Part 6

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Behind the throne there was a door leading to another hallway. The two hedgehogs were walking for some time now, but the hallway felt like a seemingly endless path. Not a single time, did Amy look into Shadow's direction, it was almost as she was avoiding him for some reason. Seconds felt like minutes, and minutes felt like hours. It was awkwardly quiet between the two hedgehogs. Shadow could imagine what Amy was seeing and tried to cheer her up. "Amy, I know what you saw was horrible, but I'm certain he would never say something like this." His words didn't have the attendant impact on her. Instead, the girl's ears dropped even more.

"Shadow...'s......ugh." The girl dropped along the wall and pulled her knees close. "I...could use some time alone. You can go on if you want. I'll catch up to you later." The girl still wasn't able to look her opposite in the eyes, and said hedgehog was lost for words. This obnoxious yearning for solitude. A feeling the black hedgehog was very familiar with. So Shadow silently acknowledged Amy's request and went on, however as he moved far enough to be out of Amy's sight the girl was suddenly in front of him again.

"Figures!" He sighed and dropped on the wall opposite of Amy.

This time it was Shadow, whose eyes moved from left to right, unable to find the right words. He could finally understand how Amy felt the day before. A terrible feeling indeed. Shadow couldn't help but feel guilty about ignoring it earlier and it was so unbearable, he tried to think of any possibility to cheer Amy up. "I bet Sonic would perfectly well know what to say."

He secretly glimpsed at the pink hedgehog, who had her head still buried in her knees. The pink haired hasn't moved an inch since she entered her curled up state, but at least Amy wasn't crying. "Do you... want to talk about what happened?" The girl didn't move or even look at Shadow.

"I can't!" Although it seemed like the girl was trying to speak up at first, she decided to stay silent in the end.

"I see." Shadow crossed his arms and emerged into his thoughts as he usually does when he was out of options. "Is there nothing I can do?" The black hedgehog felt frustration rising inside of him, and he furiously clenched his fists. "I can't stand this anymore!" He abruptly exclaimed and punched his clenched fist into the ground. Amy roused from her curled up state, startled by her opposites action, and stared at him with a terrified expression. Eventually, the pink hedgehog noticed Shadow's hand was reaching out to her, and she stared at it with confusion. "Take my hand!" He requested softly. Amy hesitated at first but nodded and slowly reached out for him as well.

As soon as Shadow had a good grip on her hand, he pulled Amy closer, so she could rest her head on his chest again. The black hedgehog hugged her tightly but made sure he wouldn't hurt her. He tried to recall what his long-lost friend would have said in such a situation. "If you need to cry more, just do it. I will wait for you, I promise. Just...take all the time you need." Amy's heart felt like she was finally able to cut off this terrible weight that pained her so much. A few more small tears ran down her cheeks, but not because she was sad, she was relieved.

"Thank you, Shadow" she answered weakly, yet a beautiful smile of easement graced her lips. Not long after the pink hedgehog started to feel comfortable, she fell asleep, resting on the black hedgehog's fluffy chest fur.

Shadow was staring at the ceiling, still holding the sleeping Amy in one of his arms. The black hedgehog tried to clear his mind from all the negative thoughts this day brought forth. The pink hedgehog snuggled with Shadow's chest fur from time to time, which made him wonder if it was really that comfortable? He quickly shook this feeling off and took a deep breath. The scent of Amy's hair soothed his troubled heart like a pillow of lavender, and he couldn't help but smile at her, when suddenly laughter were echoing through the hallway. The hedgehog abruptly examined his surroundings and in a blink of an eye, Sonic was sitting directly in front of him. The blue hedgehog grinned sassy at Shadow. "Look who's smiling." He teased the black hedgehog. "Never thought you had a thing for my girl." Said hedgehog stared angrily at the grinning Sonic.

"It's you again, isn't it? No matter what you say or what form you take, I'm not going to hurt Amy!" Shadow explained calmly, which his opposite reacted to with a heartbroken face but turned into a mischievous smile soon afterward.

"Aww, come on. Don't be such a killjoy." The fake Sonic's behavior annoyed Shadow even more.

"Why would you take that form anyway? I'm not Amy."

The imposter answered Shadow's request with a sassy grin, as if he were waiting for this question. "Because you like me, and we are friends!" The fake Sonic answered with a smug grin on his face.

"I don't like him and I certainly don't have any friends!" Suddenly the black hedgehog felt Amy tense up and he immediately regretted his words. Did she hear him? Once again, the imposter laughed at Shadow, which the black hedgehog answered with his typical cold expression. "What do you want from me?"

"Finally, we're getting somewhere! Remember what I told you? None of you will leave this place. But you know what? I'm a very kindhearted person, so I'll give you another chance. Why don't you hand over the girl, and I'll let you go?" The black hedgehog had enough! He grabbed the imposter by his throat and stared threatening at him, yet said hedgehog just grinned back at him. The blue blur grabbed Shadow's hand to free himself from his grip and slowly put a gun in the black hedgehog's hand, pulling the gun's barrel close to his heart afterward. "Can you shoot me, Shadow?"

Shadow smirked at the imposter. "You may have fooled me with Maria, but this time you won't get me!"

"Are you sure about that?" The fake Sonic went closer to Shadow, their faces just a few inches apart. The blue blur looked deeply in Shadow's scarlet orbs and put on a flirtatious smile. "Why don't you... show me how much you dislike me?" He whispered seductive. Unaware of it, said hedgehog's hand was trembling. "Oh! Before I forget it. This time, it won't save you if you shoot yourself! You only have one option. Shoot your loathsome look-a-like or else you will rot here forever!" Shadow stared at his hand and put all his force into pulling the trigger, but his hand would not obey. It felt as if he was paralyzed by a greater force.

"Come on! Shoot him! It's just an illusion! Do it, already!!" Frustration spread inside of him, already the second time this day, and Shadow despised these feelings. The black hedgehog desperately tried to avoid these feelings, he couldn't accept them, he didn't want to. "I don't like..." The black hedgehog was abruptly cut off by the fake Sonic's smiling face.

Shadow's eyes widened in shock, and he could feel his heart skipped a beat. Sonic smiled at him, but not his typical cheeky grin, the blue blur always puts on, to fake happiness. It was an honest and cheerful smile. Shadow wasn't sure if he ever saw Sonic smile a truthfully, happy smile, and it made him look so....innocent? Shadow was still sunken in his own world, when a terrible laughter snapped him back into reality. Without realizing it, he already let go of the weapon, and dropped it to the floor. The fake Sonic was gone, but his mocking outburst still echoed on for a few seconds.

Overwhelmed, the black hedgehog wanted to scream out his anger, but he tried to hold back, so he wouldn't wake up the sleeping girl in his arm. Desperately, Shadow bit his lips. "That smile felt like Maria's..." he muttered, and a single tear dropped from his cheeks. "Why can't I...never.....?" All of a sudden, Shadow felt extremely drained and was overwhelmed by sleep. The emotional roller-coaster exhausted him to the brink of collapsing.


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