Epilogue

"Wha...what happened?"

Anthony found himself waking up in a small room. It looked like a hospital room, similar to the one he was in after he first used the Final Power. As he looked around, he noticed he was hooked up to an IV unit and that his and Amy's armors were being recharged in an outlet nearby.

"So...you've finally recovered..."

Anthony turned towards the source of the voice and saw Shadow sitting nearby. He sat up in his bed, with some difficulty at best, and said, "I wasn't expecting you to be keeping vigil..."

"It was my watch," Shadow said.

"Where am I...and how long was I out?" Anthony asked.

"This is an infirmary room on the ARK, and you were out for three days," Shadow explained. "During that time, Sally and GUN came up in another shuttle, rounded up the last of the PHM troops, and took control up here. We currently have the PHM in the cells."

"Good..." Anthony said, lying back in his bed, giving in to his fatigue.

Shadow then looked towards the ground and said, "Amy kept coming in here from time to time, wondering about your condition. She seems to care a lot about you..."

"No surprise...considering the fact I would've adopted her if I didn't find her mother like I did," Anthony said.

Shadow began to feel sad and said, "Maria cared for me as well...perhaps just as much. I had honestly hoped to die after Sonic and I beat the Biolizard...so I could be with her again..."

"...and if you had done so, you would have failed her request," Anthony said.

Shadow looked up, surprised at Anthony's statement, and said, "Wha...what do you mean?"

Anthony looked towards Shadow and said, "Shadow...Maria asked you to make everyone happy. But...when you fell through the atmosphere, Sonic, Rouge, and the others weren't happy because they thought you were dead...you probably saw that in their reactions to you. Maria also wouldn't be happy...she put you in that escape pod so you could live a happy life, not so you could do a single act so you could die afterwards."

"How can I live a happy life?" Shadow said. "Maria is gone...the only person who cared about me was gone..."

"She's not the only one who cares about you," Anthony said. "You have great friends here...some of whom care about you as well. You can find happiness through them." Anthony smiled and then said, "Especially through one in particular..."

Shadow pondered what Anthony was saying. He then stood up and said, "Do you really think so?"

"I know so..." Anthony said. "Talk to them...you'll find out what I mean."

Shadow nodded in understanding and began to take his leave. As he left the room, Amy walked in asking, "Shadow, how's...?"

"You can ask him yourself, Amy," Shadow said, pointing towards a now awake Anthony and then leaving the room.

Amy took one look at Anthony and immediately ran to him, hugging him tightly and crying. Anthony picked the young hedgehog up, laying her on his torso and hugging her back in an effort to comfort her.

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"We should have the shuttles ready to go as soon as all hands are ready," Ryan said, talking to Sally. "GUN's even setting up some of Washu's specialty portals to aid in the prisoner transfer."

"Good," Sally said. "Any news of Anthony's condition?"

"Awake...and currently comforting a crying hedgehog," Shadow said, joining the two of them.

"That's good to hear, Shadow," Sally said. "We'll wait another day then before we ship out, just to be sure he's fully recovered."

"Yeah, if the food replicators hold out until then," Red Sonic said as he joined the group. "I'm surprised they haven't burned out from Sonic's and mine constant orders of chili dogs."

Sally giggled as she and Red Sonic went to check on other things, and Ryan turned towards Shadow, noticing the thoughtful look on Shadow's face. "Is something wrong, Shadow?" Ryan asked.

"Just...thinking..." Shadow said. "Wondering what's left for me now that Maria's gone...and about what Anthony said about finding new friends now..."

"That last part is easy..." Ryan said. He then extended a paw towards Shadow again and continued, saying, "...if you're willing to trust."

Shadow looked at Ryan, and then clasped Ryan's paw and shook it. "I never expected you to be like this, Ryan. Usually, you're trying to challenge me to a fight at every opportunity..."

"That was before you saved the world, Shadow...and made me realize what a jerk I was being..." Ryan said. He then smirked and said, "But still...if you ever feel like a rematch, you can always look for me. Don't worry though...it will be a friendly match this time...and only when you are willing."

Shadow smiled as well and said, "I'd like that."

"Come on," Ryan said, motioning Shadow towards the door of the shuttle bay. "We're stationing an impromptu reunion in the recreation bay to discuss old times."

"Sounds like fun," Shadow said, and followed Ryan out. His spirits almost seemed to be lifting.

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In another part of the ARK, namely a training gym, Lazer and Rebecca were practicing their martial arts to pass the time. After finishing up, they sat down to cool off and began to talk.

"So...I hear you finally learned that sword technique," Rebecca said, "and even gained a super form in the process."

"I guess having five Chaos Emeralds in me was the key to both," Lazer said, unsheathing his sword and looking at it. "I'm glad to have finally been able to use it...and learn it secret in the process. My sensei would have been pleased..."

Rebecca went up to Lazer and hugged him from behind, saying, "I'm sure he still is proud of you. You've helped bring down a great evil...perhaps even greater than Robotnik."

As Lazer turned around and drew Rebecca closer to him, he said, "Right now...I'm just glad I can be with you, in a free Mobius." He then drew Rebecca in closer and the two kissed, finding comfort in each other's arms.

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In the recreation bay, Ryan and Shadow noticed a scene of great camaraderie. Lisa was currently playing with Hogi-San and Kyle, the latter of whom insisted on coming up to check on Lisa. Red Sonic and Mina were currently in each other's arms, looking at the view of Mobius from space. Sonic, Knuckles, Julie-Su, Tails, and Rouge were sitting around one table, which had the Master Emerald in the center of it, and looked up just as Ryan and Shadow approached.

"About time you two showed up!" Sonic said.

"I have to agree...hearing Sonic's whining about having to wait was getting annoying," Knuckles said, causing Sonic to glare at him.

As Shadow and Ryan sat down, the group began to talk about what has transpired. The entire time, Shadow looked at Rouge with several questions running through his head. Again, Anthony's words began to echo through his mind...and he decided to see if Anthony was right.

"Rouge...can we talk for a minute...alone?" Shadow asked.

Rouge nodded and stood up, taking her leave of the group, and followed Shadow over towards a area of the bay which had few people. He then motioned her towards a window, and seemed a bit nervous as he began to talk.

"I've been meaning to ask you..." Shadow began to say, unsure what he was going to hear from Rouge. "Why did you hold on to my bracelet for so long?"

Rouge clasped the area where she previously wore Shadow's bracelet and said, "It...was my way of honoring you, and remembering what you did."

"I see...and that kiss?" Shadow asked.

Rouge began to blush in embarrassment and looked down, unsure of how to answer him. Shadow looked at this reaction and began to realize what was going on. "You really care for me that much, Rouge?" Shadow asked.

Rouge nodded and said, "Yes...yes, I do..." She then looked up towards Shadow and said, "I love you, Shadow. So much so that when I thought you died...I swore to make sure what happened to you wouldn't happen again. I even gave up treasure hunting and helped with security in Station Square...so justice could be served..."

Shadow nodded in understanding, and then said, "I didn't think anyone cared for me as much as Maria did...and if I had allowed myself to die, I never would have known..."

Shadow then placed a paw under Rouge's chin and lifted her head up so she was looking at him. As he looked deep into her eyes, he began to move closer to her...and then the two began to kiss each other.

This action didn't fail to catch the attention of the others, as Sonic, Tails, Knuckles, Julie-Su, and Ryan smiled at the new couple. Shadow and Rouge, however, was oblivious to their presence, as thoughts began to escape their minds while they shared each other's embrace.

"I've finally got the great treasure of all..."
"Maria...thank you..."

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The scene had not changed for the last hour. Amy was still lying on top of Anthony, who in turn was hugging the pinkette. She was no longer crying, but instead was letting Anthony's embrace...the embrace of her mentor and the man she grew to love almost like a father...comfort her.

Anthony looked on the face of Amy, who still showed the red rimmed eyes evident of her previous crying. He sighed upon seeing this and said, "I think I know the real reason I didn't want to fight now..."

Amy, upon hearing this, looked at Anthony and said, "What do you mean?"

"I think I was afraid, Amy..." Anthony said. "I was afraid of the risks I am willing to take to protect Arcadia...afraid of having to risk those who care about me most having to deal with my death." He then took a deep intake of breath and said, "Of all the innocents I didn't want to see hurt...I couldn't stand to see my friends and family hurt...like you..."

Amy looked towards Anthony and said, "That's the real reason you wanted to quit?"

Anthony nodded and said, "Selfish reason, I know..."

"No...not at all..." Amy said, getting up from her reclined position and standing next to Anthony. "It's one of your strengths. You are willing to put others' needs before your own."

"Even at risk of your sadness?" Anthony said, looking up at Amy. "After all you've been through with Robotnik...I couldn't stand to see that. You deserve to be happy..."

"Not if it means I have to see you depressed..." Amy said. "I know how much you want to help others...I can sense that inside you." She then clasped one of Anthony's hands and said, "I'll even promise to be brave and not cry...if you promise not to give up..."

Anthony sat up in his bed and said, "You don't need to do that, Ames. I tried to control my feelings and ended up creating the Dark Gamemaster. Besides...I don't intend to give up anymore." He then looked straight in her eyes and said, "I owe you that much, if not more..."

"I'm glad..." Amy said. She then allowed herself to be drawn into another hug by Anthony.

As the two of them talked, they were watched by Aura, Teila, and Tyreke. Teila and Aura were becoming misty eyed from what they were seeing, and Aura even hugged Ryndar closely while Tyreke held Teila in another embrace.

"That has to be the sweetest thing I have ever seen," Teila said. She then looked towards Aura and noticed that, now, tears were streaming down her face in large amounts. "Aura? Are you alright?"

Aura wiped her tears away and then said, "I'm...I'm fine. It just...Anthony kind of reminds me of my brother, Kharis. He died saving my life like Anthony almost risked his for all of us."

"Oh, Aura...I'm so sorry..." Teila said.

"It's alright, Teila," Aura said, composing herself. "In fact...it's allowed me to make a decision..."

"What decision?" Tyreke said.

Aura bowed her head and said, "I've decided I need to return home...to my own version of Mobius. Now that I have controlled my powers, I should try to give my reality the same chance this world has. Kharis would want it that way..."

"Aura...you can't be serious!" Teila said.

"I am..." Aura said, looking up. "I know I've made some great friends here...but that world is still my home..."

"We understand, Aura..." Tyreke said. "But...you should stay for a while and take some time to prepare...and say your goodbyes..."

"I intend to..." Aura said.

The three of them then walked off towards the recreation bay to join the others, leaving Amy and Anthony alone.

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"All aboard who's coming aboard!"

All of Sonic's and Anthony's group began to file on the shuttle that Ryan prepared for the trip back down to Mobius from the ARK. Gamma and Metal Sonic were busy helping Tails, who was busy using the Cyclone to tow the Tornado GM onto the shuttle and mumbling something about a major overhaul. Rouge and Shadow were even holding paws as they began to board the shuttle, which caused many of the other couples in the group to smile.

Anthony, however, was busy putting on his armor, and noticing the seven Server Chaos Emeralds still attached to it...and to him. Knuckles walked up to him as he was doing this.

"Looks like I'll be stuck with these for a while..." Anthony said.

"Don't worry about it," Knuckles said. "Once we get back from the South Islands region, you can come with me to Angel Island. I can teach you all you need to know about being a Guardian."

"I'd appreciate that..." Anthony said, and then noticed Sonic looking out one of the windows of the shuttle bay towards the planet below. "I'll join you in a minute, Knux."

Knuckles nodded and boarded the shuttle, and then Anthony walked up to Sonic. He then said to Sonic, "You were right...this vacation was what we needed. You managed to find Shadow alive and well...and I actually faced my fear as well."

"Yeah...I know what you mean..." Sonic said.

Anthony then smirked and said, "But NEXT time you think of a vacation? My choice."

Sonic laughed at that statement and said, "You got it, Anth. This is one vacation I need a vacation from!"

Anthony nodded and then said, "Come on, Sonic...lets head to the planet that's as cool and blue as you are."

The two heroes boarded the shuttle and got into their seats. Soon, the shuttle blasted off towards Mobius. Some of the dock crew, however, swore they heard the following as the shuttle left the bay...

"Hey, Anth...since everyone back there seems to be in a couples mood, you should find a girl as well. I think I can hook you up with..."

"Don't...even...THINK about it, Bat!"

THE END

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CREDITS:

Based on Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2.

Sonic and related characters and places are (c) Sega, DIC, and Archie Comics.

Red Sonic and Omega Red Sonic are (c) Red Sonic
FF.net profile: http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=26315
SonicFoundation.org profile: http://fanarchives.sonicfoundation.org/fics.cgi?author=redsonic

Teila Fox, Tyreke, and Guardian Teila are (c) Teila Fox
FF.net profile: http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=44887
Teila's Dimension of Kawaiiness!: http://teila_chan.tripod.com/teilasplace/
~ - Insane Kawaiiness - ~: http://teilafox.tripod.com/enter.html

Lazer, Rebecca Coriander, and Hyper Lazer are (c) LazerTH
FF.net profile: http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=73642

Lisa Echidna, Hogi-San, and Kyle are (c) Lisa Echidna
FF.net profile: http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=20209
Lisa Echidna ArtWorX: http://www.members.tripod.com/zomicca

Ryan "Bat" Perreault is (c) Ryan Perreault
FF.net profile: http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=76272

Aura Starfire and Ryndar are (c) Aura Starfire
FF.net profile: http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=23808
SonicFoundation.org profile: http://fanarchives.sonicfoundation.org/fics.cgi?author=aurastarfire
Aura's Realm: http://communities.msn.com/AurasRealm

Anthony Bault, Heroes of Arcadia, and Gamemaster are (c) Anthony Bault
FF.net profile: http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=62986
SonicFoundation.org profile: http://fanarchives.sonicfoundation.org/fics.cgi?author=bault

Special thanks to Ryan Perreault for helping with the air battle scene!

All rights reserved. Story is (c) Anthony Bault.

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A new day dawns, bringing with it new adventures.

But for now...rest well, heroes...

...and have pleasant dreams, Sonic Hedgehog and Anthony Bault.

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NEXT...

In the aftermath of the adventure...the Companions of Arcadia find their very Descendancies tested...

...and their worlds changed forever...

Heroes of Arcadia - The Descendancies Chronicles
A six story Heroes of Arcadia Miniseries

Coming soon...