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As a Rose Blooms

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Old art reloaded. <3

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Thanks to :iconjopat: the story portion of this deviation has been restored!! Send him thanks if you can!!

"As a Rose Blooms"

Written by *kiss-the-thunder.

I watched with a strange, bewildered detachment as my ladies in waiting all hurried about my room, readying themselves for my coronation. They slipped into their lavender purple dresses, helping one another with the laced up backs and making sure they were in order for the events ahead. The days of actually having ladies in waiting had died before Robotnik had taken over, around the time my mother had gone missing with my brother. Even as a little girl, the title had become an honorary title given to the dearest friends of the Queen or the Princess on special occasions.

Occasions such as today. Bunnie had been overjoyed to be Her Right Hand Lady today, much like a Matron of Honor at a marriage, it meant that the two of us could once again prove to each other just how deep our friendship ran. The rabbit had quickly taken to garment detailing and being in charge of taking care of hair styles, her personal specialty. One day, when the war is over, I know she'll be able to pursue her dream and share her talent with all of Mobius!

Even now, I watch her gently but purposefully combing Mina's hair up into a lovely perch upon her head, where the myriads of curls that had been setting are unleashed into a gentle tumble of lavender ringlets that almost perfectly match her gown. The mongoose herself is blushing under her dainty and modestly applied make-up, obviously still unused to being fussed over despite her stardom. He and Bunnie looked to be making quick friends now that they've been given opportunity.

She had been so happy to be counted among the girls I chose to be by my side today. Despite what many had thought, the only thing that came between her and I ever developing a friendship deeper than acquaintances, was not Sonic, but just time and scheduling. I was busy and in a time of deep self-discovery, as was she. Additionally, her talent for voice was being discovered and she was quickly becoming a sensation. Our paths just rarely crossed and too much was going on for both of us to really say, "I never really tried to get to know her, maybe I should try it now."

I sigh to myself. No, Mina and I had never just had an opportunity to expand beyond just knowing of each other. I was happy that she was excited to be another of my ladies tonight. We had already been able to spend more time together, and I love the kind and patient girl she is, not to mention talented!

In all honesty, it wasn't anything like my relationship with young Amy Rose, the beautiful pink hedgehog who now was twirling in her red dress before the ornate and, in my eyes, overly embellished full-length mirror.

Between her and I, there had always been a distance. For many years, I thought maybe it had to do with Sonic, but as she had gotten older, I watched with interest as she began to change from a cute little hedgehog who liked to chase around after Sonic into a girl who was really ready and willing to help fight for the cause against Robotnik. She swished the hem of her dress with a smile, and even I couldn't help but be amazed at how the designers made the dress movement so elegant!

I recalled the fuss that had been made over the style of the ladies' dresses that Bunnie had designed for the occasion.


--


Bunnie wrinkled her pink nose, her purple dusted eyelids slipping over her aquamarine eyes to create an intimidating glare.

"Now, hold yer horses. There is nothin' wrong with the dresses." Her voice was even and calculated, obviously trying to reign her own temper in. "Sally has seen them and loves them for us, and this IS a special day for her. Even if you don't like it, is IS just for one day and ya'll can put on a brave face for her!"

The little pink hedgehog's eyes were flooding with tears, barely restrained despite the anger in her face, which was admittedly flushed with her own effort to control herself. "Well, Sally isn't the one who has to wear it! She gets her own tailored dress while we have to walk around like clones!" She shook her head and stepped back. "You know, just forget it, I didn't want to be some stupid lady in waiting anyways!"

I had seen that look on Amy's face before. Despite what many thought, it was out of sheer frustration and though it WAS a tantrum of sorts, I knew why she so often fell victim to it. Inwardly, I knew what it all stemmed from. She's the youngest of us all, and in so many ways, she gets brushed aside because of her age. Before the older freedom fighters in Knothole were captured and roboticized, I had felt much the same. I wanted to help, to make a difference, to have my opinion matter matter to people. Not because I was a princess, but because I was a person. It spilled over into smaller things that I felt helpless to control. I could only imagine that was what Amy felt. She was in a position where she couldn't have a say in anything...Again.

I intervened at that point before it got out of control, approaching with more than a little apprehension. After all, Amy's temper was pretty sizable, and since her training with Jule-Su, her talents were blossoming into something formidable. It was too bad she was still learning the self-control that came along with it. Still, she's only 12. For being so young she was already handling things beyond her age.

Bunnie watched me approach with relief, smiling helplessly. "Maybe you'll have a little more luck than me, Sally girl."

Amy's eyes flowed over. No doubt she was feeling ganged up on.

In that moment, my strategy changed, and instead of trying to just reason with Amy, I turned to Bunnie with a smile of my own, which was touched with dismay. How often did Amy get her way after all? How often did we just give in and let her have something her way?

"Bunnie, would I have been very reasonable with something like this at her age?"

She giggled at that, smirking at me.

"Now, now, Sally girl. You didn't care about stuff like that at her age. You were knee deep in dirt trying to keep up with Sonic!"

She was right, and I quickly changed the subject, hearing Amy sniffle at such a painful reminder of my closely entwined history with her life long crush.

"Yeah, but do you remember how Julayla used to have to fight with me to get me OUT of the dirt and into a hut for my lessons? How often did she give in?"

The rabbit though about it, finger combing her shimmering blonde hair. "Could probably count on one hand if I tried... Why do y'all ask?"

"Well..." I looked at Amy sympathetically, her large green eyes regarding me with uncertainty as I had myself scolded her a few times in the past for her failure to let go of her own feelings and think about the bigger picture.

"The times she did give in, they meant something, and I think this is one of those times Amy should have her way! It's not a life or death situation, we're not in the middle of some enormous battle, and even if it were, she's matured enough to be trusted with more than we give her credit for."

Bunnie's glaze softened significantly, her posture relaxing as the words sank in.

"Ah think you're right. Ah just, ah dunno, it's one of the biggest days of your life and all..."

Amy was rubbing her eyes with her fists, her head bowed as if she was ashamed, sniffling back her tears now. I felt my heart sink. I wanted to cheer up, not feel worse.

Bunnie ruffled her tuft of pink hair gently. "Come on Rosey-girl, chin up. Sally said you can have a different dress... What color do you want?"

Under a stifled sniffle, I heard her whimper, "Red..."

It was then I chose to excuse myself. Bunnie was really good at handling people's softer moments, while I... Well. I was sensitive to it, but I find I had been fighting a war so long that the way I would once react to tears had changed. Before, with my friends and anyone else that came along, I responded with hugs and reassuring words.

These days, I feel I hardly have a right to say anything. First, father had returned, pulling the proverbial rug out from under me and assuming the command I had held for years. Elias came next, and the title I had been trained to take hold of and the world I had fought so long and hard for ceased to be my problem. Then Mom returned...

My life had been turned upside down in a short amount of time, and my life suddenly was no longer my own. I was tossed to the role of the castle-bound Princess without a say in her life, to be married off for gain of the kingdom, and the will of a diety I had never known existed. On top of it all, the relationship that Sonic and I had so long been developing was ruined. He broke his promise to me, and what I felt had been my last chance for happiness had been snapped, and I crumbled. I was alone, and everything I thought I was, I had ceased to be. I wasn't even allowed out into the field to fight the war...


--


But right now, looking at Amy in her new sleeveless red satin dress, drawn just past her knee, and her hair stylishly swept over one eye with pearl pins twinkling in her locks, I suddenly lost myself in thought.

All these years I had been fighting, the childhood that I had given up for the sake of the war, it all found a purpose. It had been for people like Amy.

Because of the resistance, she had been able to grow up in the relative peace of Knothole, to have friends to play with, people to love and look after her, to not grow up thinking of the next raid to the city of if today was the last day you would see the people you cared about, or if the next time you saw the one you loved if they would be dead at the foot of a SWATbot or a robot slave that no longer recognized you.

Yes, the war still raged, but many battles had been won, enough in fact so that people like Amy could live out normal lives and grow up. Maybe even decide to join the cause. Amy had been given a choice!

The choice I never had.

The thought made my eyes sting with tears I couldn't shed now. My makeup was already on and Bunnie would have to help me do it all over if the water made the mascara run. Another reason I usually don't like these fancy balls.

Bunnie had since moved on to me, and was pinning up the curls she had painstakingly made in my hair, gathering them elegantly behind my tiara. I excused myself and went up to the girl in front of the mirror, who was smiling ear to ear!

I knew in that moment that letting her get her own dress for the occasion was the right choice! The red just made her soft pink fur seem so soft and pale, and her eyes looked brilliantly green! No, the soft elegant purple dresses that would have looked fantastic on Bunnie and Mina would have washed out her coloring. This dress, however was just Amy's style and was modern while the other dresses were traditionally elegant. Of course, the flowers had all been changed to red roses to help tie in Amy's much bolder attire, and Father had something to say about Amy wearing a "Royal Color" while I wore sky blue, and that it shouldn't be allowed. But standing here now, I'm confident that it all had been for the best!

The pink hedgehog's reflection glanced at me, and her smile grew somehow bigger!

"Wow, Sally! You actually look like a Princess today!" She turned with a giggle, smiling wide as the skirt of her gown twirled around her legs with a zest! The girl looked easily my age today!

I smile sheepishly, blushing a little myself.

"I'm not used to it, to be honest," I said fingering the silken texture of my own dress. Looking at the hundreds of tiny, painstakingly sewn gems in the sheer golden fabric. It was too rich looking for my own taste. "I'd rather have my vest and boots back."

Amy's eyes sparkled and softened, and you could see the growing woman inside her speaking out. "I think it's important for people to see you this way. Everyone knows you as more of a field leader and an equal. Sometimes its good to be reminded that this friend of ours really is royalty."

She might have been too young to know what it had been like back when Sonic, Bunnie and I were regularly in Robotropolis on missions. But in the back of my mind, I always remembered when those sirens rang, I suddenly became the priority to my friends. Though I still don't completely understand why, though we all fought with all our might, I had always been the focus of safety among us. I knew it had to do with me being the last known royal heir, but in my own mind, a small part of me had always wondered what difference it made if I were the one to make it out or not. In the great forest, it didn't matter who came from what family. All that mattered was survival. It was why I learned to fight, it was why I had Julayla focus a great deal of her training efforts on helping me be self sufficient. I couldn't afford to be the reason why my friends wouldn't make it home. I had to be able to fight with my own two fists.

She must have seen the recollection in my eyes, because she waved her hand in front of my face for a moment.

"You in there?" She said with a little humor in her sweet sing-song tone.

Nodding quickly, I said with a sigh, "Yeah. I've been doing a lot of thinking today. Particularly about you, Amy."

The girl blushed and looked down at her dress, and out came a sudden confession.

"I know I was being selfish about the dress. This IS your special occasion, Sally. I wasn't thinking of how it might reflect on you and the others if I were dressed so differently..." There was that sign of guilt in her eyes again. "You didn't have to give into me just because I was being difficult. I'm used to disappointment. I would have worn the other dress and still have been happy."

My heart sand a little in my chest, and I shook my head slowly. "Amy, it's never been about the dress."

Admittedly, she looked confused, her head tilting to the side as she toed the ground with her expensive designer shows, a bright crimson color and so bright against her pale silk stockings. "I heard what your dad said about me wearing it... I hadn't thought it would be that big of a problem. Then I heard people saying I got it only because no one could handle a tantrum and..." Her eyes grew glassy again. "I don't try to be difficult, Sally."

I felt my chest freeze, refusing to let me breathe. I looked down at her beautiful dress, and said, "There will always be rumors. People will always talk because everyone had an opinion about what goes on in the life of royalty and what pertains to them. The truth is, Amy...the whole shebang is outdated. The traditions are important for us to remember our roots, but having a giant debate over a dress and its color, and if it's right or wrong in the end is useless. And it hurts people because this sort of thing doesn't matter."

"So you're saying that it wasn't about the dress itself, but the principle that it represented?"

I smiled at hearing such wisdom from her. I had viewed her as "Young" for so long, had I missed just how much she HAD grown? "In the end, that was part of it. But it didn't start out that way." I pulled a long-stemmed red rose from the vase beside the mirror and looked down at it. "Amy, did you know that a rose had a special meaning depending on the color?"

Touching her silky soft bangs to be sure they were still in place, she nodded. "I do actually! After all, it's part of my namesake!"

Looking at the Rose, then to the one in my hands, I explained. "Well, there was a time when, depending on the occasion, only a certain color rose would be used in a formal even like this, or a certain flower would be used or not because of its meaning. Not that it isn't nice to thing of the meaning of flowers, but do you think it's reasonable for me to say we can't have red roses in the ceremony because their variety eludes to romantic love when that isn't the theme of the occasion, or refuse to have yellow roses at my wedding because they embody friendship and not romance?"

She thought about it a moment, and putting a hand on her hip, she nodded, obviously understanding what I meant. "Some people like a flower just because of how it looks, not because it means a certain thing. There's nothing wrong with flowers meaning something but it seems a bit overboard to think one can or can't be used because of its technical meaning."

"I agree," I said with a smile, reaching to the vanity and picking up the scissors to gently snip the stem off the perfectly bloomed flower. "Just like it'd be silly of me to say you have to wear a dress you hate just because there's a royal history to the color you would have preferred."

Amy looked up at me with something new and profound in her eyes. She had never looked at me like that in the past, and it made me feel tears sting my eyes once again.

"Still, I would have worn the other dress."

"I know you would have if I had said that was the final word, but remember how I said it was never about the dress?" She nodded, stepping closer to hear me better. I showed her the rose sitting peacefully in my hands. "I had to grow up pretty fast," I admitted. "We all did. Sometimes, we forget what it's like to be young. We look right past the beauty of the rose and see only the thorns when, if we had only taken a little more time..." My big blue eyes met her green ones, and I saw a little tear run down her peach colored cheek. My own joined her's to fall on the rose we held."...We might have seen what you had been trying to show us all along. That the rose bud we saw when you first came here to use has been blooming before our eyes, and we haven't been taking the time to see it and acknowledge that those thorns can be just as beautiful as the rose that blooms from it."

Amy's shoulders trembled with tears despite the smile on her face, and she whispered, her beautiful face upturned to mine, "I'm still pretty thorny..."

"So am I!" I said, wiping at the wet streak on my face with a laugh. "I was hoping we might look past our thorns."

Amy glanced at her reflection again, a silent elation in her gaze. "I love this dress... I think it's my new favorite."

I found myself smiling and I stepped forward with the rose in my hand. "Can I?"

With a grace and beauty beyond her years, Amy curtsied with the flourish an aristocrat would be fond of, and with those spirited emerald eyes, she nodded as I placed the perfect rose behind her ear.

She looked beautiful and grown beyond her years, and I felt content now.

A knock on the door signaled that my coronation was drawing near, and we had to exit and head to the Grand Throne Room for the traditional ceremony.

I felt Amy slip her gloved hand in mine, and she winked at me encouragingly. A bridge had been built over impassable waters and now we could move forward, as equals and as friends. And as two very thorny roses on the verge of blooming.
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