It was late in the evening when Sonic the Hedgehog walked through Amy Rose's apartment door, having taken up residence with the coral hedgehog after declaring themselves a couple. Quietly, the cobalt hedgehog stepped into the dimly lit den, carefully shutting the door behind him. No doubt Amy had already retired for the evening, as she was usually the first to do so. Sonic sighed with relief, grateful that he did not have to face the pink hedgehog. In truth, he was not eager to speak with anyone, and had made a point of avoiding those he was closely associated with for the past several days. To most, it seemed that Sonic had simply dropped off of the face of Mobius. To Amy, however, his reasons were more clear. He was running...
Since their return from the Darkship, Sonic had become uncharacteristically antisocial. Rather than spend time with his friends, who needed his company now more than ever before, he would depart on long sojourns across the continent, the latest being the longest one yet. Returning after nearly five days of absence, the hedgehog hoped to rest and recover before setting out on his next venture.
Pacing into the conjoined kitchen, Sonic opened the pantry, pulling from the back an unopened can of premade chili con carne and setting it on the counter. He then made his way over to the refrigerator and opened the door, hoping to find some uncooked franks on ice. Locating the desired meat byproduct, the hedgehog bent down to retrieve them. Shutting the refrigerator, Sonic was startled to see Amy standing directly behind the door, letting out a startled yelp as he leapt into the air. Placing a hand on his chest he caught his breath, speaking sharply to his girlfriend.
"Amy, don't sneak up on me like that! You're going to give me a heart attack!"
"Where on Mobius have you been, Sonic?" Amy spoke sternly, her tired eyes narrowing at blue speedster, "No one's been able to find you in days!"
"I wasn't gone that long!" Argued the hedgehog, tossing the cold pack of hotdogs onto the counter, "No need to freak out!"
"Five days, Sonic!" Amy snapped back angrily, "You've been gone for five days!"
"Really?" Sonic asked, seeming genuinely surprised, though not at all concerned by Amy's statement, "I guess I just lost track of time..."
"Lost track of--" The female hedgehog sputtered, fuming at Sonic's cavalier disregard for her concern, "THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE WHO NEED YOU, SONIC! Are you telling me you just forgot about all of us here!?"
"No, I--" hesitated the hedgehog, hoping to deflect the question. Frowning, Sonic quickly turned away, walking over to the counter as he began to prepare his dinner, "Can we talk about this tomorrow? I'm really tired."
"No, we can talk about this now!" Amy demanded, marching around the counter to again face the hedgehog, "By tomorrow, you'll be gone again! You did the same thing last time! You can't avoid me forever!"
"There's nothing to talk about!" Sonic brushed her off, "I'm just not feeling talkative lately, that's all!"
"Don't lie to me, Nikkie Maurice Parlouzer!" Amy rebutted, the sharp use of Sonic's full name catching the hedgehog's attention, "When was the last time you went to visit Tails?"
Sonic fell quiet, shifting his weight nervously as he turned his head from the pink hedgehog. A long silence fell between the pair, as the cobalt speedster anxiously scratched at the quills on the back of his head. "Can't have been that long ago, right?" He murmured under his breath.
"A month, Sonic," Amy answered for him, "it's been a month..."
"A month?" The hedgehog repeated distantly, returning to the preparation of of his meal, "Huh, guess I'll drop by tomorrow or something..."
"You said that last time!" The pink hedgehog recounted, "Why do you keep putting it off? He really needs you, you know."
"What am I supposed to do?" Sonic demanded suddenly, slamming the tin can down on he table, "I don't—this isn't something I've dealt with before! I don't know what I'm supposed to say!"
"What--" Amy asked hesitantly, stumbling over her words, "you don't HAVE to say anything! He's not looking for a fix, he's looking for a friend!"
"Look, the last time I tried to 'help' when Cosmo was gone, Tails tried to off himself," recalled the hedgehog, his voice laced with bitterness, "I can't deal with that again..."
"This is nothing like what happened before!" Amy raising her voice slightly, "Cosmo's not dead! Tails can't leave the house because he's too busy taking care of her! He's all by himself! It won't kill you to be company for a few hours! You don't have a job, you don't have obligations, so there's no reason you can't visit now and then!"
"Yeah but--" Sonic continued to object, shifting his feet awkwardly, as though holding something back, "I just don't know if I can talk about—y'know..."
"What?" Amy pried, tilting her head to the side in confusion, "Talk about what?"
"The whole thing that happened to Cosmo," Sonic finished, his cheeks turning a slight shade of pink at the thought, "it's just weird, y'know?"
Amy was silent, finding herself dumbstruck by the hedgehog's apparently insensitive remark toward her crippled friend. All the while, Sonic stared back at her, apparently oblivious as the pink hedgehog began to seethe. "Are you serious right now?" She finally spoke, "You're telling me that you're avoiding Tails because you're embarrassed about what happened to Cosmo?"
"I mean, when you say it that way, it sounds terrible!" Sonic replied, "Sure I feel bad for her but—it's all in her head, right? None of it really happened, and talking about it is just depressing! If I go over there, that's what Tails will want to talk about! I just don't want to make a huge deal of it, y'know?"
"Seriously!?" Amy shrieked, her eyebrows arching into a sharp "V" as she clenched her fists, "Of course it happened, you blue idiot! In the head or not, Cosmo's suffering—and so is Tails! Ignoring it won't make it go away!"
"So what? Am I supposed to go and be depressed with him? What good is that going to do?"
"You're supposed to be sympathetic!" Amy shot back, "We don't all have it as easy as you do, Sonic! You come and go as you please, you have no job, no obligations, you've got it pretty darn good, mister! Tails, though, he works, he takes care of Cosmo, and he does it all by himself with no help! All he has at the end of the day is her! He needs us, you, now more than ever! For once, can you think about what's best for other people instead of what's fun for you?"
"For once!?" Sonic raised his voice to match Amy's, enraged by her comment, "Was I thinking about myself when I took a lonely fox-kid off the street!? All that time I took care of him because he didn't have ANYBODY—was I thinking about myself then!?"
"I don't know, Sonic, were you?" Amy spoke coldly, her voice heavy with implication.
"What's that supposed to mean?" Sonic asked quickly, "If you want to say something, just say it!"
"Oh, come on, Sonic, think about it!" Amy snapped, "Tails has always played second fiddle to you! No matter what, it's always been about the great 'Sonic the Hedgehog'! Any time you two save the world, or stop a disaster, who gets the credit? You! No matter how much he helps, he's sill your 'sidekick'! Even when we got back from space, after he and Cosmo saved the entire galaxy, he still let you have the praise!"
"Well--" hesitated the hedgehog, frowning as he thought on her statement heavily, "he's never seemed to have a problem with it..."
"Of course he doesn't!" Amy interjected, "Tails is more than happy to let you have the spotlight! He practically worships you, Sonic! You're his hero!"
"What does this have to do with me not visiting him? Are you trying to guilt-trip me?"
"I'm trying to make you see!" Amy continued, "You've got the most dedicated fan that ever existed! He's always been there, no matter what! How do you think it makes him feel when, after everything he's done for you, you can't spare a few minutes a day to talk to him when he needs it the most?"
Sonic opened his mouth, ready to fire back at Amy. This time, however, he found himself stricken of words. In spite of her shrewd approach, he could not deny that Amy had a valid point. After the events on the Darkship, Sonic had become progressively more uncomfortable around Tails, finding it difficult to reconcile what had become of Cosmo. The idea that a minor could have such a terrible thing forced upon her was something he simply could not wrap his mind around. It was not that he blamed Cosmo, per se, rather what went on in her mind that turned his stomach. Such a thing was nearly unheard of in the idealistic society of the Mobian World Government. Merely thinking about it was enough to make him feel unclean. Thus, he avoided the subject matter entirely by avoiding Tails and his victim fiance. Perhaps Amy was right, though. Perhaps in keeping his distance, he had in fact isolated his best friend. It was he, after all, who was suffering the most.
Sighing heavily, the blue hedgehog rubbed his forehead, letting out a frustrated groan. "I guess, maybe, I got a little too weirded out by it?" He murmured.
"It's not Cosmo's fault..." Amy replied, "Next to her, no one has it worse right now than Tails. Those two have been through a heck of a lot, Sonic. They could use your support."
"I'll go by tomorrow," the hedgehog replied with a nod, "and I mean it this time."
"Good," Amy said, finally casting the hedgehog a tired smile, "I'm counting on it!"
Turning, the pink hedgehog began to make her way back to her bedroom, yawning as she passed through the living area. Before she could make it, however, Sonic quickly called out to her, bringing her to a sudden stop.
"Yes, Sonikku?" She cooed softly, turning her head to meet his gaze again.
"Do you think I'm... selfish?" He asked.
Amy stared vacantly at Sonic, who could practically see the gears turning in her head. This made him nervous. Expecting an immediate, thoughtless "no", Amy's silence told a different story. After a moment, she finally spoke, her words soft and delicate.
"I don't think you try to be," she spoke cautiously, "nobody's perfect, though..."
Before he could respond, she turned and re-entered her room, shutting the door behind her, leaving the hedgehog staring after her in the dark apartment...