Chapter 1

Amy Rose stared longingly out the window, the crimson red and brown crunchy leaves floating aimlessly down towards the ground. The tips of mountains could be seen far in the distance, looking like tiny specks, yet still reaching their stone hands towards the sky as if to praise their creator. Tall clusters of trees swayed in the breeze, opening up just enough for a path to wind its way between them, leading into the forest. A rushing stream flowed out from the forest lazily, carrying tiny ship-like leaves that drifted into the unknown.

This was Amy's favorite time of year; autumn. She longed to go outside and enjoy the crisp, fall air, but thought better of it. She didn't want her apple pie to burn in the oven and decided to wait for it. The little pink hedgehog wanted to take it to her crush and hero, Sonic the Hedgehog, that very night. Just thinking about spending time with him shot a wave of pure excitement down her spine. She squealed to herself.

Waiting for the pie to bake, Amy let her eyes wander dreamily about the world beyond her window. She often fantasized about Sonic and herself as boyfriend and girlfriend. She imagined Sonic scooping her up in his strong arms and taking her to a special place, just for the two of them. It will be autumn, she thought to herself, with trees as red and gold as the early sunset. She thought again for a moment, then exclaimed out loud to no one in particular, "With a waterfall!!" Then giggled to herself, still imagining Sonic telling her how much he loved her.

A sinking feeling began in the pit of her stomach as she reminded herself that chances were very slim of her fantasies coming true. For one thing, Sonic paid her as much attention as he did to water – he avoided it. Amy had to admit, she had always been chasing after him, and no wonder he needed to escape. But she cared so much for him. Then again, perhaps he just thought of her as an annoying little 12-year-old who worshiped the ground he walked – er - ranon, like a silly girl chasing after the Jonas Brothers and saying that she would become the future Mrs. Jonas.

Amy was yanked out of her thoughts by the strong smell of burning apple pie. "Doggone it!" she hissed, getting up from her spot on the couch to attend to her poor pie, her thoughts scattering along the way. The pink hedgehog pulled on some flowered oven mitts and rescued her pie. Thank goodness it wasn't even burned. She sighed with relief. Maybe he'll even invite me in to share it with him…she thought excitedly. Amy Rose fantasized some more as she cooled off the pie and wrapped it in a white cake box. Though her chances were slim with Sonic, she knew she had to tell him how she felt, even if he didn't accept it.

Knock, knock, knock!

The little pre-teen lifted her shiny jade eyes to the door. She skipped over to it and turned the knob. What she saw confused as well as frightened her. Her good friends stood at the door: Tails looking forlorn, Knuckles the echidna looking stern and grim, Rouge the bat, looking down at her boots like she didn't want to look Amy in the eyes, and Cream the Rabbit along with her chao, Cheese, both with tears in their eyes.

"What's going on?" asked Amy, and edge to her voice. The group all glanced at Knuckles in unison. He gulped and held out a scribbled note to Amy. She knew it was from Sonic, his chicken scratch handwriting almost instantly gave him away. She read it silently…

Dear Friends,

This will be short – the way I like it – but in a way, sweet. I have to leave…now. I can't tell you where I'm going or when I'll be back…if ever. Knuckles, you are like a brother to me. Rouge, keep running after Knucklehead there. He's got a soft inside and I know you guys are meant for each other. Tails – I've always looked at you as a little brother, but as a friend as well. Cream and Cheese – you guys are just so cute! Amy...stay cool. Thank you all for your friendship. I will never forget you…

Godspeed,

Sonic the Hedgehog

The note went cold in Amy's hand.

٭٭٭