© Beloved Doll
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Behind Club Rouge, the dumpsters can be found. The most physically strongest guys of the team, Knuckles and Mighty, and both carrying an end of Metal Sonic. They arrive in front of the dumpster. Then the two guys hoist Metal Sonic up and throw him inside the dumpster. Since the trash truck had came earlier that day, the dumpster was empty prior to Metal Sonic being tossed in. So, when Metal Sonic goes in, he loudly clangs against the bottom of the dumpster. Mighty wipes his hands off while Knuckles moves his shoulder some. As they head back inside the Club, Knuckles comments,"Well, that`s that."
Inside the Club, Tails is knelt down by the karaoke machine, examining the damage. He is the only real tech person the team has. Rouge and Sonic are standing by Tails, overlooking his work. Sonic`s arms are folded while Rouge has her hands on her hips. Tails has a flathead screwdriver that he has been using to pry and prode the machine as he examines it. He looks over his shoulder up to Rouge,"I`m sure I can fix it, though it might take a while. I`ll have to come back tomorrow morning and work on it then."
Rouge puts a hand to the side of her head lazily and sighs,"Oh dear...I guess that means karaoke will have to be cancelled for tomorrow night."
Tails shrugs,"But at least by the following day, the machine will be fixed and usable after that."
"Do what you must."
Sonic points to himself with his thumb,"I`ll run you by tomorrow morning, Tails. Then I`ll pick you up at nightfall."
Tails nods his head,"Thanks, Sonic."
"Hey, no problem, buddy."
Amy comes trotting up to Sonic and Tails,"Hey, guys? Shadow is getting ready to go home with Maria. We should help them carry their stuff."
Sonic shrugs,"Can`t he just Chaos Control everything?"
"His hands are kind of full."
Amy walks Sonic and Tails back to the main room of the club, which is where everyone else is. Some of the mess has been cleaned up by everyone who are all trying to help Rouge get everything back together. Everything should be back in order for tomorrow night`s shift, that is except maybe the karaoke machine.
Beside the table that holds Maria`s gifts (which miraculously, was about the only thing that wasn`t damaged by the battle), Maria is seated in her chair, but she looks quite sleepy. She`s beginning to rub her eye as she tries to fight off falling alseep in the chair. With Amy, Sonic and Tails walking over, Shadow is in the process of gathering Maria from the chair and into his arms. Before he has her set, Maria is wrapping her arms around Shadow`s neck and laying her head against him like she is going to sleep. Sonic is the first to speak,"Want a hand?"
Shadow turns around, as the tiny group has approached him from behind. He looks at them in silence for a moment and then says,"I can handle this."
Sonic shrugs off Shadow`s comment, never one to really follow with what Shadow says except in extreme cases. He heads for the table and grabs some of the bigger and heavier items,"We`ll carry Maria`s stuff for ya while you carry Maria."
Shadow narrows his eyes seeing the blue one take some of Maria`s things and watches on as Amy and Tails join Sonic in gathering everything. He really doesn`t want anyone to know where he and Maria are staying at. But it looks like they are insisting on it anyways. Admitting defeat on this one, Shadow turns back around and begins to leave the club while carrying Maria. Amy, Sonic and Tails follow behind with their hands loaded with Maria`s gifts.
The group of them walk down the dark streets of Station Square and make their way to the condo building that Shadow and Maria are living at. Just to make things easier, everyone uses the elevator to get to the upper floors. Once there, it`s only a few more steps and they would be at the front door. Shadow adjusts Maria so he can hold her with one arm and uses the other to pull out the key and unlock the door. He enters first with the others following behind.
The first room they walk into is the living room. Shadow pauses here but doesn`t turn to look at any of the others,"Just leave everything here."
It`s bad enough they know where he and Maria live, it would feel even more invasive if they followed them to the bedroom. Leaving them behind, Shadow continues to cross the living room and enters the bedroom with Maria. The door quickly closes behind him but it doesn`t slam, that would wake Maria.
Sonic, Amy and Tails decide to just follow directions and set Maria`s gifts down here in the living room. Some items are set on the floor but most are placed on the couch. Once that`s done, Amy puts her hands behind her back and looks around the room. Then she quietly remarks,"This is actually pretty nice."
Then she looks at Sonic,"And it`s actually clean."
Sonic shrugs,"He would have to keep it clean with Maria in the condition that she is in."
Tails looks up at Sonic,"Do you think we could come back over?"
Sonic ruffles Tails` hair,"I doubt it, lil` buddy. It`s a miracle we`re standing here now. We`ll be seeing them again I`m sure."
They hear the bedroom door open then close, within seconds Shadow is back in the living room now empty-handed. He must have put Maria to bed. He red eyes look to the three of them in silence. What could he say to get them to leave without coming off as rude? Before anything else could be done or said, Amy steps up to Shadow, gesturing to the room with both hands,"This is a pretty nice place, Shadow."
Shadow looks to Amy. He pauses before says,"...Thank you."
Sonic gives Shadow a thumbs up,"Yeah, you did great making this place suitable for Maria."
Sonic`s comment was more meant to to try to lighten the atmosphere and to hopefully ease things with Shadow. It is always difficult to bond with Shadow or get close to him, let alone make the air lighter in his presence. Shadow was just a difficult person to interact with thanks to the emotional "wall" he placed up around himself.
Shadow shifts his eyes to Sonic,"...Maria needs her rest."
"All right, Shadow, I get it."
Then the quiet, sweet voice of Maria speaks up from the bedroom. It`s so quiet that it`s almost missed,"Shadow...?"
She must have woken up and found herself alone. When she speaks, Shadow automatically turns his head back to look to the direction of the bedroom for a few moments. Then he slowly turns back around to face the small group of visitors. Sonic grabs a hold of Amy`s wrist with one hand and Tails in the other hand,"We`ll leave you to it. See ya next time."
Sonic begins to walk Amy and Tails out with him. As they leave, Amy waves to Shadow,"Bye! Tell Maria that I hope to see her again real soon."
Tails smiles and nods his head,"Yeah, me, too!"
When the door closes after Sonic, Amy and Tails leave, Shadow turns around and heads back to the bedroom. He hears Maria again softly say his name. She must be getting worried. Shadow opens the door to the bedroom and steps inside,"I`m here, Maria."
He leaves the bedroom door open this time as he enters. Maria is on the left side of the bed on her side, looking to the direction of the door. She`s wearing another one of Shadow`s white button shirts as her sleepwear as proper night clothes for her has yet to have been acquired. She looks absolutely tired but she manages to smile anyway when Shadow returns to the room. Shadow comes to the side of the bed and leans over. He puts one hand down on the mattress for support and lifts his other hand to Maria. This hand reaches up and slowly removes the headband from her head,"You should be resting, Maria..."
Shadow sets the headband aside, leaving it to lay on the bed down by the corner. Then he prepares himself for bed. Most likely he won`t be sleeping but he still feels that proper bed dress-wear is best if he`s going to be laying in bed for a while. The first to come off are his hover shoes and socks. He sets the shoes right by the bed so they can`t possibly be lost. Out of all the material things he owns, the hover shoes and the inhibitor rings are the most important for him to keep a hold of (neither one is replaceable). Next his disrobes his jacket and tosses that aside on the bed. Shadow slips off his gloves and lets those drop on the floor by his shoes. The last piece to come off is his button shirt. This gets tossed into the laundry basket that`s at the foot of the bed on the floor. He leaves his inhibitor rings on as well as his pants. Finally, Shadow climbs into the bed.
He lays on the right side of the bed, putting his back to the bedroom door. He gets himself under the covers as Maria is. Then Shadow reaches his arms forward to Maria and he pulls her right into him. Maria enjoys this very short-lived ride, bearing a smile over it and immediately snuggles into Shadow as he gets his arms positioned where he would be hugging her protectively into himself. Maria closes her eyes and nuzzles her head into Shadow`s bare chest for a moment before she settles down with a happy sigh. She`ll begin to drift back asleep.
As the night presses on, Shadow does remain awake. He feels no need to sleep. But his thoughts are racing. His hand subconsciously moves to the back of Maria`s head as he thinks these things over. He will have to go back to accepting missions from GUN again, but where would that leave Maria? She doesn`t even know that he works for them. How would she take to that? And when would be the best time to let her know of what happened to the Arc? She still seems to be following the ideal she developed that he had saved her from all that mess. It will be a terrible revelation for her, that`s for sure.
Suddenly there is a sound. Shadow jerks in the bed upon hearing it and his eyes widen a little. His sudden movement wakes Maria. She opens her eyes half way, sleepily,"Mmmmm...Shadow?"
Shadow pulls Maria a little tighter into him and he looks over his shoulder,"(Wait, Maria...)"
Maria silences herself but looks up to Shadow with concern. Shadow listens very carefully and he hears another faint sound. This reveals exactly what is going on. Someone has broken into their condo. This act is not going to fly with Shadow; it puts Maria in danger. Shadow releases Maria and begins to quickly get out of bed. As he does so, he pulls the blanket over top of Maria to cover her up and hopefully hide her a little better. Shadow whispers to Maria very quietly for her to stay here in the bed and under the covers. Maria opens a little section of the blanket so she can peek out and see what is going on but she is still hidden out of sight. She can see Shadow bending over to pick up something from the floor. What he picks up is his Colt 45. Maria drops her mouth open at seeing the weapon in Shadow`s hand.
He moves to the doorway and looks out of it. He can see someone is in the living room and they are rummaging through the bags of Maria`s gifts on the couch. The front door is wide open. An extra flare of anger rises up in Shadow seeing some unworthy guy touching Maria`s things. Having his weapon ready, Shadow steathily makes his way to the living room. It`s at this point that he leaves Maria`s field of vision and she becomes even more worried. Her heart begins to beat faster, scared for what is going to happen.
Within seconds of Shadow disappearing from Maria`s sight, a series of sounds follow. The first that comes is the sound of the Colt 45 being fired once. The noise startles and scares Maria. She instantly coils up into a ball, putting her hands over her head and closing her eyes tightly. From the living room comes the sound of something being knocked over, several items falling to the floor from some unknown height and then thumping of scrambling feet. The thumping is short lived as the door slams shut. Then slower paced footsteps follow.
Maria opens her eyes and slowly peeks from under her blankets that hide her. her eyes go straight to the doorway. She is relieved when Shadow enters back to the bedroom.
He puts the gun`s safety on and then he sets it away in the drawer. At this point, Maria comes out of her blankets more, getting close to sitting up in the bed. She looks at Shadow with concern,"Shadow..."
Shadow gets back into the bed and gets himself and Maria positioned as they were before the break-in,"It was safer than using my powers...At least with the gun, the building won`t be destroyed. I`m sorry, Maria...I hadn`t locked the door when Sonic and the others had left so the intruder was able to get in. I locked the door so it won`t happen again."
"Please tell me that you let the man live, Shadow..."
"...He`s still alive. I didn`t shoot him, just scared him off."