Amy's culinary skills far surpassed Tails or anyone else he knew. Living with Sonic, Tails fast learned that he either had to cook for himself or subject his poor stomach to endless fast food and frozen dinners. To Sonic's credit, he did pick up a few recipes from his worldly adventures. But not enough to satisfy Tails' palate and both of their cooking paled in comparison to Amy's knowledge.
It was a perfect day for lunch at Sonic and Amy's house. Amy drew back the curtains of a window in the dining room and soft sunlight welcomed itself in. As Tails took a seat at the four-side table, Cream sat across from him. Sonic was in between, his back to the sun and heat seeming to rise off his body. He played with the golden wedding band on his finger.
"So how are things?" Tails asked. Amy busied herself in the kitchen, ladling the food into bowls.
"Fine," Sonic said, staring straight ahead at Amy. She brought the food in: vegetable soup and a hunk of bread dipped in it. She served Sonic a dirty look with his and left a side dish of spicy tension on her way back to the kitchen.
Cream blew on her soup and glanced at Tails. She had caught on as well. "Anything new happen?"
"Nope." Sonic grabbed his bread and attacked the soup with it, splashing vegetable chunks onto the table. He grumbled and wiped up the mess with a napkin.
Amy returned with a pitcher of water. "Sorry, we're all out of juice. I forgot to get some at the store. Water okay?"
"Yes, that's fine," Cream said. Tails worried about the stink eye Sonic gave Amy.
When she poured Sonic's glass, Amy started to hand it to him. Then she pulled away set it in the center of the table instead. "On second thought, I don't think you can handle it." The glare lasted longer than Tails cared for. All he could figure was that they were having a fight.
Sonic pushed away from the table and walked off to the bedroom. "Where are you going? It's going to get cold."
"Oh, it's plenty cold already," he said. Amy puffed her reddened cheeks, but as Tails expected, she sat down, clenching her hair.
Cream patted her shoulder. "Amy, is something wrong?"
"It's nothing," she said. Tails waited. One. Two. Three. "He's just so," she groaned loudly, "infuriating sometimes!" Cream eyed Tails briefly and he nodded a little. She returned it and continued to hold Amy's attention while he slipped into the hallway.
He found Sonic in the room at the end of the hall, sitting on a large bed. The blue hedgehog was fiddling with a plastic monitor of Tails' own design. The speaker was extremely sensitive and picked up the tiniest sounds. Sonic adjusted it and a scratchy snore emerged from the rest of the static. He grinned and set the monitor on the nightstand beside the bed.
Tails shut the door after he entered. "And today's fight is about?" Sonic kept watch of the monitor. "Again?"
"You still won't do it?" Tails sat next to him.
"I tried last week. I really did. But it was too much."
Tails rolled his eyes. "Since when is 'too much' ever part of Sonic the Hedgehog's vocabulary?" He paused, sighing. "How bad did the fight get?"
"Bad enough that she and I aren't talking much." Sonic flopped back and wiped his face. "I don't know what to do."
"Getting used to it yourself might help," Tails said. "Experience it so that it doesn't bother you rather than leaning over the sink, soaping up one area, and washing it off quickly like it's acid. This water thing is really getting in the way of a lot."
"Hey, you don't realize how bad it can get," Sonic said, stretching and putting his hands behind his head. "I have a system."
"Yes, bathe like you're afraid of the tiniest touch." Tails held a trembling hand up to his own arm, pretended to scrub it, then splashed imaginary water over it and wiped the spot down on the bed. "About like that?"
Sonic smirked. "You have me down to a t."
"Cause I grew up with you bathing like that. And while I'm sure it's a laugh for Amy, too, it won't help you."
"You know, she actually did try to help me overcome my fear."
Tails perked up. "Oh, yeah? How?"
"With her hammer."
He raised an eyebrow. "Bathe like a normal person or suffer the almighty hammer?"
Sonic shook his head. "Not quite. She suggested I lather up first, head to toe, then step in the shower. I did and she knocked me out, turned the shower on, and left me there for a few minutes to let the soap wash off. When I woke up, I was clean and partly dry—Stop laughing."
"I'm not laughing."
His eyes dropped halfway to a deadpan. "Yes, you are."
"Yes, I am," Tails said, releasing his cheek held between his teeth. He burst out into guffaws and rolled onto his side.
"I'll give you something to laugh about!" Sonic reached over and dug into Tails' ribs. He tickled the exact spot that sent Tails into a hysterical fit, wheezing and laughing louder. Although now roughly the same height as his brother, the kistune still squealed like a little kid. He kicked his feet, trying to bounce away from Sonic. But the hedgehog pinned him and kept at it until he was satisfied.
When Tails was free, he wiped the tears from his eyes. A few airy chuckles escaped as he sat back up. "Well," he started, forcing the last bit of laughter out, "did the hammer end up helping you?"
"Not really. I woke up choking a little on the water. Some got up my nose, too." He dropped his head onto his fists. "I'm trying to beat this water thing. Honest, I am. I hate it, too. It's just so hard. Then this morning, Amy asks me to give the bath while she runs errands. I offered to run the errands instead, but she insisted she would rather do it."
"Did you at least try this morning?" Tails asked.
He sighed heavily. "No."
Tails patted his back. "Sonic, you have to at least try. For Amy. For yourself." The snoring on the monitor broke and changed to a babbling gurgle. "And for him. Facing your fear is what true courage is."
"Don't make this sappy," he said wryly, but nodded all the same. "I know. You're right. Amy does a lot around here and I try to help out." He hopped to his feet, raising a fist in an empowering pose. "I'm Sonic the Hedgehog. I can do this." He nodded, as if psyching himself up for the challenge at hand.
"Besides," Tails added, "he's just a baby. How much of a mess can he make?"
The gurgling on the monitor rose into constant crying. Sonic opened the door and grimaced. "You'd be surprised."
In the hall, they ran into Amy and Cream in front of the nursery. Sonic slipped in first and the others followed, turning on the lights. The blue hedgehog leaned over the white crib in the corner, speaking softly. "Hey, little guy. Ssh, it's okay." He picked up the tiny bundle of purple, holding the little hedgehog in his arms. The baby cooed and grasped at Sonic's chest, putting his mouth on it and leaving spots of drool.
"Who's ready for their bath?" Amy asked brightly, bending down and sticking a finger into the baby's hands. He latched onto her finger and suckled on it, biting down with his gums.
"I'll do it, Ames," Sonic said.
She looked up. "You sure?"
Tails and Cream decided to leave the nursery for the moment. He did catch Sonic say, "Yeah, I'm sure. Look, I'm sorry about before."
Once at the end of the hall, Tails and Cream stopped. She held his hand and squeezed it, congratulating him. He smiled and returned the praise.
Soon, Amy and Sonic came out and she handed him a couple of towels and washcloths. Sonic stared while she filled up the tub in the bathroom. A cloud of dread hung above him. He looked to Tails and straightened. When Amy finished, his face tightened and his limbs moved robotically, carrying him stiffly to the bathroom. "Da-da-da-da," the baby babbled as Sonic took him into the bathroom and shut the door.
"Are you guys still hungry?" Amy asked. "I made some dessert. Chocolate cake."
"I'm pretty full," Cream said. "But could I take a piece home for Cheese?"
"Sure. And you, Tails?"
Cake sounded good. "Yeah, I'd like some, please."
Before they even moved, Sonic started shouting. "No, no! Hold still! Don't—!" Then there was a harsh yelp and a rumbling whump! A loud scraping noise followed, like porcelain pieces rubbing together. Throughout it all, there was a constant buzzing like a power tool, and water splashed around, smacking tile, the door, the wall, and every angle it could.
When it finished, all they heard was the baby sniffling and Sonic groaning. "Da-da-da-da."
Amy knocked on the door. "Sonic?" She turned the doorknob with a trembling hand and gasped as it creaked open. Tails and Cream joined her.
Inside, water dripped from the ceiling, more slid off the sink cabinets and mirror, and the floor was especially slick with suds. In the bathtub, the baby was holding onto the side. He peered down at his father, who lay beside the toilet, rubbing his forehead. Sonic spat out a mouthful of water and gulped down air, raising his head to glare unfocused at Tails. " 'How much of a mess can he make?' There's your answer," he said, water dribbling down his chin.
Tails shrugged sheepishly. "Enough to rival a flood apparently."
Sonic chuckled and coughed. "He," Sonic muttered as Amy helped him up, "still hates the water."
"Wonder where he gets that from," Amy said, smirking. "Did you soap him up beforehand?"
He nodded. "Yeah." He lifted the baby out of the bathtub and handed him to Amy.
"Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma." Amy had to brush her bangs back as he tried to tug on them.
"Saved me a shower this time," she said, giggling while Sonic squeezed water out of his quills.
"I can fix that," he said, bending onto all fours.
"Don't you dare!" It was too late. Sonic shook himself off like a dog, spraying misty drops onto Amy. Tails embraced Cream and shielded her from the water. When he finished by whipping the last bit off his tail, Sonic stood and laughed at Amy, her dress and quills soaked fully.
She bared her teeth and handed the baby to Tails. Amy grabbed the shower head, turning the water on full blast. Then she sprayed Sonic. He put out his hands and closed his eyes, sputtering. Tails hurriedly escorted Cream out of the bathroom as Sonic wrestled the shower head away from Amy. He stuck the end down the back of her dress and a fat geyser bubbled out underneath her arm. She shrieked and they laughed, continuing to fight for control of the shower head.
"Like parents, like son," Tails said from outside. The baby giggled and clapped his hands.
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