Shadow was standing from the space colony ARK as he looked down on the earth that he had once opposed for the loss of his creator, Dr. Gerald Robotnik and his daughter, his one and only best human friend, Maria Robotnik. It had been quite a long time since the incident that separated him, fifty years to be exact, and Shadow had wanted in his heart to avenge the loss of both of them for having taking everything away from him. But after a bit of soul searching from him and his friends, or rather acquaintances, he had fought to help save earth and the very people that he had blamed for the loss of Gerald and Maria. With the pain he felt for his creator and friend subdued, Shadow felt at ease for what seemed like a long time coming, but he still felt empty and out of place to even set foot on earth, not after what he had gone through and what only a handful of people may even still think of him.
He looked at the earth for one last time before turning back to exit the control room, throwing a picture to the ground when he moved. He had no intentions of staying there any longer and left, but before he could walk through the automatic door, the picture had hit the ground and a voice was heard just as he was about to leave.
The black hedgehog's ears perked up and he looked back to see who had called him but couldn't see anything. All he saw was the picture on the ground that he had thrown by the window. Thinking that it was just his imagination, he looked back and started to walk back out, but he looked back one last time to make sure he was not imagining anything and that the voice was all in his head. It was funny though, the voice had sounded awfully familiar to him. He shrugged it off and turned back to exit the room.
The hedgehog looked back at the room to see who it was that called him, the voice sounding more masculine than the other voice, but also different. Shadow walked back into the room and started to look around at what or who was calling for him. He kept his guard up and kept a cautious eye for what would appear.
“Who's there?” He asked.
When he got back to the picture he had thrown on the ground, he picked it back up to look at it again. He picked it up, taking a look at the picture and looking at the two people in the picture: Gerald and Maria Robotnik. He looked up from the picture and looked out the window and back down at earth, thinking of how life seemed to just send him on a whirlwind of adventures.
Shadow's ears perked again and he turned around quickly to see who had spoken to him and if he wasn't just losing his mind. His eyes had widened when he saw who was talking to him, and he was very surprised to see them both.
The elderly doctor and his granddaughter were standing right at the middle of the control room. Shadow couldn't believe his eyes, but the two people he thought were gone from his life were standing right in front him, and were looking as how he had remembered them to be, only they seemed a bit... Off. For them to appear out of thin air as they were now just to see Shadow again was a bit far fetched, not to mention that it was too good to be true. But regardless of any explanation that could justify the situation, that didn't change the fact the Shadow was once again reunited with his creator and his closest friend... Somehow. Shadow got closer to the two, too struck with surprise to do anything else.
“Is... Is...” Shadow said at a loss for words, finally getting face to face with the two after fifty long years. “Is it really you two?”
Shadow went to reach out and try to grab Maria's hand, but he was shocked to see that his hand had fazed through her, Confused by this, he looked up at Maria knowing full well what was going on.
Both Maria and Gerald nodded to Shadow, confirming his suspicion.
“It's been quite some time, Shadow.” Said Maria.
Being able to hear Maria's voice once again was music to Shadow's ears. He had since longed to at least hear or see her again as well as Gerald, but that never seemed like it would be possible, especially after the whirlwind of events that had plagued his life. He's fought a long, hard and confusing battle just to figure out who or what he was, and each passing moment was like one avalanche of misinformation after another. He smiled up at Maria after a few moments.
“Indeed, it has been.” He agreed with her earlier statement. “But we can both agree that it has been difficult times.”
“Yes, it was.”
“But that has not stopped you from succumbing to the injustice that had once tried to take over your livelihood, Shadow. You've fought hard for what you have always believed in.” Said Gerald.
“That doesn't really excuse me for the things I have done before.” Shadow said.
Maria stepped towards Shadow and got down on her knees to level with his height.
The hedgehog looked up at his friend who started reaching her hand up to touch him, or just lay her hand on his cheek since she would faze though him anyways. She smiled at the hedgehog and spoke to him.
“Shadow, you mustn't live in the past for what you feel is your fault. What's done is done. You shouldn't feel like you are a failure, nor should you feel regret for anything that happened.” She said.
Shadow looked down at the ground, taking in the words that Maria was telling him. He knew that he shouldn't have to carry a burden that happened fifty years ago and that was beyond his control to even say that it was his fault, but he often couldn't help but feel responsible somehow. He looked back up and looked past Maria to look at Gerald with a questioning look.
“I agree, Shadow.” The doctor responded. “Though I was conflicted when the government had attacked us and created a whole slew of problems, that was a long time ago, and I have since moved on, even after my passing. I never expected, nor had I wanted you to feel the way I did when I was blinded by anger.”
“The point is, Shadow, is that we know what you have been through, and have seen everything. From your constant back and fourth battle with good and evil, contemplating whether or not to get vengeance for us, to your heroic change of heart to help make the world a better place.” Said Maria. “And we're glad that you have chosen to move on and look ahead to the future.”
Shadow gave a light chuckle and looked up at the two.
“It took a lot of convincing from my acquaintances, and as you had mentioned, just constant back and fourth dilemmas, but I was able to finally conclude what I wanted and moved on.”
Gerald stepped up to the hedgehog and rested his hand on Shadow's shoulder, or rather kept it at level with Shadow's shoulder.
“And for that, I am proud of you, Shadow. I feared that you would make the same mistake as I had done and let a lust for anger and vengeance take over your well-being. But you seemed to have proved that not to be the case at all.”
“Thank you, doctor.”
“But we also wanted to tell you that we are happy that you have finally found peace with yourself and the world, but we do not want you to take an isolation approach, Shadow.” Said Maria.
“Yes. Because even though you may feel like you want to disconnect yourself from everything because you feel that you've done all that you feel you have, that doesn't mean that you have to remain in the dark forever.”
“Maria is right, Shadow.” Gerald interjected. “I am no longer responsible for how you should live the rest of your life, nor is the government responsible for you, especially of what they want with you. But rather you should be able to live how you see fit out in the world, like you were meant to.”
“And even though it may come off as a burden, the one's in your life right now care about you and your well-being. I'm not forcing you to go and make decisions that you wouldn't want, but I'm asking you to give those a chance.”
Shadow looked up at Maria and smiled to her. He put his hand up to reach Maria's hand, but quickly put it back down, knowing that it'd be futile, but he still maintained his smile.
“You're right, Maria. I've often doubted my own conscious on my way of approaching the obstacles in my life, and I've always had a dark cloud in my head that made me think negatively on the outcome. But now I feel as though I don't have to worry about that anymore.”
Both Maria and Gerald smiled at the hedgehog, and were happy to see that he has since grown since the incident. Shadow stepped up and walked towards the exit of the control room, but he only remained looking at the door with his back turned to Maria and Gerald.
“I no longer feel any more grief inside of me.” Shadow said. “I have been through a lot of difficult trials in my life, and none of them were by any means pleasant to have to go through. But it has given me the opportunity to recollect myself and find out just who I am and what I was created for.”
Maria and Gerald watched as Shadow looked back to them, with the hedgehog having a confident smile on his face.
“But even after all that I've been through, I honestly would not change any of it.”
“That's fantastic to hear from you, Shadow.” Maria said. “We were always worried for what would've happened to you after our passing, but it seems that any worry we had for you is diminishing.”
“It's great that you always maintained an open mind and an open heart in you, Shadow.” Said Gerald. “Of course that did not cover up the fact that you were a difficult individual to those who were looking after you. But you changed for the better, and for that, I am proud.”
“Thank you, doctor.”
And with those final words, Maria and Gerald started to fade away in front of Shadow. Said hedgehog watched as the two left, a smile rested on his lips. He looked around at the control room for a bit, taking in the silence that was present before, and saw out the window. He started to walk up to look out at the earth again, taking one last good look at the planet from the ARK. He let out a soft chuckle, knowing that he had once despised it and wished death upon it, only to save it from complete destruction.
He looked towards the ground and saw the picture that he had thrown, and went to pick it up. Once in his hand, he looked at the image of Gerald and Maria as they were looking towards the camera. Shadow smiled and folded the picture and put it away, before walking towards the doors, and left the ARK forever.