Maria walked down the cold streets to the edge of town. She then walked to knothole and knocked on the door of a house. Sally opened the door. "Maria! Come on in!" she nodded and stepped inside. "It's freezing outside." Sally laughed. "No kidding. So, what brings you to knothole?" Maria got a slightly sad look on her face. "I miss shadow…" "I know. This war with Eggman has torn us apart. Sonic wasn't even here at Christmas last year…" Maria looked down sadly. Sally gave her a pat on the back. "Don't worry. Do you have a laptop or computer?" she shook her head. "No" "You can use mine! I'll contact shadow on the video chat" Maria happily nodded. Sally left the room for a moment and came back with a laptop with a video camera and headset. She sat them down on the table and switched it on. She clicked on a few things. Shadow was currently sleeping when he heard the laptop beep. He got up and flipped it open. Sally appeared on the screen. "Yes? What is it?" "I have someone here who would like to talk to you" "okay…" Maria appeared on the screen. "Shadow!" "Hey Maria. How are you?" "I miss you…" tears started running down her face. "I had no idea you would be gone this long…" shadow nodded. "I didn't know I'd be gone this long either… don't worry, I'll talk to the commander about possibly going home for Christmas. But, until then, I can't go anywhere." She sadly nodded. "Okay. But please try to come soon!" he nodded. She hung the web chat up and closed the laptop. She smiled slightly. "How many days until Christmas?" "I think there is 15 days until then" Maria smiled fully. "Good. I'm looking forward to then" sally shrugged. "Why? Is there something going on between you and shadow?" Maria nodded. "Yes. Shadow never told anyone?" Sally shook her head. "Not that I know of. Shadow never seemed like the kind of person who would be romantic… no offence" Maria giggled. "I know. Shadow is shy. Give him time. He'll open up." She nodded. "Sonic says he's coming back as well. Maybe he'll bring shadow along with him." "I hope so" Maria then got up. "Well, I need to go. I'm meeting with cosmo today to get the Christmas party ready." "Who's cosmo?" "I think she's tails' girlfriend. She's the most innocent person I've ever met!" "Could I follow you to meet her?" "Sure. Follow me." They got to tails' big house where the party is annually held. They knocked on the door and tails opened the door. "Hey sally! Hey Maria! Come on in! I have cocoa in the living room!" they walked inside and tails resumed putting up the tree. Sally walked up to him. "So tails, you doing alright?" he turned around. "Huh? Oh, I'm doing fine. Why?" "Well, maria told me you had a girlfriend. Is that true?" Tails stopped in his tracks. He blushed slightly. "Umm… yeah. Anything wrong with that?" She shook her head. "No. could I meet her?" he nodded. "She's outside setting up the lights. I'll go and help her and then come inside and introduce her to you" tails walked outside and sally watched through a window. She saw cosmo and was a little confused on how she looked. She watched her hug tails and smile. Tails started helping with the lights and tripped on some ice and got tangled in the lights. Cosmo covered her mouth to keep from laughing and tails blew some snow off of his nose. She helped him up and they finished decorating. They walked inside and sat down. Sally walked up. "Hello, you must be cosmo." She shook Cosmo's hand. "Hello. You must be sally. I heard that you took care of tails when his parents died." Cosmo then thought of her parents and went silent. "Are you okay?" she slowly nodded. "I'm fine. Just thought of something…" tails got a worried expression on his face. Sally thought of something to change the subject. "Are you and tails close?" cosmo looked up shyly. "Kind of…" she smiled and nodded thanks to sally on changing the subject. Sally thought of something that would definitely get them to react. "So… have you two kissed yet?" they both looked at sally and then at each other and back at her. Surprisingly, they did not react the way she expected them to. "Not really…" cosmo agreed. "Yeah. We're not sure yet." Maria fell off the ladder she was using and sally ran to help her up. "Are you okay?" she got up and rubbed her head. "I'll be okay. I just need to sit down for a few minutes…" sally nodded. Maria sat down and sally got her some water. Shadow walked up to sonic and grunted to get his attention. "Yes, shadow?" "Do you plan to return to knothole?" "Yes. I'm returning for Christmas to be with my wife, why?" "I request to come. I just talked to Maria and she says she wants me to return" "sure! I'm leaving in five minutes. Get your stuff ready and we'll leave." Shadow nodded and ran to his tent. He grabbed his bag of things and left the tent. He met with sonic and they started running toward knothole which was about 10 miles away; which was not that far for them. They arrived in five minutes. Sonic knocked on the door. Sally answered. "Sonic? Shadow? You two are here earlier then we expected." She let them in and Maria ran up to shadow and hugged him. "Shadow! You came early!" he nodded. "Yes. I couldn't wait to see you…" he kissed her and she smiled. Sally hugged sonic. "Welcome home. How is it going over there?" "Fine. Eggman has only set small attacks. But he may be distracting us and planning something big." She nodded, worried. "I hope not. I want to live in peace one of these days…" "I know." Shadow and Maria walked outside and she smiled at him. "Shadow, I'm so glad you came home. I sometimes think us being apart is just making us closer…" she swallowed. "… I was wondering, what you would say to one day possibly having a family?" shadow blinked. "Sure, I wouldn't mind that" she hugged him tightly. He was surprised and tripped. They fell over and she just laughed. He smiled and helped her up. She then pulled him own and kissed him. "Stay for a while. We don't exactly have to be anywhere…" he nodded and they looked up at the sky. Maria thought of something. 'With shadow around… I feel like I'm in a winter wonder land…'