I've got you this time.
I smile at my reflection in the lab window, fixing my brand new dress one more time as I gather my courage. The culmination of six long weeks of preparation.
My reflection smiles back at me, pretty as a picture. Rouge did an amazing job with the makeup. I look sophisticated.
Shame about the spines.
No. I look fantastic. Anyone who sees me tonight will be jealous of you, and you won't be able to look away. I reach out to the door, my gloves tapping gently against the wood.
Normally I'd sneak in. Tails doesn't bother to lock his lab, after all. But today I am a mature, elegant young lady, and mature, elegant young ladies knock politely and wait.
It's not that I'm afraid of scaring you away or something.
Scaring you off seems to be my superpower. I don't know why. You stand up to demons and ghosts and evil geniuses, always running towards the next fight, but when it's me you start running away.
But not tonight. I've avoided you for almost a month now, just so you won't feel like I'm smothering you. The ache of not seeing you has been so painful I felt like I was going to lose my rings any second. But even now I'm patient. Taking it slow. Knocking. Waiting.
Why has nobody opened the door yet?
I put my hands behind my back so you don't see my clenched fists when I open the door, tickets bent between my fingers. I don't want you to think I'm mad. I'm not mad. It's just cold. Like you I don't have fur on my arms, after all, and this dress isn't exactly the warmest, and how would you see how cute I was if I was wearing a jacket?
It's hard enough to get you to look at me at all.
But I have a secret weapon. I smile to myself, rocking on my heels as I stare at the merciless door in front of me. Should I knock again? But what if you open while I'm knocking? The image of you opening the door to get rapped on the nose is almost paralysing, but I push it out, clinging to the image of the perfect start to a perfect date. The look of surprise, then excitement on your face when I hold up these tickets. Tails told me how much you wanted to see the 'Knots.
Finally, the door handle turns. My face freezes. Do I smile excitedly? Shyly? Perhaps cheeky? What would make your heart flutter? You seemed to like that cat plenty, and she was the shy type. I could try sultry, but I don't think I could pull it off like Rouge can.
I make my choice, leaning back slightly. Scared of scaring you, and the door opens. My smile falls along with my gaze.
Not sleek. Not blue. Not you.
Looking as though he hasn't slept in days, machine grease on his ear, strands of fur sticking up from his head like he's never heard of a brush. Your eternal companion, the only one who you haven't managed to leave behind yet.
"Oh, hey, Amy." Tails smiles, rubbing the back of his head, looking away from me.
My heart sinks to my stomach. Both start to hurt. I know what he's about to say. He always rubs the back of his head when he's uncomfortable.
But I stand there anyway, hoping I'm wrong. Hoping that any second you'll pop your head through the door, to see your face turn from stern to surprised to delighted.
"Sorry." Tails doesn't even need to ask why I'm here. "You, uh, you just missed him."
I look over his head at the open window, my cheek twitching.
He didn't even see me.
He didn't even look at me.
I'm not mad.
… Okay, I'm super mad. I'm freezing cold. I look ridiculous. I don't even like the 'Knots. It's either hit something or burst into tears, and if I cry now I won't ever stop. If I cry now I can't pretend not to be a pathetic loser who just can't let go.
My hammer is in my hands and Tails is on the floor, rings everywhere, and I'm still swinging.
And I'm still a pathetic loser.
Because you took my everything.
Eight years old and I met you, the greatest hero in the galaxy, because destiny told me where I was supposed to stand. Eight years old and you rescued me from Eggman. From my home. From my family. From my planet. You took my everything and replaced it with excitement and wonder and you… But you didn't even want me. I fell in love with the wind, but you didn't love me back. You didn't love anything about me so I changed everything about me, and you still don't love me back and-
I finally drop my hammer from fingers numb with cold and misery, staring at the fox laying at my feet, wondering why he didn't stop me, wishing that the violence made me feel better about anything. Why didn't he run away?
Like you did.
Tails sits up, tired eyes staring out into the distance rather than at me, and I hate him. I hate him because you're the wind, and he's a bird, flying along with you, never far from your side. I hate him for being there, for not being you.
I hate him for not stopping me.
He's so lame. Like he's scared of everything nowadays, and you're so cool and brave. But you run away and he's still here, same as always, still letting me hit him, still got that sleepy, sad expression on his fuzzy face.
"Gotcha." Tails leans forward towards my feet with a dazed smile.
I start in surprise, but he plucks two strips of bent card off the frozen dirt, giving me a smile I don't deserve as he holds them out to me. Two useless tickets to a band I don't even care about and I hate him for being nice but I take them anyway. I don't even know what kind of ugly face I'm showing as I hold them to my chest, trying not to cry and ruin borrowed makeup that you never even looked at.
"You should come inside." He picks himself up, still wearing a smile, as though I didn't just attack him. As if I couldn't have just killed him if he'd been nearly any other mobian. "You must be freezing out in this weather."
And I follow him in. As though I didn't, as though I couldn't, into the warm space he shares with you without a care in the world.
He closes the window against the night as an afterthought, his tails coiling around one another in slow spirals as he potters towards a couch still indented with your spines, still coated in your warmth, and I sit, hands clutching my knees, tickets sticking out from between my fingers, taunting me until I want to turn them into confetti and throw them across the room and smash the couch and-
A grease-stained glove holds out a cup of steaming brownish liquid that smells overpoweringly of mint. Tails settles down alongside me, sipping his own cup in silence as he stares out at nothing, not even looking at me, rubbing his head where I hit him hardest.
I sip the drink, not quite burning my tongue, the unpleasantly strong taste flooding my nose. Sharing the silence.
I wonder, is the weariness and misery threatening to leak out of my eyes even half that of this young fox who has everything I've ever wanted?
Why is he like this? Why is he so disgustingly kind to me? Is it pity? The thought makes me hate him more. Makes me think of when I was younger, when I looked up to him so much. When he let me stay at one of his labs when this whole world was new and strange and I was all alone. Strange, looking at him now, so small and slight, how I thought he was older than me when we first met. Weird how I still look up to him so much now.
Why do you love him so? What is it about this timid, passive little fox that even you, my uncaring, beloved wind, carry him with you everywhere you go? Is it because he's young? I was young once, and you never cared. Is it because his tails are so soft and long and comfortable where my spines are hard and sharp and poke me in the neck when I turn too quick with them shaped like this? Is it because he's faster and smarter and stronger than me no matter how hard I try? Is it because he's a boy? What about me is so bad that I have to try so hard to get you to even look at me?
Why did you save me only to leave me?
And why am I always left with-
"You… ah…" Tails stares out at nothing, greasy fingers rubbing the back of his head. "Look… really… uh, pretty tonight."
My flurry of thoughts vanish. I blink at the awful little fox as he sips his awful mint tea, ears half flattened against his head like he thinks I might hit him. Again.
"Thanks." I turn my head away to drink. The heat of the lab and the tea prickling against my skin.
Really should have brought a jacket.
Really wish it was you saying those words.
Really wish I hadn't hit him.
Even now he's still a lot like you. He will save me without a second thought. But only if you're not around. Only if you tell him to.
Well, I'm telling him to.
I pull a handkerchief from a pocket. He flinches at my touch worse than when it had been a hammer.
I dip it in my tea, using it to clean the grease from his ear, from the back of his neck where he keeps rubbing it. His tired blue eyes finally look at me, rather than through me, wide, uncomprehending.
"Alright, go and change your gloves."
"Huh?" His ears perk up in confusion.
"They're filthy. And hurry up. We're going to be late."
"Now." I scowl at him, and he flinches into obedience.
I stare at the tickets in my hand.
Yeah, that's better. He might even enjoy it, even though he doesn't really like crowds or loud noises, he needs to get out more anyway. I don't know if I will, but at least I'm not being a stupid little girl chasing you who never even sees me. Now I'm the cool big sister-type bringing her friend out for some fun for a change. Less pathetic. Less terrible. When you're not involved I can think again, I can stop playing out all the scenes of the perfect evening I didn't get with you. Stop thinking so much about how it's been five years and two dates and how I must have blown both of them because you avoided me just as much afterward and-
"Okay. All changed."
Tails smiles and looks up at me, holding up pristine white gloves and unblemished shoes, cute as one of those fairground toys I wanted you to win for me over at Nights Casino, my fluffy little saviour over all these years.
"Huh?" He blinks at me.
"I bet you never get cold. Jerk."
"How am I a jerk for-"
"Shut up." I grab his wrist, and he, passive, timid, lets me drag him to the door. "And you better have a great time!"
"I hope you do t-ah!"
I drag him out the door at a run, the frosty air sharp on my skin as I turn my smile away from him and accelerate, planning a new evening in my head.
And, at least for a little while, trying to forget about the wind all around me.
Thank you for reading this alternative look at Amy Rose.
Amy is a character we've seen a lot of in Eternal Tails from Miles' perspective, especially the more "pleasant" side she shows in Sonic's absence. Hopefully you've enjoyed reading this look at the darker part of her character, and hopefully I've done it justice.
In other news, one of my other writing projects nears completion, with only a few more chapters until it's complete. In light of that, I may be working on a longer ET story sometime in the nearish future, and there's a poll in my profile for those as are interested in filling it in.
All the best.