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King of the Castle (WIP)

By CosmicButthole
Created: 2024-05-06 22:01:41
Updated: 2024-05-23 06:00:19
Expiry: Never

  1. >Being the new kid sucks.
  2. >Especially when you’re the new kid during your time in high school.
  3. >By now, all the friend groups have their roots deep within the foundation of the school, leaving you to assume the role of the loner.
  4. >But that’s the fate that’s been inflicted upon you.
  5. >Your dad got a big promotion at work, which involved moving to a new branch on the other side of the country to serve as the thorns that accompany the rose of higher pay.
  6. >As much as you grumbled, it was already decided that you had to leave your old life behind and start a completely new life.
  7. >The move took weeks.
  8. >Between getting you and your family settled into your new home and getting everything unpacked and sorted, the whole process was the biggest headache you’ve ever endured.
  9. >But… First impressions weren’t bad.
  10. >The town of Canterlot is a really quaint, friendly place.
  11. >There’s mom-and-pop businesses of all sorts lining main street, and the townspeople were so immediately welcoming to you and your parents.
  12. >You even got a bushel of apples as a welcome gift from the local apple farm.
  13. >Those were the sweetest, juiciest apples you’ve ever had the honor of eating.
  14. >When you were sitting on your front porch, taking in the serene, beautiful view of the sun setting behind the landscape of downtown Canterlot, you felt more optimistic about the school year ahead of you.
  15. >It’s not like you left behind a huge life in Bullworth anyway.
  16. >You didn’t have a ton of friends, let alone a girlfriend.
  17. >You just kind of drifted from class to class, keeping your head low and focusing on making it to the end of the day.
  18. >Well, that and trying to not get harassed by all the bullies.
  19. >Everyone you’ve met in Canterlot during your back-to-school shopping trip was really nice.
  20. >The handful of guys and girls your age you ran into seemed eager to have a new student haunting the hallways of Canterlot High School.
  21. >One part of the day before the first day of school stuck out to you.
  22. >While leaving one of the trendy clothes shops that took up space in downtown Canterlot, you spotted a particular group of girls through the window of Sugarcube Corner, the local dessert shop.
  23. >You could only catch a glance of the seven girls, but something about them really stuck out to you.
  24. >They all seemed so different from each other, judging by the way they dressed and talked.
  25. >And yet, they talk like they’ve been friends for years.
  26. >If these girls can find friends despite their differences, so can you, surely.
  27. >But throughout the rest of the day, you couldn’t shake the feeling that one of the girls, with red and yellow hair, made eye contact with you for a single, fleeting second.
  28. >You could only pray she didn’t think you were leering at her and her friends.
  29. >...That’s not worth worrying about, you’re being ridiculous.
  30. >It’s a new school year.
  31. >A year of opportunity.
  32. >A fresh start.
  33. >As crazy as it was to admit…
  34. >...You were looking forward to your first day of school.
  35.  
  36. >Canterlot High School seemed intimidating, yet welcoming to you when you arrived for your first day at your new school.
  37. >Standing three stories tall and constructed of impossibly clean white and purple bricks, it almost resembled a castle more so than a school.
  38. >Like a fortress of learning and friendship.
  39. >...God, you cringe just thinking that.
  40. >That horse statue in front of the school always seemed strange to you.
  41. >It’s probably just the school mascot, you couldn’t conjure a better idea of what a Wondercolt could be.
  42. >And that mirror-like surface at the base of the statue…
  43. >It seemed so… inviting.
  44. >You reached out to touch the eerily reflective surface, but before your fingers could make contact, the first bell of the day rang.
  45. >Whatever, it was probably nothing.
  46. >You followed the mass of teenagers into the opulent school building to your first order of business: visiting the Principal’s office for orientation.
  47. >Upon entering her office, Principal Celestia welcomed you to Canterlot High School with a warm smile.
  48. >”I truly hope your time here at our school is filled with friendship and adventure!” Were her exact words.
  49. >You felt the instinct to roll your eyes at the overly cheesy greeting, but you stomached the emotion.
  50. >You’re leaving your cynicism back in Bullworth.
  51. >The meeting with Principal Celestia went really well, she gave you advice on finding your way to your classes and pointed out some clubs you might be interested in.
  52. >And there’s a lot of clubs.
  53. >Chess club, model U.N., dodgeball, photography club, anime club, debate team, the list goes on.
  54. >Before you could go to your first class wielding a late note from Principal Celestia, she made you promise you’d make the effort to make friends.
  55. >You thought back on how lonely and kind of miserable you were at Bullworth Academy, and you promised Principal Celestia you’d make some friends here.
  56. >Satisfied by your answer, she sent you on your way to the first class of the day: history.
  57. >You made an awkward entrance by showing up twelve minutes late with a look on your face like you didn’t know where you were, but Ms. Cheerilee accepted the slip Principal Celestia gave you.
  58. >Aside from some murmuring from the students surrounding you as you took your seat, the class went by uneventfully.
  59. >As did physics and art.
  60. >Compared to being shoved down the stairs or being threatened for your lunch money at Bullworth, “uneventful” was a welcome change of pace.
  61. >But as lunch drew closer, it dawned on you that you were staring down the barrel of sitting alone.
  62. >You were more focused on finding the room your class was located in than trying to fit in with your peers.
  63. >The opportunities you had to make your first friend in your first three classes slipped through your fingers.
  64. >You trudged through the halls towards the cafeteria, bracing yourself for the isolation of an empty lunch table.
  65. >But then, you met…
  66. >Her.
  67. >Sunset Shimmer.
  68.  
  69. >You recognized her as the girl with red and yellow hair you saw the previous day.
  70. >Through the crowd of guys and girls hurrying to the lunch room, she spotted you like a lioness eyeing its prey.
  71. >When she got closer to you, you realized she was older than you.
  72. >Sunset leaned against the locker in front of you and leered at you with a wicked grin, blocking your path to the cafeteria.
  73. >She was incredibly interested in you, eager to learn all about the “new boy” at school.
  74. >As she introduced herself, her words dripped with sensuality and her finger grazed across your chest and cheek.
  75. >Sunset subtly swayed her hips and leaned towards you, as if daring you to glance down her shirt and admire her cleavage.
  76. >”Don’t you worry, I’ll be your first friend~” You remember her offering you with her face inches away from yours.
  77. >You were powerless against her.
  78. >You’ve never had this kind of contact with a girl like this before.
  79. >All you could do was shakily nod your head.
  80. >Any attempt at speech would have been a shaky mess.
  81. >Sunset’s grin widened as she grabbed your forearm with both hands and guided you to the cafeteria.
  82. >She stayed with you the whole time you were waiting in line to get a lunch tray.
  83. >The amount of eyes you two drew made you feel uneasy, but Sunset was undeterred.
  84. >She guided you to a more secluded lunch table in the corner of the cafeteria and continued… getting to know you.
  85. >As you two ate, Sunset leaned towards you and asked you about everything.
  86. >Your hobbies, your life at Bullworth, the subjects you excel and struggle in, everything asked with a suggestive tone.
  87. >She leaned over the table and rested her head on her hands, with half-lidded eyes and a grin to weaken your resolve even further.
  88. >The way she asked her questions made the answers spill forward from your mouth.
  89. >You probably told your entire life story to Sunset, who seemed nothing less than enthralled.
  90. >You wanted to know why she wanted to get to know you so intensely.
  91. >But you couldn’t.
  92. >Sunset had cast a spell on you.
  93. >Before you knew it, the bell rang signaling the end of lunch.
  94. >Sunset got up from her seat, waved a flirty goodbye and skipped back over to her six friends you spotted yesterday.
  95. >You watched from a distance as the six of them hurried to question Sunset on why she’d single you out.
  96. >You couldn’t hear them, but you were sure that’s what they were talking about.
  97. >A few other students were wondering the same thing, judging by how they stared at you.
  98. >You threw away the remains of your lunch and made your way to your next class: phys-ed.
  99. >You honestly don’t remember a lot about your first day of P.E. with Coach Soarin or geometry with Ms. Harshwhinny, but you couldn’t stop thinking about Sunset.
  100. >Even after the final bell of the day rang, you walked home on autopilot.
  101. >Sunset Shimmer…
  102. >What a first day of school.
  103.  
  104. >Over the next few months, you managed to make more friends.
  105. >Almost as soon as you got to school on your second day, you were ambushed by the incredibly energetic Pinkie Pie.
  106. >You could barely keep up with what she was saying to you, but you were able to get the gist that she was super excited to finally meet you after Sunset talked about you and that she was really sorry for not greeting you yesterday.
  107. >Pinkie basically insisted on being your friend.
  108. >But she seemed really nice and you couldn’t afford to be picky with your friends, so you accepted.
  109. >Pinkie almost strangled you with the hug she gave you and she promised she’d get to know you better.
  110. >After she skipped off to class, you were left thinking about how she said Sunset talked about you.
  111. >You wondered what Sunset could have said about you.
  112. >It couldn’t have been anything bad, judging by how Pinkie was so excited to meet you.
  113. >Later that week, you met a bespectacled girl named Twilight Sparkle.
  114. >She’s really nice, if a little awkward.
  115. >But hey, let he who is without sin cast the first stone.
  116. >Sunset must’ve told her you struggled with geometry, since she offered to tutor you in the subject after school.
  117. >You never really had anything going on after school, and you’ve heard murmurings that Twilight is the smartest student at Canterlot High, so you took her up on that offer and started meeting in the school library on Tuesdays to study.
  118. >She’s been a great help and a great friend.
  119. >You’ve gotten way better at geometry since she started tutoring you, but even when you didn’t really need help understanding the material, it’s still nice just to spend time with Twilight.
  120. >The fourth friend you made was Applejack, a girl distinct with her southern accent and stetson.
  121. >You two have physics together, you just didn’t realize because she sits on the other side of the classroom from you.
  122. >Turns out she lives on Sweet Apple Acres just outside of town, and it was her family that gave your family the welcome bushel of apples.
  123. >Sunset had to have told her that you do well in physics, because after you got your first quiz of the semester back, Applejack came up to you and asked if you wouldn’t mind tutoring her, comparing your A- to her D+.
  124. >You couldn’t say no to her genuine tone, and you wanted to repay her kindness for those delicious apples, so you agreed to tutor her.
  125. >On Thursdays you met on her family farm to help her understand physics.
  126. >Tutoring her worked out great because you got to know her family better.
  127. >Granny Smith’s the ideal grandma, Applejack’s younger sister Apple Bloom is really endearing, and her big brother Big Macintosh might be a mountain of a man of few words, but he’s a really reliable guy.
  128. >The Apples showed their appreciation for your tutoring by always making sure you never went home without having had dinner first.
  129. >Their cooking is so great it almost seems unfair that you only had your understanding of physics to offer in return.
  130.  
  131. >You’ve heard about Rarity from your friends and from the guys in the locker room.
  132. >She’s the school fashionista, even running her own business as a custom tailor for dresses and suits.
  133. >You have art class with her, but never really got a chance to get to know her.
  134. >You’re positive Sunset talked about you with her, judging by the way she’d glance up at you from her easel in class.
  135. >You’d be lying if you said you weren’t a little intimidated by her.
  136. >The students you heard say she was the most beautiful girl at school weren’t lying.
  137. >If you ever opened up a dictionary and flipped to the page defining “out of your league”, Rarity’s photo would be there.
  138. >But one day, right before class let out, you spotted that Rarity’s skirt had a pretty big rip in the back.
  139. >Luckily, you were the only one to notice.
  140. >You caught her on the way out and told her as subtly as possible about her wardrobe malfunction, and after she got the initial panic out of her system, she gave you her locker number and combination to fetch a backup skirt she’s been working on.
  141. >You almost got in trouble for breaking into a student’s locker, but Rarity explained the situation and saved you from detention.
  142. >Rarity texted you to meet behind school that day, saying she got your phone number from Sunset.
  143. >At first you were worried she’d think you were leering at her, but when you met with her, she threw her arms around your shoulders and started weeping into your chest.
  144. >Rarity managed to blubber out her deepest gratitude for how you saved her from complete humiliation, and that Sunset, Pinkie, Twilight, and Applejack were completely right about you being a great guy.
  145. >From that day on, you and Rarity were really good friends.
  146. >She turned out to be a lot nicer and more approachable than you initially thought.
  147. >Comparing your work in art class made for great conversation.
  148. >You never thought you’d be interested in fashion, but the way Rarity talked about it, you couldn’t help but be captivated.
  149. >She also offered you tips on grooming and self care that really went a long way in making you look nicer.
  150. >Rainbow Dash, though…
  151. >You knew her from your first day, she’s the school’s star soccer player.
  152. >And she knew it.
  153. >You were unlucky enough to have P.E. with her.
  154. >Rainbow knew you weren’t any star athlete and took to ribbing you like you were a prime cut of pork.
  155. >She’d put extra showboating into her kicks when scoring goals on you, she’d lap you when running the mile, she’d call you “dork” and “dweeb” every chance she could.
  156. >It made you dread P.E.
  157. >You’ve endured worse bullying, but in a school as nice as Canterlot High, Rainbow really stuck out.
  158. >You couldn’t imagine why Twilight, Pinkie, Rarity, or Applejack would be friends with Rainbow, she was a real jerk.
  159. >You hid those emotional wounds well enough, though.
  160.  
  161. >One day you weren’t doing great because of a poor grade on your latest geometry test, so you were even less in the mood for Rainbow’s teasing.
  162. >When she made a smug remark about your inability to accurately throw a football, you shot back that you already knew you’re pathetic at sports and rubbing salt in that wound doesn’t make her cooler.
  163. >Rainbow, for once in her life, didn’t respond.
  164. >Her grin faded and you barely heard her mutter “Sorry” before running off to go talk with some of your more athletic peers.
  165. >You did feel kind of bad for her at that moment, you wanted to stand up for yourself, not push back too hard.
  166. >But you did feel proud of yourself for standing up for yourself like that.
  167. >In your experience, standing up for yourself meant getting beat up worse than you otherwise would have gotten beat up.
  168. >After P.E. the next day, Rainbow kind of avoided you all class until the end of the period, when she pulled you aside to talk.
  169. >Her voice was softer than you’ve ever heard it before, and even a little shaky.
  170. >Rainbow apologized for being such a jerk to you, and said she would’ve eased up on you sooner if she knew she was being too mean to you.
  171. >She talked about how Sunset, Twilight and Applejack said you were a pretty cool guy and thought that you’d be tougher since you came from Bullworth, but seeing that you’re more sensitive than that, it made her realize what a bully she had been to you.
  172. >You tried to apologize for snapping at her yesterday, but Rainbow waved off your apology, saying she’s the only one who needed to apologize.
  173. >Rainbow asked if you could forgive her and give her another shot at being your friend.
  174. >You did hesitate at first, but when you thought about how well Sunset, Pinkie, Twilight, and the others, Rainbow had to be a solid person.
  175. >You met her halfway and shook on it.
  176. >Turns out, Rainbow is a really cool friend.
  177. >Her teasing during P.E. turned into challenges for you to meet.
  178. >You couldn’t possibly beat her, but you could beat yourself from yesterday.
  179. >Rainbow also likes a lot of the same movies and games you like, so it ended up being really easy to spend an hour just talking and joking around.
  180. >Of the seven girls in Sunset’s friend group, Fluttershy was the one that took the longest to warm up to you.
  181. >Not that she didn’t like you, she’s just not great around new people in general.
  182. >It took Fluttershy a week to say an audible sentence to you when you ran into her while talking with Sunset and Pinkie, and she was barely capable of maintaining eye contact.
  183. >She’s got a reputation for being really quiet and introverted, and you’re sure she’s heard some rumors about you being some kind of violent psycho since you’ve come to Canterlot from Bullworth.
  184. >But as time went by and you made friends with her friends, she did get more comfortable around you whenever you two happened to cross paths.
  185.  
  186. >Pinkie insisted you help Fluttershy out at the local animal shelter to show her that you’re a nice guy, since she’s always looking for volunteers.
  187. >You never saw her trying to hand out flyers in front of the school because of how many students were rushing out the front doors, but it did make you feel a pang of shame for not having noticed earlier.
  188. >Fluttershy could rely on her friends helping out when they could, so you took to helping her on Wednesdays for a couple hours after school.
  189. >The work wasn’t very intense and it’s always fun to spend time with dogs and cats and other animals, so it felt more like R&R after the school day as opposed to actual work.
  190. >You were able to show Fluttershy that you’re a good friend one day when you saw her getting bullied by Hoops, Score, and Dumb-bell in between classes.
  191. >You knew them from P.E., they’re typical asshole jocks.
  192. >Rainbow knows them and hates them, too.
  193. >You’ve had experience of dealing with jocks like them at Bullworth, so you stepped in and tried to talk down the situation.
  194. >Hoops wasn’t impressed by your act of selflessness and told you to mind your own business and get lost.
  195. >But with Fluttershy standing behind you, you couldn’t do that.
  196. >Hoops punched you in the face pretty hard and pinned you against the locker.
  197. >You heard Fluttershy plead with him to stop as you tried fighting back, but you didn’t do very well.
  198. >Canterlot guys can't fight as well as Bullworth guys, but you were always better at running from fights.
  199. >Vice Principal Luna happened to be nearby when Hoops was punching you and his friends were goading him on, so she dragged the three of them to her office and instructed Fluttershy to accompany you to the nurse’s office to get treated.
  200. >All in all, you didn’t sustain any major injuries, just some bruises that’ll heal in a day or so.
  201. >Nurse Redheart sent you home with an ice pack, but Fluttershy insisted she treat you.
  202. >She felt terrible about what happened because she thought it was her fault that you got beat up.
  203. >That evening was spent at her house lying on her couch and being given soup.
  204. >Fluttershy showed more stubbornness than you’ve ever seen from her before insisting that you rest up and focus on getting some sleep.
  205. >You made the mistake of joking that you’ve survived worse beatings at your old school and getting Fluttershy even more worried about you.
  206. >Thankfully, her parents and brother wouldn’t be back until much later, so you didn’t have anyone disturbing your rest.
  207. >Once your condition stabilized, you spent the last couple hours with her watching My Neighbor Totoro.
  208. >You went home that evening with a soft, warm hug from Fluttershy.
  209. >The way she thanked you for standing up for her warms your heart every time you think back to it.
  210. >...But she did make you promise you wouldn’t get in trouble for her sake.
  211.  
  212. >This new school was going way better than you thought it would.
  213. >You began sitting with the seven girls at lunch every day, while working with Applejack in physics, Rainbow in P.E., and Rarity in art.
  214. >Pinkie made sure you never went a day without hanging out with her, be it before school or after school.
  215. >You reliably ran into Fluttershy in between fourth and fifth period and could spend a couple minutes talking.
  216. >Twilight was also available to walk with you from third period to lunch.
  217. >Your whole school day was spent with at least one of the seven girls you’ve become friends with.
  218. >You were a little unsure about sitting with them at lunch since you were the only guy.
  219. >But those worries vanished soon after.
  220. >Maybe it’s the fact that they’re all so different that makes them such great friends.
  221. >And that’s why you feel like such a natural addition to that group.
  222. >You always made sure to go to the school soccer games to cheer on Rainbow.
  223. >You never really cared for school sports before, but she knew how to make it exciting.
  224. >Every now and again, you’d help out with some of the farm work on Sweet Apple Acres.
  225. >Applejack tried to persuade you that you were already plenty helpful tutoring her, but you assured her it wouldn’t be a big deal.
  226. >Turns out, it was.
  227. >Carrying those crates of apples up and down those hills works every muscle in your body.
  228. >It’s good exercise, at least.
  229. >Your body’s improved since you started helping out with the farm work.
  230. >Every Saturday was spent with the girls at Sugarcube Corner, talking and having milkshakes.
  231. >Within a month, they weren’t just Sunset’s friends.
  232. >They were your friends, too.
  233. >But Sunset puzzled you.
  234. >She’s with you almost all the time at school.
  235. >She’s still so touchy and weirdly flirty.
  236. >Whenever you’re spending time with one of the girls, she’s standing so close to you.
  237. >Sometimes you catch Sunset having a hushed conversation with one of the girls while sneakily peeking at you.
  238. >You don’t know what to make of her.
  239. >She’s always been nice to you (in her own way) and pushed you to get to know the girls better.
  240. >You’re pretty sure she doesn’t have a crush on you, you’re not the “immediately get a girl interested in you” type.
  241. >She’s never direct on how she really feels about you.
  242. >Sunset made sure you knew she doesn’t have a boyfriend, but that might be just a ploy to keep you following her like a puppy.
  243. >But… You kind of do have a crush on her.
  244. >As embarrassing as it would be to admit, you’d be lying if you said you didn’t think Sunset was hot.
  245. >It was pretty hard for you to not find her hot, because of the way she showed herself off to you.
  246. >But you don’t think you could ever tell her that.
  247. >The last thing you want to do is make a fool of yourself in front of Sunset and your other friends.
  248.  
  249. >Honestly, you’d kind of caught feelings for all seven of the girls in your friend group.
  250. >Pinkie Pie’s relentless enthusiasm and positivity is really infectious.
  251. >She gives great hugs, and her body is just the right kind of curvy.
  252. >Twilight Sparkle has a really endearing “adorkable” thing going on.
  253. >Especially the way she giggles when you make a witty remark.
  254. >Applejack’s so easy to talk to, she’s got a great down-to-Earth quality, and her accent is really cute.
  255. >Plus, the toned body she got from her years of farm work is a thing of beauty.
  256. >Rarity’s physical beauty is unmatched, her skin, hair, and clothes are truly magnificent.
  257. >Despite this, she cares a lot about you, pushing you to take better care of yourself so you can be the best version of yourself.
  258. >Rainbow Dash is the tomboy of every lonely teenage guy’s dreams.
  259. >She can be sporty and competitive, but she’s got this sensitive side that’s like finding gold in a river.
  260. >Fluttershy is such a sweetheart, seeing her feel comfortable around you has really shown you how cute she can be.
  261. >Getting her to warm up to you has been so rewarding.
  262. >It’s kind of a curse, having crushes on your seven friends.
  263. >You never had any luck with girls in the past.
  264. >In the (likely) event that they reject your advances, it’ll really throw a wrench into the friendship you’ve built with them.
  265. >Plus you couldn’t make advances on any of the six other girls after being rejected.
  266. >You doubt they’d appreciate being the rebound.
  267. >These feelings swirled within you and made your time with them a little more depressing.
  268. >You’ve learned to stomach these feelings and just enjoy having seven friends who truly enjoy spending time with you and care about you.
  269. >Besides, it’s not like these are the only girls at school.
  270. >You’ve never taken a census or anything, but you’re pretty sure there’s a 60:40 ratio of girls to guys at Canterlot High.
  271. >So you have your options.
  272. >And you’re sure the girls would love to act as your wingmen to find a date.
  273. >Or wingwomen, rather.
  274. >You really shouldn’t focus on what you don’t have.
  275. >Canterlot High’s been great to you.
  276. >Principal Celestia called you back to her office after your first month to make sure you were doing well.
  277. >You were happy to report that yes, you were doing great at your new school.
  278. >Your peers and teachers are really nice, and you’ve already made some great friends.
  279. >Principal Celestia was delighted to hear the good news, saying she was proud of you for the progress you’ve made.
  280. >From any other principal, you would’ve interpreted her words as being overly patronizing, but Principal Celestia has this motherly tone that really makes you feel cared about.
  281. >If you were still in Elementary School, you’re sure you would’ve accidentally called her mom.
  282. >You left school that day with a spring in your step.
  283. >If all this could happen in one month, you couldn’t wait to see what the rest of the school year would bring.
  284.  
  285. >This brings you to where you are today.
  286. >Not just any Friday, the last Friday of the semester.
  287. >Only five class periods and one lunch period separated you and the rest of the students of Canterlot High from winter break.
  288. >Anticipation was in the air.
  289. >You had a couple final tests on your schedule, but you're ready.
  290. >You waited for the first bell beside that horse statue that always weirds you out for some reason.
  291. >You’re bundled up in a thick jacket and winter cap to protect yourself from the bitter bite of the winter season.
  292. >With each exhale, a cloud of icy breath leaves your mouth and dissipates soon after.
  293. >A small dusting of snow covers the ground, with a scant amount of snowflakes falling from the sky.
  294. >It is a little disappointing that you couldn’t get one snow day on the last day of the semester.
  295. >You kept yourself from getting swept up in the hype unlike other guys in your classes.
  296. >Some of them preemptively took the day off.
  297. >Oh, well.
  298. >”Hey there, new boy~” Sunset’s voice called out to you from behind.
  299. >She’s been calling you “new boy” ever since you first met her.
  300. >It’s an endearing enough nickname.
  301. >You turn around to see Sunset wearing the same leather jacket and skirt she always wears, seemingly unaffected by the cold weather.
  302. “Hey, Sunset. How are you not cold? It’s freezing out here.” You ask her, shivering a bit as some of the winter air sneaks past your neck.
  303. >Sunset shrugged.
  304. >”Guess I’m just more used to Canterlot’s winter weather. You’re experiencing everything here for the first time, remember.” She suggested.
  305. >You nod.
  306. “Yeah, that makes sense…”
  307. >”Hope you’re ready for finals today. Too many guys like you end up failing because they’re busy thinking about break.” Sunset warned you.
  308. “You kidding? Twilight wouldn’t let me out of her sight until I mastered all the worksheets she made for me.” You chuckle, exaggerating only slightly.
  309. >Sunset giggled at your remark.
  310. >You have anything exciting planned for break? Any girlfriend you gonna show a good time~?”
  311. >You shook your head.
  312. “Not really, just hanging out with you and the girls. Probably some holiday stuff with my family. Besides, you’re hanging around me all the time, you’d be the first to know if I tricked a girl into wanting to go out with me.” You remark.
  313. >”Oh, Anon, you really shouldn’t be so hard on yourself! I’m sure any girl here would be lucky to be snuggled up with you on these cold, winter nights.” Sunset assured you with a small grin.
  314. “Oh, yeah? Even you?” You ask her.
  315. >You immediately regret asking her that.
  316. >Did you go too far?
  317. >Would she think it’s just a joke?
  318. >Sunset giggled at your question.
  319. >She makes a big show out of eyeing you up and down.
  320. >”Hmm…”
  321. >You gulp.
  322. >”I don’t know, I don’t really go for younger guys…”
  323. >You felt your heart sink.
  324. >It stupid of you to ask that.
  325. >”...But there IS a first time for everything~” Sunset continues with a wink.
  326.  
  327. >Your train of worrying thoughts screeches to a halt.
  328. “What- What does that mean?” You ask her with an awkward chuckle in an attempt to sound natural.
  329. >Sunset gives you a smug shrug.
  330. >”Oh, don’t you worry, that’s for me to worry about, new boy~”
  331. >You can only hope your cheeks are red because of the cold temperature.
  332. >”Anyway, we’ve got something fun planned for tonight.” Sunset continues from the original topic, getting your attention.
  333. “Really? What’s that?”
  334. >”A sleepover! Pizza, movies, karaoke, truth or dare, all sorts of fun stuff to blow off steam after this semester!” Sunset answered.
  335. “Oh, that sounds like fun!” You cheer for her.
  336. >”It should be! You gonna be able to make it?”
  337. >What?
  338. “...What?”
  339. >”You’re invited, that’s what!” Sunset teasingly clarified.
  340. >It’s not feeling like winter.
  341. >You could only exhale with a sound like an awkward laugh, glancing around to see if anyone was seeing you like this.
  342. >She’s messing with you, surely.
  343. “...H-Heh, good one, Sunny.” You respond, trying to play it off like you knew it was a joke.
  344. >”I’m not joking, new boy! It wouldn’t be the same without you!” Sunset insisted.
  345. >She’s really committed to this bit.
  346. >Could she be telling the truth…?
  347. >No, she can’t.
  348. >Being the only boy at a sleepover with seven girls?
  349. >It’s a scenario straight out of porn movies (that you wouldn’t know anything about).
  350. >Sure, you’re really good friends with the girls, but this is too absurd.
  351. >”Come ON, it’s just hanging out with friends! What’re YOU thinking will happen?” Sunset leers at you, her smug grin getting even wider.
  352. >You’re getting even hotter.
  353. >Sweat’s forming on your forehead.
  354. “I-I just… I dunno, sleepovers are kind of a “girls only” kinda thing…” You eventually answer.
  355. >Sunset snickered at your response.
  356. >”Anon, you’re worrying too much! It’s just a casual hangout! Besides, you’re pretty much ‘one of the girls’~”
  357. >The way she said that made you a little embarrassed.
  358. >There’s already been some rumors spreading throughout Canterlot that you hang out with Sunset and her friends because you’re gay.
  359. >...Is that why Sunset’s inviting you?
  360. >Oh, God, you really hope not.
  361. >”Come on, get your mind out of the gutter. You’re making a bigger deal out of this than it really is~” Sunset tried to persuade you further, resting her hand on your chest and looking into your eyes.
  362. >Before you could utter some other kind of sheepish excuse for not being convinced by her invitation, the first bell of the day rang.
  363. >”Well, I’d love to keep telling you about how much fun you’re gonna have tonight, but we shouldn’t be late for class on the last day! See you later, new boy~” Sunset bid you farewell before ascending the steps into the building, adding extra sway to her hips before she disappeared behind the front doors.
  364. >You sighed, feeling your face still glowing warm.
  365. >Today’s gonna be a long day.
  366.  
  367. >First on the agenda was history.
  368. >When you walked in after dropping off your backpack in your locker and bringing your history folder, Ms. Cheerilee stood by her desk ready to administer the final test of the semester.
  369. >Taking your seat, you took note of the temperament of your peers.
  370. >Most were just annoyed about having to deal with a test on the last day, but a few were visibly worried about the test.
  371. >They must’ve bet on today being a snow day.
  372. >Twilight wouldn’t let you assume yesterday.
  373. >You’ve gotta thank her for forcing you to study when you run into her.
  374. >Those three hours spent studying for your finals were about to pay off.
  375. >You spent the few minutes before class began going over the study sheet you made with Twilight’s help, but really you were just staring at the paper.
  376. >Your mind was still focused on Sunset.
  377. >Usually when she’s messing with you, she drops the act after getting a reaction from you, but she’s awfully persistent that she wants you to come to the sleepover.
  378. >Could she really be telling the truth?
  379. >You’ll have to ask the other girls when you see them.
  380. >You’ve got physics with Applejack next period, and odds are good you’ll run into Pinkie in the halls before that.
  381. >But if you sound like you’re inviting yourself, it could really make things awkward.
  382. >You’ve gotten this far with the girls, don’t fumble the ball now.
  383. >”Good morning, class!” Ms. Cheerilee finally greeted her students, chipper as ever.
  384. >”I hope you all studied for today’s final!”
  385. >The response she got was a collection of grumbles from the guys and girls around you.
  386. >You sit a little more confidently in your chair and smile back at Ms. Cheerilee.
  387. >With Twilight in your corner, you doubt it’s possible to fail a test.
  388. >”Oh, don’t worry, I’m sure all of you will do just fine! You’ll be out of here enjoying your winter break in no time!” Ms. Cheerilee assured everyone.
  389. >When the test papers began making their way across the rows of seats, you stuffed your study guide back into your folder and got out your sharpest pencil.
  390. >You weren’t very worried about doing well on the test, and the questions on the test justified your lax attitude.
  391. >The questions laid out in front of you were basically straight from the textbook.
  392. >Most of it was multiple choice, but there were three short response questions at the end.
  393. >From a brief glance around the room, you could tell a good amount of your peers were visibly worried about doing well.
  394. >You allow a small grin to appear on your face.
  395. >Lucky you, getting the best tutor in Canterlot all to yourself.
  396. >The test goes by as smoothly as butter.
  397. >Dates and names of historical figures and battles seem obvious as soon as you read the questions.
  398. >Even the short response questions aren’t anything more than annoying.
  399. >You’re essentially writing what Twilight would answer the questions with.
  400. >Thank goodness she’s not in this class, you’d get accused of plagiarism.
  401.  
  402. >After half an hour, you’re done with the test.
  403. >You make your triumphant walk up to Ms. Cheerilee’s desk to present your finished test.
  404. >”Oh, wow, finished already?” Ms. Cheerilee asked you.
  405. “Yep! Turns out, studying really does pay off.” You say to her as you place your test on her desk.
  406. >”Well, I can’t really let you go early, so just sit at your desk and wait for class to end. Oh, and no using your phone.” Ms. Cheerilee instructed you.
  407. >You nod and return to your seat.
  408. >Out of the corner of your eyes you could see some of the guys in your class giving you puzzled looks, like they couldn’t comprehend that you could possibly have finished the test that fast.
  409. >Once you take your seat , the boring part begins: waiting for class to end.
  410. >At least you were sitting near the window, so you could stare outside and spend time peoplewatching.
  411. >Unsurprisingly, it isn’t very lively outside.
  412. >Most everyone’s either at work or school.
  413. >Except a handful of punkish teenagers hanging around on the sidewalk.
  414. >They’re most likely skipping school, but you’re no narc.
  415. >The gentle snowfall continues to powder the pavement on the other side of the window.
  416. >Without the foot or road traffic, it’s starting to build up on the road and sidewalk.
  417. >...Even if you’re invited, what’s gonna happen?
  418. >What’s Sunset planning?
  419. >This can’t just be an elaborate prank at your expense, the other girls wouldn’t allow that.
  420. >Twilight, Rainbow, Fluttershy, Rarity, Pinkie, Applejack, there’s no way they’d take advantage of your trust.
  421. >There’d have to be a reason they’d go along with Sunset on this.
  422. >...Of course, this is all dependent on you actually being invited to that sleepover.
  423. >There’s no reason to get hyped up about this.
  424. >You’d only be setting yourself up for disappointment.
  425. >...Man, if you’re not actually invited, you’re gonna feel really lonely tonight.
  426. >All seven of your friends hanging out and having a good time without you sounds pretty depressing.
  427. >Would Sunset trick you about being invited just to make you feel bad about being left out?
  428. >No, she wouldn’t.
  429. >Sunset’s always liked teasing you, but she’s never been cruel to you.
  430. >So many possibilities, so many conflicting emotions.
  431. >The wait is driving you insane.
  432. >You really wish you could text Twilight or Pinkie or whoever to ask about this sleepover thing, but Ms. Cheerilee would think you’re helping other students cheat on their final.
  433. >Waiting a little longer for class to let out is worth making sure you didn’t get a zero on your final.
  434. >You dread to imagine how Twilight would react if you got a zero after all your studying.
  435. >As time goes on, more and more students walk up to Ms. Cheerilee’s desk and hand in their test, some looking more confident than others.
  436. >A handful of students were desperately scribbling down whatever answers they could squeeze into the remaining minutes.
  437. >If it weren’t for Twilight, you would’ve been one of them.
  438.  
  439. >The bell rings, indicating the end of the first period.
  440. >You shoot out of your seat, grab your folder, and hurriedly make your way out of the classroom.
  441. “Thanks for everything, have a nice break!” You say to Ms. Cheerilee over your shoulder as you exit the room to make sure you didn’t seem rude.
  442. >Making your way back to your locker, through the densely packed hallway, you spot the unmistakable curly pink hair that could only belong to Pinkie Pie.
  443. >You hurry on over to her while trying to not make it look like you’re hurrying over to her.
  444. >When Pinkie finally sees you, her eyes light up and she captures you in another one of her impossibly strong bear hugs.
  445. >”Hiya, Nonny! Gosh, it feels like it’s been forever since I saw you last!” Pinkie greeted you with her face half-buried in your chest.
  446. >Her peppy attitude infects you as it usually does, forcing you to giggle along and return her hug, albeit with less force.
  447. “Hey, Pinkie! It hasn’t been THAT long, you saw me yesterday!” You remind her.
  448. >Pinkie pulls away from the hug and she takes on a grumpy expression.
  449. >”Oh, I know, but I just HATE these finals! I really really wish we could’ve just skipped straight to winter break already!” She complains.
  450. “I wish so too. If it was up to me, we would’ve started winter break weeks ago.” You remark.
  451. >Pinkie giggles at your dumb joke.
  452. >You love her giggles.
  453. >They’re so pure and joyous.
  454. >”At least we’ve got that sleepover tonight to look forward to!” Pinkie added, her expression lifting.
  455. >Okay, here it goes.
  456. “Yeah, uh, Sunset mentioned something about that. She said I was invited, for some reason…” You awkwardly segue into the topic.
  457. >”That’s because you are, silly!” Pinkie giggles.
  458. >...Well, that settles it.
  459. >Apparently.
  460. >Now you’re more puzzled.
  461. “...Really?”
  462. >”Well, duh! It wouldn’t be the same without you, Nonny!” Pinkie insisted.
  463. >Sunset said the same thing to you before school…
  464. >”You’ve been such a super-duper friend since you started coming to school here, hanging out with you’s always fun! With you and the girls all together for tonight’s sleepover, it could be the best night EVER!” Pinkie cheered.
  465. >Her volume drew the attention of a few of the students rushing by, but none of them seemed too curious about the topic of your conversation.
  466. >”Why wouldn’t you think you’d be invited?” Pinkie asked you.
  467. >Here we go again.
  468. “Well, it’s just-”
  469. >”Oh, whoopsie! Gotta get to class! See you at lunch!” Pinkie interrupted you, making to dart off towards her next class.
  470. “Y-Yeah, see you then!” You call out to her as she ran through the hall.
  471. >But before Pinkie could disappear around the corner, she skidded to a halt and turned back to you.
  472. >”Don’t work yourself too hard on your tests today, Nonny! You’re gonna need your energy for tonight~”
  473. >Before you could ask what she meant by that, she was gone.
  474.  
  475. >It doesn’t take you long to get to physics.
  476. >But your head’s clouded with thoughts about the sleepover.
  477. >Pinkie’s second opinion verifies Sunset’s initial claim.
  478. >There is a sleepover tonight, and you are invited.
  479. >But that still leaves the big three letter question.
  480. >Why?
  481. >Hopefully Applejack could help shine some light on the situation.
  482. >When you reach the classroom, you find the test packets placed face-down on everyone’s usual seat.
  483. >Class managed to get ahead of the curriculum, so you actually had your final test earlier this week.
  484. >Applejack’s already at her seat when you arrive, gripping her test packet tightly.
  485. “Hey, AJ.” You greet her as you stand by her desk.
  486. >She turns to face you, clearly excited about something.
  487. >”Heya, Anon! Look at this!” She says, presenting the front of her test packet.
  488. >She got an A!
  489. “Oh, wow! That’s amazing!” You cheer for her.
  490. >”Thank you! I couldn't have done it without your help!” She thanked you.
  491. “Oh, come on, all I did was point you in the direction of the finish line. You’re the one who crossed it.” You humbly try to downplay your contribution.
  492. >Applejack shook her head.
  493. >”Nuh uh, before you started tutoring me, all this was just a bunch of letters I couldn’t make heads or tails of. I admit, I wasn’t sure when Sunset said I should ask you for tutoring instead of Twilight, but… I’m really glad I did.”
  494. >She got up from her chair and wrapped her firm arms around you, ensnaring you in another hug.
  495. >”Thank you for believing in me, sugarcube.” Applejack sighed.
  496. >You gently smiled and gratefully returned her hug.
  497. “Come on, you don’t have to thank me for that. That’s what friends are for.” You remind her.
  498. >Being in Applejack’s arms feels great, and it stings a little to say you’re only friends.
  499. >Applejack parts from the hug and gives you a soft smile.
  500. >”Yeah… friends…” She mutters.
  501. >Weird, you’ve never heard her use that kind of tone before.
  502. >”Don’t start celebrating yet, you kids still have three classes after this.” You heard your teacher say to you two.
  503. >You and Applejack quickly parted from the hug, feeling embarrassed about being reminded that you two embraced like that in the middle of the classroom.
  504. >A couple students giggled at you two, but returned to their test packets.
  505. >Seems like more than a few of them disagreed with their grade.
  506. “Guess I should check my own grade.” You said awkwardly.
  507. >”Yeah, that’s probably a good idea…” Applejack chuckled sheepishly.
  508. >You move back to your seat on the other side of the classroom and, with bated breath, turn over the test packet on your desk.
  509. >You managed to land a B+ on your final.
  510. >Hell yeah!
  511. >But Applejack got a better grade than you.
  512. >Looks like you’re such a great tutor that you’re better at teaching the material than understanding.
  513. >You guide people to a treasure you can never possess.
  514. >But hey, a B+ is a passing grade, that’s what matters most.
  515.  
  516. >”Alright class, I don’t have anything scheduled for today, so we’re just gonna watch Interstellar if that’s alright with all of you.” The visibly exhausted physics teacher informed the class, setting up the projector and switching off the lights.
  517. >The mood in the classroom lifted like you got a few feet closer to heaven.
  518. >Seems like they’re all not so worried about their grades now.
  519. >Bread and circuses, I guess.
  520. >”Remember, this is a school presentation, so don’t text during the movie. Or do. See if I care.” The teacher grumbled, hitting play.
  521. >You’ve seen Interstellar before, so you’re not missing out on much by scrolling through your social media feeds and killing more than a few brain cells.
  522. >A more academic student would take this time to review notes for the rest of finals today, but you’re not even gonna bother fighting with the movie’s bombastic bass for your mental space.
  523. >Not too long into the movie, you get a text notification from Applejack.
  524. >[U gonna be able to make it to the sleepover tonight?]
  525. >[Sunset said she told u about it already]
  526. >Well, that’s the third sleepover invitation you’ve received today.
  527. >Seems like this really is legit
  528. [Yeah I guess so] You text back.
  529. [Where’s it happening anyway?]
  530. >[Rarity’s house]
  531. >[Her parents are out of town for the weekend and her sister’s spending the night at my house with Apple Bloom and Scootaloo]
  532. >[We’ve got the place to ourselves]
  533. >Rarity’s house…
  534. >You’ve visited once or twice, though only the first floor where Rarity has her boutique.
  535. >[U alright?]
  536. >You’ve been found out.
  537. [Yeah, sorry]
  538. [Just processing that I’ve been invited to a sleepover]
  539. >[Ur making a bigger deal out of this than it is]
  540. >[We invited u bc we rly like having u around]
  541. >[U don’t have to come but we’d rly like it if you did]
  542. [I’d like to come!]
  543. [It sounds like fun!]
  544. [I’d just hate to intrude on girl’s night]
  545. >You heard Applejack gently chuckle on the other side of the classroom.
  546. >[Ur worrying too much!]
  547. >[It’s gonna be fun!]
  548. >You gently sigh with a soft smile.
  549. >You should stop insisting on looking this gift horse in the mouth.
  550. [Ur right, thanks AJ]
  551. [I’m rly grateful for the invitation]
  552. >Applejack sends back a smiley emoticon.
  553. >As the movie continues, the last thing Pinkie said to you comes back to mind.
  554. >The way she said that reminded you of Sunset’s teasing tone.
  555. >Pinkie usually isn’t flirty like that.
  556. >Could that mean something?
  557. >Most likely not.
  558. >The inner workings of Pinkie’s mind are a complete mystery to you.
  559. >Some questions are better left unanswered.
  560. >Another text notification from Applejack pops up.
  561. >[I almost forgot ur in charge of picking two movies for tonight]
  562. >[RD insisted u pick the movies]
  563. >Oh man, responsibility.
  564. >Guess that’s the catch you’ve been dreading.
  565. >The seven girls all have such different tastes, how are you gonna pick one movie all of them are gonna enjoy, let alone two?
  566. [U can count on me!] You text Applejack.
  567.  
  568. >”Class” ended after some more texting back and forth with Applejack.
  569. >As for the movie, you’re left on a real cliffhanger.
  570. >Now you’ll never know how far Mr. Director Man will go to destroy the school’s cheap sound system.
  571. >”Seeya at lunch!” Applejack waved goodbye to you before heading out into the hall with some more pep in her step, thanks to her awesome grade.
  572. “See you then!” You say to her in return before she vanishes into the mob of teenagers outside the classroom.
  573. >Once you’re packed up, you head out towards your third stop: art class with Rarity.
  574. >This class has a final in the form of adding the finishing touches to your last project of the semester before submitting it to the teacher for grading.
  575. >Not much of a final, but it’s sure graded like one.
  576. >The art wing’s on the complete other side of the school building from the science wing, so it’s a bit of a hike to get there.
  577. >Upon arriving at the art studio, you spot Rarity setting up her easel at the usual spot inside.
  578. >You wonder what she has to say about this whole sleepover thing.
  579. >If any of the girls are most likely to be opposed to the idea of having a boy over for the night, it’s her.
  580. “Hey, Rarity.” You nonchalantly say to her as you set up your easel next to hers, the way it’s been for most of the semester.
  581. >”Oh, good morning, Anon! I trust your day hasn’t been too stressful thus far!” Rarity greeted you, turning away from her easel to face you with a smile.
  582. >Something’s different about her today, but what?
  583. “Wait, don’t tell me…” You change the subject, trying to figure out what exactly she’s doing differently today.
  584. >Rarity gently chuckles and strikes a small pose, waiting for you to spot the difference between Today Rarity and Yesterday Rarity.
  585. “...New earrings!” You realize with a snap of your fingers.
  586. >Rarity’s eyes lit up at your answer.
  587. >”Thank you! They arrived in the mail just last week, but I knew they had to be saved for a truly special occasion!” She excitedly said to you, moving her intricately cared-for hair aside to give you a better look at her new earrings.
  588. >They’re cut from glass in the shape of impossibly intricate snowflakes, with a sparkling gem at the center of each earring.
  589. “They sure look like they’re worthy of a special occasion! They’re beautiful!”
  590. >”Why, thank you, Anon!” Rarity beamed. “And the effort you’ve put into your hair this morning has paid off!”
  591. >You feel yourself gently blush at her compliment as you run your fingers through your carefully maintained hair.
  592. “Thanks, Rarity! That whole ‘use shampoo and conditioner separately instead of the 2-in-1’ idea of yours is genius.” You compliment her.
  593. >A satisfied look covers Rarity’s face.
  594. “I gotta say, it’s really annoying when you tell me I should take better care of myself, and you end up being right.” You joke.
  595. >Rarity allows herself a hearty laugh at your joke, making you smile.
  596.  
  597. >Once class starts, everyone gets to work on their paintings of the mannequin at the center of the room.
  598. >Art’s a pretty laid back class that the teacher encourages creative, artistic thinking in, so listening to music during class is allowed for the students so long as it doesn’t hurt their ability to paint.
  599. >You’re pretty proud of the progress you’ve made so far.
  600. >Your easel is set up in a corner of the room where the light cast from the window creates a pretty striking shadow across the mannequin’s head.
  601. >It looks so solemn, like the weight of the world is being carried on its shoulders.
  602. >At the risk of hubristic statements, you’d compare your work to The Thinker.
  603. >From the looks you got at Rarity’s perspective, she’s approaching the mood of the painting from a completely different angle.
  604. >Where she’s set up, the light from the window completely silhouettes the mannequin, so none of the mannequin from her perspective is lit.
  605. >Rarity took to interpreting this as if it were an angel descending from heaven, using the light behind the mannequin as a welcoming force, rather than foreboding like you likely would have.
  606. >It’s clear that she’s got far more experience with a paintbrush than you, her brushstrokes are far more thin and deliberate.
  607. >Your work’s a little more messy, but you try to spin that into a kind of surreal roughness.
  608. >That’s the kind of stuff art teachers eat up.
  609. >”Truthfully, I can hardly wait for the sleepover. Aren’t you excited?” Rarity whispered to you while brushing just as delicately as she always does.
  610. >That’s confirmation number four that you’re invited to the sleepover.
  611. >You glance around, worried that some of your classmates might overhear you two and get the wrong idea.
  612. >But you’re not entirely sure what the right idea is.
  613. >Everyone’s focused on their work with their earbuds in, so there aren’t any eavesdroppers.
  614. >You awkwardly chuckle and shrug while trying to not look like you’re shirking your work.
  615. “I guess! I can’t remember the last time I had a sleepover, honestly.”
  616. >”Fortunately for you, there’s very little rehearsal involved. All you have to worry about is making informed choices on what we’ll be viewing this evening.” Rarity reminded you with a slight grin.
  617. “Sure, but that’s gonna be a real headache to figure out when I get home. All of you have such different tastes, finding a movie that everyone will like is gonna be like bowling a perfect game.”
  618. >”It certainly will be if you approach the matter like that! I trust you have good taste in film, and Rainbow does too, judging by how fiercely she fought to elect you to the role.”
  619. >You gently laugh, nodding your head to relent.
  620. “Alright, alright, but… is there a dress code?”
  621. >Rarity is only barely able to stifle a laugh.
  622. >”Anon, you’re worrying far too much about this! Just bring comfortable nightwear, and ideally a swimsuit as well.”
  623. >A swimsuit?
  624. >This is getting interesting.
  625.  
  626. >Both of you decide to continue this conversation at lunch with the girls.
  627. >You’ve only got so much time left to perfect your masterpiece.
  628. >But you’ve used your time earlier this week to get the bulk of the work done.
  629. >All that’s really left are the fine details.
  630. >...Rarity in a swimsuit…
  631. >That would be something to see.
  632. >And the other girls, too…
  633. >This calls for extra preparation when you get home.
  634. >P.E. with Rainbow and the volunteering at Sweet Apple Acres improved your physique, at least a little.
  635. >Hopefully you’re beach body ready.
  636. >Ten minutes before class ends, the teacher gets everyone’s attention.
  637. >Before everyone could submit their final project, she gave everyone a well-prepared speech about how wonderful it’s been to see everyone grow as an artist and that she has nothing but faith in us achieving great things beyond this class.
  638. >It’s certainly a more touching farewell than what your physics teacher gave you.
  639. >Just as the paintings were collected, the bell rang, meaning it’s time for your favorite period: lunch.
  640. >Not just because there’s no homework involved, but because it’s the only part of the school day where all your friends are together.
  641. >As soon as you and Rarity step out into the hall, you’re greeted by Twilight and Sunset.
  642. >”Hey, guys! Finals been treating you well?” Twilight asks you two as she adjusts her hefty backpack.
  643. >”Oh, can’t complain.” Rarity answered, brushing aside her hair.
  644. “So far, so good. Though I’ve really only had one ‘real’ final today.” You add.
  645. >”That’s a relief, we’d just hate it if you got too burned out to have fun tonight.” Sunset remarked, taking her usual spot right next to you as the four of you walked down the hall.
  646. >”That’s for sure! Ironically, we won’t be doing much sleeping tonight!” Twilight giggled.
  647. “When’s this happening, anyway? I gotta make myself decent before my show-stopping debut.” You ask.
  648. >Twilight giggles at your dumb joke.
  649. >”I’m gonna be coming over at 7 PM, you should, too!” She advised.
  650. >”If you show up any earlier, I’m afraid you’ll have to wait in my boutique.” Rarity added.
  651. “Alright, sounds good!”
  652. >Idle talk is exchanged about how finals went as the four of you navigated through the pack of teenagers to get to the cafeteria.
  653. >Tensions are even higher than this morning, you can tell.
  654. >Only three classes after this and you’re free.
  655. >You’re more tense, too.
  656. >You’re getting closer to that sleepover.
  657. >All your friends brought it up as soon as you saw them.
  658. >You can’t shake the feeling that this is gonna be a big deal.
  659. >But why?
  660. >Well, there’s the possibility that one of your friends is into you.
  661. >But that’s a risky assumption.
  662. >”Hellooooo? Earth to Anon?” You heard Sunset say while waving her hand in your face.
  663. “What? Yeah, what’s up?” You clumsily ask her, snapping back to reality.
  664. >Sunset and Twilight giggled at you having just come back from zoning out.
  665.  
  666. >You’re in the cafeteria in no time.
  667. >The place is abuzz with the chatter of your peers.
  668. >Between talk about how everyone did on finals and what everyone has planned for winter break, the cafeteria’s even more lively than usual.
  669. >The line for lunch trays moves quicker as a result, which is nice.
  670. >You make sure to thank Granny Smith for your tray, but having the food in your hand makes you realize how hungry you are.
  671. >Pinkie’s not hard to spot with how she’s standing up and energetically waving the four of you over to your usual table.
  672. >Rainbow, Fluttershy, and Applejack are already sitting with her when you get there with Sunset, Twilight, and Rarity.
  673. >You took your usual seat in between Pinkie and Sunset.
  674. >”AJ was just telling us how you got her an A on her physics final! You’re one heck of a tutor, Nonny!” Pinkie cheered for you.
  675. >”You did? That’s awesome!” Twilight said, turning to you with an excited expression.
  676. >”What did I tell you? New boy here really is something special.” Sunset added, nudging your shoulder with a grin.
  677. >Fluttershy mumbled something as she cast her gaze down to her lunch tray.
  678. “Come on, I was just tutoring her. Applejack’s always been capable of getting that A, I just helped her realize it.” You humbly downplay your contribution.
  679. >Applejack turned away from you just as you could perceive a very slight blush on her cheeks.
  680. >”I bet you’d say the same about Twilight.” Rainbow remarked with a mouth half-full of sandwich.
  681. “Well, that’s different. I knew I’d do decently on my tests, Twilight just… got me to actually study.”
  682. >”Why’re we talking about tests right now? I can’t stop thinking about tonight!” Pinkie jumped in.
  683. >”It’s still worth thinking about finals, we’ve still got two classes to get through before break starts.” Twilight tries to remind her.
  684. >”Pfft, nobody cares about the last classes. I bet the teachers wanna get out of here even more than we do.” Rainbow dismissed, this time after having swallowed the food in her mouth.
  685. >”We still ought to put in a decent effort for what’s left of today. Don’t wanna trip up at the finish line.” Applejack spoke up, supporting Twilight’s cautious attitude.
  686. >As Pinkie and Rainbow butted heads with Twilight and Applejack about how lax they should be for the rest of the day, you go back to your lunch.
  687. >Canterlot High’s lunch offerings stand head and shoulders above what Bullworth Academy dropped in front of you, but you could say the same about the contents of the dumpster behind the school building.
  688. >But you can’t enjoy lunch as much as you normally would.
  689. >There’s a lot of anticipation around this sleepover tonight.
  690. >The girls have clearly been planning it before telling you about it.
  691. >There’s gotta be something about this they’re not telling you.
  692. >And the only thing you can do to find out about it is wait and see what happens.
  693. >Waiting’s always the worst part.
  694.  
  695. >”Are you okay, Anon?” Fluttershy softly asks you, bringing you back to the present.
  696. >She’s giving you a look of genuine concern.
  697. “What? Oh, yeah, it’s just…”
  698. >You want to say you’re stressed about your geometry final later today, but you can’t bring yourself to lie to Fluttershy.
  699. “...I don’t know, I keep thinking about this sleepover thing tonight.” You admit.
  700. >”Why?” Sunset asks you before Fluttershy could respond. “You trust us, don’t you?”
  701. “Well, yeah, of course!” You’re quick to answer.
  702. >”So trust us that you’re gonna have the time of your life tonight!” Sunset insisted.
  703. >The time of your life?
  704. >Your confusion must’ve been visible because Rainbow giggled at you.
  705. >”Sorry to disappoint you, but there won’t be any sexy pillow fights tonight.” She let you know.
  706. >Rarity, Twilight, Pinkie, and Sunset giggled at her remark.
  707. “I wasn’t thinking that!” You insist, more than a little red in the cheeks.
  708. >”Suuuuuure you weren’t.” Rainbow grinned.
  709. >”What Rainbow means is that there’s really nothing for you to be worried about. We’re just going to be having fun spending time together now that we’re done with school for the year.” Fluttershy assured you, making her way back into the conversation.
  710. >”You’re gonna have a great time tonight, I just know it.” She smiles at you.
  711. >Damn it, you can’t resist Fluttershy’s smile.
  712. >A smile of your own forces its way onto your cheeks.
  713. “...You’re right. Thanks, Flutters.” You softly say to her.
  714. >”She sure is! We’re gonna have a BLAST tonight! I’m even wearing my lucky underwear to make sure! Wanna see?” Pinkie pipes up, grabbing the hem of her skirt as she presents the offer to you.
  715. “No, no, that’s fine!” You react on instinct, feeling your cheeks flare up even more.
  716. >”Anon’s absolutely right, there’s absolutely no need for any of that.” Rarity added, ushering Pinkie to sit back down.
  717. >Once Pinkie sits back down (with a faintly disappointed look on her face), Twilight awkwardly clears her throat to address you.
  718. >”Just… focus on getting through your geometry final, okay? With all the studying we’ve done together, you’ve got this, no problem!” Twilight assured you.
  719. >”After that, we’ll get to see a lot more of each other tonight!”
  720. >Twilight’s eyes widened and a blush appeared on her cheeks when she realized the innuendo in her words.
  721. >”Uh, w-what I meant was, uh… we’re gonna have a ton of fun! A ton of PG, non-sexy fun, that is…” She trailed off, losing the ability to maintain eye contact.
  722. >Sunset giggled at Twilight’s attempt to fumble a sentence together.
  723. “Don’t worry, I got what you mean.” You assure her.
  724. >”Hehe, thanks…” Twilight mumbled before quickly taking off her glasses to clean the lenses with a microfiber cloth.
  725. >”A-Anyway, I’m really looking forward to what movies you’ll pick!” She changes the subject.
  726. “Honestly, I am too.” You shrug.
  727.  
  728. >After some more casual conversation, the bell signaling the end of lunch period rang.
  729. >”Well, looks like we better get going.” Rainbow said to you as she got up and tossed away her trash from lunch.
  730. >”Indeed, we should!” Sunset piped up, getting up alongside you.
  731. >”Guess this is it! See you all at the sleepover!” Twilight bid the seven of you farewell before securing her backpack and hurrying off to her next class.
  732. >You dread to imagine what kind of day she’s going on.
  733. >No doubt she’s taking the most difficult final tests the school has to offer.
  734. >It almost makes you feel bad for taking time away from her own studying by having her tutor you.
  735. >But you already know she’ll insist that it’s not a problem at all, so it’s not worth the mental anguish.
  736. >”Come on! You want this semester to have a show-stopping finale, right? Then you better hurry up!” Rainbow hurried you along, impatiently pushing you away from the trash cans and towards the doors almost before you could properly dispose of your refuse.
  737. “Oh, please, you’re the one that’s famous for their ‘show-stopping finales’, I’m just your warm-up act.” You reply with a grin.
  738. >”Eh, maybe. But you’re the best warm-up act I could ask for.” Rainbow grinned.
  739. >”Come on, you two. Show’s gonna be over by the time you two are done with your little back-and-forth.” Sunset reminded both of you as she walked alongside you.
  740. >You almost trip over your own feet trying to keep up with Rainbow and Sunset.
  741. >Sunset’s more anxious to get you going than usual.
  742. >Her hands are planted on your shoulder, almost shoving you through the halls.
  743. >Rainbow’s effortlessly weaving her way through the guys and girls hurrying to class.
  744. >She’s had plenty of practice in her years of soccer.
  745. >But your peers are almost at critical mass.
  746. >Two and a half hours separate the fine men and women of Canterlot High from their freedom.
  747. >Walking among them, you feel so… separated from them.
  748. >This damn sleepover.
  749. >As much as the girls insist it’s just gonna be a casual hangout, you can’t help but believe something’s up.
  750. >They’ve been organizing this behind your back, you’ve only been told about it today.
  751. >You’re in charge of picking two movies, but what are the other girls in charge of?
  752. >You know you’re being paranoid about this, but it’s really unlike the girls to be so… secretive like this.
  753. >You didn’t think Pinkie was capable of keeping a secret, especially from one of her friends.
  754. >So what-
  755. >”Oh, sorry!”
  756. >You’re snapped back to reality when you accidentally bump into that girl with the lazy eye amid the bustling student body.
  757. “No, no, it’s my fault, I should’ve been paying more attention.” You hastily apologize to her.
  758. >”Anon, chop chop! Let’s get a move on!” Rainbow called out to you, dragging you by the elbow with Sunset’s help.
  759. >”Good luck, Anon!” You heard the girl with the lazy eye say before she vanished into the crowd.
  760.  
  761. >After a long march through the hallways, you arrive at the gymnasium.
  762. >”Well, this is where I get off. See you later, new boy!” Sunset said to you before she vanished into the crowd.
  763. >You wish you could’ve said goodbye to her in turn, but Rainbow was quicker as she dragged you into the gym.
  764. >There’s already a handful of students in their gym clothes talking and doing warm-up stretches as Coaches Spitfire and Soarin go over paperwork in their small office.
  765. >Rainbow’s already ran off to the girl’s locker room to get changed within the span of time it takes for you to blink.
  766. >After a quick few moments, you’re changed and ready to go.
  767. >You spot Rainbow doing leg stretches, so you figure you could interrogate her a bit on this sleepover stuff.
  768. “So, Applejack said you fought for me to pick the movies for tonight.” You say to her as you stretch a bit to warm up.
  769. >”Yeah, dude, ‘cause I can count on you. No offense to the girls, but I don’t wanna spend all night watching some cutesy chick flick or cartoon movies. You’re cool like that.” Rainbow answered.
  770. >”Rarity was the first to volunteer for movie picking, but I just knew she’d pick some sickeningly schmaltzy romance movies. You should be thanking me for saving you from that.”
  771. “I dunno, you’re awful confident I won’t pick two of those just to annoy you.” You jokingly warn her.
  772. >”Nah, I know you wouldn’t. You’re not that bold.” Rainbow retorted, grinning.
  773. “You sure? You’ve been a real role model, showing me how to stand up for myself and my beliefs.” You shoot back at her.
  774. >Rainbow couldn’t help but laugh.
  775. >”Really? Suffering through two awful romance movies is you ‘standing up for your beliefs’? If you want to fuck Rarity that bad, just tell her!”
  776. >Her rebuttal puts you on the defensive, as well as turning a couple heads.
  777. “H-Hey, come on, I’m picking those movies to get on your nerves! Not for Rarity!” You insist.
  778. >Rainbow cackles at your response.
  779. >She knows she’s got the upper hand.
  780. >”Aww, you’d really do that for me~?” She fake swoons.
  781. >You sigh and roll your eyes, but you’re unable to hide your smile.
  782. “Oh, yeah. JUST for you. Because I’m just so DESPERATELY in love with you, Rainbow Dash!” You play along.
  783. “The way you rock the soccer field and play that guitar of yours, I couldn’t help but fall in love!”
  784. “I was just hoping that I’d finally appeal to your sensitive side, just to show you all the feelings you make me feel when I look at you!” You finish with a grin.
  785. >Her smug expression faded slightly, and her eyes widened just a little bit.
  786. >...Did you go too far?
  787. >Oh, God, you did.
  788. >A wave of shame washes over you.
  789. >Look at you, the biggest hypocrite in the world, making fun of Rainbow after you complained about her making fun of you earlier this year.
  790.  
  791. “...I’m really sorry, Rainbow. I shouldn’t have said all that.” You meekly apologize.
  792. >”No, no, it’s cool! You’re cool!” She hastily responds.
  793. >You give her a concerned look.
  794. “Are you sure? I didn’t go too far?”
  795. >”Dude, seriously, I said I was alright! Don’t you trust me?” She responds, probably a little too loud.
  796. “Of course, I do!”
  797. >”So trust me when I say that absolutely nothing you just said had any kind of effect on me!” Rainbow insisted.
  798. >You look her over.
  799. >Her smile’s more than a little forced, and…
  800. >...is that blush on her cheeks?
  801. >”I mean, you should hear the trash talking I get on the soccer field! You think you saying you wanna hold me close and make me feel loved is enough to get me frazzled?”
  802. “But that’s not what I-”
  803. >”Nope! Not at all! So you can stop trying to throw me off so you can beat me in the pacer, ‘cause it’s not gonna work!”
  804. >”Alright, class! Form up for warm ups!” Coach Spitfire announced with a blow of the whistle.
  805. >”Can’t talk now, gotta get going!” Rainbow rushed you, shooting over to her usual spot in the line of students.
  806. >You watch her take formation, trying to gleam more truth from her.
  807. >It seems like she’s intentionally facing away from you, from what you can tell from your spot in the line.
  808. >Rainbow usually isn’t very good at hiding when she’s upset about something, and from what you can tell, she isn’t very upset right now.
  809. >As you did the routine stretches prescribed by Coach Spitfire along with the rest of the class, your mind lingered more on Rainbow’s reaction.
  810. >She didn’t laugh along, but she also wasn’t offended or anything.
  811. >...Was she flattered?
  812. >No, don’t be dumb.
  813. >Rainbow’s just as out of your league as Rarity is, but for a different reason.
  814. >She’s the best soccer player in school AND a guitar-playing rockstar.
  815. >Why would she settle for someone like you?
  816. >”Hope none of you are too burned out from your tests, because it’s time for the last pacer test of the semester!” Coach Soarin announced to you and your classmates.
  817. >The guys around you aren’t burned out at all.
  818. >You can tell they’ve been ready to sprint all day.
  819. >”You all have made some serious progress this semester, I know I’m gonna be seeing some personal bests today!” Coach Soarin encouraged everyone as Coach Spitfire got the pacer test CD ready.
  820. >Once the recording that you’ve heard countless times since middle school plays over the gym speakers, you do some careful breathing in and out to get your heart rate under control.
  821. >Between finals, the sleepover, and whatever’s going on with Rainbow, it’s been a very hectic day.
  822. >At least what you’ve got on your plate now doesn't require any studying.
  823. >Just a ton of time running as long as you can.
  824. >Not very mentally strenuous, but plenty physically strenuous.
  825. >After the recorded voice finishes describing the pacer and counts down to one, the test begins.
  826.  
  827. >You get off to a good start, jogging along at a fairly relaxed pace.
  828. >When the test starts to speed up, you handle it just fine.
  829. >Rainbow’s given you plenty of practice from the times she’s raced you to Sugarcube Corner.
  830. >...Well, you raced her in the same way a slug races a leopard.
  831. >But it’s gotten you far.
  832. >By the time the counter gets to 50, about half the class has dropped out of the pacer.
  833. >Not you, though.
  834. >A quick glance at Rainbow indicates she’s taking this pacer test like a walk in the park.
  835. >You wonder if she’s still worked up about what you said earlier.
  836. >Hopefully this pacer will help her get all that out of her system.
  837. >She’s in her natural habitat.
  838. >The pacer gets faster.
  839. >By the time it reaches 75, your lungs are burning.
  840. >You have to keep going, though.
  841. >You can’t give in now.
  842. >The pacer gets faster.
  843. >Your lungs are on fire.
  844. >Come on, keep going.
  845. >You can’t turn your neck and see how many other guys and girls are still running with you.
  846. >It gets to the point where you’re full-on sprinting to make it to the mark in time.
  847. >Come on, some of Big Mac’s absurd strength had to have rubbed off on you.
  848. >Just a little more-
  849. >The buzzer sounds before you make it to the mark.
  850. >You’re out.
  851. >89.
  852. >Damn it.
  853. >A personal record, but so close to 90.
  854. >While gasping for air and covered in sweat from pushing yourself so hard, you sit down and watch the remaining students sprint back and forth across the laminated floor of the gym.
  855. >It doesn’t take long for Rainbow to be the only one left in the running.
  856. >She’s almost flying back and forth.
  857. >She’s superhuman.
  858. >You’ve seen how she plays soccer, but it never stops being impressive.
  859. >But even Hercules had his limits, and so indeed does Rainbow Dash.
  860. >She’s starting to fall behind.
  861. >She’s sweating a ton.
  862. >...Man, Rainbow’s kinda hot when she’s so sweaty like that.
  863. >How much of what you said to her was the truth?
  864. >You might find out tonight.
  865. >It’ll be just you and her and your six other friends.
  866. >Maybe if you play your cards right, you could leave Rarity’s place tomorrow with a girlfriend.
  867. >Spin-the-bottle and seven minutes in heaven are staples of sleepovers.
  868. >You assume.
  869. >Rainbow crying out in frustration draws you out of your thoughts, which is followed by the cheering of your classmates.
  870. >She got all the way up to 146!
  871. >You get up and make your way over to Rainbow as she wipes the sweat from her forehead.
  872. “Rainbow, that was awesome! I’ve never seen anyone get that far before!” You congratulate her.
  873. >”Pssh, that was nothing. I could’ve kept going, I just didn’t wanna beat everyone too bad.” She smirked, throwing her hair back.
  874. >You good-heartedly laugh along.
  875. “Well, regardless of what your limit actually is, I’d watch all of it. Seeing you run is like poetry in motion.”
  876. >The sound that Rainbow makes in response is midway between a laugh and a giggle.
  877. >”You know, you can compliment me without sounding so dorky, Anon.”
  878.  
  879. >”Class ends in ten minutes, so all of you should get changed and clean out your gym lockers. You get penalized for letting your nasty gym clothes fester in your locker all winter.” Coach Spitfire announced to the class.
  880. >Rainbow makes sure she’s the first one into the girl’s locker room.
  881. >You can feel the wind billow behind her.
  882. >It provides a bit of refreshment.
  883. >You would’ve made your way inside the guy’s locker room sooner, but you’re thoroughly winded after setting your world record pacer score.
  884. >It’s a complete zoo in there as guys try to get changed and packed up.
  885. >After squeezing your way in between two football players, you’re changed back into your daily clothes and have your gym clothes safely secured in a drawstring bag.
  886. >When you emerge from the foul-smelling, borderline homoerotic locker room, Rainbow’s running out the door.
  887. >”Seeyalateratthesleepoveranongoodluckonyourlastfinal!” She yells over her shoulder while halfway in the hall.
  888. >Yeah, you’ll see her later.
  889. >You just hope Ms. Harshwinny won’t mind the smell of physical exertion from you.
  890. >Well, you know she will, but you’ll only have to put up with her one more time.
  891. >In an act of divine mercy, geometry isn’t far from where the gym is.
  892. >You make it through the ocean of anxiety and hormones to reach the classroom, but before you can enter, you feel a gentle tap on your shoulder.
  893. >”Uh… H-Hey, Anon…”
  894. >You turn around and see Fluttershy standing really close to you, presumably to be out of everyone’s way.
  895. “Hey, Flutters. How’re you holding up?” You ask her.
  896. >She sighs in exhaustion.
  897. >”...We’re almost done with the school day, that’s what matters most.”
  898. >You offer a light laugh.
  899. “Man, I feel you there.”
  900. >Fluttershy looks weirdly tense, and you suspect it doesn’t have to do with finals.
  901. “...Hey, are you doing alright?” You gently ask her.
  902. >”Yeah, I just… wanted to check in on you, since you were worried about the sleepover at lunch.”
  903. >You gently smile at her.
  904. “Thank you, I’m doing fine. I’d just hate to be intruding on you and the girls, seeing as how I’ll be the only guy there.”
  905. >Fluttershy’s expression softens as she rests a reassuring hand on your shoulder.
  906. >”Oh, you really shouldn’t worry about that. You’re a lot of fun to be around, the sleepover just wouldn’t be the same without you!”
  907. “You know, Sunset and Pinkie said the same thing to me earlier today.” You remark.
  908. >”Well, there you go!” Fluttershy giggled.
  909. >You can’t help but giggle along with her.
  910. >Her gentle laughter is very therapeutic.
  911. >If you could bottle and sell it, you’d be a billionaire by next week.
  912. >Fluttershy’s expression falls a bit.
  913. >”Oh dear, I just realized we never asked if you actually wanted to come. I really hope we haven’t been pressuring you into doing something you don’t feel comfortable doing…”
  914. >She takes a step backward as she starts to panic.
  915.  
  916. “Hey, Flutters-”
  917. >”D-Do you actually want to come to the sleepover, b-because I would understand if you didn’t!”
  918. >She’s breathing rapidly.
  919. “I do! It sounds like it’ll be fun!” You try to assure her.
  920. >”Are you sure? I’d feel terrible if you weren’t having a good time during your special night!” Fluttershy continues to worry.
  921. >You take a leap and gently hold her shoulders to try to reassure her.
  922. >Her breathing slows as she lifts her head nervously.
  923. >”Anon, you don’t have to come to the sleepover tonight, but… it would make me really happy if you did…” Fluttershy said, like she was coming clean about her guilt.
  924. >You take a step closer to her.
  925. “Fluttershy, I would never lie to you. I’m really glad I was invited, and there’s nowhere I’d rather be tonight than with you and the girls.” You say to her in a soft, reassuring tone.
  926. >That heartwarming smile of hers returns to her pretty face.
  927. >”Yay!” She softly cheers.
  928. >Then something she said sticks out to you.
  929. “Say, what did you mean by ‘my special night’?”
  930. >Fluttershy’s eyes widen as she realizes she said something she shouldn’t have.
  931. >”Uh, w-well… o-of course it’s a special night! It’ll be special for everyone! Just like Pinkie said, best night ever!”
  932. >You raise a suspicious eyebrow at her.
  933. >Whatever, it’s not worth worrying about.
  934. >You trust Fluttershy, and you’re only one class period away from the sleepover.
  935. “Well, okay then!” You relent.
  936. >Fluttershy releases some of the tension built up in her shoulders.
  937. >It’s getting close to class starting.
  938. “Well, I should get going-”
  939. >”Wait!” Fluttershy cries out, catching you by surprise.
  940. “Huh? What is it?” You ask her.
  941. >She mulls over her words for a moment, conscious of time running out.
  942. >”...Is Sunset being mean to you?” She softly asks you.
  943. >Now you’re even more confused.
  944. “What? No, she’s been great!” You assure her.
  945. >Sure, she’s weirdly close with you all the time, but she’s never hostile.
  946. >Your old school’s given you insight on every form of meanness.
  947. “Why do you ask?”
  948. >Fluttershy gulps.
  949. >”I just… I’m not sure if I like how she calls you ‘new boy’, since you’re not really new here anymore…” She admits, looking down at the floor.
  950. “Hey, come on, it’s just a nickname! Sunset’s been great to me, she’s pushed me to put myself out there and make more great friends like you.”
  951. >”That’s true…”
  952. “Besides, I’ve been called worse names at Bullworth.” You remind her with a gentle laugh.
  953. >Fluttershy didn’t think your remark was funny.
  954. “...Anyway, I should really get going. See you this evening! Good luck on your last exam!” You said to her as your hand found the doorknob.
  955. >”Y-Yeah, you too, Anon. See you soon…” She softly bid you farewell before heading down the hall to class.
  956. >With the classroom door shut behind you, you’re locked into the cage.
  957. >It’s just you and the geometry final.
  958. >Game on.
  959.  
  960. >”How kind of you to finally join us, Anonymous.” Ms. Harshwinny said with an exhausted tone.
  961. “Sorry, ma’am.” You hastily apologize as you take your seat.
  962. >A few of your peers snicker at you.
  963. >”Rest assured, you’ll still be able to talk with your girlfriend after the test.” She dryly remarked while gathering the test packets.
  964. >You feel your face get a little warmer.
  965. “Oh, uh, she’s not my girlfriend, we’re just friends.” You clumsily clarify.
  966. >Ms. Harshwinny looks up with a raised eyebrow.
  967. >”Really?” She asks with a hint of surprise in her voice.
  968. >She shakes her head and begins passing out the packets.
  969. >”I’m sure by now all of you know the drill. TI-84’s only, you have until the end of class, and I can’t let you go early if you finish early.”
  970. >A small handful of your peers groan.
  971. >”It’ll only be 20 minutes of waiting, you’ll make it.” Ms. Harshwhinny responded, unimpressed.
  972. >The test packet arrives at your desk.
  973. >You know you should feel prepared, Twilight whipped your brain into shape yesterday, but having the actual test in front of you is enough to put a few cracks in your reserve.
  974. >”No talking. Test begins now.” Ms. Harshwinny informed the class.
  975. >You flip open the packet and get to work.
  976. >All these angles, all these triangles and rectangles…
  977. >If you could see your own personal Hell, you’re confident these would at least be plastered on the walls.
  978. >But you’ve got the formulas down.
  979. >Solving for x and y is a real chore, but without your study buddy, it would’ve been slave labor.
  980. >...That sleepover.
  981. >The more you try to ignore it and get the test done, the more you end up thinking about it, like an itch you can’t scratch.
  982. >What Fluttershy said echoes in your mind.
  983. >”I’d feel terrible if you weren’t having a good time during your special night!”
  984. >Not OUR special night.
  985. >YOUR special night.
  986. >What did she mean by that?
  987. >At the very least, it doesn’t sound like you’re being set up for anything unpleasant.
  988. >Fluttershy was concerned enough about you to think Sunset is being some kind of bully, there’s no way she’d be a part of any scheme to make fun of you.
  989. >Whatever surprise the girls have in store, it sounds like a good one.
  990. >But what is it?
  991. >It’s something all the girls seem excited to share with you.
  992. >Maybe some kind of ‘congratulations on getting through your first semester at Canterlot High’ thing.
  993. >It’s the kind of thing Pinkie would put together.
  994. >Yeah, that’s probably it.
  995. >”You’re not trying to intimidate your test into giving you the answers, are you?” You hear Ms. Harshwinny remark.
  996. “Huh?” You ask.
  997. >”You’ve been staring motionless at that question for a few minutes now.” She informed you with a small smirk.
  998. >You glance back down at your test sheet and realize how sore your hand has become with the way you’ve been clutching it.
  999. “S-Sorry, ma’am.” You shakily say, returning your focus to the blank question before you.
  1000.  
  1001. >Fifteen minutes remain.
  1002. >Most of the class is already done.
  1003. >Only a handful of annoying questions are left for you.
  1004. >You saved them for last.
  1005. >God damn sine and cosine and tangent.
  1006. >This is said about every math class on Earth, but you really can’t imagine you’d ever be using any of this stuff in any future job you imagine you’d land.
  1007. >But you’ll have to suffer through these last few questions.
  1008. >Why’d geometry have to be the last class on your agenda?
  1009. >This wouldn’t be so bad if you went at it with a fresher mind in the morning.
  1010. >You practically cruised through that history test.
  1011. >Your calculator’s carrying you through this thing.
  1012. >With the combined power of Twilight’s tutoring and the work of the fine men at Texas Instruments, this final’s no match for you.
  1013. >With every number punched into the calculator or symbol scribbled onto the blank space beneath the last question, the tick of the second hand on the clock above the door gets louder and louder.
  1014. >Each tick is a single pick at your prison wall beneath a racy poster, bringing you a tiny bit closer to your inevitable freedom.
  1015. >Come on, one question to go.
  1016. >But damn, this last angle is really not working with you.
  1017. >You’ve run every formula you could think of but for some strange reason, you’re not fully confident that this mystery angle isn’t 371 degrees.
  1018. >The ticking is getting louder.
  1019. >Out of the corner of your eyes, you can see your classmates anxiously staring at the clock.
  1020. >...
  1021. >...Fuck it.
  1022. >You’ve secured a decent enough grade for yourself already.
  1023. >You can take the hit for getting this question wrong.
  1024. >You scribble down some barely-comprehensible bullshit into the answer area, confidently flip the packet back to the front page, and march up to Ms. Harshwinny’s desk to turn it in.
  1025. >The second after you place the packet on her desk, that sweet, sweet sound is broadcast over the school’s speaker system.
  1026. >The final bell of the day.
  1027. >The final bell of the semester.
  1028. >You’re free.
  1029. >Your classmates almost fly out of their chairs and into the halls.
  1030. >”Lucky timing, young man. A moment later and you would’ve been penalized for missing the deadline.” Ms. Harshwinny wryly joked.
  1031. >You let out an exhausted laugh, releasing some tension.
  1032. “...Really?” You ask.
  1033. >Ms. Harshwinny gives you a tired smile and sits back in her chair.
  1034. >”Just go and enjoy your winter break, Anonymous.” She instructed you.
  1035. >You shakily nod and hurry over to your desk to gather your belongings.
  1036. “Have a nice winter, ma’am.” You bid farewell to your geometry teacher before rushing out the classroom door towards the cold, icy embrace of freedom.
  1037.  
  1038. >The hallways are a complete zoo.
  1039. >Your fellow students are full-on sprinting to the exit doors.
  1040. >Celebratory cheers echo all throughout the building, almost resembling the screams of the damned.
  1041. >If Canterlot High didn’t have such great lighting, you could be forgiven for mistaking the sights and sounds surrounding you as a vision of Hell.
  1042. >The stampede more closely resembles the impact of a tsunami, rather than any kind of group of humans.
  1043. >You’re forced to wait in the doorway and wait for the hype to die down before making your move, lest you end up a smear on the polished floor with shoe prints of all kinds embedded in every inch of your body.
  1044. >You’d hate to ruin the sleepover before it starts by getting killed, so you’ve got more motivation than usual to stay alive.
  1045. >Thankfully, with the speed they’re all moving at, it doesn’t take you too long to find an opening and make your escape.
  1046. >But once you’re down in the trenches with everyone else, you’re forced to match their pace.
  1047. >You haven’t fully recovered from the pacer, so it doesn’t take long for your lungs to start complaining about the exertion.
  1048. >Your legs provide a supporting argument to your lung’s complaints.
  1049. >Shut up, lungs.
  1050. >Think about winter break.
  1051. >Think about the sleepover.
  1052. >Think about the girls.
  1053. >You can make it.
  1054. >Before you know it, you’re blasted in the face with a fierce gust of cold air.
  1055. >The condensed pack of teenagers spread out in all directions once everyone reached the front doors.
  1056. >A couple guys stumble and fall down the front stairway, but they’re back on their feet in no time.
  1057. >You clamor your way over to the horse statue and catch your breath.
  1058. >You did it.
  1059. >You’re free from Canterlot High.
  1060. >For the winter, at least.
  1061. >More snow is falling from the sky.
  1062. >A thicker blanket covers the grass compared to this morning, but the streets and sidewalks are almost untouched thanks to the immense foot and car traffic.
  1063. >Your breath appears more visibly when you exhale, which makes you look like some kind of dragon.
  1064. >It’s colder out, too.
  1065. >Hopefully it won't snow too much later.
  1066. >Applejack’s gotta go all the way across town to get home.
  1067. >But it looks like the citizens of Canterlot are better at driving in the snow than the people of Bullworth were.
  1068. >Why do you keep thinking about that awful town?
  1069. >You’re here now.
  1070. >In a better town with better people and a legit sleepover on your agenda.
  1071. >And after that, two months of nothing but R&R with your friends.
  1072. >You’re doing great.
  1073.  
  1074. >”There you are! I was afraid you’d run straight home after school let out.” Sunset said to you from behind.
  1075. >You jump a little bit in surprise but turn around to greet her with a smile.
  1076. “Well, you know what they say, sometimes you gotta stop and smell the roses.” You say to her.
  1077. >”Don’t spend too much time smelling, you’ve still gotta get ready for the sleepover.” She reminds you with a grin.
  1078. “As if I’d forget, with the way you've been hyping it up all day.” You chuckle.
  1079. >Sunset laughs and gives you a playful shove.
  1080. >”How’re you feeling about your finals?”
  1081. “I tried my best on them. I don’t know if I passed with flying colors, but I’m sure I at least passed.” You answer.
  1082. >”You should’ve seen Twilight. The thought of getting anything less than an A+ on any of her finals keeps her up at night.” Sunset snickered.
  1083. >As mean as it might be, you can’t help but giggle a bit.
  1084. “What about you, how’re you feeling?”
  1085. >”I don’t bother thinking about it. I did what I could, and now all I can do is wait for them to get graded.” She dismissed.
  1086. >You don’t get how she could always be so laid-back.
  1087. >Sunset always treated classes as something to put up with in between hanging out with friends.
  1088. >”You better not be thinking about grades tonight, either! I’ll get Applejack to give you the noogie if you do!” She jokingly threatened.
  1089. “I dunno, she might be too grateful to torment me like that.” You remark.
  1090. >”Oh, but I’ve got such a way with words, don’t you know? Besides, if not her, I bet Rainbow’d have fun messing with you!”
  1091. >Your mood falls a bit when you think back to what you said to her.
  1092. “Heh, yeah… You see her recently?” You ask her.
  1093. >”Yep, ran into her in the hall after she got out of gym. Whatever you said to her in there really got to her.” Sunset answered in a sly tone.
  1094. “...Is she doing alright?” You ask, a little more nervously.
  1095. >Sunset laughs a bit.
  1096. >”You know her, she’s trucking along just fine! More than a little flustered, sure, but she’s handled worse!” Sunset assured you.
  1097. >Flustered?
  1098. >Maybe that’s why you couldn’t read her earlier.
  1099. >”Hey, word of advice for tonight:” Sunset says, catching your attention.
  1100. >”Just focus on having a good time. Don’t stress your cute little head about anything, just go with the flow and you’ll have the time of your life~”
  1101. >...What?
  1102. >Go with the flow?
  1103. >What could you be stressed about?
  1104. >Pinkie’s parties could be overwhelming, sure, but never stressful.
  1105. “...What are you talking about?” You ask Sunset.
  1106. >Sunset giggled at you with sinister half-lidded eyes in place of a spoken response.
  1107. >”I wish I could answer that just to see the look on your face, but Pinkie would be just so heartbroken if I were to ruin the surprise. Guess you’ll just have to wait and see~”
  1108. >She gives you a playful pat on the tweet before she walks down the sidewalk into town.
  1109. >”See you tonight, new boy~”
  1110.  
  1111. >Your walk home through the town of Canterlot and through the front door of your house was quiet only externally.
  1112. >The town of Canterlot is a very peaceful place.
  1113. >But internally, your mind is swirling.
  1114. >Your theory that you’ve had some kind of “good job surviving your first semester here” party waiting for you inside Rarity’s house, as flimsy a prediction as it was, has been thrown out the window.
  1115. >You shut your bedroom door behind you and flop down on your bed.
  1116. >Go with the flow…
  1117. >Don’t stress about anything…
  1118. >The time of your life…
  1119. >You keep trying to come up with some kind of prediction for what Sunset was hinting at.
  1120. >But no matter how many different possibilities you try to stick with, you keep arriving at the same thought.
  1121. >Sunset’s saying you could get laid tonight.
  1122. >That has to be what she’s referring to.
  1123. >You don’t want to set yourself up for disappointment, you really should go about all this like it really is just a casual hangout with friends celebrating the end of the semester.
  1124. >But…
  1125. >There’s clearly something the girls aren’t telling you about the sleepover.
  1126. >They planned all of it out behind your back but are really anxious to have you come over to spend the night.
  1127. >But that inevitably leads to the question: If one of the seven girls is into you, who is it?
  1128. >Sunset’s always been touchy and flirty with you but never went further, maybe because she was waiting for you to make the first move.
  1129. >Pinkie’s always really happy to see you, and sure likes hugging and giggling at your jokes.
  1130. >You’ve spent a lot of time with Applejack outside of school, helping her with her physics homework and getting to know her family better.
  1131. >Twilight’s spent a lot of time with you after school, and she memorably fumbled over her words after that accidental euphemism at lunch.
  1132. >Rarity clearly appreciated the effort you put into making yourself more decent, MAYBE that was the game changer that put you into her league.
  1133. >If Rainbow really was flustered by what you said to her today and not offended, that could possibly mean she holds some secret feelings for you.
  1134. >Finally, Fluttershy was really concerned about you today, and she did say it would make her really happy if you came to the sleepover…
  1135. >You get up from your bed.
  1136. >You need to get a hold of yourself.
  1137. >Remember what Sunset said, “Don’t stress your cute little head about anything, just go with the flow and you’ll have the time of your life~”
  1138. >You’ll have to listen to her.
  1139. >Go with the flow.
  1140. >If it comes to you having to close your eyes and fall backwards, you’ll have to trust that you’ll be caught.
  1141. >But that comes later.
  1142. >You’ve gotta get ready for the sleepover.
  1143.  
  1144. >You fetch a duffel bag from the garage and get to filling it.
  1145. >Pajamas aren’t difficult to pack, you decide on a faded Lightning Man shirt and long plaid-patterned pajama pants.
  1146. >The next thing packed is a sleeping bag.
  1147. >You also grab your swim trunks from summer storage and stow it in the bag.
  1148. >A basic hygiene kit packed with a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, a comb, and travel sized bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash you salvaged from your dad’s work trip supplies is the next thing to go into the duffel bag.
  1149. >A change of socks and underwear.
  1150. >Because you never know.
  1151. >...You do have time to run out to the convenience store and get a condom or two…
  1152. >You stop yourself from considering it further.
  1153. >Don’t get ahead of yourself.
  1154. >If this whole thing’s been planned out by the girls, you’re sure they’d also be prepared for you making it to home base.
  1155. >The last thing you should need to pack are two movies.
  1156. >The hardest part of preparing for this evening.
  1157. >In the basement, you stare down your shelf of DVDs, Blu-Rays, and limited edition Steelbooks, trying to find two movies that everyone would at least like, if not love.
  1158. >Man, if you didn’t have such an extensive (and cultured) collection, this would be way easier.
  1159. >You flirt with the idea of picking a horror movie, thinking that if one of the girls is into you, it could get you nice and close with her as she clings onto you during the scary parts.
  1160. >But you know Fluttershy’s terrible with horror stuff.
  1161. >You’d feel terrible about subjecting Fluttershy to The Evil Dead or Alien.
  1162. >Re-Animator?
  1163. >A horror comedy is a step in the right direction.
  1164. >Fluttershy wouldn’t like it, Rarity would hate it.
  1165. >Starship Troopers?
  1166. >See above, but Rainbow would love it.
  1167. >Donnie Darko?
  1168. >None of the girls are angsty or pretentious enough for that movie.
  1169. >Stalker?
  1170. >Twilight would probably like it, Rainbow would be bored out of her mind.
  1171. >The Snyder cut of Justice League?
  1172. >Absolutely not, none of the girls are prepared to comprehend four hours of raw, unfiltered KINO.
  1173. >Drive?
  1174. >...Your eyes linger on that one.
  1175. >Rainbow wouldn’t like the slower pace, Fluttershy wouldn’t like the violence, but you could see Rarity being all over the love story.
  1176. >Hmm, a love story…
  1177. >Aha, The Princess Bride!
  1178. >Everybody likes The Princess Bride!
  1179. >Action, romance, drama, humor, it’s got it all.
  1180. >You pull the DVD off the shelf and secure it in your bag.
  1181. >One down, one to go…
  1182. >Come on, Anon.
  1183. >Your reputation as Kinosseur of the friend group is at stake.
  1184. >What’s another “all in one” movie that anyone can enjoy?
  1185. >Flash Gordon?
  1186. >Close, but not quite.
  1187. >Blade Runner 2049?
  1188. >Nope.
  1189. >Fantastic Planet?
  1190. >When did you even get that one?
  1191. >Man, if you had Mean Girls on this shelf, you’d be done by now.
  1192. >You never thought you’d need more chick flicks, but life keeps surprising you.
  1193. >Spirited Away?
  1194. >...That’ll do.
  1195. >Rainbow’s a softie deep down, she’ll like it.
  1196.  
  1197. >With Spirited Away and The Princess Bride safely tucked away in your duffel bag, you take a look out the window.
  1198. >The beautiful hues of the evening sky are beginning to appear as the sun makes its way towards the horizon to clock out of work for the day.
  1199. >The sun’s only partially visible through the thick clouds.
  1200. >It’s snowing even more.
  1201. >It’s just you alone in the house.
  1202. >Your mom and dad always work late, leaving you by yourself most of the time.
  1203. >If you didn’t have the girls in your life, you’d be really lonely.
  1204. >At least you don’t have to stay in a dorm anymore.
  1205. >...You’re still a little anxious about this sleepover thing.
  1206. >But you have no reason to.
  1207. >This is gonna be great.
  1208. >You’re spending the night with all your friends.
  1209. >They’re not just your friends, they’re the best friends you’ve ever had.
  1210. >...But you’re still nervous.
  1211. >You need to get ready.
  1212. >You shower twice.
  1213. >You brush your teeth three times.
  1214. >You apply multiple layers of deodorant and other substances to make you smell nice.
  1215. >You do some stretches to warm up your body.
  1216. >You carefully review your choice of underwear, just in case.
  1217. >By the time you’ve run your gamut of things you’re worried about, the clock reads 6:43 PM.
  1218. >It’ll take 15 minutes to walk to Rarity’s house.
  1219. >You better get going.
  1220. [Spending the night at a friends house, be back tomorrow] You text your mom and dad.
  1221. >No response.
  1222. >Whatever, they got it.
  1223. >You secure your duffel bag, steel your nerve one last time, and step outside.
  1224. >With your winter boots, you’re able to traverse the snow-coated sidewalk with relative ease.
  1225. >But with the sun disappearing, it’s getting colder by the moment.
  1226. >It’s lucky you already know where Rarity lives.
  1227. >The closer you get to downtown Canterlot, it dawns on you that there’s barely anyone out on the road.
  1228. >It’s for the best, only snow plows should be out in weather like this.
  1229. >Seeing the path ahead is more difficult with the snow, but you’re determined to make it.
  1230. >The normally shop buildings are empty and unlit, a stark contrast to how you’ve always seen them.
  1231. >It’s a little eerie seeing the normally lively and vibrant town of Canterlot so empty.
  1232. >Like you’ve wandered into some kind of inverted dimension.
  1233. >But then, after making your way onto Canterlot’s main street, you spot your destination.
  1234. >Rarity’s house.
  1235. >The first floor doesn’t have any lights on, but on the second level, the lights are on.
  1236. >Through the gentle howl of the winter wind, you can faintly hear the sound of music and laughter leak through the glass.
  1237. >You’re here.
  1238. >You’re mere feet away from the sleepover.
  1239. >...
  1240. >You reach out and grasp the door handle.
  1241. >Turning it slightly, you find it’s unlocked.
  1242. >Canterlot’s a really safe town, you wouldn’t be surprised if everyone left their doors unlocked.
  1243. >You check the time.
  1244. >7:00 PM.
  1245. >Showtime.
  1246.  
  1247. >Deciding you shouldn’t barge into your friend’s home, you knock on the door three times to signal your arrival.
  1248. >There’s no immediate response, leaving you to shiver out in the cold, dark night.
  1249. >Your head and shoulders become decorated in a powder of snow as you wait in front of the door like the world’s most determined door to door salesman.
  1250. >As you shiver and bundle yourself together, you think about the consequences of the snow coming down harder.
  1251. >If it snows too much, you could end up trapped inside Rarity’s home for more than just tonight.
  1252. >Granted, there are worse fates, but cabin fever is a hell of a thing.
  1253. >Not to mention the only change of clothes you have are your pajamas, one set of socks, and one pair of boxers.
  1254. >You glance around and admire the serene beauty of this harsh weather as the street lights highlight the falling snowflakes like the spotlight upon a ballet of frost fairies.
  1255. >It’s almost starting to look like there is no road with how much snow is on the ground.
  1256. >...It’s been a while since you knocked and there’s been no response.
  1257. >You can still hear the muffled voices of your friends on the upper floor.
  1258. >You knock on the door a few more times.
  1259. >You don’t want to have to resort to yelling to get their attention, even if nobody else is around to hear you.
  1260. >The longer you stand outside, the heavier your duffle bag gets.
  1261. >Even though it isn’t packed that heavily, your muscles begin to strain under the continuous stress, made worse by the temperature subtly dropping by the minute.
  1262. >The sky is pitch black.
  1263. >The only thing you can see when you look up are snowflakes gently floating down from heaven.
  1264. >You kick off some accumulated snow off your shoes.
  1265. >Looking behind you, the footprints you left in the snow have almost become entirely filled in.
  1266. >Your shivering becomes more frequent.
  1267. >You’re wearing winter wear, but not enough to survive the night out here.
  1268. >You knock on the door two more times, getting a little more anxious.
  1269. >But just before you can knock a third time, the door swings open and you’re greeted by Sweetie Belle.
  1270. >You’ve met her a couple times before, she’s Rarity’s younger sister.
  1271. >”Oh, hey, Anon. What’re you doing all the way out here?” She asks you.
  1272. >God, this is gonna be awkward.
  1273. “Well, uh, Rarity… invited me here.” You answer as confidently as you could manage.
  1274. >Which isn’t very confident, thanks to the cold.
  1275. >”You mean for the sleepover?” Sweetie Belle asks further, with a mix of confusion and suspicion in her voice.
  1276. >You gulp.
  1277. “...Yeah, that.”
  1278. >Sweetie Belle raises an eyebrow at you.
  1279. >”So, what, are you Rarity’s boyfriend or something?”
  1280. >You awkwardly laugh, shaking your head while shivering.
  1281. “N-No, we’re just friends, is all.”
  1282. >Sweetie Belle laughs a bit.
  1283. >”Oooookay.”
  1284.  
  1285. >”Anonymous, darling, there you are!” Rarity called out to you from the stairs behind Sweetie Belle.
  1286. >She hurries over to you and grabs you by the wrists to drag you into the heated interior of her home.
  1287. >Glancing around, you can make out the familiar shapes of the mannequins and furniture of the boutique.
  1288. >It’s even more eerie than the vacant streets behind you.
  1289. >If it weren’t for Rarity in front of you and the sounds of your friends upstairs, you’d think you took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Silent Hill.
  1290. >”I’m terribly sorry for not having heard you sooner, are you alright?” Rarity asked you with a hint of worry in her voice.
  1291. “I’m fine, just a little chilled, is all.” You assure her with a smile.
  1292. >The heater’s already working wonders to make you feel comfortable here.
  1293. >”Are you sure? I’d feel just horrible if you caught a cold while you were out there!” Rarity fussed as she looked over you to inspect for any sign of illness.
  1294. “Rarity, I’ve survived worse, I promise.” You tell her, thinking back to one time you were locked out of your dorm by a couple of the bullies during the winter season at your old school.
  1295. >”Well, you shouldn’t have had to endure such hardships!”
  1296. >”Hey, Anon said you two weren’t dating, so how come you-” Sweetie Belle spoke up.
  1297. >”Sweetie Belle, shouldn’t you be on your way to Sweet Apple Acres by now? It’s getting awfully dark outside.” Rarity was quick to interrupt her, showing a rare sight of her less-than-proper side.
  1298. >Sweetie Belle grabbed her coat.
  1299. >”Don’t worry, I’ve walked there a million times. You just focus on showing your boyfriend all your sexy underwear.”
  1300. >Rarity’s cheeks flared up as she shot her younger sister a stern look.
  1301. >”He’s not- I wasn’t- A-Anon, darling, let’s get you upstairs, the girls have been waiting for your arrival.” Rarity shakily turned the conversation back to you, beginning to drag towards the stairs.
  1302. >”Ooooh, Anon has girls waiting for him~” Sweetie Belle grinned mischievously.
  1303. >You’ve never seen Rarity this flustered before.
  1304. >It’s pretty funny.
  1305. >”S-Sweetie Belle, please, I’m sure your friends are worried sick that you got lost in this dreadful weather, so, please, why don’t you assuage their concerns?” Rarity reminded her.
  1306. >Her hands are firmly fastened around your wrists.
  1307. >You doubt you could break free even if you wanted to.
  1308. >Sweetie Belle laughs triumphantly at having gotten under her sister’s skin as she zipped up her coat and put on her backpack.
  1309. >”Alright, alright. You two have fun with your sleepover. Oh, and Anon, if you asked Rarity if she’d want to snuggle up to you under a nice, warm blanket, she’d probably say yes.” She casually tosses over her shoulder.
  1310. >”Sweetie Belle!” Rarity shrieked, now fully red in the face.
  1311. >”I’m going, I’m going!” Sweetie Belle said as she skipped outside and into the snowy night, leaving you alone with Rarity.
  1312.  
  1313. >Once it’s just the two of you, Rarity heaves a heavy sigh and recomposes herself before addressing you.
  1314. >”I’m terribly sorry for her behavior, she can be such a handful sometimes…” She sighs.
  1315. “It’s fine, don’t worry.” You laugh. “I’m just glad to finally be here. How’ve you been?”
  1316. >”Much better now, darling. Oh, come along, upstairs! We’ve been dying for you to join us!” Rarity says to you, pulling you towards the stairs.
  1317. >Her grip on your wrists loosened now that she’s more relaxed.
  1318. >It’s only now that you notice that she’s wearing her pajamas.
  1319. >No doubt designed and crafted by herself.
  1320. >Only she could make a loose fitting T-shirt and pajama pants look so refined and expensive.
  1321. >The gentle touch you know from Rarity guides you up the stairs you’ve only gotten to see before and through a bedroom door.
  1322. >”Anon’s finally arrived!” Rarity announced to the room as soon as both of you entered.
  1323. >What followed was a chorus of eager voices scattered around the room greeting you.
  1324. >Rainbow, Pinkie, Applejack, and Twilight were sitting on the couch in front of one of the biggest, most colorful TV’s you’ve ever seen playing Mario Kart.
  1325. >Fluttershy’s sitting nearby with Sunset, watching the four compete and having small talk of their own.
  1326. >Everyone’s dressed in their own kind of casual nightwear.
  1327. >Though they all generally took the form of loose fitting shirts and pants.
  1328. >There’s a table set up by the window to the left of the room with five pizza boxes and a handful of liter bottles of soda sitting next to red solo cups.
  1329. >There’s also a punch bowl filled with some kind of purple drink you don’t think you’ve ever seen before.
  1330. >The sound system by Rarity’s desk is playing some up-tempo pop music you’ve heard haunt the radio waves for the past couple months.
  1331. >Not your cup of tea, but it’s nothing you can’t stand listening to.
  1332. >”Fashionably late, huh? Fluttershy here was afraid we’d have to dig you out of the snow in the morning.” Sunset joked as she got up from the carpeted floor.
  1333. >”I just didn’t want you to get lost out there…” Fluttershy mumbled, looking down at the floor.
  1334. “Hey, I was fashionably late to this friend group, I thought it would fit.” You remark with a smile.
  1335. >”Fair enough!” Sunset agreed, then turned to Rarity.
  1336. >”You can let go of him now, you’re not gonna lose him.” She giggled.
  1337. >Rarity glanced down and realized she was still clutching your hands.
  1338. >She quickly released your hands from her grip, making you realize how fierce her grip really was.
  1339. >”My apologies, Anon. Let’s all just relax now, and enjoy the night together.” Rarity sighed with a smile, releasing some tension that Sweetie Belle inflicted on her.
  1340. “Yeah, good idea.” You sigh, letting your duffle bag fall to the ground and relaxing your body.
  1341.  
  1342. >”Yes! I won again!” Pinkie cheered as she leapt up from the couch.
  1343. >The kart race on the TV ended with Twilight sighing and letting her head sink, Applejack lying back on the couch, and Rainbow getting up from the couch to get some more pizza.
  1344. >”Fourth time in a row…” Rainbow muttered in between mouthfuls of pepperoni pizza.
  1345. >”Sorry for not saying hi to you earlier, Nonny! Just had to show these slowpokes who’s boss!” Pinkie boasted, leaping over the couch to give you another one of her bear hugs.
  1346. “I dunno, I’ve been playing racing games for years. I might come to challenge your throne later tonight.” You joke threaten her while her arms constrict you like a python.
  1347. >Pinkie’s giggling vibrates on your body like the best possible massage chair.
  1348. >”Yeah, well, you’ve never played me before. I can be real scary when I wanna be!” She shoots back.
  1349. >”Ain’t that the truth.” Applejack mutters.
  1350. >”I’m, uh, gonna get something to drink.” Twilight awkwardly excused herself, hurrying off the couch before Pinkie could challenge her to round five.
  1351. >Rainbow was muttering something certainly impolite through a mouthful of pizza.
  1352. >”We’re super-duper-looper excited that you’re finally here!” Pinkie cheered
  1353. >You giggle along with her, gratefully returning her joyous hug.
  1354. “So am I! It’s all I could think about today!” You say to her.
  1355. >Her plush, pink body feels so nice when it’s pressed up against you like this.
  1356. >Not that you would ever try to sneak a peek of Pinkie’s cleavage, but she’s got one of the more impressive chests of all the girls at school.
  1357. >Lucky you, getting to know her so up-close and personally.
  1358. >“What movies didja pick?” Pinkie asked you, somehow hugging you tighter.
  1359. >Rainbow stepped away from the refreshment table to check out the conversation between you and Pinkie.
  1360. >”Well, let’s see what Mr. Movie Man decided to share with us…” Sunset agreed, kneeling down to unzip your duffel bag and root through it for the movies you picked.
  1361. >You feel your heart seize up at the risk of Sunset finding your spare underwear.
  1362. “U-Uh, that’s fine, I’ll get it.” You offer, trying to pry yourself free of Pinkie’s embrace to beat Sunset to the movies.
  1363. >”Don’t worry, I got ‘em!” Sunset announced, grabbing the two DVD cases from your bag.
  1364. >You don’t know if she knows that her hand grazed past your spare underwear, but you’re weren’t gonna risk finding out.
  1365. >Rarity glanced over Sunset’s shoulder and gasped in delight.
  1366. >”Oh, The Princess Bride!” She cheered.
  1367. >Twilight stumbled over the couch in excitement to see the movies you picked for herself.
  1368. >”Wow, Anon, that’s my favorite movie! How’d you know?” Twilight asked you, resting her hands on your shoulders.
  1369. >You give her a smile and shrug.
  1370. “I guess I just got to know you well enough to guess!”
  1371. >”Rainbow was right to elect you to the role! And Spirited Away, too!” Twilight congratulated you.
  1372.  
  1373. >Your vision may have been taken up by Pinkie, Sunset, Rarity, and Twilight crowding you, but you could hear Fluttershy scramble to her feet and peer over the shoulders of her friends.
  1374. >”Oh, Anon! You’ve made really wonderful choices!” Fluttershy said to you in a much better mood than you first saw her in when you walked in.
  1375. “Thank you, Flutters!” You smile at her.
  1376. >All this attention is very flattering.
  1377. >They’re all so close to you and so eager to say what a good job you did.
  1378. >Mission: accomplished.
  1379. >But on the other side of the room, you could tell Rainbow was faintly annoyed.
  1380. >”The Princess Bride? Seriously?” She asked you with an unimpressed look.
  1381. “What’s wrong with The Princess Bride?” You ask Rainbow.
  1382. >”Yes, Rainbow, what IS wrong with The Princess Bride?” Rarity interrogated her further.
  1383. >”Come on, just listen to the title? Could you GET any more sappy?”
  1384. >”You mean you’ve never seen it?” Applejack asked her, getting up from the couch.
  1385. >”Of course not! You know I’m not into super girly stuff like that!” Rainbow defended herself.
  1386. >Rarity and Fluttershy giggled knowingly to each other.
  1387. “But it’s a legitimately great movie! Action, adventure, suspense, comedy, drama, it’s a real rollercoaster!” You protest.
  1388. >”Anon’s right! You’ll see once you watch it!” Twilight added.
  1389. >Rainbow dismissed her assertion with a “Pfft”.
  1390. >”You all can have fun watching that Princess Bride stuff, I’ll be out making sure I can still do push-ups.” Rainbow snicked.
  1391. >”You’re the one who wanted Anon to pick the movies.” Applejack reminded her, unimpressed.
  1392. >“I know…” Rainbow grumbled.
  1393. >”So have some faith in him! He wouldn’t pick something to annoy you!”
  1394. >Pinkie is still hugging you and Twilight’s still clinging to your shoulders.
  1395. >Rainbow leered at you and walked closer.
  1396. >”Anon…”
  1397. “Yeah, Dashie?” You grin.
  1398. >The invocation of that nickname she pretends she doesn’t like makes her scowl at you.
  1399. >”You SWEAR you legitimately like a movie called The Princess Bride?”
  1400. >You raise three fingers on your right hand with your arm at a right angle.
  1401. “Scout’s honor.”
  1402. >”You wouldn’t think a real Boy Scout like dear Anon here would LIE to you, would you?” Sunset prods Rainbow.
  1403. >”Come on, Rainbow. Please?” Fluttershy pleads with her.
  1404. >Rainbow looks around at the group opposing her before throwing her head back and releasing an overly-dramatic groan.
  1405. >”FIIIIIIIIIINE. I’ll give it a shot, just because I dug my own grave letting YOU pick. But if I don’t like it after ten minutes, I’m going for a run or something.” Rainbow declared with a sour look on her face.
  1406. “There you go!” You eagerly say, nudging her shoulder.
  1407. >”Yay!” Fluttershy softly cheered.
  1408. >”You’ll love it, I know you will!” Twilight promised her.
  1409. >Rainbow ignored them and leaned closer to you.
  1410. >”You’re lucky I trust you so much.” She muttered through a forced-looking glare.
  1411.  
  1412. >”But wait, we can’t watch yet!” Pinkie realized hopping back from you.
  1413. “What? Why?” You ask her.
  1414. >”You’re still wearing your day clothes, silly billy!”
  1415. >”Pinkie’s right, you should be in your pajamas.” Fluttershy agreed, giggling.
  1416. >You glance down at yourself.
  1417. >You’re overdressed for the occasion.
  1418. “Oh, shoot, you’re right. Is there anywhere I can change?”
  1419. >”There’s a restroom down the hall for you to use.” Rarity helpfully answered.
  1420. >”You could also change here! We won’t judge!” Pinkie suggested.
  1421. >Your head snapped to her as your face flushes.
  1422. >”Now there’s an idea!” Sunset was quick to agree.
  1423. “I- I think I’m gonna go with the bathroom.” You shakily answer.
  1424. >”That’s probably for the best, don’t wanna… do anything… hehe…” Twilight trailed off as her eyes fell to the floor.
  1425. >This is getting too tense.
  1426. >”They were just kidding! You weren’t actually gonna have to change in here!” Applejack swooped in to assure you.
  1427. >”We’d never make you do something like that…” Fluttershy quietly added.
  1428. “Hah, yeah…” Was the best you could do.
  1429. >You kneel down and retrieve your old shirt and pajama pants from your duffle bag.
  1430. “If I’m not back in 20 minutes, assume the worst.” You say to ease some of the tension.
  1431. >After getting a round of playful giggles from the girls, you hurry down the hall and seal yourself in the bathroom.
  1432. >Changing doesn’t take long.
  1433. >It’s nice to wear these comfortable clothes, but you’re still wearing underwear.
  1434. >Just in case.
  1435. >Out of curiosity, you observe how Rarity stocks her bathroom.
  1436. >There’s bottles of all kinds lining the shower, from shampoos to conditioners to different kinds of body wash to stuff you’ve never heard of before.
  1437. >There’s three towels on the rack beside you, there’s different soaps, lotions, and creams on the sink, not to mention all the makeup material.
  1438. >It’s like the total opposite of your bathroom at home.
  1439. >Rarity must spend an hour each morning getting ready for school.
  1440. >But looking around like this is all you should be doing.
  1441. >If you spend too long, they’ll think you’re doing something you shouldn’t be.
  1442. >You bundle up your day clothes and head back into Rarity’s room.
  1443. >Everyone’s scattered around the room doing their own thing.
  1444. >Rainbow’s determined to beat Pinkie at Mario Kart, Applejack’s having some pizza with Twilight and Sunset, and Rarity’s showing Fluttershy some of her recent designs on her laptop.
  1445. >As you shut the door behind you, you notice something sticking out of your duffle bag that wasn’t there before.
  1446. >A white piece of paper, folded and kept in place with a heart sticker.
  1447. >Your curiosity piqued, you grab the letter and carefully open it up.
  1448. >The six words typed on the paper make the world freeze around you.
  1449. >The chatter, music, and giggles become muffled as the simple sentence takes up the entirety of your mind space.
  1450. >”I have a crush on you”
  1451.  
  1452. >It all makes sense now.
  1453. >The girls planning this ahead of inviting you.
  1454. >Sunset saying “it wouldn’t be the same without you”.
  1455. >Fluttershy saying this’ll be “your special night”.
  1456. >You’ve got a secret admirer.
  1457. >Of the seven girls you’re friends with, one of them has a crush on you.
  1458. >A strange feeling washes over you.
  1459. >There’s never been a girl in your life who’s had feelings for you before.
  1460. >But here you are now, sequestered for the night with her, without even knowing who she is.
  1461. >Your thumb strokes the paper you’re holding to make sure that the girl’s anonymous confession to Anonymous is actually real.
  1462. >You brush your finger across the printed words to verify that those actually are the words you’re reading.
  1463. >It’s real.
  1464. >But… Who is it?
  1465. >Of the seven girls you’re having this sleepover with, who’s the one who slipped that love letter into your duffle bag?
  1466. >”Whatcha got there?” Sunset asked you, right into your ear.
  1467. >You almost leap ten feet into the air in surprise as you stuff the paper into your pocket.
  1468. “Oh, uh, n-nothing.” You shakily answer.
  1469. >You expect Sunset to be wearing the same sly grin she so often teases you with, but her voice and facial expression convey a tone of genuine curiosity.
  1470. >You look around the room of girls.
  1471. >They’re all looking at you, equally curious.
  1472. >They’re all a suspect.
  1473. >”Doesn’t seem like nothing.” Rainbow mumbled.
  1474. >”Anon said it’s not a big deal, let’s just leave it at that.” Twilight recommended.
  1475. >Pinkie looks like she wants to say something, but Applejack stops her by putting her hand on her shoulder.
  1476. >Rarity and Fluttershy whisper something to each other.
  1477. >There’s too much attention on you.
  1478. >Time to change the subject.
  1479. “Hey, Pinkie, you still think you can beat me in Mario Kart?” You challenge her.
  1480. >Pinkie gives you a wicked grin.
  1481. >”I sure do!” She answers, patting a seat on the couch to her right.
  1482. >”Both of you are gotta get your butts kicked.” Rainbow butted in, snatching her controller off the table and squeezing into the seat on your right.
  1483. >You’re nestled firmly in between Pinkie and Rainbow.
  1484. >Either one of them could be the one who left you that letter.
  1485. >”Anyone else wanna join in? We got room for one more!” Pinkie offered to the others.
  1486. >”No thanks, I think I’m good for the night.” Twilight declined, still a little burned out from her earlier attempts at claiming victory.
  1487. >”What about you two? You down?” Pinkie asked Fluttershy and Rarity.
  1488. >”Oh, I’m no good at those kinds of games…” Fluttershy answered.
  1489. >”I’m afraid I’ll have to pass as well.” Rarity said.
  1490. >”Count me in!” Sunset piped up, making her presence known by resting her chin on your head.
  1491. >”Catch!” Pinkie said to her, tossing her the fourth controller.
  1492. >Sunset caught it with ease, and after everyone selected their characters, the race began.
  1493.  
  1494. >Your mind was elsewhere during the game.
  1495. >As exciting and frustrating as it was to try to keep up with Pinkie, you couldn’t stop thinking about that letter.
  1496. >Whoever wrote it didn’t want you to figure out who it was, at least not yet.
  1497. >It’s a shame, each of the girls have fairly distinct handwriting.
  1498. >If the note was handwritten, you could figure out who it is pretty easily.
  1499. >But all you can do now is amateur detective work.
  1500. >Inspecting fingerprints is out of the question.
  1501. >You MIGHT be able to sneak some of Rarity’s foundation to dust for fingerprints, but comparing the fingerprints of all seven girls here would be close to impossible.
  1502. >You’d get to hold all their hands all nice and gently, though.
  1503. >That’s a fringe benefit.
  1504. >Your fingers absent-mindedly work the controls, navigating the twisting track and managing your drifts and boosts.
  1505. >You haven’t played Mario Kart in a good few years, you’re more of a PC gamer.
  1506. >Pinkie picked the hardest difficulty, which means you spend most of the race pretty close to last.
  1507. >Pinkie and Rainbow, on the other hand, continuously fight for first place.
  1508. >Sunset’s in third place.
  1509. >By the time everyone reaches the third lap, tension is high.
  1510. >Rainbow and Pinkie are leaning as far forward as possible, crushing you in between them.
  1511. >Sunset is still standing behind you as she played.
  1512. >Her chest is almost resting on your head.
  1513. >It’s a sensation you would’ve killed to experience, if you weren’t so busy thinking about that note.
  1514. >You try to think about who could be your secret admirer, but the more you think about it, you keep coming to the same conclusion.
  1515. >All seven of the girls are suspects.
  1516. >Sunset’s had some kind of thing for you ever since you first met.
  1517. >Twilight made a big deal about how she fumbled over her words when talking about the sleepover.
  1518. >Rainbow was described as “flustered” when referring to how you made her feel in P.E.
  1519. >Pinkie always likes hugging you and being close to you and laughing at your jokes.
  1520. >Applejack’s always really grateful for your help, and she likes giving you hugs, too.
  1521. >Fluttershy cares so much about you.
  1522. >Rarity’s been awfully touchy lately, maybe Sweetie Belle was telling some amount of truth.
  1523. >This is making your head hurt.
  1524. >Why couldn’t she just tell you she had feelings for you?
  1525. >It would make this whole mystery less of an ordeal.
  1526. >But then Sunset’s words echo in your mind.
  1527. >”Just focus on having a good time. Don’t stress your cute little head about anything, just go with the flow and you’ll have the time of your life~”
  1528. >You sigh and return your attention to the game.
  1529. >Just in time to come in last place.
  1530. >”GAH!” Rainbow cries out, throwing her head back and gripping her hair in frustration.
  1531. >Pinkie won.
  1532. >Again.
  1533. >”Sorry, Dashie! Wanna go again?” Pinkie offered.
  1534. >Rainbow’s response came in the form of a guttural groan.
  1535.  
  1536. “Maybe a rematch isn’t the best idea.” You suggest to Rainbow.
  1537. >”I’m gonna beat Pinkie, watch me.” She insisted.
  1538. >”Anon’s right, you’ll spend the entire night in a bad mood if you keep doing this.” Twilight said after eating the pizza she had.
  1539. “Besides, after tonight you’ll have time to practice more.” You add.
  1540. >Rainbow groans and flops over the couch.
  1541. >”Fine, whatever.” She mutters, trudging to the pizza and drinking two cups of soda.
  1542. >Pinkie and Sunset go to refresh themselves with pizza and soda, leaving you with the entirety of the couch.
  1543. >Seeing the three of them over there reminds you that you kind of skipped dinner to get here on time.
  1544. >Your time was better spent psyching yourself anyway.
  1545. >”You’re a real good sport about coming in last, Nonny!” Pinkie complimented you through a mouthful of pizza.
  1546. “That’s ‘cause I’m out of my element! You girls have more of a home field advantage than me. If we were playing Unreal Tournament, I’d be strafing circles around ALL of you.” You grin at her.
  1547. >”I think my dad played that when he was in college. You DO know video games are still being made today, right?” Rainbow snickered.
  1548. “Not many worth playing.”
  1549. >”Anon’s old-school like that.” Sunset pitched in.
  1550. >”But, like, how? I’ve seen the kinds of games you play, they look like they’re made with paper and colored pencils!” Rainbow shot at you.
  1551. “But they’re more pure in their experience! They don’t need fancy-pants modern graphics, they’re doing less with more!” You counter-argue.
  1552. “It’s just like wine, they only get better with age. What was delicately crafted in the past only becomes more mature and deliberate when experienced today, compared to the bloated, over-indulgent works made today. Rarity, back me up on this.” You continue, turning to Rarity behind you.
  1553. >She’s a little caught off guard by being dragged into your little debate, but tries to be supportive.
  1554. >”Well, I regret to admit that I’m not as informed on the matter as Anon, but from the way he argued his perspective, I feel inclined to agree.” She admitted.
  1555. “See?” You shoot at Rainbow with a smug look.
  1556. >”Oh, please, you sound like Twilight talking about Pride and Prejudice.” Rainbow snarked.
  1557. >”Maybe now is a good time to watch The Princess Bride.” Fluttershy gently suggested.
  1558. >”Oh, I agree! It’s become far too intense here.” Rarity was quick to say.
  1559. “Alright, I’ll go grab it!” You say, getting up from the couch.
  1560. >But when you lean over, you hear the sound of paper crumpling on the cushion beneath you.
  1561. >Your curiosity piqued, you reach down to find the mystery paper.
  1562. >Once you grab it and look at it, you see it’s a plain white piece of paper folded three times and held in place with a heart sticker.
  1563. >Just like the love letter you got.
  1564. >You hastily open the paper to read what’s written on it.
  1565. >It’s another typed message.
  1566. >”Sometimes I get lost in your eyes.”
  1567.  
  1568. >You clench the paper in your hand.
  1569. >Your secret admirer was able to sneak another love letter right next to you while you were thinking about the first one during Mario Kart.
  1570. >It’s a little telling.
  1571. >”Sometimes I get lost in your eyes” isn’t something you could imagine Rainbow or possibly Applejack saying.
  1572. >That sounds like something Rarity or Twilight or Fluttershy would say.
  1573. >But you can’t rule out the possibility that Pinkie or Sunset would say that.
  1574. >Then again, maybe Rainbow or Applejack wrote it like that to intentionally throw you off their scent.
  1575. >That is the kind of scheme Rainbow would cook up.
  1576. >But Applejack-
  1577. >”How about sometime tonight, Anon?” Applejack chuckled.
  1578. >The girls giggle as you whip your head around and remember you’re still with company.
  1579. >”Should I get it from your bag?” Twilight offered, reaching for your duffle bag.
  1580. “No, no, I got it!” You’re quick to answer, leaping off of the couch and getting to your bag before Twilight could stumble upon your spare underwear.
  1581. >An instant later, you hold up the DVD case like the baton in a footrace.
  1582. >”Oh, boy, I can’t wait!” Pinkie bounced.
  1583. >”I haven’t seen this movie in a real long time, I barely remember what happened in it.” Applejack admitted.
  1584. >Rarity and Twilight kneel over the setup beneath the DVD to get everything set up.
  1585. >You hand off the DVD and insert it into the player.
  1586. >”Hey, Anon, mind givin’ me a hand with this?” Applejack asked you, hunched over the couch.
  1587. “Not at all.” You say, positioning yourself at the other end of the couch
  1588. >”We’re movin’ it back just a bit, ready?”
  1589. “Ready.”
  1590. >The two of you utilize your strength to lift Rarity’s couch off the ground and move it backwards a few feet.
  1591. >Applejack seemed to strain under the work less than you, judging by how you almost dropped it and she lowered it more carefully.
  1592. >Rainbow flopped down on the couch as soon as it was in place, annoying both you and Applejack.
  1593. >Your attention was then drawn to your grumbling stomach, directing you to the remaining pizza and soda.
  1594. >You try to not gorge yourself on the food, after all this is probably the first time in years you’ve had to share it with friends, but a good portion of the pizza is already gone, and you expect only Rainbow, Pinkie, and maybe Applejack are heavy eaters, so you help yourself to four slices and a cup of orange soda.
  1595. >When you turn around, you see everyone’s ready to go for the movie.
  1596. >Rainbow, Sunset, and Rarity are sitting on the couch, Pinkie and Applejack are sitting closest to the TV, and Fluttershy and Twilight are seated in the center of the group.
  1597. >Everyone sitting on the floor is nestled nice and snug in their sleeping bags.
  1598. >”Come on, Anon, we saved a spot for you~” Sunset invited you, referring to the vacant space between Fluttershy and Rarity and directly in front of her.
  1599. >”Oh, hit the lights, too!” Pinkie remembered, directing you to the light switch by the door.
  1600.  
  1601. “Yeah, on it.” You say before you switch off the lights, grab your sleeping bag out of your duffle bag, and carefully sit in the center of the pentagon formed by Applejack, Pinkie, Fluttershy, Twilight, and Sunset.
  1602. >You’re really in the lion’s den now.
  1603. >As the movie starts you notice how close you are to those around you.
  1604. >Twilight’s leaning forward and paying close attention to every line spoken.
  1605. >In contrast, Rainbow’s resting her head on her hand, unimpressed by the movie so far.
  1606. >When the boy and his grandpa are having their first conversation about reading the story, you notice Fluttershy hiding her grin, remembering the fight Rainbow put up earlier.
  1607. >”Don’t give me that look.” Rainbow bitterly said to Rarity, who was giving her an incredibly smug grin.
  1608. >Everyone else enjoys a round of giggles.
  1609. >Twilight quickly shushes everyone as the story proper starts.
  1610. >As the love between Buttercup and Westley is retold, you notice you don’t have as much wiggle room as you thought.
  1611. >It’s impossible to prove, but it really feels like the girls around you got a tiny bit closer to you.
  1612. >Sunset’s sock-clad feet brush against your torso every now and again.
  1613. >Twilight seems anxious, judging by the way she’s always shifting uncomfortably in her sleeping bag.
  1614. >Fluttershy’s radiating even more nervousness than usual.
  1615. >Your attention is focused on the TV screen.
  1616. >At least, your eyes are.
  1617. >Your mind keeps reminding you about your two mystery letters.
  1618. >You never thought your eyes were particularly dazzling, but who are you to disagree with your secret admirer?
  1619. >It’s like you’re trapped in a game of inverse-Russian roulette.
  1620. >Contained within one of the seven barrels of the revolver before you is a girl you’ve somehow managed to woo over without even trying.
  1621. >The odds aren’t on your side, but you’re willing to play.
  1622. >The brightness of the TV screen renders everything else in your field of view essentially pitch black.
  1623. >When your eyes occasionally drift away from the screen, you sometimes spot Pinkie quickly turning back to the TV, like she didn’t want to get caught staring at whatever she was staring at.
  1624. >She’s probably checking out Rainbow’s reaction to the movie.
  1625. >Which you do.
  1626. >As entertaining as the movie is, it’s tough to compete with Rainbow getting more invested in the movie.
  1627. >When the identity of the Dread Pirate Roberts is revealed to Buttercup and they seal their reunion with a kiss, the atmosphere in the room changes.
  1628. >Fluttershy’s breathing heavier and she looks down at the floor when you glance at her.
  1629. >Applejack and Pinkie have scooched a little back, closing you in even more.
  1630. >It seems like Rarity and Rainbow have gotten closer to Sunset on the couch, who’s leaning over you.
  1631. >Twilight’s hand brushes over yours, but when you turn to face her, she sputters “Oh, sorry!” and quickly retracts her hand.
  1632.  
  1633. >Paying attention to the movie becomes more difficult.
  1634. >As if it wasn’t hard enough to figure out who was leaving you the notes, the girls surrounding you are subtly but literally closing in on you.
  1635. >They’re all showing signs of being the mystery admirer.
  1636. >Rarity and Rainbow are showing the least amount of interest in you right now, from what you can tell, at least.
  1637. >It would make the most sense that either Twilight or Fluttershy would be the ones to have written the notes.
  1638. >They’re the type to write love letters.
  1639. >They’re into schmaltzy romantic stuff like that.
  1640. >You think back to the time you lightly teased Twilight for spotting the romance manga in her backpack during one of your study sessions.
  1641. >As the movie goes on, Rainbow positions herself as far forward on the couch as she can.
  1642. >To think she dared doubt your supremely good taste in movies.
  1643. >Note to self: remember to tease her at an appropriate time in the future.
  1644. >In the movie, the two leads venture through the fire swamp, encounter rodents of unusual size, but Westley is separated from Buttercup and taken to the Pit of Despair.
  1645. >The separation of the two lovers alleviates some of the tension in the room, much to your relief.
  1646. >In your peripheral vision, you can tell Twilight, Fluttershy, Pinkie, and even Rainbow getting swept up in the drama.
  1647. >When the torture of Westley begins, Fluttershy clings to your arm with both hands.
  1648. >You freeze up a little at the sudden close contact.
  1649. >”S-Sorry, I never liked this part… Do you mind?” She whispers to you.
  1650. “No, not at all.” You whisper back to her.
  1651. >You feel Fluttershy smile and lean into your shoulder.
  1652. >As of now, Fluttershy’s the prime suspect for being your secret admirer.
  1653. >You can’t look around to verify what you’re feeling, but it feels like the girls around you are leering at you.
  1654. >You feel that eerie sensation of being watched in the darkness burn into the back of your neck.
  1655. >But you’re feeling it in the least threatening environment you’ve ever been in.
  1656. >The movie continues to the scene where Miracle Max is introduced.
  1657. >Despite the torture scene having concluded, Fluttershy’s still clinging onto you.
  1658. >You wouldn’t dare complain, though.
  1659. >Fluttershy’s really soft and warm.
  1660. >When your eyes glance over to your left, you manage to spot Twilight staring at you in the very brief moment before she turns back to the TV screen.
  1661. >You doubt she’s a fan of how Fluttershy is attached to you.
  1662. >Rainbow’s most likely even less of a fan.
  1663. >...Man, you really hope this secret admirer stuff doesn’t ruin the evening.
  1664. >Sure, the girls might be in on this stuff, but if the mood of the night shifts towards romance stuff, it could hurt the friendships you have.
  1665. >They’re all here to hang out, after all.
  1666. >Not to be your audience.
  1667. >You try to focus back on the movie.
  1668. >Fluttershy might just like being close to you.
  1669. >You don’t know anything about this secret admirer stuff for certain.
  1670.  
  1671. >The rest of the movie is just as gripping as you remember it being.
  1672. >Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik storm the castle, they rescue Buttercup, the villainous Rugen is killed in one of your favorite final confrontations in all of film, Humperdinck surrenders, and our four protagonists escape to freedom.
  1673. >Then comes the ultimate climax of the film.
  1674. >The kiss.
  1675. >Not just any kiss.
  1676. >The most passionate and pure kiss in the entire history of the kiss, according to the film.
  1677. >Buttercup and Westley and draw closer to each other.
  1678. >Suddenly, it’s harder for you to breathe.
  1679. >It’s like the air pressure doubled.
  1680. >Fluttershy’s gripping your arm even tighter.
  1681. >Twilight’s leaning against your other shoulder.
  1682. >Rainbow is off the couch, kneeling on the carpeted floor and suspiciously close to you.
  1683. >Sunset’s hands are firmly attached to the space on your shoulders that haven’t been taken by Twilight or Fluttershy.
  1684. >Rarity is leaning over you, you can tell.
  1685. >Applejack and Pinkie are sitting right up against your legs.
  1686. >Everyone’s breathing heavier.
  1687. >The temperature’s rising.
  1688. >And then, finally, Buttercup and Westley kiss.
  1689. >Twilight’s hand finds its way onto yours.
  1690. >Fluttershy and Sunset dig their fingernails into your arm and shoulders.
  1691. >You hear Rainbow shakily exhale and Rarity and Pinkie dreamily sigh.
  1692. >You can’t really read Applejack, she must be putting a lot of effort into not saying anything with her body language.
  1693. >But she’s getting swept up in the moment.
  1694. >She’s practically radiating romantic tension.
  1695. >Your face feels so warm you’re surprised you’re not glowing in the dark.
  1696. >You’ve never been trapped like this before.
  1697. >You’re struggling to breathe when trapped like this.
  1698. >The two notes you’ve received so far are burning a hole in your pocket.
  1699. >Fluttershy doesn’t have such a distant lead on the others now.
  1700. >Twilight and Sunset are making very compelling cases.
  1701. >You’re positive Rarity, Rainbow, Pinkie, and Applejack would be just as touchy-feely if they were sitting closer to you.
  1702. >Your brain is drowning in the possibilities.
  1703. >The movie ends soon after.
  1704. >As the credits roll, you free yourself from the girls’ grasp and eject the DVD from the player.
  1705. “So, Rainbow, what’d you think of the movie?” You ask her as you stand up, trying to summon your most confident tone possible.
  1706. >All eyes turn to Rainbow, who’s got her arms crossed and pointing her frowning head off to the side.
  1707. >You manage to barely glimpse a hint of disappointment in the eyes of Twilight and Fluttershy when you look back at the group.
  1708. >But Rainbow can’t hide that gentle blush with her soul look.
  1709. >”...You got lucky.” She reluctantly answers.
  1710. >A victorious smile spreads across your face as the girls giggle at Rainbow’s indignance.
  1711. >”Looks like Nonny really was a good choice for picking the movies!” Pinkie beamed.
  1712. >”I’ll say, that was one heck of a ride.” Applejack agreed.
  1713. >”You’re telling me…” Twilight muttered.
  1714.  
  1715. “So… What should we do now?” You ask the group.
  1716. >”Oh, Anon, I have just the outfit I’ve been waiting for you to model, if you’ll have me!” Rarity leapt up from the couch.
  1717. >The other girls exchange looks of varying amounts of confusion.
  1718. “Really? Something I should model?” You ask her.
  1719. >Rarity takes her work more seriously than the ability to breathe in and out, so being asked to model one of her latest works is the highest honor she can bestow upon someone.
  1720. >”Of course! It’s been designed with you in mind!” Rarity answered with an eager tone.
  1721. “Oh, yeah? I’d have thought you’d have to get my measurements for that.”
  1722. >”Don’t you worry, darling. It’s a more relaxed fit, so I was able to eyeball all the necessary details!”
  1723. >Rarity’s awfully excited to see how you present her work.
  1724. >”I think you should. You’ll look lovely!” Fluttershy promised you.
  1725. >”Go on, we’ve all had to model stuff she’s made before!” Applejack added.
  1726. >”You’ll look irresistible!” Sunset encouraged you.
  1727. >”Do it, do it, do it!” Pinkie chanted at you.
  1728. >”Don’t worry, you’ll live.” Rainbow chuckled.
  1729. >Twilight doesn’t say anything but she looks at you expectantly.
  1730. >You smile and relent.
  1731. “Alright, I’m game. What’ve you got?” You ask Rarity.
  1732. >Her eyes light up in delight as she rests her hands on your chest.
  1733. >”Come, I’ll show you! Applejack, be a dear and get the libations ready.” She instructed her.
  1734. >Before you could stew on what Rarity could mean by “libations”, you’re grabbed by the wrists and dragged towards the bedroom door.
  1735. >But just before you could be forced out of the room, you spot another conspicuous folded piece of paper with a heart sticker nestled within your sleeping bag.
  1736. >You snatch it up quickly, hopefully without any of the girls noticing, before you’re dragged into the hall.
  1737. >Rarity pulls a paper bag out of the hallway closet and pushes it into your arms.
  1738. >”Go change in the restroom, I’m just DYING to see what you think of it!” She orders you with a hint of impatience in her voice.
  1739. “Okay, okay…” You say to her, peering inside the paper bag and feeling around the inside to get a sense of what she’s presented you with.
  1740. >...There isn’t a ton of fabric in here…
  1741. “...Where’s the rest of it?” You ask Rarity with an awkward laugh.
  1742. >She responds with a sinister giggle.
  1743. >”Come now, you really shouldn’t be so hasty to judge, especially without having seen what I’ve gone through so much trouble to prepare for you! Don’t you have faith in my skills as a seamstress~?” She asked you, batting her eyes.
  1744. >Her fingers gently trace your chest.
  1745. >She really knows how to hit you where you’re most vulnerable.
  1746. “Alright, you’re the boss. Back in a bit.” You relent.
  1747. >”Knock on the bedroom door once you’re ready! I want your entrance to be STUNNING!” Rarity instructed you one last time before disappearing back into her bedroom with a giggle.
  1748.  
  1749. >You’re once again alone in Rarity’s bathroom.
  1750. >It’s the same as it was when you last changed clothes.
  1751. >You don’t waste any time tearing open the third note you’ve found to read the mystery message.
  1752. >”I could listen to you talk for hours”
  1753. >It’s a sweet sentiment, but it doesn’t shine a lot of light on who could have written it.
  1754. >Which is a good thing, in a way.
  1755. >To think all those girls are so different, yet it’s so easy for you to talk to all of them.
  1756. >At the beginning of the year, you never thought you’d get so close with Rainbow, Rarity, or Fluttershy.
  1757. >But you persisted (with Sunset’s help) and now you couldn’t ask for better friends than them.
  1758. >Except now one of them is angling to be more than friends.
  1759. >The more you think about it, the more likely it is that Rainbow or Applejack is leaving you these notes.
  1760. >They’re the two toughest girls in your friend group, and as a result it’s not as easy for them to open up and embrace their more sensitive side.
  1761. >Maybe that’s why the path to finding who’s leaving you the notes is so difficult, they’re leaving you these non-handwritten notes because that’s the best they can do to communicate their feelings.
  1762. >Both of them are people you could spend hours talking to, yourself.
  1763. >Rainbow’s really fun to hang out with, and you love hearing Applejack talk about her family and life on the farm.
  1764. >But you shouldn’t keep Rarity waiting, you need to get changed.
  1765. >One change of clothes later, you feel…
  1766. >...Weird.
  1767. >The clothes Rarity made for you were black denim pants and a dark green long sleeve shirt styled like an athletic jersey with white lettering.
  1768. >Except the shirt doesn’t come down past your chest, leaving your midriff exposed.
  1769. >You’ve never worn anything like this before.
  1770. >Crop tops were always the domain of girls, according to your worldview.
  1771. >Then again, the guys in slasher movies from the 80’s were wearing crop tops, too.
  1772. >But their physique was more ready for the beach than yours.
  1773. >...Actually, that’s not so true.
  1774. >Your days spent helping out at Sweet Apple Acres have really whipped you into shape.
  1775. >Plus, with Rainbow as your unofficial trainer in P.E., you’re never given an opportunity to slack off and let those calories you ingest go unburned.
  1776. >You’re not built like Big Macintosh, but you’ve got some fairly defined abs and pecs.
  1777. >There’s still a bit of flab on your stomach, which you’d like to blame Pinkie’s absurdly sugary drinks at Sugarcube Corner on, but you know you mostly hold blame for your after school snacking habits.
  1778. >But hey, you’ve read online that girls like guys who’re built sturdy but aren’t ALL muscle.
  1779. >The thought of walking back into Rarity’s bedroom with the seven girls with your midriff exposed gets you a little flustered and self conscious.
  1780. >You haven’t done a lot of flaunting yourself, and any comments from your friends would be twenty times as incisive.
  1781. >...But you can’t stay in here forever.
  1782.  
  1783. >Once you’ve psyched yourself up, you exit the bathroom with your pajamas bundled up under your arm and your secret admirer’s notes tucked away in your back pocket.
  1784. >You look outside through the window at the other end of the hall.
  1785. >The snow’s coming down pretty hard now.
  1786. >A good layer of snow has built up on the windowsill.
  1787. >You reach the bedroom door, and after hesitating, you knock.
  1788. >The chatter you hear on the other side of the door is quickly shushed by Rarity.
  1789. >”Now, I’m going to have to warn all of you, what I’ve given Anon is a fairly significant departure from his usual wardrobe, so it would be polite if you didn’t stare.” She warned the group.
  1790. >God, you’re nervous.
  1791. >Your stomach feels so sensitive to the air.
  1792. >”Come in, Anon~” Rarity invites you.
  1793. >There’s some excited murmuring inside.
  1794. >Here goes nothing.
  1795. >You grasp the doorknob and turn it.
  1796. >Rarity’s standing by the doorway to push you forward, looking absolutely thrilled.
  1797. >The moment you’re fully visible to the girls, the room falls silent.
  1798. >None of them are following Rarity’s request.
  1799. >Twilight, Rainbow, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Pinkie are staring right at you.
  1800. >Eyes wide, mouths slightly agape, cheeks dusted with blush.
  1801. >Sunset’s leaning over the couch at you.
  1802. >Eyes half lidded, lips curled into a wicked smile.
  1803. >”Sooooo, what do you think? Be honest, now!” Rarity asked them, pretending she didn’t already know their answer.
  1804. >The girls react to her question in different ways.
  1805. >Fluttershy and Applejack averted their eyes and stared down at the floor, Twilight and Rainbow awkwardly chuckle, and Pinkie and Sunset just kept staring like she couldn’t hear Rarity.
  1806. >”Oh, come on, don’t leave dear Anon hanging! He’s awfully self conscious, you know!” Rarity reminded them while idly stroking your chest and leaning against you.
  1807. >Her supple chest is pressed firmly against your shoulder.
  1808. >It’s a sensation many guys at school would kill to experience.
  1809. >”Uh… A-Anon… Y-You look… Uh… You look g-good!” Twilight sputters out after having summoned the strength to make eye contact with you.
  1810. >”Really, really, really good.” Fluttershy was quick to add.
  1811. >Now it’s your turn to blush.
  1812. “Oh, uh, thanks…” You say with a sheepish smile.
  1813. >Rarity is beaming with pride at her work getting such a positive reception.
  1814. >”Honestly, it’s a shame you weren’t dressing like this sooner!” Sunset remarked.
  1815. >”It, uh, definitely seems like good wear for helpin’ out around the farm…” Applejack said, trying to ignore her real feelings.
  1816. >”A-And, uh, y’know, sports and stuff…” Rainbow agreed.
  1817. >”Wait a minute, hold still!” Rarity ordered you.
  1818. >She reached around you and rolled your sleeves up to your elbows.
  1819. >”There, now the look is complete!”
  1820. >Pinkie still hasn’t said anything.
  1821. >She’s staring right at you.
  1822. >Drooling a little.
  1823. >Damn.
  1824. >Whoever your secret admirer is, it looks like she’s got competition.
  1825.  
  1826. >”I just realized what your look was reminding me of, those teenage heartthrobs from the 80’s!” Sunset realized, getting up from the bean bag she was sitting on to inspect your shirt further.
  1827. >”Very sharp eye, Sunset! Nostalgia for that time period is so prevalent nowadays, but it’s such a shame that fashion trends didn’t return as a result. Thank goodness Anon here is so willing to embrace the once-traditional ideals of masculinity that have been written off today.” Rarity agreed, getting closer to you.
  1828. “Yeah, how convenient that me breaking traditional fashion norms means you girls get to ogle me more.” You say with a sarcastic smile.
  1829. >”Right? It’s a win-win, dude!” Rainbow quickly agreed, then realizing how excited she was and settling back down onto the couch with a faintly embarrassed look.
  1830. >”What do you think, Twilight? Couldn’t you just see Anon on a magazine cover?” Sunset teasingly asked Twilight, making her blush harder.
  1831. >”...Y-Yeah.” She quietly answers.
  1832. >Twilight, Fluttershy, and Applejack are awkwardly looking around the room, still bright red in the face.
  1833. >Pinkie’s still staring at you.
  1834. >This is the longest she’s ever gone without talking like this.
  1835. >...Are those hearts in her eyes?
  1836. >”You’ve heard all of us voice our support of your new look, but what’s most important is how it makes you FEEL, darling.” Rarity questioned you.
  1837. >”Absolutely! We wouldn’t want you wearing something as revealing as this if you didn’t feel comfortable in it!” Sunset adds, leans closer into you.
  1838. >You’ve never been stared at like this before.
  1839. >These girls weren’t staring at you because you’ve done something stupid.
  1840. >They were staring at you because they wanted to keep looking at you.
  1841. >It’s a new feeling.
  1842. >...It’s a feeling you like.
  1843. >You don’t feel exposed anymore.
  1844. >You feel powerful.
  1845. >Your muscles feel stronger.
  1846. >You feel a whole foot taller.
  1847. “...It makes me feel great.” You admit with a confident smile.
  1848. >Rarity claps her hands triumphantly.
  1849. >”Marvelous! I can’t wait to see the school’s reaction when you make your grand entrance on the first day of the Spring semester!” She beamed.
  1850. >That’s something to think about.
  1851. >Your “himbo” look’s gotten a glowing reception so far, but how would it fly in school?
  1852. >You’re sure to hear some whispered comments about your more bold wardrobe.
  1853. >But you’re brought back to the present with Rarity clinging to your right shoulder and Sunset on your left shoulder.
  1854. >When you glance at the girls scattered throughout the room, you could see Twilight, Rainbow, Applejack, and Fluttershy staring at you before quickly averting their gaze.
  1855. >Pinkie is STILL staring at you.
  1856. >She’s breathing heavier and looking like she’s about to pounce.
  1857. >Your new pants are feeling a little tighter than before.
  1858. >Oh, no.
  1859. >Not here.
  1860. >Don’t make things more awkward or intense.
  1861. >Change the subject, fast.
  1862.  
  1863. “Hey, uh, what were those ‘libations’ you were talking about?” You ask Rarity.
  1864. >”Oh, yes! Applejack, would you?” She remembered, turning to the cowgirl.
  1865. >”What? Oh, uh, y-yeah! I’ve got ‘em here!” She answers, presenting a box of twelve glass bottles.
  1866. >”Oh, yeah! now we’re talkin’!” Rainbow cheers.
  1867. >Fluttershy looks a little uncertain.
  1868. “What’s that?” You ask Applejack as you move in.
  1869. >Applejack looks up at you to answer your question, but her cheeks flare up again and she stumbles over her words as you make eye contact.
  1870. >”I-It’s, uh, famous Apple family cider!”
  1871. >”HARD cider!” Rainbow clarified with a grin.
  1872. >”Ooh, how exciting!” Sunset cheered.
  1873. >Your eyes widen.
  1874. >You’ve never had any alcoholic drinks before.
  1875. >You’ve had apple cider before, Granny Smith insisted you take home a bottle as thanks for tutoring Applejack.
  1876. “How’d you get this stuff here?” You ask Applejack.
  1877. >”It wasn’t easy, I’ll tell you that. I had to swear to Big Mac and Granny up and down that we weren’t gonna be doin’ anything irresponsible. I think my recent grades helped my case.” She sighs.
  1878. >”We’re not gonna go crazy, though! We’re just gonna have enough to take the edge off and get a little tipsy, is all! You know, enjoy the night!” Twilight assured you and Fluttershy.
  1879. >”I dunno, I heard one guy had some of this hard cider once and went blind for a week!” Rainbow snickered.
  1880. >”That ain’t true! That was just a rumor!” Applejack was quick to counter.
  1881. >As Rainbow cackled at her own joke, you felt Rarity pat your shoulder reassuringly.
  1882. >”I’ll personally see to it that none of us go too far with our merriments. I’d be a terrible hostess if I allowed any of you to make a drunken buffoon of yourselves!” Rarity insisted, resting one hand on your shoulder and the other on Fluttershy’s shoulder.
  1883. >”Besides, what’s a teenage hangout without a little underage drinking~?” Sunset slyly adds.
  1884. >”Don’t say it like that, you’re making it sound like a crime!” Twilight cried out in protest.
  1885. >”It kind of is…” Fluttershy mumbled.
  1886. >”Nothin’ bad’s gonna happen, I guarantee it. Granny’d tan my hide if we got into trouble with this stuff.” Applejack added, with a grimace at the thought of her punishment.
  1887. >You think about it.
  1888. >You don’t know what your tolerance with alcohol is, you could be a total lightweight for all you know.
  1889. >But Applejack, Rarity and Twilight would surely be quick to cut you off if you’re showing that you can’t hold your liquor.
  1890. >And it’s not like Applejack doesn’t trust you to not do anything awful when you’re drunk.
  1891. >Not to mention all those stories you’ve heard of guys your age getting drunk and having fun have made you feel left out…
  1892. >...Fuck it.
  1893. >This new outfit’s giving you a stat modifier for confidence.
  1894. >God, that was the nerdiest way you could say that.
  1895. “I’m in, let’s do it!” You say.
  1896.  
  1897. >”Hell yeah! What about you, Flutters?” Rainbow cheers, then turning to Fluttershy.
  1898. >She glances around a bit as she tries to come up with an answer.
  1899. >Her mind must be swirling.
  1900. “...Hey, it’s okay if you don’t want to.” You gently promise her.
  1901. >”Anon’s right, nobody’s gonna force you to drink if you don’t want to.” Twilight joined in.
  1902. >”No, no, it’s okay, I’ll have a drink!” Fluttershy assured the both of you.
  1903. >This catches everyone by surprise a little.
  1904. >”...Really?” Applejack asks her.
  1905. >Fluttershy manages a confident nod.
  1906. >”Yes, really. Only because I feel safe around all of you.” She says with a gentle smile.
  1907. >Aww.
  1908. >When your eyes meet hers, she gently blushes a little.
  1909. >Lots of blushing happening tonight.
  1910. >”Say, we haven’t heard from Pinkie.” Twilight noted.
  1911. “Yeah, you’re right. Hey, Pinkie, you down for-” You turn to ask Pinkie, then jump in surprise when you realize she’s right behind you.
  1912. >An inch away from you.
  1913. >Eyes as wide as plates.
  1914. >Silent.
  1915. “...Pinkie?”
  1916. >She blinks twice, snapping out of her “trance”.
  1917. >”Wha- huh?”
  1918. “We’re having some hard cider from Applejack’s farm. You in?”
  1919. >Pinkie gasps in delight.
  1920. >”Totally! I am SO there!”
  1921. >”Oh, joy!” Rarity cheered.
  1922. >”Well then, we better get to passing around the bottles!” Sunset beamed.
  1923. >You felt Pinkie’s drape around you from behind as Applejack carefully passed a bottle of cider to everyone.
  1924. >Pinkie’ pressed herself against your back.
  1925. >Her chest, especially.
  1926. >You can feel her breathing on your neck.
  1927. >It’s heavy and a little shaky.
  1928. >Her body’s gently bobbing up and down, like she’s trying to make you think about her boobs pressed against you.
  1929. >Applejack hands you and Pinkie a bottle of hard cider, leaving four remaining in the box.
  1930. >”They’re twist-off caps, so don’t try poppin’ them open on the corner of a table and breaking it off.” Applejack informed everyone, managing to catch Rainbow right before she could open her bottle on the edge of Rarity’s desk.
  1931. >”Hey Nonny, did I tell you how good you look in your new outfit?” Pinkie asked you right into your ear.
  1932. >”No, you didn’t!” Sunset grinned, egging her on.
  1933. >”Aw, darn! Because you look super-duper hot~” Pinkie whispered in your ear.
  1934. >There’s that warmth in your face again.
  1935. >...And that tightness in your pants.
  1936. >”I could just eat. You. Up.” Pinkie continued, gripping your shirt.
  1937. >Now you’re much more confident that Pinkie isn’t the one leaving the notes.
  1938. >To say she’s being direct would be the understatement of the century.
  1939. >”I just wanna taste you a little~” Pinkie breathed in your ear.
  1940. >You could feel her tongue draw closer to your neck.
  1941.  
  1942. >”Pinkie!” Twilight scolded her.
  1943. >Pinkie freezes in place with her tongue still sticking out as snaps to face Twilight with widened eyes.
  1944. >”Huh?”
  1945. >”We’re focused on something else right now!” Twilight reminds her.
  1946. >Pinkie loosens her grip on your skimpy shirt.
  1947. >”Hehe, sorry! Guess I got a little carried away…” She sheepishly giggles, sitting down on the carpeted floor with everyone else.
  1948. >Rainbow, Applejack and Rarity are looking annoyed, Fluttershy and Twilight are looking a little flustered, but Sunset looks weirdly smug.
  1949. >You hastily separate yourself from Pinkie and take a better look at the bottle Applejack handed you.
  1950. >It’s a brown glass bottle without any labels or anything.
  1951. >You’d be way more cautious about drinking it if it wasn’t handed to you by Applejack.
  1952. >Just as you’re about to twist the cap off, something catches your attention from the corner of your eye.
  1953. >It’s on your sleeping bag in front of the couch.
  1954. >Another note, heart sticker and all.
  1955. >”You getting cold feet, Anon?” You heard Sunset ask you.
  1956. “Just a second, gotta check something.” You hastily excuse yourself.
  1957. >You pretend to check your phone for a text message to cover up checking the latest mystery note.
  1958. >”You feel like a big teddy bear when we hug.” is the latest message.
  1959. >Well, that narrows it down to all of them.
  1960. >You’ve hugged all seven of the girls, multiple times.
  1961. >They really like hugs.
  1962. >You really like hugging them, too.
  1963. >They’re so soft and warm.
  1964. >Whenever you hug one of the girls, you feel like everything’s gonna be alright.
  1965. >As broad as the note is, it’s a nice thought.
  1966. >That’s the second bit of appreciation your body’s received today.
  1967. >Long overdue, maybe, but you’ll happily take it.
  1968. >”Is everything okay, Anon?” Fluttershy asks you from the circle they’ve formed.
  1969. “Yeah, coming!” You quickly answer, stuffing the freshly opened note inside your sleeping bag and returning to where the girls are sitting.
  1970. >Pinkie’s eagerly patting the spot between her and Sunset.
  1971. >You nestle into your seat and Twilight clears her throat.
  1972. >”Should we toast to something?” She asks the group.
  1973. >”To the best sleepover ever!” Sunset says, raising her bottle.
  1974. ”To the best sleepover ever!” You say along with the seven girls.
  1975. >It may be cheesier than a dairy farm in Wisconsin, but with the girls, you don’t mind being cheesy.
  1976. >It’s fun to be cheesy.
  1977. >You clink your bottles together and take a sip from the bottle of hard cider in unison.
  1978. >Man, that’s some powerful cider.
  1979. >Your mouth puckers like you’ve just licked a lemon.
  1980. >It’s got the unmistakable taste of Applejack’s family cider, but with the added zing of alcohol.
  1981. >It really makes you wonder if there was some truth to Rainbow’s story.
  1982. >After summoning a little more strength than you care to admit, you swallow the mouthful of hard cider.
  1983. >You gasp for air once the mouthful of bitter beverage has disappeared down the hatch.
  1984.  
  1985. >”How’re you likin’ the hard stuff, city boy?” Applejack teasingly asks you.
  1986. >A giggle escapes your lips easier than it would normally.
  1987. “It’s great! My compliments to the chef.”
  1988. >You eye winks at her on its own.
  1989. >Applejack’s confidence wavers a bit as she giggles in response.
  1990. >”Geez, Anon’s had one sip and he’s already feeling it.” Rainbow snickers.
  1991. “So you’re the iron liver of the group?” You grin at her.
  1992. >”I bet I could drink YOU under the table.” Rainbow challenged you.
  1993. >”No, no, no, there will be NONE of that happening tonight!” Rarity is quick to jump in.
  1994. >”Ah, you’re just bitter we’re not drinking some fancy-pants wine.” Rainbow rebutted.
  1995. >Rarity huffed indignantly.
  1996. >”I’m capable of loosening up!” She insisted, taking a fairly large swig of her hard cider to prove her point.
  1997. >A round of giggles is shared as everyone takes more sips and swigs of their hard cider.
  1998. >The more you drink it, the less bitter it tastes.
  1999. >Maybe it’s you getting used to the taste, maybe it’s the alcohol doing its thing.
  2000. >If alcohol is always this much fun, you’ve gotta get in on this stuff.
  2001. >You can already tell you’ve got the makings of a daydrinker in you.
  2002. >”Better be careful or Twilight’ll tell on us!” Pinkie giggled though her bottle.
  2003. >”Oh, come on, I’m not gonna rat you out!” Twilight scoffed.
  2004. “I dunno, you’re awfully buddy-buddy with the Principal.” You grin at her.
  2005. >”What do you think she talks about with her?” Sunset asked you with a grin.
  2006. >You slur a giggle.
  2007. “She’s tellin’ the Principal all our secrets.” You jokingly answer.
  2008. >”I do not!” Twilight insists, failing to stifle her own giggle.
  2009. “Admit it, Twiggles. You’re her favorite student, after all.”
  2010. >Twilight burst out laughing.
  2011. >”Did you just call me ‘Twiggles’?” She asks through drunken laughter.
  2012. “I dunno, it felt right!”
  2013. >”Oh, I’m gonna remember that one!” Rainbow laughs in between sucking down more cider.
  2014. >”It’s so fun to say!” Pinkie agrees.
  2015. >”But it’s so embarrassing!” Twilight jokingly complains.
  2016. >Everyone goes on to finish their bottles of hard cider and the mood in the room noticeably shifts.
  2017. >You feel your inhibitions melt away, and you suspect the girls are feeling the same.
  2018. >Everyone’s giggling and laughing and making dumb jokes.
  2019. >You’re seeing a side of Rarity you doubt anyone outside this room has seen before.
  2020. >Sunset and Pinkie are getting touchy.
  2021. >Their hands are running from your shoulders down your arms.
  2022. >Twilight, Rarity, Applejack, and Rainbow are acting up, too.
  2023. >They’re all scooching closer to you with each sip.
  2024. >Fluttershy hasn’t said anything, she’s focused on quietly finishing her cider.
  2025. >Man, this cider is some powerful stuff.
  2026. >It’s getting harder to coordinate yourself.
  2027.  
  2028. >When trying to take another sip, you accidentally spill some on your shirt and your stomach.
  2029. >”My, you should be careful, Anon. That shirt was made with love in every stitch!” Rarity teasingly scolded you.
  2030. “Sorry! I’ll clean myself up-”
  2031. >”I’ve got it!” Twilight interjected, leaping forward with a napkin she pulled from her bag to wipe you clean.
  2032. >You’re forced onto your back as Twilight hurriedly wipes as much hard cider as she could manage off of you.
  2033. >Once she gets to your midriff, the pace of her wiping slows.
  2034. >Twilight’s hand “accidentally” slips away from her hand as she rubs your stomach up and down.
  2035. >Her breathing turns heavy and shaky.
  2036. >You almost expect her glasses to start fogging up.
  2037. >The other girls watching you two attentively.
  2038. “I think you got it all, Twiggles.” You try to inform her.
  2039. >Twilight’s eyes snap open and she jumps backwards, realizing what she was doing.
  2040. “Thanks for the help.” You awkwardly say to her.
  2041. >Twilight responds with embarrassed, drunken giggling.
  2042. >Fluttershy was unsurprisingly the last to finish her cider.
  2043. >She set her bottle down on the floor and cleared her throat.
  2044. >”Hic… Y’Know, Anon, it’s a real shame you don’t have a girlfriend.” She slurs, leaning towards you.
  2045. “Uh… Thanks, I guess.” You say to her with a giggle, her boldness taking you by surprise.
  2046. >”No, no, I mean it! You’ve been so wonderful to us, it’s a real crime that none of the girls at school have given you a chance!” She insists, getting on her hands and knees and crawling closer to you.
  2047. “...Well, at least I have you girls.” You say with a smile.
  2048. >They’re kneeling closer to you.
  2049. >”Trust me, if one of the girls gave you a shot, you would rock their world~”
  2050. >You can feel her hot breath on your face.
  2051. “Oh, yeah? What makes you so sure?” You ask her in a lower tone.
  2052. >Fluttershy bites her lip.
  2053. >”Nobody could wear that outfit like you, Anon. Your lovely body with your charming smile, the girls at school won’t be able to keep their hands off you~”
  2054. “You’re telling me.” You tease her back, noticing her hands have found their way onto your stomach.
  2055. >Fluttershy doesn’t retract her hands.
  2056. >Her eyes trail up from your stomach into your eyes.
  2057. >Her head draws closer to yours as her eyes flutter shut.
  2058. >She purses her lips.
  2059. >”Okay, seems like you’ve had enough, sugarcube. Let’s settle down now” Applejack advised Fluttershy, pulling her backwards as she meekly whimpered.
  2060. >”But I’m fineeeeeee.” Fluttershy pouted in protest.
  2061. >You turn and see Pinkie’s hands are reaching for you, but she backs up a bit and sits on her hand with a guilty smile.
  2062. >Rainbow and Rarity look like they’ve got a lot on their minds.
  2063. >Sunset’s watching it all unfold with a sinister smile.
  2064. >You overcome your tipsiness and sit up.
  2065. “I appreciate it, Flutters, but I have a feeling my future girlfriend’s in this room, leaving me notes to find.” You say with your lips loosened.
  2066.  
  2067. >It takes you a second to realize what just spilled out of your mouth.
  2068. >Thankfully, it was only something verbal and not anything that could feasibly stain the carpet.
  2069. >A response comes in the form of a collective gasp from the seven girls in the room.
  2070. >”Really?” Fluttershy asks you.
  2071. >Her tone is a little difficult to parse.
  2072. >You can’t tell for sure how genuine she’s being.
  2073. >For all you know, she could be the one leaving you notes.
  2074. >Now’s not the time to interrogate her.
  2075. “Yeah, I’ve been finding these mystery letters either right under me or in my duffle bag.” You reply, presenting your most recent note as proof.
  2076. >Fluttershy analyzes the one-sentence correspondence meant for you, and the other six girls huddle close to see for themselves.
  2077. >You hold out the letter and seize the moment to study their faces.
  2078. >None of them are looking particularly guilty or like they’re hiding something, but the fact that one of these seven lovely young ladies has been secretly professing their attraction to you is incredibly compelling.
  2079. >”How many of these love letters did you get?” Twilight asks you, without any inflections in her tone of voice that would give away her being the messenger.
  2080. “Four, I think.” You answer, then going to root through your pockets to find the other notes that’ve been left for you.
  2081. >You present the previous letters you’ve received: “I have a crush on you.”, ”Sometimes I get lost in your eyes.”, and ”I could listen to you talk for hours.”
  2082. “Yeah, four so far.”
  2083. >”Ooh, how exciting! Who do you think’s your secret admirer, Nonny?” Pinkie excitedly asks you.
  2084. >You step back and place an inquisitive finger on your chin, eyeing all seven of the girls with suspicion.
  2085. “...I’ll be honest, you two were my lead suspects.” You say, pointing to Twilight and Fluttershy.
  2086. >Fluttershy looks away nervously and Twilight awkwardly chuckles.
  2087. >”W-What do you mean, ‘were’?” She asks you.
  2088. “It’s a little narcissistic to say, but it’s my belief that the reason all of you’ve been hyping me up for this sleepover was to set me up with the one of you who’s caught feelings for me. You backed off after realizing you were getting a little handsy with me, and Applejack had to pull you away from me.” You explain to Twilight and Fluttershy, then turning to Pinkie.
  2089. “Then that would mean you’d be ruled out, too. Seeing as how Twilight stopped you from… licking me.
  2090. >Pinkie gives you a guilty giggle.
  2091. >”Alright then, boy detective, who IS your prime suspect?” Sunset goaded you.
  2092. >You take a deep breath.
  2093. “Right now, it’s you.” You answer, turning to Rarity.
  2094. >Rarity softly gasped and defensively placed her hand on her chest.”
  2095. >”Why, Moi?”
  2096. >You shrug.
  2097. “I don’t know, leaving anonymous love letters for me to find is the kind of romantic thing you’d be into. That’s the best theory I’ve got right now, anyway.” You say.
  2098.  
  2099. >”He’s got a point there.” Rainbow remarked.
  2100. “Don’t get too smug, you’re in second place.” You say to Rainbow.
  2101. >”What!?” She cried out, making Rarity and Sunset giggle.
  2102. >”Why!?”
  2103. “I dunno, you’re not good with mushy romantic stuff and this is the best way you can express your feelings!” You answer.
  2104. >”Pfft, as if I’d EVER resort to doing something as dorky as THAT. Trust me, if I had any kind of crush on you, you’d know it.” Rainbow insisted.
  2105. “You mean like how you were eyeing me up earlier?” You grin at her.
  2106. >Rainbow sputters at you.
  2107. >”I didn’t leave you any stupid love letters!” She exclaims, red in the face.
  2108. “Yeah, well, the night’s still young, so we’ll see.” You remind her.
  2109. >”Hey now, don’t wanna tease her too much, there’s pretty good odds she ain’t the one.” Applejack reminded you with a grin.
  2110. “You’re in third place, by the way.” You say to her.
  2111. >”Oh, yeah? How come Rainbow’s ahead of me, then?” Applejack interrogated you.
  2112. “Because you’re a little more blunt when it comes to this kind of stuff. I feel like if you felt something for me, you’d just tell me.”
  2113. >”Aww, does that mean I’m in last place?” Sunset fake-pouts at you.
  2114. “Hey, come on, you’ve been weirdly flirty with me since we first met. I ruled out the possibility of you being into me like that a while ago.” You remind her with a grin.
  2115. >”That’s some serious sleuthing, Nonny!” Pinkie giggled.
  2116. >”Aww, you didn’t think I had any genuine feelings for you? You wound me, new boy.” Sunset teased you.
  2117. “Then how come you haven’t said anything the whole semester?”
  2118. >”Because I wanted to make the moment memorable? What, you think I’d just confess my fiery attraction to you in between classes?” Sunset rebutted.
  2119. >”And by the way, that could be why Twilight, Pinkie, or Fluttershy had to be stopped from leaping on you and giving in to their lust earlier. We could’ve spent all week planning just the moment where you two would share the most beautiful and romantic first kiss ever shared in Canterlot, can’t you imagine how disappointing it would be for your secret admirer to spoil that by tearing off her clothes and begging you to take her right here in the middle of the sleepover?”
  2120. >”H-He gets it, Sunset, you don’t have to be so descriptive.” Twilight interjected, hiding a faint blush.
  2121. >Sunset’s words made everyone else a little flustered as well.
  2122. >...And she raises a good point.
  2123. >You don’t know how much planning was done behind your back.
  2124. >You may have four love letters, but you’re not the one holding all the cards.
  2125. >The girls surrounding you two are watching you intently.
  2126. >Any one of them could have been leaving you the notes.
  2127. >You relent, nodding your head.
  2128. “...You’re right.”
  2129.  
  2130. >”You don’t know that! You could’ve been right on the money when you said Rarity’s the one you’ve inflicted many restless nights upon~” Sunset countered you.
  2131. >”That’s not what he said!” Rarity objected.
  2132. >”It’s like you said, the night’s still young, anything could happen~” Sunset reminded you, placing her hands on your shoulders and stepping close to you.
  2133. >You squint at Sunset as you lean closer to her.
  2134. “...You know who’s been leaving the notes, don’t you?”
  2135. >Sunset answered with a sinister giggle.
  2136. >”Maybe~”
  2137. >Before you could say anything, Sunset placed a finger on your lips.
  2138. >”But wouldn’t that take the fun out of the whole thing? Wouldn’t you rather spend the night getting close to each of us, looking deep into our eyes, trying to find the truth we’re trying to hide from you~?”
  2139. >Sunset has such a way with words.
  2140. >It’s making your custom-made pants snug.
  2141. >You pray the girls don’t notice.
  2142. “...If my secret admirer’s any of the girls here, I doubt she’ll appreciate you getting so touchy.” You say to Sunset, crossing your arms.
  2143. >She gives you a playful shove.
  2144. >”You can worry your pretty little head about who your secret admirer is later, right now we’ve got a sleepover to get back to! Right, girls?” Sunset proclaimed, turning back to the six.
  2145. >A group of faintly flustered sounds of agreement came from the six.
  2146. >”Now, what was it you wanted to do tonight?” Sunset asked Fluttershy.
  2147. >Fluttershy glances between you and Sunset as she tries to answer.
  2148. >”Uh… karaoke?”
  2149. >”That’s right! Everyone gets ten minutes to pick a song while Pinkie and I get everything set up.” Sunset announced, clapping her hands together.
  2150. >Everyone hurried off to a different corner of the room to scroll through their phones and pick a song they could sing.
  2151. >You spent the first few minutes sitting on the floor and staring into space, just taking it all in.
  2152. >You didn’t know what to expect from this sleepover, but it wasn’t any of this.
  2153. >Not only does one of your friends have a crush on you, all the girls are showing interest in you.
  2154. >It might be just because you’re rocking the midriff, but all this is so new to you.
  2155. >You’ve never seen Pinkie so lewd.
  2156. >Twilight seemed like she was hypnotized by your body.
  2157. >Fluttershy almost kissed you!
  2158. >Your face feels like it’s glowing.
  2159. >What else is gonna happen tonight?
  2160. >What if you’re right about Rarity, Rainbow, or Applejack?
  2161. >You can’t be wasting time, you don’t want to be called up for your song and be empty-handed.
  2162. >You scrolled through your phone’s music library, hoping something will stick out to you.
  2163. >None of them do.
  2164. >You’ve never been much of a singer.
  2165. >Especially compared to the girls.
  2166. >They’ve all got such lovely singing voices.
  2167. >You can only hope you’ll get called up first to get the rough opening act out of the way.
  2168. >”Oh, one more thing!” Pinkie called out to everyone.
  2169. >”It’s gotta be a love song!”
  2170. >Damn it.
  2171.  
  2172. >You’re running out of time.
  2173. >You don’t really listen to a lot of love songs.
  2174. >...Honestly most of the music you listen to is video game soundtracks.
  2175. >Those typically aren’t known for their lyrics.
  2176. >And while your Latin isn’t up to snuff, you’re not confident One-Winged Angel has much to do with love.
  2177. >You keep scrolling and scrolling, hoping to find something that you could sing decently.
  2178. >You’re not hitting those high notes, that’s for sure.
  2179. >”Three minutes left!” Pinkie announced.
  2180. >Come on, pick something.
  2181. >You’re coming up short.
  2182. >So many songs, so many that are debatably related to love, so little time.
  2183. >You nervously look around the room to see how everyone else is doing.
  2184. >The girls are sitting comfortably on the couch, carpeted floor, or beanbag chair.
  2185. >Pinkie’s just about set up the makeshift stage and connected the bluetooth microphone to Rarity’s sound system.
  2186. >Come on, pick something, Anon.
  2187. >Wait.
  2188. >Slow down.
  2189. >Take a deep breath.
  2190. >Remember what Sunset said.
  2191. >”Go with the flow.”
  2192. >”Focus on having a good time.”
  2193. >You inhale.
  2194. >You exhale.
  2195. >You’re worrying too much.
  2196. >Like what you’ve been doing a lot today.
  2197. >It’s not like you’re competing in front of the entire school.
  2198. >It’s just karaoke with friends during a sleepover.
  2199. >There’s nothing at stake, there’s no awards to be won or lost.
  2200. >It’s all for fun.
  2201. >It’ll all be good fun.
  2202. >You’re gonna sing your best, and you’re gonna have a great time.
  2203. >This crop top’s gonna help you do that.
  2204. >And it’s not like they’re gonna throw eggs at you if they don’t like your performance, unlike your old school…
  2205. >”Time’s up! Hope you’ve all picked something good!” Pinkie announced.
  2206. >Oh, God.
  2207. >Pick something, now.
  2208. >You shut your eyes, blindly scroll down the list of songs on your phone, and when you feel your intuition hit, you press down on your phone screen.
  2209. >...
  2210. >...You could’ve done worse.
  2211. >It’ll have to do.
  2212.  
  2213. >Pinkie giddily stands atop the makeshift stage with Sunset as the rest of you sit down in front of her.
  2214. >You end up sitting in between Rarity and Applejack, with Twilight, Fluttershy, and Rainbow in front of the three of you.
  2215. >”Alrighty, who wants to go first?” Pinkie asked.
  2216. >Before you could volunteer to be the first to sing, Pinkie spoke up again.
  2217. >”Just kidding! I’ll be going first! It’ll help get those of you with stage fright all loosened up and ready to sing your heart out!”
  2218. >Dang.
  2219. >Pinkie’s probably right about this, maybe seeing them put themselves out there will help ease you up.
  2220. >But you’re still nervous.
  2221. >You don’t have any reason to be nervous, but your hands are getting a little sweaty.
  2222. >Pinkie leaned over in Sunset’s ear to whisper something.
  2223. >Sunset giggled along with her and typed away at the nearby laptop to set up the song.
  2224. >”Hey, you nervous?” Applejack quietly asks you.
  2225. >You sigh.
  2226. “...Yeah, a little. But I know I shouldn’t be.” You admit.
  2227. >”Aw, shoot, Anon. I’m sure you’ve got one heck of a singin’ voice.” Applejack encouraged you.
  2228. >”Indeed! You’ve a nice voice, your singing is bound to be lovely!” Rarity pitched in, nudging your shoulder.
  2229. “Yeah, well, we’ll see…”
  2230. >Pinkie presses a button on her microphone, and the sound system buzzes to life.
  2231. >The sound of Pinkie breathing in and out is amplified by the two speakers set up on either side of the stage.
  2232. >The thought of your voice being amplified makes you a little more nervous.
  2233. >If you fall on your face, the entire town will know.
  2234. >Well, maybe not a TON of people.
  2235. >Rarity’s family is the only one living on Canterlot’s main street.
  2236. >”Alrighty, here we go!” Pinkie excitedly said, pressing the spacebar on the nearby laptop.
  2237. >The music starts.
  2238. >Playful laughter is shared between you and the girls as Pinkie belts out the lyrics.
  2239. >She’s really into it, too.
  2240. >She’s moving around in time with the beat, making extravagant gestures to emphasize her singing, she’s right in her element.
  2241. >It’s not what you’d immediately think of when it comes to love songs, but it’s close enough for you to allow it.
  2242. >...You have to admit, the song’s a guilty pleasure of yours.
  2243. >Damn those 90’s pop stars and their insidiously catchy music.
  2244. >Pinkie puts a real flair on that song that you’ve listened to more times than you care to admit.
  2245. >It’s impossible to not get infected by how much fun she’s clearly having on stage.
  2246. >Sunset, Twilight, and Fluttershy join in on the chorus, but you decide to sit that out.
  2247. >Don’t want to upstage Pinkie, after all.
  2248. >Your time will come.
  2249. >Once the song’s concluded, Pinkie is surprisingly not out of breath.
  2250. >The six of you laugh good-heartedly and applaud her, which Pinkie responds to with a deep bow and incredibly wide smile.
  2251. >”Okie dokie, who wants to go next?” She asks you all, wiping some sweat from her forehead.
  2252.  
  2253. >”I’m going next! Lemme show all of you how it’s done!” Rainbow was quick to answer.
  2254. >Quicker than you.
  2255. >Be honest, you were never gonna beat her to the punch.
  2256. >Rainbow excitedly pulled up the song of her choice and gripped the microphone.
  2257. >”You all better be ready for this!” She hyped you all up.
  2258. >Now here’s a song you’re not embarrassed to admit liking.
  2259. >Rainbow’s head rocked in time with the beat and she strummed an imaginary guitar before the vocals came in.
  2260. >Her scratchy voice isn’t one you would’ve pegged for being good for singing, but she sings with such bravado that she basically wills it into working.
  2261. >If you had Rainbow’s confidence, you’d be way further ahead in life.
  2262. >But she’s got the skill to back up her confidence.
  2263. >You get swept up in the rockin’ music, nodding your head along with the beat.
  2264. >Rainbow’s a natural with the air guitar.
  2265. >You notice she’s accurately strumming as she sings and rocks around the stage.
  2266. >If she actually did have her guitar, she’d sweep this karaoke night.
  2267. >Something about Rainbow’s performance sticks out to you, though.
  2268. >Every now and again she’d make eye contact with you.
  2269. >It shouldn’t get to you, but it’s always during choice lyrics.
  2270. >”Down the street, I'm the girl next door”
  2271. >”I'm the fox you've been waiting for”
  2272. >Then, later in the song,
  2273. >”I'll give you somethin' to live for”
  2274. >”Have you and grab you 'til you're sore”
  2275. >Come to think of it, Pinkie was looking at you a lot when she was singing, too.
  2276. >Mainly when she was telling what you gotta do if you wanna be her lover.
  2277. >...Is this another one of Sunset’s schemes?
  2278. >Is she, or Pinkie, or whoever, trying to throw you off your investigation?
  2279. >The girls around you are enjoying Rainbow’s singing.
  2280. >To varying extents, granted.
  2281. >The Runaways are hardly Rarity’s favorite band.
  2282. >The song comes to its echoing conclusion and Rainbow throws her head back for the finale.
  2283. >You and the girls applaud her incredible performance.
  2284. >It’s difficult to say whether Pinkie or Rainbow put on the better performance, they sang such different songs in such different ways.
  2285. >You’re thinking about this wrong, anyway.
  2286. >It’s not about being the best singer, it’s about having fun.
  2287. >”Great job, Rainbow!” Fluttershy congratulated her.
  2288. “Yeah, that was awesome!” You agree, making Rainbow beam with pride.
  2289. >”I’m not entirely sure that counts as a love song.” Rarity muttered.
  2290. >”It totally does!” Rainbow insisted.
  2291.  
  2292. >”I’ll go next, this ought to be more in line with what you’re expectin’.” Applejack volunteered, getting up from the floor and getting her song ready.
  2293. >”Oh, alright, but I’m going next.” Rarity insisted.
  2294. >Man, ripping off this Band-Aid is gonna be harder than you thought.
  2295. >With a familiar drum riff, Applejack’s song began.
  2296. >Rarity’s immediately more pleased by this choice.
  2297. >Applejack takes to singing the lyrics belonging to both of the singers in the song.
  2298. >She really pulls it off.
  2299. >Most people might not have thought so, but Applejack’s a lovely singer.
  2300. >You’ve never really seen much of this side of her before.
  2301. >She’s normally so focused on being the tough and humble farm girl, seeing her sing about love is new to you.
  2302. >And she’s definitely making eye contact with you while singing.
  2303. >Especially during the chorus.
  2304. >”Ain’t no mountain high enough”
  2305. >”Ain’t no valley low enough”
  2306. >”Ain’t no river wide enough”
  2307. >”To keep me from gettin’ to you, baby”
  2308. >Is this what this karaoke thing is all about?
  2309. >To give each of the girls a chance to serenade you?
  2310. >Sunset planned this karaoke stuff with Pinkie, after all.
  2311. >If that’s the case, then Applejack’s in the lead.
  2312. >Her song’s the most overtly romantic one, compared to Rainbow and Pinkie’s selection.
  2313. >Oh, God, this just got more intense.
  2314. >What are you gonna do when you go up there?
  2315. >Get it together, Anon.
  2316. >Applejack’s singing, not you.
  2317. >Her song wraps up soon enough, concluded with Applejack taking a humble bow with a smile.
  2318. >Another round of applause comes from the crowd.
  2319. >You make eye contact with her while clapping, making Applejack quickly look away from you and towards Rarity.
  2320. >”How’s that for a love song?”
  2321. >”Applejack, if I was the lucky young man you were singing to, I’d have fallen helplessly in love.” Rarity answered with a smile.
  2322. >Rainbow looked away to roll her eyes.
  2323. >Applejack’s making a compelling argument for being your secret admirer.
  2324. >Maybe third place was too low for her.
  2325. >”What did you think, Nonny? Wasn’t AJ amazing?” Pinkie excitedly asked you.
  2326. >The girls turn to face you.
  2327. >Applejack looks especially interested in what you have to say.
  2328. >You manage to smile at her despite how much pressure you’re feeling.
  2329. “You were… amazing, Applejack. I never knew you could sing like that.”
  2330. >They’re all real happy with your answer.
  2331. >Applejack gently laughs.
  2332. >”Yeah, well, I don’t really let a lot of folks see this side of me. Consider yourself lucky, city boy.” She lightly teases you.
  2333. “Oh, I do, don’t worry.” You assure her with a smile.
  2334.  
  2335. >”Now, I believe it’s my turn.” Rarity reminds Applejack, getting up on stage to get herself ready.
  2336. >Applejack obligingly returns to her seat on the carpet next to you.
  2337. >She’s sitting a little closer to you than before, and she’s still got that smile on her face.
  2338. >Rarity takes a moment to compose herself before the song starts.
  2339. >Oh man, another song you’re a little too familiar with.
  2340. >Before the lyrics kick in, you think about how the girls have such varying tastes.
  2341. >Pinkie’s song was from the 90’s, Rainbow’s song was from the 70’s, Applejack’s song was from the 60’s, and Rarity’s song is from the early 2000’s.
  2342. >Wouldn’t it be crazy if everyone ended up picking a song from a different decade.
  2343. >Come on, that’s not what you should be thinking about right now.
  2344. >The scheme is clear, Rarity’s picked this song to be all sexy and seductive.
  2345. >Well, you’re onto her.
  2346. >It’s not gonna work.
  2347. >”Baby, can't you see I'm callin'?”
  2348. >”A guy like you should wear a warnin'”
  2349. >”It's dangerous, I'm fallin'”
  2350. >Oh, God, it’s working.
  2351. >You’ve known Rarity for almost the entire semester but you’ve never heard her like that before.
  2352. >Diamond-cut sensuality.
  2353. >She knows what she has.
  2354. >She’s swaying her hips as she sings.
  2355. >Her eyes are half-lidded.
  2356. >And she never breaks eye contact with you.
  2357. >You’re feeling exposed again.
  2358. >The confidence your new look gave you turned on you.
  2359. >Rarity’s using it against you.
  2360. >You’re covered in her handiwork.
  2361. >She has you in her grasp.
  2362. >Sensuality is laced into every word of the early 2000’s hit she’s singing.
  2363. >Her soft, breathy voice ensnares you.
  2364. >It’s like Rarity forgot she was singing karaoke.
  2365. >It’s like the only thing she sees right now is you.
  2366. >Any guy at school would kill to be sitting in your position, but you’re too hot under the collar to savor the moment.
  2367. >When the instrumental break plays, Rarity’s hands slide down her body to her thighs.
  2368. >Her hands trail back up her body, dragging her pajama shirt up just enough to give you a teasing look at her midriff.
  2369. >Oh, fuck.
  2370. >Is Rarity about to start stripping?
  2371. >You nervously look around at the other girls to see what they’re feeling.
  2372. >They’ve gotta be super uncomfortable.
  2373. >But… it doesn’t look like they are.
  2374. >The girls all look like they’re waiting for something.
  2375. >Applejack’s rocking in place, Twilight’s gripping her knees, Fluttershy’s glancing at the clock on the wall.
  2376. >You want to get a better look at what Rainbow, Applejack, and Sunset are feeling, but your eyes are magnetically drawn back to Rarity’s seductive singing.
  2377. >She finishes the final chorus and sings the outro.
  2378. >”Intoxicate me now with your lovin' now”
  2379. >”I think I'm ready now (I think I'm ready now)”
  2380. >”Intoxicate me now with your lovin' now”
  2381. >”I think I'm ready now”
  2382. >Rarity’s not singing anymore.
  2383. >She’s inviting you.
  2384. >She’s daring you.
  2385. >Then the song ends.
  2386.  
  2387. >The girls give Rarity a sound of applause, but you sit this one out.
  2388. >You’re still stunned by her sexy serenade.
  2389. >You’re sure your face is as red as a tomato, you’re positive.
  2390. >The looks she gave you while singing are gonna stay with you for the rest of your life.
  2391. >”Wow, Rarity, that was super hot!” Pinkie congratulated her, completely unfazed by her salacious performance.
  2392. >”Thank you! I do try!” Rarity thanked her, completely shedding the persona she wore while singing.
  2393. >”Yeah, that was something, alright…” Rainbow grumpily mumbled.
  2394. >”What did you think, Anon?” Twilight asked you.
  2395. >Suddenly, the ceiling lights appear more like the lamp in an interrogation room.
  2396. >”I bet it was your favorite of the night~” Sunset teased you.
  2397. >Rarity leaned towards you and batted her eyes at you.
  2398. “I… Well…”
  2399. >You shakily exhale.
  2400. >You’re sweating.
  2401. >You can feel Applejack and Rainbow looking at you.
  2402. “...It- It wouldn’t be fair to say it was my FAVORITE. I mean, Pinkie, Applejack, and Rainbow did their own thing, it’s not really a fair comparison to make.” You manage to say, earning a giggle from Sunset.
  2403. “But… That was incredible.” You say to Rarity.
  2404. >She slyly covers her mouth as she responds with a flirty giggle.
  2405. >”Why, thank you, Anon!”
  2406. “Really, I’m just worried about how I’m gonna follow an act like that. You girls are making me feel like I’m about to go on stage at a concert and the warm-up act is Queen.” You remark with a self-deprecating chuckle.
  2407. >”We haven’t heard you sing yet! You could be just as good at singing, but that’s not as important as you getting up there and having fun!” Twilight reminded you.
  2408. >Yeah, Rarity looked like she was having a lot of fun up there.
  2409. >”Who’s up next?” Pinkie asked you, Twilight, Sunset, and Fluttershy as Rarity got down from the stage and sat down right next to you.
  2410. >Being sandwiched in between the two girls who serenaded you is hurting your ability to volunteer.
  2411. >You can feel their emotions radiating off of them.
  2412. >They’re infecting you.
  2413. >If Rarity’s the one leaving you the notes, you’d expect a trail of rose petals leading to her bed.
  2414. >And you almost dread to imagine what Applejack could do to you with those toned, muscular legs and hips of hers.
  2415. >Almost.
  2416. >Fluttershy still isn’t feeling up to performing, and Sunset’s clearly up to something.
  2417. >She’s hardly the type to get stage fright.
  2418. >But you’d think Fluttershy wouldn’t be having stage fright here, she’s with her friends.
  2419. >Maybe it’s the love song part that’s getting to her.
  2420.  
  2421. >”I’ll go next! Maybe it’ll get the rest of you warmed up!” Twilight volunteered as she got up.
  2422. >You’re plenty warmed up already.
  2423. >As Twilight’s getting everything set up, you feel Rarity lean into your ear.
  2424. >”You were a wonderful audience~” She whispered to you.
  2425. >You can’t turn to look at her.
  2426. >When your eyes meet again, she’ll have you under her spell.
  2427. “T-Thanks…”
  2428. >Nice one, ladykiller.
  2429. >Applejack’s hand grazes across yours.
  2430. >You freeze up.
  2431. >Twilight finishes setting up, grabs the microphone, and hits play.
  2432. >Ah, there we go.
  2433. >You’ve got a soft spot for these kinds of pop songs.
  2434. >Nice and wholesome, not brimming with sexual tension.
  2435. >”Here we go again”
  2436. >”I kinda wanna be more than friends”
  2437. >”So take it easy on me”
  2438. >”I'm afraid you're never satisfied”
  2439. >Twilight sings it so nicely, too.
  2440. >Her voice carries the lyrics in such a genuine tone.
  2441. >It feels less like a song and more like a genuine confession of love.
  2442. >You can tell she’s a little awkward being on stage.
  2443. >She’s more focused on the wall behind the group of you.
  2444. >Twilight must have more experience singing in the shower.
  2445. >When the chorus kicks in, she finds it within herself to sing a little louder.
  2446. >”Oh-oh, I want some more”
  2447. >”Oh-oh, what are you waiting for?”
  2448. >”Take a bite of my heart tonight”
  2449. >It might be because you’ve never heard Twilight really address a huge crowd before, but you’ve never heard Twilight vocalize so triumphantly before.
  2450. >Her smile is so pretty, too.
  2451. >In the brief bit of instrumental between the chorus and the next verse, your eyes meet hers.
  2452. >It seems like her confidence falters a bit, but she presses on with the singing.
  2453. >You don’t judge her, you doubt you’ll do much better.
  2454. >And her voice is better suited for singing than yours.
  2455. >As Twilight sings, she regains her confidence.
  2456. >This song clearly means a lot to her.
  2457. >The way she sings it, it feels less like a pop song you’ve heard on the radio a bunch and more like she’s genuinely confessing her feelings.
  2458. >Maybe she is.
  2459. >After the song’s chorus came the bridge.
  2460. >Twilight clutches the microphone and sings in a slightly quieter voice.
  2461. >Her eyes are shut as she sings.
  2462. >But as Twilight gets closer to the end of the bridge, she carefully opens her eyes and looks at you.
  2463. >That one, incredibly brief moment between the fourth and fifth line where your eyes meet hers freezes everything around you two.
  2464. >Twilight takes a deep breath and sings the rest of the song with passion.
  2465. >It’s almost night and day compared to how she started.
  2466. >Now it’s like she wants the entire town to hear her.
  2467. >She’s letting her body move with the music, rocking back and forth with the energetic beat.
  2468. >It’s really incredible to see.
  2469. >You can’t help but smile.
  2470.  
  2471. >Once the song ends you give Twilight an eager round of applause with the rest of the girls.
  2472. >Twilight’s the first singer tonight to be visibly exhausted after singing her round of karaoke.
  2473. >She’s pretty out of breath as she wipes a small buildup of sweat off of her forehead.
  2474. >”Heh… How was that?” She asked you all.
  2475. “You were incredible!” You say to her.
  2476. >”Yeah! You rocked!” Pinkie agreed.
  2477. >The rest of the girls voiced their compliments, making Twilight a little awkward on stage.
  2478. >”Aww, thanks, guys!” Twilight said, trying to hide her embarrassed blush.
  2479. “I never would’ve guessed you could be such a great singer, I might ask you to tutor me in that, too.” You half-joke.
  2480. >”Hehe, well, my door’s always open~” Twilight giggled with a wink.
  2481. >Man, where’d this Twilight come from?
  2482. >You’re liking this side of her.
  2483. >The room is filled with something of an awkward silence as you and Twilight just look into each other’s eyes.
  2484. >”Looks like I’m up next!” Sunset piped up, sashaying her way onto the stage and playfully nudging Twilight off to the side with a bump of her hips.
  2485. >Twilight stumbles off stage after being reminded that she’s not the only girl here with you and takes her seat beside Rainbow, who’s giving her a really smug look.
  2486. >”You know, I was just thinking it’d be best if Anon went last. Since we’ve never heard him sing, it could be a real fun way to end this thing!” Sunset suggested with a smile.
  2487. >Please, no.
  2488. >You were trying to get this out of the way as soon as possible, not be the main event.
  2489. >Your eyes meet Fluttershy’s.
  2490. >She’s good at reading you, she can tell you’re nervous.
  2491. >”Um, Sunset, I don’t mind going last. Anon’s awful nervous about singing in front of us.” Fluttershy stuck up for you.
  2492. >”He shouldn’t be! We’re not gonna make fun of him or anything!” Sunset assured her and by extension you.
  2493. >”Well, of course not.” Fluttershy agreed.
  2494. >”He’s only nervous because he’s never sung like this before! It’s like going for a swim at the pool! It’s not as cold if you just jump in!” Sunset argued in your favor.
  2495. >Fluttershy turned back to you with a sympathetic look.
  2496. >”...But we never really did ask you if you actually wanted to sing, so we’d understand if you wanted to sit this one out.” Sunset relented, giving you a glimpse of her more sensitive side.
  2497. >Fluttershy sits back, happy that you weren’t being pressured anymore.
  2498. >Save for her and Sunset, all the girls are looking at you with a mix of hope that you’ll say you’ll sing, and guilt about wanting you to sing.
  2499. >You’re still feeling the effects of the cider, you’re feeling brave.
  2500. >Besides, you don’t know how good of a singer you really are.
  2501. >That doesn’t really matter, anyway.
  2502. >As long as you’re having fun, the girls are happy.
  2503. >You’d hate to be a party pooper.
  2504. “Don’t worry, I’m gonna sing, and I don’t mind going last.” You answer.
  2505.  
  2506. >Fluttershy looks like she wants to keep insisting you don’t have to sing, but stops herself.
  2507. >”...Okay, I trust you.” She smiles.
  2508. “Besides, I’d hate to disappoint a bunch of pretty girls like you all.” You say with a bit of a flirty tone.
  2509. >The seven girls you’re friends with respond to your sly comment with giggles and blushes.
  2510. >You don’t know where that came from.
  2511. >Saying something like that is like flashing a slab of raw meat in a lion’s den.
  2512. >Looks like the alcohol’s doing its job.
  2513. >”Well, save the charm for your song, Anon. As for now, just sit back and enjoy the ride~” Sunset grinned at you, starting the music.
  2514. >Man.
  2515. >If there was some kind of trophy for singing as sexually charged as possible, Sunset’s really gunning for it.
  2516. >The way she sways her hips and arches her back, you’d expect her to start pole dancing.
  2517. >Her eyes, much like Rarity’s, never leave you.
  2518. >Her half-lidded eyes stay on you like a tiger lurking in the jungle.
  2519. >And like Twilight, it doesn’t even really feel like she’s singing.
  2520. >It feels like she’s talking directly to you, adding the melody to her words like cinnamon to a cup of hot chocolate.
  2521. >The lyrics leave her mouth, curled into a sinister grin, like venom from a snake, paralyzing you.
  2522. >”You can pretend you don't wanna know”
  2523. >”But I read the signs from your head to your toes”
  2524. >”Yeah, you don't need to say a word 'cause
  2525. >”Ooh, ooh your body talks”
  2526. >Rarity sang in a really seductive tone as well, but this is way different.
  2527. >Rarity sang like she was beckoning you forward.
  2528. >Sunset’s singing like she just cornered you.
  2529. >It’s what she’s best at.
  2530. >The first thing she did when you met her was corner you in the hall.
  2531. >This isn’t like her usual flirting.
  2532. >It’s more charged.
  2533. >The song got more intense, and Sunset raised her voice to match.
  2534. >She continued her sensual swaying, now matching the electric guitar and rocking beat.
  2535. >Fluttershy’s moved a little closer to you.
  2536. >You could only tell out of the corner of your eye.
  2537. >Sunset’s got you in her spell, you can’t tear your eyes away from her.
  2538. >You’ve heard this song plenty of times before.
  2539. >But never like this.
  2540. >You feel your chest tighten.
  2541. >Why even do all this?
  2542. >If all this is about getting the girl leaving you notes to confess her feelings for you, then why does it feel like they’re all trying to serenade you?
  2543. >If Applejack or Twilight was your secret admirer, then why would Rarity and Sunset be all seductive like this?
  2544. >As the song draws to a close, Sunset steps off the stage and sings the final chorus right at you without even using the microphone.
  2545. >Sunset towers over you.
  2546. >She’s radiating heat.
  2547. >You’re burning up.
  2548. >You can only adjust your legs to try to hide your arousal.
  2549. >But it’s no use.
  2550. >Sunset knows you’re aroused.
  2551. >And you’re sure Applejack and Rarity know.
  2552. >Thank God you’re going last.
  2553.  
  2554. >”What’d you think, Anon?” Sunset teasingly asks you.
  2555. >Her breathy voice tickles your skin, spreading goosebumps down your arms and legs.
  2556. >The girls are all looking at you intently.
  2557. >None of them look jealous or annoyed, they’re looking like they’re expecting you to do something.
  2558. >You clear your throat.
  2559. “...You were hypnotic.” You answer honestly.
  2560. >Sunset’s grin widens.
  2561. >She leans closer to you.
  2562. >”Why, thank you~”
  2563. >Her hand finds its way to the waist of her pajama pants and slowly undoes the knot keeping them snug on her lovely hips.
  2564. >Sunset’s pajama pants sag down just enough to give you a teasingly small view of her lavender panties hiding underneath.
  2565. >”I love the way you look at me, Anon~”
  2566. >You’re getting harder.
  2567. >You’re gonna ruin these pants that Rarity worked so hard on if this keeps going.
  2568. >The other girls get closer to you.
  2569. >Like they’re closing on their prey.
  2570. >You’re trapped between Applejack and Rarity while Twilight, Rainbow, and Pinkie back up Sunset.
  2571. >They’re all breathing so heavily.
  2572. >It’s getting harder and harder to hide what you’re feeling.
  2573. >”Um… I’m gonna sing soon…” Fluttershy meekly spoke up, saving you from Sunset’s predatory gaze.
  2574. >Sunset turns around and gives her a friendly smile.
  2575. >”Sounds great! Knock ‘em dead, Flutters!” She encouraged her.
  2576. >”Rock on!” Rainbow goaded her further.
  2577. >”I can’t wait to see what you’ve got!” Pinkie added.
  2578. >You can’t say anything.
  2579. >You’re still recovering from what Sunset did.
  2580. >As Fluttershy gets set up, Sunset doesn’t return to where she was sitting in the front row.
  2581. >She sits down right behind you.
  2582. >You can feel her breath on your neck.
  2583. >She’s playing with the idea of touching you, you just know it.
  2584. >You can’t let Sunset control you like this.
  2585. >Fluttershy’s about to sing her karaoke song, she deserves your undivided attention.
  2586. >You scooch forward a bit, away from Sunset, Rarity, and Applejack.
  2587. >You can sense their disappointment at you escaping their grasp, at least for now.
  2588. >Rainbow, Pinkie, and Twilight shift where they’re sitting just enough to close you in.
  2589. >You’re surrounded by the girls.
  2590. >You look up at Fluttershy as she gets the song ready, worried that she’d be uncomfortable with what’s going on.
  2591. >But no.
  2592. >Fluttershy looks like she’s sore about missing out on the “fun”.
  2593. >She’s clutching the microphone with both hands, but it really seems like she’d be down on the floor with you and the girls.
  2594. >Which makes sense.
  2595. >She got really close to kissing you earlier.
  2596. >The Hell is with them tonight?
  2597. >You’ve never seen any of the girls like this before.
  2598. >Just yesterday they were all acting like they always do.
  2599. >There has be a full moon out tonight.
  2600. >If one of the girls was acting up, you’d let yourself indulge in a fantasy and think she had a crush on you.
  2601. >But they’re all acting up.
  2602. >They’re not acting like they have a crush on you.
  2603. >They’re hungry.
  2604.  
  2605. >This look from Fluttershy is only fleeting, though.
  2606. >She clears her throat and gets her song going.
  2607. >Fluttershy’s singing voice always makes your heart melt.
  2608. >It’s so soft and genuine, like the voice of an angel.
  2609. >You honestly feel pretty honored to be able to hear her sing.
  2610. >It really shows how much she trusts you, to be this open around you.
  2611. >Her eyes are shut as she sings, but her head’s pointed up at the ceiling.
  2612. >Her voice gets a little shaky when she gets to the chorus.
  2613. >”Cause you'll be in my heart”
  2614. >”Yes, you'll be in my heart”
  2615. >”From this day on”
  2616. >”Now and forever more”
  2617. >Her eyes slowly open as the chorus ends, meeting yours.
  2618. >There’s that feeling again.
  2619. >The feeling that she’s melodically revealing her feelings to you rather than actually singing.
  2620. >But it’s very different from what Rarity and Sunset were doing.
  2621. >Fluttershy’s not trying to seduce you.
  2622. >It feels like she’s genuinely confessing that she has feelings for you.
  2623. >Feelings that she’s been holding for a long time.
  2624. >You can feel the vulnerability in her voice.
  2625. >She’s struggling to maintain eye contact with you, but you can tell she really wants to.
  2626. >”Don't listen to them”
  2627. >”'Cause what do they know?”
  2628. >”We need each other, to have, to hold”
  2629. >”They'll see in time, I know”
  2630. >Her singing gets subtly louder as she continues, like she’s getting more courageous.
  2631. >She’s making you feel warmer, but in a different way.
  2632. >Now you’re the one feeling a bit flustered.
  2633. >Being surrounded by the girls doesn’t help at all.
  2634. >You think back to the day you really got to know Fluttershy.
  2635. >It was after your streak of not getting beaten up at school ended when you defended Fluttershy from those assholes.
  2636. >But you got to spend the evening with her.
  2637. >Having soup and talking and watching My Neighbor Totoro.
  2638. >You’d have taken a hundred beatings and it would’ve still been worth it.
  2639. >One smile from Fluttershy is more effective on you than a hundred punches.
  2640. >Fluttershy walks towards the edge of the stage as she sings the final chorus of the song.
  2641. >Her legs are shaking a tiny bit, but she keeps looking at you.
  2642. >Her voice becomes that much more powerful as the song crescendos.
  2643. >She’s being so genuine and vulnerable.
  2644. >It’s clearly a lot of work for her.
  2645. >You hope for her sake she’s the one leaving you the notes.
  2646. >You couldn’t bear the sight of a heartbroken Fluttershy.
  2647. >Then again, you don’t know how much she’s aware of behind the scenes.
  2648. >There’s a real possibility that she doesn’t know who the girl leaving the notes is.
  2649. >The song draws to a close, and Fluttershy’s voice grows quieter with each line.
  2650. >She holds the microphone close to her chest and sings with her eyes closed.
  2651. >”Just look over your shoulder”
  2652. >”Just look over your shoulder”
  2653. >”Just look over your shoulder”
  2654. >”I'll be there”
  2655. >She opens her eyes and looks up at you.
  2656. >”Always”
  2657.  
  2658. >As the group gives her a round of applause, you can’t help give Fluttershy a warm smile.
  2659. “Fluttershy, that was beautiful.” You softly say to her.
  2660. >”T-Thank you…” She meekly responds, returning her gaze to the floor.
  2661. >She’s shyly smiling.
  2662. >”Now we get to hear Nonny sing!” Pinkie eagerly reminded everyone, bouncing in place as she spun around at you.
  2663. >”Last chance to back out~” Rainbow teasingly reminded you.
  2664. >You smile at her and shake your head.
  2665. “Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere.” You promise her.
  2666. >”That’s the spirit!” Twilight cheered for you.
  2667. >”Knock us dead!” Sunset goaded you, nudging both your shoulders from behind.
  2668. >As you stand up to walk to the stage, Pinkie gets a chant going.
  2669. >”Nonny! Nonny! Nonny!”
  2670. >It doesn’t take long for the rest of the girls to get into it.
  2671. >Their excitement’s awfully infectious.
  2672. >These girls, they’re supportive to a fault.
  2673. >You wouldn’t normally jump off a bridge if your friends were doing it, but you would if the girls were.
  2674. >Thank God you had some of that cider earlier.
  2675. >It’s helping you win that fight against your stage fright.
  2676. >Once you’re on stage, Fluttershy gingerly hands you the microphone.
  2677. >”You’ll be great, I just know it.” She softly assures you.
  2678. “Thanks, Flutters. I hope you’re right.”
  2679. >Your hand briefly grazes hers as the microphone passes hands.
  2680. >Fluttershy’s confidence falters as she hurries off stage and gets herself seated where you were.
  2681. >Your palms get sweatier as you look across the small crowd of girls expecting the best vocalization you could manage.
  2682. >Pinkie’s looking at you like she’s expecting you to start tossing out candy.
  2683. >Twilight’s giving you a warm, reassuring smile and a thumbs-up to match.
  2684. >Rainbow’s sitting back with her hands behind her head, expecting something entertaining from you.
  2685. >Applejack’s leaning forward with her hands on her knees, showing a surprising amount of excitement.
  2686. >Fluttershy’s still giving you that soft smile that makes you feel all warm.
  2687. >Rarity’s leaning forward and batting her eyes at you.
  2688. >Sunset’s leering at you with her signature wicked grin.
  2689. >You shakily exhale.
  2690. >Cider, start pulling your weight.
  2691. “Here I go…” You nervously say.
  2692. >The sound of your voice being magnified by the microphone made your nerves a little more shaky.
  2693. >Quit stalling.
  2694. >Time to be a rockstar.
  2695. >You move over to the laptop setup and type in the title of your song.
  2696. >Your voice is a decent fit for it, there really aren’t any high notes.
  2697. >And it’s the most romantic song you know.
  2698. >Whoever your secret admirer is, she’s sure to swoon.
  2699. >If you don’t fumble the ball.
  2700. >You gulp, clear your throat, and press play.
  2701.  
  2702. >Rarity’s eyes light up when she recognizes the opening notes.
  2703. >Twilight and Fluttershy are leaning forward with anticipation.
  2704. >You’re in the deep end now.
  2705. >So you sing.
  2706. “I know I stand in line until you think you have the time to spend an evening with me”
  2707. “And if we go someplace to dance, I know that there's a chance you “won't be leaving with me”
  2708. >Your singing voice is no match for Frank Sinatra’s, but you’re a little surprised by how not terrible you sound.
  2709. >Much like Fluttershy, you hold the microphone close to you and sing with your eyes closed.
  2710. >You don’t have an audience.
  2711. >You’re singing to yourself.
  2712. >Like you do in the shower.
  2713. >Sometimes.
  2714. “Then afterwards we drop into a quiet little place and have a drink or two”
  2715. “And then I go and spoil it all by saying somethin' stupid like, ‘I love you’”
  2716. >The atmosphere in the room changes.
  2717. >You don’t feel so tense anymore.
  2718. >Maybe it’s the singing, maybe it’s the cider, but you don’t feel so self conscious anymore.
  2719. >In the brief instrumental portion between the refrain and the bridge, you open your eyes.
  2720. >The girls are listening to you sing intently, sitting forward and watching you with wide eyes.
  2721. >Even Rainbow and Sunset are swept up in the moment.
  2722. >You’re doing good!
  2723. >This gives you the confidence to sing with your eyes open, facing your audience.
  2724. “I can see it in your eyes, that you despise the same old lies you heard the night before”
  2725. “And though it's just a line to you, for me it's true, and never seemed so right before”
  2726. >You don’t care who your secret admirer is.
  2727. >Whoever she is, she’s hearing you sing like you’ve never sang before.
  2728. >They’ve been serenading you with varying degrees of directness tonight, this must be what the girls felt when they were up.
  2729. “I practice every day to find some clever lines to say to make the meaning come true”
  2730. “But then I think I'll wait until the evening gets late, and I'm alone with you”
  2731. >You’re not looking at any of the girls in particular.
  2732. >They’ve been giving you so many signals tonight, now it’s your turn to be the romantic one.
  2733. “The time is right, your perfume fills my head, the stars get red, and, oh, the night's so blue”
  2734. “And then I go and spoil it all by saying somethin' stupid like, ‘I love you’”
  2735. >You’re feeling good.
  2736. >It can’t just be the cider doing this to you.
  2737.  
  2738. >As the instrumental break plays, you survey the audience’s reactions.
  2739. >Rarity, Fluttershy, Pinkie, and Twilight are absolutely enthralled.
  2740. >Applejack and Rainbow are putting up greater resistance to showing such mushy emotions, but their wide eyes and rose-tinted cheeks give them away.
  2741. >Sunset looks… strangely proud of you.
  2742. >Like this is something she’s been expecting from you all night.
  2743. >The song is approaching its end.
  2744. >Time to really stick the landing.
  2745. “The time is right, your perfume fills my head, the stars get red, and, oh, the night's so blue”
  2746. “And then I go and spoil it all by saying somethin' stupid like, ‘I love you’”
  2747. >Your singing’s making you do something really dumb.
  2748. >You're gonna end up regretting this.
  2749. >You just know it.
  2750. >But your heart's got your brain beat.
  2751. >You're too swept up in the emotion of the moment to think twice about this.
  2752. >You're gonna go all the way.
  2753. >As the outro calls for you to repeat three choice words in your softest singing voice, you cast your eyes across your enraptured audience.
  2754. “I love you” You sing to Fluttershy and Twilight.
  2755. “I love you” You sing to Pinkie and Rainbow.
  2756. “I love you” You sing to Applejack and Rarity.
  2757. “I love you” You sing to Sunset.
  2758.  
  2759. >That feeling that elevated you to such heights as you sang faded from your being along with the music.
  2760. >The feeling that kept you from singing before the music started soon arrived to steal its seat in your mind.
  2761. >Time seemed to freeze for a minute.
  2762. >You went too far at the end.
  2763. >For fuck’s sake, you have ONE secret admirer.
  2764. >Singing those three magic words to ALL the girls isn’t casting a wide net, it’s carpet bombing.
  2765. >You were worried before about infighting between them about this stuff, you really should have known to not pour fuel on the fire.
  2766. >Before you could spiral into this abyss of doubt and regret, you’re met with the most enthusiastic applause you’ve ever received in your life.
  2767. >You’re frozen.
  2768. >You were expecting some polite applause at best, but this is more than that.
  2769. >They loved it.
  2770. >They loved your singing.
  2771. >”Oh, Anon, that was marvelous!” Rarity swooned, standing up with her hands clasped.
  2772. “...Really?” You ask.
  2773. >You’d ever accuse the girls of lying to you, you don’t think you were THAT good.
  2774. >”Heck yeah! You’ve been holdin’ out on us!” Applejack was quick to assure you.
  2775. >”You sure you don’t sing in your free time? You’ve got a beautiful voice!” Twilight rhetorically asked you.
  2776. >”Your singing was AMAZING!” Pinkie gushed, leaning forward at you.
  2777. “Oh, come on…” You humbly downplay their praise.
  2778. >You’re sure you’re blushing, but you’d be lying if you said you didn’t want them to keep going with this.
  2779. >”I’m serious! If you sing like that during the big music competition in the spring, you’d make Principal Celestia blush!” Twilight insisted.
  2780. >”If I didn’t know you before just now, I’d believe in love at first sight!” Pinkie added with a giggle.
  2781. >”See? What’d I tell you all? Anon makes one heck of a show-stopper!” Sunset reminded the group with a smug look.
  2782. >”He sure does.” Applejack agreed with a chuckle.
  2783. >You’ve never been praised like this.
  2784. >You can’t take much more of this.
  2785. “Thank you all, really.” You sheepishly smile.
  2786. >”Really, it’ll be your secret admirer who’ll be thanking you for that lovely serenade! Whoever she is, she’s a very lucky lady!” Rarity reminded you.
  2787. “Yeah, well, that song kind of does work better as a duet. I hope I’ll be able to sing with her in the future.” You admit, glancing across the room to see if any of the girls have a tell.
  2788. >Pinkie looks like she’s about to burst, Applejack’s looking flustered, Twilight awkwardly chuckles, Fluttershy’s blush deepens, and Sunset’s still looking faintly smug.
  2789. >Rainbow’s sitting cross legged, staring down at the floor with her hand firmly clamped over her mouth like she’s afraid of what might spill out if she isn’t careful.
  2790. >Fluttershy looks like she’s working up the courage to say something.
  2791. >After a moment of her moving her lips, she looks up at you.
  2792. >”I’d… uh… r-really like to listen to you sing more…” She quietly admits.
  2793.  
  2794. >”Then let’s have him sing more!” Sunset beams.
  2795. >Fluttershy’s eyes immediately widen.
  2796. >”Anon doesn’t have to sing anymore if he doesn’t want to! I’d never pressure you into doing anything you don’t want to!” She hastily assured you, feeling super guilty about how she complimented you.
  2797. >You know what?
  2798. >You’re in a good mood.
  2799. >You’re a great singer, apparently.
  2800. >You wouldn’t mind doing an encore.
  2801. “You know what? I’ll do another song!”
  2802. >”Yay!” Pinkie cheered, leaping to her feet.
  2803. >The girls all look excited at the prospect of hearing you sing some more.
  2804. >”Really?” Fluttershy carefully asked you.
  2805. “Yeah! Karaoke’s a lot of fun, turns out!”
  2806. >”Is it that, or do you just like being complimented?” Rainbow finally spoke up, asking you with a grin.
  2807. “That’s a fringe benefit.” You cheekily admit.
  2808. >”Fine, but I’m picking the song!” Rainbow demanded.
  2809. >”Rainbow!” Twilight scolded her.
  2810. “No, no, it’s fine! I trust her judgment.” You say.
  2811. >You open up your phone’s music library and hand it over to Rainbow, who gets to scrolling through it like a nosy parent looking for weed or nudie mags in their teenager’s room.
  2812. >”I’m awful interested in seeing what Rainbow’s gonna pick.” Applejack admitted to Rarity and Sunset.
  2813. >”Can’t imagine it’ll be as touching as Anon’s choice…” Rarity muttered.
  2814. >You can’t help but get a little nervous the longer Rainbow takes to pick something to subject you to.
  2815. >What if she picks something really awful just to see you squirm?
  2816. >If she picks anything by The Bloodhound Gang you’re gonna make her pay.
  2817. >That wouldn’t be something you’d expect your secret admirer to do.
  2818. >Unless she was trying to get you separated from the competition…
  2819. >”Would it be too late to suggest Anon sing something like what he just sang?” Fluttershy asked Rainbow.
  2820. >”Yep! Anon’s gotta flex those vocal chords of his, he can’t ALWAYS sing that lovey-dovey stuff!” Rainbow insisted, not taking her eyes off your phone screen.
  2821. “Sure I can!” You argue.
  2822. >”I’m on Rainbow’s side, pick something with real energy!” Sunset enabled Rainbow.
  2823. >”Pick something sexy!” Pinkie made sure to add, earning a stern look from Twilight, Applejack, and Fluttershy.
  2824. >Rarity and Sunset aren’t opposed to the idea.
  2825. >A moment later, Rainbow stops scrolling and grins.
  2826. >Oh, man, you’re nervous again.
  2827. >You grip the microphone a little tighter.
  2828. >Her fingers fly across the laptop’s keyboard and the music starts.
  2829. >”Floor’s all yours, stud.” Rainbow grinned at you, tossing your phone back to you.
  2830.  
  2831. >Man, this song.
  2832. >It’s got some high notes, that’s for sure.
  2833. >It’s a little more… charged than your last one.
  2834. >...Fuck it.
  2835. >You’ve got this.
  2836. >You grip the microphone and sing the opening lyrics.
  2837. “I’m not the kind of red and blue you see on TV”
  2838. “I’m not gonna lock you up, I’m setting you free”
  2839. “Supersonic super trooper on a lover patrol”
  2840. “I’m a LoveCop (LoveCop)”
  2841. >It’s… a lot of fun.
  2842. >You don’t feel nearly as vulnerable.
  2843. >It’s way more cheesy, so you feel more comfortable singing your heart out.
  2844. >A much better fit for karaoke with friends.
  2845. >Maybe that’s what helps you hit those high notes in the chorus.
  2846. >Rainbow picked a good song.
  2847. >By the second verse, you’re really getting into it.
  2848. >Your movement is way more choreographed.
  2849. >You’re wiggling your elbows in time with the guitar riffs.
  2850. “Do you swear to rock the house, and nothing but the house?” You sing in a more gentle tone, rocking your hips to the music.
  2851. >The second time the chorus comes in, you’re really rocking.
  2852. >This music combined with your manslut getup makes you feel like a rock star plucked straight from the 1980’s.
  2853. >At this point, the girls aren’t even visible to you.
  2854. >You’re in your own world.
  2855. “I’m a LoveCop! (My pearls and shiny leather)”
  2856. >A world with neon lights and electric guitars.
  2857. “I’m a LoveCop! (fit perfectly together)”
  2858. >You’re rocking a denim vest, tight pants, and hair at a length that would make any authority figure shake their head in disapproval.
  2859. “Put your hands up! It’s now or never-ever!”
  2860. >But you don’t care.
  2861. “I’m a LoveCop! Here comes the LoveCop, baby!”
  2862. >Just beyond your reach is an army of fans, screaming your name.
  2863. >The softer instrumental section of the song comes in.
  2864. >You just let the music move you.
  2865. >Your body rocks and sways in time with the gentle beat.
  2866. >The electric guitar comes in.
  2867. >The energy of the song courses through you, bringing you shred your fingers on your trusty air guitar.
  2868. >At least, that’s how it looks to those viewing you on the material plane.
  2869. >But you’re in your own world.
  2870. >You’re tearing up the most magnificent electric guitar.
  2871. >There’s lightning coursing through your veins.
  2872. >You’re breathing fire.
  2873. >The chorus comes back to close out the song and you sing more triumphantly than you’ve ever sang before.
  2874. >You’re screaming the lyrics to the high heavens.
  2875. >You earlier concerns of being heard by the whole town have vanished.
  2876. >You want to be heard.
  2877. >You’re a rockstar.
  2878. >You’re hitting high notes you’ve never hit before.
  2879. >Your body’s moving on its own.
  2880. >If you had any less restraint, you’d toss your shirt off.
  2881. >But the song has to end.
  2882. >You wish you could stay in this world, but the world of the sleepover beckons you.
  2883. >You give your air guitar one last, powerful solo before you throw your head down as the music stops.
  2884. “...And you’re under arrest.” You growl in a low voice at your audience, ending the song.
  2885.  
  2886. >Your confidence doesn’t fade when silence returns to Rarity’s bedroom.
  2887. >You’re looking at the girls, covered in sweat and breathing heavily.
  2888. >You know what kind of effect you had on them.
  2889. >They’re staring at you, eyes wide, cheeks pink, and breathing heavily.
  2890. >They don’t make you feel self conscious.
  2891. >You savor their gaze.
  2892. >Fluttershy’s staring at your heaving chest and stomach.
  2893. >Rarity bites her bottom lip.
  2894. >Applejack twirls her hair in her finger.
  2895. >You stand up and take a deep breath.
  2896. “I’m gonna feel self conscious if none of you say something.” You tease the girls.
  2897. >”Anon, that was the hottest-” Pinkie starts, but is silenced when Twilight clamps her hand over her mouth.
  2898. >”Y-You were great!” Twilight said to you with an awkward smile.
  2899. >”Where’s THIS Anon been all semester?” Sunset asked you with a grin like she got exactly what she wanted from you.
  2900. “I dunno, just never had any opportunities to sing before tonight, I guess.” You say with a shrug.
  2901. >”I know I joked about this before, but you seriously should go out for the big music competition in the spring. I really think you’d be great!” Twilight insisted, her hand still firmly covering Pinkie’s mouth.
  2902. >Pinkie’s still trying to talk.
  2903. “I’ll think about it.” You smile, using the hem of your incredibly short shirt to wipe some of the sweat off your forehead.
  2904. >You quickly realize what you’re doing and hastily fix the shirt Rarity made for you.
  2905. “Sorry! I should use a paper or towel or something to clean myself-”
  2906. >”No, no, no! It’s perfectly alright! The shirt can be easily washed!” Rarity quickly assures you, slightly flustered.
  2907. “Well, okay then!” You say to her, intentionally not paying attention to how close she is to you as you turn to Rainbow.
  2908. “Nice job picking the song, by the way!” You cheekily thank her.
  2909. >”Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Rainbow grumbles, not meeting your eyes.
  2910. >”Say, now seems like a good time to get to using Rarity’s hot tub!” Sunset cheerily suggested.
  2911. >”Oh, yeah! Definitely!” Twilight agreed, keeping her hand on Pinkie’s mouth.
  2912. “A hot tub in freezing weather like this?” You ask.
  2913. >”It’s a really nice experience! The cold weather makes you appreciate the warmth of the water even more!” Fluttershy says to you with enthusiasm in her voice.
  2914. >Pinkie resorts to licking Twilight’s hand, who retracts her hand in disgust and wipes the saliva off on her pajama pants.
  2915. >”Eww, Pinkie!” Twilight scolded her.
  2916. >”OhmygoshNonnyyoursongwasthehottestthingI’veeverseenImeanohmygoshI’veneverseenanythinglikeitbeforeyoutotallyneedtosingmoreforusandatschoolbecauseyou’dtotallykickbuttinthecompetitionandmorepeopleshouldhearwhatanamazingsingeryouareandIthinkthehottubisatotallygreatideaIhopeyoubroughtyourswimtrunksbutifyoudidn’tthat’sokaybecauseyoudon’treallyneedaswimsuittousethehottubwhateverworksit’salluptoyou!” Pinkie rambles out at a speed you’ve never seen before.
  2917.  
  2918. >She shoots forward, gripping your shoulders and staring into your eyes.
  2919. >Thanks to your experience with talking to Pinkie, you get the gist of what she said.
  2920. “Okay! A hot tub sounds great! Especially with you all!” You eagerly agree.
  2921. >Pinkie beams at you, letting go of you and backing up a bit.
  2922. >”Pfft, you just wanna see all of us in our bathing suits.” Rainbow smugly deduced.
  2923. “Hey, it’s only fair. I’ve been dressed like THIS for half the night, plus I’ll be wearing less than you all in the hot tub!” You remind her, motioning to your exposed stomach.
  2924. >Rainbow’s face sours at your rebuttal.
  2925. “Aww, don’t tell me you’re shy.” You tease her.
  2926. >Rainbow’s head whips around at you.
  2927. >”I’ve got nothing to be shy about! I’ve got the most amazing body you’ve ever seen! And I know because you keep staring at my ass in P.E.!” She shoots back at you.
  2928. >All eyes turn to you.
  2929. “No, I don’t! I don’t stare at you! You’re just always ahead of me in the mile run or the pacer or soccer!”
  2930. >”Dude, come on, we’re all friends here. I know I’ve got a pretty amazing ass, nobody’s gonna judge you if you admit you sneak a peek every now and again.” She mockingly says to you.
  2931. “You wanna talk about staring, we could talk about how you were looking at me during karaoke.” You counter her.
  2932. >”Oh, no, don’t change the subject. We’re talking about YOU right now.” Rainbow is quick to retort.
  2933. “Alright, what makes you so sure I’ll be staring at YOU in the hot tub? Maybe I’m more into Sunset or Applejack or Fluttershy!”
  2934. >”Or me!” Pinkie jumps in.
  2935. “Yeah, or Pinkie!” You agree.
  2936. >”Oh, but what about me, Anon?” Rarity teasingly asked you, batting her eyes.
  2937. >”Rarity, you’re not helping!” Rainbow sternly says to her.
  2938. >”Personally, I wouldn’t mind if Anon admired my body. I’ve put so much into maintaining it, it’s nice to receive appreciation.” Sunset took your side, shooting Rainbow a wicked grin.
  2939. >”I dunno about starin’, but I’ll have to agree with Sunset here.” Applejack chimed in.
  2940. >Rainbow sputters, looking around at the other girls for backup.
  2941. >”What about you, Flutters? How’d you feel if Anon was looking you up and down while you’re in your bathing suit?” She interrogated her, making a blush appear on Fluttershy’s cheeks as she cast her gaze down guiltily.
  2942. >”Um… Well… I suppose if… Anon, would you stare at me if you found me attractive in… that way?” She carefully asked you.
  2943. “Of course, not! I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or anything.” You promise her.
  2944. >”Then, in that case… I don’t think I would mind-”
  2945. >”Ugh, fine! Fine, fine, fine! I’m gonna get changed into my swimsuit, then I’m gonna say ‘I told you so’ when you stare at my amazing body, because I know you will!” Rainbow relented, throwing her head back in frustration.
  2946. >You’d never say it, but Rainbow’s really cute when she’s annoyed like this.
  2947.  
  2948. >”So we’re all good for the hot tub?” Twilight asked the group.
  2949. >Pinkie, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Applejack voiced their agreement, making the decision unanimous.
  2950. >”Great! We’ll all get changed and meet by the back porch in five minutes!” Twilight decided, clapping her hands together.
  2951. >You’re about to make your way over to your duffle bag, but then you notice another one of the mystery notes you’ve been receiving all night.
  2952. “Wait, check this out.” You say, picking up the folded piece of paper with the heart sticker.
  2953. >”Nonny got another love letter!” Pinkie excitedly announced.
  2954. >”Ooh, how exciting!” Rarity said.
  2955. >”She must’ve slipped it here for you when you were up there rocking out.” Sunset surmised.
  2956. “Yeah, probably.” You agree.
  2957. >With the seven girls behind you eager to see what the message is this time, even though one of them already knows what the message is, you carefully unfold it.
  2958. >”Your smile makes me feel all warm inside.”
  2959. >”Aww, that’s so sweet!” Fluttershy said.
  2960. >”Who do you think wrote it?” Twilight asked you.
  2961. “Good question…”
  2962. >You turn around and eye up each of the seven girls.
  2963. >It’s getting tougher to say.
  2964. >The note doesn’t help.
  2965. >All the girls are giving you signals of varying intensity.
  2966. >And they were all pretty enraptured when you were singing karaoke.
  2967. >But to pick one?
  2968. >You’ve smiled with them before.
  2969. >They make you smile.
  2970. >That’s part of why they’re such great friends.
  2971. >”Tell you what, you think about it more while you get changed. I kinda really want to get into that hot tub.” Twilight sheepishly admitted.
  2972. “Yeah, good idea. It’s gotten awful hot in here, I’ve been dying to get out of these clothes.”
  2973. >”You’re telling me…” Twilight mumbled.
  2974. “Huh?”
  2975. >”Nothing!”
  2976. >”Well, I’d best be getting it all set up. Ta-ta~” Rarity gracefully exited the room, waving goodbye to you and the girls.
  2977. >You notice the extra sway in her hips before she shuts the door behind her.
  2978. >When you turn back around, you see Rainbow grumpily rifling through her bag and the rest of the girls looking at you expectantly.
  2979. >”Y’Know, Anon, since we’re all friends here, you shouldn’t have to feel uncomfortable gettin’ changed with the rest of us…” Applejack offered, her shifty eyes betraying her true motive.
  2980. >”Yeah, totally! We don’t want you to feel left out or anything!” Pinkie assures you, wrapping her arms around you in a hug.
  2981. >”W-We won’t peek or anything!” Fluttershy promises you.
  2982. >Rainbow just rolled her eyes, you could tell.
  2983. “Thanks, girls, but I think I’ll take the bathroom again.” You awkwardly chuckle, placing your latest note in your bag and grabbing your swim trunks.
  2984. >You could almost taste the disappointment in the air.
  2985. >”Your loss~” Sunset said to you, batting her eyes.
  2986. “Don’t worry, I won’t be gone long.” You promise the girls, wrenching yourself free of Pinkie’s hug and heading out into the hall.
  2987.  
  2988. >You’re in Rarity’s bathroom for the third time tonight.
  2989. >It doesn’t take you long at all to switch into your swim trunks.
  2990. >They’re dark blue with white drawstrings.
  2991. >But it doesn’t escape you that you’re gradually exposing more and more of yourself over the course of this sleepover.
  2992. >First you were in your pajamas, then you were in that exciting shirt, and now you’re down to your swim shorts.
  2993. >You’re nervous.
  2994. >Earlier tonight you would’ve been more comfortable with the idea of using Rarity’s hot tub with the girls.
  2995. >Even looking forward to it, to be completely honest.
  2996. >Getting the kind of look at Rarity and Sunset that the guys at school would be dying to get.
  2997. >But there’s all this love letter stuff muddying the hot tub’s water.
  2998. >You’re not even really worried about accusing the wrong girl of being your secret admirer because all seven of them have been showing interest in you.
  2999. >Even beyond their reactions to your singing and new look.
  3000. >Their comments, the way they’ve been looking at you…
  3001. >Fluttershy invited you to get changed into your swimsuit with the rest of the girls!
  3002. >To think it took her an entire week after first meeting her for her to say an entire sentence to you…
  3003. >Under any other circumstances, that would be the smoking gun you’d need to accuse Fluttershy of being your secret admirer, but Pinkie’s been drooling over you all night, Rarity put on that little show for you during karaoke, and the comments Twilight made under her breath didn’t escape you.
  3004. >Sunset, Rainbow, and Applejack have been giving you some eyebrow-raising signals, too…
  3005. >Stressing about this isn’t getting you any closer to solving any of this.
  3006. >You turn on the faucet and rub some cool water on your face to clear your mind.
  3007. >You check the time.
  3008. >10:07 PM.
  3009. >The night’s still young.
  3010. >Not young enough to avoid being carded, but young enough to give you plenty of time to solve this mystery.
  3011. >You step back and look at yourself in the mirror.
  3012. >At the risk of sounding narcissistic, you look pretty good.
  3013. >In the months since you’ve started having P.E. with Rainbow and helping Applejack with some farm stuff every now and again, you’ve slimmed down your gut a bit and got more muscle definition on your chest and arms.
  3014. >Actually, you don’t need to worry about sounding self-absorbed.
  3015. >You’re sure Pinkie or Rarity would be delighted to compliment your body.
  3016. >What friends you’ve got.
  3017. >You take a deep breath and step out of the bathroom.
  3018.  
  3019. >When you’re back in the hall with your clothes bundled under your arm, you hear some commotion in Rarity’s bedroom.
  3020. >You can’t make out any specific words or phrases and you don’t want to be a creep, so you decide against pressing your ear against the door to listen closer.
  3021. >It sounds like some kind of back-and-forth is going on between Sunset and the rest of the girls.
  3022. >Despite their debating and pleading, Sunset’s staying resolute in her position.
  3023. >No matter how much pleading Pinkie does, or how much arguing Rainbow does, Sunset doesn’t budge an inch.
  3024. >You can only hope this isn’t about anything real bad.
  3025. >This sleepover’s been doing really well, all things considered.
  3026. >You’d feel terrible if there was a huge argument between them, considering how long they’ve been friends with each other.
  3027. >The door swings open before you could worry more, revealing a triumphant looking Sunset.
  3028. >She’s wearing a dark red bikini, generously revealing her cleavage.
  3029. >”Great timing, Anon! We were just talking about you!” She beamed, pointing you in the direction of the other girls.
  3030. >Fluttershy’s wearing a teal one-piece swimsuit, Applejack’s got a green bikini on, Pinkie’s wearing a bright yellow bikini, Twilight’s got an indigo one-piece, and Rainbow’s got a black sports bra and spats to match.
  3031. >They all look amazing.
  3032. >Don’t stare, Anon.
  3033. “Really? You ask Sunset, turning back to her.
  3034. >”Yeah! We were talking about how much you’ve grown since your first day here. You were so nervous and awkward back then, and look at you now! You’ve really come a long way, emotionally and physically~” Sunset answers with a grin, eyeing you up and down.
  3035. >The other girls have their eyes on you, too.
  3036. >Seems like they forgot what they were debating.
  3037. >But you’re still getting used to being looked at like this.
  3038. “Well, thanks.” You smile. “I couldn’t have done it without the help of you girls.”
  3039. >”Ooh, yeah! Hey, Applejack, doesn’t Anon look incredible?” Sunset turns the spotlight to Applejack, who takes an awkward step back.
  3040. >”Uh… I- I mean, he’s certainly lookin’ a lot better.” She admitted with an uncharacteristic clumsiness, her eyes darting around the room.
  3041. >”I’ll say!” Pinkie chimed in.
  3042. >”Oh, and we can’t forget you, Rainbow! You’re the best personal trainer he could ask for!” Sunset agreed, turning her attention to Rainbow, keeping her hands on your shoulders to present your half-naked form.
  3043. >”O-Of course I am! I’m the one who made Anon so fun to look at!” She boasted.
  3044. “Hm?” You raise an eyebrow.
  3045. >”Whatever! Let’s just get going, already!” Rainbow rapidly shifted gears, pushing past you to get down the stairs.
  3046. >Sunset giggles to herself at having successfully gotten those two flustered.
  3047. >Seems like that’s what she’s best at.
  3048. >”Oh, wait a minute!” Sunset said before bending over and reaching for your waist.
  3049.  
  3050. >You freeze up and feel a chill run down your spine.
  3051. >What’s she doing?
  3052. >Here?
  3053. >Now?
  3054. >Turns out she just tied up the drawstrings on your swim shorts.
  3055. >”There you go! Wouldn’t want you to lose your swim trunks in the hot tub!” Sunset giggled.
  3056. >”Y-Yeah, we wouldn’t want that to happen…” Fluttershy muttered, playing with her hair while looking down at the floor.
  3057. >You feel embarrassed just thinking about the possibility.
  3058. >”We should get going, Rarity’s probably waiting for us down there.” Twilight suggested.
  3059. “Right, good idea. Lead the way?” You ask Twilight.
  3060. >”You got it!” She giggled, heading down the stairs after Rainbow.
  3061. >”I’ll help you find your way through the house! It can get so spooky here at night!” Pinkie offered, clinging onto your arm.
  3062. >”I better help, too. Two’s better than one!” Sunset jumped in, grabbing ahold of your other arm.
  3063. >It’s basically impossible to turn down their generosity now.
  3064. >They’ve both got a surprisingly firm grip on you.
  3065. >And their chests are pressed against your shoulder.
  3066. >The only thing separating your skin from theirs is a thin swimsuit.
  3067. >No, stop it.
  3068. >Don’t start thinking about this stuff now.
  3069. >Your arousal’s gonna be harder to conceal like this.
  3070. >”On we go!” Pinkie declared, marching you down the stairs with Sunset’s help.
  3071. >You could’ve sworn you just heard Applejack and Fluttershy grumble about something behind you.
  3072. It’s a little tricky to keep up with those two as the three of you walk as a unified entity.
  3073. >They know how to get around Rarity’s house better than you do, and it’s a little difficult to predict where you’ll go.
  3074. >The warm, fun atmosphere of the sleepover fades behind you as the three of you return to the ground floor where the lifeless mannequins haunt the boutique.
  3075. >You steal a glance out the front windows to see what the world outside this house is like.
  3076. >It’s snowing like crazy out there.
  3077. >There’s gotta be at least a foot of snow on the ground with no sign of it stopping.
  3078. >The wind seems to have died down, though.
  3079. >It’s looking even more dead outside.
  3080. >You’ve never seen the town of Canterlot like this before.
  3081. >It’s a little eerie.
  3082. >Maybe Pinkie was right.
  3083. “Geez, it’s really coming down out there.” You note.
  3084. >”No kidding! You think we’ll get buried in the snow out there?” Pinkie asked you with a hint of nervousness.
  3085. “That’s not gonna happen. I’ll dig you out of the snow if I have to.” You jokingly assure her.
  3086. >”Aww, you’d really do that for me?” Pinkie swooned, leaning into you even more.
  3087. >”Come on, they’re gonna get frozen solid if we keep them waiting!” Sunset reminded her.
  3088. >”We better hurry, then!” Pinkie realized, tugging you through the rest of Rarity’s house.
  3089.  
  3090. >As you try to keep up with her, you can barely make out your surroundings.
  3091. >Vague shapes of a kitchen and dining room pass you by as you’re ushered by your two friends.
  3092. >You don’t have time to dwell on this spooky environment because before you know it, you’re standing in front of the back door.
  3093. >There’s a buildup of frost on the window, but you can make out footprints in the snow outside.
  3094. >Is it really a good idea to go out like this?
  3095. >You’re not even wearing shoes.
  3096. >”Come on, let’s go!” Sunset pushed you outside after opening the door.
  3097. >You’re blasted by a gust of cold wind the moment the door opens, chilling you even more now that you’ve spent the past few hours in the warmth of Rarity’s heated home.
  3098. >Pinkie and Sunset don’t mind the cold at all.
  3099. >They’re determined to get you out through the cold and into the hot tub.
  3100. >You’re weakened by the harsh weather, so you let them drag you.
  3101. >On the other side of the porch is the hot tub, bubbling with fresh water pumped in by the jets and steaming hot.
  3102. >Twilight and Rainbow are already in the water, leaning back and enjoying the warmth without even noticing the three of you arrived.
  3103. >You hear Fluttershy and Applejack shut the door behind you.
  3104. ”Hey, where’s Rarity?” You wonder aloud.
  3105. >”Yoo-hoo~” You heard her voice call out to you from behind.
  3106. >When you turn to face her, you feel some warmth return to your body.
  3107. >Rarity’s bent over a small control panel at the edge of the patio, facing away from you.
  3108. >She’s wearing a purple bikini that you’re confident reveals more of her body than the swimwear of any of the other girls.
  3109. >If you were feeling any braver, you’d describe Rarity as “presenting”.
  3110. >”Just had to make some adjustments. Feel free to take a dip!” She giggled.
  3111. >You quickly return your gaze to the hot tub when Rarity stands back up.
  3112. >Pinkie lets go of your arm and does a cannonball into the water.
  3113. >Everyone ends up splashed with the heated water as a result
  3114. >Rainbow and Twilight are rudely drawn out of their relaxation when they’re soaked by Pinkie’s splash, motivating both of them to give her an annoyed look.
  3115. >Applejack and Fluttershy join them in the hot tub, both releasing a relaxed sigh upon sinking into the tub.
  3116. >The longer you’re out here in the cold, the more tempting the hot tub looks.
  3117. >You’re tempted forward with each lick of the steam rising from the water, and your freezing feet are crying out to you to give in and join the girls.
  3118. >But before you could take a dip, Sunset steps in front of you with her signature sinister look.
  3119. >”I bet you’re having a good time~”
  3120. >Oh, God, she’s onto you.
  3121.  
  3122. >The girls are all looking at you.
  3123. >You glance around with an awkward laugh.
  3124. “Well, yeah! This is the best sleepover I’ve ever been on!” You say to her.
  3125. >”Oh, come on, new boy. You know that’s not what I meant~”
  3126. >Sunset takes a step closer to you.
  3127. >You stand firm.
  3128. >You’ve been on fire tonight, you’re not gonna let her get all wily on you.
  3129. “Then, what DID you mean?” You ask her in a lower voice.
  3130. >”Getting to see us all in our bathing suits, dummy!” Sunset giggled.
  3131. >Rarity, Pinkie, Twilight, Applejack, and Rainbow giggled.
  3132. >Fluttershy averted her eyes from you.
  3133. >You feel your face warming up again, but you stomach the feeling.
  3134. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m just focused on having a good time with my friends.” You insist, giving her a firm look in return.
  3135. >Sunset let out a hearty laugh.
  3136. >”Oh, come on, Boy Scout, Live a little! None of us would mind if you admired us a little! In fact, I’d bet we’d all find it flattering! Isn’t that right, girls~?” Sunset grinned at you, then waving to your friends in the hot tub.
  3137. >”I know I would!” Pinkie was the first to answer, popping out of the water enough to show off the cleavage spilling out of her bikini top.
  3138. >”I wouldn’t mind, I trust you to not be too salacious~” Rarity batted her eyes at you.
  3139. >”You’ve already been eyeing me up in P.E., you might as well commit to it.” Rainbow chuckled at you.
  3140. >”Well, I dunno a ton of guys who appreciate a physique like mine, so I’d appreciate a pair of admirin’ eyes like yours.” Applejack admitted.
  3141. >”B-Besides, we’ve kinda been admiring you when you were singing your heart out, so it’d only be fair!” Twilight argued, faintly embarrassed about admitting that she was eyeing you up during karaoke.
  3142. >Sunset’s eyes fall to Fluttershy, who’s remained silent this whole time.
  3143. >”Well? Don’t leave dear Anon waiting!” Sunset pushed her.
  3144. >Fluttershy gulped as the blush deepened on her cheeks.
  3145. “...Hey, it’s okay if you don’t feel comfortable with me… looking at you that way.” You try to comfort her.
  3146. >She looks up at you and quickly shakes her head.
  3147. >”No, no! I wouldn’t mind!”
  3148. >Her response surprises you.
  3149. “...Really?”
  3150. >Fluttershy carefully nods.
  3151. >“...I kind of… like the way you look at me…”
  3152.  
  3153. >”There you have it! We’re giving you a golden opportunity here, new boy! Let yourself enjoy it!” Sunset insisted, taking another step closer to you.
  3154. >She clasps her hands in front of her, compressing her breasts together for you as she gives you a smile to go with her half-lidded eyes.
  3155. >The girls are all sitting out of the hot tub, looking at you anxiously and with varying levels of flirtiness and confidence.
  3156. >You exhale.
  3157. >...Fine.
  3158. >You force your eyes to drift downward from Sunset’s eyes to her bikini-covered boobs.
  3159. >...They’re really nice.
  3160. >She’s gotta be a C-cup.
  3161. >This gets a victorious giggle from your oldest friend at your new school, subtly pushing them up further for your viewing enjoyment.
  3162. >...You’re getting harder.
  3163. >”There you go, that didn’t hurt, did it?” She teased you further.
  3164. >You sigh and shake your head with a half smile.
  3165. “No, I guess not.” You admit.
  3166. “I’m just worried I’d pick wrong and not eye up the one of you that’s been leaving me those love letters.”
  3167. >”Gosh, Anon, we’re all really proud of your detective work, but just enjoy yourself! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy the pretty sights~” Sunset insisted.
  3168. >She stepped back into the hot tub and gestured to a vacant space between Rarity and Fluttershy.
  3169. >”Best seat in the house~” She invited you.
  3170. >Your freezing feet command you to take the invitation.
  3171. >With your legs shaking (from the cold, no doubt) you carefully slip into the water between your two friends.
  3172. >God.