© Beloved Doll
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Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how one would look at it, Maria is on the third floor of the hospital. She has one room to herself, ensuring further peace and quiet for her. There are a couple of nurses in the room currently. One is adjusting the sheets over top of Maria while the other is setting the jacket left with Maria on top of the back of a chair that is sitting beside the bed. Any blood that was on the jacket was cleaned up and it has been thoroughly sterilized.
Maria has had her own clothing removed, it was torn in many places and wasn`t appropriate for her to wear anyways when she can leave the hospital. The nurses have fitted her with one of the hospital gowns, but not any of the cheap tissue-thin ones. This one actually has some decent thickness to it like regular clothes have. It`s sleeveless so it just has straps over her shoulders and otherwise resembles a dress. Her bandages are very obvious and in a great number. Most of the injuries are on her torso, most of the other injuries are either scratches or small cuts thus they are either not bad enough for any bandaging or they just have small bandages over them. She is laying on her back on the bed and her head tilted to facing the opposite direction of the window. A tv sitting on a wall shelf high up is turned on to a random channel in case Maria does wake, she would have something to occupy her.
Once they are finished with preparing Maria in her room, one of the nurses sets some papers in the slot on the end of the bed. These papers have records of what has taken place with Maria, what medication she is on, how much of the medication she needs and even how much her care thus far costs. The doctors are expecting that Maria is just another typical citizen and because she looks to be a teen still, they will be conducting a search tomorrow to see if they can locate her family so they could come pick her up. If no claims are made, she would be sent to a foster home and probably later on, be adopted out. That is, once she has healed enough where she could leave the hospital.
Shadow`s heart sinks; he wants her to live with him. What could he possibly do to have that become a reality? He has a lot of time, actually, and a good bit of money under his belt. But he needs to think about getting a job and a place to live if he has any hope of society allowing Maria to go with him. Being seventeen years of age, or at least passing himself as that age, and fully able to take care of himself, life has been a bit of a rocky road thus far. He is a senior in High-School, only needing a certain few classes to graduate. Thinking over things, Shadow wonders what he could do to just get out and focus on Maria. This opens up so many possibilities.
While he is day-dreaming of the possibilities, he leaps down from the tree with his back pack slung over a shoulder. As it was day, he takes off his jacket and slings it on a nearby bench. Now he is sitting out in the open for anyone passing by to see him in the park. Opening up a note book, he has brought a pen to paper and begins to write. Leaning back, he starts thinking of what he was going to say. The doctors aren`t about to help Maria out of her current state for free. And thus, he begins drafting a letter signed "Anonymous", to be set with a fair amount of money with it. Another problem that crosses his mind at this point is how is he going to be reaching her? The doctors aren`t going to let a delinquent off the streets see a girl in critical condition.
Looking over, Maria is on the third floor, obviously. Fortunately, a series of tall trees are near the window to her room. That essentially offers Shadow a series of platforms for him to scale and climb to reach her. Things would work out, he tells himself mentally. Writing some more, he ends the letter which details that the doctors would be paid for giving Maria expert care. Leaning back, Shadow continues to sit there, looking over at the hospital building. Thinking it over to himself, pleasant thoughts start to flood his mind. What if, by some miracle, they did let him accept Maria in his care and she`d be allowed to live with him? And, perhaps, they could go to school together and Shadow could begin showing her the world. Things would be perfect.
As the day rolls on, the time for school to end comes. The Sonic Gang leave their high school and go to the elementary school to pick up Tails and Cream. With only Shadow absent from the team, everyone begin to walk to the burger shop. There is some walking time for them so on the way, their conversation sways from subject to subject. But Shadow`s unusual absence from school hasn`t gone unnoticed by the team.
Amy looks around for a moment at all the people they are passing as they navigate through the tall buildings to the burger shop. Shadow isn`t in sight. She puts her index finger to her cheek thoughtfully. Sure Shadow seemed about as interested in school as Sonic is interested in Barbie dolls, but he never missed a day. Amy sighs and finally speaks,"Maybe he was sick today?"
Rouge rolls her eyes,"No way. Shadow was created to be the Ultimate Lifeform remember? He`s immune to all diseases."
Amy shrugs,"Well he`s not the type to play hookie..."
"He dropped out." Fang finally says, folding his arms behind his head, leaning back. Fang is always ready to assume something based on how he sees things.
"No way. Shadow wouldn`t just up and leave yet."
Sonic dismisses the thought as he points over to the Burger Shop,"I guess we could swing by his pad after a couple of burgers. How`s that sound?"
Knuckles shrugs,"Sounds good to me."
"Yeah, yeah." Tails nods slightly, looking around. He has spent much of the day focused on some sort of pocket-computer like gadget, obviously his latest invention.
Amy looks at Sonic,"How can we stop by his 'pad'? He doesn`t have a home."
Rouge waves her hand,"We can go where ever it is he hangs out at most, then."
Cream is happily skipping along, her smiling face showing that her young age isn`t allowing her to really grasp the situation that is going on,"And in school today, I made lots of pictures for everybody!"
Sonic nods his head,"That`s great, Cream. Show us when we get inside, ok?"
"I'm telling you, he dropped out. I can definitely feel these things when it happens."
Fang insists on his idea as to what happened to Shadow as he walks over towards the shop. Always shifty when it comes to money, Fang looks around at everyone in the group to see if anyone is willing to buy him up,"So ah, hey, anyone willing to spot me? Huh, huh?"
Knuckles gruffly pushes Fang aside as he walks into the burger shop,"As if..."
"Yeah, no." Sonic says, waiting for the rest of the group to come and join them. Blaze waves off Fang as she enters the burger shop,"Forget it."
Amy doesn`t look in Fang`s direction as she is the next to enter the burger shop,"I`m low on money this week."
"No way." Tails says as he focuses on his pocket-gadget. Rouge pauses outside the burger shop. She puts her hands on her hips,"Actually guys, I need to go on a call I got from GUN during lunch period. I`ll catch up with you all later."
Cream waves to Rouge,"Ok, Ms Rouge. Byyyyye!"
Sonic waved her off,"Later, Rouge."
Tails says sincerely, giving her a friendly wave as he saw her off,"Good bye, Rouge."
Knuckles has mixed feelings about her, but these days somewhat more positive than the past,"See ya around."
Fang follows after the others into the shop,"Yeah, yeah, smell ya later, bat-girl."
Silver is the last to get inside following after with them all,"Later."
Tails looks towards Cream, ready to move on to another subject of conversation,"What did you draw, Cream?"
Cream bounds into the burger shop and turns to Tails to answer his question,"I drew pictures of everybody!"
She reaches into her backpack and pulls out several sheets of papers which each have childish drawings of everyone in the Sonic Team, to the bets of her 6-year old ability. Cream hands out to everyone a drawing she did of them and then begins to show off the drawings she made that are of groups of people. Blaze finds amusing the drawing Cream made of Amy hugging the life out of Sonic. Everyone makes positive input to Cream`s drawings, none of them are really artists per se. They nodd and comment on it, Tails especially as Cream was closer to his age.
Rouge walks away from the burger store. She pulls out her cell phone and dials in to GUN headquarters to see what job they want her to do. She goes to a park to take the call in peace and sits down on the bench, not paying attention to what or who is around her. As it turns out, GUN is just making a check-in call with her. Apparently, Shadow has been ignoring calls from them so they decided to call Rouge about it. She doesn`t give them very much detail other than she hasn`t seen him all day this day or last night. After the call, Rouge closes her phone and sticks it in her pocket. She sighs with annoyance that she had to leave the group for just a check-up call and that GUN seems to think that she is Shadow`s beeper. Rouge puts a hand to her forehead and rubs it gently,"Oi..."
It is almost by some divine miracle that he was just there, in plain sight. No wild goose chases, no furiously vain searches, no running around. Shadow is sitting by his lonesome in the park, looking in the direction of the hospital. Shadow hasn`t noticed her yet. From what Rouge could see, there is a note book in his lap, a pen in his right hand. His other arm is folded against the back of the bench in a rather informal, casual manner, as he continues to stare at the hospital. She might mistake this for him day dreaming or in being in deep thought, as he is writing on a blank sheet of paper. This was something else though. He is no longer writing a letter, he is writing a series of plans of what he is going to do.
Get out of school and graduate...
Get a job...
Get an apartment...
Get Maria better care is among the upper, larger priorities of his list as he continues to press the end of the pen against the paper. In fact, this item in the list is circled to seemingly emphasize it`s importance.
Rouge`s eyes noticeably lighten up as she takes notice to Shadow`s presence. She blinks as she wonders over what Shadow would be doing here. Rouge stands up from her bench and approaches the one Shadow is sitting at from behind, stepping as lightly as she can, showing her spy skills. He certainly doesn`t look sick or injured, did Shadow really just play hookie? Rouge looks over Shadow`s shoulder at his list. Some of the things seem like normal goals, which seems odd for Shadow as he`s shown very little care or concern for anything. But what gets Rouge`s curiosity is the point where Maria`s name is listed.
To the Sonic Gang, Maria is mostly unknown. All they know of a Maria was that her name was the password to Gerald`s diary, that she was Gerald`s granddaughter and Shadow mentioned her name on the Arc once when he spoke with Amy. Anything else about her is unknown to everyone. Rouge can`t help but cock her head to the side at this. She finally decides to make her presence known to Shadow. She leans on the back of the bench on her arms and looks to Shadow,"So this is where you have been, hmm?"
Shadow isn`t one to be caught off guard. Almost casually, he closes the note book and sets it aside rather roughly, slowly turning his head to look at her. He silently hopes that Rouge hadn`t seen the list but the other part of him says that she likely had. She was always rather nosy. Already on the defensive, he isn`t exactly fond of Rouge`s presence,"What do you want..."
His tone of voice isn`t too hostile but enough to show that her presence here isn`t desired. His crimson eyes stare into hers for a lengthy amount of time, as he waits for her to speak.
Rouge casually and in a feminine fashion, shakes her head a little to seemingly re-align her hair. Already she is working her flirtatious moves, despite how both her and Shadow know that such moves don`t work on him. It most likely is a form of habit with her at this point. She shifts a little, leaning on her arms on the back of the bench. Rouge leans forward a little more and shifts her weight on her legs to the side,"Awww, you don`t need to be so stiff with me, Shads..."
Shadow`s eyes narrow slightly as she tries to work her magic but obviously, he is impervious to such advances. His expression softens slightly only because she is among their group and considered as a "friend" of his because he is part of that group. He has no one better to hang out with than the Sonic Gang. Shadow looks back to Rouge,"Fine...But seriously, what are you doing here?"
Rouge hops over the back of the bench to sit on it beside Shadow but knowing Shadow, she sits on the opposite side from Shadow, keeping the distance between them. She slings her own arm over the back of the bench casually and crosses her legs over one another. Her flirtatious actions continue while her verbalization remains casual,"Wondering what`s going on with you. In fact, the whole gang is wondering what`s happened to you. We all know that you aren`t very thrilled over school but you haven`t missed a single day since you decided to go to school with us."
"I have things going on."
Shadow leans back against the bench at this point, his eyes began to shift away from hers, looking off to the side towards the grass,"I can`t be expected to go to a place like that day in, day out. I have better things to do."
Blowing up a bit of a huff as he shifts his gaze up towards the sky, Shadow then looks towards the hospital. That room Maria is in is starting to become an obsession for Shadow to watch and determine whether or not he would work his courage, test fate and visit her room one night.
Rouge carefully watches Shadow change his gaze away from her, to the grass and to the hospital. She lifts her head up and looks to the hospital where Shadow is looking. Rouge sighs, folds her arms, leaves her legs crossed and looks back to Shadow,"Better things to do? Does that mean you`re going to answer GUN when they call you? You`ve ignored them so much they are calling me about you."
"...Tell them that things came up."
Shadow is still fixated on the hospital bedroom. Then he shifts his gaze to actually look at Rouge and for a while, goes silent, as if thinking about what he is going to say,"I need..to get a job and get a real place to live...Start living life."
It is odd how Shadow suddenly brings all of this up out of the blue. What has gotten into him? Usually he just goes with the flow. His idea of life was riding on his motorcycle or working on it, going to class and living around on the city streets. He was a drifter, a delinquent loner that no one was about to mess with. Now he is talking about turning his life around?
The expression on Rouge`s face changes to show her surprise at Shadow`s sudden change. She is silent for a moment before she finally speaks again to Shadow,"Shadow...Are you all right? This isn`t like you at all."
She unfolds her arms and uncrosses her legs. She leans to side, putting her hands on the bench space between her and Shadow, leaning in close to him. Even though she is quite concerned about what is happening to Shadow, her body language is still...unmatching to her intentions,"What`s going on with you, Shadow? You can tell me."
Shadow, again, goes silent for a good while. Looking at her, he doesn`t exactly feel that close with her. Then again, did he feel very close with the rest of the group? The one thing that Rouge has that they don`t is past-experience. Shadow knew Rouge longer than he had anyone of the rest of the group he was a part of. Leaning back, he lets out a long, drawn out sigh, and looks off.
"I guess you`re the closest thing I could consider a "friend". I`m not going soft. I just think I should look into getting more out of life."
As he says this, Shadow looks back at Rouge, looking into her eyes. Something has definitely come up, she could tell.
"Something happened that just made life...very precious to me."
His eyes narrow slightly as he starts looking away, as if thinking over things. Mainly, his thoughts flow over the experiences of the previous night; how he single handedly stormed into Eggman`s base of operations and had rescued Maria from him. Barely.
As usual, Shadow is keeping his personal life locked away from Rouge and the rest of the group. Everyone knows next to nothing about him still and it`s as if he lives up to his name, following them like a shadow. A dark and mysterious shadow... Rouge sighs and leans back into a regular sitting position. If she prods too much, Rouge knows she will be pushing one of Shadow`s buttons. She stands up from the bench and turns to look at Shadow, putting a hand on her hip,"Whatever it is that`s going on, I hope you won`t be digging your grave deeper."
Shadows tone changes as he speaks, as if to tell her to 'keep out of it',"Don`t worry about me."
Rouge then turns back and walks off with intentions to return to the Sonic Gang. Naturally, she`ll be telling them of her findings on Shadow. Letting out a sigh, Shadow looks off, returning to his day dreaming. Now that Rouge knows a little more, that would likely bring the rest of the group into this. He grimaces at the thought. Loneliness usually wasn`t a problem with Shadow, but now that Maria is in the area...