He nonchalantly swung back and forth. His cold hands did not seem to affect him as he kept them exposed to the ruthless wind. Autumn was his season anyway. Cold wind without snow was not going to affect him, he wouldn't permit it. He looked up at the sky covered in white clouds. At least it wasn't going to rain that day.

It had been an uneventful year. No new adventure had abruptly come up, no group meetings had occurred, and the few parties he had attended had failed to entertain him for more than two hours. Not even Rouge tried to steal the Master Emerald any longer. He should feel happy because the lack of interruptions gave him more time to guard the Master Emerald, but loneliness had crept into his life and was slowly asphyxiating him. He wondered if the others also felt this way. Probably not. Knuckles sighed as he thought about this. Violet orbs which had been staring up at the sky were now resting for a few minutes. Had it not been for the wind the echidna would have fallen into a peaceful slumber.

"Aren't your hands freezing?" a sweet female voice asked. Knuckles slowly opened one of his eyes. Amy Rose was standing in front of him with her hands behind her back. What is she doing here?

"Well, not really…"

"You should still keep them protected," she replied with a smile. What is she up to?

"Don't worry. I don't get sick easily."

"Better safe than sorry! Here," she presented a pair of gloves- his gloves- from behind her back. Her smile had grown significantly.

"Where did you find my gloves?" Knuckles asked now opening his other eye.

"I was looking for you up at the altar, but only your gloves were there. That's when I saw you sitting on this improvised swing,"

Knuckles took the gloves and carefully put them on. The pink hedgehog was still looking at him, smiling. Something was different… it wasn't her smile or voice… he couldn't quite understand what it was. She seemed more…free?

"Why are you here?" The question came out a little more harshly than he had intended. He didn't mind her company, as long as she didn't annoy him with trivial things such as shopping.

"Gee, I'm sorry if I picked a bad time. I hadn't seen you in awhile and since I had some free time I thought it would be nice to just drop by and see how you were. I even asked Tails this morning how this teleport thing worked."

"No, it's fine. All I've been doing is guarding the Master Emerald. Teleport thing?"

"Yeah. That small platform near Tails's workshop which can teleport anyone with the password up to Angel Island. Don't you remember? Tails built it last year!"

"Ah, right. I've only used it twice so I forgot it was even here…"

An awkward silence threatened to settle between them, something Knuckles would dread. In order to avoid this situation his head ran through hundreds of topics of conversation, but few were the ones he felt comfortable enough to talk about. So, he simply settled with a question that had popped into his head the moment Amy had given him the gloves.

"How come you have free time? Shouldn't you be chasing Sonic?"

Confused, Amy stared at the red echidna.

"What do you mean I should be chasing after Sonic? Weren't you at the party in the beginning of the year? Tails's party?"

"I think I was…not sure. What does that have to do with anything?"

"We were playing truth or dare and I chose truth. Tails asked me if I still loved Sonic. It was probably a joke meant to annoy Sonic. I hesitated but then answered no. Some people didn't believe me, Sonic included, but it was true. In fact I hadn't been chasing Sonic for awhile back then and never have since. We're just good friends," Amy reported.

"That was…unexpected. Must've missed that."

Knuckles was being sincere. He hadn't assisted the truth or dare session, and indeed Amy's announcement was unexpected. He wondered what had led her to move away from the blue blur. Well, he could think of a few reasons. Just his cocky grin makes me want to punch him in the face sometimes. But he's a good guy.

"You should come down more often…" Amy mumbled.

"What did you say?" There it was again. Why did he always sound harsher than he wanted to?

"Nevermind…"

"You spoke too lightly, I wasn't able to understand. C-could you please repeat?" he tried with a nicer tone. It seemed to work.

"It's just that you seem to be so lonely up here sometimes… you should come down more often…" she said a little louder.

"I like the solitude," he lied. He didn't like it in excess. "But, maybe I will visit the city sometime."

Amy flashed him one of her smiles. She seemed to be planning something, something Knuckles would probably rather not know about.

"Good. Well, I have to go now. I have to pass by the grocery store and buy some ingredients for this cake I'm going to bake. I'll see you around?"

"Sure. See you."

Amy began walking away from the echidna. As she did, Knuckles was quietly observing her. That's what's different. She grew. Being free allowed her to mature. When she was almost out of earshot, she turned back and waved towards the echidna.

"Make sure you keep those gloves on!" She yelled loud enough for him to hear.

But she's still the same old Amy.

*

The high pitched female voices were beginning to get on his nerves. He had only been standing near the shop for five minutes, but five minutes had been enough. The women were talking about him as if he weren't even there. This is why I don't leave my island. Up there I don't have to put up with annoying women commenting on my looks or how I stand out because I'm an echidna. Why did I even come here? He finally spotted the pink hedgehog coming out from the store on the opposite side of the street. Yeah… I remember…

"Hey Knuckles! You were waiting by the wrong store, silly."

"I never come down here. All these stores look the same, how was I supposed to know the difference between this one and that one?" he complained.

"They have names you know… come on, I know the perfect place for lunch."

Amy had invited Knuckles out for lunch that day. It had been a week since she had gone up to Angel Island, Knuckles had almost forgotten she had visited him. The unexpected invitation came via text message. Tails had offered the echidna a phone last year for Christmas, and somehow Amy had gotten hold of his number. They had planned to meet outside a store on Station Square's main commercial street, and from there they'd go out for lunch.

They were now approaching a brighter part of the city where the park was situated. A few luxurious restaurants were located in that area, but luckily a few more economically friendly ones existed there as well. Amy picked out a small, pleasant Spanish restaurant. Knuckles eyed her curiously, which Amy replied with an encouraging nod. They entered the restaurant and asked for a table for two. The kind waiter directed them to a table near the window and once the two were settled handed each a menu. After a few minutes of inspecting the menu, Knuckles looked at Amy and shyly asked,

"Uh… what do you recommend?"

"Depends on what you like!"

"Amy, I'm not familiar with any of this. I've never eaten Spanish food before," he admitted.

"Really? Well, I recommend one of their famous plates. The tortilla! We can share one if you like," Amy proposed.

"What is a torrtila?"

"Tortilla. You'll see when it comes."

Amy ordered a tortilla which would be divided by both of them and helped herself to some tapas which she recommended Knuckles to try. When the tortilla arrived Knuckles eyed it suspiciously which received a giggle from Amy.

"Stop giggling, Rose."

"Then try it," she teased.

Knuckles did try it. He didn't love the dish, but he had to admit that it wasn't bad either. He could see why people liked it. The two conversed throughout lunch about little things, and ended up reminiscing past adventures. Although the two hadn't been particularly close, and sometimes the two being hot-headed had led to one or two fights, they still went along well. In fact, spending an hour together while eating lunch had proved to both of them that they actually went along pretty well. Knuckles didn't find her annoying while Amy discovered a more relaxed Knuckles.

"So tell me, when are you coming to visit me up at the island? I came down here and had to deal with annoying women talking about me while I was standing right there, so now it's your turn to go up the island," he said.

"I'm sorry you had to go through that," Amy said amidst laughs.

"Yeah… great experience."

"Well, I'll visit you sometime. It would be a lot easier if you lived here you know?"

"Are you indirectly inviting me to move in?" Knuckles teased. Blushing, Amy began laughing. It took her awhile to recompose herself. Once she had, she took another spoon of ice-cream and quietly licked it.

"No, silly," she answered.

"Heh. I can't leave the Master Emerald. You guys know that. It's my duty."

"I guess…"

The waiter came by and placed the bill on the table. Before Knuckles could even glance at the numbers Amy grasped it. After meticulously checking it, she called the waiter and paid in exact cash plus a small tip. Once the waiter left Amy looked back in front of her, but all she saw was an empty seat. So he ate and left…huh? Confused, and a little disappointed, Amy picked up her purse and began making her way out of the restaurant.

Once outside, she began making her way back to the shop where she had met up with Knuckles. It was getting cold, winter was approaching. Amy didn't dislike the season; she just sometimes wished that it weren't so cold. A firm hand touched her shoulder. Taken by surprise, Amy turned around to see who it was. A red echidna was looking at her with a small smile.

"Since you didn't even let me glance at the bill I decided to repay your kindness," he started.

"You didn't need to—"

"Let me finish, Rose. Here. Open it."

Knuckles handed her a small package which Amy curiously opened. Inside was a pair of white gloves.

"Winter's arriving. If you're going to visit me the gloves you're wearing now won't protect your hands from the cold. Better safe than sorry, right?"

Amy smiled at his kind gesture. Being this attentive didn't sound like Knuckles, or at least the solitary Knuckles she was acquainted with. But now she seemed to be discovering Knuckles, knowing Knuckles.

"Thank you, really."

"No problem. I guess I'll see you around?"

"I guess so…"

Knuckles waved goodbye and began making his way back to the train station. Now it was her turn to watch him, the echidna who now seemed… handsome? Before the echidna was out of eyesight, he turned around and waved. Amy happily waved back.

The pink hedgehog slowly made her way back to her apartment. It had only been five minutes since Knuckles had left. She felt something shake inside her jacket's pocket. It was her black cell phone which she had put on silence because of her lunch with Knuckles. Wondering who it was she opened the message.

From: Knuckles

14:12 pm – Tuesday, December 5

-When you come by, "Make sure you keep those gloves on"!


A short Knuckles x Amy story. There's little romance, but I like it that way.

I think I haven't mastered Knuckles's personality in this story though. He seems a little...different. Suggestions would be appreciated!

All characters (c) SEGA