"Pillow fight!" Winter exclaimed for the hundredth time that day, appearing from literally nowhere and swinging a feathered pillow down on Amy's head.

"I don't know why I asked for this much," Amy sighed, continuing to chop vegetables for lunch. "Winter, could you see how your actions might be viewed as distracting, at all?"

"Yeah," Winter said bluntly. "I am trying to distract you from a boring chore so you can loosen up a bit and have some fun. You're the most uptight person I've ever met."

"Well, that's because I need to take care of you!" Amy exclaimed. "I appreciate that you help out with things, but you're still new to this establishment. What if something were to go wrong? You'd never know if-"

"You're worried that I'll turn on you guys again?" Winter asked, abandoning her pillow back on the sofa.

Amy's face grew as pink as her dress. "No! Of course not! I wouldn't ever-"

"It's alright, you don't have to be so freaked out. In fact, you're right to worry. It's healthy. I understand how I've been annoying recently. If you want me to move in with Sticks or something..."

"No, I like having a roommate," Amy protested. Suddenly she was feeling very guilty. How wrong of her to rat out on a girl. Just because she was in poor circumstances didn't mean that any of it was her fault. "You're right, Winter. I am too uptight. We should do something together to loosen up and relax. Wanna go to the hot springs?"

"Now you're talking!" Winter exclaimed. "I'll clear up the rest of my schedule. It's going to take a few hours to prepare, and then we'll enjoy the rest of the evening there?"

Amy sighed with content. "Finally, someone who speaks 'girl'. I'll message Sonic to pick us up something from Mehburger. See you in a few hours!"

"Wait, you're not going to play volleyball with us?" Knux asked as Winter swung out the door.

"No, I cleared my schedule so that I could go to the hot springs," Winter explained, flipping on her sunglasses. "Me and Amy are going to have a girl's day."

"And I wasn't invited?" Sticks cried out, suddenly hurt. "Not that I would have accepted, but Amy is supposed to have more faith in me! Oh, forget the garbage today. I'm comin' to the hot springs! C'mon, Kuckles, let's go." She looked left then right, then muttered under her breath. "That way nobody can conspire..."

"What's the big idea?" Sonic asked, speeding into their conversation.

"Amy didn't invite me to the girl's day at the hot springs!" Sticks pouted.

"Wait, since when did you like girly stuff like that?" Sonic asked.

"Amy can't invite Winter and not me," Sticks huffed.

"Yeah!" Knuckles added. "Amy can't invite Winter and not me!"

"Bro, if you're going, I'll go," Sonic said, suddenly piqued. "And that means we need to have Tails come, too! Bro Day at the hot springs!" Knuckles said the last sentence with him.

"How did this happen again?" Amy grumbled, wedged in between Knuckles and Sticks in the crowded plane. Tails was in the front, and Sonic and Winter had each taken a wing. Worst of all, she only had two hours to prepare, not three, so she couldn't model her Berry Dazzling nail color with her new mauve tankini.

"Just loosen up," Winter responded, shouting to be heard against the wind.

"Easy for you to say," Amy grumbled. Winter had applied a perfect coat of Tropical Glitterfest last night, and it matched perfectly with her eyes and stunning white tankini. Already before it started, her girl's day was ruined…

As was her peace and quiet. "Let's have a diving competition," Knuckles suggested to everyone upon arrival.

Amy rubbed her forehead, feeling the stress pile on despite the soothing heat. "Knux, I don't think that's such a good idea," she began. Too late, as usual.

"Ouchouchouchouch OUCH!" he exclaimed, shooting out of the water. "I think I burned my tail off!"

"This spot is good for splashing," Sticks suggested, jumping into a corner of the pool. "Hey, Tails, did you bring the volleyball? We could do water polo or something!"

"Count me in," Tails cried out, spiking the ball into the water. "Winter, go for it!"

Amy watched the chaos with a dull look in her eyes. Giving up, she decided to lounge about in a more shallow side of the pool, so she could stay far enough away to tune out, but close enough to the heat to still get a good soak. She was relaxing for a few minutes when the water splashed next to her. "Huh?" She turned to face Sonic, who took a place beside her.

"Mind if I join you?" he asked, not really caring either way.

Amy didn't mind at all, though. "Why aren't you playing around with them?" she asked, rather bluntly. She was usually jealous when his attention was directed elsewhere, but the opposite scenario had her at a loss for what to do.

"I can't swim. Not that I'd ever need to, with my speed. What about you? Why aren't you playing with them?" He was completely direct with his speech. Amy realized he had always been, but with no one around to listen, the conversation suddenly felt more intimate. Just the two of them.

"Oh, well… I just came to relax. Ease off the stress, you know?"

"That's usually why I run," Sonic admitted. "Just to see the whole world flying by- Makes me feel insignificant, but in a good way. Just another piece of the picture."

"I wish I could run like that." Amy sighed and looked down. "You don't ever get tired, do you? Running just stresses me out more."

"Well, it's a good thing we're here then, huh?" Sonic asked, his striking eyes meeting her own.

"Y-Yeah." Amy looked away, suddenly bashful. "I suppose it is."

"Cute swimsuit, by the way." He no longer faced her direction when he said that, but found sudden interest in the shoreline. "It makes your nail polish color seem brighter."

"You're right, it does!" Amy exclaimed. Berry Dazzling would have aligned nicely with the mauve, but it wasn't the same complimentary contrast as the Rainforest Wonder she currently had on. Her eyes widened, and her face turned pink again. "Did you just compliment my swimsuit?"

Sonic coughed and said no more. Thankfully he didn't have to, because a very old, worn out volleyball came sailing towards them and landed, right in front of Amy, splashing her quills. "Join the party, Amez!" Winter shouted, waving happily.

"Why don't you?" Sonic agreed, taking the ball and spinning it on a finger. "I'm sure a little game is exactly what your run-free stress needs."

"What about you?" Amy asked, taking his other hand. It wasn't a symbol of affection, but an old habit. She was usually the one to drag him into the fun.

"I'll be fine," Sonic smirked, then tossed her a wink with the volleyball. "I'm the fastest thing alive! A little bit of water isn't going to get me down. That being said, I've been feeling pretty run down, myself. I think I'm just going to relax here." He patted her shoulder, then sent her off.

"Sonic!" Amy complained, but she was smiling. He gave her a nod of encouragement, and she served the ball into the game.

Sonic sighed and rested his hands behind his head, listening to the sounds of the game. It was his first trip to the hot springs surprisingly, but he could see himself coming back. It really was relaxing, but his favorite part of the day was when Amy played rather violently and managed to score a point against Knux, even if she had slipped the rules a TINY bit.

"You like her, don't you?" Winter said beside him. Sonic had been so focused on his friend that he hadn't notice her leave the game.

"What is it to you?" Sonic asked, raising an eyebrow and pretending he wasn't startled. "It shouldn't be anything. You're just a kid."

"I'm older than she is," Winter pointed, her mouth twisting into a pout. "You can't keep using that excuse. I'm just saying, there are a lot of fish in the ocean, and Amy looks a little caught."

"What do you mean?" Sonic asked, unhappy all of a sudden. His relaxing mood was turned to another type of stress, the one that made him want to fight against everything that went wrong, everyone who didn't deserve Amy's attention.

"Are you kidding me? Can't you see how she's straight up flirting with Knux?" Winter laughed bitterly, then shook her head. "Sorry, pal. She left you for him. You might want to up your game a little bit."

Sonic's quills started to stand up, mirroring with his agitation. "Amy's in love with Knuckles? That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard."

"Okay, suit yourself," Winter backed off. "I'm going to go back to playing volleyball. Or water polo. Or whatever they're playing, because I'm not sure. But it is good to have friends like you guys. I'm surprised you've taken care of me this far."

"Surprised?" Sonic asked. "That's a terrible way to view life. We help whoever needs it."

Winter frowned before turning away. "After so long, people stop thinking it's worth it to help. But I'll see how you guys do."

Sonic frowned, and decided it was time to leave. The hot springs were getting uncomfortable. He needed to run off some stress.