[A/N]

It's been a while.

Long time no see, folks. It is I, the wondrous, fairly slow and tired Tai!

So, I've been gone for a whole long time, a judging for your comments, a lot of you have been waiting for this next part.

Well, here it is!

Just so you all know: I've been gone for so long mainly because of personal life reasons, but also because I've been editing the rest of this story.

So, this means I have gone back and fixed a lot of the previous chapters. Some sections have been lightly touched, others entirely re-written.

I'm afraid it would be best to re-read this story (so shameless ^^), but not yet!

The newer revised pieces will begin popping up in the next few weeks.

I haven't changed too much, but I'd like to say the writing is a whole lot better.

As always: send me your reviews, reservations, death-threats, obituaries, love letters, and etc.

So glad to be back!

Tai~


ACT THREE: You can't run from the truth, Sonic

PART 1:

SCENE 1: AMY

It was nearly dawn when Sonic finally stumbled into Amy's room, half-asleep and swaying on his feet. They'd been through hell and back (defeating an entire egg fleet was no simple feat!), but he'd insisted on getting Amy into a real bed. On the other hand, most of the gang hadn't bothered to move much past the living room. Sonic walked slowly, careful not to jar her knee, which had only recently been stitched back together by a tired ER surgeon. He pulled the covers back and then set her down on the bed. By some miracle, he managed to slip her shoes off without waking her. He slid Silver's sweater off her arms and then pulled the covers back over her. Sonic stared at her for a moment and then, without really realizing it, he leaned over her and patted her forehead. He turned and started to leave, rubbing his eyes.

Sleep at last.

Sonic had hardly reached the door when Amy suddenly jerked awake, expecting to find him right beside her. Her hands found empty air and she panicked. Scrambling out of bed, she shrieked Sonic's name at the top of her lungs. Her feet touched the ground, but instead of launching herself into a run, her face twisted in agony and she crumpled. Sonic caught her, swiftly pulling her off her feet. Carefully, he sat her on the bed and then plopped down next to her.

"Calm down." he managed to say as she burst into tears, "You're supposed to stay off your knee!"

It was enough to quell her panic, but not enough to stop her from bawling.

"Please don't leave me!" She sobbed, "He'll come back!"

Sonic suppressed a sigh. He really wanted to sleep.

"I'll protect you, remember?" he told her, trying not to yawn.

She sniffed, "Yes...but..."

"Nightmares?" he asked, blinking.

She nodded, reaching out and grabbing his shirt tightly, "Please don't leave me here."

"I'll be in my room, alright?" he told her, "I won't be leav-"

She shook her head, her grip tightening. In a small voice punctuated by sobs, she begged him to stay. He made the mistake of looking down at her, catching her bright green eyes, filled to the brim with tears.

Sonic sighed in defeat.

"Just for tonight." he finally said.

"Really?" she asked, eyes growing wide, "You'll stay with me?"

He nodded, repeating, "Just for tonight. Only for tonight. "

She smiled relief clear in her eyes, "Thank you, Sonic!"

She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly, "Thankyouthankyouthank-"

"Can't...breathe- Amy!" he sputtered.

Amy jumped away, eyes wide with horror, "I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to hurt you!"

"It's okay," he told her quickly, rubbing his neck, "Let's just try and get some sleep, huh?"

She nodded, climbing back into the bed.

Sonic pulled the covers back over her, "Sleep tight, k?"

She nodded again, frowning.

"And don't let the bed bugs bite." He said, finally earning a small smile from Amy.

"Goodnight, Sonic." she said softly, closing her eyes.

He tried not to smile, pulling a blanket from the end of her bed and tossing it to the ground. He waited until her breathing had slowed before he finally relaxed. It took a moment to find a comfortable position and then all he had left were his thoughts.

Why had he agreed so easily?

Sonic drifted into an uneasy sleep, afraid to discover the answer to such a deceivingly simple question.

SCENE 2: SONIC

It turned out that sleeping on the floor in Amy's room was ten times more comfortable than a slab of freezing concrete.

By far.

SCENE 3: SONIC

The air was oddly cool for a summer morning (was it even morning anymore?), my blankets far too thin to provide any decent warmth. But I wasn't cold, not with another warm body sprawled over my own. I yawned, wondering exactly how I'd come to be on the floor with another girl- I suddenly jerked awake, panicking. There was no way I could have done it!

Or would have done it! I'd sworn off drinking, it was impossible-

"Sonic," Amy sighed softly in my ear, "Stop moving…"

I nearly had a heart attack, turning my head and realizing that it was her – until I realized that we were both very much dressed and she was very much asleep.

I sighed in relief.

No hang-over.

Nothing had happened.

Nothing at all.

Remembering the events of the night before, I came to the conclusion that Amy had probably gotten scared sometime in the middle of the night…or afternoon, from the looks of the sun in the window. I sighed. It was bad enough that I'd slept in her room.

And now we were sleeping together.

In the same bed.

There was no way I could encourage that. My track record with Amy already sucked; the last thing I needed was for her to get obsessive all over again. Not to mention that Shadow would murder me if I decided to touchy-feely-lets-cuddle-up-together with his kid sister. And besides that…I really didn't like Amy like that…and hurting her again didn't really sound like a great plan to me. I tried to slip out from under her, but her arms were around my neck in a death grip.

Didn't look like I'd be getting away from her.

Her grip stayed solid, even when I tried to pry her hands away. I sighed. This girl would be the death of me.

Well…at least she smelled nice...

The next thing I knew, the sun was rising again. I yawned, realizing that I'd spend an entire day and night sleeping on Amy's floor. Stupid Tails, insisting that we replace the carpets in our stupid house with hardwood floors. I groaned, wincing as I sat up. Great, I was sore all over. Half of it was probably from the mess of yesterday too. And Amy would probably be worse and I'd have to hear all about it.

Wonderful.

At some point it occurred to me that Amy was no longer next to me. Or even in the room.

I leaped to my feet, freaking out. It took a moment to figure out that she wasn't in the bathroom, or in the hallway. Ten seconds more and I knew she wasn't in any of the other bedrooms. Tails was in his bed, Knuckles was on the couch. Blaze and Silver had probably already hit the road, but that wasn't important. I ran into the living room, shouting Amy's name. I burst into the kitchen, running point blank into her. She stumbled back, eyes wide and surprised, a plate in her hands going flying. Before my frazzled brain could even figure out why she was doing anything out of bed, I'd looped an arm around her waist, catching her, the plate, and the pancakes that had gone flying.

Might sound a little impossible, but moving at the speed of sound makes a whole lot of things possible.

Ten seconds later, I set Amy back on her feet and the plate back on the counter. And realized that the kitchen was actually clean. Now, Tails and I weren't incredibly messy, compared to Knuckles at least, but…still, the house was pretty bad. I couldn't even remember the last time I'd seen the counter. Or even the sink.

But it was actually clean.

Spotless even. And Good God! somebody had swept! I looked at Amy, astonished. She blushed; hardly looking like the half-drowned, beat up girl who'd been through hell and back only the night before. In fact, aside from a couple bruises on her arms, and one on her cheek, she looked fine. Amy smiled, face still pink, and then I noticed her bright pink dress that actually looked…well, sorta cute.

Mentally, I kicked myself. She was not cute; let me repeat, Notcutenotcutenotcutenotcute-

"Look what I did, Sonic!" Amy said, taking my hand and dragging me into the dining room.

I gaped, staring at the dining room. It had been cleared of Tails' schoolwork-projects-manga/comicbooks-remnents-of-random-food-stuff. I could actually see the table, and the floor for that matter. More surprising, though, was the entire feast that had been laid out. Any kind of breakfast I could think of was there, including my non-breakfast favorites. Where had we gotten enough food for this?

"You cooked all this?" I blinked, turning to stare at Amy.

She blushed, "I wasn't sure what you liked...so I cooked everything I could think of!"

"Woah," Tails breathed behind us, "Amazing!"

He walked past us, hair disheveled, and sat himself sat the head of the table. Knuckles followed not more than a moment later, nose in the air as though he was following the scent of food.

Weird Guardian...

Amy ducked into the kitchen, reappearing a moment later with the plate of pancakes. I noticed that she was half-hoping, half limping, but definitely wincing.

"You're not supposed to be out of bed, Amy." I rounded on her, arms crossed.

She looked up at me, confused, "I feel fine, Sonic."

"You don't look fine," I said, "You don't have to cook for us, you know."

Her smiled faded, shoulders drooping, "You mean…you don't want me to cook?"

"Uh, no, I didn't-"

"I didn't mean to make you upset," she said, quietly, "I thought...I thought you might be happy..."

She sounded close to tears. I panicked.

"Hey, it's alright!" I sputtered, "I'm not mad- I just, you got hurt and-"

"You're not mad?" she sniffed, rubbing one eye.

"No, Ames, I'm not. Not at all."

"Oh." her voice sounded pretty small.

It wasn't hard to tell that she didn't believe me.

"I think it's pretty cool that you cooked all this...for us, really, Amy." I said, my face growing redder than a Christmas light.

I could hear Knuckles snickering, but I ignored him. Amy suddenly smiled, wiping her tears away. She gave me that wordless beam and I could feel my cheeks getting a whole lot warmer.

"Come on you two," Knuckles groaned, "I'm hungry!"

SCENE FOUR: SONIC

I'd never really eaten much of Amy's cooking before that point. There was the occasional cookie or slice o' pie, but I'd always run away from her before she managed to ever really give me anything. But it turned out, that even after all she'd been through, Amy really knew how to cook. According to the guys, Amy had only gotten better since her accident. But what I liked best was that Knuckles was so busy stuffing his face every time he stopped by the house that he never remembered to get his free dinner. Which was fine by me. Saved my pocket.

The only problem: Besides cooking, Amy had decided to begin an epic cleaning campaign that more or less included the entire house/workshop that Tails and I called home.

The only way to save ourselves from annihilation and loosing half out things (some people actually like a little mess) was to bribe her with enough ice cream and free movies. Which didn't really work. Amy insisted that she finish the living room and hall, but still managed to get a whole lot ice cream and movies and money out of me.

But really, the worst part of having Amy live with us: I didn't mind. At all.

At first I'd kept an eye on her because I'd promised Shadow I would…and maybe because I was a little more than guilty. But after a while it all stopped mattering. The only important thing to me was keeping Amy from turning back into the confused mess I'd first seen her in. As long as she smiled, it was alright. If I didn't have time to go running, or if I slept on the floor in her room, it was all worth Amy being happy. How weird that Amy being happy actually made me happy? It wasn't hard to tell that Tails was baffled by the sudden change; he'd given me enough weird looks to get the message across.

But to be honest, it made two of us.

I was just as confused.

And Knuckles never really noticed. He was always too busy stuffing his face with something to ever really care.

SCENE FIVE: AMY

Living with Sonic was worlds away from living with Shadow or even with Rouge. Shadow and Rouge were organized, well, it was really Shadow. He had meals and days and everything planned out. He was quick, precise, and always to the point. He always seemed to have a plan and know what to do, even if all he was doing was spending time with Rouge, or trying to teach Amy everything she need to know about the world all over again.

Sonic?

He was messy, unorganized, every where and anywhere. There was no schedule, nothing to do, no pattern. They never did the same things (unless it was eating at Sonic's favorite chilidog stand). They stayed up late watching movies, ate whatever they wanted, did whatever they wanted.

It was like anarchy to Amy, who sometimes suspected she'd once lived a very scheduled life. But she couldn't remember and Sonic was never one to dwell on the past. He'd tolerated a good couple days of questions from her, but at a certain point he'd looked at her at said, "Ames, if you keep worrying about what's already past you, you're going to trip and mess up what's in front of you." That was as philosophical as he ever got.

Tails, on the other hand, had taken a sudden interest to her. Sonic said he was just playing at being her psychologist, but Amy wasn't sure she minded the attention. At least Tails answered her questions with real explanations. He'd even solved her dilemma with her piko-piko hammer. Apparently, her weapon corresponded with her emotions. When she was confident or happy or believing in herself, it was easy to manipulate it, but when she was unsure or scared, it wouldn't work. Not much of an explanation as to why it did that, but it let her continue her training.

Another difference between Sonic and Shadow: Shadow gave her homework.

It came in the form of him pulling a couple of favors and having Knuckles agree to tutor her every morning in what he liked to call the art of kick-butt. The original title had contained a curse word, but he'd so kindly refrained from cursing or any type of complaining when she'd threatened to stop cooking goodies for him. Everybody was happy with the arrangement, except Sonic. It seemed that he was allergic to anything resembling a schedule and constantly forgot that Amy was supposed to train every morning from 8 sharp until 10.

Which was funny, because he always went running about that time. One would think that he would remember something.

"Amy, your ice cream is melting." Amy looked up, realizing she'd been lost in thought.

Currently, she was out on an ice cream run with Sonic. This meant getting cones from the best place in Station Square and then hightailing it to the top of bridge that stretched across the Emerald Cost and Golden bay. For Amy, it was strange to watch cars pass hundreds of feet below them and not be afraid of falling. Sonic said it was one of his most Favorite places in the Whole Wide World, but Amy wasn't so sure about all the wind.

"Amy?" "Yes?" she asked, looking up.

Sonic looked slightly concerned, his sugar cone half eaten in one hand.

"You keep spacing out on me," he said, reaching a hand out to feel her forehead, "Are you feeling alright? Is something wrong?"

Knuckles often called it sonic-pretending-to-be-your-mom and laughed hysterically every time he saw Sonic do anything nice. Amy had eventually come to the conclusion that she and Sonic had once had a much different relationship before, but nobody, not even Tails, would explain it to her.

"I'm okay." Amy said softly, focusing on her cone. "Are you sure?"

he asked, raising one eyebrow, "You look tired. More nightmares?"

She nodded. For the first several nights her nightmares had all but disappeared. Sonic had even begun sleeping in his own room again. But then they had come back with a force. Amy tried to sleep alone, but sometimes when they got really bad, she'd sneak into Sonic's room and slip beneath the sheets with him. It had freaked him out the first several times she'd done it, but he'd eventually said it was alright and let her. Still she tried not to do it, even when Sonic insisted that it really wasn't a problem. He was really nice to her like that. She could tell he cared about her and it made her feel much better about Shadow being gone. As it was, Shadow would be coming home by the end of that week. Sonic had insisted that it was all the more a good reason to party while they still could.

"Ready to roll?" he asked between bites, "I promised Tails that I wouldn't keep you out all day. Said he wanted to ask you about something."

She nodded, but didn't say anything. It took a couple bites to finish the last of her cone and then Sonic picked her up. He took a moment to adjust her in his arms, her head coming to rest right where she guessed his heart would be. Amy sighed, already drowsy. Something about Sonic holding her like that made her feel more safe than she could ever remember feeling. It was like the moment his arms when around her, everything was safe and alright and she just knew that Sonic would protect her. She wondered, as she drifted to sleep with the wind rushing past her face and Sonic's heart beat in her ear, why she felt like that. Just what sort of relationship had she shared with Sonic before she'd forgotten everything?

And why wouldn't anyone tell her about it?

SCENE SIX: AMY

"Ames, come on, you fell asleep again?"

They must had stopped, because she couldn't feel the wind anymore.

"I'm not asleep..." she mumbled, opening her eyes.

She yawned as Sonic set her on her feet, his hands steadying her. Amy rubbed her eyes, looking up at him.

"Are we home?" she asked with another yawn.

"Course we are, dork-head."

He rolled his eyes, flicking her forehead lightly.

"I'm not a dork-head!" she protested, swatting his hand away.

"Course you are," he teased with a good-natured grin, "Who else would run around wearing so much pink?"

She blushed, "Well…I like pink and I didn't realize I didn't have time to get anything else because it's not my fault that you wanted to leave so soon."

"That make you a dork-head" Sonic grinned, "You should have planned again."

"Well, I'm not the one with blue hair." Amy stuck her tongue at him, turning on her heels and walking toward the house.

"Psh," Sonic said, close behind her, "I was born with blue hair."

"Of course you were."

"It's true!" Tails called from his workroom down the hall.

How he'd heard their conversation over the racket of his power tools, neither could guess.

"You're still a dork-head."

Amy frowned.

"Nu-uh," Sonic grinned, "I don't act like a dork-head."

"You've got blue hair. That's pretty dorky all by itself." Amy said.

"I've always had blue hair. It makes me a whole lot cooler."

"Still dorky."

"It's true!" Tails called.

Sonic ignored his younger brother, "If I'm such a dork-head, then how come you have pink hair, huh?"

"But I've always had pink hair…" Amy frowned.

"You can't call me a dork-head, cuz you're hair it just as weird as mine." Sonic grinned.

Amy was silent for a moment.

"Or we're both dork-heads?" she said, tapping her chin in thought.

Sonic shook his head, "No way. You're the dork-head, cuz I'm way too cool."

"That's not very nice, Sonic."

Amy frowned.

"I'm just teasin ya, Amy." Sonic said with his infectious smile and she tousled her hair.

They stepped into the living room and found Knuckles there waiting for them. Beside him was a plate heaped with cookies, cake, and the left-overs from dinner the night before.

"If you're not careful, you're gonna put on some serious weight, Knuckles." Sonic said, plopping down next to him and snatching a cookie.

Knuckles rolled his eyes, "How come you aren't obese?"

"I run," Sonic said, "A lot more than you do."

"It's true!" Tails called from the garage.

There was an awkward moment of silence.

Knuckles wiped his mouth on the back of his hand and stood, "Anyway, I came to train with Amy."

"But it's hot outside." Amy protested.

"Well, when it was cool out, you were busy running around with your boyfriend." Knuckles said, taking another bite of his cake.

Sonic turned bright red.

"I'm not her-"

"It's true!" Tails called.

"What the hell is up with him?" Sonic snarled, throwing his hands up in frustration and shooting out of the room,"Tails-!"

Knuckles chuckled, "Such an idiot."

"What's a boyfriend, Knuckles?" Amy asked innocently.

He blinked, "Are you serious?"

Amy looked embarrassed, "Well, I...Can you tell me?"

"Well," Knuckles said, giving her a serious look, "A boyfriend is a guy that is manly, who doesn't cook or clean, and has a pretty chic to look after him."

Amy blinked.

"Like you?" she asked.

Knuckles flushed bright red, "No. Not like me. A boyfriend has to be in love with a girl."

Her eyes widened, "Really?"

Knuckles nodded solemnly.

Amy held her hand up, ticking off the fingers, "Sonic doesn't cook. He doesn't clean...He's pretty...manly...I guess..."

She looked up, "Knuckles, am I pretty?"

He shrugged, "Sure."

She blinked, "Is Sonic in love with me?"

He shrugged again, "He'd like to tell himself otherwise."

"I don't understand...He doesn't want me to clean for him, so he couldn't..." Amy frowned.

Knuckles burst in laughter.

Oh, being mean to the amnesiac was so much funnier than it should have been.

Amy just stared at him, confused.

"Knuckles, I don't get it." She said, frowning.

He shrugged, "Ask Sonic later, we've got to train."

And he walked outside, feeling pretty satisfied.

Now if only he could find a way to record those two somehow…

SCENE SEVEN: AMY

The next day, they went to buy supplies for the beach trip that had been planned for the following day. Amy followed Sonic down the store aisles as he pulled random things off shelves and deposited them in the basket she carried.

"Don't forget sunscreen, Sonic." Amy reminded him.

He snapped his fingers, "Right. Wait here a sec."

Sonic disappeared, leaving Amy to stare at various brands of cookies lining the isle wall. Her mind quickly wandered off to another subject. Right after her training was finished the day before, Sonic had shown up and taken her to the park. It didn't feel like anything had changed at all. But Amy felt different on the inside.

Was Sonic really in love with her? Why did boyfriends not cook? Did that mean Sonic was her boyfriend? Why didn't he tell her? Was she supposed to know?

"Ames?" Sonic asked his face suddenly inches from her face.

She shrieked in surprise and nearly dropped her basket.

Sonic usually laughed at her, but his face stayed serious.

"Amy, are you sure there isn't anything you wanna...talk about?" he asked awkwardly.

Another thing she'd come to realize: Sonic wasn't very good with all the emotionally stuff. But he was trying for her sake and she appreciated it more than he could understand.

She shrugged, "I guess...It's nothing important..."

"Oh, alright," Sonic said looking slightly relived, "You can still tell me. Even if it is somethin small."

Together, they walked toward the checkout, where Sonic paid for their things. It took several minutes to run the groceries home, but then he popped back and took her out for lunch.

It wasn't until they were waiting for food at their table that Amy finally managed to open her mouth and blurt it out, "tcookorcleanandyou'dliketotellyourselfthatyou'renotinlovewithmeandIdon'tunderstandbutKnuckleswouldn'tknow-"

Sonic choked on his soda, "What?"

SCENE EIGHT:SONIC

"So, Knux said all that?" I asked, eyebrows raised.

Amy nodded, "But I don't really understand. You don't want me to clean...and how am I supposed to know if you love me or not?"

It seemed like my face was going to catch on fire today, judging from how hot it was.

"Hold the phone, Amy," I told her, "Knuckles is just talking through his butt. I like you Amy, but not…like that…I don't really love anybody like that, alright? Love is gross and waaay over-rated."

Amy blinked, trying to work it all out in her head. It wasn't that losing her memory had made her stupid or anything, even though it seemed like it sometimes. Amy was ditzy and confused, but stupid she was not. Hardly.

"You don't love me?" she said.

"No. We're good friends, Amy, but not more." I said as evenly as possible, praying she wouldn't get angry and try to kill me.

"Okay," she said, seeming slightly relieved, "I was worried I might have to kiss you or something."

I couldn't help laughing, "Jeez, you look like somebody just save your life."

She blushed, but continued with her questions, "So what's a boyfriend, then? And why is love over-rated?"

I sighed.

There was no getting out of it. Amy and I had talked about a lot of things, even her old life a bit, but love was an issue that I wanted to avoid. Like the devil. Seriously.

"Has Shadow talked to you about this?" I asked.

She picked at her food, chasing a meatball around her plate.

"Not much. I asked a couple times and then he said I should focus on more important things."

"Maybe you should do that." I suggested cheerfully.

Amy frowned, "But Sonic, nobody will tell me the truth."

I opened my mouth, but she cut me off.

"Knuckles lied to me, Shadow avoids it whenever I ask him, Rouge says I'm better off without love, Tails says he shouldn't tell me, and you don't even want to talk about it!" Amy said, glaring at her plate, "What are you all hiding from me?"

She had that tone in her voice that meant she was very close to tears, "Sonic, you're the only person who tell me anything. You're the only one who won't lie to me. What can't I know? And why?"

Jeez. Leave it to Amy to guilt me into the last thing I ever wanted to talk about.

I sighed, "It's not about what it is, Amy. It's about you're history and how you've dealt with it."

She looked up at me, completely serious. To be honest, Amy was scary. One moment she was bubby and cute (business mode, Sonic!), the sort of girl who cries for squirrels and other animals that are generally too stupid to avoid roads and cars. Sometimes her more vulnerable, needy side peeked out, like when she had a nightmare. It wasn't hard to deal with a girl like that. But every now and then, her temper exploded out of her, along with her huge piko-piko hammer that she could demolish walls with. There was only a single warning she gave before getting angry, the sort of look that said if-you-mess-with-me-I'll-kick-your-face-in-no-questions-asked, and I realized, as I sat right across from her, that look was written all over her face.

I gulped.

"I think I can follow, Sonic." She said, voice low, face like a stone.

It was my turn to pick at my plate. Panic sang in my head, clouding my thoughts.

Awkward, awkward, awkward, this girl is going to kill me…

"Not right here," I finally managed to say, "When we're done eating, alright?"

"Really?" Amy asked, eye growing bright.

I sighed, but nodded anyway.

Amy smiled, not a victorious sort of in-your-face grin, but a smile with so much relief in it that it scared me. How long had this been bothering Amy?

"Thanks, Sonic." She said, softly.

I met her eyes and quickly look away. She had that glittering sort of dazed look in her eyes.

And it made me feel terrible.

There was no way I'd ever tell her the complete truth. Not in ten billion light years.

But…if I edged around it carefully enough, maybe she'd never know it was me, would she?

My attention was quickly diverted, by the sounds of clinking silverware. Amy was shoveling food into her mouth, eating like there was no tomorrow. I watched, shocked, she look almost like a boy.

Well…a boy in a dress, but still.

Only guys could eat like that.

I swear, all the girls I'd ever seen eating, even when they were hungry as hell and biscuits, had this dainty sort of way to eat.

But not Amy in a hurry.

Oh, boy, no.

Amy slammed her fork down, grabbing her lemonade and chugging it. Afterward, she paused and picked up a napkin. She wiped her mouth in that dainty sort of girly way and informed me politely that she was done. My plate was half done.

"Come on," Amy sighed, "A sloth could eat faster than you!"

I rolled my eyes, eating at a pace that was slow enough to bother anybody.

My mind was racing. She wasn't going to make it very easy on me.

What on earth was I going to say?

All too soon, though, I found myself leaving the restaurant with Amy. She had a bounce to her walk that I hadn't seen in days, smiling and looking excited. It only served to make me feel worse.

If I told her the truth, I'd never see that smile again.

And as much as I wanted to say that I didn't care…I did.

I did want to see her smile again. But it wasn't like I'd tell her that. Not ever.

Pretty soon, we were moving. I was running, she was in my arms, half asleep. She had a weird way of doing that every time I carried her. Even if we happened to be moving at, like, the speed of freaking sound.

"Sonic?" Amy asked, yawning, "Where're we going?"

"You'll see." I told her.

We ended up in a clearing in the middle of a forest. I wasn't much of a nature guy, but I knew how to appreciate landscape. And there couldn't be a whole lot of harm in choosing a place, just because I knew Amy would love the wild flowers that had pretty much taken over the clearing, right?

But the best part: Nobody would hear us or see us out here. Privacy.

I set Amy down and plopped myself down, laying back to watch the sky. She looked around for a while, touching a few flowers and smiling.

Score for Sonic.

Eventually, she yawned and curled up next to me. Somehow, her hand found mine. I knew she didn't mean it in the way I'd always assumed, but I still shifted and slipped out of her grip. We were already way too close.

How could I encourage anything more?

SCENE NINE: AMY

It was quiet in the clearing. Amy closed her eyes, breathing in the fresh air, feeling the sun on her face. She smiled, feeling the grass and flowers rubbing against her, listening to the birds singing. Somehow, she found herself focusing on the sound of Sonic's breath. He'd been quiet since they'd arrived, absorbed in his thoughts. He didn't even quite notice when she slipped her hand back into his. Poor Sonic, he seemed very lonely to her. She hoped that maybe, by being a good friend, she might attempt at paying him back for his kindness.

And friends held hands, right?

Well, at least sometimes…

"Sonic?" she asked softly.

"Mmmm?" His hand slipped out of hers.

Amy frowned. Why was he resisting so much? Maybe friends really didn't hold hands? She'd have to ask Tails. Maybe he would tell her. Probably not…

"Yeah, Amy?"

"You said you were going to tell me…right?" she asked, desperately hoping that he'd been telling the truth.

She believed in Sonic and she knew he would pull through. Or…she hoped.

"Oh," Sonic said, like he'd just realized that they'd spent the last half hour silent, "Sorry. Got carried away. Right, what love is."

She knew very clearly what love was. She didn't need Sonic to tell her that. But she couldn't remember the details…like what people in love did or what a boyfriend was or why people got married and she told Sonic so. Sonic sighed. It meant that he didn't really want to talk about it. But he started anyway.

"Well, you and I don't see eye to eye on "love" or really what people do. I'll just try to give both sides, alright?"

She nodded, "Okay."

"So, you're the sort of girl who loves roses and romantic dates and a happy ending. You think love is the solution to all problems and that everybody has that happy ending and all that garba- ah…well..stuff…You think people in love should get married and devote themselves to each other and yadda yadda yadda." Sonic said.

"You don't seem to like what I think." Amy frowned.

"I don't," Sonic said, voice flat, "I'm the sorta guy who doesn't want to be tied down by a girl. Love isn't all about romantic dates or a happy ending, because there is no happy ending. And it's not like marriage is the huge solution you think it is."

Amy sighed, "can you insult what I believe in when I can fight back?"

Sonic's cheeks turned red, "Right…sorry about that. What else did you need to know?"

"Boyfriends?"

"Right…so, it's like two people who love each other and go on dates together and stuff like that…but they aren't married. Some people do that instead of getting married, some people date and then later get married. Some people don't date at all. Sometimes it's a religious thing, you know, like knowing only each other. Like they have a 'marriage is sacred' sorta thing." Sonic said.

"Marriage is sacred," Amy said softly, "It's not a joke."

Sonic shrugged, "I guess I agree…but it doesn't always work out, you know. Which is why love is over-rated, because everybody things it's the best thing ever and they're all crazy about it. But sometimes it sucks, plain and simple. But people just don't see it, like you, the girl who somehow chases after the guy who broke her heart a million times, but you still love him and somehow think that love will "pull through" and there will be some freaking happy ending. Seriously, who does that?"

The last parthad slipped out of Sonic.

"Ah…well…you used to be like that…" Sonic said belatedly.

Amy was silent, staring off into the distance. She put a hand over her mouth, strange images rushing past her eyes.

Memories.

"I loved somebody?" she asked, her voice confused.

She looked at Sonic.

He had a terribly guilty look on his face, unhappiness in his eyes. She'd never seen him like that before. But Sonic held her gaze all the same and nodded.

"Why didn't anybody tell me?" she asked, tears welling up in her eyes, "Why didn't he come to see me?"

Sonic stared at the sky for a long time, "Nobody wanted to hurt you."

"Why?" Amy sat up.

"He didn't love you back," Sonic sighed, "And he was too much on an idiot to realize how much he'd hurt you until after it was too late to apologize."

He sat up, facing away from Amy.

There he'd told her and now he felt like garbage.

"Where is he?" she asked.

There was silence.

"Gone," Sonic finally said, "He left a long time ago."

Amy hugged him, crying into his back.

"I wish I'd never known." Amy sobbed quietly.

Sonic turned, putting his arms around her, "I wish I'd never told you."

She sighed, "I made you."

He couldn't bring himself to tell her that it was his fault for the entire mess that her life had become. They lapsed into a long silence. Sonic wondered if she would ever remember.

What would happen then?

"Do...you...remember anything about him?" he finally ventured, almost nervously.

Amy looked up at him. She'd been on the verge of sleep, listening to his heart beat through his shirt. But she thought very hard for his sake. She moved away from him, pulling her knees up against her chest.

"Well, not really," she said, "Sometimes I feel really funny, like I should be out chasing somebody…and now, I think I know why, Sonic. Because it's what I do, I have to follow. And there's a voice inside telling me, Amy, you've got to keep running. Even if it hurts, even if he's mean, I'll show him I care even if it kills me, because he's the only one who makes me happy…It's horrible, but at the same time, it's so nice to finally understand why I feel so lonely and so lost. Without him…it's just not the same."

There was a moment of silence before Amy continued, "I don't feel like that much around you, Sonic. You really make me happy. But it really bothered me that I didn't know…so thank you, for telling me."

She smiled, hugging him tightly, repeating her thanks. Sonic was silent, staring at the sky. His thoughts were a mess, his heart heavy with guilt.

"Have you ever been in love, Sonic?" Amy asked, wiping her tears away.

Sonic shrugged, "Yeah... Once. And she tore my heart up into a billion pieces and stomped on them."

Amy's eyes widened at his bitterness.

"I'm sorry..." she said softly.

He glanced at her, his angry eyes meeting her soft, innocent ones. He quickly looked away, forcing himself to relax. He reminded himself that he was angry at himself, not at the petite girl who sat next to him.

"It's alright," he said, "It's not your fault."

They lapsed into silence again. Amy stared at the trees, wondering if she'd ever meet her mysterious love. She wondered how he felt. Was he guilty that he'd never given her the time of day…or was he happy that she wasn't around to chase after him anymore? She wondered if she should ask Sonic who he was…did she want to know?

"Her name was Sally," Sonic finally said, interrupting her thoughts, "And we were best friends when we were kids."

Amy remained silent, still watching the trees, but listening all the while.

'We did a lot of things together...well everything, really. It sorta made sense to fall in love with her. She liked the plain old Sonic who slept in till noon and ate like a junk addict. She didn't mind that I was always off saving this person or that and she was smart and pretty and...it just felt right.'

He broke off into silence for a moment, sighing.

'We were pretty young when we decided we wanted to get…well...hitched. And we almost did," Sonic said, hardly noticing the way Amy's grip on his hand suddenly tightened, "But then Eggman had a whole grand scheme to take over the world and I nearly got killed. She couldn't handle the fear of loosing me and tried to make me promise that I'd never fight again."

He laughed, a short bitter sound, "Which was funny, because as smart as Sally was, she couldn't see that I was always going to be a hero. She couldn't understand that I wouldn't stop fighting until the very last breath was forced outta me. And she still can't see that, even five years later."

"Sonic-"

"She's getting married next month," Sonic said, "To a perfectly normal guy who doesn't live from fight to fight or dodge bullets or-"

Amy put a hand on his arm, "Sonic. It's not your fault. It's okay-"

Sonic shrugged her hand off and stood. She looked up at him, eyes wide. For a moment he blinked, realizing that stalking away probably hurt Amy more than it would help his mood. Sonic took a quick breath and held his hand out to her. He helped her up, trying his best to plaster a smile on his face.

"You know what sucks?" he said, "The fact that you're so easy to talk to. I can't keep telling you all my secrets; next thing I'll know, you'll have my social security and my bank number and probably my wallet too."

Amy giggled, still holding Sonic's hand. He suddenly realized that she wasn't going to let go of him. For half a second he panicked, but then Amy was jumping on his back and demanding a piggy-back ride. How ironic that one moment they'd been talking about love (the horror!) and then the next, Amy was laughing like a five year old. Sonic shook his head. She never ceased to amaze him.

SCENE TEN: AMY

They spent a long time in the clearing. But the sky eventually grew dark and they had to head home. To Sonic's astonishment, and Amy's delight, they found Tails with a girl. It was the girl she'd seen with Blaze on the day Metal had kidnapped her. When they walked in, Cream was sitting on the couch, watching a movie with Tails. The moment she saw Amy, however, she jumped up and ran to hug her.

"I hoped to see you!" she gushed, "I've got so much to tell you!"

"Really?" Amy replied, surprised and looking just a little flattered with Cream's attention.

The younger girl nodded and they quickly escaped to Amy's room. Sonic watched them go, shaking his head and muttering something about crazy girls.

Tails scowled at his older brother from the couch, "Thanks a lot, Sonic. You guys just had to come home and ruin the only time I've got to spend with Cream."

Sonic rolled his eyes, plopping down next to the blonde boy, "You've so got a crush on her, Tails."

His face flushed red and he replied indignantly, "I do not."

"You so do!" Sonic grinned, "It's written all over your face."

Tails crossed his arms, "Well, I'm not the one who's falling in love with a girl he's hated for the last ten years."

There was silence.

Tails looked at his older brother and paled. He'd never seen Sonic look so hurt, or so guilty, or try to hide it so badly.

"I'm not in love with her." He said, voice low. "Sonic-"

"We are friends, Tails. Friends and friends only. F-r-i-e-n-d-s, you moron." He interrupted.

But his eyes were looking toward the hall, where Amy had disappeared only minutes before. The look in his eyes said a whole lot more than just friends. Tails blinked in surprise.

Holy wrenches from heaven, Sonic was in love with Amy!

"I'm not in love with her, got it?" Sonic repeated, looking at his brother now.

"If you're not in love with her, then why are you trying so hard to convince me?" Tails asked, eyebrows raised.

Sonic rolled his eyes, "You're an idiot, Tails."

He got up and walked away, muttering something under his breath.

Yup. Sonic was head over heels for Amy. Too bad he was too much of an idiot to see it.

Tails shook his head ruefully and then turned his attention back to the girls…who had vanished. Great. He made his way to Amy's room, stopping just outside the door. They were talking loud enough for him to hear, score.

"A crush?" Amy was saying, "Does that mean-?"

"It means that…well, I like him." Cream said with a giggle.

Tails sucked in a sudden breath. Who were they talking about?

"What about him? Does he have a…crush...on you too?"

"I think so," Cream said, her voice just a little wistful, "Tails put his arm around my shoulder and said I looked nice. And he said we should get together more often."

Tails blushed, his head spinning just a little. Cream liked him too!

"What did you say after that?" Amy asked.

"Well, I said thank you," Cream said, "But that's not the point, I think Tails likes me!"

"That's really nice," Amy said, "I wish somebody liked me too."

Tails rolled his eyes. No wonder Sonic couldn't see it; Amy was just as blind.

"I'm sure somebody will like you one day," Cream said very kindly, "Maybe somebody does, but they're just too scared to tell you."

"You think so?" Amy asked. "I know so."

Tails suddenly remembered Amy's temper and figured he ought to not get caught eavesdropping. He knocked at the door and a moment later Cream opened it. They both blushed at the same time.

Amy appeared behind Cream, "Excuse me, I think I'll run to the bathroom."

She disappeared down the hall. Cream invited Tails to sit down on Amy's bed.

"Uh...I'm sorry we got...you know interrupted by them," Tails stumbled over his words, "We can always finish that movie later..."

"Of course, Tails." Cream beamed.

He blushed, but managed to smile back at her. Now if only he could just take the plunge and tell her, for the sake of all things holy and sacred. How funny that he could fight robots and aliens, run for his life, help save the world like it was something he always did (well, that was sorta true), but he couldn't tell a girl how much he liked her? Tails sighed. The injustices of life. There was suddenly a terrified shriek.

It could only be Amy.

Two seconds later there was another crash and he could hear Sonic's startled yell and then various loud curse words. Cream and Tails leaped to their feet, running towards the shouting. They found Sonic and that upstairs bathroom door. He was facing the hallway, his back to the door. Tails stopped right there, but Cream rushed in, telling the boys she'd handle it. The door shut behind her.

"What happened?" Tails asked, starting to get an inkling of what just might have happened.

Sonic threw his hands up in the air, "I don't know! She said she was bleeding, but she was half naked and-"

"She's probably on her period." Tails sighed.

"What?" Sonic sputtered.

The blonde boy rolled his eyes, "It's likely that she forgot what it was and came to the conclusion that she was dying. It hasn't been so long since her accident that it might have skipped itself, but it's likely that the cycle was delayed."

"Cycle? What the hell are you talking about?"

"Good God, Sonic," Tails said, "You don't know what that is?"

"I'm I supposed to?" Tails sighed.

Sonic was such an idiot.

"I'll explain."

It took a good couple minutes, but the look on Sonic's face afterward was priceless.

"Doesn't the blood freak them out?" he asked, the oddest look appearing on his face.

Tails shrugged, "Part of life, Sonic. God, you're such an idiot."

Sonic rolled his eyes, but then glanced toward the closed door.

"I hope she's okay." He said, his voice so low that Tails almost missed it.

The younger boy opened his mouth, but Cream suddenly appeared at the door. Sonic straightened.

"Is she alright?" he blurted out.

"I've calmed her down, but I need to grab a couple things." the younger girl said.

"I'll go with you." Tails cheerfully volunteered.

A moment later, Sonic stood outside the door alone.

"Hey, Amy." he called through the door.

"Sonic?"

"It's me. Are you okay?" he asked.

"I guess so," Amy said, "But Cream said that she would have her mother come over and explain...this...to me."

"But you're not scared or hurt, right?" he said.

"I feel a little sick," she admitted, "But Cream said that's normal."

There was a moment of silence.

"Are you alright, Sonic?" Amy asked, "You looked...freaked out."

Sonic shrugged to himself, "I'm alright, but sorry, for you know…barging in like that."

"It's okay. You were worried."

"Yeah..."

"Sonic?"

"Amy?"

"Do boys get their period?"

SCENE ELEVEN: SONIC

I watched from the window. Normally, I was not one for spying, but the look on Amy's face had really bothered me. Outside, beneath a palm tree, Vanilla and Amy sat facing each other. At first, Amy had looked interested in what Vanilla had to say, but then her eyes grew wide and she looked terrified. A range of emotions passed over her face, shock, appall, fear.

What on earth was Vanilla telling her?

"Don't worry, Sonic," Cream said behind me, "Mum will only tell her what she needs to know."

I turned away from the window, facing the girl who perched on the edge of couch. She smiled in earnest, but it didn't make me feel much better.

"Like what?" I said, "They've been out there for a long time."

"Well," Cream said, like it was nothing, "She's probably explained the menstrual cycle to Amy, but she'll probably explain sex and maybe even love. Things you probably couldn't explain to her."

I turned red. Like I would ever try to explain anything like that to her. I was saved from answering by Tails, who came in the room to collect Cream so that they could go for ice cream. By the time they'd left, Amy and Vanilla had come in.

Vanilla was the sorta woman who could have been anybody's mum. It was written all over her. Her voice, her hair, clothing, everything. A lot of guys envied Cream for still having her mum; most of us had lost our own parents one way or another.

"Sonic, are you sleeping alright these days?" Vanilla asked, standing in front of me.

Funny how a grown woman a head shorted than you can make you feel like a little kid.

"I'm alright, Mrs. Rabbit," I managed to smile, "Just a little worn out today."

I could tell by the look in her eyes that she didn't quite believe me. But Amy tugged on her hand and she turned away, her honey-blonde braid swinging with her. I focused my attention on the pink haired girl, who sported a much shorter braid, inwardly deciding that Amy would look great with a long braid. She said something to Vanilla before the older woman stepped away. Cream's mum patted her head and then went into the kitchen. And just like that Amy and I were the only ones in the room.

"How're you feeling, Ames?" I asked.

She stared at her feet, replying in a small voice, "I'm alright."

She sat on the couch, pulling her knees up against her chest and hugging them tightly. I'd been around the new Amy long enough to know that it meant she was feeling confused and scared. I plopped down next to her, throwing an arm around her shoulders and pulling her close. Any other day, Amy might have looked up and smiled at me, but that day she stiffened.

"What's wrong?" I asked, confused.

Amy scooted away from me, her face growing red.

"Amy?" I asked.

" said…that people who were in love had…you know…it." She said, her voice taking an odd tone.

"Sometimes." I said, not quite liking were the conversation was going.

"Yeah," she said softly, "But she said that people get very very close before it and I'd know that if a boy wanted that if they…you know…and she said that we were close and it might happen- and Sonic, she said it hurts and I don't want that to happen to me!"

She took a shaky breath and then burst into tears, "I don't want that from you, you're my friend!"

"Hold the phone, Amy!" I said, putting my hands up in surrender, "I'd never do that to you!"

She looked up at me, tears streaming down her cheeks, her mouth pressed into a flat, miserable line.

"Amy, Amy, calm down," I told her, "We're good friends, and only good friends, alright? I'd never do anything you didn't want, alright?"

I wasn't sure why I added the last part; Amy and I would never be getting that close. Ever. Amy closed her eyes, reaching out and throwing her arms around me. I held her tightly, letting her cry. It was just like that first time she'd freaked out, and somehow, holding her felt right still.

"I'm scared, Sonic," she whispered, "But Mrs. Rabbit said that it was something nice and I might change my mind. But I don't want to change my mind, not ever."

I smoothed her hair, "It's your choice, Amy. It'll always be your choice, alright?"

"Have…have you ever?" Amy stumbled over her words.

"Uh…yeah…" I sputtered, face red.

She opened her mouth, no doubt to ask question I didn't want to answer, but I cut her off right there.

"No, I'm not talking about it, got it? Just go with what Vanilla told you, alright?" I said.

She stared at me for a moment, looking hurt for half a second, but then she seemed to realize that I wasn't going to talk about it.

"Don't ask anybody else, either," I told her, "Love is one thing, but not…this…it's something you have to do with the right person when the time comes, okay?"

She nodded, "Okay."

I pulled her close, "Don't worry about it, Ames, it'll all make sense one day."

"Will it?" she asked, sounding unsure.

"Course it will."

She put her head on my shoulder for a moment, then looked up at me. I could tell she'd found another question to ask me.

"Sonic, are we really friends? Honestly, truly?"

"Yup," I grinned, "Honestly, truly, absolutely. You're stuck with me, girl."

She leaned against my shoulder again, closing her eyes. She sighed softly, a relieved, almost happy sound.

"Can we be friends for forever?" she asked, voice growing soft.

She stopped me short.

Forever?

A month ago I'd avoided this girl like the plague. And now we were friends. Hell, I didn't even mind anymore.

"Sure thing, Amy," I told her, lowering my own voice, "We can friends for forever, and maybe even a little longer if you want."

She smiled and drifted off to sleep.

SCENE TWELVE: AMY

"Come on you bunch of slow pokes!" Knuckles bellowed, "We're going to the bloody beach!"

"Watch your language, Mr. Echidna." Mrs. Rabbit called sternly.

There was an awkward apology and then silence. Amy smiled to herself before turning back to her own personal dilemma. A knock on the door interrupted her.

"Amy, you ready?" Sonic asked through the door.

"I guess." she sighed.

The door opened and he stepped in. Instead of the usual jeans, he wore a pair bright green shorts and a t-shirt. Amy shuddered. There was something about that shade of green that truly bothered her. Emerald green was nice, neon green was alright, forest green was pretty, but that dark olive green made her sick. Something was truly wrong with that color.

Sonic seemed to notice her gaze and shrugged.

"Yeah, I wasn't so thrilled with the color either." he said.

A minute later he was back in the room, wearing a pair of plain old blue shorts.

"Much better." Amy smiled.

"How come you aren't wearing your suit?" he asked her.

Amy stared at the swimsuit in her hands. Rouge had picked it out for her almost a week in advance.

"But, Sonic," Amy frowned, "This is underwear."

He laughed, "Some suits are underwear. Pretty much."

She wrinkled her nose, "But that's just gross."

"It sorta is," he admitted, "I won't blame you for not wearing one."

"But I don't have anything else," Amy sighed, "Maybe I shouldn't go, Sonic."

Sonic rolled his eyes, "Get over yourself Amy. We can get you a new suit in a flash."

"I don't want you to waste money on me."

Sonic rolled his eyes again, "Trust me, Amy. Money is not a problem."

It took barely a couple minutes for them to get to the mall, even less time to find the right store. Amy didn't catch the place's name, but it was filled with swimsuits of every imaginable color and type.

"So, watcha looking for?" Sonic asked, leading her down an aisle.

"Something that isn't underwear." she said.

"No kidding, dork-head."

Sonic rolled his eyes.

She blushed in embarrassment as he steered them to the appropriate isle. Strangely enough, Sonic didn't seem dazed the way Amy was. There were so many different colors; she couldn't find anywhere to begin.

"How about this?" Sonic suggested, pulling out a black one-piece swimsuit. He handed it to her and she turned it over in her hands. There was no back to the suit. She shook her head. They went through several more suits in this fashion until Amy's eyes fell upon a bright, eye-popping red one-piece. Sonic picked it up and handed it to her. It was fairly plain, except for large beautiful flowers running down the sides. She didn't know what kind of flowers they were, but she loved the suit anyway.

"Here, that one's too big," Sonic said, taking it from her, "This one should be better."

He already knew all of her sizes, courtesy of Rouge. Amy smiled, nodding.

Sonic grinned, "Good to go?"

She frowned, looking up at him.

"Maybe we could look for some shorts?" she asked timidly.

"Sure thing." Sonic grinned.

It didn't take long to find the right pair of shorts and before long, they were heading toward the register. They passed a clearance rack and Sonic spontaneously snagged a shirt off. Most of it was gray, but there were pink flowers covering most of one side.

"How about this?" Sonic asked, "I think you'd look great in this. Hell, I think you'd look great in any-"

His face abruptly turned red, his hand half-extended toward her.

"Sonic?" she asked, confused.

He abruptly shoved everything into her arms, causing her stumble back and jar her knee.

"I''." he blurted.

He spun around and ran away, a sudden wind blowing through the store. Amy stared, blinking back tears. She swallowed, wondering what on earth had gotten into Sonic. He'd never done anything like that before...Was it her fault?

"Are you finding everything you need?" the lady at the register asked her.

She managed to nod, "Yes, thank you."

Amy, clutching her clothing tightly to her chest, turned and started making her way toward the back of the door. She remembered seeing a chair and it seemed like a better idea to wait for Sonic there.

Then the entire building shook. First there was a terrible screeching sound, like the metal itself was screaming. Amy dropped her clothing, hurrying toward the front of the store. She emerged from the clothing racks just as something burst into the food court. It was a metal box, maybe a little taller than Amy and as wide as she was tall. It hit the ground, shattering the tiles and crushing tables beneath it.

For a moment there was silence.

And the box began to unfold itself. An arm emerged and then another and then a foot and before she knew it there was an entire robot standing in the food court. It was the width of a normal person, but at least ten feet tall. It's block head was almost comical, but not its large heavy arms. The robot took a step, its Eggman insignia catching the sunlight. Amy's breath caught in her chest. She knew the robot had come for her. It was the only explanation.

But where was Sonic?

The robot raised an arm and swept the surrounding chairs and tables away from it. Amy watched in horror as people were engulfed in the wave of metal, screaming and pleading for help.

"Oh my god," the pretty lady from the register sobbed, "We're all going to die."

Amy looked at her. Sonic wasn't back yet.

Somehow she knew he wouldn't be back in time.

The robot was already moving toward the store, sweeping everything out of its path.

She couldn't let anybody else get hurt. Not for her sake.

Amy dashed out of the swimsuit store, the pain in her knee forgotten. Her piko-piko hammer poofed into her hands, just as ready as she was. The robot saw her coming, because it picked up speed and tried to crush her with one of its large arms. She dodged and ran between its legs. It was turning just as she swung her hammer. It hit the robot's legs, neatly tripping it and sending it to the ground. There was a thud, but the robot was up in seconds, its hands reaching toward her. She dodged to one side, swinging her hammer with the intention of getting rid of at least one of those arms. Adrenaline pumped through her veins, her breath quick in her chest, an 'Im gonna kick your ass' grin on her face.

This was something she lived for.

Fighting and kicking robot butt, comebacks and snappy comments.

She found it hard to believe that she'd ever forgotten the feeling.

She was good at this…until the robot got smart enough to grab her hammer.

One moment she was winning and then the next she was in the air, flying, and then hitting the ground. She must have hit her head, because the next thing she knew, she was in the robot's hands and it was crushing the life out of her. Amy tried to struggle, but only succeeded in hurting her knee again. She managed to summon a hammer, swinging at the robot's head. She put a dent in it, not enough to stop the thing, but enough to get it to drop her. She plunged down good seven or eight feet, landing on her behind. The robot lifted a foot and nearly crushed Amy. She scrambled out of the way, swinging her hammer around and bringing the robot down again. Only this time, she leapt on it; hammer poised and crushed the thing's head. It jerked, nearly throwing her off, but she hit it again and again until its head was flatter than tin foil.

Only then did she drop her hammer and limp away from the robot. She didn't get very far before her knee gave out and sent her tumbling to the ground. Amy bit her lip in an attempt not to swear, stretching her hurt leg out. There were tears in her eyes and aching things allover, but all in all, Amy felt pretty good. She certainly showed that robot.

"We're saved!" a voice shouted.

"She did it!" another one did.

And before she knew it, there was a crowd of people circling her. Somebody helped her to her feet and then there were pictures and people hugging her and shouting their thanks and slaps on the back and little children smiling. Amy felt over-whelmed, but horribly happy and a little full of herself to, but it was alright every once and a while, right? And then there was another voice shouting her name and then Sonic was in front of her, his arms around her. He looked scared and worried and even a little angry.

One moment they were in the crowd of people and the next they were a good twenty feet away, next to the swimsuit store.

"What were you thinking, Amy?" he said, "You could've been killed!"

Amy felt tears in her eyes again, "I thought-you...you said it was alright to fight-"

"Not after you got hurt," he said, swearing, "Dammit, Amy, you're gonna kill yourself one of these days!"

She couldn't say anything, tears streaking down her cheeks. Sonic still had his arms around her and he hugged her tightly.

"Just promise you won't do it again, Amy." he said, a pleading tone in his voice.

She nodded slowly, trying to wipe her tears away.

The look in Sonic's eyes softened, "Let's get outta here before the reporters get here. We still have a beach to get to, k?"

"Okay." she said, her voice small.

Sonic had a funny red look on his face.

"Uh, good job, though," he said, "For kicking that thing's butt by yourself, Amy..."

"You mean it?" Amy said, a smile growing on his face.

"Yeah," Sonic said nervously, running a hand through his hair, "You're sort of the bomb, Amy."

She grinned, hugging him tightly, "Thanks, Sonic!"

He shrugged, "Let's get going."

"Wait!" a voice shouted, behind them.

It was the pretty lady from the store, with Amy's clothes in her hands. She pushed them into Amy's arms.

"Take them," she said, blue eyes half filled with tears, "You saved a lot of people and a lot of stores today. These are free and...If you ever need anything else, it'll all be free."

"No, I can't-" Amy started to say, but Sonic cut her off.

"I'll make sure she wears 'em," he said, "Thanks."

He had that smile on his face, the one that usually made all girls act a little funny. Amy had picked up on it before and knew that was how he got his way half the time. The lady already had a strange look on her face, a goofy sort of dreamy smile. Sonic thanked her and then looped an arm around Amy's waist.

"Ready to go home?" Sonic asked.

Amy looked up, meeting his eyes. He still had that funny smile on his face, only this time his eyes were a lot like the girl's who caught his gaze, dreamy and oddly glazed. He'd never looked like that before, let alone with his gaze directed at her. Time slowed for a moment, voices and people in the background just fading away into nothingness. Somehow, Amy couldn't look away from his eyes and why was Sonic just staring at her…?

She watched as his smile fell, replaced by the most serious, confused, but enrapturing look she'd ever seen. All of a sudden it was hard to breathe, part of her wanted to run away and the other part just wanted him to lean in a little closer-Sonic suddenly looked away, his face growing angry.

The moment was shattered, leaving Amy confused and feeling a lot like somebody had punched her stomach in.

Sonic's arms tightened around her waist and she was pulled behind him. In front of them were a wall of flashing cameras and reporters shouting at them. Amy felt terror rise in her throat; it was too bright and there were too many people surrounding them. She clung to Sonic like a drowned cat, begging him to take her home. He didn't seem to hear her in the chaos, but his grip tightened on her again, almost to the point where it hurt.

One woman thrust a microphone in her face, shouting, "Amy Rose, is it true that you had an accident and claim to have amnesia?"

A man shoved the woman away, "Miss Rose, have you and Sonic finally gotten together?"

"Sonic, what do you have to say about somebody else doing your job?"

"Is it true, Sonic, that you're working on a documentary with SSN?"

"No comment," Sonic was saying, "We need to go-"

"Hey, give them some space!" the woman from the swimsuit store shouted, pushing the reporters away.

She turned to Sonic and Amy, "You guys get home safe, alright?"

"Yeah, no problemo lady." Sonic said, escaping through the opening the woman had created.

As soon as they were clear, he scooped Amy up and ran for it. Another minute and they were home.

"Sorry about that," Sonic said, "Are you alright?"

Amy looked at him and burst into tears.

"What's wrong?" he asked, alarmed. He set her down on her feet, but she clung to him tightly.

"I'm sorry, Sonic," she managed, "I just…there were so many people shouting at us and…it was a little too much…"

She hiccupped, trying to wipe her tears away. Sonic sighed, throwing an arm around her shoulder and pulling her against him. She hardly reached his chest, but she reached her arms around him anyway.

"It's alright, Amy."

"Sonic, they asked us if we were together," Amy said, "We're not…right? You said we were friends?"

For a moment he felt panic swell in his chest.

Yup, he needed to keep her away from reporters…but he couldn't fo that for forever….

"Yeah, Amy, a lot of people like to think stupid things."

Amy looked astonished, "Like...us being in love?"

Sonic turned red, "Yeah, pretty weird, huh?"

Amy turned an ever brighter shade of red, "Ew! I'd never love you!"

"Same here." Sonic said, relieved that she hadn't declared her undying love for him.

"But...I can still like you...as a friend, right?"

Amy asked, looking up at him.

Sonic nodded, "Course you can."

She seemed relieved, "Okay."

There was a moment of silence.

"Uh, you ready for the beach?" Sonic asked, scratching the back of his head.

Amy nodded, "I can't wait! I'll go get ready!"

She turned and ran into the house. Sonic watched her go, running a hand through his hair. For the moment, he'd managed to throw her off. But it was getting harder and harder to keep doing it. He sighed, leaning against the door.

Why did everything have to be so hard when Amy was around?