might slow the mission down for Shadow.

When she had went to greet him, or do her daily 'We're partners, but not really' gig, he looked at her and scowled. Rouge was not impressed, especially after he told her that after this mission they were never going to work together again. He then turned and speed off, not even asking what the plan was. Rouge's eyes narrowed as she spread her wings and followed.

She was very confused by the situation. Usually her partners had made a big deal about working together. She would just spend the time fueling that excitement, they began thinking she's awesome, and then she kicks them to the curb afterwards. This exact moment wasn't how she pictured her meeting with Shadow to be at all. He was sort of the one who automatically kicked their partner to the curb and she didn't like being on the receiving end at all.

Eventually she tried to make small talk with him. He was going at a fairly fast speed, but for some reason Rouge felt like he was trying to at least be considerate to the fact that she wasn't faster than the speed of sound. So she decided that it was her chance to talk to him. Only, she found that he was ignoring her. She glared for a moment until she realized that she was acting like all the others, so that put a stop to the glaring.

Another thing that surprised her was when Shadow stopped to take a break. Of course he claimed that she was the one that needed it. Which was true, so Rouge did not argue. She wasn't use to going at the speed that Shadow had set, so while Shadow scouted out the area, Rouge collapsed to the ground in a heap. She was very exhausted from all the fastness, had yet to actually get Shadow to say a word to her, it was also getting dark soon in the hundred acre woods, and she was hungry.

Like Shadow had heard her thoughts, he brought back two skinned squirrels and started a fire. Rouge was a little iffy about eating the, now cooked, meat. Only after a loud growl from her stomach and an amused look from Shadow, did she eat.

Long after her meal was quickly eaten, she continued to stare at Shadow. He confused her. He had told her that after the mission, they would be nothing but a memory to each other and now, he was treating her kindly and making sure she was at least taken care of. It gave her mixed feelings about the thing. She felt like she could actually learn to work with him and maybe be friends, but she also felt like punching him in the face for confusing her and not acting like she wanted him to.

"Do you always do that," Shadow asked, making her feel like she hadn't heard his voice in forever. His voice had broken through her thoughts, startling her.

"Do...What," she asked. She was a little dazed by the fact that he was actually talking to her. After trying and trying for so long to get him to talk to her, she was a little speechless. She was stuttering over her words, embarrassing herself.

"The staring," he said. His eyes flickered up from the fire. He could see that she was in an obvious state of internal conflict with herself, but he really didn't appreciate the staring.

"What...Staring," Rouge questioned. She hadn't realized that she had been so obvious with the staring. She hadn't really realized that she had stared at him for so long. She could tell just by the look on Shadow's face that he was a bit annoyed by it. "I...hadn't realized."

"Well, you can knock it off now," Shadow said, "It isn't nice to stare."

Rouge would have raised an eyebrow if she had one. She wondered who was he to be giving her a lesson on manners because from what she had seen, he did not have any. "It's not nice to scowl," Rouge shot back.

Shadow's expression made her laugh. He continued to look bewildered even after she had finished laughing and that only made her start right back up again. He had not been expecting her to make a verbal come back.

Slowly his bewildered expression slowly turned into a small uncertain smile. Rouge blinked to make sure it was real, but his smile was gone before she could make certain. He was already laying on his side as he stifled a yawn. She smiled slightly as she did the same.

By early morning, the smell of the fresh aroma of cooking meat hit Rouge's noise. She blinked lightly as the morning sun reached her eyes before she sat up and took in her surroundings. She took in the trees and quickly realized that she was not asleep in her soft, comfortable bed, but on the hard dirt ground. She squeaked when she felt something crawl on her fur and attempted to swat it away. Rouge only stopped having a nervous break down when she hear someone laughing at her and turned to look.

Shadow was sitting by the fire, staring at her. She shot him a glare once she realized that he had been the reason she wasn't in her own bed now. "You mind," She said, referring to his staring. He looked down at the fire.

"Sorry, you are very amusing to watch," he said and she stared at him, widen eyed and mouth hanging wide open. She had never been called amusing before. Hot, Gorgeous, Beautiful, Stunning, sexy, but never had a guy called her amusing.

"You think I'm...Funny?"

"Yeah," he said, nodding, "I've never been this amused during a mission before."

"You just think I'm funny," Rouge questioned. She just wanted to make sure there wasn't anything else to his list of what he thought of her. She wanted to know if she looked hot or sexy or gorgeous in his opinion.

He gave her a funny look. She couldn't really make much out of it though. "Yeahhh," he said. Rouge crossed her arms. She should have known. He probably was one of those guys who had a girlfriend and stayed loyal until the end. The more she thought about it the more she decided that there was nothing wrong with him being taken and loyal.

After they had eaten and had put out the fire, Rouge realized that her fur was covered in dirt. That didn't go well with her since dirt was very noticeable on white fur. So she voiced her problem to Shadow. He rolled his eyes and muttered under his breath. He probably was cursing her out for making their mission longer than it had to be. Of course if he had said that out loud, Rouge would just point out that it was his idea to take a break in the first place.

The lake they found was fairly big in size. It was very miss-shaped, like someone had decided to smash to different size circles together in a zigzag sort of way. Rouge really didn't care. The water was clear and that was good enough for her. She quickly started stripping off her jump suit and high-heeled boots, but left her undergarments on to leave at least something to imagine. She looked over to Shadow and realized, with some disappointment, that he wasn't affected by her almost naked body. Instead he was rolling his eyes as he took off his own shoes and socks.

Rouge opened her mouth to tell him something, but a splash stopped her from saying anything. She watched as Shadow's head come back to the surface and he smirked at her. Glaring at him, she spread her wings and flew up into the air. Then she dived down into the water below. A few seconds later her head broke the water's surface and she gasped for air.

"Show off," Shadow muttered, but Rouge heard it this time and she splashed him.

"Am not," She said, "You started it to begin with."

Shadow answered her by splashing her back. She sputtered as she had not been expecting that from Shadow at all. So she splashed him again and soon it turned into a full-out water war. Shadow and Rouge both seeing who could hit who with the biggest splash. No one really caring about what the really mission was. They were just having fun.

Both drenched head to toe, Rouge and Shadow laid out on the grassy bank, looking up at the clouds. Rouge hadn't slipped into her jump suit because she knew it would be uncomfortable while she was still wet.

"I had fun," Rouge said. She smiled softly as she felt the sun's warmth caress her.

"We failed GUN's mission though, "Shadow said as he recalled that they were suppose to return back to base before the sun had starting setting.

"I'm sure GUN's kitchen can make do without milk for a bit," Rouge told Shadow. She smiled at the sky. Never in her lifetime had she had so much fun with a partner before. Rouge wouldn't honestly call them partners anyway, but as she laid there, looking at the clouds, she realized what it was like to have someone you felt that you could actually rely on and at the end of the day that feeling felt good. She had a found a friend in Shadow, a partner to help her on missions. And maybe just maybe, she would let him take a piece of the treasure if they ever went on a treasure hunt