He remembered once when Maria said there’s a special someone out there for you just waiting to be found or if you’re lucky they’ll find you first. Shadow also remembered scoffing lightly saying she had been reading one too many of her romance books before bed. He was quite content with the affections of his dear sister to worry about such nonsense. And besides… he had a rather peculiar hedgehog with a life of dodging dangerous obstacle courses for the sake of humans and their need to test and jab and prod.
But at the time, he would have never told a living soul that a small part of him was determined to entertain the idea when silent musings in the observatory danced in his rare chances of solitude.
Then those dreams had been tarnished and buried deep when the ARK, its scientists and Maria had been lost.
He also remembers when many years later, he comes face to face with the most annoying yet intriguing specimen bundled into one hedgehog much like himself. That small part had reared its long hibernating head but was quickly tranquilised – he had more important goals to complete and Chaos Emeralds to track down. That was all that should matter and all that would ever matter.
Yet their paths would cross again and again - like some unfathomable force that felt like a cord stretched to its limit was pulling at him and tugging him - until he was before blue, green and cocky. It irritated him, a lot. He had no time for this and that hedgehog and his uncanny talent to worm his way into his business.
When it came down to it however, when it really mattered and he was so close to fulfilling Maria’s wish, which was to be avenged at the time, every fibre in his being screamed at him not to end the hedgehogs life when the perfect opening presented itself. His hesitation at the time felt like the harsh bite of failure at the time – but now he would thank himself everyday something intervened. Something he was able to identify a few years later.
The defeat of the Black Arms found the very same blue hedgehog at Club Rouge one night to celebrate Shadow’s victory over the Alien tyrant.
But Shadow was not one for parties nor ones congratulating the genocide of his kin he had cut his ties with. A part of him would argue that he could at least feel free – something he remembered the blu- Sonic, that Sonic would say was the most important thing to him. It was something he would come to treasure after he had left his past behind him and would cherish Maria and Gerald’s memory for life.
These had been his ponderings atop the quiet roof while the muffled thumps of dancing feet and clinks of drinks from within. Such sounds were pleasant from a distance and quite reassuring too. This is what he fought for, all the life earth had to offer. It was what Maria wanted and slowly but surely became what Shadow wanted.
And when those buckled sneakers trotted their way to his perch and plonked themselves next to him, words, murmurs had been exchanged and Sonic pressed himself into Shadow’s side, the thought steeled itself even more. He remembers Sonic’s amusement and curiousity at the little hum he breathed out. Maria had been right, and like one of those books Shadow may or may not have skimmed over her shoulder – he had been lost, so very lost, but now he was found. Sonic would laugh and say he agreed.
Shadow would chuckle at the memory of how awkward their first attempts at what Maria had taught him to be dating. Playful sparring or racing - sometimes both - and a lovely evening of trashing the Doctor’s numerous bases wouldn’t have been one’s average idea of romancing. But what would one expect when you partnered yourself to a hedgehog such as Sonic?
Shows of affections were treasured secrets - something Shadow grew to appreciate dearly, the pet of quills and the most inexperienced of kisses would have that insistent cord in pooled in his core back-flipping. Honestly if his past self could see him he would bet Rouge’s gem collection he would be disgusted or perhaps mortified at how open he had slowly but surely made himself to Sonic. Embarrassing. Maria on the other hand would have been pleased. There wasn’t a day that went by that Shadow didn’t think that he would have loved for her to have met Sonic.
And here they were today, pure energies of chaos and the blissful smell of their union filling the room as they basked and breathed easier. Shadow lay upon the mattress with his Sonic straddled above him. Occasionally, the blue one’s powerful but surely tender lower section would twitch and nudge above his abdomen and it was absolutely delicious. Dazed red was quite content to roam over Sonic’s glistened coat and take in his marks of claim. A thought raised the fact that if Sonic were to have his way, things would be quite opposite next time. To debate if he should have his other work for that or simply indulge him would be saved for later.
He then focuses on Sonic’s hands fiddling idly with one of Shadow’s own. Peach furred fingers would attempt to twine themselves between his as if testing if they would fit perfectly or not. His bottom lip was slightly pinched and he could swear he would feel the tiniest of tremors in the prodding digits.
“What is it?” Shadow rumbles, the other hand that had been occupied with the side of Sonic’s waste coming up to cover those twitchy knuckles.
Sonic seemed to snap out of his daydreaming, bringing slightly bewildered green to meet with his own red.
“Hm? Oh, nothing Shads.”
He would then pinch and prod at the cotton layer covering Shadow’s hands.
“There is something on your mind, tell me.”
Sonic huffed striking one of those infamous smirks.
“Fine, fine.” He drawls “I noticed you’re still wearing your gloves, that’s all.” The fiddling continues subtly.
At this, it dawned on Shadow that his other had abandoned his own as well as his socks in their tumbles. No doubt strewn about down the hall where it all began. What Shadow learned by Mobian standards, Sonic was completely naked – explained once as quite rare as it was a it was a sign of trust to show such vulnerability. For someone like Sonic whose speed was his shield, it caused a spike of affection to flare up before being covered by a lingering guilt. Shadow had not done the same therefore Sonic much think he did not trust him as such. A false – like his other Shadow’s guard had been of titanium that took a very stubborn and downright crazy speedster to infiltrate and once he did, the black hedgehog had found he had never trusted another more since his sister.
“…My apologies. I should have removed them.”
Sonic blinks at this before a tint of heat graces his muzzle and a small chuckle is released.
“Nah, only if you wanted to.” He releases his covered hand to give to assuring pats to the top of Shadow’s.
“Though, by now… I guess if wouldn’t hurt to ask”
Shadow bore a confused look at this but remained quiet.
“M-May I touch your hands? Without your gloves?”
For an Ultimate Lifeform of incredible intelligence – there couldn't have been a more dumbly slack look upon that tanned muzzle of his. Instincts were going frantic making him release a shiver that be couldn’t understand. The question held at lot of weight to it Shadow presumed, for normally one would not need permission for such a small thing. Small to Shadow perhaps, but for Sonic it was quite different.
He thinks back to their early partnering – Maria had explained once that hand-holding was quite normal among people who were friends, family or quite fond of each other, lovers and partners went without saying. Though he and Sonic… They had cuddled, they had kissed, they had shown many physical attentions – but he could not once recalled a proper hand holding. Sonic’s grasping would be light and fleeting, perhaps tugging two fingers along or brushing against his palm like it was something he wanted but was held back in initiating. Shadow was missing something important, he knew it and it pained him that it had caused Sonic’s hesitation. The only way was to swallow his pride and-
Apparently he’d been turning the mental gears too long for Sonic’s digits were retreating at this silence and that captivating gaze was leaving him.
“Well you can’t blame a guy for trying I guess, there’s always later on right? Mayb-“
“No, no you misunderstand,” Shadow interrupted seizing Sonic’s hands into a strong grasp that left is other whipping his eyes back to him with abrupt surprise. Honestly, it was quite astounding to see Sonic this uncharacteristically sheepish, he noted. “I’m merely confused. Why would you need to ask?”
The question sounded as foolish and his sounded when it left his lips, but being so far out of his depth of what was going on between them here – words had not prevailed.
It was Sonic’s turn to look confused before something dawned and is greens shot wide. Well at least one of them knew what the problem was Shadow internally breathed to himself.
Sonic adjusted himself and leaned forward slightly hands still firmly clenched.
“Shadow, how much do you know about Mobian Partnering customs?”
Well there it was. After all this time, it never once occurred to Shadow that their rather unorthodox relationship had just been because they were unusual in the dating scheme of things, but because they had missed something as important as this.
Of course, Shadow inwardly smacks himself. If there was any indication that is realisation bloomed itself onto his face, Sonic had seen it and let out a breathed yet understanding smile while looking expectantly. Shadow swallowed as he started putting much better word choices together.
“…During my time on ARK, I admit that any thoughts of… romancing were hardly on my mind. At the only time such things crossed paths with me, it was through Maria. So you see…”
Sonic had definitely put two in two together for he decided to spare Shadow what would have been a very constipated explanation.
“So you only know the human way of partnering?”
“Well aren’t we a couple of idiots then!” Sonic laughs out and the sound is wonderful. Goodness they’d really done a good job here huh?
“My intentions were still-”
“Oh Shadow, Shadow I know” He cuts in with small giggles before going in for a quick peck or two or three on the lips. Shadow’s eyes slip closed to relish the sensation, their signatures radiating in his inhibitors.
“Well I guess I should tell you then, we can talk about the rest later though.” Sonic whispers in their close proximity before drawing back to his former position, sitting back heavily and Shadow’s red hues flash with want in that moment. The fiddling is more prominent and the plucking of fabric more daring.
“Ya probably guessed that this is pretty important and your right – but let me say something first.”
Shadow nods giving Sonic the all clear to continue.
“I never thought I’d find someone you know. All that adventuring and running around and foiling ol’ Egghead when he’s up to no good – well that was all that was on my mind at the time, and it didn’t really make me partnering material.”
He gives Shadow a wink and a sly grin.
“And then your pompous handsome self shows up atop a trashed G.U.N. bot and, well, we know how it goes from there. You’ve done a good job making yourself a part of my life, Shads.”
“As have you, Sonic.” Shadow declares easily. Chaos… did he just purr?
Blue thighs squeeze in gratitude to that revelation and his smile is sweetened.
“So I think I’d like to keep you in it for as long as I can and for Mobians, bare hands symbolise a final step to partnering. M-meaning you’ve got me for life, S-Shads. And hey! Believe it or not you did pretty well by the courting book if there is one and you’re way of uh… wooing? Was pretty exciting! Gah! Look at me, stuttering like a kit on his first date”
It’s all the more endearing to Shadow as his grip on Sonic’s digits strengthens even more. That peach muzzle of his is a lovely shade of red, and if Sonic didn’t start finishing up his speech as quick as he ran, Shadow was going to have to just swap their positions quicker than a chaos control and make the decision he had in mind clear at once.
Sonic swallows nervously.
“S-So, I’ll ask again. Can I touch your hands, Shadow?”
Shadow breaks his hands free to make for the glove cuffs but is hastily stopped when Sonic grips his wrists, his expression mixed between earnest and elation.
“Let me do it!” He barks out unintentionally so and realises it. “I... uh.”
Shadow shrugs and smirks before letting is hands go limp in offering.
The delicate movements Sonic goes through to remove the cotton is something akin to a ceremony and one could probably say it is. Peach digits pinch each glove tip pulling each up before bringing up the cloth at the gold clad base to ease the black cuffs out. The glove pulls free and Sonic’s gaze is fixed on the brilliant streak of red running down to two of his finger tips, once he flips the appendage over. He grazes the pads of his thumbs back and forth over them marvelling each knuckle.
Pleasurable shivers and a slow exhale are brought forth from the hedgehog below as the new sensation leaves him speechless. Something in him tells him this is right, unbearably so.
Sonic feels his quaking movements and places a kiss on top of the very same knuckles before moving the hand to press against his heart. Shadow’s breath catches and feels those delightful thumps dancing under that furry chest and keeps his hand there while Sonic turns his attention to his over hand, uncovering it and repeating the process.
This hand however stays before Sonic and he seems to hesitate, Shadow notices.
The blue one is still considering the hand before him and ponders – Shadow’s hands are as soft as he imagined they would be, there was no flaw. No dip or raise of a scar the short black fur utterly silky. Perks of being an Ultimate Lifeform he guessed, for chaos help he was perfect. And he was willing to be Sonic’s and he was for Shadow. He looks at his own hand when Shadow’s voice pulls him back yet again.
“Ah sorry there, it’s just – you’ve got some nice hands here, Shads.”
“Do you not think the same for yours?”
The question hits the mark for Sonic looks down. It’s a vulnerability Shadow decides doesn’t suit Sonic but feels quite obliged that such a side would be shown to him.
He surmises that he’s probably interrupting how this ritual should normally go but when did they ever do anything normal?
He inspects Sonic’s own hands and with his own and feels the numerous calluses and scars winding their way over palm and digit. Shadow thinks them appealing for they are a feature that is very Sonic. Adventure leaves its stories and Sonic has had many. Shadow will become one of them gladly too.
So, he brings the palms down to press deep kisses onto each before looking up to Sonic with a heated look.
Sonic hitches, wiggles then drops his face into the fluffy mass of Shadow’s chest fur and seeks refuge there for a few moments, nuzzling as he does so.
“Jeez, and when did you, Mr Ultimate Hog-of-not-so-many-words, become the smooth talker huh?” It was Sonic’s turn to purr it seems, the vibrations tickling his chest and heating his skin.
Shadow chuckles before reaching to pet his other’s ear which drew out quite the pleased whine.
Sonic’s head shoots back up after a little while and smirks gleefully. “Hey, hey, we’re not quite done yet.”
Goodness there was more?
“One more thing” With that Sonic makes a grab for Shadow’s wrists again and brings his hands up guides them to come level with his own.
“Open them up.” Shadow does and their hands are mere inches apart.
“Well Shads,” Sonic starts as he presses their palms together and intertwines their digits affectionately. “by the Mobian tribes of old and all that jazz I dub thee Life Partner of one Sonic the Hedgehog as I am Life Partner of one Shadow the Hedgehog. You’re stuck with me for good, congrats buddy!”. And the blue one swears there is not any dampness threatening his cheeks, nope.
Shadow gives Sonic’s clasped hands one final rub before releasing them and capturing his waist to bring him down and mashing a heated kiss into that now salty muzzle covering Sonic’s elated chuckles and blissful moans.
He remembers from this day – first he was content, then he was lost and then he discovered.
Fate pushed and pulled and then,
They found each other.
And that was that.