AN: (shyly and carefully enters the Sonic Fandom)
Uhm… Hello there.
So anyway, this is my first Sonic story! Driven by childhood nostalgia, I've recently played a few of the old 2D games from the series, delved fairly deep into the lore, and loved it all. But let me emphasize one thing specifically:
ALL HAIL SHADOW!
As I see it, Shadow is, without a doubt, the most interesting and complex character in the series. Not just because he's 'edgier' than Sonic. Constantly torn between good and evil, he's actually the one who introduces a true moral complexity in a fairly black-and-white universe.
As I found out from a certain video, however, his story has a major plot hole. Namely, Project Shadow, as a result of which the Ultimate Lifeform was created, was, actually, never completed! I mean, yes, Shadow was brought into the world, but Gerald Robotnik died rather prematurely, leaving many questions unanswered. What's up with that? No, I just gotta fill this in since no one else ever has, at least not to my knowledge (what am I referring to? Well, read on and find out)!
At the end of his own game, Shadow decides to leave his past behind. But if someone reminded him of the fact that he still hasn't fulfilled his destiny, would he be willing to listen? Especially if it's another human making such claims? This is what the story is about- examining Shadow's nature even more, with the help of whoever from the Sonic universe can still aid us in that. I'll also throw in a little humor, a little science, and maybe a few cool weapons and some hard rock music to spice things up a bit.
I thought to myself- what can I write so that, if the Edgelord himself read it, he wouldn't tear my spine out and play it like a xylophone? How can I debunk some of the myths about him? There are many of those, but I'm planning to show you the true face of Shadow. Please note: though I try to follow the Sonic canon (if there is such a thing…), I do not intend to insist that all the things I write are canon. Just FYI. This is a story of a real Shadow fanboy, but I'll do my best to stay objective ;)
We begin at an unspecified time after the events of 'Shadow the Hedgehog', when it seems that all is known. But it's not. So is the Ultimate Lifeform really a friend of humanity, or our doom? Step inside, and hold on for dear life!
Project Shadow - Revisited
Song- CKY, 96 Quite Bitter Beings.
Chapter 1 – Solitude Disturbed
Dusk was falling over the city, and the sky displayed a palette ranging from orange through purple, to bloody crimson. The high-rise buildings were now beginning to glister more from their artificial lights than the rays of the sun reflecting from their glass-and-metal walls.
Standing on top of one of them, so high that even the vehicles speeding by below seemed no more than ants, he could hardly hear the uproar the citizens of the vast metropolis eternally caused. And that suited him just fine.
Unlike his rival, the blue hedgehog everyone always talked about, who was more drawn to nature and animals, he himself felt compelled to dwell among humans- their cities and technology. It was partially because he was raised on the ARK, a work of human hands. But also because of his promise he had once made- to watch over the race who had brought him into existence.
Protecting the humans did not mean coming in direct contact with them, however. That was unnecessary for him. He may have been alone, but he was far above the feeling of loneliness. After all, why would he yearn for the company of others? He was the Ultimate Lifeform, fully self-sufficient, and satisfied with being by himself.
His solitude delighted him. There, on his rooftop, he could be alone with his thought, with no one interfering. He could bask in his power and freedom, while still extending a watchful eye over the pitiable creatures below, hidden in the shadows which concealed him from them. In lovely darkness.
The earth was indeed so beautiful at times… particularly at sunset, and especially when one was standing high above the street level. Down there, usually nothing quite as beautiful ever happened.
There was a pleasant cool breeze. The city, tired after a day's labor, was tucking itself in to bed.
But not him. He did not sleep.
When the sun, enveloped in a scarlet halo, finally hid its face beyond the horizon, he closed his eyes for a while, pondering over something that must have not been all that important, since he couldn't recall it anymore after his stream of thought was disturbed.
His sharp senses, which were always on the alert, suddenly detected something strange… Was someone walking up the stairs which led to the roof? But for what reason? And who would have the audacity…?
Indeed, the sound was that of footsteps. And they were getting louder and louder.
He grumbled internally, very displeased at the discovery. His mood was definitely not one for company- a state of affairs which, with him, was quite regular.
He got even angrier when he realized that he'd heard those footsteps before. The same person had already disturbed his peace on several occasions in the past, forcing him to relocate to another lonely sanctuary. At first he dismissed that detail as an insignificant coincidence, but now…
… now he thought that he may have been followed.
Was it a pesky fan, perhaps, trying to hunt down and stand face to face with his race's savior? If that were the case, it was anything but flattering. After all, does a lion ever feel flattered by the sight of mice quivering at his feet in admiration of the animal's grandeur? Is he not rather repulsed by the pests standing in his way?
That very thought completely robbed him of his serenity, especially that the person was getting near. He wondered whether or not he should punish the intruder.
Eventually, his irritation overcoming his anger, he simply used his power to teleport to the roof of another nearby building. He did that tardily, however, and so the one who was walking up the stairs, after opening the door to the roof, managed to catch a glimpse of a dark silhouette, warping through space.
The evening calmness above the city was then disturbed by a scream.
"SHADOW THE HEDGEHOG!"
The human sounded oddly anxious and desperate. He must have realized that the one whom he sought was about to depart and, with a broken voice, decided to cry out to stop him, indicating that he was in some sort of need.
But who was it? How did he know his name? And what did he want from him?
For a while, Shadow stood on the roof of the other skyscraper with his back turned at the human. The intruder most likely thought that, since the hedgehog didn't vanish from his sight, he might still wish to confront him. The truth was that Shadow himself would much prefer to be left alone, if it weren't for the curiosity the encounter caused him to feel. In addition, the man screamed so pitifully that he must have clearly been in need of help.
Turning around, the hedgehog looked at him. It was a middle-aged man with shoulder-length hair which had prematurely turned grey, dressed in a long leather jacket. His features were rather rough, and his complexion strangely reddish. But that was not important. What mostly caught the hedgehog's attention was the fact that, on his back, the man carried a sheathed katana.
If he was armed, he may have been hostile. But that fact actually attracted Shadow more than it repelled him. Boredom was also not something he enjoyed, and a brawl was always good for stirring up the evening!
After a few moments of the two individuals gazing at one another in silence, the hedgehog suddenly teleported back to his original spot on the roof of the first building, only about a dozen yards from the intruder. The poor man was so surprised he took a step back, tripped, and almost fell to the ground.
Then, after shaking off a demeanor of total astonishment, he began to laugh.
This was not to be any sort of a challenge after all, thought Shadow in disappointment. Rather a farce, more than anything else. The man's red face was clearly the result of him being drunk.
"Hahaha!" the swordsman laughed pathetically, overcome with a state of unsober exhilaration. "Y-you didn't run… Finally, I get to… speak to you!"
Shadow rolled his eyes, not even trying to hide his disgust. Crossing his arms on his chest in a gesture of exasperation, he said to the drunkard:
"You've been stalking me. Which is very unwise. What do you want, human?"
Hearing the note of harsh rebuke in the hedgehog's voice, the man finally took hold of his emotions. Straightening in a more dignified pose, he performed a profound bow.
"Forgive me for my blameworthy foolishness, Shadō za Hejjihoggu" the human delivered his apology. "I have acted dishonorably in the presence of someone as great as you. But I have tried to find you for so long… I have almost abandoned hope that I would ever have the honor to talk to you! Until tonight."
While saying those words, the man was constantly bent over in a pose of utmost respect.
Hmph. A mouse before a lion, Shadow thought to himself.
"Who are you? And why do you carry that sword?" he asked, the haughty tone of his voice not changing in the slightest.
The man stood erect again, and this time, a smug grin appeared on his face.
"This is a dangerous city, after all. Even you would know that it's better not to walk around unarmed. Even despite the fact that you are… the Ultimate Lifeform."
Hearing those words, the hedgehog cocked a brow. He was becoming increasingly irritated by the way this burdensome intruder dodged his questions.
"I know some things about you," the human continued, noticing the way his interlocutor was gazing at him. "Much more than other people. They tend to… judge by outward appearances, and often misconstrue many things. You are just one example of this. My species… they're afraid of you, even though you've saved us. Therefore, they do not understand you. They say you're dangerous, filled with darkness and hate… But you're not like that, are you?"
Though the things this mysterious swordsman said were rather vague, which normally would have bored Shadow to the point of not wanting to speak to him anymore, he was, nevertheless, saying the truth. That fact alone convinced the hedgehog to stay and listen.
"There are some things you are fond of, aren't there?" the man asked, looking at Shadow mysteriously. "Like the GUN motorbike parked in front of this building. You like that, don't you?"
So not only has this human been following him, but also kept an eye on his private possessions? He was really asking for a very heavy interrogation…
"What's your point?!" the hedgehog yelled at him, no longer holding his anger back. "Quit wasting my time and tell me what you want, or I'll make you feel sorry you ever came here!"
The sound of Shadow's raised voice echoed through the night above the city's roofs. Looking embarrassed yet again, his unwanted visitor sobered up, speaking much more awkwardly under the weight of the hedgehog's scowl.
"I… I was only hoping that I could, perhaps… convince you to dislike me less than other men?" he stammered, unsure if his request had any chance of receiving an affirmative answer. "I realize we've caused you much pain and injustice. But the two of us… See, I think we've got much in common."
Now that assessment went much too far. This fool, who was not in any immediate need of help after all, had the nerve to compare himself to him?
"No!" Shadow reacted with an automatic expression of rage. "You don't know anything about me! None of you humans do! Now, get out of my sight!"
With regard to his former experiences, the hedgehog had a particular hate for anyone assuming that they, and not he himself, could have any real grasp of the nature of what and whom he actually was. Especially if it was some insignificant drunkard implying to have something in common with the Ultimate Lifeform.
Witnessing the dark hero's outburst, the swordsman shook like a leaf. Making Shadow chase him away after such a long search was the last thing he wanted to do.
"Wait! Please, just give me a minute!" the human's voice reassumed its pleading tone. "I-I have something to give to you… As a sign of my good will, and the respect I have for you, Shadō-sama."
The phrase, spoken in the man's own language, was one of high esteem. But was this puny primate trying to bribe him now? Shadow decided to put up with his presence only in order to see if his bribe was at least remotely a worthy one…
Truth be told, this was the first human to offer him any sort of reward for having saved the planet on several different occasions. The GUN bike didn't count, as he had basically taken that without asking.
In a gesture of reluctant expectance, the hedgehog continued to gaze at the intruder with narrowed eyes, his arms crossed on his chest. Unsure whether this was a good sign or not, the man reached into the fold of his coat, and took out a beautifully crafted mahogany box.
"Take this!" he said with a smile, passing his gift to Shadow.
Curiously, though not too eagerly, the hedgehog took the box from the human's hands. And when he opened it… he threw the precious package away immediately, as its contents were way more interesting.
The box contained a custom made, high-caliber handgun of significant size, definitely the work of a talented gunsmith.
"A firearm. Your weapon of choice, isn't it?" the man described his present, happy with the fact that Shadow seemed to like it. "It's a highly modified Desert Falcon with an eight-inch barrel, far more reliable and heavy-powered than the original. Its magazine has been enlarged to hold twelve .60 caliber rounds. I suppose shooting it would break any normal human's arm… But not yours, obviously."
There was no smile or any other sign of emotion on the hedgehog's face, but he clearly spent a longer moment admiring the black carbon steel finish of the gun. He then took aim with it, noticing that the weapon was perfectly balanced, checked the rear sight, and racked the slide.
What the man had said was true. The Ultimate Lifeform did not hate everything.
"I'm going to have to try this thing out," he then said passionlessly.
The human just stood there, observing as Shadow took a look around, and afterward went over to the low wall at the edge of the roof. To his interlocutor's astonishment, with almost no effort at all, Shadow plunged his fingers into the concrete, ripping one of the bricks out and holding it up for the man to see. He then threw it straight up into the air, so fast that the astonished human didn't even notice before the brick vanished from the range of his sight.
Shadow then aimed with his new gun.
"Uh… You may want to use both your hands…" stammered the man. But the Ultimate Lifeform paid him no heed.
A blast erupted over the city like a peal of thunder, echoing from the walls of the skyscrapers. The pistol was indeed basically a canon, but the power of the recoil was rather enjoyable to the shooter. Although very strong, it did not even tire the left hand in which he held the gun.
The astonished visitor continued to gaze at the sky for a few seconds. After the echo of the shot died down, there was no more sound… Could it be possible that Shadow had missed?
Only after a while did the shards of the brick begin to fall on the surface of the roof. None of them was larger than a coin. The powerful round must have collided with the brick somewhere high up in the stratosphere.
The man gazed at the hedgehog with profound admiration.
"A fine shot!" he uttered finally.
Shadow, clutching his new toy, came up to him, unfazed by his flattery.
"Firearms are useful to battle the likes of you. Lead pierces your soft flesh like paper," said the hedgehog. "I find your little gift valuable. But how can I be sure that there is any value in the giver?"
Seeing that the conversation was going smoothly, the man smiled with satisfaction.
"Of course, there is no reason for you to show sympathy to any human who does not prove himself to you first, Shadō-sama."
The mysterious visitor then proceeded to unfasten the scabbard of his sword.
"You are a powerful person," he continued, unsheathing the katana. "Allow me to show you what I am capable of. Perhaps then you will recognize my value."
The man lifted his sword before his interlocutor's eyes. It was obviously no cheap piece of metal. The katana was ancient, of excellent quality, the thousands of layers of steel on its surface reflecting the light of the stars, and the red sparks in Shadow's pupils.
A delicate smirk appeared on the hedgehog's face.
"That's a nice blade you've got there. What're you planning to do with it?"
Without saying a word, the man cast away the sheath, and performed a sophisticated kata, slashing the air with the razor-sharp sword as the laps of his coat fluttered in the air. These were clearly not the sloppy movements of a rookie fighter. He halted with the blade raised above his head, in an intimidating pose.
But Shadow, who was not impressed with his showing off, merely snorted.
The man then stood straight, removing a strand of hair from his face.
"That gun I gave you," he then said, his words taking the form of a challenge. "Why don't you try to shoot me with it?"
Now that was amusing. Was this drunken fool looking to die on this rooftop tonight?
"You're out of your mind…" Shadow mumbled with disdain at his ridiculous proposition.
But the man raised his sword, showing that he meant what he said.
"No, go ahead. I am ready," he persisted.
For a while, the two stood there, looking at one another as if during a staring contest. Finally, Shadow pointed his Desert Falcon straight at the man.
"I'm warning you," growled the hedgehog. "I never miss! And this thing is powerful enough to take your head off!"
"I am aware of that," the swordsman responded with a smile.
Shadow did not like to be mocked. If this insolent idiot wanted to risk getting killed by a gun he himself had made, then so be it!
He fired without warning, making sure to redirect the barrel by a few millimeters right before he pulled the trigger. Just to make this a little more of a challenge.
The sound of another shot thundered over the roofs…
The man managed to lift his blade in a flash, with skill and speed greatly surpassing that of any regular member of his species. The bullet was cut in half, the pieces went pass him on both sides, and fell to the floor with a clatter.
The sharp edge of the sword wasn't damaged in the least bit.
Truth be told, the man wasn't completely sure if he'd be able to slash through the bullet in his state, internally scolding himself for having had so much to drink that evening. But when he did, he breathed with great relief, although his heart was beating like a sledgehammer.
Lowering his blade, he looked toward the hedgehog with the gun. Shadow's face was covered with the most delicate of smiles.
"Huh. I'll agree, that performance was slightly entertaining," the Ultimate Lifeform commended the human's abilities.
He then put his pistol away, and turned his back on the man.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Ken," responded the astonished human.
"Well then, Ken. I wish to be left alone," the hedgehog ordered him. "We'll talk again… later. Now, if you'd kindly remove yourself from my presence."
"B-but… how will I find you?" the man inquired, completely surprised by the fact that his interlocutor decided to end the conversation so suddenly.
Shadow looked over his shoulder for a short while. Then, lowering his eyes at the gun he was holding, he uttered sternly:
"You were able to do that before. I'm sure you can do it again."
AN: The first myth I'd like to debunk, is this- Shadow is not emo!
I don't know where people get these ideas. He may be a melancholic loner, but he isn't moping or angst-ridden. Some forget that angst means fear, and Shadow doesn't fear anything. Sure, he's been through a lot of painful experiences, but do you ever see him whining about it? Yeah, you do- in the fandom. But the fandom is not always right (duh…). Shadow has a much stronger psyche than your average fifteen-year-old who wears Mascara and cuts himself with a razor because 'no one understands him'! He does like certain things and people, and he can indeed smile. He's more of a cynic than a Kylo Ren. So, why does Shadow ride a bike even though he can run much faster? Because he likes the bike, that's why!
I got into the fandom after 'StH' was already released, so the whole edginess added to Shadow's character in that game never seemed pushed to me. I like it, quite frankly, and I can understand why he'd be like that after he lost his memory. Got no family? No friends? World's against you? Gonna get on that bike and shoot some guns. DAMN IT! XD
There's way more to him than just that, though.
As for Ken, my moderately sober Japanese OC. When you were partying, he studied the blade! ;) But who is this guy, anyway? Well, you (and Shadow) will find out soon.
Whoever finds this interesting- please let me know. All favs/reviews highly appreciated!