Come up to meet you
Tell you I'm sorry
you don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart…
Oh lets go back to the start

Sonic awoke in the hospital groggily.
He saw the pink blur of Amy's face come into focus.
Her eyes were alert, brimming with trembling tears.
At the moment his head felt as though it were composed of lead, but the events before he had succumbed to unconsciousness were flooding his mind in a whirlwind.
Just seeing her was overwhelming. He felt a lump forming in his throat and cleared it abruptly to stop himself from weeping.

"We've got to stop meeting here like this." He said roughly, rubbing a hand over his face, and she let out a hysterical, high pitched giggle amidst her tearful sniffles. "Tell . . ." He tried to sit up and wavered, grasping his skull as a stabbing pain shot through it. Amy grasped him about the shoulders to right him. "Tell me I didn't just dream that. Tell me you just kicked that much ass."

Staring at him, she couldn't hold it in any longer.

She collapsed onto the rise and fall of his sternum in an explosion of tears, sobbing hard into his chest.

"Amy!" Sonic held her with brows raised. He was taken off guard, still groggy from having just come to, but he could understand she was overwhelmed.

"I'm-" She choked, trying to compose herself and horribly failing. "After all that happened, the way I was getting on before. I just can't believe how stupid it all was . . ."

"It wasn't stupid." Sonic said gently, giving her a weak grin. "I started it."

"Who cares?" she moaned, trying to swab away the stubborn tears that kept coming. "I sure as hell don't. One of us could have died. Can you imagine if it was the last thing we'd done? Getting on like idiots . . ."

"You were right to be angry, Amy." Sonic said sternly. "I got on like a jerk, and I owe you an apology."

"Sonic -" she began warningly, but he lifted a hand.

"Ah! It's the truth. Worst off, I doubted you." He shook his head, and to her surprise, he shut his eyes and emitted a tired giggle. "Man. You sure showed me!" He laughed out loud now, eyes widening as a sudden surge of life seemed to breathe back into him. "I mean Amy . . . that was crazy! You were all over the place - you were just creaming that guy with your hammer – I can't believe you went super! That was so boss! – but-" He let out a sharp guffaw "but after the pulverizes ya, you go: I told you he was mine!" His laughter was infectious, and she found herself joining in.

"What is wrong with you, Sonic? How can you be laughing at this? We almost died!"
He was laughing so hard now he had to wipe his eyes. "Hoo! I know, seriously, but I mean - Eggman's face when you knocked that messed up clone off the platform – and when you actually just walked right up to Eggman and fed his face hammer!"

"Stop laughing, you're going to choke yourself!-" She was cackling, unable to believe the continuing mystery that was Sonic the hedgehog. Only he could find something to laugh at from a day like that. "God, you're lucky to even be here . . ."

"I am lucky to be here." Sonic said in a serious tone that caused Amy to look up at him quickly, taken aback by the sudden change of tone. He was looking at her steadily with lime green eyes. "Amy, I think I have you to thank for that. And I'm sorry for the way I treated you. You saved me, you saved Tails – Shadow did right by training you. Even though I still think he's a psychopath-"


"Whut? I mean, at least he got one thing right. He saw what you were capable of when I refused to." He smiled genuinely at her, seeming to glow with pride. Amy sighed, shaking her head.

"I know you're proud of me Sonic, but I don't feel right that I treated you horribly." She said with her eyes brimming again, staring down at the folds of the bed sheet. She could not look him in the eyes after being so petty. She had just been so angry at the years of being treated like a fool. She didn't want to play one anymore, she wanted respect. Not only from the others, but also herself.

Now that she had it, she realized how much growing up she had really had to do. She let herself get so emotional… "

You were right that day. I wasn't ready. I behaved like a child. And I needed the training – I had to prove to myself what I was capable of. I knew I was in over my head that day – I just got so scared when I thought you'd get hurt. Then after we fought . . . I just don't understand why I acted that way. I was so- it was like I couldn't even think, I just did, and I don't-" She slammed her arms down angrily, eliciting a wide-eyed jump from the other hedgehog. "Oh, you make me crazy! You know that Sonic? Or crazier… I'm insane enough as it is, but you're insufferable sometimes, you know that?! Ooh, sometimes you can just be such a little – ugh! It's not good for my crazy. It's not good for it."

"I know that." Sonic grinned madly, trying hard not to laugh again and keep it serious, but he was having such a hard time. He was giddy just to be here after all that happened. "I really, really know that."

"The way I react to you just doesn't make sense!" She howled madly. "I just have no control over myself when I'm around you and I always come out looking like I'm- It just makes no sense, like-"

"Like running when the person gets near you?" Sonic snorted, grinning in self-deprecation.

She stared at him in wonder.

"I never thought of it that way before. I always thought you ran because I annoy you . . ."

"Oh, you do somethin' alright . . . give me a heart attack, for starters. Make me stammer like an idiot for another. . ."

Amy was floored. Entirely floored. She had to rethink so many moments in the past now from this new perspective. All those times he had run away and she had thought she was a pest . . .

"Sonic . . . what happens when you don't run?" she was staring at him in awe now, as if seeing him from another light. He looked around the room self-consciously, avoiding her gaze, starting to flush.

"Y'know, the usual heart goin' full on seizure and tryin' to thump its way out of my ribcage- whut?" Sonic started abruptly at how touched Amy looked, completely silent. "Wow too much was said there." Sonic felt his heart go into overdrive, hand coming up to the back of his head, preparing for what might come out of her. Amy, even outdoing the weather, was entirely unpredictable. Her bottom lip began quivering slightly before she pressed her lips together, fighting off a squeal.

"Are you serious?!" She squeaked, grinning hugely with her eyes pinched closed. "That is the cutest-" Sonic clapped a hand over her mouth and it was trembling a little, his smile nervous.

"Don't, please don't." She wrestled around his fingers giggling.

"Cutest thing I've ever hearrrrrrrd!"

"DON'T!" He blushed madly, covering his face in his hands. "I never should have told you. Never should have told you."

"I would never have expected that of you!-"

"Cut it out Amy!" He barked, his face scorching red and his brow low. He looked away from her for a long moment, willing the burning in his face away as he tried to seem composed despite the racing heart. Suddenly her voice was very close to his ear.

"You were just shy. All this time."

He turned his head to catch her eyes, his own quite wide as he was taken off guard by her proximity. She didn't hesitate a beat in pressing her mouth to his, pausing for a long moment to drink in the success and thrill of finally getting to do this. When she pulled back, Sonic was flustered and gaping, cheeks flaming. She smiled mischievously, shrugging.

"Sorry. I get what I want these days." And with that, she stood and started to walk toward the door. This actually caused him to shoot up into a sitting position, clutching his head as he was reminded to take it easy by his body.

"HEY!" He barked. "Where do you think you're goin'?"
She tried very hard to keep herself from laughing at the confused and indignant look on his face.

"Well I'm not the only person in the world you know, Sonic. I'm holding up the line." She winked, and filled to the brim with smugness she slipped out the door to let her waiting friends know Sonic was awake. She was so proud of herself for managing to pull that off without going into a fangirl tantrum, and left with a bit of dignity and coyness. But the door was shut now, and she had no qualms about hopping up and down, doing an energetic victory dance around the corridor before she made her way to the waiting room.

The sky in Mobius was threaded with vibrant blots of violet and fuchsia, the high edges of it fading into black as the stars opened like jewelled eyes far above. She found Shadow standing at the edge of Never Lake, staring at how the moon capped the lapping crowns of each wave with a pearl white crown. He looked sombre. Without turning around to greet her, he sensed her presence.

"I knew you would come when visiting hours were over."

"You weren't there." She walked closer toward him, standing to stare at him in profile. "Why?"

"He would not wish me to be there."

"Shadow . . ."

"You cannot deny that, Amy. I have done great wrong." He closed his eyes, guilt still hanging about him like a cloak. She put a hand on his shoulder, tugging at him to face her.

"You have also done great good." She enforced, looking at him stubbornly. "You can't deny that." The corners of his lips twitched, and he looked at her warmly now.

"I have." He put his hands upon her shoulders, staring at her evenly before he let them drop. "In fact, I believe training you has been the best way in which I have utilized my time since joining Sonic to thwart the evils of this world. And Mobius can always depend on him for that. But . . ."

He looked back toward the lake again, thoughtful.

"The time that I spent training you, having you depend on me to strengthen you and give you the means to defend yourself, to ensure you will continue to survive . . . I have never known such a feeling of usefulness and self-worth since I protected Maria. I have many centuries ahead of me, Amy."

He turned to her now, his gaze bittersweet. "I will live for many centuries, and I am not satisfied to live them out after briefly remaining under the thumb of Doctor Eggman. You have given me that."

He offered her a rare smile.

"You have bestowed upon me a sense of self-worth, of duty. I know what it is to feel fulfillment and purpose in life. I never knew I had one until I trained you. There is so much I can offer to so many who know what it is to feel helpless. Like Maria. Like you." He held her hands in his, and she felt uncertainty swelling in her chest. "That is why I cannot stay here. I must have purpose. And I shall find it wherever I can strengthen those who cannot strengthen themselves."

"Shadow, what do you mean? You can't be telling me that you're going – that you're leaving here, that you're just- " her voice pinched off in tears, and she tore her hands back from him. "How can you say that you're going after everything we went through? What if Sonic needs you?"

"He won't, Amy." Shadow said this with stern confidence, tilting her tear streaked face towards his. "He has you now." She stopped abruptly at that, filled with the sudden wonder of her capabilities – of all that Shadow had given her. Her bottom lip was trembling.

"You're right. You have given me so much – so much that I never have to worry about being on my own any more. You gave me what it takes to stand alongside Sonic and fight."

"I did not, Amy." Shadow muttered. "I aided you in realizing you already had what it takes. And it has brought such fulfillment to my life. I want to know that value again. My work with you is done. There are so many places I am needed. I need never be too far, with chaos control . . ." He thumbed away a tear on her face as she stared at the ground.

"But everything you said . . ." she sniffled. "What you said about me . . ."

"Is irrelevant." He said gruffly, remaining neutral as her face contorted in protest. "It is a useless feeling, Amy. We both know where your heart lies – where it has always been. I was selfish, and I hope in time you shall forgive me. Perhaps in time, I shall forgive myself. But in order to do that, I must begin to form memories of myself that I can be proud of."

He caressed the side of her face with tenderness before leaning in, placing a kiss on her damp cheek.

"Take care of yourself, Amy Rose. And thank you. Till we meet again."

"But the others – when will I see you again?" Her voice was unsteady, shaky with the burden of tears, but the woods around her had fallen silent with a flash of light.

He was already gone.

Numbed with feeling, Amy could do no more than to sit and take in the visage of the lake in shock, staring into its mesmerizing span of face until the stars reflected in it became skeins of sunlight. She was somber and exhausted, thinking with nostalgia upon the eventful moments she had had with her close friend and mentor on the banks of this lake.
It was both a heartfelt and sorrowful parting; a part of her proud for having helped him realize a purpose in life, another part crushingly sad at having been parted from his friendship.
She wondered if she would ever see him again in her lifetime.

Thank you for the days . . .
those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I'm thinking of the days . . .
you're with me every single day, believe me.
Days I'll remember all my life, days when I couldn't see wrong from right . . .
You took my life; but then I knew that very soon you'd leave me.
Now you're gone.
You're with me every single day, believe me.

"Do you want to see where I have been keeping the good doctor?" Knuckles smirked, trotting alongside Sonic – who was fresh out of the hospital and continuously insisting to Amy that he didn't need help walking. Tails started giggling madly as Knuckles bounded up ahead of them, scooping a large mitt through the air in urgency to get them to hurry up.

"You guys seriously won't believe this. You should see what's been done to him. We let the townsfolk get at him first . . ." Tails snorted, spinning his tails to kick-start into flight, hovering over the ground as he yelled after Knuckles: "Hey, slow down! I created that holding cell, y'know . . ."

"Well . . . I think this is the first night of my life I haven't had to worry about babysitting Eggman." Sonic cackled, and Amy had to laugh herself at the absurdity of it.

"Um, it took long enough . . . how is it that a guy that fat can always move so fast?"

"I know. And I don't even get paid to deal with him." Sonic grinned, wiping a finger under his nose smugly.

"None of us do, Sonic." She retorted with a sly, sideways glance.

"So!" He put both hands on his back, stretching it out until it cracked. "Ya wanna go on a date or ten, or whut?"

He opened his eyes widely when he heard a loud thud, looking around himself in concern.
When he saw that she had cold junk fainted, he collapsed next to her crumpled form, laughing so hard he cried. The racket roused Tails, who hadn't gotten too far ahead to notice a scene happening behind him.

"Oh God, what happened now?! Amy!-"

"It's alright, it's alright-" Sonic snorted, wheezing with laughter. "Ohh man . . ."

"It doesn't look alright!" Tails frowned. "What did you do to her?!"

"Whut, I asked her on a date!" Sonic threw his hands up in the air in exasperation, trying to look annoyed, but the expression on Tails' face made him collapse in laughter again. "She's out! She's down!"

"Well duh. Are you trying to give the poor girl a heart attack?"

"Was it really that unexpected?"

Tails delivered a very sarcastic, deadpan expression that shouted 'you have got to be kidding me'. He glared at the bemused blue hedgehog. "Sonic. Are you ever going to legit ask her out when she's awake?" Tails asked dully.

"I tried!" Sonic bark laughed, gesticulating to the ruffled form beside him. Tails gave him a long suffering look.

"Seriously, Sonic. What did you think was going to happen? It's been what . . . seven years?"

"Point taken. Yup." He scooped her up with ease, carrying her easily in bridal style as Tails propelled lowly alongside him. "Um. I guess that'll be . . . whenever she's awake. Again." Sonic shrugged. "Whatever. Aurora knows I've waited longer for her before. What's one more day?"

And I came home

Like a stone

And I fell heavy into your arms

These days of darkness

Which we've known

Will blow away with this new sun

And I'll kneel down

Wait for now

And I'll kneel down

Know my ground

And I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you

So break my step

And relent

You forgave and I won't forget

Know what we've seen

And him with less

Now in some way

Shake the excess

But I will wait, I will wait for you

And I will wait, I will wait for you

So I'll be bold

As well as strong

And use my head alongside my heart

So tame my flesh

And fix my eyes

That tethered mind free from the lies

Cause I will wait, I will wait for you . . .

And I will wait, I will wait for you.

-Mumford & Sons

Thank you to everyone for your wonderful support through this . . . I guess you could call it a Sonic novel, with 274 pages! LOL! It's been quite a ride, and what an emotional roller coaster of a journey to write. It meant a lot to me to get to tell a thoughtful story about Amy becoming a capable young woman - perhaps we will see that side of her in the new Sonic Boom? ;D Thank you all again so much for reading! (I may write a chapter that shows everyone at a later time in the future in the aftermath.) Take care, much love!