Author's Note:It's been a little while, so I'll just let you guys get to the brunt of it.
Tic. Tock. Tic. Tock.
Damn clock is driving me crazy. Got here about thirty minutes ago, but it feels like we've been here forever. No one's moved, and the queue has been the same.
Amy gave me a firm side nudge in a futile attempt to stop my fidgeting, but it's no use. My feet are rapidly tapping at the cold linoleum beneath us, while I idly have a hand tapping away on the arm of my chair. I stopped when she placed one of her hands on mine. Looking down, she had a firm grip, but I can feel it trembling with each second that passes.
"You're making me more nervous," she finally says.
She flashes me a smile, but I can already tell she's only putting it on to calm me down. The last three months have been tough on us both, but especially her. And well, this...this was the last thing we needed.
"Ms. Rose?", came a voice across the room.
I stood up first, extending a hand to Amy, who eagerly took it for support as she stood. We both started walking over to the voice, who was seated behind a desk towards the other end of the room. A somewhat elderly porcupine lady smiled back at the both of us, before motioning for Amy to follow another person dressed in white.
"We just need Ms. Rose at the moment," said the nurse.
I was about to protest when Amy gently squeezed at my hand. She bit her lip, before looking up at me, still trying to maintain her brave facade.
"...it'll be alright," she said, trailing off. "It's routine, after all."
Squeezing back, I made her promise to call me in the moment she felt she needed me, before letting go. I flashed a smile and thumbs up, watching as she disappeared beyond the waiting room doors. Returning to my seat, I looked around before finally letting go of my own facade, sighing heavily as I ran a hand through my quills.
How did it come to this?
...well, I know how. But so soon? So quick?
It's only been about three months since Aya and Gene were born, but so much has happened. So much that this right now is probably not the best thing to be happening...
All because of Eggman. The fat fuck apparently bit the dust on that fateful day, according to G.U.N. DNA from what little they found, as well as a cross reference to partial dental work confirmed it. Dead.
Shadow had been courteous enough to let us know the details just as the media was catching wind of it, as G.U.N. had formerly declared him dead to the world on the same day our children were born. Or rather only Gene, as both he and Aya have different birthdays due to their late evening arrival.
I guess it's a small price to pay, what with me having a hand in his demise. Not sorry he died, especially after what he supposedly was planning to do to my family. And if Gene asks, I'll make it a point to give him the correct date of death, down to the hour, minute, and second.
We should be moving on, forgetting him and his madness. Rebuilding. Learning from it. But we can't. At least, not just yet.
Despite Shadow and Rouge's intel, Tails was not as satisfied with what G.U.N. had put out concerning Eggman's death. Something about it being way too sanitized. So he did what he did best: He hacked their database for the real answers.
And what he found was nothing short of disturbing.
He found several gigabytes' worth of research that Eggman had worked on. Tails described it as the type of stuff that could even be considered his life's work if he had kept it in the realm of theories and postulates – like science prize winning caliber. It took him about two weeks to even half understand what Eggman had been working on, as it had been written in a unique code that had died with him.
That was the first indication that this was serious, as Tails is usually able to understand any new concept in seconds. And yet, he was having a difficult time with it, despite enjoying the challenge.
When he was about 95% certain in his findings, he called me, Shadow, and Knuckles over to discuss it, breaking it down in layman's terms. In short, he said that Eggman had spent years researching and developing a complex, refined weapons system. One that could theoretically not be shut down, or hindered inoperable despite the lack of manual command.
I remember Knuckles scoffing at the notion, chalking it up to the lack of sleep and stress that Tails' had suffered decoding those notes. But Tails was so steadfast. So certain. He'd never given any of us a reason to doubt his work.
It was a little frustrating trying to keep up with his explanation, until he finally gave it a name – The Chaos Requiem.
"I'm calling it the Chaos Requiem," he said slowly, "because his "death" is the catalyst. Everything he's ever created, or done. It all led up to this."
"Led up to what?" I remembered asking. "Come on Tails. I get that you're in awe of this dude's techno babble, but please get to the chase."
"He created an algorithm." he finally said. "One so complex, yet so abstract that it has me struggling just understand it. Like an artificial intelligence, almost. All I know so far is that it powers this machine...or machines.
Every battle we ever fought with him was simply a test. A correction to his near perfection of this algorithm. Every machine. Every robot. Every single base he's built. They're all pieces of this puzzle..."
Simply put – every single battle I ever fought against him, he wasn't entirely losing. He was plotting. Planting pieces of this thing in the hopes that it would one day operate on its own. With or without my interference.
Knuckles brushed him off, saying that to be scared now was pointless; we had fought just as hard and beaten him each and every time. Not the brightest bulb in the bunch, but he had a point. Shadow surprisingly, warily backed him up, and I soon found myself following suit to the surprise of both myself and Tails. Felt bad too, like I was taking everything he had explained and threw it out a window fifty stories up.
I'd had enough paranoia and wariness within the last year to last the rest of my life. I didn't need the notion of a never ending machine consuming me to the point that it ruled me. And with a newly formed family, I was more concerned with spending time with them.
I was going to let it go, until what happened about six weeks ago...
Tails had called, frantically rambling on about a rogue Egg Pawn army running amok in Spagonia. Designed slightly different than previously remembered, but with enough firepower that part of the capital city had to be evacuated. It was so sudden that I hadn't even said goodbye to Amy, let alone told her where I was going. Couldn't call her either as I had left my cell phone at home as well.
But I figured she knew where I was. It was breaking news all over the world, reporting that Eggman was alive and engaging in another plot for world domination.
Same old shit, right? Nothing I hadn't seen or stopped before. A good dash, leg sweep, and a couple of Spin Dashes and those bucket of bolts would be waste receptacles in no time.
At least, that was what I thought until I finally went up against them. Was not easy by any means; it was as if they knew my moves by heart, as they actively anticipated/prepared attacks to counter me in every way. I can normally clear hundreds of these pawns in a second, but this was different. And it scared me.
I was able to eventually dismantle each and every single one of those trash cans, but not without a lot of effort on my part. Was pretty damn spent by the end of it, and was probably the first time in years that I could remember fighting so hard.
Needless to say, Tails' earlier warning had my attention now, as I limped my way back home to Station Square. To my family. To Amy. She was pretty angry with me as Tails had briefed her under threat of her hammer.
I probably would have gotten a taste of it as well if I hadn't collapsed from my injuries.
But she was too worried about me to stay angry. Awoke several hours later to her watching over me, dressing the wounds I had sustained. She was so worried that she had even asked Vanilla and Cream to babysit, as I had come down with a slight fever.
"I'm still pissed at you," she said while dabbing a gash on my head with iodine. "But running out to fight off danger is what you do. Plus I'm sure a lot more folks would have been seriously injured if you hadn't intervened.
But that's not why I'm pissed. I'm pissed because, according to Tails, you guys had known that Eggman may have been up to something much earlier. You knew something might be up but you didn't bother to tell me anything at all. Not once."
Telling her that I thought it wasn't worth worrying her as I hadn't thought it serious only irritated her more, with her bringing up our shared issue of communication.
"It doesn't matter!" she yelled as she pressed a little too hard with that iodine. "I still would have wanted to know. Especially after what that lunatic was trying to do to me and our kids. It's not like I can just forget because it was the first thing I thought of when I saw all this on the news..."
She pretty much admitted right then and there that she was still scared of him...that whatever he was trying to do to her and our kids wasn't finished. Seeing me struggle dealing with the threat hadn't made it easier, as she assumed that our family would be next.
She also admitted that the news of his death had lulled her into a somewhat false sense of security; that despite how critical she had been of my role in his "death", she had actually been somewhat relieved deep down.
"I probably should have seen this coming," she said, finishing the bandaging of my head gash. "Eggman always finds a way. But after what happened, I just wanted to think that was the end. Maybe I was hoping we'd get a little bit of what regular folks call 'normal' for a change."
Can't blame her for how she feels; I've been right there with her navigating this new world of parenthood. Normal is a word I don't know the meaning of, but I was hoping our kids might see it in spades. Not having to worry about a megalomaniac busting through your front door or at your school now seems like a far off luxury.
But it's also one that I still hope to give them, and one that I promised Amy I would. Promised that as long as blood was still pumping through me, that I would always come through for her and the kids.
And that's when it happened. The blood was sure flowing that evening, in more ways than one – we made love. It was almost like old times, but different. Spontaneous, yet meaningful; all the emotion that we had for each other coming together in a maelstrom of passion that we had both held onto for so long...
It'd certainly been awhile; I hadn't tried to be overtly intimate after witnessing and aiding in the delivery of our kids. That definitely looked like it hurt a lot. Plus the care and observation of two separate, but demanding little hedgehogs had taken quite the toll on my would be libido. Diaper changes, late night feedings with pumped milk, and on and off hours of sleeping/crying will tire you out quick.
After seeing all that she's done and gone through...it somehow made me want her more.
...And after all that we'd been through these last few months, it seems we hadn't learned a damn thing about using protection.
Ames might be pregnant. Again.
Looked up to check the time in the waiting room. It's been about maybe twenty minutes since Amy went with that nurse.
"Just one more question before I bring Sonic in," Sara said after completing my pelvic exam. "When was the first day of your last period?"
"I think the 12th of last month," I replied, certain. "I even marked it on a calendar, and it's nearly the end of this month."
"That sounds about on par after a delivery," she said, scribbling down a few notes on my chart. "But then again, your chances of getting pregnant again are significantly higher after a successful pregnancy. Being that late would put you at the cusp, at about the one month mark."
I gulped, as this was the second visit I'd made within the week. The first had been to get blood work done after I told Sonic. Figured I'd be up front and to the point this time, given how badly things had been the first time around.
He had been feeding Aya, trying to soothe a crying fit she had started by getting her to burp. He damn near dropped her when I told him, before recovering in time to catch her.
Maybe I should have told him when both kids were sleeping.
Or maybe not. His reaction wasn't that far off from what mine was when I realized that I could be pregnant again. I cried. I love my kids, and I know he loves them just as much as I do too. But again?
I'm not going to lie – on a scale of one to ten, labor pain cranks it up to twelve and snaps the dial off. My hips, thighs, and crotch area felt like a small circus had paraded on through for at least a week afterward. My boobs have become a mini-dairy farm. And I'm flat out exhausted from the odd times of day our kids take to sleeping/eating.
Yet I might have to go through all this again in another nine months' time?
Granted all of this has made me feel a bit unattractive. I've lost most of the baby weight, but I don't fit into my pre-pregnancy wardrobe as well. Wider hips, bigger bust, and a curvier figure than I previously had.
So much for thinking that it'd all "snap" back into place once they were out.
That was probably more compounded with the way Sonic had been acting around me since we brought them home. Skittish, shy, and awkward the moment the slightest form of physical contact was involved. It was almost as if time had been reversed and chasing after him again for the time of day.
It didn't really bother me at first since I was more concerned with getting to know and understand our kids. But the moment we'd have a moment to ourselves, or a moment when I had to nurse – he'd be gone.
After it happened one time too many, I started to wonder what was going on. Was it something I said? Did I smell like spit up and ripe diapers? Or did he just want to take advantage of the little downtime we had for some alone time of his own?
It didn't click into place until I noticed him linger, if only for a split second, while I was nursing. The lazy, yet intent glaze of his eyes and playful smirk was all I needed to see to put things together – he was horny. Confronting him about it proved it true when he basically admitted that he felt weird having those urges and feelings for me so soon after the birth.
Granted that was somewhat exasperated by the doctor's order to wait at least six weeks before getting that close as well as my own anxiety about it..
That all came to an end shortly after that attack in Spagonia. Sonic had rushed over because every bit of it wreaked of Eggman, and was pretty taxed by the end of it. He barely put his foot in the door before he collapsed in my arms.
I don't know how he managed it since I was pretty pissed at him not telling me what Tails had found out weeks earlier, but he did it. Could never stay mad at him for too long, after all...
Any worry I had about being unattractive – gone. Highly exaggerated insecurity on my part as he seemed to take in and relish every single inch of my body. I don't even think I can describe it other than it was like was like our first time all over again, but with experience added into the mix. Passionate, yet gentle, with all the emotions of intimacy that I felt for him rushing back into my body like a freight train on steroids.
It was absolutely wonderful, but like the saying goes, you can't go back to holding hands...
"Earth to Amy. Requesting permission to land."
I blink a few times before I realize that Sonic is seated next to me in the office. The nurse must have called him in while I was in thought.
Sara is seated in front of us at her desk, my file in hand.
"Do you want a moment before I give you the results?" she asked, concerned.
"No thanks," I say. I try to smile, slowly reaching out for Sonic when he instinctively grabs my hand. I smile a little more when I see him trying to smile for me as well.
Sara looks between the two of us, letting out an exasperated sigh before flipping through my file. "I'd tell you two to get a room, but it'd just lead you back to me," she quipped. "So I'm going to break it down into good news, and bad news. Which one do you want to hear first?"
I gulped, as did Sonic, as we unanimously opted to hear the bad news first.
"The bad news," Sara started, taking off her glasses to clean, "is that the both of you are going to have to decide right here and now on a proper, effective method of future contraception that works for the BOTH of you..."
Oh Chaos. I think the room is starting to spin. I reach out for Sonic who's equally looking worse for wear than I am...
"...because the good news is that you're not pregnant."
The room stopped spinning, the sun came out, and I could have sworn I heard some Chao singing an angelic hymn.
Until I heard a thud. Sonic had leaned a little bit too far in his chair after hearing the good news.
A few minutes and an ice pack later, we got into the awkward conversation of proper contraception with Sara.
"Sorry for the fright," Sara stated. "But in my line of work, you develop a somewhat dry sense of humor..."
"No kidding." Sonic grumbled, massaging the ice pack on his forehead.
"I also couldn't resist given your history so far," she added. "Your first pregnancy was unplanned, and seeing that your twins are barely pushing three months of age, it almost didn't surprise me; women are at their most fertile directly after birth.
Given all the time I've had the pleasure of knowing the both of you, I can easily say that this scare was the result of a few...spur of the moments?"
The flushed, red expression on our faces was enough of an answer for her.
"Yeah, I thought so." she said. "Would it be too forward of me to say that condoms wouldn't factor into your..er, moments?"
"Yes," Sonic answered, still blushing.
"Alright then." Sara stated, giving me some paperwork to look over. "Based on that and the fact that you're currently nursing, I believe you're best suited for an IUD - intrauterine device."
"What's that?" I asked.
Sara took the paperwork from me for a brief moment, flipping through it before handing it back. A diagram of a T-shaped object was prominently displayed on top, while she produced a small capsule from within her desk.
"This," she said, showing me the near tiny object, "is an IUD. It's placed in your uterus and works by affecting the way sperm move so they can't fertilize an egg.
The effectiveness rate is 1 out of 100 women get pregnant while an IUD is in place, with this method lasting on average between five to twelve years depending on which type you have implanted. That's better than a single use condom, which may tear or the reduced effectiveness rate of missing a scheduled birth control pill."
"Sounds good," I say after a moment. "How soon can we get this in m-,...I mean, how soon can I have this set up?"
"Tomorrow if you like," Sara said, scribbling down the appointment time on a card before handing it to me. "I would say hands off each other until then, but the IUD can prevent pregnancy as long as its implanted within five days of unprotected sex.
Plus there's a chance that you'll feel a little sore for a bit afterward, so you might as well make the most of the moment."
"Did she just tell us to go at it after all of this?" I asked Amy. "Like, doctor's orders?"She shot me a dirty look before shrugging, settling in to cling on one of my arms.
"I'm pretty sure she was being sarcastic, you know..." she snipped.
As we walked through the reception area to leave, we came across a bit of a scene. One of the other guys who had been out there waiting with me had apparently gotten some info that he was none too pleased about from his girl.
"Aww c'mon baby!" he practically cried at the top of his lungs. "Please tell me you didn't get the golden ticket again! Three's enough!"
"Shut up, Wonka!" she yelled back at him. "You're making a scene. And you know exactly how it got there when you were so keen on role playing..."
It took all I had to keep a straight face passing by before I started cracking up outside the office. Amy was not as amused.
"Not funny, Sonic." she nagged. "Especially since that easily could have been us."
"The Charles and the Chocolate Factory kink?"
"You know exactly what I mean..."
And she's pissed. Time to dial it back a notch.
"Okay, I'm sorry. I know I shouldn't have laughed, but I'm just trying to lighten up the mood. We dodged one, or possibly two bullets if experience indicates anything right now. Can you blame me for being even a little bit elated about it?"
"No." she sighed. "I'm just as relieved and happy about the oven being empty as you are. But I'm also kind of sad as well..."
"What for?" I practically yelled out. "We have two, count them – TWO brand spanking new babies. Why would we want another one or two so soon?"
"It's not that," she countered back. "You heard what Sara said in there about the IUD I'm having implanted tomorrow. Effective for up to five to twelve years depending on which one.
That's a pretty long time, and a lot of things could happen between now and then..."
"Like what?" I ask, raising a brow.
"Well...us breaking up." she said softly. "Or you not making it back alive after one of your adventures. Especially after the fact that Eggman might still be alive somewhere."
I stop dead in my tracks, before turning around and hugging her as tight as I can.
"Hold the press." I say, as I held her tight. "I know you're still shaken up by the Spagonia attack, but I thought I made it clear that I was here to stay. Heck, I'm right here in the flesh and quills holding onto you this very moment. We have a lot to celebrate right now too. Our second Christmas together. Our first with Aya and Gene as a family..."
She hugged back tightly, gently sobbing into my chest before looking up at me.
"I'm just scared, Sonic." she said finally. "It's not just me you have to worry about. It's Aya and Gene as well. Whatever happens between you and me affects them just as much too. Which is why I was so jittery about the possibility of another baby. Three children under the age of one in less than two years is enough."
"Not to mention chaotic." I chimed in, receiving a soft tap on my shoulders. "I get it. We've gone from friends to lovers to parenthood in the span of a year. Emotionally, I'll admit that's a lot of change for one to take in. Fast, if you want to call it that. But with each step we've taken, I'd like to think we've risen to the occasion, don't you think?
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is this: I might not be able to guarantee my safety. Or that we'll be together for all of eternity. But what I feel for you, Aya, and Gene is 100% genuine. Right here and now.
And it's that feeling that I hope to use to make sure things stay the way they are for a very,very long time to come."
"Could that mean we might be walking down the aisle one day?" she asked suddenly.
"No comment." I start to say, but add, "Well, anything's possible, right? This wasn't the game plan for me two years ago."
"And just when I thought I had a real answer after our appearance on Good Morning Station Square," she chuckled, snapping her fingers. "Here's an easier one. If I decided to take the IUD out earlier than expected, would you be open to more kids?"
"I get it, Ames," I say finally. "You want another kid. Not right now. Maybe not five or twelve years down the line. But sometime before then or in between."
"But do you?" she pressed on.
"Well..," I trailed off, "Maybe. I get that you want to kinda plan the next one, but isn't taking that IUD out like it was unplanned anyway? Back at square one?
But yeah. Maybe. And besides, we did some pretty good work the first time around. Aya and Gene are pretty mint issue if I do say so myself."
"That sounds like more of a yes than a maybe," she pointed out.
"Well, either way, you wouldn't see me complaining during the making of process. You do have some pretty lovely...tools."
"And this," she said, giving me a light kiss, "Is why it may very well happen sooner rather than later without that IUD. You're always talking your way into my pants."
"You're always letting me talk my way into your pants." I say, kissing back.
"Maybe..." she trailed off, running a finger down my chest. "I mean, yes."
I slowly deepened the kiss, tilting her chin up as I held her tight, slowly inching a hand down to her back until...
"GET A ROOM!" someone shouted behind us. We both break off, gasping when we realize that we were still in front of Dr. Torinai's office. Shit.
We stood still for a moment, before looking back at each other, and realizing just how lucky we've been today. Looking at the time shows that we could have been at Vanilla's place to pick up the kids by now.
But old habits die hard.
"That IUD is definitely going in tomorrow, right?" I ask.
"Yeah." Amy said.
"And Vanilla has the general idea that we're running errands/shopping for Christmas, right?"
"Well then, if it's alright with you, I'd really like to take you up on that yes/maybe for some good old spur of the moment before we get to shopping..."
"Oh no!" she giggled, playfully trying to get away as I took her up in my arms bridal style.
"Oh yes..." I purred.
As I sped home with my partner in crime in tow, there was no where else I would rather be. Or anyone else I would rather be with for that matter.
And if I feel like this now, maybe it wouldn't be so bad if our arrangement was more permanent.
And that's it for this chapter, folks! The next chapter is the very last chapter. Before the epilogue at least. And as I have before, that may be pretty meaty given how I write. This chapter clocked in at about 20 pages.
Next chapter features, yes – Sonic working up the nerve to finally ask Amy a very important question. You definitely saw a bit of the fact that Amy was pondering the issue in this chapter, but you'll get to see Sonic's thought process on the subject this time around.
Why is he asking? Will he choke or go through with it? And will Amy respond positively depending on how he asks?
All this and more in the next chapter. As always, please read and review!