I honestly have no idea where the inspiration to write this fanfic came from…aside from today being National Best Friends Day~ and also my birthday! :D

I guess this will be my NBFD gift to my friend, TheUnrulyWereHog (aka, HyperShanic01). :D

Warnings: OOC-ness, some violence.

Disclaimer: I only own the plot.

Nightmares and New Friendship

Midnight.

At this time, most would be sleeping peacefully, either pleasantly dreaming, or too deep in REM sleep to dream.

This was not the case for Shadow the Hedgehog.

He was currently being plagued by a nightmare…but it wasn't his usual one of the ARK raid. That one only occurred occasionally now.

But this was of a different level.

He tossed and turned, whimpers escaping his throat, his mind trapped in his dreams, unable to awaken…

He was chained.

Blindfolded.

Something was preventing him from using his Chaos Energy.

He was unable to escape.

There was pain…

So much pain…

And a very familiar voice.

"I was never your friend from the beginning. It was all a lie. And you fell for it!"

Something hard struck his shoulder, making him cry out.

"Please…stop…"

"Be quiet!"

More blows to his face and torso.

His body was riddled with bruises and bleeding cuts.

But those were nothing compared to the pain he felt in his heart at the words being spoken by her…

Her, the only one he had trusted.

The one whom he'd thought dead all these years.

"You actually thought we were friends? You're not deserving of any kindness, much less friendship!"

"M-Maria…"

Why was she doing this…?

Was she…telling the truth…? Had she really deceived him?

He didn't know…he just wanted it to end…

There was the familiar sound of a gun being cocked.

BANG!

A terrible pain flared in his arm. He screamed. Warm blood flowed down to the floor.

BANG! BANG!

More bullets lodged themselves into his already injured body.

How much more of this did he have to endure…?

His eyes widened behind the blindfold when he felt cold steel at his temple.

"Sayonara, Shadow the Hedgehog."

One last bang…

…And the Ultimate Life-Form finally wrenched his mind from the awful nightmare, and sat up in his bed, gasping for breath. His fur was damp from sweat…and tears.

Shaking with fear, he immediately tried to push the horrid dream to the back of his mind…

But he could not.

The words spoken to him in the dream would not be banished.

And they filled him with doubt.

Because he still did not have all of his memories back, even after the Black Arms invasion, he had no proof that…

He and Maria…

Had actually been friends.

But…if they weren't…then why had she taken the bullet for him…?

Unless…

It was to truly make him suffer the pain of losing what he thought he had.

Someone to trust.

He then started questioning everything.

Was he destined to be alone?

Had his friendship with Maria really been a lie?

If so, then what of the others in his life?

Rouge, Omega, Sonic, Tails…everyone who had helped him fight off the Black Arms…

Could they be deceiving him too?

Unable to bear the thought, Shadow raced to the outside world, not bothering to put his hover shoes on, so his socks were quickly dampened by the forming dew on the ground.

The night air was slightly chilly, but he had been created to withstand harsh climates. Then, too, the Space Colony ARK had been colder, to help eliminate any bacteria that would threaten Maria's fragile health.

The thought of her brought back the fresh memory of the nightmare, causing him to stumble and get his foot caught in a tree root, sending him sprawling to the ground.

Dirt and leaves clung to his fur, but he was too distraught to care. How long he had been running, he did not know, either.

"It was all a lie…"

The words continued to echo in his mind, and he clasped his hands to the sides of his head, trying to drive them away. He clenched his eyes shut, more tears falling.

The sound of something large running through the brushes reached his ears. Out of a meager curiosity, he opened his eyes.

A second later, some semi-recognizable shoes entered his line of vision.

"Shadow…?"

Sonic had also awakened from his sleep, not from a nightmare, but from the feeling of fear and helplessness he had sensed. It was something he had developed over the years as a hero, this ability to know when someone needed help.

Following the tugs on his soul, the blue hedgehog sped off into the night.

When he'd stepped outside, however, he'd unexpectedly transformed into his Werehog form. After initially being surprised by this, he came to the conclusion that the form had simply been dormant, weakened from Dark Gaia taking away its energy…

Pushing those thoughts away, the beast-like Sonic (in appearance only) continued his trek into the forest.

He did not expect to find his normally stoic rival on the ground in the middle of the forest, having an emotional, and possibly a mental, breakdown.

One look into those garnet eyes, and he could see just how haunted Shadow was. And he was bound by his hero status to help everyone in need…so, the cobalt hedgehog would do everything in his power to help his ebony rival.

Sonic helped Shadow to his feet, and prompted, "Are you alright? You look…horrible."

It took the ebony hedgehog to recognize his rival, but when he did, he nodded silently. Shadow wondered exactly why Sonic was here…

And why was he helping him? He didn't deserve this…

"…Why…are you here…?"

"You're my friend, Shadow," Sonic answered, not noticing Shadow flinch at the word, "whether you like it or not, and I'm going to help you."

"Don't…I don't…deserve it…"

"Everyone who needs help deserves it," Sonic replied as he wrapped an arm around Shadow, and proceeded to half carry, half drag him back to his house. "What happened to you, anyway…?"

Again, Shadow flinched. He didn't want to admit his nightmare…It would only make it seem that much more real.

"You're not deserving of any kindness…"

Stomach churning, a faint whimpering sound was emitted from Shadow.

Sonic looked at him in concern, trying to figure out what had caused such a state in the Ultimate Life-Form.

Given the late hour… "Did you have a nightmare…?"

At the other's cringe, Sonic knew his hunch had been correct. He also knew Shadow wouldn't want to talk about it.

But he wasn't going to let stubbornness and pride stop him from trying to help.

"…Come on, Shad, talk to me about it…It'll help."

Shadow shook his head. He was certain that Sonic was tricking him.

He didn't want to be tricked again…

"Shadow, you can trust me. I just want to help."

"Not deserving of any kindness…" he whispered softly. Even with his sharpened hearing, Sonic had to strain his ears to hear him.

"Everyone deserves kindness. Even if they've done something wrong."

Shadow shook his head again. "It was all a lie…"

Sonic wasn't sure if Shadow was aware of what he was saying, but he sensed it was important. "What was?"

"Maria…friendship…all a lie…"

"What do you mean?"

Shadow's eyes glazed over as the dream flashed through his mind yet again.

Forgetting his newly acquired fear, and still not realizing he was revealing what he'd dreamed of, he started explaining. "Maria…she…she said that…our friendship had been a lie…that she had never been my friend…and that I wasn't deserving of any kindness, let alone…friends…"

Sonic nearly let go of him upon hearing that. He then supposed it was no wonder Shadow was in this kind of state.

To hear the one you considered family…the only person you trusted…come and tell you that they had tricked you from the very beginning…even if it had been a simple nightmare…Sonic's ears drooped at the thought of it.

But what could have caused him to have that sort of nightmare in the first place?

"…It's not true, Shadow. You do deserve kindness. I wouldn't be here if you didn't."

A flicker of emotion appeared in Shadow's eyes. "No…you're just trying to trick me too…"

Sonic stopped and turned his head to look at his rival, green eyes narrowing slightly. "Shadow. Look at me." When eye contact was made, Sonic continued. "Am I the sort of person who would do that?"

Shadow looked away for a second, in thought. "…No, you aren't…"

"Exactly. I'm helping you now, because I truly care. And as I said before, you're my friend whether you like it or not."

Shadow looked at him again, as if searching…he wanted to believe the Blue Blur…and Sonic's eyes were filled with sincerity…but still…could he really trust him…?

After several minutes, the fog of misery that had clouded Shadow's mind started to clear, as he realized that the cobalt hero was telling the truth.

He then leaned his head on the other's shoulder. It was probably Sonic's thick fur, but suddenly he didn't feel the chill of the air…

Although startled initially, Sonic couldn't help smiling. Finally, he'd gotten Shadow out of his negative state, partially, anyway.

After a few seconds, Sonic resumed his task of taking Shadow back to the former's home, since he didn't know just where his ebony rival lived.

"…Sonic…"

"Yeah, Shadow?"

"Promise me that…you won't break off our friendship…no matter what…please? I don't want to go through this pain again…"

Sonic didn't even hesitate when saying, "I promise," for it was obvious that the nightmare was still affecting Shadow.

By this time, the two had reached the hero's home, and although he was slightly confused as to why they were there, Shadow didn't voice it.

Sensing the confusion anyway, Sonic decided to explain. "I just figured that even you wouldn't want to be alone after that kind of nightmare, so I brought you back to my place."

Truthfully, Shadow was grateful, and there was a small smile on his tan muzzle. "Thanks."

Sonic grinned, showing off his rather large fangs. "C'mon, let's get you to the guest room."

Shadow tensed, his smile fading, a new fear entering his mind. He didn't want to sleep just yet, not when there was a chance that his nightmare would return!

Breaking free of his rival's- no, his friend's grasp, Shadow backed away towards the door, ready to bolt, frantically shaking his head.

It took Sonic a minute to realize the reason behind this reaction. Carefully, he reached for Shadow. "Calm down, bud…You're not alone this time, you won't have that dream again…"

The Ultimate Life-Form shook his head again. "No, I won't risk it…I can go for days without sleep anyway…"

Tilting his head ever so slightly, Sonic's eyes were filled with concern, wondering how he could soothe this new fear. "Shadow…"

"…I'll be fine, really…"

Seeing that he wasn't going to win this one, Sonic relented, sighing. "Alright. But, I'm going to stay awake with you, to keep you company."

Shadow's eyes widened. "You'd do that for me?"

"Of course! But first, you need to get cleaned up," Sonic said, gesturing to the dirt and leaves still stuck in Shadow's fur.

Minutes later, Shadow was drying himself off with a fluffy white towel. He had to admit, the warm shower did refresh him. He felt…relaxed, for the first time in his existence. Even his time spent with Maria on the ARK couldn't compare to this.

Thinking about her brought back unpleasant memories, but he quickly shoved them to the back of his mind.

He then wondered how he was going to repay Sonic for his kindness. He was sure the blue hero wouldn't accept any compensation, but he still felt as though he needed to do something in return.

A part of him was still surprised at how quickly he'd accepted Sonic's friendship in the first place. Before, he'd seen Sonic as an annoyance, but also as the only one whom he could test his abilities on. Now, however, he was willing to call the blue Hero as a true friend.

A soft knock interrupted his thoughts. "Shad? You alright in there?"

"I'm fine, Sonic," he replied, grabbing the spare gloves and socks Sonic had given him to use and putting them on. His ears twitched as he thought he heard a chuckle…

Stepping out of the bathroom, Shadow caught sight of the Werehog casually leaning against the wall with a bit of an amused expression."Sonic, what…?"

"I just noticed the calendar. Today's June 8th."

The black hedgehog blinked, not understanding. "What does that have to with this…?"

"What, don't you know? June 8th is known as National Best Friends Day!" Sonic grinned.

It took a moment for Shadow to catch on, and then he gave a small grin back. It was amusing that he acknowledged Sonic as a friend on this day…especially given the circumstances.

Perhaps his having that nightmare wasn't so bad anyway, if he'd gained a friend.

Fin.

Hoo-boy, that was interesting to write, to say the least.

The nightmare Shadow had was based off of an actual nightmare I'd had. Of course, unlike Shadow, I had no one to talk to about it afterwards…Well, I wanted to tell TUWH about it, but I wasn't sure how she'd react to it, since she was the "Maria" in my dream, so I kept quiet about it…until now, anyway…

And yes, as I said in the beginning Author's Note, today, June 8th, is really National Best Friends Day as well as my birthday. :)

Hope you all enjoyed this. Review, please~

ShidesuHejjihoggu