A blue sky hung above, punctuated by fluffy white clouds. Sonic the Hedgehog, the fastest thing alive, wasn't currently moving. He'd found the perfect spot to relax, near the base of a grassy hill in a field far from most everything. Lying on his back, quills spread against the ground, he was relaxing yet not relaxing. Judging by the summer sun, it couldn't be long until two in the afternoon; that meant she'd be here soon. As the sun warmed his muzzle, a grin worked its way onto his lips. It was about time for their date, he pondered where he'd lead her this time.
Had he eaten today? His mind said yes but his stomach told him no, chilli dogs seemed like a good idea but they always did. There had to be a stand somewhere around here. Although, maybe ice cream would make a nice change of pace? On a hot summer day like this, a cool treat probably made more sense. He tried not to think about it too hard, but it did cross his mind that ice cream was probably more romantic than chilli dogs. In truth, he knew she wouldn't mind either way but-
"Sonic," A familiar singsong tone found its way into his ear, "I found you!"
As the pink hedgehog popped into his vision, a smile spread across his face; "Hey Amy, long time no see!"
"Are you ready for our date?" She was spry as ever, blunt in that she was to the point. Still leaning over him, she pushed back a wayward quill; "Just four more weeks and we'll have been doing this for five years, I hope you have something planned."
"Five years, really?" He quickly returned her goad, "I've gone undefeated for that long? That's gotta be some kind of record," Her cheeks puffed up in defiance, he half-suppressed his laugh, "Maybe that'll be the day you catch me and finally steal a kiss."
He knew he was riling her up, but that was par for the course. Almost as quickly as his jab landed, Miss Rose was smiling again.
"As perfect as that would be; I'm afraid not, my darling. I've seen it in the cards," As if to prove her point, with a flick of her wrist, she produced one of her many tarot cards; holding it in his face and thus obscuring herself from view. Emblazoned with the number 6 and featuring two doves in flight, it simply read 'the lovers,' "We're fated to share our first kiss today!"
With the flick of her wrist that card vanished, her face shone down on him once again; "Fated huh? I'm not gonna let some prophecy decide what I do Ames, you should know that by now."
"It's not a prophecy Sonic, it's a fortune. You should know that by now," She parroted, emphasis on the word you, "It predicts what you will do, rather than it telling you what you must do. You already know how reliable they are, they let me find you out here after all."
She wasn't wrong, the fields outside of Empire City weren't fields he often visited. Sonic really just went where his legs carried him, he had his common spots but truthfully he could end up just about anywhere. No matter where he ended up though; sun, rain or snow, Amy Rose would find him. There was something almost relaxing about that… only almost because, as he reflected on her reliability, he felt something strange stir in his chest.
Refusing to dwell on that feeling, he scratched at his ear; "If you ask me prophecies and fortunes sound the same, by telling me what I'm gonna do it's like you've said what I've gotta do," Pulling that hand from his quills, he waggled his finger, "You might be able to find me, but you can't pin down what I'm gonna do."
"That's funny, because for all your talk of ignoring fate you've yet to properly deny my forecast. It's almost like you're talking around it," Amy countered.
"Well, I'm not the one who decides if that happens," Her ribbing glanced off of him, "That's up to you and whether you can keep up. Who knows, maybe they're right," he gave her a wink, "Maybe today will be the day."
It was banter, plain and simple. At least, that's what he kept telling himself.
The pink hedgehog's muzzle turned a shade redder, "It's not just maybe, it's guaranteed! These are the same cards I used to find you every week, they've never failed me."
He jumped to his feet, flashing her another grin, "If that's the case, why're you worrying?
Standing so close, he finally took her all in. She was dressed in her usual garb, red dress and boots; her short quills held back by a headband. Stood like this, the disparity in their height was made just a little clearer; the tip of her nose only reached the bottom of his chin. To claim the kiss she so desired, Amy would have to stand on her tiptoes. Something about that stood out to him in a way he couldn't quite comprehend. No matter what she did or how she came to him there would always be a final gap to close, no bigger than ten centimetres but always there.
"I'm not worrying, just… surprised," She began to explain, "I repeated the reading three times, just to be sure, and got the same result each and every time. Before today the lovers card hardly would only show up in the future position. Never the present."
"Huh, really?" He said, trying not to think too hard about any of that. Attempting to shake his thoughts, Sonic stepped past her; closing his eyes and starting to stretch, "That's… weird."
"It is…" She mused, "Is there something wrong with you, are you sick? Have you hurt your leg?"
Sonic swapped from lunging with his right leg to the left, "What, me? Relax Ames; I'm cool as ever."
"Then I can only deduce that you've finally come to your senses, you've plucked up the nerve to show me how you truly feel," Amy proclaimed, "You'll let me catch you today."
Sonic snorted, "After all these years, would you really want me to go easy on you, Ames? Give up our game before you can really win? Slow down, turn around and sweep you off your feet?"
"Of course I'd like that! The fact you thought that up yourself gives me hope it might happen," She eagerly responded, "But… you're not entirely wrong. A little part of me would like to catch you after all these years, to wrap my arms around you and bring us to a stumbling halt. Land a peck and leave you stunned, watch you lose your cool…" His eyes reopened, unable to stop himself he threw a glance to her. Her smirk almost blinded him; she knew him well enough to toy with him. His balance wavered, "Perhaps it's not as romantic as your dream scenario, but I think it fits us better."
"Y-Yeah well," He quickly swallowed his stutter, why was he sweating? He could run for miles without breaking a sweat but with only a few words she'd reddened his face. He rushed for a comeback but the best he could manage was; "We'll see about that."
Sonic internally screamed at his failure, quickly turning away and resuming his stretches. Of course, her chides embarrassed him, but those weren't any sweat; he'd learned to handle quips like that years ago. It was her other words that had scratched a deeper spot, her more fitting scenario especially. He tried not to reflect on them or the feeling they stirred up for too long, rolling his neck and drawing his arms across his body… but in the silence, her words would repeat in his head.
Embarrassed, but justifying to himself that he was warm enough, Sonic stood straight; "C'mon, can we set out already?"
"I'm ready whenever you are my darling," She cooed, turning from him and raising a hand to her brow, scanning the horizon; "What way are we going today?"
He hadn't considered that. Rubbing his chin he scanned the same, they were in a hilly region so he couldn't see far. The city was a few miles them, but he wanted this chase to last for a while. Perhaps they could circle around and head back?
Shrugging, he pointed rather randomly forward; "That way looks good," He glanced back to her, "And of course, we'll keep the same rules as always?"
"If I catch you I get to kiss you and I pick where we eat but, if I fail then you get to pick," Amy affirmed.
"I think we'll change it up a little today then," He said, embodying confidence in his future victory, "I'm feeling ice cream over chilli dogs."
"Maybe I'll treat you to some then," She leant down to take her starting position, "It'll help cool your embarrassment."
I'm sure it will, he internally mused. Usually, it took till the end of their date for her to fluster him like this, "Well, if you're ready…"
Without another word Sonic shot off, his soles pounding against the green grass and the wind rushing through his quills. Not far behind, he heard a groan of agitation and at least one cry of the word cheater. Well, she wasn't wrong; but he'd given her half a warning, four words worth at least. Regardless, they'd been through this so many times; he knew she knew better than hang around and wait for his say to start. By the sound of Amy's footfalls, she was already gaining behind him.
Cheeky as ever, Sonic spun turned around to watch her approach, bearing a wide grin… only to find she was a lot closer than he'd anticipated. A blur of pink and red couldn't be more than twenty metres behind him, with each passing second growing closer still. Still, not wanting to keep face, he doubled down on his decision to run backwards.
"Wow Ames, off to a good start today," He casually flattered.
Above the pounding of his feet, he heard her loud and clear; "I've been training. Even with your start, there's no way you're escaping me!"
"Really? Are you sure you can keep this up? I don't want our fun to end before it can really start," He winked.
"Oh, you don't have to worry about that, my darling. I'm still getting warmed up" He swore she was grinning, "It'll be your fault if this game ends early."
She picked up the pace, legs blurring beneath her. Sonic's lead was fading fast, in no more than the blink of an eye she was almost within arm's reach! Stumbling, he spun again, facing forward and allowing his arms to hang behind him; accelerating towards his max speed. This feat wasn't unprecedented but, coupled with the infatuated girl's prediction, it did set his nerves on edge. Throughout the years Amy had sped up yes, but her speed had never quite been consistent. Some weeks he'd be miles ahead, she'd be tracking him rather than chasing him, but on others, there'd be hardly a metre between them. This was probably due to differences on both of their ends, how much time she'd had to train and how much he'd been lounging around.
Come to think of it, it'd been months since the last Eggman attack; outside their track meets and his own enjoyment he hadn't had much reason to run. Amy meanwhile always had her goal to pursue; she had a constant reason to run and train; a motive to grow faster. He ran from place to place, seeking out his next chilidog, while she ran with the intent to get faster. Maybe the cards were right, perhaps the stars had finally aligned. Well, he knew they would eventually.
He'd thought about it a couple of times, why he kept agreeing to these meetings. When they'd started he'd thoroughly refuted her claim that they were dates, frequently insisting their weekly run a mere track meet, but given time that part of their routine had vanished. He remembered the shift from denying to rolling his eyes to joking along, but he couldn't quite place the timeline. Had it taken years of mere months? Of course, to this day, he'd never admitted they were dates, never to her and certainly not to anyone else…. but he'd come to internally refer to them as such.
Sonic threw a glance over his shoulder, the space between them was remaining constant but there was no flush on Amy's face. She could keep this up and she surely wasn't pushing herself yet. Neither was he, but in these races he'd rarely had to. He'd come close, really close, but he really felt today was different. His runner's high started to set in, the wind grew sharper still and grass was tossed skyward with each and every step. Up and over hills, through grassy valleys and across flat fields; he was fully embracing their competition.
No matter how or where he ran however, his thoughts refused to leave her behind. They'd both changed so much over the years; she'd gone from hiding her face as he carried her to running mere inches behind him, little more than an arm's length. The first time he noticed a difference, beyond her proposal of this little game and his willingness to accept, was the changing of her garb. He remembered it as plain as day, her dusty blue and white sneakers were gone and in their place were boots that matched his own shoes; red and white. A few weeks later her other clothes swapped to match; off went her green polo and orange skirt, on went her now classic red dress with its white trim.
Trying his hardest to focus on their chase, Sonic pushed another step closer to his speed's limit. The world around him was starting to blur, the grass became a smear of green and clouds shot across the blue sky. As the air cut against his muzzle and through his skin, he could no longer smell the fresh air around him. Yet somehow, above it all, he heard the footfalls of her heavy boots managing to match his pace. Amy was close, just as he'd sped up she clearly had too!
This speed was the result of her determination, a seemingly bottomless reserve that nothing could truly sap. She hadn't always been this way, back when she wore those grubby sneakers she'd covered her eyes as he ran, but Amy had grown in more ways than one. The girl Metal Sonic kidnapped wasn't gone, her essence very much remained; quick to joke as she often was, she was still head over heels for him.
Wait, had she changed or had he? If his younger self were here, wouldn't he roll his eyes and call this uncool? All this thinking instead of doing, it only ever happened when he was around her. Most of the time he could run freely with her, not a care in the world, but every so often she'd find a way to pierce his façade; cut through his cool armour and reach the burning ball of thoughts and feelings at his heart. Had she found a way to see through his guise or had he simply let her in? Sonic knew his thoughts had changed over the years but was she the cause? He'd thought and did things now his past self would certainly consider uncool.
Pink bangs entered the corner of his eye; there wasn't an arm's length between them, it was a matter of mere inches! Last week she'd gotten close to him, but for her to manage this kind of speed? Was something wrong with him? Was he going easy on her? No, he wasn't. At least, he didn't think he was? Sure, this was a speed he could keep up for hours but it was still near enough the fastest he could run. Wasn't it? When did-
Before he could even realise, lost in his own thoughts, she'd shot forward and grabbed hold of his hand right hand. Surprise caused him to stumble, Sonic's pace took an immediate hit, and Amy managed to overtake him.
The blue hedgehog dug his heels in, dirt and grass flew into a cloud behind him. Still holding his hand, Amy matched this endeavour; turning side on and bracing to slowly slide to a stop. When they'd finally halted, two lines of dirt had been scoured into the field. His runner's high broken, Sonic's senses returned; her face became clear to him as the world started to rematerialize. Cutting winds were replaced by the gentle breeze, he felt his heart pounding in his chest and the numbness in his feet faded; his soles were hot.
Those things weren't his focus however, rather; his eyes were locked upon his hand, not simply held by hers but equally holding hers. She'd done it, it fully sunk in; Amy had managed to catch him.
"I…," She was panting, evidently his full speed was still just a little too much for her to maintain, "Did it, I…" His eyes left their hands, tracing up to reach her sparkling emerald eyes. Her face was flush and her quills misplaced, "Caught you, Sonic!"
"Y-Yeah," He stuttered, "You did…"
Silence broke between them, Sonic had no idea what would happen next. Sure he'd imagined she'd catch him before, but the real thing was different somehow. Bizarre even.
"S-So," She led, breaking the silence, "Does that mean I can…"
"I-I always kind of assumed you'd just… go for it?" He admitted, trying not to think of his daydreamed rendition of this.
"Oh, should I?" The excitement in her voice was overwhelming.
"I-I…uhm…" He was flustered, guttural noises escaped his throat without his say.
Exhaustion lingered but her seriousness broke through, "It doesn't matter how long I've waited. If you're not comfortable I-
"N-No I…" Sonic had been quick to refute that, almost a little too quick in his own mind. Managing to steel himself, he coughed and tried to speak clearly; "Let's do it, wh-why not," He caught himself before the words 'it might be fun' could slip his lips and cursed his stutter.
"Y-You're sure? We're going to finally…" He managed a nod, she was red from the run but he swore she'd grown a shade brighter. Joy overtook her, he watched her smile grow even wider before she turned away, "Just, give me a moment to catch my breath."
Left with only his own thoughts and the touch of her hand, Sonic felt his heartbeat quicken with every passing second; threatening to explode. Sonic wanted to move, but the only movement he could think was toward her. He could just turn her around, lean down and press his lips to hers without hesitation, and she'd probably even enjoy that, she'd said before they started that she'd love to see him taking initiative. But, could he really? With this feeling in his stomach, his head spinning and his heart beating, Sonic needed her to take the lead. He couldn't help staring at her, noticing the difference between their heights again; the fact he'd thought about leaning down.
Ten centimetres, he was sure it was no more than that; the final distance one of them would have to close. Patience wasn't his strong suit, but he'd let her chase him this far; miles and miles over years and years. What was ten more centimetres?
Amy finally turned back around, they were face to face once more. With a single step, they were almost chest-to-chest; she felt his thumb brush over the back of his palm. It was exactly as he thought; she had to rise to her tiptoes.
Happily resigned to his fate, Sonic let her close that final distance and score the kiss she had worked for five years to earn. Near the final moments, her head tilted; their noses narrowly avoided colliding as muzzles finally brushed. The contact was as a lot softer than he'd imagined, he'd always thought kissing was a little strange; just two people pushing their mouths together. Now that she was kissing him though, he understood. It was exhilarating yet relaxing at the same time, he felt himself melt at her contact and yet (simultaneously) it was as though a bolt of electricity had rushed down his spine and into his tail. Relaxing, yet exciting… he couldn't even think to explain it, his mind was such a mess. Amy took up the entirety of his focus.
Her lips were warm; was that because her pulse was pounding? Was it always like this? Thoroughly unsure what to do, he tried to shape his lips to match hers. He noticed her eyes were closed and so he made his match. Now deprived of a sense, the touch of her lips imprinted far deeper into his mind. Feeling a wayward quill brush against his cheek, the blue hedgehog brought up his free hand before gently brushing it back. Unable to see, he was unsure it would hold and so his hand came to rest on the edge of her cheek. Amy seemed to like that, he felt her hand squeeze tighter around his before her head tilted further; almost seeming to deepen the kiss.
How long had he been running from this? This pulse-pounding feeling, exceeding the runner's high he'd felt prior. It didn't take miles to reach this goal, merely ten centimetres.
Sonic caught himself gasping as she pulled away, his hand dropped from her face. The kiss couldn't have lasted more than a minute, he imagined it'd been much shorter in fact, but it felt like he'd been lost for a blissful eternity. Now returned to earth, he had no idea what to do with himself. Was he supposed to thank her? Was he even supposed look at her? What was he supposed to do, what would be cool to do? Should he just start running again? Part of him wanted to escape this embarrassment but a much larger part longed to linger by her side, even just a little longer.
He couldn't help but throw her a glance, the shorter hedgehog seemed to be in a world all of her own. Cheeks were alight with blush, redder than she'd been before the kiss thus surely the result of it, rather than the run and her smile was dazzling. She brushed back the quill he'd been holding, but her hand lingered where his had been. Her eyes flickered open, emerald orbs refracted the sunlight and seemed to blind him; he couldn't help turning away, red in the face. The space had returned, the difference of their height and maybe a half step more; she was still so close. If she wanted she could rise and kiss him again. If he wanted he could lean down and kiss her.
His hand ran through his quills, in the wake of that long-awaited moment he was lost for words. He could only manage four, "W-Wanna go another round?"
She was grinning, still holding his hand, "You know it."
Perhaps, if she caught him again, he'd get to close the distance.