I had to get into a sad headspace to write this story...
I know I haven't been updating in the while because of real life and writer's block, but I wanted to write something Sonic related because why not? Also, as you can probably tell, this story is a sad one.
But I hope you all enjoy it regardless!
I own NONE of the characters. They belong to SEGA and Sonic Team.
Shadow was never really the happiest person.
Sure, he would crack the occasion smile towards his companions' achievements and chuckle when someone got hurt. Other than that, he was as stoic as can be. If he didn't blink, people could mistaken him for a fleshy statue.
This facade he had kept for all of these years started to crumble as he grew closer and closer to people he knew. He abandoned Eggman and had made a life for himself in Rouge's home. The two would bond while Omega made meals. The three were like a family of sorts and Shadow couldn't help but enjoy this new life he had created.
He had made friends with Blaze and Amy and them along with Rouge had made shopping trips together. Although he and the princess didn't buy many things, the shimmer in the bat's eyes when she found something she liked made the Ultimate Lifeform chuckle a little. Also, he had grown attached to Sonic, as in the two had a mutual understanding for one another. They would tease one another a bit but it was all in good fun. Shadow and Tails even hung out a little so that the hedgehog could learn mechanics in case Omega malfunctioned.
Everyone else were pretty interesting in their own special ways and Shadow would contemplate at night as to how he managed to get in such a good space.
All of the bad things about Maria, Black Doom, and the ARK were all behind him. Sure, he thought about those events from time to time and laugh about the things that had happened, but his life now made him the happiest. He honestly never wanted to give it up.
He soon realized that he will have to eventually.
Five years had rolled around for Shadow and he took notice of the changes. As everyone else grew up, he remained in his small fifteen year old body. He had went to Tails about the whole matter and the fox immediately started to run tests based around why his friend wasn't aging.
What they found out was not good.
The hedgehog was sitting in the inventor's living room, sipping a glass of water and glancing at the television in the room. When he heard his name, he sat the cup down and stared at Tails with a look of relief.
"Please tell me you know what's going on…" Shadow sighed.
The fox nodded, eyes averting the hedgehog's gaze. "I do...but…" he looked at him with sadness. "It isn't good…"
Shadow's brow furrowed. "What...is it?"
"Well…" Tails sat down next to him. "You have Black Arm DNA because of Black Doom. Because of that, and the fact that everything about you is practically flawless, as in all of your fitness tests is great and your metabolism is practically that of a child...I believe that you're immortal Shadow."
The hedgehog's eyes widened.
"But in all honestly, this is just a theory. Although it makes sense because of how you've came back from the dead multiple times in the past. We could run some more tests just to make-"
Shadow stood up.
This was too much to take in. Back when he was a loner, he probably would've wanted to be alone. But now, with all of the friends he had and the fact that they were all going to die off soon enough. Way before he was suppose to go. It was too much for him to take in.
Tails stared in worry at the hedgehog's sudden movement and said. "Hey...Sha-"
"I'm fine." he butted in. "Don't worry."
The fox bit his lip and nodded slowly. His eyes looked towards the other side of the room. "I...I could…" he turned to Shadow. "Do you want me to drive you home?"
He shook his head. "...I can walk…"
Tails gave him another nod. "Alright...I'll...I'll see you."
Shadow didn't respond and stepped out of the house.
Five more years tickled by.
Shadow had kept the news to himself. He had kept doing all of the things he did normally but with a heavy heart. He would then stare out of the window, watching the sun set as if he had just lost a friend even though none of them had passed on just yet.
Rouge and Omega had noticed their friend's grieve stricken expression and asked if he was alright.
The hedgehog would nod and give them a sad smile, doing whatever he was doing at the time with that grin on his face.
Rouge was not buying it.
Ten more years.
Shadow continued to stay silent even though it was noticeable.
Every morning, at around four or five, he would leave the house and walk around the streets. He enjoyed looking at the morning sun as it rose. The peach colors made him feel a little better, hoping that today nothing bad could happen.
He would then head to Cream's cabin, which wasn't that far away from her old home. He would sit there and watch her have her preschool classes on the weekdays. Seeing the small children laugh and play made Shadow feel invigorated, a sense of youth rushing over him. He would help the rabbit with nap time and read stories to the little ones with his gripping story telling voice.
This went on for a little while until one day…
The hedgehog was cleaning up after the kids had left while Cream started to make cookies to celebrate another successful day of learning. Amy had entered the house, her hands clasped towards her chest worriedly.
Shadow stood up and greeted the female hedgehog. "Hi Amy. What's up?"
The woman bit her lip. "Well...this news is for Cream. Do you know where she is?"
"Right here Amy!" she piped, swaying her chubby hips as she put her apron to the side. "What's going on?"
Amy sighed, scratching the back of her neck. "Well...y-your mother. She-"
Cream's expression changed from gleeful to upset. "Wa...what happened? Is she okay?"
Shadow's eyes shrank back, biting his lip as he backed away from the women. He was just as sad as Cream. Although he didn't know Vanilla as much as he knew her daughter, his worry about her wasn't deterred in the slightest.
He wanted to know what happened too.
Amy felt tears form in her eyes as she said. "S-she...she was driving back from the marketplace and…" she quickly wiped them away and took a deep breath. "She was hit by a truck...her body...she's gone…"
The rabbit's eyes were the size of pinpricks. They welled up with tears as she backed away from her long time friend. She shook her head rapidly before falling to the ground. She began to sob.
"No...no...i-it can't be…"
Amy sat on the floor with her friend as they hugged each other tightly. "It's alright Cream. We can get through this…"
Shadow, meanwhile, felt like he was about to throw up.
Vanilla wasn't that old, was she? What made the gods decide that her time was up, especially so abruptly? He did not want to be here right now but he didn't want Cream to think of him differently if he dashed out in her time of need.
But at the same time, he suddenly wasn't feeling so good.
Ten more years.
Weddings, farewell parties and reunions have happened throughout this time frame and Shadow attended every single one. He was glad to see Rouge marrying Knuckles after dating him for ten years. It kind of made the hedgehog jealous. Silver had left Mobius a while back to go to his normal time and Blaze was leaving for her dimension for a few years.
Shadow started to realize that the princess did age slower than everyone else. She did get older but she was still younger than what she was suppose to be. It was probably because the time in her dimension is different than on Mobius. Either way, drinks, stories and hugs were shared as the Ultimate Lifeform watched with a heavy heart.
He had a connection with Blaze. It wasn't as strong as it was to Rouge and Omega but he was still upset to see her go. Sure, the cat had left before but this was different. She was going to be gone for a while, who knows how long.
It was a friend he probably wasn't going to see pass on.
"I'll see you Shadow~!" she chimed, giving the hedgehog a hug. She squeezed him playfully before adding. "Let's hope you look less like a baby when I see you next time~!"
The hedgehog nodded, gripping onto her tightly.
He didn't want the princess to leave, at least not yet. The thought of her going away made him feel like she died right in front of him.
He didn't like it.
He didn't want it.
She had to stay.
"Um...Shadow hun…" Rouge chuckled awkwardly as the hedgehog felt Omega's mechanical fingers wrap around his torso. "Blaze wants to leave and you're not letting her go..."
The princess backed away and looked at Shadow worriedly. She then turned to the bat. "Is he alright?"
Rouge simply shrugged, staring at the black hedgehog with worried eyes.
He still had that grieve stricken look on his face, as if someone had just died. She wanted to ask him about it but she knew he was just going to brush it off.
So she stayed silent.
Ten more years.
Vector died in his sleep last night.
The Chaotix were very upset by the news. Charmy hugged the crocodile's cold corpse and cried into his chest as Espio sniffled sadly, holding onto the dead man's hand like a feather. The bee connected to Vector like a father and the chameleon was married to him. The grief from them passed on to everyone else and no one really felt like smiling that day.
Shadow had it the worst.
Like Vanilla, the hedgehog wasn't as close to Vector as he felt like he should be. The two looked at each other several times and worked together at a point when Black Doom was doing his evil ways. They didn't connect that much but the fact that he had just died made the Lifeform think that the two should've spent more time together.
They could've been good friends.
The hedgehog had stayed in his room that whole day. His knees were up to his chest and his head was laying on top of them, face down. He lifted it slightly to see Rouge's worried face.
"Do...do you want anything to eat hun?" she asked. "You've been cooped up here all day. You must be starving."
Shadow shook his head. "...I'm good…"
"Are you sure?"
Rouge sighed, closing the door tightly as she walked down the stairs. For the first time in forever, Shadow actually looked afraid.
Ten more years had passed.
It was a new day and Team Dark were downstairs, having breakfast. Rouge and Shadow were just talking and enjoying their coffee. Omega, meanwhile, was preparing the meal and was flipping pancakes. Everything was fine and dandy for a few moments.
Until the robot collapsed.
His rusting body made a huge sound as it hit the floor. His bright red eyes started to haze over, fading into a more grayish tint as the two Mobians rushed to his side.
"Omega!" Rouge cried, bending down and tapping his hull. "Come on big fella! Get up!"
Shadow was shaking.
He didn't want to lose Omega! Not here, not now! The two of them had gone through so much together. He was strong before! What changed now? He was a robot, he was supposed to be flawless!
Why was he failing on them?
The hedgehog snapped out of his thoughts to turn to the bat. She stared back at him with worry as she asked.
"You can fix him right?"
Shadow blinked. He had gathered some information from Tails but he wasn't sure if it was going to work now that the robot was rusted and old. Still, he was willing to try.
The two Mobians worked together to move Omega from the kitchen to the basement. This was extremely difficult since Rouge was now sixty-eight and she wasn't all that strong anymore. It would've been great if Knuckles was there but he was busy watching over the Master Emerald at the time.
Even though they struggled, they finally got him downstairs. They leaned him against a wall as Shadow rushed upstairs to get the right tools. When he came back, Rouge was leaning against the robot's cold hull, staring sadly into his dull eyes. She noticed Shadow come in and got up slowly.
"I cleaned up everything upstairs Rouge." he had told her. "You can rest if you want."
The bat smiled. "You're a sweetheart Shadow hun. Thank you."
He nodded, looking over to Omega with a determined look. As she headed up the stairs, Shadow said to the robot. "I may not be able to save everyone else. But I can save you Omega."
Numerous attempts were made to save the robot and none of them had worked. After every try, Shadow felt less and less hopeful. He had rearranged the wires, rebooted him several times and even tapped at the hull with no success. He then asked Tails for assistance.
The fox examined Omega's body before turning to Shadow.
"Found the issue." Tails stated. "He needs a new rechargeable battery." he then sighed and shook his head. "The only problem is that there's none on the market that can work with this model anymore…"
"Can't you just make a new one?" Shadow asked.
Tails thought about it. "Well...it'll be difficult and kind of dangerous."
"I can do it!" the hedgehog volunteered.
The fox raised an eyebrow. "Really? You know about making batteries?"
Shadow's eyes shifted to his shoes. "...Not really…"
Tails sighed. "Shadow...I don't think there's any way to bring him back…"
The hedgehog clenched his teeth as he started to feel sick in his stomach again. He did not want to lose anyone else! Why does this keep happening to him?
"Don't say that!" the hedgehog barked. "We can't leave him like this! You said you can make the battery right?!"
The fox bit his lip. "I...I can but...I never made one before…"
"Can you try?"
Tails sighed. "...I'll try."
Shadow sadly smiled. "Thank you…"
Tails' house blew up with him inside.
The battery experiment was a complete failure.
As firefighters struggled to save the fox, everyone rushed to the scene. Sonic was in tears, trying to run over to save his friend but was being held back by Knuckles, who was hugging him and Rouge as they sobbed. Amy and Cream were crying as well at the sight of their old friend's house burning down. Charmy and Espio were watching the flames as well, hoping that Tails could be saved.
Shadow was on the ground.
He watched the flames movements as they graced the sky like a blade through butter. Tails was in there, burning to a crisp and no one around him could stop it.
He should've made that battery.
He should've been the one to burn in the flames.
Not only did he lose one friend, but he might have lost two.
Tails died at the scene as paramedics try to save him. He was in terrible shape, flesh being the color of ink and his fur that was left was as hard and rigid as sandpaper. Sonic and friends got the news and their sadness grew.
Shadow was breathing heavily and was trying his hardest to stay calm.
He was starting to fail miserably.
People were dropping like flies.
Friends started dying left and right, not due to accidents but because of things associated with old age. Knuckles died first at ninety, Rouge was grieve stricken. Next was Sonic at ninety-one. Then Amy at eighty-nine. Then Espio at ninety-five. After that, Cream and Charmy died in the same year at ninety.
All of the people that Shadow had grew close to was dying before his eyes. He spent as much time as he could with each of them. They all behaved different and did things together that made them happy. He wanted to be there for their final moments and he was able to do just that.
Then there was Rouge.
She was now one hundred two. She had been bedridden due to her weakened state and Shadow gladly did everything for her. They had been together for eighty-four years and there was no way he wanted to leave her in her time of need.
And soon, she too was going to die.
The hedgehog had fluffed the bat's pillows to get her ready for bed. She laid on the left side of the bed as he worked on the right. He wanted her to be as comfortable as possible as she slept.
He heard her call him and continued working on the pillow as they talked. "Hm?"
"I…" she coughed. "I don't think I'm gonna be alive for much longer hun."
Shadow blinked. A look of shock dawned on his face for just a second before forcing a smile. "Don't say that Rouge. As long as I'm here, you'll live just as long as me."
The bat shook her head. "No Shadow...I'm gonna die."
The hedgehog clutched the pillow tightly before placing it down with the others. He gently moved her to the middle of the mattress and said. "You shouldn't say that Rouge…"
"Can't help it if it's true…" she sighed. "It's the end of the line for me…"
"Don't say that…"
"I miss my dad...I miss my Knuxie…I miss our friends…"
She suddenly felt some moisture fall down on her cheeks. She looked up and saw Shadow with tear filled eyes. She looked at him solemnly.
"What about me?" he sobbed. "I'll miss you. I'm...I'm bound to this Earth for who knows how long and I'll be all by myself when you die…"
"I'm gonna live forever Rouge! I'm gonna live forever but everyone else around me has to die! I don't want you to go Rouge! I don't want to be alone again!"
The bat slowly rose from her bed and placed her palm on the hedgehog's cheek. It was cold to the touch, which made Shadow cry even more.
"Shadow...it's alright." she sighed. "You don't have to be alone if you don't want to. The world is filled with different people. I may be going away but that doesn't mean you're going to be all alone. You can make new friends, talk to other people. Make life enjoyable for you."
The hedgehog reached in and hugged the old woman. "I….I'll miss you Rouge…" he cried.
"Oh Shadow…" the bat sighed, holding back her tears as she stroked her friend's quills. "Sweet, sweet Shadow…"
She let out another small cough before ending the embrace. She laid back down and smiled sadly at the Ultimate Lifeform. She looked so weak and frail that as Shadow wiped his eyes, he could see the hint of life in her slowly draining away.
"I'll never forget you."
"Me neither." he sniffled. "Could I...maybe...sleep with you tonight?"
"Sure sugar…" she nodded.
Gently, he nudged Rouge just a little to the left side of the bed as he climbed under the covers. The hedgehog pecked his friend on the cheek before letting out a soft yawn.
"Good night Shadow."
"Night Rouge…" he sighed as the two started to rest.
One for a little while while the other was for a lifetime.
Time to write something happy (hopefully)...