Okay, nice to see you all again and, to answer all of your questions right now, yes, this is the last chapter. No, I am not dead nor did I abandon this story. Also, the author's note is at the beginning just because I don't want to ruin the whole epic reviewing tone I left with at the end here. I did not forget about you all and I have been trying to get this out here.

I know you're all anxious to get on with the story- I mean, my cliff hanger was just evil...I know- but I do have some very important things to say before you do. First of all, and I know some of you are angry and don't want to hear any of my excuses, but I feel obligated to include my very viable reasoning for close to dropping this story out of existence for over two months now.

November. Ah yes. I'd have to say that this was- God only knows how- my favorite month of the year. This past November (2012) I, for my first time, participated in a global program called NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in which writers are encouraged to write an entire novel (with a goal of 50,000 words) in just a month's time. There is no editing allowed during the time you write it, as the main goal is to get it done plot wise, plus you have another 11 months for that later on.

I am pleased to inform you all of the fanfiction community that I won the program (not like first place or something; they don't do awards. When I say "won" I simply mean "completed".) both plot wise and word count wise. On the night of November 30th at 11:59 and 54 seconds, I wrote the last sentence of my raw, unedited novel, leaving me with approximately six seconds to spare in the month! XD

I reached over 65,000 words and I believe 89 pages on my computer, over 200 pages in book print size, and this is pre-edited, meaning it will only get longer once it's truly finished. This is a major accomplishment for me, especially provided that it did not hinder my abilities to complete school, chores, and my part time job every single day of the month (not to mention Thanksgiving cooking).

As for December, I've been putting off a lot of things that happened to be reminders of my writing frenzy last month in order to lessen the pain of my crash and burn...though still not by much. I haven't opened my novel document since the 1st and I've completely sworn off coffee or caffeine of any sort for the entire month to make up for the extra 70 percent I had last month. That's one reason I've waited this long in the month to update this for my final chapter.

December has also been fully packed with holiday shopping, high school cramming, and LOTS of baking! I have, however, made some great accomplishments this month as well. I completed all of the remaining academic credits required for my high school graduation so I can take the spring semester and all of next year for independent study before starting in an actual college. Also, I stuck with my goal of baking a new holiday treat EVERY SINGLE DAY leading up to Christmas this month...we have a lot of cookies. Still... 8O

So yes. I am extremely sorry for your wait and even more so for making you sit through my high achievement ramblings for...what is this, the eighth paragraph?! But I am so grateful for all of my supportive readers who have stuck it out with me through the good and bad to help come out and support this story! It's you guys that kept me going this long and I really hope my grand finale is not one to disappoint!

Happy New Year and thank goodness the world didn't end before I got this up! Also, if any of you are disappointed about this being the end, try to remember that I posted it on New Years Eve for a good metaphorical reason. Though it may seem like the end of a wonderful year, or in this case story, just keep in mind that there's more just ahead. Whether the rest is right there given to you or up to you to make for yourself, don't ever forget that ends are just new beginnings!

Carpe diem (seize the day) my lovely readers!

...or rather occupare fabula (seize the story)

Enjoy! :D

Amy waved down one of the town's scarce taxis and got a ride home, trying to remain void of emotion at least until she was in the comfort of her own home. As soon as she got there, she closed and locked the door behind her, sliding to the floor with her back against the wall. She remained still and silent for a moment, trying to let the preceding events sink in slowly. Unfortunately, reality was not in her favor at the moment and the slow intake of events turned more into everything slapping her in the face until she final let the thoughts settle into place.

"It's true," she whispered to herself. "He really doesn't care. It's just his stupid protective nature that makes him feel obligated to spend time with me! I should've known! I'm just so stupid for thinking-aagh!"

She stopped talking to herself and allowed the tears brimming her eyes to slide down her face. How could she have been so naive? It was true she had been suspicious, but figured, if anything to do with her leg, it was just to compensate for their missed time together when she would chase him for hours on end every day. How could she have not even realized the possibility that it was only to make up for the guilt he felt thinking it was his fault?

Amy took a deep, shaky breath, trying to calm herself down. Though the tears seemed hesitant to stop, she was at least able to get control over her mentality.

"So what?" she forced a fake laugh, which sounded slightly psychotic. "He doesn't love me. That changes nothing but the fact I wasn't sure. Now," she swallowed the lump in her throat and faced the fact staring her in the face, "at least I can just...give up."

This brought on a fresh wave of tears and she gave in, letting herself have at least a few minutes of self satisfaction at the form of emotional release. Sometimes it's better to just let everything built up out at once. Otherwise it could crush you from the inside out.

Sonic stood frozen in place, his mind racing faster than even his own two feet had ever gone.

Did she just...

No, she can't think that I-

But she said that-!

Then another thought hit hard enough to knock the others away, if only for a moment.

What now?

What should he do now? Go after her? What would he say? What should he do to make it up to her? What if he couldn't? What if she-

"Oh for goodness sake!" A slightly dreary, deep voice interrupted his train of thoughts. "Why would you get so worked up over something so...idiotic?"

"Shadow!" Sonic jumped back a step, surprised by the presence of his darker equal. "W-what are you-"

"Are you unaware you were standing on a hill talking to yourself about your own anserine blunder? Because I was fairly certain you'd begin to attract a crowd if I didn't intervene." Shadow sighed in slight exasperation.

"Out loud?" the words seemed to drift over Sonic's head before he shook off his confusion and caught on. "Oh, great! So now I'm an idiot and a lunatic?!"

"It would seem so, wouldn't it?"

"Well...what am I supposed to do then?" Sonic asked.

Shadow just narrowly resisted the urge to face palm. "What kind of a question is that? You've practically got all the answers laid out in front of you! Honestly, I don't see why you're so stubborn," he sighed.

"What are you talking about?"

Shadow tried to turn his growl into a groan, not in the mood to pick a fight with the delusional weirdo. "Everything. You've been given a perfect opportunity for happiness but you take it all for granted! She's obviously liked you all along, we all know that and don't even bother playing dumb about it. And the fact that your feelings are anywhere near mutual just makes it ridiculous you haven't played upon your advances. Honestly, if anyone else in the universe were given such a perfect opportunity they wouldn't hesitate to jump on it!" Shadow took a deep breath to calm himself. "I just mean that if you want to keep this chance in the first place, now may be you last moment to act on it."

Sonic took a moment to think this over. "You're right. I never thought I'd say this, but thanks Shadow. You're a really great help."

"Don't get used to it," Shadow said passively. "Guess I'll leave you to it then." And with that he disappeared...or, walked away in a really cool way that practically made him disappear into the shade of the trees. (Sorry, I'm kind of the obsessed fangirly type when it comes to Shadow :3...or Ikuto, Fai, Sebastian, more than half the Hetalia crew, eh, pretty much any anime guy :/ But so not my fault! They're hot!)

"Knock knock! Can I come in? Oh wait, I already am," Knuckles announced, stepping into Amy's house. "Amy? You home? The door was unlocked so I-oh jeez!" he found her in the living room, desperately trying to dry the tears staining her face.

"I-I'm sorry," she breathed, trying to compose herself.

"Hey, what's wrong?" he asked, big brother mode taking over his usual jaunty sarcasm.

"No I-I'm fine. Really, it's just-" she sniffled and Knuckles practically leaped onto the couch.

"Amy! Come on; just tell me what's wrong?" she bit her lip, trying to keep from breaking down again. "Okay, it's not your leg, right? It was someone, not thing, right?"

Amy managed a nod and whimpered slightly. "Knuckles, please don't-"

"It was Sonic, wasn't it? Did he make you this upset, Amy?"

"It's not his fault! He just doesn't-doesn't l-love me the s-same way a-a-as I do," she choked in an all too vulnerable voice.

"Dang it! Why is he such a-"

"Knuckles!" she cut him off, trying to hold back a fresh wave of tears. "It's not his fault!"

"Yes it is! I mean he can't just-"

"Just what? Just be himself? Because he has the full right to do that! I just can't...I can't expect him to change that f-for me. It's just...I'm sorry," she cried and Knuckles put a comforting arm around her.

"Don't be sorry about it; take a deep breath and calm yourself down. Let's get you relaxed a little and then maybe you can tell me what happened."

After a few minutes to let her catch her breath and calm her nerves, Amy told Knuckles what had happened. He took a thoughtful moment of silence before allowing himself to voice a "hm".

"I guess...looking back it shouldn't have been such a big deal and all but...I guess it just really got to me when I realized it all at once like that, you know?"

"Yeah, I can imagine that." Knuckles pondered. He had to bite his lip from spilling how Sonic felt about her. But this was something the speedster had to do for himself.

"Knuckles?" Amy asked and the echidna turned to her. "Just...thanks. I'm glad you're always here for me in times like this...even if it may make you feel like the gay best friend sometimes. But thanks for putting up with me, I mean."

"No problem...except the gay best friend part. Let's just say 'big brother' to save some awkwardness."

Amy giggled a little. "Yeah, that's a safer choice of words."

"Okay. I'm really going to do this. I'm going to apologize to Amy...and tell her...how I feel about her. I won't overdo it, I won't chicken out of it. Just me and her. No special meadow or flowers and chocolate. Simple and pure and..." Sonic stopped mid sentence and cracked a tiny smile. "Perfect."

Sonic started heading towards Amy's house, beginning at a slow pace just while he got out of the park before quickening to his usual run. He considered stopping by to thank Shadow for his oddly unfitting advice but shied away from the attempt as he caught, in his peripheral vision, the ebony hedgehog tossing what looked like either small marshmallows, Styrofoam packaging peanuts, or perhaps a mixture of the two to small birds and squirrels. Not even wanting to know what that was about, Sonic shook his head and moved on, hoping now that he wouldn't even be noticed.

Once out of the littering of pedestrians in the park, he quickened his pace, breaking into a full out dash. Do it now before you lose your nerve he told himself repetitiously in his head. Nothing could sway my focus or determination now! Not even-hey is that Knuckles? Sonic had no further time to analyze the situation before he found himself colliding with a fist...and then with a tree.

"Ow! What the heck was-Knuckles?!" he stood up, a hand going automatically to his sore jaw, and took in the annoyed red echidna standing in front of him.

"Well you totally deserved it!" Knuckles yelled, obviously mad.

"Oh great! What did I do this time?"

"Why don't you ask Amy?" that caught the speedster off guard. "You know I just had a nice little talk with her...if you can call it talking when she was crying more than half the time."

"She's what? I mean I...I knew that...but I...she's crying?" he felt defeated.

"Well, not now, but she was. And I wonder who is capable of that sort of thing?"

"Knuckles, seriously, I had no idea she was that upset but-"

"But nothing! You've caused her so much heartbreak, you know that? I wonder what she sees in you all the time because you sure don't seem worth all the trouble she's gone through just to like you!"

"I know! I'm so not worth it but I-"

"But nothing! You owe her big! An apology, a confession, and a whole lot more after that!"

"That's what I'm trying to do right now!"

"Honestly, I don't even know why-wait, say what?"

"Yes! Right now! Or right then, before you just about took my jaw out of my head! I was on my way to apologize and tell her everything and I could've been there by now if you hadn't stopped me!"

"Oh. You were...what?"

"Going to make it up to her."

"Hm...well...you, uh...better."

"Good advice. You're a hopeless romantic, my friend." Sonic rolled his eyes and was about to take off again.

"Hey, Sonic," Knuckles stopped him. "Uh...good luck."

Sonic smiled at the almost friendly wish. "Thanks, Knux." And then he sped away before receiving another face full of knuckle sandwich for the echidna's "favorite" nick-name.

By the time he halted himself in Amy's front yard, the sun was starting to set. The sky had just began to darken on the beautiful day and the few clouds that littered the sky had just the beginning shades of orange and pink. Sonic smiled in spite of the perfect timing and remembered her admitting straight out her weakness for sunsets. The scene couldn't get any more perfect, which would be very good in his favor.

He took a deep breath and decided that waiting another second would surely make him lose this almost confident feeling. He practically leapt onto the porch and banged the door three times. He took a big gulp to swallow the lump in his throat and waited for the door to open.

...and waited. And waited. Finally, Sonic realized he'd been standing on the porch for hours, or the speedster equivalent of at least three minutes, with no sign of it being answered. He knocked harder, this time calling out Amy's name.

"Amy? Please open the door. I know you really don't want to see me right now but I really need to talk to you!"

No response. Sonic took another long breath and mentally sent her an apology as he turned the door knob to let himself in. Surprisingly, he found the door unlocked, completely unlike the normal behavior for Amy. He called out her name while stepping into the house but saw no sign of her. He was about to do a quick zip through the house for a search when he stopped in his tracks. Laying on the floor in front of him was one of Amy's crutches, left abandoned and alone.

A haunted air seemed to fall over him and the house alike upon seeing this ominous foreshadowing. He could already feel what seemed like an unwanted presence creeping in and separating him from Amy and his confession. Sonic clenched and unclenched a fist, trying to shake off what felt like a thousand icy hands wrenching horrible worst case scenarios out of his mind and into the open air like ghosts of the future to come.

"Amy?" Sonic called again, now unnerved a little. "Amy, please at least let me know you're here. This is really important!" Without another second to spare, Sonic took off through the house, not even getting farther than the top step before his search for the female was cut remarkably short.

A gaping hole sat in the back wall, throwing his heart into a wildly pounding drum. Sonic stopped, eyes wide as he observed the scene from a distance of only a few feet away. Just to confirm what he already knew, Amy's second crutch lay dangling half out the side of the house alone with a few piko piko sized dents in the remaining wall and some screws or chips of metal plates scattered about.

"Oh no. This time you've gone too far, Eggman," Sonic muttered angrily, not wasting another second to take in or calculate the situation. He relied on pure instinct alone to guide him after the evil genius and took off to correct what he could only call his own fateful blunder. "I hope you'll forgive me, Amy, because there's no way I ever will."

"Egghead, can you not EVER cut a girl a break?!" Amy screamed, knowing the scientist wasn't even around to hear her. Instead, she was in the lower deck of his ship this time, locked in a small cell without even the maniac's evil gloating smirk to take her emotions out on. "Sonic won't even be coming for me today! Did you hear me?! IT'S POINTLESS!" she screamed, breaking herself down into tears and crumpling to the floor.

"Ah, but you don't know the situation as I do, my dear," Eggman's voice broke the silence around her tears as he appeared on a monitor across the hallway. "You see, things will work out in my favor either way, be you right or wrong."

"What the heck are you talking about?!" she huffed.

"Well, if Sonic does come right away then so be it, as this is what could be expected under normal circumstances anyway. On the contrary, if he were to, for some reason, not learn or act upon your captivity for a period of time, that would only weaken his defenses on the grounds of guilt for not coming to your immediate rescue."

"You're wrong you know," Amy scowled, crossing her arms and turning her back to the camera. "Sonic doesn't care anymore and frankly neither do I. You could just keep me here forever as far as I'm concerned. I can no longer be associated with that-...him."

"Ooh, nasty breakup I take it?" he pried, to which Amy just gave another huff and pulled her legs to her chest, refusing to be dragged any further into this. "Who is it, do you believe that took the worse side of this dispute? Oh forget that; it's really not a question worth asking, is it?"

"Just go...blow something up. I don't care to talk to anyone right now, especially you."

"Oh come on, you can give me all the dirty little details, right! Give him a good verbal bashing; get it out of your system for your own health, why don't you? It's not healthy to-"

"Shut up!" Amy yelled. "I really don't need this today, okay?! Just...just leave me alone." And with that, Eggman gave a sigh and reluctantly cut the transmission. "Silver lining..." Amy pondered a moment. "Yeah. Captivity works as an escape, right?" she scoffed and almost laughed a little at how messed up her life had become.

Meanwhile, Sonic had spent hardly any time at all to locate the doctor's ship, which hadn't even gotten very far in the few short minutes since Amy's abduction. Boarding the ship, as usual, was a breeze with his incredible jumping skills and then it was only a matter of seconds before he located the doctor in his control room. Strangely enough, however, there was no Amy in sight within his room. Sonic was just entering the room to confront the doctor when his next step forward shot a spike of electricity up the leg he had just moved forward.

"Sonic! How very nice to see you! Oh please, have a seat!" The doctor said, banging a button that had a pair of mechanical arms reach up and grab his legs and throw him into a seat in the corner. A cliché brace coiled out of the chair and immediately strapped him in.

Sonic struggled for a moment before finding it pointless and sitting back to face Eggman with an annoyed smirk. "Nice to see you too. Sure has been a while and I'd love to catch up, but today really isn't the best day for me. How's next week?"

"Oh ho ho! Always the comical genius, aren't we?" he cackled.

"I try," Sonic shrugged.

"Yes, well trying is the best you really can do now isn't it?"

"Well there's also success, of course. That, my winning heroics and even winning-er smile!" Sonic cracked a grin for the metaphorical camera.

"Too bad all those poor unknowing citizens can't see the bad mouth brat behind that smile."

"Yeah, and speaking of bad mouths, why don't you just go suck some sauerkraut to mask the bad breath of yours, doctor?"

The doctor growled. "Alright, rodent, cut the banter and let's get on with the show."

"Gee, thanks doc."

"Oh think nothing of it. And since your own off mood puts me in such a good one, I think I'll tell you my entire plan straight through, and even throw in a resolution to boot."

"Is it Christmas already? I'm so excited!" Sonic put on an elated smirk over his regular smarmy one.

"Well, for one of us at least. Your precious Amy, as of whereabouts, is in the lower deck's prison room, I'm sure you're familiar to the location."

"Like a home away from home," Sonic confirmed with a nod, suspicious of his willingness to hand over his plan with no catches whatsoever.

"As for my oh so diabolical plan, nothing falls too out of the ordinary. Just another defenseless little town of eastern Mobius- which happens to hold a very important technological research center I'm sure you've heard of from your two tailed friend, just thought I'd add- that happens to be right in the way of one of my largest missile attacks in a good few years. Poor things will be blown sky high before they even know what's going on. All you really have to do to prevent this, however, is press this little green button right here as soon as I release you."

"Right. Because you'll do that, won't you? Just release me to press a button and walk away with my girl all happy go lucky and free as a hedgehog. And what's that catch, Eggy?"

"Heh, of course you're quick enough to pick up on that; wouldn't expect anything less, naturally. Well you see, Sonic, life has a way of forcing difficult decisions on us all from time to time, such as choosing between a loved one or a cherished many. In other words, you can't have both of the things you desire.

"To put it simply, the moment you free the girl from her incarcerations, done by pressing a pretty clearly marked button just outside her cell, the missiles will automatically be triggered for a launch attack. Likewise, as soon as you press the button to detain the missiles for good, Amy will be transported to my newest secret ground base, completely off the grid of any radars or trackers on the planet, wherein I will have her free to my own use with nothing you can do to save her."

"Y-you're bluffing," Sonic tried to keep a straight face.

"Oh, but I'm afraid I'm not. So, what's it going to be, Sonic?" Eggman said, pressing a release button on his chair. "Oh! And two more things before you take another step. First of all, the image of me you see is merely a hologram; the real me is already in that secret location I mentioned so you can't do me any harm. Second, you only have about five minutes to make your choice," the doctor sniggered and the hologram fizzled out of sight. "Good luck."

"Oh no," Sonic muttered to himself, a million loop holes or possibility zipping through his mind faster than his feet could ever move. None of them even close to viable. Mental solutions, even he could admit, were not his forte, so without another moment of thought, he whizzed to the lower deck to confront Amy quickly before making any final choices. Either way, I owe her a lot. And this is something I can't figure out on my own anyway.

Sonic found her huddled against the wall of the cell, her head buried in her knees. Upon hearing his entrance, Amy looked up with wide eyes, obviously surprised to see him. "Sonic I-"

"Amy, there's a lot I need to tell you and not much time at all. I'm so sorry," he said and then stopped short. He was at a loss for words; what could he do this time?

"S-Sonic..." Amy caught his blank and devastated expression and realized this was much bigger than the problem they'd faced earlier.

"I...I don't know what to do. I don't know how...to be the hero here," he admitted, his eyes a blank stare to the other end of the room.

"Sonic, what's going on?" A flash caught her eye and she looked up to see the TV monitor mounted on the wall flash up a countdown clock starting on four minutes. "Sonic? What's that counting down to? Sonic!" she snapped him out of it, standing against the door to her cell now, her bad foot just barely rested against the floor.

"Amy!" Sonic immediately snapped back into reality as he too noticed the clock of doom. "I...I can't leave you again. But..." he sighed and took a deep breath. "Eggman has these missiles set up to destroy an entire town when that clock gets done counting. I can deactivate them easily but if I do you'll be sent away. And if I get you out of there...the missiles will be automatically launched. I can't let the town be destroyed but...I just...can't let you go either. What can I...I don't know what to do!"

Amy blinked but came up quickly with a response. "You have to let me go. And save them."

"See I knew you'd say that! What if I can't get you back after this?! What if I never see you again? Or at least not the same way!"

"Well, what about it?" Amy asked, catching the schizophrenic hedgehog off guard. "You'd be fine, wouldn't you? Wouldn't you regret the wait of all of those peoples' end on your shoulders more than mine?"

Sonic stared at her with wide eyes. "I...I don't think I would."

"How can you even say that?!" Amy said with a violent change in mood. "How can you play with my heart so much for so long and still think I can believe something that insane."

"Because I-"

"Because what, Sonic? What could make you even consider trying to save me-or even confront me for that matter-in a situation like this?!"

"Because I love you, Amy. I really do," Sonic's blank but terrified eyes brimmed with tears as his whole heart's being was poured out into the open air with just a few short words.

"No," Amy said, shaking her head as Sonic stepped up to the bars of her cage. "No no no no no."

"Yes, Amy. It's so true I can't even...I don't know what to do now," he said, reaching through the bars of the cage and holding her hands tightly together. She cautiously looked up into his eyes to find a completely honest gaze meeting hers.

"How can you...say that? How can I trust you?" she asked, already knowing she could but trying to stick with the beginnings of a plan formulating in her head. A hard, heart breaking one, but the only one she could think of.

"I don't know if you can. That is my greatest regret and I'll never be able to overcome it. Ever. But I do. And I...don't know what to do about it now."

"Let me go," Amy said, keeping a surprisingly even tone. Taken aback but unwilling to disobey, Sonic dropped her hands and took a step away. "I mean...save the town and let me go."

"How can I-"

"Sonic, I'll never be able to trust you if you don't trust me. And I need you to trust that I can take care of myself and be fine until I see you again," she gave him a strained smile to show she was being completely serious. "If you love something...let it go. If it comes back to you, its yours forever."

"And if it doesn't?"

Amy tore her gave to the floor so he wouldn't see her own eyes filling back up with tears. "Then it was never meant to be."


"Sonic, you have to trust me," she stole a glance at the counter, now at two minutes eighteen seconds. "And fast."

"I...I do," Sonic said, feeling like a knife was driven through his heart as he said it.

"Then go. Trust me...that I'll see you again," Sonic took a cautious step backwards. "Go now!"

Without allowing himself another moment of hesitation, which could lead to his surrender of heart, Sonic bolted away from her to press the button before any more confusion or second thoughts could get in his way. "Just...please be okay," he said, his hand falling against the button.

Amy, with tears spilling down her face, smiled. "I'll see you soon."

Without even having time to realize what all had just happened, Sonic found himself standing, or rather tripping, onto the ground, having been abruptly chucked out of the ship after pressing the button. There was already no sign of the pod that had taken Amy away, which had blasted out of sight before he could even bat an eye, leaving him with no trail to follow and no clue as to where she had gone.

Sonic dragged himself out of the road he had landed in and took a seat on the side of a bench, hoping to gather his thoughts. After applying logic, though difficult, he figured the best thing to do would be contact Tails and see what he could do to help, seeing as how the fox was spectacularly gifted in these such situations. Though the more than usual smugness of Eggman's demeanor put him ill at ease in thinking he must have a very well hidden base this time around. Oh if only he had told Tails before going after him in the first place!

Not wanting to waste time, or talk face to face with anyone, Sonic recorded a voice message and sent it to Tails through his communications watch to explain the current standings and what all his little brother figure had missed. Tails was prompt with a reply, saying not to worry and that he was searching already for a signal from the doctor. He would give updates for any and all information he received and Sonic should just try to calm himself down and meet back at home when he had had some time to pull himself together a little better.

Sonic did his best to keep a strong front, seeing as how he was in public and unexcused from his well known title as the hero of Mobius. Times like this were when he would rather be able to blend or disappear into a crowd like, excusing the pun, Espio or perhaps Shadow. But no, he still had to at least fake a smile for all of the waving children and adult fans alike.

Sonic sighed, trying his hardest to convince himself that this was only a temporary situation and that he would see Amy again. He had to! But then...

Never meant to be. What if...we weren't?

He felt crushed, even by the scarceness of the crowd around him and took off to get away. Somewhere that he could be alone to clear his head. There had to be something else he could do! Without his mind connecting with his feet for a whole ten minutes, Sonic ran almost aimlessly, not even bothering to observe his surroundings until he found himself stopped in a familiar place.

Amy's Meadow.

The speedster looked around, trying to steady his breathing. Memories of that day a few weeks ago came back to him in a flood of reminiscence. He fell to his knees and let the nostalgia drift over him in a surprisingly peaceful wave.

Something caught his eye just as he was beginning to regather his mental focus. A beautiful flowering bush sat just a few feet away from him with the most amazing flowers he'd ever seen. Lavender roses. Sonic took a deep breath and gave a half smile, gingerly reaching out and gently taking one from the bush.

If it comes back to you, it's yours forever. Amy Rose, you will be mine. Forever. It's not even a choice within your control at this point.

He stood back up and cradled the flower, now knowing and completely accepting that he WOULD see her again. He had to! It was inevitable; no way to be avoided. Sonic ran back to Amy's house, still making it in just a few minutes time even though his pace was much below par for the speedsters regular pace. He stopped and stood on her front porch a moment, taking slow, almost cautious steps into the house.

She won't be gone forever. She has to come back. We HAVE to...

He trailed off, hearing a mechanical sort of sound outside. Had Tails come to find him here? Or perhaps Eggman sending in a robot to kick him while he was down? Sonic went slowly back out to investigate just in time to see a small ship blasting away and out of sight. Anger built in him and a thirst for revenge against the evil genius and Sonic revved to take off after it when-

"Sonic!" a voice stopped him before he had even moved and he spun quickly around to see Amy trying to carefully navigate her way to the front yard without her crutches. "Sonic I-"

"Amy!" Sonic yelled her name and was almost instantly in front of her, swooping her up into a hug and holding her so tightly against him that neither could breath. "I knew it. I knew I'd see you again," he breathed against her.

"I know," she whispered back, trying to conserve precious air, as neither of them had any intentions of loosening their grip on one another, much less letting go!

After a moment more of hugging, Sonic released her back to the ground and held her half an arm's distance away to look her in the eyes as he spoke. "Amy Rose, I love you. I love you with all my heart and now that I've crossed 'let go' off the list, I'm never going to again."

Amy's eyes brimmed with tears of joy and she could see first hand the honesty of every word he said. She shook her head ever so slightly and leaned back against him. "You won't have to."

They both smiled and pulled one another into a warming hug. Several minutes passed, both of them unwilling to leave this spot or moment, wanting to stay like this forever. The only interruption was Sonic's wrist communicator watch, which pulled them back to reality to Sonic could respond to a seemingly urgent chat with Tails.

"Sonic! I think Eggman is-"

"Gone," Sonic broke in before Tails could get too worked up. "And Amy is right here with me now."

"What but how did she get away?" Tails asked.

"Technically...I didn't," Amy admitted. "Eggman let me go. He may be an evil genius and have close to no regard for public safety and state of being but...when he saw what Sonic said on the ship..." Amy sighed contentedly. "Not even he's completely heartless. For now, anyway."

Sonic and Tails both broke out into wide smiles and Sonic just barely resisted the strong urge to lift her into another hug, only stopping for Tails's sake as of the odd video screen that may come up with.

"That's actually kind of incredible," Tails said, taken aback by this new advancement. "Especially for Eggman; I...I never thought he'd do something like this."

"Maybe even evil scientists understand tragedies of the heart," Sonic said rather optimistically.

Amy nodded. "I don't doubt he'll try to make up for it with another evil scheme pretty soon, but for now...I think he really gets stuff."

They all agreed and Tails decided to go, if nothing else to give them some privacy. Amy offered to make Sonic dinner while he, in return, did a quick fix on her upstairs wall to last for the evening at least. After a few hours had passed, Sonic had got a few boards nailed in over the hole and a tarp to cover any other gaps. There was still work to do, but with night just around the corner and Amy's surprise dinner just being finished, he called it a night.

"Okay, Sonic. What are the two best foods in the world?" Amy asked as he came into the kitchen.

"Oh gee, that sure is tough," he said sarcastically. "Chili dogs and...I guess pizza."

"What if I told you that I was able to combine them?" she asked in a mock creator of Frankenstein voice.

"Not possible, woman! You've gone mad!"

"Or have I?" she asked, unveiling a delicious smelling pizza with sliced hot dogs for a topping, extra cheese, and what looked like chili in place of pizza sauce. Sonic's jaw dropped and his hand hovered in awe above the delicacy. Amy giggled and held it out for him to try a piece. "Just tell me if it's any good."

Sonic took one bite and seemed to be floating on a cloud. "It's...it's a zillion percent perfection! You must now make this for me every day for the rest of my life." Amy laughed and tried a piece herself, nodding in satisfaction.

Sonic had messaged Tails and said he would be home not too long after dark that evening, so as soon as they finished their dinner, he had to get going, promising to return first thing in the morning. Amy walked Sonic to the door and he thanked her for the pizza, especially since she had taken the time to make an extra to send him home with, as to not bother Tails to fix his new midnight snack in advance as soon as he got there.

"Sonic...I know I got really upset with you earlier and I'm sorry I was so quick to jump to conclusions with everything, but I just wanted to say-"

"I'm sorry, Ames," Sonic cut her off. "I'm sorry...for leading you on all this time and causing you so much more confusion and heartbreak than you should've ever had to endure. I'm so lucky that you're so forgiving and you'll still even give me the time of day after this long and I want to make it up to you. Not about your leg or getting captured all the time or any of that! I want to make up for all the times...I haven't told you how I feel about you. I want you to know every day how much I love you...because that's what you deserve. And when I've caught up to all the times I haven't..." he trailed off, not knowing how to finish the thought.

Amy, with her own feelings rising up inside her at that moment, took his pause as the perfect opportunity to make her own statement. She reached up on one foot as best she could and pressed her lips against his. The gesture was so well placed that Sonic found himself sinking right into it rather than being taken off guard. They remained like this for several full minutes before either had the audacity- or lack of air, rather- to break away.

Amy laid against him for a moment as he held her close to him. "That was perfect," she whispered.

"Does this mean I win?" Sonic was somehow able to keep a sweet whispering tone even as he teased.

A smile pulled at the corners of her mouth and for that lasting moment of bliss, there was nothing but perfection surrounding the two. "Yeah, Sonic. You win."