A/n: This fiction has lasted too long. I'm ending it here and now. This post is a combination of the last chapter and Epilogue. I thank all of you who have read it. Take care.

A Solution for All

Coffee nearly spilled on the bus boy; his blue eyes widened; he'd get fired for sure, but then his fellow server grabbed the mug before such could happen. The two young men smiled at each other as many other people hurried in and out of the diner.

Two young women sat facing one another; stared at each other long and hard. Amy gnawed on her bottom lip and Blaze frowned.

"I can't believe no one said anything about this to me. I can't believe I didn't see it."

"You had no way of knowing."

"Our song is on the radio now, Blaze. Rouge thinks that before long we could make a music video."

"I know, but things happen."

"I think you should make up with Silver."

"He's the one that won't talk to me."

"That's because you're being selfish!"

"I don't care! I don't want Silver's baby. It wouldn't work. I - I can't be a mother. I'd be - I'd be a terrible mother." Blaze held her head down. Her face was red. From many things: anger, sadness, her inability to fight tears. They took no time to roll down her cheeks. "I don't even know how to love Silver. How can I be a parent?"

"Blaze. You're a great person. I'm sure you would make a fine mother."

"I won't. It just wouldn't work." Blazed grabbed a napkin and dried her eyes.

"Do you want me to go with you?" Amy reached across the table and took her hand. "I'm here. Whatever you do, I'll support you."

Blaze stared at Amy with wonder. She looked at her friend. Her eyes held a strength that she missed and wished for at that moment. "But, that goes against your beliefs. No?"

Amy squeezed Blaze's hand. She said nothing. Blaze squeezed back and laughed nervously. "I want to be with him. I do want to start a family and to be his wife one day. I just. This band. Everything we worked for...do I want to lose it for a child I don't know I can love?"

"That's your choice. I'm here for you. No matter what you do. But I think you can love it; love Silver. You should give yourself the chance."

Blaze thought of Silver. She thought of how long they knew each other. She thought back to how long she loved him. Every image of him that appeared made her heart melt. She then gave a coy smile. Still with tears on her cheeks she nodded. "We can't stop. We have to make it. We have to succeed."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm sure." Blaze rubbed her stomach with her free hand. "I'll do as much as I can while it's not obvious."

"Oh Blaze -"

"We're going to be big. The band, and my belly."


Sonic stood in the locker room of the gym. His shift was near its end and he ran his fingers through his short hair. He stared inside the locker. Inside – beside his hanging towel and casual attire – at the back; taped to the wall; an old photo of Amy. He made it the background picture of his cell phone when they were together; he printed it, then taped it to the wall. He loved her. He didn't stop loving her. He loved her until it made his stomach turn and heart race; as if he were running a 5k marathon in the mud, or on sand.

"Sonic," Knuckles called. He poked his head into the locker room and gestured him to come out. "break's over."

"Okay." He answered. Later that evening he would see Amy. She agreed to go out with him. He had no expectations, just hope. Hope that maybe she could see the love painfully written on his pale face.

As he exited the locker room he was stopped by his boss, Jet. Or so he preferred being called. Sonic looked at him with a frown. The guy was the new manager – and gave Sonic a hard time. Often. His deep green hair dye couldn't hide the black and gray of his roots. He often wore shades, even inside; at night; during his break; probably when jerking off. "I want you to close tonight."

"I clock out soon. I can't close."

"You will because I told you to."

"There's a schedule –"

"Yeah, that you're on. For the night shift. Wave called out sick."

Because Wave was his girlfriend.

"Jet, you can't do this."

"Do it or you're fired." He said with a smirk.

And there it was. That rage. It painted his face and ears red, his fair skin burned in hue; he bit his bottom lip and balled up his fists. He'd lose his job today. He'd lose it and he wouldn't care.

Knuckles grabbed his shoulder. "Jet, I'll close."

The green haired male looked at Knuckles. His mouth twisted from smirk to a frown. He rolled his eyes and turned away. "Fine."

Sonic shook the touch of his friend and headed to his post. Knuckles quickly followed and the two sat behind the front desk of the gym. "You should have let me punch him."

"Don't lose your job over this. Don't start any issues. You're going to take the police exam again – right?"

"Yeah."

"Work on that temper. It's not you. Never was. Don't make it."

Sonic lowered his head into his hands. He closed his eyes and remembered being young, carefree, without contempt. He remembered that Amy liked that about him. That he wasn't hot headed; he was cool. Always so cool. Only a few more hours until he'd see her; show her he loved her still and that he wouldn't let her go again. Hopefully she'd take him back.


Shadow rolled around in large blankets. Cotton. So much cotton. The linen smelled good too. It was like laying in fresh laundry; sleeping amongst clouds. The light of dusk poured into Rouge's bedroom and he stretched his long limbs across the bed. His heavy eye lids arose slowly to reveal his stardust eyes; his lips were slightly chapped; and he was stark naked.

He placed his feet on the cool floor and stretched again. What time was it? He did not know. He lost his grasp of time as he slept in his friend's bed. A few days before the semester started, he decided not to go. He abandoned the law firm and packed up his things from Maria's apartment. He put it up for rent. Rouge had a few acquaintances in need of a place; it put money in his pocket since he no longer had a formal source of income. Everything was going well, except for the fact he saw Amy all the time now.

He had already run into her in the kitchen once; naked of course. He didn't know she was living there. Rouge didn't inform him. Who cared? It was exciting. Her blood red face as her green eyes surely – but slowly – looked at his exposed member. His devilish grin. There was something liberating about Maria being gone, dropping out of law school, quitting his job. The anxiety – it vanished. Like a new drug, sort of.

He bought a motorcycle with the money he acquired from the 2 months security deposit on the apartment. The world was new; tasted better; looked better. He was the man he was. He was the man Maria use to obsess over. He was himself. A little daring; dangerous; interesting. Cool.

Sonic was at an extreme disadvantage. Amy was around Shadow all the time now. She could drink him with her eyes daily. He could easily woo her now. But for what? Spite?

No. She was better than that. She deserved better than his ego…but he loved it. He didn't desire the cigarettes and alcohol as much anymore. He didn't desire Maria; rather, he worked on no longer desiring her. He put his best effort into forgetting her. Forgetting everything.

The dark haired male hopped in and out of the shower. After putting on jeans and a t-shirt he stepped out of the bedroom and saw Amy standing in the kitchen with Silver. They talked hurriedly and he could not catch their words. Silver threw his hands up and Amy grabbed onto his shirt. He turned his face away; she started to yell then. Something about a baby?

"Silver, she's scared!"

"She can do whatever she wants. I have nothing to do with Blaze. Not anymore."

"Don't be like this."

"Are you really interested in our well being – or the band's? You just want us to make up so we can help your career!"

"How can you say that?! That isn't true! I would be nothing without you. Both of you. I believe in us. So much. Don't tell me that you don't…"

"I believed in us too. I believed in Blaze. Now – I don't know what to believe." Silver removed Amy's hand from his shirt and smiled wryly. "I can't. I want to be with her and the same time…it's too much, you know? You should understand. All this time you've been conflicted over Sonic. You should know.

Amy sighed. She did know. And there it was. The end of the Chaos Roses.

Sonic sat down in the park with a bouquet in hand. Pink roses, like the color of Amy's hair, decoratively set in a beautiful arrangement. First he'd give her the flowers, then he'd hug if she let him – then –

But then never came. The night air was crisp and cool; he regretted not wearing a scarf. He didn't think he'd be waiting in the cold that long. He didn't think he'd be waiting at all. What could have happened? He called and sent multiple texts to no avail. Amy never showed.

Wrapped in his arms, with her cheek pressed against his chest Amy cried. Shadow held her; ran his fingers through her hair. He offered her as much comfort as a man could.

When Silver left Amy sank to the kitchen floor. Her eyes were wide and filled with tears. The cry was familiar. The way she looked so similar. He hated it. He hated it so much. He appeared to her like a god or celestial being of some sort. From behind tears and her rose pink hair she saw his toes; his feet and as she began to raise her head he was pulled off the floor and into his arms. He held her and she held back. She cried long and hard and he held her there. He wanted to comfort her; relieve her the way Maria relieved him; but he then realized they weren't the same.

As he pressed his lips to hers and leaned her against the refrigerator he knew he was wrong. He was wrong to do what he did and he was wrong to see himself in her. He was attached to her the way Maria was attached to him. A distraction. Someone else to pay mind so that your problems seems far, far away. But they weren't. They weren't far.

She gasped for air as he nibbled on her ear lobe and trailed kisses down her neck. Would he ruin Amy the way Maria ruined him?

"No." He stopped. Then he looked deeply in her eyes; earnestly.

"No?" she asked. Her pale face pink. Her nose; puffy eyes; her lips.

"No. You deserve better. I'm not better."

"But –"

"But nothing. You don't need a man. You need to believe in yourself. And so do I."

And there it was.

A solution for all.

• ~ •

The Aftermath

The smell of the wet earth filled his nostrils. The sky was a shade like stones, similar to the onyx of his eyes; the burnt tangerine color of the race track matched the young man's hair. The freckles on his face seemed invisible against his brown, sun kissed, coffee skin. He took his position and waited to hear his coach give him cue for start. Upon hearing his voice in the background of his empty thoughts the young man began running. His feet pressed hard into the ground followed by agility that was reminiscent of someone's greater days.

Sonic stood holding the stop watch; never taking his emerald green eyes off the young man. He molded and shaped that boy. That young man would be the fastest on the coast thanks to his training. He'd be scouted and offered full scholarships to college because he'd be that good. He had given a chance to someone who didn't have resources, the help, and resided in a failing system – an unjust world that being a man dressed in blue could not fix. He cared so much for less fortunate young man. He cared as if he was his own.

"Good job, Tyrell. Again." He shouted.

Again. And again. And again.


Brown eyes stared carefully at another set of chocolate orbs. The 'beast' – as she called it – barked. It wasn't at all loud, or even big enough to be considered a bark. Perhaps a yelp. The pup stared intensely at the girl; then intensely at the pup. The little girl carefully motioned her hand to the belly of the beast and extended her digits to its stomach. Giggles could be heard echoing in the room. The child's sugar cane russet hair stuck to her face as the pup placed its wet tongue on her face for a slobber festival of affection.

"You'll take Kira to the doctor this afternoon?" A short haired Maria asked her husband. "Nate and Ashley want to have her to spend the night with them at my moms, so she has to get a checkup. There won't be any other time."

Her husband looked at her with slight irritation. He sighed as he struggled to close his leather brief case. "I'll take her another time. Just call and reschedule."

"Shadow, I asked you for this one thing. I have a class I'm teaching around that time. I can't take her."

"I'll be in the office all day. You expect me to take her during my lunch?" She raised an eyebrow. He frowned. "Fine. I'll take her. We just finished that case against Vargas, so the office shouldn't be too busy. But that means I have to bring her to work with me."

"Thank you sweetheart." She leaned over and planted a gentle kiss on the side of his mouth. He smiled and looked her. Her pale skin seemed to glow as sunlight poured into the apartment. It was hard to remember that years ago, in that same apartment, he said goodbye to her.

But she did it. She did what she said she would.

She got off drugs.

She got a divorce.

She lost custody of her children, Nate and Ashley. They grew up into fine kids anyway. They forgave her. Though they were now 11 and 14 they displayed great maturity.

She returned and Shadow broke into pieces. He ran from her. She would spend years trying to win his favor again; trying to prove she was no longer a poison.

It worked.

After he graduated at the top of his class and passed the bar, they married. He didn't love being an attorney, but he loved her. He loved being able to take care of her – properly.

No longer was he her muse; her crutch; they were equal partners. Kira was born years later; she was 3 now. Rouge bought her a puppy for her birthday. His name was Omega. Rouge liked the name. Shadow did too. He appreciated his good friend's kindness. He always did.

"Mae-ga, no!" Kira shouted from the living room floor. Shadow looked over the kitchen counter and saw his daughter giggling until she could not breathe. Bring your daughter to work day came early for him. He smiled. It was fine.


He fixed his tie over and over again in the bathroom mirror. He sighed deeply. He undid it, then readjusted it; and without notice, a pair of long fingers took over and tied it for him. He smiled at her reflection in the mirror. She smiled as well. When she released the fabric of the expensive cloth he covered her hands with his own. He looked at her reflection in the mirror; a soft joy had seemingly illuminated his pale skin under the dim light of the bathroom. Her dress was knee length; an off white. Her mauve hair in a neat bun; lips painted a nude color. Outside a cab waited to bring them to the court house. There they'd start anew. There, they'd marry.

She didn't think she'd be there. She didn't think they'd reach that point. She left town; pregnant and alone. She worked hard by herself for a long time. She and their baby boy lived in a small studio apartment in a suburb many hours away from the city. And he found her.

He met a version of himself. A child with hair more platinum blonde white than his own. Skin - astonishingly dark, and smooth. Perhaps from his mother's genes. The men and women before her. He loved her. No matter how hard he tried and how much resistance he displayed, he loved her.

And she him.

Forgiveness was not an option for at that point there was nothing to forgive; only joy.

Now, Zeus - age eight – stood at the door of his parent's en-suite. In his own suit and tie, he watched with eyes large and colored like Jupiter – the king he was named after. To them, he was their own king; one of the many reasons they'd never stop loving each other; and they'd never deny such ever again.


"I wish you luck. I'm happy for you. Really." She hugged the shorter women close to her full chest; hiding her face. Rouge didn't want her to see her tears and the shorter woman understood.

In the airport they fought tears. Knuckles even teared up a bit. He hugged Amy tightly and the she held him just as tightly when they embraced. "We'll try to visit soon."

"I'll be waiting." She smiled. No longer did she dye her hair such an apparent pink, but now more so a soft strawberry blonde. It was well suited to her. It came with the new life she was to start.

Tails, who stood to the side of Rouge, handed her a small box. The item was well wrapped and tied up with ribbon. "Sonic said to give it you. He's sorry he couldn't be here to see you off."

Upon receiving the box, Amy shoved it in her handbag. Just like the last time, he wouldn't see her off. He didn't. But this time was different. She was going for good. She was going to live in Spagonia – make a life there.

She got the offer of a lifetime. After the failure of the Chaos Roses and Shadow's words to believe in herself, Amy discovered her place in the world. She found her calling. It was in a place she did not expect, but should have known. She studied for years - completed her PhD in Music; and landed a job as assistant music director for the Catholic Church of Spagonia. She'd be part of the arrangements for the choir that sang for the sermon of the Pope. Closer to song, closer to God; a place she seemingly abandoned to achieve something that maybe wasn't her specific calling.

Two years before the completion of her degree Pope Antonio visited the city. During his visit to the first Cathedral of Station Square he saw her. The wrinkles around his mouth accompanied a smile when hearing her sing privately in the empty church. It was the evening before his sermon to city's citizens and she – who went to pray occasionally – was kneeling in the pew; a single beautiful voice that angels most high would cry tears for.

"Young lady," The small man called. Amy suddenly turned and looked; her bright green eyes filled with shock and surprise. "there's a Lord, most high, that would love if your voice blessed others."

"Oh my. You're –"

"Yes."

"I'm – "

"Come to Spagonia. That is what our heavenly father has told me to tell you."

"But –"

"Your father will provide. And I hope I'm blessed enough to hear that beautiful and angelic voice once again."

Her blessing did come. And the man of God would hear her; work closely with her; share her talents and joy.

So why - when the single most important thing in her life was about to happen – why couldn't he tell her goodbye? Why couldn't he wish her good luck and farewell? Even if they weren't together – it had been so many years – why?

She wondered on her long flight. She wondered as she finally settled in to her apartment. She wondered while she worked; and then one day over coffee she stopped wondering.

Months passed and the summer was near its end. She would soon be thirty-two the coming September. She celebrated early, for Rouge and Knuckles visited as they promised they would. She was delighted to see them. They drank wine and ate often. She was sure she gained at least a few pounds after they left.

She didn't ask about Sonic. She often thought to, but she fought the urge. It was fine. No one mentioned him.

While sitting in her favorite café, she looked about the room and saw a young woman similar to her all those years ago. The girl held the hands of her lover. They leaned over the small table staring lovingly into each other's eyes. No one could tell them love was hard; and it wouldn't matter because the two lovers wouldn't believe them. "Can I sit here?" she didn't take her gaze off the young couple.

"Sure." She answered absent minded; her gaze never leaving once until –

"Did you open the box?" The person asked. Amy turned to the face the inquirer and her eyes opened wide.

"No." She answered. He looked different, but the same. His hair was no longer dyed that deep blue and the natural russet that she sometimes saw when his roots showed. He still had glowing green eyes that made her feel as if she was diving into the deepest tropical ocean. He maintained his youth. Probably from all the running. Probably just because he was him.

She looked at her bag and then back at him. He reached into the bag and pulled out the perfectly wrapped box. The one that she neglected on purpose. The one she pretended didn't exist, no matter how many times she touched it while rummaging through her things, looking for a tube of lipstick; a breath mint; a pen; a notebook; money; her keys; her life. "Open it." He told her. A small smirk curved his lips. A smirk she had not seen for a while.

She slowly unwrapped the box. She looked at the object and her breaths were slow. She opened it and could swear her heart beat so loud that it echoed. A ring with a small diamond gleamed. She looked up to him. His green eyes met her hers once more. Those eyes, brighter and more vivid than any jewel. Tears stained her cheeks and his full pearly white teeth showed as he smiled. He took the box from her and placed it on the small table. She covered her mouth with one hand and he held her free hand in his own.

Epilogue

Summer ended and her birthday passed. Amy Rose, at thirty-two, became someone's wife.

Nick – as he now referred to himself – abandoned the name tied with his foolish youth – He found his dreams were often different ones, but still held the same value. His sense of justice never faded, nor his love for running. He found employment at a center for children with less. He led the sports department and trained young people who would be as fast as Tyrell in Station Square. Maybe faster someday. And maybe it would change their lives as well.

On Saturdays – after track meets – he'd go home with a bag of fresh vegetables, meats and pasta. Nick and Amy would cook together. They'd drink different types of wine and dance while the pasta boiled; his arms around her waist and hers around his neck.

And there it was. Love.

• ~ •

Blankedty