Amy had a big problem.
No, big did not describe it. Big was forgetting to pay her electric bill. Big was an oncoming storm as she rushed home with groceries. This was humongous.
She had no idea what to buy Sonic for Christmas.
It was already Christmas Eve. She had arrived at the mall later than she would have liked. The sun had already set, so she was short on time since the mall would close earlier. She blamed the grocery store for not having the right ingredients. So Amy had had to run all over town finding the right cake mix so she would have everything she needed for her Christmas party tomorrow.
She stamped the snow off her thick, red boots as she entered the mall. The toasty heat inside staved off the harsh cold outside. Amy unbuttoned her red coat, allowing it to hang open. But there was no time to waste. She had a mission and she needed to hurry.
Which store do I visit first? she asked herself. The entire month, she had been to every mall and shopping center available when she had time. She had found presents for every person except her blue crush. Sonic was not easy to shop for. Besides a chili dog, running, and alone time, there was not much he ever wanted. He had no need for new shoes and he still had the red scarf she had made for him last year. She had been giddy when she discovered that he had it and wore it this year. It had prompted a series of proposals for dates from the pink hedgehog, which he had declined as usual. He could be so difficult at times. One minute he could make Amy think he cared about her and the next, he was aloof about her feelings. It drove her crazy.
No time for that, Amy thought. First things first. The present. Again, she was at a loss. She wanted it to be perfect. Something that when Sonic unwrapped it at her Christmas party tomorrow, his eyes would light up and he would declare his hidden love for her then and there. Maybe she could give him the gift in private so he would be more willing to open up to her and-
Amy shook her head. Present. She would think about tomorrow later. Right now, she needed to find a good store. One in particular that dealt in all manner of goods caught her eye. The windows advertised kitchen appliances, clothing sales, and a host of other stock. Perhaps there was something among all those that Sonic would enjoy.
As she walked closer to the door, she saw a figure standing by the entrance. A blue figure, rubbing his chin with his other hand on his hip. He looked deep in thought.
Is that who I think it is?
Is that who I think it is?
Knuckles peered out of the bushes. The fading light in the distance cast everything into an indistinct shadow, but he was sure of the bat wings on the flying object above. As the aerial mass passed over the glowing Master Emerald, he pressed the button on the control pad. Faint, pale blue lines sizzled around the emerald.
The flying person landed several yards away from the emerald's altar. From his angle, Knuckles could make out her features. She had bundled warmer, like he had, in snow shoes, scarf, and jacket. Whereas his clothing was shades of red and orange that blended into his scarlet fur, hers was varying colors of purple and violet. She removed her hat and bundled it in her gloved hands. Knuckles clamped his orange earmuffs tighter on his head.
"My, my, my," she said. "All alone out here tonight, sweetheart?" The sun's beams hit the Master Emerald just right, creating colorful prisms. Her eyes seemed to sparkle, but she took care to check each step. She shuffled around the snow underfoot and searched the vicinity for anything suspicious. "I'll take care of that. Don't you worry."
Knuckles rolled his eyes. Who had ever heard of talking like that to a gem? Then again, it was not an ordinary gem. And, as his intruder had pointed out before, he spent his whole life around the Master Emerald, so he had no room to talk. He had to concede that she had a point there.
Also, he could not help, but find something endearing about that happy expression on her face. Usually, she was frustratingly coquettish or downright upset. At the moment, she was pleased and looked rather cute.
That ended soon enough when she reached the top of the altar steps. The intruder stretched out her hand to touch the emerald and zap! The pale blue lines returned, shocking her. The electrical power blew her backwards into the heavy-layered snow. Knuckles felt a little guilty ending that delighted display and was worried that she might really be hurt. But when she stood up, he saw that she was fine.
The moon had fully taken its duty for the night and highlighted the snow intermixed with her white fur. Her large ears twitched irritably and her blue-green eyes scanned the area for Knuckles. He was too busy celebrating in the bushes, kissing the control pad. He would have to thank Tails for the invention later.
The intruder walked up to the base of the Master Emerald and examined it. She found the ring he had set up quicker than he had liked. The pieces had been black and he had been careful to hide them in the darker areas. "Very cute, Knuckles," she said, shoving her hat back on. "Very cute. Now where are you?"
He stifled his breathing as she took off into the air. She flew out of his sight. Knuckles contemplated leaving his bush. He did not want her to get the drop on him unprepared. Then again, she shouldn't be able to see me, he told himself. So he waited.
A minute passed. No sign of the bat. Three minutes. Knuckles squirmed. Five minutes. Where was she? There was no way she would leave. Not that easily. What was her angle?
"Hi there, Knuckie," a sultry voice whispered in his ear. Knuckles jumped out of the bushes. He crashed face-first into a snow bank. He yelped, his head freezing. As he pulled himself out, he heard the woman laughing. "Oh you're too easy." He growled. "C'mon. You have to admit it was kind of funny."
"Loads," Knuckles said, brushing the dirt off. "You're a riot, Rouge."
"I owed you after your little stunt. Tails' invention I assume?" she said. Then she looked back at the bushes. Something had caught her eye.
What is it? What's in there?
What is it? What's in there?
Sonic had been staring at the store entrance, not even acknowledging Amy's run to him. His long scarf was wrapped snuggly around his neck, much to Amy's delight. There had to be an item holding his attention inside, but she could not see it. What is it? she asked herself. Was it a present he was planning to purchase? She stopped at his side.
"Sonic!" she squealed. His head spun and he immediately dropped to a firm stance. Arms blocking his neck, foot position wide, and eyes shut: all preparation for an expected hug. However, Amy resisted squeezing him to death, restraining herself to firm rather than life-threatening. He exhaled, dropping his arms, and somewhat returned the embrace.
"Doing some last-minute Christmas shopping?" she asked when they broke apart.
"Yeah," he said. He looked at the store and then her again. "You?"
"Yeah," she said. "Why don't we shop together?" Amy figured that Sonic was easy enough to distract. If she found a gift, she could slip away and buy it without him noticing.
He scratched his head. "Er, I don't know."
"Why? Are you shopping for me?" Amy decided to have a little fun with him. She placed her hands on her hips. "Sonic, are you telling me you haven't bought me a Christmas present yet?"
"Maybe I have, maybe I haven't," he said.
"Well, you know there's always something else you could get me if you don't have any ideas," Amy said, leaning a little closer. She lowered her eyelids and stared into his shockingly bright green eyes.
"I could be buying things for someone else. So a date and a gift would be unfair to everyone else."
"It would if you would accept it sometime," Amy mumbled under her breath. "Or a kiss would be nice." That reminded her that she had to set-up mistletoe at home. Preferably on every square inch of the ceiling.
"What about you?" Her eyes must have widened, for he grinned and pressed the attack. He placed his hands on his hips and leaned in close. "Amy, are you telling me you haven't bought me a Christmas present yet?" he asked, imitating her.
"Maybe I have, maybe I haven't," she said. "I might be browsing for extra presents for someone else. Alright, I'll leave you to your shopping. Maybe we can catch up afterward."
He nodded. They entered the store together and split off at a fork. Amy glanced over her shoulder, determining what section he was heading towards. He disappeared from sight before she could pinpoint any particular area. Amy returned to her own task, renewed to find the perfect gift for Sonic. Something that would at least match his present for her. She again wondered what he had been staring at outside.
What could it be?
What could it be?
Rouge walked over to the bush. What could she be staring at? he wondered. Knuckles realized his hand was empty, and then what she was looking at. He jumped up, taking off for the bush. He sped by the bat and retrieved the remote. He brushed the snow off the shell. Thankfully, it appeared undamaged.
"I take it that controls your electric fence?" Rouge asked. Knuckles did not answer. She sauntered closer. "I'm going to be needing that remote, Knuckie."
"Try and take it then," Knuckles said, beckoning her. He tucked the remote in his dreadlocks and crouched into a fighting pose. His held his hands in front of his face, his spiked gloves peppered in snow.
Rouge followed suit. She was the first to attack. She launched into the air without warning. She flipped and brought her long leg down onto his head. Knuckles' used his arms to block the blow. Then he took a swipe at her. Rouge used her wings to back out of harm's way.
Knuckles soared through the air and punched. One, two, three times she dodged. The third time, she blew a kiss and kicked him in the side. She went for a roundhouse kick to his cheek. He managed to put up his arm to block the attack. She smacked him across the face and punched his gut.
Rouge ducked and swept his feet. Knuckles jumped over her leg and swung at her midsection. He avoided hitting with his spikes and connected. Rouge grunted and her body flung into the snow. He was on her as soon as she stood up. He grabbed her by her head and tried to fling her away. Rouge held onto his dreadlocks tightly. "Ow, ow, ow! Not the dreads!" Knuckles cried. He smacked her hand away and threw her.
She landed a good distance away in the snow. In the process, his earmuffs and her hat had fallen off. Rouge picked herself up, staying bent over. Her hands on her knees, she groaned. "You give up?" Knuckles asked.
Her groans morphed into amused chuckles. "Now why would I do that?" She held up her hand, the remote firmly in her grasp.
Knuckles reached for his head, unable to believe she had stolen it. When he could not find anything in his dreadlocks, he roared. "Give it back!"
"You didn't say please," Rouge said, waggling a finger. She pointed the remote at the altar and pressed a button. The electric fence crackled in the air and disappeared. "If you'll excuse me," she said, gliding for the emerald.
Knuckles jumped for Rouge and tackled her to the ground. He reached for the remote. She struggled against him, but he snatched the remote out of her hands. Knuckles turned the fence back on.
Not this time.
Not this time.
Amy sighed. There had not been one single thing good enough at the store. Plenty of worthy competitors, sure, but nothing that screamed Sonic's name. Nothing that would unleash his love and devotion hidden inside.
On the bright side, she had bought a cute dress for Cream- blue laced in orange, if only to give the little rabbit a change from orange trimmed in blue. Amy had picked out a new bowtie for Cheese as well. She took some comfort from the bag in her hand, but was downtrodden about having nothing for Sonic.
Speaking of which, Amy thought as Sonic rounded a corner. He was dragging his feet toward the entrance. His brow was knitted and he frowned at his own shopping bag. When he saw Amy, his sour face vanished and he smiled good-naturedly. "Hey Ames," he said. He eyed her bag. His smiled wavered ever so slightly. "Find a present for me?" he asked teasingly.
She held the bag behind her back. "Maybe," she said, drawing out the word. "Did you find one for me?"
"Maybe," he said, shrugging. "You'll just have to wait until tomorrow. I'd better get going. Have to make some more stops around here."
"Me too," Amy said. They parted ways at the exit, Amy briskly walking toward another row of stores. She chewed her lip, looking over each one in turn. There had to be something in the mall for Sonic.
Passing over boutiques and salons, she eyed an electronic shop at the end of her chosen row. Flashy cameras and televisions sat next to bold signs advertising- what the signs called- outrageous deals. Maybe a camera would suit Sonic. After all, he was always globe-trotting day in and day out. Surely he might want to take pictures of his visits or of spectacular things he would see.
Amy headed inside, at a loss when she saw the shelves of cameras. Black, white, and gray models all sat perched on the edge, waiting to be tested. Some featured video recording capabilities, other excelled in picture quality, and then some used jargon only a photographer would appreciate to sell the product.
This will take longer than I thought.
This will take longer than I thought.
Knuckles had hoped the fence would deter Rouge the first time. He had hoped he could have a nice, quiet evening at home. But his hopes had been shattered like his ribs were at the moment as Rouge brought a knee to his side.
He reeled back, rubbing the spot. If he was truly honest, he had secretly hoped to see Rouge. All the hustle and bustle of the holidays had left her too busy, finishing up work with G.U.N. before she could have some time off for Christmas. Since Knuckles had not planned to see anyone in the near future, the fact that Rouge had come to him brightened his spirit.
Rouge stood up, her scarf falling off in the process. She jutted out her lower lip, pouting and moving closer to him. "C'mon now. Just let me have the Master Emerald. Think of it as a Christmas present," she said, winking.
He smirked, pulling off his scarf. It had come loose and would continue to do so, getting in his way. "Who says I haven't gotten you one already?"
Rouge smiled. "Really? So you do care." She cast a look over at the emerald. "But I think I've been good enough this year to deserve two. Ask Santa."
"You must've been reading the wrong list," Knuckles said, circling around her to stand in front of the altar.
"Perhaps I have been a little naughty," she said, eyes flitting between him and the emerald. "But you like the naughty ones, don't you?" Rouge rushed him, sliding between his legs. She hopped up and kicked his back. Knuckles flew forward into the snow and Rouge snatched the remote out of his hand. "Thank you!" she said in a sing-song voice.
He heard the buzz of the fence shutting down once more. He reached out, latching onto Rouge's ankle and tripped her. Once again, they struggled for the remote. Each threw punches that missed or tried to yank the remote away. Knuckles tightened his grip on part of the remote. His vice-like hold was matched by hers and they tugged and tugged.
Crack! Knuckles and Rouge stopped and looked down at their hands. The remote had split in two. Snapped wires hung out of its shell, the torn intestines crackling until the remote lived no more.
Great. Just my luck.
Great. Just my luck.
Of course every camera would not be right. The ones within Amy's price range all had some fatal flaw that was not right for Sonic. Either they could not handle extreme temperatures or they had a short battery life or they had to be cleaned constantly. All of that did not fit into Sonic's always on the move, never stopping lifestyle. The cameras that could handle his care and more were outrageous like the sign said. Outrageously expensive, Amy huffed.
However, she had found a tool in the electronic store that Tails had been yearning for. It was lucky that he had bemoaned his desire aloud, mentioning the device by name so many times when he needed it.
As she left the store wondering where to go next, she spotted Sonic again. He was walking out of one of the salons. That was odd enough in and of itself since she had never figured him to visit one. But what perplexed Amy even more was the second bag he had. It was larger than the first. Had he bought her something large and expensive in the salon? She had to find out. Her gift of choice to him depended on it.
She siddled up next to him as he was checking the contents of his bags, grimacing. "Hey," she said, surprising him once more. When he jumped back, she giggled. "You're really not on the ball today, huh?"
"Oh, hey," he said, folding the tops of the bags closed. "No, er, yes. I've been distracted, you know?" He was staring at her paltry bag holding Tails' tool. Did he think it was something for him? Amy debated whether she should correct him or not. On one hand, he might believe it was an expensive item of the highest quality. But then again, he might think she had bought him a token present, showing that she did not care what she gave him. However, if she told him that it was for Tails, she would lose her hand in their little game, but at least she would not mislead him into believing she did not care. She needed to play her cards carefully.
Before she had a chance to choose, he dashed off, bags swinging on his arms. "Sorry, Ames! Gotta hurry!" Amy was bewildered by his sudden leave. What had Sonic so excited?
Then she saw. In the center of the mall, visible from any point, was a towering clock. It was fashioned in a historic style, much like an old colonial clock that stood head and shoulders above any store. But at the moment, Amy was not taken aback by its size, structure, or style, but its reading. "Eight-ten!" she gasped. The mall would close within the hour.
Amy frantically ran to another section, her eyes scanning for anything to buy Sonic. Furniture? He stays with Tails. Candy? Sonic doesn't have that bad of a sweet tooth. A book? No, but maybe there's one for me to tell me what to get him!
She eventually slowed down, running out of breath. She leaned against a bench. Think, Amy. Think, she ordered her mind. What would Sonic like?
Then she lifted her head. Across the way was a sports store. Full-pictured ads of people running and playing basketball stood out front. Amy had already written off purchasing new shoes for Sonic when she first arrived, but desperation drove her inside. She may not buy shoes, but at the moment, the sports store was a better choice than many others. Please let there be something. Please, please. She could almost hear the clock in the mall center, the minutes ticking away as she strode down aisle after aisle.
Have to hurry!
Have to hurry!
Knuckles tried to restrain Rouge, but she delivered several swift kicks to his side. He groaned, rolling off her. He could feel his ribs throbbing. However, there was no time to tend to his pain. Rouge was streaking for the Master Emerald. He could not allow her to reach it.
He jumped for all his worth, fists outstretched. One of his gloves collided into Rouge's shoulder. She yelped, stumbling to the side as Knuckles continued his assault. A jab to the ribs. Dodge the kick. An uppercut that missed her. He ducked under a swing that barely clipped his scalp.
She grabbed his head, trying to knee his nose. He turned his face so that his cheek was smashed instead. It was incredibly sore and he hoped she had not broken his teeth. There was no time to check. She was running for the Master Emerald again.
He ran to the top, reaching the enormous gem at the same time she did. She threw a punch. Knuckles blocked it and returned one his own. Rouge sidestepped his fist. Back and forth, around the gem they fought. Each hook and jab was traded for another. Round and round they circled, the battle stretching on for who knew how long. To Knuckles, it seemed like hours.
He spotted an opening. Below her chin, on the shoulder. The shot would leave him open. Knuckles risked it and threw a hard punch. From the corner of his eye, he saw Rouge go for his gut. Then she cried. He hissed as her foot connected. They both toppled off the altar. He hit the snow, and she landed on top of him.
They were too weary to move. Knuckles could hardly form a conscious thought.
So much for that.
So much for that.
Amy had not expected to find anything for Sonic, but she was no less disappointed. She had picked up some gloves for Shadow and training equipment for Knuckles. Yet as she hefted the new over-sized bag along, she sensed her patience slipping away. This is ridiculous, she thought. There was not one store in the entire mall that had the perfect gift for Sonic.
Speaking of which, the blue hedgehog was walking around outside the sports store. He paused when he saw Amy. She counted a third bag on his person, smaller in size like the one she had after buying Tails' gift. He was eyeing her larger one and again Amy wondered if she should tell him the truth or let him think what he wanted, since the contents were none of his business.
"We've got to stop meeting like this," Sonic said, his gaze returning to the large bag every few seconds. "How's your shopping been?"
"I've found a few things," Amy said, swinging her merchandise teasingly. "What about you?"
"Same." He looked at the clock, as did Amy. Twenty minutes until the mall closed. "I'll catch up with you later. I have to finish up."
"Me too," she said. They ran off, but Amy had no idea where to go. She had exhausted every option, emptied her barrel of ideas, and was at a complete loss. There was less than twenty minutes to accomplish what she had been striving to finish all month. She sat down on a nearby bench, lamenting her predicament.
"Oh, I could really use a miracle about now," she said, moaning into her hands. Maybe a Christmas miracle would happen like in the endings to all those sappy specials she enjoyed watching.
"Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!" Amy whipped her head up. She turned around and saw a robed angel, standing at the entrance of one of the businesses. Next to him was a nativity scene, complete with wooden, painted cutouts of all the major characters: shepherds on one end, wise men on the other, all bowing to a fake baby Jesus in the manger while Mary, Joseph, and the animals all knelt, watching in awe. Flanking the entrance were two silver Christmas trees. Further inside, Amy saw a snowman in a corner. The angel's golden halo and wings flounced around anytime he reached down to personally greet children accompanying parents. The costume had a lot of effort put into it and looked to be of the highest quality instead of cheap, cardboard wings and an obvious wire-framed halo. Although the angel waved people around him inside and occasionally pretended to talk to the humble shepherds, he was staring at the pink hedgehog.
What could checking out the store hurt? It was as good as any other after all, although Amy had never visited it before. Come to think of it, this store must be pretty new. Written in cursive above the entrance was David W. Littleton and Co. She walked by the rosy-cheeked performer, who wished her a "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays" as she entered. His twinkling blue eyes never left her until she disappeared into one of the aisles.
"Weird," she said, shaking her head.
Up and down each aisle she browsed, her spirits draining fast. The shelves held some impressive items, but nothing she felt would suit Sonic. This shopping trip had been a complete and utter disaster. An announcement echoed over the loud speakers, telling everyone there was only ten minutes left. She wanted to vent her frustrations aloud. Amy nearly kicked over one of the shelf racks, but stopped.
There. There it was. The perfect present. Sitting on the shelf her boots were aimed at, nestled snuggly in the row. She lifted it carefully, examining every inch for any nicks or scratches. There were none. Perfect. Absolutely perfect.
Knuckles was sure that he had bruises covering his body. He was also sure that his ribs would slow him down for a week. But he was more preoccupied by the warm body pressed against him. Rouge was hovering around consciousness and blacking out. He was only vaguely aware that her head was against his and that her arms were trapping his. He had to get to his feet, but the sharp pains were not making movement easy. His vision was blurry, swimming all over the place.
He shook his head. Doing so tilted Rouge's own so that his lips connected to hers. Lightly, delicately, yet connected. At least, he supposed they were her lips. His eyesight was still shaky. Whatever he tasted was soft and had a distinct flavor he was not familiar to.
The more shocking part was that Rouge kissed back. Her lips moved against his, awkwardly, sliding side to side. Was she even aware of what she was doing? He tried to call out to her, but his voice was muffled by her mouth. He eventually quit and gave into her. After all, it was not an unpleasant experience. She parted her lips, further molding her mouth against his. There was lingering peppermint that she licked across his questioning lips. An earlier candy cane treat, Knuckles believed.
Rouge pressed herself harder against him, as if trying to seal the kiss further. Knuckles reached up, stroking her cheek. She leaned into his hand, angling her mouth in the process. However, her eyes snapped open and she yanked her head away. She clutched her head, moaning about a dizzy spell, and tumbled off of him.
"Very smooth, Knuckie," she said, propping herself up on hands and knees. "You almost got me. But you'll have to try harder than that."
"What are you talking about?" He lifted himself up onto one knee. "You kissed me first."
"Whatever makes you sleep at night," Rouge said, standing up. Knuckles stood too, resuming a defensive position. "Let's stop for now. It is almost Christmas after all. Besides, I actually have something for you." She walked over to a group of bushes nearby and retrieved a present wrapped in shiny red paper.
"What's this?" Knuckles asked when she tossed him the package.
"A present. You know, the things people give each other?" Rouge said. "I heard you weren't coming to Amy's party."
"So you came up here just to give me this?" Knuckles asked.
He caught a blush hinting at her cheeks. "Of course not," she said. "That was an afterthought. I also wanted to make another go for the Master Emerald before I take a break for the holidays. So you should be free to come to the party. If you want." She shrugged, acting as if she did not care.
He held the present up, looking at it. Knuckles did not buy her excuse for a second. He was touched at her thoughtfulness to come all the way here for him. "Thanks, Rouge."
"No 'Batgirl'?" she teased. "Getting soft there, Knuckie?" Her face softened and she smiled. "You're welcome. Merry Christmas." She took off into the air.
"Wait!" Knuckles called, running after the dark shape in the sky. "I'll give you yours!"
"Bring it to Amy's party tomorrow then!" she yelled back. Then she saw gone.
Knuckles was puzzled. Why would Rouge fly all the way up there to give him her gift if she was not going to take her own? Then the answer dawned on him. "Good move, Batgirl." He spun his present around and walked back to the altar.
Amy paid for the gift and hummed a cheerful tune as she left the store. She looked for the angel, planning to wish him well, but saw no sign of him. Then a bathroom door nearby opened and an angel walked out. He adjusted his crooked halo, struggling to right the wire-frame. One of his cardboard wings was drooping and appeared a little ripped in one corner. He heaved a large sigh of relief, mumbling to himself and took position at the front of the store. He wished Amy a "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays", his sleepy grey eyes slowly taking in approaching customers.
"Where's the other one?" Amy asked.
"Who? Jerry?" The angel yawned. "He's sick. So it's been me all night."
"But there was another…" Amy trailed off, looking around.
"Hey, Ames!" Sonic derailed her train of thought. He emerged from the same store, appearing extremely pleased. "Finish your shopping?"
"Yeah," she said. "Just in time too." The clock in the mall center tolled the ninth hour. "Care to walk me home?" she asked, smiling at him.
"This 'walk' you speak of sounds strange and foreign to me," Sonic said, cocking an eyebrow. He scratched his chin, pretending to think. "Is it anything like running?"
"Sort of," Amy said, playing along. "Except it's slow and keeps your presents from getting ruined."
"Good point." He turned to the angel that wished him a "Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays". Sonic returned the seasons greeting, but stopped, squinting at the angel. "Say, wasn't there-?" he started to say, but was interrupted by an announcement.
"Attention shoppers. The mall is now closing. We thank you for shopping with us and wish you well during the holidays." The angel took that as a cue to drop his show and head into the store. He discarded his costume on one of the check-out counters and disappeared into the back. Sonic continued to stare.
"What is it?" Amy asked.
He glanced at her, then the store again. "He," he started again, but waved his hand. "Eh, nevermind." He held his hand ahead of him. "Shall we?"
They walked out to the parking lot, devoid of almost all cars. As they turned in the city's direction, Amy saw a man shuffling along under a lamp post. Or at least she assumed it was a man. He was tall, bundled himself in a coat, and had a fedora pulled low over his face. There was no car nearby that he was heading to. Amy saw a glow underneath his hat and he was smuggling something bulky underneath his coat. When he stepped out of the light, he vanished into the night. One moment he was there; the next, he was gone. No trace at all.
"Ames?" She faced Sonic and realized she had stopped walking. He followed her gaze and peered into the darkness. "What is it?"
Amy took one last look. She smiled and shook her head. Then she pulled Sonic along. "Let's go."
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