It seemed unreal to the blue hedgehog.

After months and months of going after the Metorex, undoing all the damage they had done to the universe, keeping themselves alive just barely, they were going home.

Home. A strange word. For about three years, Sonic hadn't really been home, on his planet, for more than about six months. He blinked in surprise at this simple calculation that he had never really thought about. Home. It seemed like such a foreign term, right about now. Would he even remember it when he did arrive safe and sound to his home? And when would they even get home? In another six months?

"Hey, Tails?" The hedgehog turned to the two-tailed kitsune nearby, trying not to lower his ears at the sight of his little brother; his brother who wasn't so young anymore. Slowly, the fox turned towards his brother, his face stoic, trying to hide emotion, but Sonic could read the fox from his eyes, and the hedgehog smiled sadly at him as he asked, "How long will it take to get back home?"

At this, the kitsune merely shrugged, and turned back to staring out into the current galaxy, thinking of Cosmo, no doubt. Sonic sighed. He hated seeing his little brother so hurt, so emotionally spent, and not being able to do anything. He wanted to tell him that everything would be okay, that there was a plan behind Cosmo's death, that at least by her dying they had saved thousands, maybe even millions.

But like that mattered to Tails.

Again, the blue hedgehog sighed, and he turned and started heading towards his room. He was tired of all the gloom on the main floor. Gloom that was expected and not rejected, but gloom the blue hedgehog couldn't emotionally participate in. He wasn't one for admitting exhaustion, but really, he didn't know how much more he could take, physically or emotionally. The Metorex had pushed him-as well as the rest of the Team- to the absolute limit.

The rest of the Team. As the one in charge, Sonic couldn't help but think of each Team member individually, just to make sure that he could have time with himself and nap in his room, knowing that the others were all at least stable. Thinking first of Knuckles, the blue hedgehog immediately checked him off his list. Even if the echidna was suffering from some sort of emotional trauma (which, Sonic had to admit, was very unlikely), he had Rouge nearby. He'd live. Next came Cream, and after some hesitation, the hedgehog checked her off as well, thinking that she could always go to Amy or maybe even Tails, who Sonic only managed to check off because, first off, he knew Cream was available to help, and second off, because he knew that even as a brother, he couldn't do anything for the fox except allow him to battle his inner emotions.

And then came Amy; the source of optimism for the team, the outlet for those in need. He smiled at the thought, glad to know that since Amy had emotions, she might also be able to help Tails.

He snapped his fingers suddenly, a broad yet weary grin appearing on his face. That was it. Maybe if he couldn't help his brother, Amy could. She had always been the motherly type. The harsh, "obey-me-or-feel-the-wrath-of-my-hammer" type mother, but still always listening with an open ear.

Now, to locate her.

The blue hedgehog stopped mid-stride in front of his bedroom door, groaning to himself softly as his brain slowly connected that no, he didn't have time for a short nap right now if he had a plan to help his little buddy. First, he had to find Amy, make sure she was willing, and then, maybe, he could rest. But even then, he could never be sure.

Amy. As he began searching for her, his mind suddenly went over all the things that had happened over the last year with himself and Amy Rose, the pink hedgehog that sent Sonic's heart and mind on spin mode. He bit his lip at the thought, wishing that he could just figure out what was up with the girl, why his heart always sped up at the mere sight of her, why he was having harder time these days getting her out of his mind. Maybe it was because she was admirable, and not just in looks. She was brave, honest, cute, funny…

The blue hedgehog did a double take. Whoa. Had he just thought all that, about Amy? Blushing for an unknown reason, the hedgehog shook his head, pleading his heart to corporate, just for once, so that when he reached Amy he could speak nonchalantly to her and politely ask for her assistance with Tails, without his heart going at the speed of sound. It was a crazy feeling, when his heart did that, and he wasn't sure if it was healthy or not. Maybe he could talk to a doctor about it later, when they got back home.

Stopping suddenly, the hedgehog smiled upon seeing Amy, leaning on the Blue Typhoon's balcony. She looked so natural there, her spines reflecting quietly off of the stars up above. Sonic smiled. She looked pretty tonight.

"Amy?" Whirling around in confusion, the pink hedgehog gasped upon seeing Sonic, not too far away, watching her and smiling at her. Wearily, she smiled back, ignoring the fact that he was walking closer to her as she turned back to the evening in front of her.

"Hey," she murmured softly, keeping herself calm, knowing that's what Sonic seemed to appreciate. She twirled her spines with her fingers nervously for a second, vaguely wondering what it would be like to have Sonic holding that same hand, to have Sonic fiddling with her spines instead of her fiddling with them. She blushed at the thought, and then sighed sadly, making sure to keep her face facing the opposite side of Sonic's vantage point, so that he wouldn't notice her silent tears as they slowly formed.

"Nice night out, huh?" Sighing in fake happiness, the male hedgehog leaned on the balcony as well, gazing into the night sky, pondering its beauty. Looking towards Amy, he blinked in surprise at not seeing her blushing face staring at his, but rather, staring in the opposite direction.

"Ya okay, Ames?" he questioned, and he watched in confusion as Amy slowly shook her head, her shoulders trembling. Apparently Amy couldn't be checked off his list, but the thought never aroused in his mind as he gently tugged at her shoulder, beckoning her to look at him and talk, for he hated seeing the rose cry.

But rather than turn to him, smiling and laughing saying that yes, she was actually just fine and dandy, thank you, Amy merely shrugged his hand off of her shoulder, and walked to the other side of the balcony.

Confused, now more than ever, Sonic gazed at the girl sadly, wondering for the first time if maybe Cosmo's death had affected her too.

"It's 'bout Cosmo, isn't it?" he voiced for her, and he was relieved to see her nod slightly. He slowly walked over towards her, standing once again beside her, ignoring his heart's protests as it started beating faster, for what seemed like no apparent reason. Staring at her forlornly, he put a reassuring hand on her shoulder, a bit surprised that he had broken the physical boundaries before Amy had. He blushed slightly, before saying,

"We all hurt, Ames. And we'll all miss her." Amy sighed beside him, and finally turned to Sonic, tears pouring from her eyes, and Sonic inhaled sharply, pity etching at his soul. First Tails' break-down, now Amy's. He couldn't take much more of this.

"It's not just her," the pink hedgehog spoke softly. "Although she is a lot of the reason, yes." Turning back to the night sky, Amy sniffled sadly. "We've gone through so much this past year. Cosmo's death being the hardest for all of us. But…" a small sob escaped Amy, and she turned and wrapped her arms around the stunned hedgehog, who awkwardly hugged her back, for he wasn't used to physical contact beyond her death hugs, which, actually, while he was thinking about it, he hadn't experienced a lot of recently. Wishing to be more helpful, the blue hedgehog squeezed her reassuringly, knowing in the back of his mind that if Amy was thinking romantically she'd be blushing up a storm. But instead, she just continued crying in his arms, her sobs increasing, and though his chest quickly became damp, Sonic found that he didn't mind it, that holding Amy in his arms really wasn't that bad. Cautiously, he began stroking her back as well, hoping to soothe the weeping rose.

"Hey…" he spoke softly, lifting her face up from his chest with a finger after a few minutes of crying and hugging. He smiled down at her sadly. "It's alright. I understand. We're all emotionally spent. Some sleep might do ya good." Before he knew what he was doing, he lovingly caressed her cheek, telling himself that he was only helping, that Amy wouldn't notice it, but he blushed all the same. A small smile appeared on Amy's muzzle, as did a blush, and she backed out of Sonic's strong arms reluctantly, telling herself not to dwell on the warmth on her cheek produced by Sonic's hand.

"You're right," she managed to whisper, and she sniffled one last time. "I should get some sleep."

"I was about to myself," the blue hedgehog admitted, surprising not only himself but Amy at his open statement. Sonic looked away. "Well, I mean it's been a real long past few days, and well…my brain could use a recharge."

"I know," Amy answered, and Sonic turned back to her. Noticing a lone tear on her rosy cheek, the hedgehog impulsively reached out to wipe it away, again surprising both of them, and he about dropped his hand back down to his side, but again, his hand was captivated. The pink hedgehog sighed, enjoying all this sudden attention.

"Oh, Sonic…" she whispered. "Why'd she have to die?" Again, she managed to wiggle into his arms, and she was glad when Sonic didn't refuse to start rubbing her back again. His hands felt so soothing against her back; she felt calm and relaxed when in his gentle embrace.

"I don't know," Sonic replied quietly, resting his head on Amy's, realizing that he was a taller than her to be able to do so. "None of us know why she had to die. Heck, I would've taken her place any day." Immediately, Amy's head snapped up, a passionate look in her eyes as she said,

"Sonic the Hedgehog, don't say that!"

"But wouldn't we all have?" Sonic wondered, noting her look, so he pulled her closer to himself yet again.

"Sure, yes, but…Sonic, you mean too much to me. To all of us. Tails would probably be worse off if you had died."

Sonic sighed. Amy did have a point, and his heart beat even faster as he remembered her sentence.

'You mean too much to me.'

"Amy, I…I don't wanna get into emotions and what-if's," he replied back tiredly. "I'd really like…a break, from all that."

"Then why aren't you napping yourself, right now?" Amy asked him, her question a little bitter, and Sonic sensed the conversation shifting slightly. To them. "Why are you here, right now, dealing with me and my tears instead of snoring away and going back to the easy days?" The blue hedgehog shifted uncomfortably.

"I mean, it's not like you care," Amy continued angrily. "In fact, you probably thought I was doing just fine, didn't you? Bet you just happened to run into me, huh?"


"Why do you mess with my heart so much, Sonic?" Amy snapped, tears again appearing. "Why do you come and save the day for me, than ignore me, than suddenly load attention onto me? It's not fair! It's just not fair!"

"I'm sorry!" Sonic cried, his ears down. "I just…Ames, I…I don't know what I think of you," he admitted honestly. Amy huffed angrily, but let him continue. "I mean, when I'm near you, my heart goes all crazy, an' I find it harder to keep cool, but I don't know what any of it means, Ames. I just don't know." Amy blinked, confused by this…somewhat, confession.

"But…" Her voice sounded unbelieving. "Then…you care? About me?"

The blue hedgehog shifted uncomfortably, trying to avoid her gaze, but somehow was entranced by her jade eyes, which stared into his.

"Amy…I'm tired," he replied, sounding venerable, wishing he could maybe just say, "Sure, yeah, there's something there," but for some reason his aching forehead couldn't stimulate the words, and he leaned his head against hers, surprising the pink hedgehog. Closing his eyes wearily, the blue hedgehog was aware of Amy's warm breath on his lips, and he blushed, suddenly wanting that same breath closer, and semiconsciously he leaned closer, until suddenly her lips were brushing against his.

But that's as far as it went, for just as suddenly as Sonic had started leaning closer, the blue hedgehog pulled away, surprised by his actions, and he stared at Amy with confusion, even some fear, and he pulled away from her warmth, before rushing off towards the safety of his room.

Amy, shocked and a bit miffed from having been this close from getting her first kiss, sighed, exasperated, but she smiled as she listened to Sonic rush off, giggled as she found herself as a heap on the balcony floor, touching her lips which Sonic's own had brushed only seconds earlier.

So close. Yet so far.

Almost. Almost a kiss. Almost a confession. And the pink hedgehog smiled dumbly, unaware that Sonic, who sat comfortably on his bed in his room, was also smiling dumbly, wondering why the feel of Amy's lips so close to his was that remarkable.

So yeah…I decided to redo "Almost". Because I felt like it. Thanks for reading!