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Mama's in the Kitchen

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The bustling sounds of customers chatting away mixed with the light tune of music in the small café. It was a fairly cool autumn day and customers of all kinds flocked to L’il Rose’s Café to warm themselves up with a nice cup of cocoa and to get a taste of her seasonal pumpkin spice muffins. To say the pink hedgehog who owned this modest establishment would be an understatement.

It was one of the busiest times of the year for Amy as she rushed to and fro in the back kitchen, whipping up orders left and right. Though she wasn’t alone in her endeavors, Cream and Cheese, manned the front and took down orders or served out dishes. The extra assistance definitely made everything manageable, but Amy had still found herself growing exhausted.

“The holiday rush has really been doing a number on me these past few weeks.” The hedgehog sighed under her breath as she spritz some whip cream onto someone’s latte order.

The younger rabbit giggled at her friend’s comment and took the coffee from her, handing it off to her chao to deliver to the awaiting customer at the corner table. The blue jay beamed when he received the hot beverage, wasting no time and took a swig of it before giving a content sigh.

Amy smiled at that, happy to see another happy, satisfied customer. She couldn’t enjoy the moment for very long before she was already rushing back into the kitchen to work on the next set of orders to cook up. Cream gave a sympathetic look towards her longtime friend and followed her into the kitchen, leaving Cheese and a little, blue hedgehog to man the front desk.

“Mrs. Amy? Maybe I should take over in the kitchen so you can have a break up front?”

Amy turned to face the younger, mixing bowl in hand and sugar in the other. She had a startled, confused look on her face as she responded.

“What do you mean, Cream? I’m perfectly capable of handling all the orders, really.”

Cream shook her head and moved to grab the bowl and sugar from her friend, gently urging her to leave the kitchen. While normally the rabbit would let the other make the decisions, she still knew when to put her foot down and force Amy to take a breather every once and a while.

“And so can I, Amy. You’ve been working hard all month and have been pushing yourself too hard.” She chastised, not taking “no” for an answer.

“But-“

“No buts, only buns! I’ll take things from here while you take it easy up front.”

Cream began ushering Amy out the kitchen door, ignoring any weak protests from the older girl. She blocked her access back into the kitchen and pointed to the front desk where the display case of holiday-themed goodies were. Cheese was still taking orders in Cream’s stead, though thankfully it looked to be that the number of such was finally dwindling down to a more manageable amount.

Amy was about to say something, when Cream spoke up, interrupting her before she could utter a single word of protest.

“And besides, you need to have a little more one-on-one time with you-know-who. She’s been feeling a little neglected today in your absence.” She teased, gesturing with her head towards the little bundle on the front desk, before heading into the kitchen to whip up the next batch of cookies.

The sudden reminder dawned on the overworked, pink hedgehog and she whipped her head in the direction of the one her friend referred to. There, on the counter, sat her and Sonic’s three-year-old daughter, Breeze. Her short legs were dangling over the edge of the glass display case, occasionally swinging back and forth; her back was towards the customers, seemingly disinterested. The little, blue hedgehog held a giant orange and black lollipop in her tiny hands, happily gnawing away at the sweet treat.

Amy had a guilty smile on her face as she walked over towards her daughter, notepad in hand to take down orders alongside Cheese. Her daughter noticed her mother’s presence and smiled widely with the lollipop still in her mouth. Her bright, emerald eyes still looked droopy as always, yet still held that excited childish wonder the closer her mother approached.

“Hey, how’s my little Breezy Breeze doing, huh?”

Amy leaned forward to pat her daughter on the head, rubbing gently through her quills slightly as a sign of affection. The young hedgehog soaked up the attention as her grin got wider around the sugary candy. One of her tiny hands let go of the lollipop stick and raised it to grab at Amy’s hand instead.

Amy smiled down at her daughter, taking in her features. She looks so much like her father, despite what everyone else would claim about Breeze being a near carbon copy of herself, she knew better. She noticed the small details; she saw the way their daughter would smile or how calm her face looked while napping. It was all Sonic. Not just the blue quills or green eyes, but in the way she acted and the things she said. She really wished Sonic had more time to spend with his daughter so he could understand that while he may be all about speed while she preferred to take it slow, they really were one in the same in many ways.

Although, she wasn’t one to talk considering how busy her recently opened restaurant has made her and Cream. It was common now to see the young hedgehog sitting at one of the free tables or at the front counter while Amy would slave away in the kitchen. It seems everyone had less time to spend with the lonely toddler.

Regret started to sink in as she stood and listened to the random babbling of her daughter over some of the most mundane of things. She hadn’t fully been paying attention and only caught glimpses and scraps of what Breeze was talking about. Something about an interesting person she saw at the café earlier? A chipmunk maybe? Or maybe it was a ground squirrel? Oh, now she was going off about the butterfly she saw outside the window. Adorable. Amy let out a sigh and settled in place.

Suddenly, an idea popped into her head.

A wide grin stretched over her face as she rifled her hand through her apron pocket to pull out a deck of cards. She mentally cheered at remembering to bring them with her today before turning her attention back to her daughter.

“Breeze, sweetie, look what I got.”

The young hedgehog’s eyes landed on the deck of cards waving side to side in front of her. Her smile widened once more at the recognizable item held in her mother’s hand. The soft sound of her tiny tail thumping happily against the counter made the pink hedgehog giggle at her child’s sheer adorableness.

“Cards! Cards!” The girl chanted.

“That’s right, Mama’s gonna show you a little trick.~”

“Trick? Trick!”

Amy nodded, then proceeded to shuffle the deck of cards before offering them to her daughter. She told her to pick any card out of the deck, memorize it, then put it back, and to make sure not to let her see. For emphasis, Amy closed her eyes and looked away while Breeze grabbed at one of the cards with her tiny hand.

Once she was sure she memorized it, the toddler handed back the card and waited patiently to see what her mother would do next. Amy opened her eyes and shuffled the deck once more, glancing at her daughter to watch her reaction. Breeze was watching intently, waiting to see what her mother would do next.

“Alright Breezy, you ready?” Is... this your card?”

Amy pulled out one of the cards from the deck, showing it to her daughter. Breeze tilted her head in confusion, her smile faltering. She shook her head before muttering a soft “no” in reply.

“Hmm, no, you sure? Okay then... Is this your card?”

She set aside the first card and pulled out a second one, her tone playful and feigning confusion. Her daughter’s smile faltered some more and she shook her head again.

“No mama...”

“No? Again? How strange...”

Her playful tone never let up as she pulled out a third card and asked, again, if it was her card. And again, Breeze shook her head, looking rather confused and disappointed by this point. Amy gathered the three discarded cards and shuffled them back into the deck.

“Well, that’s unfortunate...” Amy fake sulked.

“...Although, it’s probably because your card was no longer in the deck anyways.” She stated matter of factly.

Breeze tilted her head and was about to question what her mother meant, when suddenly, in that exact moment, Cream walked back to the front, holding a plate of desserts in each hand. Without saying a word or warning the younger rabbit, Amy stuck her hand underneath one of Cream’s ears and pulled out a single card. She then showed it to the awestruck child and smirked.

“Is this your card?”

The tiny hedgehog gasped, giddiness bubbling up to the surface, letting out a cheerful laugh. She clapped and reached out for the card in excitement. This got a chuckle out of the pink hedgehog and she obliged. The child was chanting “Trick! Trick!” while she examined the card, having abandoned her lollipop on the counter altogether.

“Oh, Amy!” Cream spoke up, having set down one of the plates so she could inspect her ear. “I really wish you would warn me before you did that. It tickles!”

Amy gave her friend an apologetic smile before collecting the playing card from her daughter in order to put the deck away. Breeze was bouncing in her seat on the counter and chanting for an encore, though in her young baby babble it sounded more like “anchor.”

“Aww, I would love to do another trick Breezy Bear, but mommy’s got to get back to work...”

“Going back to work so soon, Ames?”

Amy immediately perked up, her head whipped towards the café entrance towards the source of the voice. There, standing in all his hedgehog glory, was the father of her daughter, her husband, Sonic himself. He had his trademark grin plastered on his face with his hands on his hips as he strolled over to the counter. Amy couldn’t help a smile from peeking at the corner of her mouth.

Breeze, in contrast, didn’t stifle her excitement at seeing her father and grinned up at him as he approached. Her tail gently wagged as she lightly bounced in place. She reached her arms out towards him, begging to be picked up while calling out to him in pure joy.

He greeted the bubbly blue hoglet by ruffling her head. She giggled in response, grabbing at his hand with both of her tiny ones. Amy was too distracted by the sight of Sonic interacting with his daughter to notice the knowing smirk on Cream’s face as she gestured for Cheese to help her with the other orders and leaving the small family on their own.

“Sonic, what are you doing here? You said Dr. Robotnik was on one of his latest scourges and wouldn’t be able to come by today?”

The famous blue hedgehog scratched at his neck and gave a lopsided grin in response. He had said that earlier in the day, right before Amy went off to open up her little café. Robotnik was up to his old tricks and Sonic, along with Tails, went to go stop his latest scheme. Amy had been disappointed that he’d be absent and unable to spend time with his family, all thanks to that fat egghead who never seems to know when to quit after all these years.

And yet, here he was, in her café, playing with their daughter while she was left to gawk like when she was twelve and the relationship was still young. Sonic took notice of her shock and gave her a reassuring smile. He carefully picked up their daughter from off of the counter, noticed her discarded lolly and handed it back to her.

“Heh, yeah, Tails and I already took care of him... And besides, you said you were looking forward to going for a walk today, and maybe even having a little picnic?”

“Y-yes, I did, but I ca-”

Before Amy could protest any further, Cream came back into the scene, shoving a basket of freshly baked treats into the pink hedgehog’s hands and pushing her out from behind the counter. The younger girl tsked, guiding the couple and their daughter to the entranceway.

“Of course she wants to go for a family walk with you, Mr. Sonic. The weather is just lovely, perfect picnic weather! There’s even a pathway not too far from here lined with autumn trees that smell like fall!”

“Cream, w-what are you- My shop!”

Cheese grabbed Amy’s coat on the way out and plopped it right on top of the basket, while Cream adjusted Breeze’s coat hood on her head to keep her ears nice and warm from the cool wind. Once they were all outside and presentable, Cream merely waved her hand at Amy’s protests.

“Don’t worry Mrs. Amy, Cheese and I will look after things from here. You just go and enjoy yourself, okay? No worries!”

And with that, she gave a sweet smile and headed back inside, leaving the hedgehog family standing at outside, a bit dazed at the suddenness. Sonic blinked a few times before chuckling nervously.

“She sure has gotten a bit bolder with age, huh Amy?”

“Indeed.”

With a light blush and embarrassed cough, Amy finally regained her wits enough to loop her free arm with Sonic’s, startling him briefly. She gave a content smile and nodded for him to start walking. Getting the hint, the two began walking towards the pathway, their daughter clutching onto her father with one hand and holding onto her nibbled on lollipop in the other. She was babbling happily while her parents listened on, cuddling up together along the path.