There were so many questions. They annoyed him beyond belief.
“Do you hear any voices in your head?” Unfamiliar voice of an older rabbit man asked.
“No,” was his short response.
“Do you have a feeling of being dissociated from reality?”
“Alright. Any drugs, alcohol, addictive substances of any kind?”
Black lids blinked several times and only now he noticed the person before him in more detail; the man was wearing what looked like ambulance suit. There were lots of weird bags attached to his suit and he was at the moment writing something down on a piece of paper.
“I’m going to need your blood sample just in case; my colleague will take care of that. I hope for your cooperation.”
At that moment, Shadow didn’t care. He really didn’t. His limbs felt numb and he himself had a hard time figuring out what was going on. He remembered pain and sadness increasing bit by bit until he couldn’t take it anymore. He remembered putting a noose around his neck and remembered muttering apologies to his beloved one even though he was alone in the house. He remembered hearing a scream a while later and from that point on everything was so fast paced and crazy he couldn’t keep up anymore.
He only briefly noted a sharp sting of pain on his finger from the needle that was put in there. It brought him back to reality for a second and it was scary. He wasn’t ready to deal with the present yet. Thankfully, as soon as it happened, it was gone and he was able to come back to that void that was his mind again.
“I hope you are aware we have to take you to the hospital, Mr. Shadow. Our duty is to make sure that no one gets hurt, and a hospital is definitely the best place to keep you safe.”
He nodded, although he really badly wanted to laugh. Nowhere is safe because no matter what you do, you can’t escape your mind.
What happened later was a complete blur for him; he vaguely noted two men helping him get into an ambulance, then hearing that annoying beeping noise as it hurt his ears to the point he thought they will bleed but anything past that was so unclear, so foggy… his eyes closed and only now he noticed how tired he was.
‘We’re bringing a hedgehog, age 22; suicide attempt, as of now his state is not life threatening’
He tried to pay a little more attention to the sounds in the background after hearing that, but his body just… really had enough for one day.
He drifted away and dreamed of emerald eyes.
His lips were so soft. They always were.
No matter how many times he kissed them, it was never enough. Never even close.
Hands exploring this beautiful sapphire fur; sweet sounds the other let out making him go crazy.
His smile, his love. His eyes sparkled with such sheer happiness.
He never felt so right.
When he regained consciousness, he was lying in bed, that much he was sure of. He was also aware it felt way too stiff to be his own bed.
He opened his eyes and disgusting pure white hurt his eyes; the obsidian hedgehog covered them with the back of his palm only to try again few seconds later.
It was bearable. That’s the best one could say about it.
It wasn’t difficult to figure out where he was, really. Everything was screaming hospital in here; empty hospital beds besides his own, hospital annoying smell, hospital annoying half white half green walls.
Mint green. He frowned at the thought.
He missed rich, emerald green.
Pain in his body reminded him of yesterday night and he felt ashamed. He felt ashamed to the point he was willing to try again, if only so that he won’t have to deal with that shame ever.
However, since he didn’t have any energy left in his body and since he was sure people working here did everything in their power to cut off the access to any harmful objects, simply trying seemed futile.
Feelings were flooding him again.
Despair, shame, sadness, all of it combined and more. It felt like physical pain.
He closed his eyes and tried so, so hard to imagine this beautiful, sunshine smile. The one that made the world make sense, even if only for a split second.
‘Hey, Shads! Cheer up buttercup and race me to the city!’
He smiled at the memory.
Things were so easy back then, he could just race the blue hero and they would both walk away content. That was good enough for him.
It was when Shadow noticed he started developing deep feelings for his friend that things started to get difficult between them. For some reason, he just knew, he knew that Sonic did not have similar feelings for him. When Sonic suggested becoming roommates to save a couple of rings on the rent, Shadow felt both happy and horrified. Hiding both his depression and his feelings for the other hedgehog while living under the same roof as him was extremely difficult, especially when their hands brushed accidentally during simplest of things, like one being done with the bathroom and another wanting to take a shower. But… he couldn’t help that tiny sparkle of joy that he, among the entire wide list of blue idiot’s friends, was the one Sonic suggested living together with. Even though it made life harder at some parts, he couldn’t regret agreeing to the proposition.
Soft footsteps brought him out of his thoughts and soon after, a human lady dressed in white walked into the room with a box in her hands.
“Mr. Shadow? Can I talk to you for a moment?”
A nod was his only answer.
“Look, I do not want to make it any harder than it has to be at the moment, but… Do you remember everything that happened yesterday?” Her voice was soft, like she was worried he could break any second.
He took a deep breath and braced himself for social interaction he hated so much. And more questions.
“Yes, I do.”
“Okay, well then, I think you can pretty much figure out what I’m here for. I am doctor Shirley Hartnell and during your stay in the hospital I will be taking care of you. I do not want the entire situation to be more shocking for you than it already is, so I think it will be best if we talk more during therapy session. Nurses will let you know the entire schedule and how the system works like around here pretty soon so don’t worry. As for now, I’m here to make sure you take this,” she handed Shadow a tiny, round pill and pointed at the glass of water he didn’t even notice he had next to his bed, “and swallow it with water right now. It’s Hydroxyzinum, it might make you feel a little sleepy, but overall it should help you feel a bit better until we manage to find suitable medication for you.”
Shadow looked her in the eye and her persistent stare said she was not going to move until he did what she asked. Great. He hated pills.
He did as he was told, mostly because he wanted to have some time alone back.
The lady smiled at him and got up from the bed.
“Thank you. I promise me and other workers of the hospital will do whatever we can so you can get better soon. And now time for something more pleasant: you have a visitor. They have been waiting here all morning until visiting hours. They really must care a lot about you,” her voice was warm but oh, how wrong she was, thinking Shadow would appreciate having anybody visiting him right now. He knew it associated with being forced to explain why he did what he did and putting up with his friend's anger, whoever it was really.
He growled quietly, hoping miss Hartnell did not hear him. He was about to speak up, but then the doctor walked to the door and opened it, allowing said visitor to walk through.
And he could’ve sworn his heart shattered to tiny pieces.
Because it was Sonic. But… his shiny, beautiful fur was so ruffled it was hard to notice its usual gleam. There was a hint of red in those gorgeous eyes and under them bags were clearly visible.
‘I did this,’ he thought and it hurt so much. So much.
However, the moment the cobalt hero stared back at him, he smiled. Of course he would, the blue idiot.
“Shadow…” his eyes looked so sad, yet so hopeful and relieved at the same time. The other hedgehog walked up and sat next to him on the bed. Bold move, yes, but to be honest it didn’t surprise him.
The doctor left the room and for now, briefly mentioning something about breakfast being there soon and for now, there was just two of them. The dark hedgehog looked away because he couldn’t, he just couldn’t look at him right now. His tongue felt heavier than usual.
For a while they just stayed like this, neither of them sure what to say.
Eventually, the dark hedgehog felt a soft hand on his right shoulder. He relaxed and appreciated that, for a second, everything felt so right.
Perhaps this is what gave him the courage to speak up.
“You were the one who called, right?” He asked softly.
“Well, yeah. I’m glad we decided to become roommates; who knows what could have happened if I didn’t find you in time,” cobalt hedgehog replied, worry clear in his voice.
‘Who knows, huh. I think we both know.’
“Look, I know you’re probably upset with me right now for doing what I did, but I just wanted to help you. I care about you, you’re my friend if something happened to you, if starting next day you were gone, I… I don’t think I would be able to stand it.”
His voice was breaking. He sounded perfectly ready to cry.
“I saved people before. I saved humans, mobians, you name it. I saved entire planets chained together, I saved Earth and put its pieces back together. And yet… I was not able to save my friend. But I’m not going to make the same mistake again, Shadow. I promise. I’m here for you and I will do everything in my power to help you through this.”
All of this… it didn’t sound like Sonic at all. And yet it was him. His voice lacked the usual playful tone and he missed it so much.
Shadow finally risked it and looked at him.
As he suspected, the blue hedgehog indeed had tears in his eyes.
“Sonic…” at this point he honestly had no idea what to say.
“It’s okay buddy, I understand. It will come with time. Just, please let me in that head of yours?” He smiled sadly, “I really want us to race again and this obviously is not a good place for a race. And, well… The house looks extremely empty without you there.”
Sonic reached for something inside his quills and soon enough it turned out to be a cellphone. Shadow’s cellphone.
“There, I know how anxious you are feeling without this thing, and besides, it will let us stay in touch whenever I’m not here and you feel the need to talk to me. Or vice versa,” he laughed, shortly and softly.
Sonic’s left hand reached out, allowing Shadow to take the item. Slowly, hesitantly he grabbed hero’s hand in order to grab the phone from his hands.
“Thank you,” he took the phone from his hands and could swear he felt gloved fingers trying to touch him more.
His eyes widened slightly and he looked into hero’s eyes. This couldn’t… it couldn’t be happening, right? He must be misinterpreting things. He was almost certain the blue hedgehog did not feel the same way about him.
Then again… has never seen so many emotions on his friend’s face. Happiness, sadness, fear, relief… to only name a few. They all danced in those gorgeous eyes he fell in love with more and more each time he looked at them.
They simply took their time for a while, just staring into each other’s eyes, both of them searching for answers. And much to Shadow’s surprise, Sonic suddenly broke down, tears streaming down his face.
“Shadow,” his voice sounded so breathless. And so sad.
All of this was happening so fast.
He wasn’t sure if he was keeping up with blue hero’s emotions anymore. Silently, he wondered if Sonic himself could keep up with them by this point.
All he knew for now was that Sonic never cried. Ever. These tears he witnessed right now didn’t fit this usually beautiful, smiling face. It hurt so much, seeing him like that. He didn’t feel such a sharp wave of pain in a long, long time.
‘Don’t do this,’ he thought, ‘I can’t stand see you suffer like this, you don’t deserve any of this, I-‘
With a pitiful moan, he broke just like Sonic did. They cried, they cried and just couldn’t stop.
It all hurt, it all hurt so much.
They were hurt way too much and just couldn’t keep it in anymore.
Somehow, they found themselves in each other’s embrace. One clung to another as they cried their hearts out and nothing else mattered.
“I’m sorry… I’m so sorry I didn’t save you in time…” Shadow managed to make out the hero’s words between his sobs.
“No… You did plenty already…” Dark hedgehog nearly choke on those words. Why wasn’t he the one apologizing, why those words wouldn’t leave his mouth?
And here we are, the blue boy was acting like Shadow’s depression was his fault. He always wanted to help everybody, save everyone and make sure everyone was happy. But this situation was different.
Because fighting an enemy that you cannot see is a completely different territory and requires a completely different strategy.
The pain was flooding and Shadow wondered if he could die just like that, simply from being overwhelmed by those horrible, scary feelings. He kept crying his heart out and stroking Sonic’s quills softly, hoping some of the pain will leave along with his sobs.
He wasn’t sure how much time passed exactly, but it sure felt like eternity when both of them started to calm down and they just… stared into each other’s eyes. Ruby melted into emerald and then-
And then he felt soft lips of the blue hero on his own and this time, it was real.
His eyes widened in shock, but not for long really. He needed this. He dreamed about this feeling for so long.
He kissed back passionately, grabbing peach shoulders softly and left out a sigh as he felt gloved hands touch both sides of his face.
He had so, so many questions. But they didn’t matter right now. He definitely needed a break from questions.
Pure fire spread through him as he felt soft tongue and teeth on his lips; joy filled his heart as he was giving the same attention to the blue hedgehog and felt soft lip shiver underneath his care.
After a while they broke apart, and it finally felt like it was enough. It was him, not another dream or a nightmare. Sonic really was here.
“Stay with me, Shadow…”
His heart was there with him.