Shadow sighed as he closed and locked his personal locker at G.U.N. headquarters, the hedgehog having just stored away his favorite guns and other important mission items with a reluctance to let them go. But it seemed he had no use for them anymore, at least not now or the foreseeable future any time soon. His mission list here at G.U.N was all crossed off and on top of it, he got the news that he was barred from taking on the extra credit missions as well. The reason for the officials to make that decision was simply that Shadow was their most capable agent, more precisely he was too capable. The hedgehog would get even the longest jobs done in a just a day or two and he was stealing opportunities from the other agents who needed a chance to hone their skills, many of them getting rusty from the lack of work.
They were basically laying Shadow off is how he saw it in his mind, and he supposed he could understand where they were coming from. The organization needed all their agents sharp and on task, not just one who was able to do it all. But still it left him with a heavy heart as he walked the slightly crowded halls, other agents and workers patting him on the back and shoulder, telling him to have a good vacation or to enjoy his time off. The striped hedgehog scoffed at the many of them, especially the ones he wasn't too fond of. Just how the hell was he supposed to enjoy time off when he felt like he had no other purpose? Doing anything else would just be wasting his time.
It was but a minute later he exited the front entrance of the facility and put on his motorcycle jacket, black leather with his dark arms emblem on the back and a red stripe wrapped around either upper arm. The collar was red too, all custom made of course. More agents walked past him from the opposite direction as they were heading into work and he was leaving. But he didn't know where to go, so he slowly made his way to a bench at the curb of the parking lot and sat down with his hands in his pockets.
He looked quite dejected as he sat there and his mind basically blank for a span of time he didn't even bother to acknowledge or attempt to keep track of. But it was for a rather long while he sat idly as people passed by him back and forth, going to and from work. He sat there envying them, wishing he could turn around and go back inside to demand a new mission. He knew it would be no use though, they had made up their minds and it was pretty damn clear they more than insisted he leave for a break. It wasn't until a hand rested on his shoulder did the hedgehog give a small jolt of surprise, though he soon relaxed when he saw the familiar bat and his partner Rouge come around to sit beside him.
"Rough day?" She asked knowing Shadow was just ordered to take time off from his job, the only thing he knew to do with himself. She rather felt bad for him having never seen him look so glum and down in the dumps. Though sure Shadow could be moody and brooding, but in this instance he seemed more sad than anything. "You're not going to sit here the entire time you've been ordered off are you? The sun is already starting to go down"
Shadow blinked as he noticed this was the truth. He had been sitting for a long time and didn't realize it. He was just feeling blank and uncertain of everything before him.. "I... don't know where to go" He admitted to Rouge with a sigh as she was one of the only select few he felt he could confide in. "Or what to do with myself... I've done nothing but missions for this organization ever since I got here. Stopping terrorists and saving people is all I know"
The bat crossed her legs and put her left arm atop the bench, resting it behind the hedgehog's head as she thought about what he said. "That's true... But maybe you could use a little time off to figure out more things about yourself" She suggested to her cohort, wanting to help pull him out of his self made rut.
He looked at her with somewhat of a skeptical expression as he wondered what she was getting at. "Figure things about myself?" The ebony furred Mobian asked. "I have myself figured out. I'm the ultimate life form, created to be a living weapon and to protect this planet and it's people. That's what I was made to do, it's all of who I am"
Rouge rolled her eyes a bit at Shadow's response. "That may be true and I don't deny that's the purpose you were created for. However, I don't believe it's the only aspect of your life and it seems kind of foolish to me if that's how you're choosing to see things." The spy bat paused as Shadow continued giving her the same skeptical expression, not saying anything but his ears simply lowering some. After a few lingering seconds of silence she spoke again. "I think you should use this free time to really discover yourself, maybe find a hobby you like... I'm sure Maria would want you to find more things you enjoy in life besides beating bad guys senseless."
There was a sudden look of surprise in Shadows eyes at the mention of the blond girl's name, then his expression softened with a hint of sorrow that would be ever prevelant whenever that name was said. "...Maria" He spoke quietly, thinking about what the bat was telling him. Normally he would have a bad reaction to someone else telling him what Maria would want for him, but he couldn't help feeling Rouge had a point. The human girl he called his sister probably wouldn't be happy to know he wasn't soaking up some of the things life had to offer on this vibrant and beautiful planet she dreamed of visiting, yet very sadly never got the chance to see in person. "She would be... so disappointed in me for squandering what she always yearned to experience" The hedgehog said sadly, now looking down and hunching over.
Rouge frowned, she knew bringing that name up was a touchy matter. But still it seemed that she was making some sense to Shadow, perhaps possibly getting through to him. "Shadow listen to me" She placed her hand on the hedgehog's closest Shoulder "She would be so proud of you for everything you do to protect people, you know that she would be. I just think that she would want you to spend a little more time for yourself is all I'm saying. You know, go out there and actually explore. You can make it your new mission to try new things and enjoy yourself" The bat offered her advice, hoping it would click something in Shadow's mind. "Maybe go somewhere Maria wanted to visit most?"
Shadow blinked, looking at the ground and a line of ants trailing into a crack in the sidewalk. It was strange how he was suddenly feeling like one of those ants as Rouge was talking to him. His entire existence seemed to be centered around doing just one thing, taking orders and going out on missions. An ant's entire life was centered around taking orders and going out to find food. It was really rather pathetic of him now that he pondered on it. The hedgehog knew he had the capacity to be more a of a freer being, yet he always neglected the prospect to serve himself better. He wasn't an ant that had no choice but to live and die by instinct, he only chose a life similar to that because it was easiest. "I guess." The dark hedgehog let out a sigh and straightened up his composure, his left hand moving to rub the back of his head as he looked forward at the crowded parking lot of cars. An image of Angel Island flshed in his mind. That was the place Maria wanted to see most, the magical floating land in the sky. "I'll take your advice, I need to live for Maria too and find a way to enjoy my time here. I've been so hell bent on being nothing but the ultimate life form, but I gave myself no life of my own"
Rouge smirked. She had definitely gotten through to him and she was quite proud of herself, and of Shadow to finally come to the realization he deserved more out of his life. "Now you're talkin'." She watched the hedgehog stand up with renewed confidence while he straightened his jacket by the lapel, then turned to her.
"This was a good talk, thank you Rouge" Shadow smiled a rare but small smile showing proof of appreciation for their friendship, the hedgehog also giving a nod at the bat before he began to walk off. "I've sat around here and stewed long enough, I'll apply that advice ASAP. So good luck on your missions and tell Omega I said the same, and to blow some stuff up for me"
Rouge chuckled and waved the hedgehog off as he looked to be going straight for his motorcycle. "Oh I don't think he'll have a problem with that! Bye now, and go enjoy your free time! I'll give you a call later!"
Shadow smirked and gave a salute to the bat before hopping on his bike, swiftly inserting his key in the ignition and turning the engine over. The two wheeled beast of a machine roared to life and he revved the gas a little before pulling out of his parking space. Where he was going wasn't the exit of the lot however, Rouge recognized he was heading for the hangars and air field around the other side of the building. "Just where is he planning to go I wonder" No matter, she would have to contact him later to find out all about it.