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The Long and Short of It (RGRE)

By SQA-non
Created: 23rd October 2020 09:31:33 PM
14th January 2021 08:37:17 AM

  1. AKA A Guardsmare Of Half Height And Double Spirit Finds Love Twice As Tall And Thrice As Strong: A Reverse Gender Roles Equestria Story of Epic Proportions And Minuscule Stature
  2. Special thanks to Comfy, Uh-hmmm, Ephemeral, and Editfag for editing help.
  3. And and super special thanks to NigNogs for the top tier fan art, and de facto cover art, which can be viewed here: https://ponybooru.org/images/33009?q=artist%3Anignogs
  4.  
  5. >”I’ve got three princes! Ha! Beat that Sergeant!”
  6. >You are Sergeant Nocturnal Pike, guards-mare extraordinaire.
  7. >And you’re about to ruin this rookie’s night.
  8. >With a feeling only found in the sweet sweet pleasure of incoming Schadenfreude, you lay your cards down on the table to reveal:
  9. “Flush of spades, read ‘em and weep, rookie”
  10. >The table erupts with laughter as you reach across the table for your well-won earnings.
  11. [spoiler]>It’s a little bit of a reach for someone of your... height-impaired stature. But with practiced finesse and your premium poker face, you make no show of it. [/spoiler]
  12. >With a few clever bets and good cards you’ve managed to turn what looked to be a losing night into a sizable pile of bits.
  13. >Most of them from the rookie.
  14. >”I can’t bucking believe it!”
  15. >With that you turn your attention back to said rookie, the most recent addition to your off-night poker table.
  16. >You tell yourself you’ll actually learn her name once she’s been in your squad for more than a few days, and at the poker table for more than a night. Although at the rate she’s been losing bits, you’re starting to doubt you’ll see her in the latter.
  17. “Aw, cheer up rookie, you’ve got enough bits for at least one more go.”
  18. >In a clearly less than sober rage, she stamps her hoof on the table. ”No way!”
  19. >The finality of this affirmation causes a wave of intrigued silence to replace the laughter.
  20. >You have to admit now you’re interested too.
  21. >As she places her hoof on the table it becomes clear what her next move is: a hoof wrestling match.
  22. >”I’m sick of losing bits to your horseapple cards! Here’s a new bet! We settle this mare to mare! If I win, I get my bits back, and if you win I’ll double your money!”
  23. >There’s a brief silence as both you and the table process what she just said.
  24. >Followed immediately by uproarious laughter.
  25. >The teats on this mare!
  26. >The mare sitting to the rookie’s right slaps her on the back.
  27. >”Hahaha! You really think.. Hahahaaaaa! You, can beat her? That’s Nocturnal Pike you’re talking to rookie! She’s spent more time wailing on those training dummies than you’ve spent in your armor!”
  28. >It's true, you have a bit of a reputation, and not an unearned one at that.
  29. >When you joined the guard it was no secret that you were shorter than the average mare.
  30. >Way shorter, any shorter and you’d probably legally be a dwarf.
  31. >This of course was an endless font of teasing and ridicule.
  32. >But instead of letting it turn you into a grumpy bitch, you channeled it into a much more positive outlet.
  33. >Training really bucking hard and being damn good at your job.
  34. >As you raged at your marelet stature [spoiler]and at the part of you locked away and are definitely not thinking about right now. Nope, not one bit[/spoiler] you quickly became known as a guard of impeccable record and unrivaled physique.
  35. >The same physique this rookie was now foolishly challenging.
  36. >You smile to the table and gesture for them to cease their laughter.
  37. “Now now fillies, let the mare dig her own grave”
  38. >You meet the rookies defiant gaze and assume the proper hoof wrestling position.
  39. “Midnight, count us off!”
  40. >The mare to your right smiles, knowing what was to come.
  41. >”If you say so Pike... 3, 2, 1... go!”
  42. >The rookie immediately puts all her strength into pushing your hoof over, hoping for a quick, metaphorical, sprint to the finish.
  43. >You admit, she’s stronger than you thought she would be, but after losing some ground at her initial push, you’re slowly gaining that ground back.
  44. >As her hoof gets closer and closer to the table ponies around you have started passing bits of their own around, no doubt placing their own bets on the outcome of this duel.
  45. >Meeting the rookie’s determined gaze, with a gaze that’s really more cocksure than anything else, you seal the deal and slam her hoof into the table, finalizing your victory.
  46. >The crowd that had apparently gathered while you were in the zone immediately erupts into a cheer.
  47. >A cheer that at first brought an angry frown to the Rookie’s face, but quickly melted away after realizing the crowd is, at this point, most of the bar.
  48. >Utterly mortified, head placed in her hooves, she looks like she’s about to tear up in shame.
  49. >Luna’s stars above, who trained this mare? Who raised her?
  50. “Sweet Celestia rookie, you only lost a hoof wrestling match. Don’t be such a stallion about it.”
  51. >”B-but...Sergeant Pike, I-I just made a total fool of myself.”
  52. >So much for teats, you thought she seemed a little colty on shift, but not this much.
  53. >Hopefully it’s just the alcohol talking.
  54. “You really think most of these ponies are gonna remember this come tomorrow morning? Of course not. And keep your money, I don’t need it. But you’ve just earned yourself a month on the blue-shift.
  55. >Now her look is one of fear.
  56. >”S-sergeant Pike wait, please!”
  57. >You turn around and begin walking toward the bar, but not without shouting back:
  58. ”Next time try not being such a little bastard!”
  59.  
  60.  
  61. >Be a pleasantly tipsy Anonymous.
  62. >Seated firmly at the bar you turn away from the spectacle to stare at your fuzzy green hooves, you can’t help but wonder how you got here.
  63. >Probably that freak camping/lightning/experimental panini maker accident.
  64. >Actually now that you think about it, it was definitely that.
  65. >You told those bastards it would never work! And now you’re the one paying the price!
  66. >No one had any idea how to change you back or send you home, so for the foreseeable future you were Anonymous the unicorn, forever trapped in Bruma!
  67. >Or at least it felt like Bruma.
  68. >All the men are women!
  69. >And in a world where the men are women, you find it kinda difficult to connect with anyone.
  70. >You really didn’t have many female friends back on earth, something that’s translated far more seamlessly than you would like to the amount of stallions you hang out with here.
  71. >And are far as female friends here, there’s typically too much of a culture clash.
  72. >Most are at first enthused by your janefilly, as they call it, exterior, but once they get into the meat and potatoes they’re often far less enthused.
  73. >Frankly they think you’re a “bucking weirdo”.
  74. >And as for romance, you don’t have a domestic bone in your body.
  75. >You daddy raised you to be a breadWINNER goddamn it!
  76. >And most mares are not hip to a stallion who isn’t even slightly a homemaker, nevermind that you lack the skills to even do it in the first place.
  77. >And all that is why you are here.
  78. >Drinking alone.
  79. >Again.
  80. >Or so you thought, until the sound of a voice to your side clues you in that might not entirely be the case.
  81.  
  82. “Hey there stud.”
  83. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and you like your chances.
  84. >After leaving the rookie to wallow in the fact you just assigned her to guard Blueblood’s “personal” hallway for the next month you intended to buy yourself a drink and retire to the squad drinking table.
  85. >But then you saw a far better option.
  86. >A green unicorn stallion with a black mane sitting at the bar drinking alone.
  87. >A tall green unicorn stallion.
  88. >A REALLY tall green unicorn stallion.
  89. >And that’s not just because you're short, you feel like he’d tower over even those colts they let into the guard after that lawsuit!
  90. [spoiler]>Holycowimaginewhatitwouldbeliketobehislittlespo-[/spoiler]
  91. >You shake your head to banish those unmarely thoughts.
  92. >You may not be a big pony, but mares big spoon damn it!
  93. >But that doesn’t change the fact that tall stallions definitely do something to you.
  94. >So much so you knew you’d be beating yourself up all night if you didn’t try to score, no matter how airheaded he ended up being.
  95. >So here you were, bringing your A-game.
  96. >Posture, casual.
  97. >Smile, assured.
  98. >Charm, at maximum.
  99. >Hoping he just saw your display of raw femininity? Absolutely.
  100.  
  101. >”What’s a cute stallion like you doing drinking alone?”
  102. >You are Anon again, and you turn to face your addressor.
  103. >Or at least you try to, but when you turn your head in the direction you heard the voice come from, you see no one there.
  104. >You’re confused for a brief moment, until the sound of someone clearing their throat directs your attention downwards.
  105. >Downwards to the sight of the smallest pony you’ve ever seen.
  106. >I mean this bitch tiny.
  107. >She’s one of those half bat half horses.
  108. >Thestrals? You think.
  109. >Vaguely you recognize her as the pony who just won the “hoof” wrestling contest.
  110. >She’s got a purple-grey coat, plus a dark blue mane with some lighter blue streaks running through it.
  111. > You gaze closer at her amber colored eyes, as they awkwardly glance arou-
  112. >Wait, oh fuck
  113. >That whole time you were staring at her she was just sitting there waiting for an answer.
  114. >shitshitshitsh-
  115. “haha, just uh, trying to meet some new peo-uh ponies!”
  116. >You smile what you hope is your most disarming smile and desperately wait for the normal flow of conversation to resume.
  117. >Any second now.
  118. >Anyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy seeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeecccccccccccccconnnnnnnnd
  119.  
  120. >Be Pike again.
  121. >And while the stallion’s initial reaction did catch you a bit off guard, you’re taking it in stride.
  122. >Clearly he’s just a little nervous, and nothing like a cool, confident mare to soothe those nerves.
  123. >Flexing your forelegs and puffing your tuft, you put a reassuring smile on your face.
  124. >He says he’s here to meet new ponies? You can work with that.
  125. >You make a show of leaning forward to look at the empty seats on the other side of him.
  126. “Well, lucky for me it seems like I’m the first who’s come your way tonight. The name’s Pike, Sergeant Nocturnal Pike.”
  127. >Much to your pleasure, it seems like moving past the initial awkwardness has put the wind back under his (metaphorical) wings, as his posture relaxes and he smiles a little more earnestly.
  128. >Reaching out his hoof you for a bump he says:
  129. >”Anonymous”.
  130. >A bump which you meet.
  131. >As you pull your hoof away however, you feel something for a split second.
  132. >Did he just try to grab your hoof?
  133. >You see the confusion you feel briefly mirrored on his face, but before you can dwell on it his, now slightly less at ease, smile returns.
  134. >Weird, but you put the incident out of your mind and motion for the barkeep.
  135. >Time to get this colt liquored up!
  136.  
  137. >You are still Nocturnal Pike.
  138. >And now several drinks have passed.
  139. >You and ‘Anon’ (as he asked you to call him) are both in pretty deep.
  140. > “So then, *hic* we took our patrol leaders chair and tent... and hoisted them into a tree! Hahahahah! He was so mad!”
  141. >You laugh genuinely. He may be yammering on about himself (as stallions are one to do) but at least the stories he’s telling are funny.
  142. >Reminds you of the kind of mischief you got up to as a filly.
  143. “Hahaha! Oh mare Anon, where did you say this happened at again?”
  144. >”Scouts”
  145. >Scouts!?
  146. “Like, colt scouts?”
  147. >”Uhhhhhhhhh... Yes! Yes it was.”
  148. >Colt scouts!?!?!?
  149. >Everypony knows colt scouts never went camping!
  150. >Filly scouts were the ones who went camping!
  151. >All colt scouts got to do was sell cookies and do things inside!
  152. >Like Cooking!
  153. >A-and sewing!
  154. >And other househusband things [spoiler] th-that you’ve always wanted to do...[/spoiler]
  155. >This colt’s whimsy must be off the charts!
  156. >Don’t call him out on it though.
  157. >Colts hate that.
  158. >Just move on and...
  159. “Anon, yo *hic* y-you’re fulla horseapples!”
  160. >...
  161. >It seems cider, your most stalwart wingmare... has betrayed you.
  162. >You can see him processing what you just said, a confused look on his face.
  163. >Soon that look will become the face of indignity.
  164. >And then the water works will start.
  165. >In about 3, 2,...
  166. >”hahaaaa no I’m not! Th-that totally happened! You’re just jealous you *hic* couldn’t do that sstuff in *hic* FILLYscouts!”
  167. [spoiler]>Ignoring that he’s right, you were jealous of what they got to do in colt scouts.[/spoiler]
  168. >That doesn’t make any sense! He just described the universal experience OF fillyscouts!
  169. >Your drunken brain canNOT handle all this whimsy.
  170. >You’ve taken a lot of colts to the shack though, and he’s the first that could handle being told they’re full of horseapples.
  171. >That alone puts him in the top ten in your book!
  172. >AND he’s somehow been keeping up with you! Without even ordering a cocktail!
  173. >AND AND he’s motioning the barkeep for more!
  174. >Just who’s trying to get who drunk here!?!?
  175.  
  176. >Now you are Anon.
  177. >It is even later, and you think the bartender is about to cut you off.
  178. >She keeps staring at the enormous pile of mugs you and Pike have accumulated after you told her to stop taking them.
  179. >Pike said something earlier about how no stallion could outdrink a mare.
  180. >And your pride as an ex-man WOULD NOT STAND FOR THAT!
  181. >As it stands you’re dead-even, in drink and drunkenness.
  182. >”Sssssso Anon, d-did *hic* I ev.. ever tell you how I got my cutie mark?”
  183. >Uhhhhhhhhh
  184. ”Uhhhhhh mayyyyyyyyyyyyyybe? Just t-tell me again anyway.”
  185. >In response Pike does her best attempt at shoving said cutie mark in your face.
  186. [spoiler]>It’s still pretty far away though, her legs really aren’t long enough[/spoiler]
  187. >None the less you can see the silhouette of a pony doing some kind of backflip in front of a full moon adorning those [spoiler]sweet sweet[/spoiler] flanks.
  188. >”Better yet, how... howbout I take you back to my place aaaaaaaaaand showya?”
  189. >The innuendo lands in a distant part of your mind, but far more of it lands in a very different area...
  190. >You just got invited!
  191. >To hang out!
  192. >AT SOMEONE’S HOUSE!
  193. >FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MONTHS!
  194. >As such, with a display of enthusiasm that catches not only her, but the rest of the bar off guard. You shout:
  195. “HELL YEAH! LET’S FUCKING GOOOOOOOOO!”
  196. >Leaping off your stool and stumbling towards the door, you motion for Pike to lead the way.
  197. >And she does, laughing all the way.
  198. >Maaaaan you hope she’s got Halo.
  199.  
  200.  
  201. >It is now the next morning.
  202. >And you are a very hungover, but none the less incredibly comfortable Nocturnal Pike.
  203. >Nothing better when you wake up in the morning snuggled deep into your blankets and-
  204. >Wait a minute.
  205. >These aren’t blankets you’re snuggled in!
  206. >Your eyes snap open and you instantly turn beet red.
  207. >You are currently spooning Anon.
  208. >And you are the little spoon!
  209. [spoiler]SQUEEEEEEEEEEE[/spoiler]
  210. >The comfort is rapidly drowned out by embarrassment however.
  211. >A voice in your head that sounds far more like your mom than you would like speaks up:
  212. >”Now I don’t care how cozy it is! Only little fillies and stallions little spoon!”
  213. >Oh Luna, you can’t let your mom down!
  214. >Slowly you start trying to wriggle out of his [spoiler]big strong[/spoiler] forelegs.
  215. >Sure it’d be easy just to flex and burst out.
  216. >But if he woke up and saw you like this... it would be the most mortifying thing you’ve ever experienced!
  217. >You can’t let it happen!
  218. >Intensifying your wriggling, you feel like you're almost out!
  219. >Just a little more.
  220. >Come on!
  221. >Suddenly you can feel his breath on your ear.
  222. >”Leaving so soon?”
  223.  
  224. >You are an also mildly hungover Anon, awakening from the most comfortable sleep of your life.
  225. >So comfortable it’s almost negating the hangover!
  226. >Man, the ponies really were made for snuggling.
  227. >After arriving at Pike’s last night (and discovering she did not, in fact, even know what an xbox was) she rapidly ushered you onto her bed.
  228. >And performed, what may have indeed been, the most impressive sex act you’ve ever seen.
  229. >A triple back flip, onto your dick.
  230. >Or where your dick would have been, if you weren’t waaaaaay too drunk to be aroused.
  231. >As it stood, she essentially just did a triple backflip right into your arms.
  232. [spoiler]>Forelegs Anon, forelegs! Only monitors have arms and if you start calling them that around her she’ll look at you weird![/spoiler]
  233. >You at least had the good sense to immediately close your forelegs around her once she did, leaving the two of you in the perfect cuddling position.
  234. >After some (admittedly, pretty weak) protests from Pike: the two of you passed out in the position you just woke up in.
  235. >Which brings you back to now.
  236.  
  237. >“Last night you seemed so keen on being the little spoon, little mare.”
  238. >Oh Luna defend you.
  239. >You’re back to being Pike.
  240. >And you’re radiating embarrassment like Celestia’s sun radiates heat.
  241. >You don’t remember how it came to this.
  242. >At least if it was sex that’d be one thing.
  243. >But the current lack of a sticky mess at your hindquarters is telling that you had no such luck.
  244. >So you got spooned, and didn’t even get a lay out of it!
  245. >You’d be hanging your head in shame if this position wasn’t so darn comfortable!
  246. [spoiler]>And comforting.[/spoiler]
  247. >But all good things must come to an end.
  248. >So with a blush still threatening to overtake your face, you push the rest of the way out of Anon’s forelegs.
  249. >But not all is lost!
  250. >You can salvage this!
  251. >Mares don’t get embarrassed!
  252. “Pffft, horseapples! Come on, I need a water and some aspirin. And I know if I need one, you must need /at least/ two.”
  253. >In response the smuggest smile ever plasters itself firmly on Anon’s face.
  254. >”I don’t knooooooooow Pike, this bed is awfully comfy. You sure you don’t want to fall back into my ar-forelegs?”
  255. >Ok now he’s just making fun of you.
  256. >You’re ready to give this colt what for when-
  257. >”Ahh, I’m just fucking with you. Yeah I could definitely use ONE aspirin, and some breakfast. Ooooh, got any eggs?”
  258. >Your eyes widen just a tad.
  259. >Disregarding his weird accent, he really IS a janefilly.
  260. >You can’t even remember the last time a stallion admitted to “just bucking with you”.
  261. >You smile, knowing your feminine pride was safe for now.
  262. “Yeah I think I do, go ahead and get started, I’ll grab the aspirin.”
  263. >”Me? HA! Hope you like ‘em scrambled!”
  264.  
  265.  
  266. >You are still Pike.
  267. >And these eggs... aren’t great.
  268. >What kind of life has this colt lived to where he can barely cook eggs?
  269. >Sure they’re perfectly edible, but.. Where’s the flavor? Did he only add salt?
  270. >Anon is oblivious to this however, as he’s currently gleefully drowning them in hot sauce, as he likely planned to do from the start.
  271. “I thought unicorns hated spicy things?”
  272. >He snorts.
  273. >”Maybe these fru fru Canterlot cretins! I on the other hoof... am a connoisseur! As spice is the spice of life!”
  274. >With that he shoves a forkful of what you’re pretty sure is just 90% hot sauce in his mouth.
  275. >”Ahhhhh MMMM, man that hits the spot!”
  276. >Desiring to actually be able to eat this meal you grab the sauce yourself.
  277. >Huh.
  278. >Looks like he grabbed one of your imported Thestralian hot sauces.
  279. >Sure it’s the milder one, but it’s still no joke!
  280. >This unicorn really can handle his spice!
  281. >Surprising then, that he makes such flavorless eggs.
  282. >Pouring enough to supplement the flavor onto your own eggs, you too begin eating.
  283. >For a while the meal passes in comfortable silence.
  284. >Normally around now is when the stallion would start asking the hard questions and making assumptions.
  285. >”What comes next for us?”
  286. >”I hope you realize I don’t just snuggle anyone I meet at the bar.”
  287. >But nothing comes from Anon.
  288. >Well, except for the sound of panting from across the table.
  289. >Taking a closer look at Anon’s face, you can see the telltale signs of the sauce getting to him.
  290. >Eyes starting to water, nose starting to run, and panting with increasing frequency.
  291. >Looks like that cocky attitude he had when he woke up is landing him in trouble.
  292. >Of course no gentlemare would leave a stallion to suffer, you’ll grab the milk from the ice box and...
  293. >Wait.
  294. >No.
  295. >A sadistic smile creeps onto your face.
  296. >Normally you’d never dream of doing something like that to a stallion, but...
  297. >After last night’s (immediately spent on cider) winnings, you’re in a betting mood.
  298. >And a bet you’ll take, is that this stallion’s more of a janefilly than any janefilly you’ve ever met before.
  299. >So with an aura of pure smug you point to the icebox.
  300. “Milk’s in there.”
  301. >And as he stands up...
  302. “IF, you’re a little bastard.”
  303. >You see a brief look of shock on his face, followed by a steely gaze meeting yours.
  304. >He quickly sits back down, smiling through the obvious pain.
  305. >”I *pant* don’t need it.”
  306.  
  307. >You are Anon.
  308. >And you really need it.
  309. >But you’re not taking it.
  310. >As much to your surprise and joy, it seems your initial feelings were right.
  311. >Pike CAN hang!
  312. >But now she’s thrown the gauntlet to you.
  313. >Well, you won’t let her or yourself down.
  314. >You might be able to feel your taste buds dying, but you’re not moving from this chair.
  315. >Nu uh. No way.
  316. >
  317. >
  318. >
  319. >Fuck that’s hot.
  320. >Quick, gotta find some way to distract yourself.
  321. >Ah ha! You’ve got it!
  322. “So *pant* Pike *pant*. You mentioned that you’re *phew* you’re a night guard right? Shouldn’t you be asleep right now?”
  323. >There’s so much smugness radiating off her right now it might be giving you radiation poisoning.
  324. >If this is her revenge for your teasing earlier, you’d better watch out.
  325. >”Well, normally you’d be right, but if you remember from our conversation last night, my squad and I work the evening transition shift. So about 1800 to 0200 hours. And seeing as how we’ve woken up at around...”
  326. >She glances at the sun out the window.
  327. >”Around noon, so I’d say I’m right on schedule. Even if I didn’t have this weekend off. Hmmm, what about you Anon?”
  328. >Fuck, now you have to think instead of just focusing on her voice.
  329. ”I’m a *phew* oh lordy, an investigative journalist. My boss doesn’t care when I’m up, as long as the articles get written”
  330. >”Oh?”
  331. “Yeah, they saw the question mark on my flank and *pant* just gave me the job. Guess they thought it means I’m good at asking questions.”
  332. >A look you can’t quite decipher on Pike’s face as she leans to look at your cutie mark.
  333. >”Are... are you not?”
  334. “*pant*I mean kinda? I think I’m just more pushy than the average pony.”
  335. >With that her smirk returns full force.
  336. >”Yeah I can /definitely/ see that”
  337. >Damn. She’s got you cornered. The state you’re in, you’re in no condition to fire back.
  338. “Haaaaa yeah. I’ll have you know. *pant* If my mouth wasn’t giving me the 3rd degree right now. *pant* I would certainly*pant* have a witty rebuttal. *pant* For that.”
  339. >That pushes her over the edge.
  340. >The two of you burst out in laughter, although yours is far weaker and cut with panting.
  341. >In between chortles she gets up and grabs the milk herself.
  342. >As she pours the two of you a glass you know your salvation is at hand.
  343. >A silent toast passes between the two of you, and by the time she’s taken her first sip you’ve downed your whole glass.
  344. >Sweet relief.
  345. “*Phew* God, what was that?”
  346. >Grabbing the bottle she reads off the back:
  347. >”Crafted specifically for authentic Thestralian cookouts: this is the sauce that made Scorched Pepper, creator of the Scorch scale, weep. As such, she clocked it at over two million Scorch Units: enough to make a grown earth pony cry!”
  348. >”So, you did pretty well, as a matter of fact.”
  349. >You take your first deep breath in minutes.
  350. “Jesus, scary sauce. Takes a little while to... to really hit you ya know?”
  351. >She just smirks.
  352. >”I could tell.”
  353. >The two of you lapse into silence again for a brief moment.
  354. >However, /this/ time she’s the one to break it. Albeit with a chuckle as opposed to your previous pained breathing.
  355. >”And here I thought every stallion knew his way around a kitchen.”
  356. >Ha!
  357. “Well Pike, you’ve never met a stallion like me.”
  358. >This prompts another burst of laughter from her.
  359. >”Buck, I sure haven’t!”
  360.  
  361.  
  362. DAWN OF THE NEXT DAY (Around 20 hours after we last saw him)
  363. >You are Anon.
  364. >As you awaken from a peaceful slumber on your comfy bed, you stretch your tired arms...
  365. >Wait... YOUR ARMS!
  366. >You use your HANDS to grab your HUMAN FACE!
  367. >You can’t believe it!
  368. >You’ve been restored!
  369. >You-
  370. >You wake up again.
  371. >The hands on your pony face were only magical projections you were casting in your sleep.
  372. >Sighing, you hop out of bed.
  373. >Not the best way to wake up, but you can’t be too down!
  374. >After all, as now you’ve got stuff to look forward to in real life!
  375. >Things like the fact you spent all of yesterday hanging with your new friend!
  376. >Man, so this is what those friendship pamphlets your social worker gave you were talking about.
  377.  
  378. >You feel great!
  379. >And now thanks to her, you know all of the actual good places to go in Canterlot.
  380. >Previously you just kinda... wandered around on the days you didn’t work.
  381. >But now you can wander, with destinations!
  382. >Feels good man.
  383. >With this joy in your heart, you merrily trot into the bathroom to begin your morning routine.
  384. >Passing naught but a sidelong glance at the “gift” basket of makeup and fancy shampoos your boss gave you, you set to work.
  385. >Your ethereal hands may not totally replace your old ones, but they’re certainly more versatile!
  386. >A scrub here, a scrub there.
  387. >Of course, some dental hygiene.
  388. >And now you’re ready to start your day!
  389. >With a smile on your face and a song in your heart, you head to the front door of your apartment and..
  390. >Oh wait.
  391. >You “forgot” something.
  392. >Returning to your closet with the newfound gusto of a man walking into a funeral parlor, you pull open the door to reveal:
  393. >Your old clothes.
  394. >But sadly that’s not what you’re there for.
  395. >Pulling those aside, you reveal:
  396. >Ball bras.
  397. >Lots and lots
  398. >of ball bras.
  399. [spoiler] Thanks, every single mare in the office[/spoiler]
  400. >Now that’s a downer
  401. >You know your options are:
  402. > A. Wear one and suffer a sense of wrong from deep within your soul.
  403. >or B. Go with your heart and forgo them, and likely get molested. Plus, you’ll almost certainly get a lecture from your boss about both proper stallion behavior /and/ the importance of properly integrating into Equestrian culture.
  404. >So with that in mind, you decide on the path of least resistance and mentally prepare to put it on.
  405. >On the upside it blends into your fur, so you don’t LOOK ridiculous.
  406. [spoiler]>You only feel it.[/spoiler]
  407. >Huh, this one must be one you haven’t worn yet.
  408. >It still has a gift note on it.
  409. >“Make sure you and your F-cup balls pay me a visit some time stud! Here’s my addre-”
  410. >You stop subjecting yourself to the unfiltered psychological damage that was that note and tear it off.
  411. [spoiler]>As flattering as those notes and similar real life statements seemed at first, after responding to a few of them, you knew you were better off ignoring them. [/spoiler]
  412. >Now free of obstructions, the bra is as comfortable as you can make it.
  413. >So with a bit of a heavy heart, you strap in.
  414. >Now you are ready.
  415. >Confident you will at least be saddled (ha!) with less social stigma than usual, you head out.
  416. >Odds are, besides a cat call or two, your trip down the road to your semi-mandatory office showing will go by in a flash.
  417.  
  418. >You are now Jargon Justification, chief executive of the Canterlot Canterer.
  419. >The fifth most read newspaper in Canterlot!
  420. >Mostly thanks to that cute little number who just walked in.
  421. >Anonymous.
  422. [spoiler]>Well would you look at that. He’s actually wearing one of the ballbras the officemares gave him! Good for him.[/spoiler]
  423. >Normally you’d never dream of employing a stallion.
  424. >Their place was in the home after all.
  425. >But your herd sister, Tender Care, was his social worker.
  426. >She’d been asked personally by the princess to assist with his integration into Equestrian society.
  427. >And she made a hell of a case for him.
  428. >Apparently he’s foreign.
  429. >Really foreign.
  430. >That’s why he’s so rough on his customs and social cues.
  431. >Rough to the point where he’s nowhere near finding a herd, and desperately in need of a job just to keep a roof over his head.
  432. [spoiler]What mother leaves their colt to fend for themselves before they even get a herd? Despicable. [/spoiler]
  433. >Your sister’s heart when out to the colt, and after hearing the story, yours did too.
  434. >So after seeing the aptitude in his cutie mark [spoiler]and his surprisingly can-do attitude, for a colt[/spoiler] you were willing to offer him a place at your paper.
  435. >Nothing HARD of course, Celestia forbid it.
  436. >Just some easy fluff fashion and gossip pieces.
  437. >You know, stuff colts like.
  438. >And no matter how much he asks to be given “real stories” he always knocks these out of the park.
  439. >So clearly he must get something out of them then!
  440. >And you know what you get out of them.
  441. >Readers!
  442. >While stallions normally have no use for newspapers, [spoiler]since it’s full of things mares care about, like news.[/spoiler]
  443. >Having one write articles about things stallions DO care about has boosted your readership tenfold!
  444. >Dozens upon dozens of stallions in Canterlot have heard your paper has REAL fashion and gossip from a REAL stallion.
  445. >So why would they let their mare buy a newspaper that features those kinds of articles written by a mare that doesn’t care, when the can get one with articles written by a stallion like them, who does!
  446. [spoiler]No matter how much he says he doesn't. [/spoiler]
  447. >So as always, you look forward to seeing what he’s come to hoof in today.
  448. >Something about sun hats you think? You can’t be bothered to remember.
  449. >You’re sure it’s very exciting to a stallion though.
  450. >Certainly, you’d call this arrangement a win-win.
  451. >He gets money and an education on proper stallion behavior, from yours truly, and your readership has been climbing ever since you hired him!
  452. >It’s, dare you say, the perfect system!
  453. >Although you’re sure, like the stallion he is, he finds a way to complain about something when he’s not in the office.
  454.  
  455. >You are once more Anon, stepping onto the office floor.
  456. >You can see your boss smiling at you from her office, no doubt excited to see what dumb bullshit you just wrote.
  457. >Normally despite the obvious fluff stories you’re given, you still try to do them above and beyond.
  458. >This time however, your apathy caught up to you and you needed a little bit of a rush job.
  459. >So after one too many peo- ponies tipped their sun hats at you, you found the perfect story.
  460. “SUN HATS: NEW SYMBOL OF THE MARECEL MOVEMENT?”
  461. >It's, of course, asinine without compare.
  462. >You just grabbed some completely anecdotal evidence from some random stallions, slapped it together with some buzzwords, and called it a day.
  463. >You’re sure it’ll sell like hotcakes though.
  464. >After all, in your heart of hearts: you and her both know the content is irrelevant. All that really matters is it was written by her token stallion.
  465. >Nonetheless, you can’t be too hard on her.
  466. >She /was/ the only one to actually offer you a job.
  467. >Even if sometimes it feels like she’s genuinely just paying you to be on staff and nothing more.
  468. >Such is life you suppose.
  469. >Putting such misgivings out of your mind, you walk into Chief Justification’s office with the smile you woke up with.
  470. “Mornin’ Chief.”
  471. >She beams back.
  472. >”Ahhhhh, good to see ya Anonymous. Glad you came in today, take a seat. Well, and would you look at that, ball bra and a smile! Cut!”
  473. >The chief editor leans into the office.
  474. >”Yes ma’am?”
  475. >Wasn’t I always telling Anon he’d look better with a ball bra and a smile?”
  476. >”Y-Yes you were ma’am”
  477. >”Well, was I right?”
  478. >You quickly turn to look at Cut N. Paste directly.
  479. “You don’t have to answer that.”
  480. >”Yes you do, Cut,” Jargon chimes in from behind you.
  481. >Poor Cut’s face is beet red.
  482. >”I-I I think you do look better, Anon.”
  483. >”See? What did I tell ya? Alright, back to work, Paste!”
  484. >”Yes ma’am!”
  485. >And just like that, it's the two of you alone again.
  486. ”Alright, alright, enough of your stalling, now show me what you've got.”
  487. >You hand (with your magic hands, so it’s proper terminology damn it!) her your print, and she gives it a once-over.
  488. [spoiler]>She’s probably only reading the title. Cut’s usually the only one who has anything to say about the content of your articles. But at least she’s making a show of it.[/spoiler]
  489. >”Oooooooo I see! Fashion /and/ some hot button issues too! I like it. See, I told ya you could do this!”
  490. “It’s not about ‘could’ chief.”
  491. >”Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’ll send it to Cut right away, and get it in our next issue!”
  492. >A feeling of satisfaction blooms in your chest, bullshit or not it’s nice to get something you’ve made out there.
  493. >Makes you feel like you’re really doing something.
  494. >Getting up to go, you turn back:
  495. “Thanks boss, need anything else from me?”
  496. >”Actually...”
  497. >She leans in, a wee bit closer than you’d like.
  498. >”Moral’s been a little low in the office. Could you ah, just kinda walk around for an hour or two? Strut your stuff ya know?”
  499. >Oh no.
  500. >”Seeing everypony’s favorite writer around would be just the thing to lift everypony’s spirits.”
  501. >It’s only for a little while.
  502. >Maybe you can make some more friends?
  503. >You really need this job.
  504. >You. Really. Need. This. Job.
  505. “Sure, chief. *Sigh* Happy to help.”
  506. >”That’s my colt!”
  507. >OW! Did she just swat you on the ass!?
  508. >”Now go on out there and knock ‘em dead!”
  509.  
  510. >You are Chief Jargon, and you’re glad Anon accepted your request.
  511. >A little socialization will do him good.
  512. >He barely talks to anyone in the office!
  513. [spoiler] They probably make him uncomfortable, but if he doesn’t start to learn to live with that, he’ll never get anywhere—in a job or a herd. [/spoiler]
  514. >Plus, now you get to watch those flanks circle the office for the next few hours.
  515. >Talk about a win-win!
  516. >While he’s certainly taller than you like in a stallion, you can certainly /see/ the benefit of having a stallion's flanks at eye level.
  517. >Mmmmmm mmmmm.
  518. >Hate to see him leave
  519. >Love to watch him go~
  520.  
  521. >You are Anon, a few hours later.
  522. >And the time to blow this popsicle stand has finally come.
  523. >You made your rounds, gave a brief word to most of the mares in the office.
  524. >Most really didn’t have much to say that wasn’t related to your looks.
  525. [spoiler]One even recognized that you were wearing the ball bra she gave you. How!? They all look identical!![/spoiler]
  526. >The only one who gave you more than that was Cut N. Paste.
  527. >But even then she could only manage a few sentences before clamming up and diving back into her work.
  528. >The whole time her face was just as flush as when you were in the chief’s office.
  529. >Poor mare, she always seems so embarrassed every time you come by.
  530. >Probably has to listen to all the stuff the chief says about you when you’re not there.
  531. >You know... for someone currently in a herd, the chief always struck you as awfully lascivious.
  532. [spoiler]>Probably what got you the job, if you’re being honest.[/spoiler]
  533. >But you put all those thoughts behind you the moment you step out of the office.
  534. >Ahhhhhhh, freedom...
  535. > While this job may sometimes make you feel completely useless, at least it affords you oodles of free time.
  536. >Maybe you’ll go visit Pike on the job?
  537. >Naw, you only met her a day and a half ago.
  538. >AND you already spent all of yesterday with her.
  539. >Don’t want to come on /too/ strong, even if you feel like the two of you really hit it off.
  540. >And it’s not like you won’t get to see her tomorrow.
  541. >She offered to treat you to lunch!
  542. [spoiler]>Though you guess for her it’s more like breakfast?[/spoiler]
  543. >You’re going to be paying of course, no matter what she says.
  544. >With that, a brief glance at the sun reminds you that her shift actually starts right about now.
  545. [spoiler]>Man, you’ve gotten really good at telling time based on the sun! You could never do that shit back home.[/spoiler]
  546. >Putting your hoof to your chin in contemplation, you can’t help but say...
  547. ”Hmmmm, I wonder how’s Pike’s day is going?”
  548.  
  549.  
  550. DAWN OF (Pike’s) NEXT DAY (Around 23 hours after we last saw her)
  551. >RIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIING
  552. >*Smack*
  553. >You are Sergeant Nocturnal Pike, and you are not a morning pony.
  554. >No matter how late in the day that “morning” may be.
  555. >Maybe it’s genetic?
  556. >Or maybe Celestia’s just a tribalist, making the sun shine harder on the thestral race!
  557. >Either way you’ll likely never know.
  558. [spoiler]>You sure didn’t mind the morning you woke up snuggled against Anon though![/spoiler]
  559. >Forcing your eyes open against the light, you remember one of the hard truths of life:
  560. >As much fun laying here and cursing the sun is, no pony ever got back to work being a lout.
  561. >So in a maneuver only you could do (thanks to your special talent), you literally roll out of bed and stick a perfect ten point landing.
  562. >And now for exactly what you need to wake up!
  563. >A niiiiiiiiice long shower.
  564. >So with a brisk trot over to said shower, you waste no time in getting your morning underway.
  565. >A few scrubs in those hard to reach places,
  566. >A little touch up to your fangs to keep them at maximum sharpness,
  567. >And of course, with a bit of marescaping your tuft into the perfect combination of shape and fluff, your morning routine is complete~
  568. >Well... not quite.
  569. >No morning would be complete if you didn’t admire yourself in the mirror for at least a little bit.
  570. >Ooooooh yeah.
  571. >Spread those wings!
  572. >Flex those forelegs!
  573. >This is the body that gets the stallions droppin!
  574. >This is the body that gets work done!
  575. [spoiler]This is the body that spent all night snuggled deep in Anon’s big strong sexy forelegs![/spoiler]
  576. >Your face turns a little red at that, and with the blush comes today’s worries.
  577. >Whatever you do, you CANNOT let your squadmates know that happened.
  578. >You almost hope they won’t even ask, but you know they will.
  579. >”So, did you do your signature move on him?”
  580. >”How fast did you get him to cum?”
  581. >”You even bother getting his address?”
  582. >And so forth.
  583. >Sure, you could admit you just cuddled and hung out.
  584. >But that would be an unacceptable blow to your reputation!
  585. >Macho mares bang stallions and call it a night!
  586. >They don’t get... emotionally invested!
  587. >So you’ll just have to improvise.
  588. >You hopefully won’t have to /lie/ per say... Just stretch the truth a tad.
  589. >However, that means you’ve got to figure out what to actually say...
  590. >Which you’ll have plenty of time to do on the walk to the barracks.
  591. >Sure you could just fly and get there waaaaay faster.
  592. >But for once you want to take advantage of your stubby little legs.
  593. >As you know all too well, stubby legs means a long walk.
  594. >But, in this case, a long walk means a long time to think!
  595. >And a long time to think means you’re more likely to have a story the mares will buy!
  596. >YES!
  597. >So with what you’re sure is a 100% foalproof plan, you set out.
  598.  
  599. >You are Astral Blade.
  600. >And you’re sitting around, waiting for your best sis (and boss) Nocturnal Pike to get here.
  601. >She’s not actually late, you’re just used to her being there early.
  602. >So, as far as you're concerned, she’s pretty bucking late.
  603. >And bouncing this ball off the wall is getting sooooooooooooooooo boring.
  604. >Just: toss, *boing*, catch, repeat.
  605. >You're sure if Pike were here, she’d tell you that you're “using the time perfectly to hone your skills!”
  606. >And seeing as your combat role (and special talent) is to throw small projectiles with pinpoint accuracy, she /technically/ wouldn't be wrong.
  607. >But there's the difference between you and Pike.
  608. >She can do the same thing over and over for hours.
  609. >And you?
  610. >You just get so Luna-damned bored.
  611. >So after your most recent catch, you decide you’ve well and truly had enough of this, and allow the ball to rest in the claw of your wing.
  612. >This leaves you with nothing to focus on however, so your eyes begin to desperately wander the room, hoping for /something/ to occupy your time.
  613. >Hey, over there in the corner! It’s the Rookie.
  614. >And she’s... Is she praying?
  615. >Sure enough she’s on her knees, head bowed, and mouthing something along the lines of:
  616. >“Oh sweet merciful Luna, please let Sergeant Pike have changed her mind about my assignment.”
  617. >Ha! Ahhhhh mare, you remember when you first got the Blue shift.
  618. >It’s not as bad as everypony makes it seem!
  619. >But it’s still pretty bad.
  620. >Before you can ruminate on that further however, the sound of the door opening signals your much needed reprieve from monotony.
  621. >There she is.
  622. >Time, of course, for your customary greeting!
  623. >A time honored tradition, wherein which you spike your ball right at her as she walks in.
  624. >Ready...
  625. >Aim...
  626. >Fire!
  627. >*Thwok*
  628. >”Luna’s teets!”
  629. >Right in the snoot!
  630. >How... unexpected.
  631. >Sure, technically that’s what you were trying to do.
  632. >But you never /really/ expect to actually land a hit!
  633. >Mare, she must have been deep in thought about something.
  634. >You’re never able to catch her off guard like that.
  635. “Haha, Gotcha!”
  636. >”Stars above, did you have to go for the muzzle Astral?”
  637. “Of course! If I don’t keep you on your hooftips, who will?”
  638. >You canter over and give her a slap on the back.
  639. ”Now what’s on your mind?”
  640. >”What?”
  641. “Oh come on Pike, you know I never would have been able to nail you like that if you weren’t supremely distracted.”
  642. >You give her a second to roll her eyes and grudgingly acquiesce.
  643. “Don’t tell me you’re still thinking about that stallion from the bar?”
  644. >The scrunching of her face is all the confirmation you need.
  645. “He seemed pretty into it when you left last night. What, did you get a case of whiskey cunt at the last minute?”
  646.  
  647. >You are back to being Nocturnal Pike.
  648. >And old Astral’s really putting you through the ringer here.
  649. “Pfffft, don’t be an idiot. Of course not.”
  650. >”Come on Pike, it’s nothing to be ashamed of! The amount of drinks you pounded? Any mare would have a tough time getting it flowin’ after that.”
  651. >Oh that’s how it’s going to be.
  652. >A devilish smile crosses your face.
  653. “Gee Astral, you sure seem interested in my cunt all of the sudden. Discover something about yourself while I was away, you dyke?”
  654. >”Ha! You wish, you fruitbat! Everypony knows all those stallions you bed are just for show!”
  655. >The two of you share a hearty laugh at that, the kind of laugh only best friends can.
  656. >And score! Questions dodged!
  657. >You return Astral’s previous slap on the back.
  658. [spoiler]>It’s more like a slap on the side though, your forelegs don’t reach that far.[/spoiler]
  659. “Alright, quit your lollygaggin’ fall-in’s in only a few minutes. Start gathering the others, and make sure the Rookie hasn’t started communing with the stars back there.”
  660. >You cast your attention back to said Rookie.
  661. >You originally saw her when you walked in.
  662. >You’re also pretty sure you saw her foaming a little at the mouth.
  663. >Geeze she’s really stressed out about this.
  664. >You feel kind of bad, but not bad enough to change the patrols you’re about to give her.
  665. >Turning your attention back to your number two, she gives you a mock salute and a grin.
  666. >”Aye aye, ma’am.”
  667.  
  668. >You are still Nocturnal Pike, about thirty minutes later.
  669. >Fall-in had passed without incident, and before long things fell into routine.
  670. >Specifically, a training routine!
  671. >Today your squad was out in the yard, and workin’ hard!
  672. >Technically, you should be distributing patrol schedules right now, but Stable Sepulcher needed some extra time to get her day squads’ assignments sorted.
  673. >You figured you’d give it to her. Seeing as both her AND one of her squad-mares had babies on the way.
  674. >You wouldn’t envy scheduling around one maternity leave, much less one PLUS your own!
  675. >And since the evening transition shift is all about “cooperation and camaraderie between the day guard and night guard” yadda yadda yadda...
  676. >You figured you’d throw her a proverbial bone and let her have the extra time.
  677. >But all that is for later.
  678. >As right now all that you and your squad should be focusing on is honing your bodies into the razor sharp blades they could be!
  679. >So here the eleven of you were, going about various exercises in the night guard training yard.
  680. >And sure, you could spend the time going around individually micromanaging all of their workouts
  681. >But generally you trust them to do what they need to do, and as such leave them to it.
  682. >So, your plans were spending the evening wailing on a training dummy, as you were oft to do.
  683. >Roll between the legs, kick off into the air, dive onto their back, and strike between the shoulders!
  684. >It’s a move you’ve been working on for a while now.
  685. >Ideally it would be the perfect technique to takedown opponents sufficiently larger than yourself(in fact, this would work perfectly on somepony Anon sized).
  686. >With the basic idea to catch them off guard with the roll, and then strike their back before they could create any sort of defense against your aerial assault.
  687. >You’re getting it pretty consistently, but not consistently enough that you’d try it out during sparring or, Luna forbid, a real life attack on the castle.
  688. >So here you are, drilling it into muscle memory.
  689. >Roll, jump, dive, strike.
  690. >Roll, jump, dive, strike.
  691. >Ha! Take that! You told ‘em you weren’t a midget! You’re a whole two inches taller than a midget!
  692. >Roll, jump, dive, strike!
  693. >POW! That’ll teach ‘er to call you a marelet!!
  694. >Roll, jump, dive, strike!
  695. [spoiler]>You're not a weak little filly just cuz you like being snuggled into Anon! You're NOT![/spoiler]
  696. >Roll, jump, dive, strike!
  697. >”PIKE!”
  698. >You skid to a stop halfway through a roll.
  699. ”What Astral!? Can’t you see I’m...”
  700. >Having your concentration broken has allowed you to finally notice the sun is about to pass under the horizon.
  701. >Also that you and Astral are the only ponies still in the yard.
  702. >Which can only mean several hours have already passed.
  703. >”Luna’s teats, Pike. I’ve been calling your name for five minutes.”
  704. >She points to the entrance to the mess hall.
  705. >”Lunch bell.”
  706. >Technically it’s the breakfast bell, but to you evening shifters, it’s the de facto lunch bell.
  707. “Really? Thanks, *phew* definitely got a little too in the zone there.”
  708. >”That’s what I’m here for.”
  709.  
  710. >You are still Nocturnal Pike.
  711. >And you and the mares have sat down for a “fine” meal.
  712. >Some tripe that the mess sergeant was trying to pass off as moth hash, plus some over-steamed greens, and a bit of mango.
  713. >And filly are you thanking the stars above for that mango.
  714. >Despite the sub-par meal, the mares seem to be in good spirits.
  715. >Everypony’s crammed into one table and telling the tales of what shenanigans they got up to on their time off.
  716. >”So I just got done telling my coltfriend that he shouldn’t have to pay, when this shaved head, neon stallion runs up to our table and starts screaming at me how, and I quote, ‘You’re just a pawn of the matriarchy! You bigot! He can pay as much as he wants to!’ And my coltfriend, bless his heart, just says, ‘No, it’s alright. She can pay.’ Ha! I thought that stallion’s head was going to explode!”
  717. >”That’s insane.”
  718. >”Bucking stallionists, unbelievable.”
  719. >“Hey, speaking of neon stallions.”
  720. >Arg! And here you were hoping everyone would forget.
  721. >As much as you want to glare daggers at the mare who brought it up, you resist.
  722. >Buck you, Cloak N. Dagger!
  723. > “I’m surprised you haven’t regaled us with a tale of your night after you left the bar, Sarge.”
  724. >Trying not to look as sheepish as you feel, you put on your best indifferent face, and shrug.
  725. “Not much to tell.”
  726. >Somepony, who you’re pretty sure is Night Sky, shouts from the back end of the table:
  727. >”That’s never stopped you before!”
  728. >And while the table starts laughing, your gears are busy turning.
  729. “Ohhhh, go buck yourself, Sky!”
  730. >”Come on Pike, did you at least do your signature move on him?”
  731. >Oh, you prepared for this one!
  732. “Of course, I stuck the landing and he was out as soon as we hit the sheets!”
  733. >Which technically wasn’t untrue!
  734. >You did fall asleep shortly after hitting the sheets.
  735. [spoiler]>Nestled in his forelegs[/spoiler]
  736. >This, of course, is a cause for cheers and laughter.
  737. >”Haha! Alright Pike!”
  738. >”On top of ‘em as always!”
  739. >”You even bother to remember his address?”
  740. >You prepared this one too!
  741. >Sliding into the most nonchalant pose you can, you respond with as much indifference as ponily possible.
  742. “Well, he certainly made sure I had it!”
  743. >As the table erupts into another round of chortling congratulations, you feel a sense of pride.
  744. >Crisis averted, image preserved!
  745. >But as you sit in your seat feeling smug, you fail to notice the look of deep suspicion Astral Blade affixes at you, before she quickly hides it away.
  746. >As the laughing dies down, the table lapses into a brief silence.
  747. >A silence which some other mare takes advantage of to launch into a story about an awkward encounter she had with a Cadenzian missionary.
  748. >So you take the opportunity to return to your meal.
  749. >Mmmmmmmmm mmmmmmmmmmm.
  750. >Gotta love mango.
  751.  
  752. >You are still Nocturnal Pike.
  753. >And after consuming the edible parts of your meals, you and your squad are departing the mess.
  754. >They’ve all been directed to go to the conference room where...
  755. >HEY WHAT THE BUCK!
  756. >SOMEPONY JUST PICKED YOU UP!
  757. >YOU’RE BEING MAREHANDLED!!!!
  758. >In your blinding rage you don’t even notice being pulled down a hallway and into a side room.
  759. >After all, WHO WOULD POSSIBLY HAVE THE AUDACITY TO—
  760. >”Alright Pike, calm down.”
  761. >ASTRAL BLADE!?
  762. “ASTRAL YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I HATE BEING MAREHANDLED!”
  763. >”Yes I do. But I also know when you’re dodging questions, Pike.”
  764. >Uh oh.
  765. >Your rage evaporates, replaced by cold dread.
  766. “I-I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
  767. >She affixes you with her sternest gaze.
  768. >”Pike, I’ve known you since basic. And I know when you don't want to answer something, you just whip out some horseapples. And those were some grade-A horseapples."
  769. >Buck, she’s right and she knows it.
  770. >You don’t say anything, but she knows you well enough to know your silence is acquiescence.
  771. >”And in all of the time that I've known you, I've NEVER seen you shy away from bragging about bucking some colt. And to top it all off something's clearly been bothering you all day. So quit being a bastard and tell me what's going on."
  772. >This is horrible.
  773. >This is it.
  774. >This is the night Astral Blade’s respect for you dies.
  775. “I-its... *sigh* Alright, I admit it. I didn't buck him. We just hung out at my place... and snuggled.. and I-I-I-I... I have another date with him tomorrow...”
  776. >Oh Luna this is so embarrassing!
  777. >You immediately throw your head into your hooves.
  778. >”So you... what, just had a good, non-sexual time with a stallion? That’s it?”
  779. >Oh stars above!
  780. “Yes of course that’s it!”
  781. >Oh here it comes...
  782. >Thisiswhenshecallsyouaworthlessexcuseofamareand-
  783. >”Pike that’s great!”
  784. >A slap right on the back breaks you out of your panicked spiral.
  785. >What.
  786. “What.”
  787. >”I mean, here I was starting to think you’d subsist off one night stands forever! Mare, I’m really happy for you.”
  788. >WHAT.
  789. >She puts her hoof reassuringly on your shoulder.
  790. >”Come on Pike, I know your shtick is to be the ‘macho mare’ but no pony’s going to think less of you for finding a stallion you really like and trying to woo him! ESPECIALLY if he's so single he's hanging out at a bar. I mean, that's a one way ticket to being an alpha!"
  791. “Of-of course!”
  792. >Damn right you're going to be his alpha!
  793. >”Tartarus, the only reason I’d start to think less of you for something like that was if the stallion you started seeing /was/ willing to buck after just one night in a bar.”
  794. >You.. You can’t believe it, you had nothing to worry about this whole time.
  795. >”I mean, dating a slut? I’d be worried you lost your mind!”
  796. “Thanks Astral.”
  797. >She gives you a beaming grin.
  798. >”Don’t mention it.”
  799. >You smile contentedly and give a little chuckle.
  800. >Luna’s teats, did Anon being such a janefilly turn you into a stallion?
  801. >You can’t believe you let yourself get so worked over nothi-
  802. >“Besides, you just hung out and snuggled. It’s not like you spent the night as his little spoon or something like that.”
  803. >Through sheer force of will, you keep your smile from falling off your face.
  804. >”Could you imagine! Hahaha! You being the little spoon? Oh mare, now that would be /actually/ embarrassing.”
  805. “Haha, yeah. T-totally humiliating!”
  806. >Come on, hold out poker face.
  807. >”Listen, I understand if you don’t want the squad knowing about this. Don’t want to compromise your whole ‘mare’s mare’ image by having a coltfriend, right? I get it, so don’t worry. I’ll keep it on the DL.”
  808. >Phew, at least you’ve got Astral's support [spoiler]kind of.[/spoiler]
  809. “Thanks, you’re doing me a huge favor Astral.”
  810. >”Hey, what are sisters for?”
  811. >You let out a sigh of (semi)relief.
  812. ”Alright, enough of this colty gossip. We need to get going. Sepulcher’s probably already in the conference room and wondering where in Tartarus I am.”
  813. >”Fine, but before we go, this stallion of yours got a name?”
  814. >As you think back to him, you can't help but feel the genuineness return to your smile.
  815. “Anonymous.”
  816.  
  817. DAWN OF THE DATE
  818.  
  819. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and you’re awake earlier than you’re used to.
  820. >But you’re taking no chances today! No ma’am!
  821. >Waking up bright and early at 9 am, you were going to make sure you were on time!
  822. >Which, looking back on it, was a /little/ excessive.
  823. >As it stands, you’re just sort of waiting around until it’s time to leave.
  824. >You’re not a stallion after all—it doesn’t take you that long to get ready.
  825. >It’s not even like you were going anywhere that required excessive preparation, it’s just Burger Princess.
  826. >But speaking of excessive preparation, you smile as you imagine what Anon must be doing right about now.
  827. >Sifting through his closet for the perfect outfit, spraying himself down with cologne, desperately trying to perfect his mane...
  828. >Wait.
  829. >Actually, on second thought,
  830. >That’d probably be true if it were any other stallion.
  831. >But Anon?
  832. >Nah.
  833. >Honestly... he’s probably doing the exact same things you did.
  834. >Now, that makes you chuckle.
  835. >A stallion not taking an hour to get ready?
  836. >That’s something you wish you could see with your own eyes.
  837. >You know, if you concentrate hard enough, you feel like you can /almost/ see what he’s doing riiiight now...
  838.  
  839. >You are Anonymous the unicorn.
  840. >And easy does it...
  841. >Steady...
  842. >Steady...
  843. >Annnnnnnnnnnnd
  844. >*Snap*
  845. >”Hey! Was that a camera!?”
  846. >Score!
  847. >You deactivate your magical hands and allow the camera you were holding to fall right back into your saddlebags.
  848. >It’s a technique you’ve been mastering to get stealthy photos when holding the camera with your hooves isn’t really an option.
  849. >Like, for example, when the subjects you’re trying to photograph are on the other side of a massive wall that they would obviously notice you climbing.
  850. >Like they are right now.
  851. >”Find that photographer and get her!”
  852. >Oop, looks like your unwitting subject’s mad as hell.
  853. >You’re only just outside her property on a public path, so it won’t take long for her guards to arrive.
  854. >Time for the getaway!
  855. >Long since realizing the best way to escape was not, in fact, to immediately start running, you instead ready your act.
  856. >Step one, wait until you can hear that the guards are close (like you do right now)!
  857. >And then step two:
  858. “AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHHH”
  859. >You throw yourself to the ground as hard as you can!
  860. >The two guards, having heard the cry and now having gotten close enough to see you lying on the ground, come rushing over.
  861. >Eventually they get over to where you’re lying, faces filled with (probably genuine) concern as they stand over you.
  862. >”Sweet Celestia, are you ok sir?”
  863. >Now for the killing blow! Put on your weepiest face!
  864. “Ow, y-yes I think. Some crazy mare with a camera just bowled me over!”
  865. >”A crazy mare?”
  866. >”With a camera?”
  867. >The two share a look, undoubtedly thinking they just hit the jackpot.
  868. >”Don’t worry sir, we’re after that mare right now. Did you happen to see where she went after she hit you?”
  869. “I think...”
  870. >You point your hoof in the opposite direction you’re going.
  871. “That way!”
  872. >The two of them give you reassuring smiles, as the one on the left says:
  873. >”Thank you so much sir, would you like my partner to stay with you, or do you think you’ll be alright?”
  874. “N-no I think I’ll be fine. Thank you.”
  875. >At that, the guards share a wordless look and take off in the direction you pointed.
  876. >Ha! Suckers.
  877. >They’ll be chasing that “lead” for a while, you have no doubt.
  878. >No reason that sexism can’t work to your advantage! Not once have they ever suspected the “poor injured stallion” was the one they were looking for.
  879. >No matter how many times you’ve done it, no matter where it is, they always fall for it.
  880. >Probably always will.
  881. >So, seeing as how you’re now out of danger, you stand up, brush yourself off, and pull open your saddlebag to retrieve your camera.
  882. >Looks like it already spit out the photo while it was safely packed away.
  883. >Thankfully, it’s just like those old polaroids from back home.
  884. >All you have to do is shake the photo and you’ll see if you got what you needed.
  885. >Aaaaaaaaaaaaand
  886. >YES!
  887. >Upper Crust mid meeting with the griffon delegation!
  888. >It appears your sources were spot on, again.
  889. >It’s odd that they give you such consistently great information, considering all you pay them in is pictures of your hooves.
  890. >But you’re certainly not complaining!
  891. >Without them you’d never find things like this!
  892. >Evidence that Upper Crust, owner of one of the largest foundries in Equestria, is having clandestine meetings with the leaders of the currently trade embargoed Griffon Kingdom.
  893. >This would be big news if it wasn’t about to be published under ‘gossip’!
  894. >Oh well, at least that’s the same reason no one ever comes after you for stories like these.
  895. >So stashing your photo back in your bag, you pick up the pace back to your place.
  896. >With your work accomplished for the day, you’ve got a commitment to keep, and an errand to run.
  897.  
  898. >Several hours have now passed.
  899. >And you are ready and underway!
  900. >Thankfully the place Pike picked out is easy to find.
  901. >’Princess Burger’, supposedly the best fast food in Canterlot.
  902. >You know the vegetarian ponies would never serve REAL burgers, so you’ve been avoiding it so far.
  903. >But when Pike asked if you wanted to go, you figured it was high time you at least give it a try.
  904. >It’s not like it could hurt you.
  905. >Unlike the ground chicken you bought from that Griffon.
  906. >Now that fucking hurt you.
  907. >You internally cringe at the memory of the day you spent vomiting into a toilet.
  908. >And that was how you learned you needed to rethink your entire diet.
  909. >Despite that however, you’ve, so far, avoided eating hay on principle.
  910. >You were alright with flowers, but hay is for horses god damn it!
  911. >But as you approach Princess Burger’s “Home of the Celestial Hayburger” sign, you fear that might be about to come to an end.
  912. >And look, right under that sign, it’s Pike!
  913. >Awwww and she’s doing a little dance with her hooves!
  914. >Now that’s cute.
  915.  
  916. >You are Nocturnal Pike.
  917. >And you certainly are not so nervous you’re going trotting in place.
  918. >Nope.
  919. >Absolutely not.
  920. >What would you even be nervous about?
  921. >It’s not like this is your first /actual/ date in years or anything.
  922. >And it’s not like getting here way too early allowed your imagination to dream up all kinds of horrible scenarios or anything.
  923. >After all, there’s no way in tartarus he’d stand you up.
  924. >Nu uh.
  925. >No way.
  926. >”Hey Pike!”
  927. >Oh thank Luna, there he is!
  928. >You beam brightly and wave at the approaching stallion.
  929. >As he waves back, he calls out to you:
  930. >”That was a cute little dance you were doing!”
  931. [spoiler]>Ohnohesawyournevoustrot[/spoiler]
  932. “Hey! It’s not cute!”
  933.  
  934. >You are back to being Anon.
  935. >And Pike is sporting the biggest pout you’ve ever seen, so fittingly, you respond with a big cheshire grin.
  936. “If you say so.”
  937. >She huffs.
  938. >”I just had Songbird’s newest song stuck in my head is all.”
  939. >You’re admittedly still pretty rough on pony body language, but you’re pretty sure that wasn’t the kind of dance someone does to a tune.
  940. >But you let it rest for now, gotta save some ribbing material for later.
  941. “Alright, alright. Let’s go get ourselves some grub.”
  942. >Her pout vanishes at that, and she gestures for you to follow her with her wing.
  943. >As the two of you walk in the establishment’s front door, you’re immediately struck by something.
  944. >It... actually smells great!
  945. >It’s a weird combination of sweet, sweet fried goodness and something else you couldn’t quite place.
  946. >Speaking of places, you take a look at the interior of the one you’re in right now.
  947. >It’s clearly higher in quality than what you’d expect from a place that’s name is seemingly analogous to “Burger King.”
  948. >Looks like your order at a counter and then they bring it to your table.
  949. >Oops, while you were busy gawking Pike seems to have already walked up to the counter.
  950. >Better get over there slowpoke!
  951. >”I’ll take a number two with extra daybreak sauce, and a side of princess fries.”
  952. >As the unicorn turns her attention to you, you’re surprised to see far more genuine cheer than you’d ever get out a food service worker back home.
  953. >”Alright, and what can we get for you sir?”
  954. >Hmmmmmmmm.
  955. >Taking a look at the menu it’s more or less what you expected.
  956. >No meat in sight, just hay related products and other such things.
  957. >Hey, at least they’ve got onion rings!
  958. >And... a filet o’ fish?!
  959. >Score! Another day of putting off hay!
  960. >You didn’t even know ponies could eat fish.
  961. >But it doesn’t have one of those ‘carnivore options’ asterisks by it, so it’s probably fine.
  962. >You hope.
  963. “I’ll have a double order of onion rings... and a filet o’ fish, please.”
  964. >”Sounds good, that brings your total up to... sixteen bits.”
  965. >As you turn your head to reach for the bits in your saddlebags, you and Pike’s eyes meet.
  966. >Clearly realizing what you’re trying to do, her eyes narrow.
  967. >You’re not letting a gi-mare pay for your food god damn it!
  968. >As fast as you can, your magic hands whip open your saddlebags-
  969. >”Here you go!”
  970. >Fuck.
  971. >By the time you’ve grabbed your coin purse, Pike’s already got the bits ready in her outstretched wing.
  972. >As she holds said bits out, she looks you in the eyes and affixes you with the smuggest look you’ve ever seen.
  973. >”Gotcha.”
  974. >Curses! You win this round Pike!
  975. >*Ahem*
  976. >The sound of a throat clearing brings your attention back to the very confused cashier.
  977. >As she takes the bits with her magic she hands Pike a receipt and a plastic number.
  978. >”Th-thank you ma’am. Have a nice day.”
  979. >Pike doesn’t even look at the unicorn as she grabs it, electing instead to continue gazing at you with pure smug.
  980. >”Thanks, you too.”
  981.  
  982. >Finding a decent table, (with especially high chairs) the two of you sit down and promptly begin chatting.
  983. >A task Pike takes to with barely contained mirth.
  984. >”Pffffft, hahahaha. I cannot believe you were going to try to pay for my food.”
  985. “Wha- Why not? A stallion always pays for his mare’s food!”
  986. >”Oh come on Anon, that’s not true and you know it!”
  987. >She’s right, you do know it.
  988. >But that doesn’t mean you like it!
  989. “*Harrumph* Well, that’s how my dad raised me, so that’s how I am.”
  990. >This gets another chuckle out of her.
  991. >”Well, /my/ mom told me that a mare should always pay for a stallion’s food, so it seems I’ll be paying as long as I can beat you to the draw.”
  992. >You grin at that.
  993. “Keywords being: as long as you can beat me.”
  994. >Before she can reply, the unicorn from before arrives with your food.
  995. >Nice, it smells great.
  996. >And, as you take your first bite, you discover that it also tastes great!
  997. >So it doesn’t take long before you’re fully chowing down on your fried fish sammy.
  998. >But as you do, you feel the distinct feeling of eyes on you.
  999. >Slightly adjusting your gaze, you see those eyes are Pike’s, giving you a look you can’t quite place.
  1000. “What’s up?”
  1001.  
  1002. “Eh, it’s nothing.”
  1003. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and it really was nothing worth mentioning.
  1004. >It’s just that, as Anon eats... there’s something about it.
  1005. >For some reason you can’t help but be reminded of when those griffon diplomats had dinner with the princess, and you had to guard the dining room.
  1006. >Odd.
  1007. >But, speaking of odd:
  1008. “Isn’t fish typically a pegasus thing?”
  1009. >Anon stops mid-bite at that, surprisingly he looks shocked you asked.
  1010. >”Uhhhh, what do you mean?”
  1011. “I’ve just never seen a unicorn eat fish before,”
  1012. >Which isn’t untrue.
  1013. >The only ponies you’ve ever seen order and consume fish are pegasi, even then it’s usually only pegasi from the coast.
  1014. >Heck, you didn’t even know unicorns could even actually /eat/ fish.
  1015. >But here Anon is, chowing down on a fillet.
  1016. >”Oh really? Huh, peo-ponies ate it all the time back home. Guess I never really gave it much thought.”
  1017. >Hm, maybe he grew up in one of those very coastal towns?
  1018. >In fact, you ought to ask him.
  1019. >But sadly, before you can, he beats you to the punch.
  1020. >”Say Pike, speaking of home, you’re also not a Canterlot native right? Where did you come from?”
  1021. “Baltimare”
  1022. >Ahhhhh Baltimare, you smile at the memories.
  1023. “I grew up on the north side, in a small Thestral neighborhood…”
  1024. >Heh, NEIGHborhood.
  1025. “With my dad, mom, and three herd moms.”
  1026. >He looks surprised at that.
  1027. >But why? Sure that’s a little above average, but not by much.
  1028. >”...four moms? Man, bet you had a lot of siblings then.”
  1029. ”Ha! I’d certainly call ten siblings ‘a lot’.”
  1030. >At that, Anon’s eyes look like they're about to jump out of his head.
  1031. >”TEN!?”
  1032. >You puff out your chest and strike your best effort at a dignified pose.
  1033. “Yes indeed, I’ll have you know, we Orthadox Luna Thestrals pride ourselves on our large families.”
  1034. >Even though he’s obviously still reeling at the idea of that many siblings, that gets a chuckle out of him.
  1035. >”No kidding. Wow, I can’t even imagine what that would be like.”
  1036. “It was /only/ three brothers and seven sisters.”
  1037. >” ‘Only seven sisters’ HA!”
  1038. “Well how many did you have?”
  1039. >”One!”
  1040. >WHAT!?
  1041. >Now it’s your turn to have your eyes bug out of your head.
  1042. “One what!?”
  1043. >Your reaction turns his chuckles into full out laughing.
  1044. >”One sister!”
  1045. >You almost can’t believe what you're hearing!
  1046. “Where did you grow up, the Crystal Empire!?”
  1047. >”Nnnnnnnnnnope! Hahahahaaaaa!”
  1048. >You think you can see tears in his eyes, he’s laughing so hard.
  1049. >”Oh man, the look on your face!”
  1050. >Your face scrunches at that.
  1051. “Yeah cuz it’s weird, you weirdo!”
  1052. >That just makes him laugh harder.
  1053. >”Ohhhhhh, oh lord, hahaaaa.”
  1054. >Through the haze of his laughing he reaches out for another onion ring, only to realize they’re all gone.
  1055. >In fact, by now both of you have long finished your meals.
  1056. >As his laughs fade away, he points toward the exit.
  1057. >”Say... you ready to head out? I have a little something something we can do at my place. Just got it today in fact.”
  1058. >Oh my.
  1059. >Disregard those lewd thoughts, Pike!
  1060. >”Oh? What?”
  1061. >He just smiles mischievously.
  1062. >”C’mon, I’ll show you when we get there.”
  1063.  
  1064. >The walk to Anon’s place was relatively uneventful, idle chat filling the time as you walked.
  1065. >Though, as you get further and further away from Princess Burger, you come to realize just how little this colt is getting paid.
  1066. >Mare, all the way past Sun Street?
  1067. >His boss must practically be robbing him!
  1068. >However, the long walk only gives you time to realize the two of you left the restaurant before you could ask him about where he grew up.
  1069. >And any subsequent attempts you’ve made since then to get it out of him, have been met with him changing the subject without really answering.
  1070. >You suppose it’s not a big deal though.
  1071. >After all, colts do love their secrets.
  1072. >You’re sure you’ll get it out of him eventually, though.
  1073. >As the only thing a colt loves more than a secret, is spilling it.
  1074. >Regardless of all that, eventually you arrive at Anon’s building and take the stairs up to his self proclaimed “bachelor pad”.
  1075. >And as he opens the door and beckons you inside, you take a look around.
  1076. >It’s a decent size, clearly a benefit of its location.
  1077. >But as you proceed to take a seat on his couch, you notice something odd.
  1078. >It’s incredibly sparsely decorated.
  1079. >No pictures of family, no knick knacks, and seemingly nothing originating from his old home.
  1080. >In fact, by the looks of it, his possessions only include an old crystal tv and some movies.
  1081. >You’ve never seen a stallion’s place with so little in it.
  1082. >Before you can ruminate on that further however, you hear him call.
  1083. >”By the way, Pike?”
  1084. >You attempt to turn your attention to Anon, only to see that you cannot actually see him, as he’s currently in his bedroom looking for something.
  1085. >”Do you mind if I take this off?”
  1086. >What does he mean, take what off?
  1087. >The only thing he’s wearing is...
  1088. >Is...
  1089. >”It just makes me so uncomfortable. It’s fine if you’d rather I keep it on but-”
  1090. “Nonono don’t suffer for my account Anon, by all means.”
  1091. >He sighs in relief from the other room.
  1092. >”Thank God, you’re the best Pike.”
  1093. >Oh no Anon, thank you.
  1094. >You feel a sense of giddy anticipation at the sound of fabric hitting the floor.
  1095. >”So anyways check this out...”
  1096. >Whatever Anon was saying fades out of your perception as he walks back into the room.
  1097. >Whatever he’s carrying in his magic can wait.
  1098. >Cuz, the only thing holding your attention are the now pendulous (F CUP!!) balls swinging between his legs.
  1099. >They’re mesmerizing.
  1100. [spoiler]>He could walk right over top of you and they’d smack you squarely in the face... you wouldn’t even be able to see around them...[/spoiler]
  1101. >Wait, no. Get it together Pike!
  1102. >Anon trusts you enough that he assumed you wouldn’t rape him with your eyes!
  1103. >And Luna damn it, you’re not letting him down!
  1104. >So with an immeasurable effort of willpower, you tear your eyes away from his balls and back to his face, allowing his voice to fade back in as you do.
  1105. >”...sure it’s localized differently, but I’m certain this is the same game me and my friends used to play all the time.”
  1106. >It’s around then you realized the thing he brought in with him is a board game.
  1107. “Oh yeah? What’s it called?”
  1108. >”XPONI: Enemy Unknown. I know it looks like a lot, but once you’re into it, it’s so thrilling it’ll shave years off your life!”
  1109. >You suppress a grimace as you take the box from Anon.
  1110. >You’ve never really been one for board games, too nerdy for your tastes.
  1111. >But... Anon seems really excited to play it.
  1112. >After all, you’re pretty sure he didn’t stop beaming the entire time he was talking about it.
  1113. >So might as well give it a shot, how bad can it be?
  1114.  
  1115. >You now find yourself after some of the most intense hours of your life.
  1116. >You’ve been on the same game for two hours.
  1117. >But you don’t mind because you’re SO CLOSE TO BEATING THOSE ALIEN BITCHES!
  1118. >”Come on Pike! We need to beat the final mission this turn or we’re fucked!”
  1119. >Buck buck buck!
  1120. “I know Anon, but we have no money! I could only afford these three troops!”
  1121. >You turn your attention to the board.
  1122. >Resting on the final mission are only a sniper, support, and a heavy.
  1123. >It’s enough to complete all the mission objectives, but only just.
  1124. >And if you can’t finish the mission this turn, Griffonstone will drop out of the coalition!
  1125. >Seeing as how you’ve already lost Yakyakistan, losing another kingdom will mean game over!
  1126. >So you cast your gaze to the die in your hooves, the three blue die that will decide the fate of the world.
  1127. >It’s paramount you get three successes, one on each die.
  1128. >Anything less, and the mission fails.
  1129. >So shaking the die with all your might, you pray to lord luck...
  1130. >Come on!
  1131. >Annnnnnnd toss!
  1132. >As you and Anon watch with bated breath, the dice arc through the air.
  1133. >Touchdown!
  1134. >As they roll to a stop you see...
  1135. >Two successes, YES!
  1136. >And...
  1137. “ONE FAILURE! BUCK! LUNA DAMN IT!”
  1138. >The troops are dead, the turn is over, AND THOSE ALIENS WON!
  1139. >As you prepare to flip the board in a fit of marely rage, Anon calls out to you.
  1140. >”WAIT! I have a card that lets you reroll a fail!”
  1141. >As you look over to his side of the board, sure enough he acquired a card (technically the game calls it ‘equipment’, but you’re calling it what it is, a card) that will let you reroll the failing die..
  1142. “Use it use it use it!”
  1143. >He turns the card to its side.
  1144. >”Alright, GO!”
  1145. >Reaching out, you reacquire that blue die and prepare for the next roll.
  1146. >You just need one more success...
  1147. >C’mooooooooon.
  1148. *Toss*
  1149. >You hold your breath as the clatter of the dice reaches your ears.
  1150. >Aaaaaaaaaaand...
  1151. “SUCCESS! YES!”
  1152. >Anon jumps into the air, cheering.
  1153. >”FUCK YEAH!”
  1154. >Final mission complete!? ALIENS BEAT!
  1155. >You pump your hoof in the air.
  1156. “GET OFF OUR PLANET!”
  1157. >With a satisfied smile on your face, you reach for the ‘You Win’ placard: ready to- hey what the!?
  1158. >Before you can do anything about it, Anon has rapped his forelegs around you and hoisted you up.
  1159. >Now he’s twirling around on his hindlegs, taking you with him.
  1160. >”Wooo hooooooo!”
  1161. “Anon wait! You’re gonna-”
  1162. >Before you can even finish your warning, you reach the expected outcome of a pony trying to dance around on their hind legs.
  1163. >Anon falls right on his back.
  1164. [spoiler]Squeezing you tightly against his barrel as he does. EEEEEEEEE![/spoiler]
  1165. >”OOOOF”
  1166. >As he touches down, you’re hit with a massive wave of worry.
  1167. “Sweet Luna, Anon are you ok???”
  1168. >With one hoof still clutching you to his chest, and another rubbing the spot where he obviously bumped his head, he just smiles.
  1169. >”Pffft, I’m fine. *Phew*, I forgot what a rush that game was.”
  1170. >He’s right, you certainly were into it by the end there.
  1171. “Yeah, it was a good time. Good choice Anon.”
  1172. >However, as good a time as it was there’s something you need to address.
  1173. >Hardening your gaze, you give him a quick, light, boop on the snoot.
  1174. >”Wha-hey!”
  1175. >As his eyes cross you let him have it.
  1176. “Next time you’ve got to keep your whimsey under control!”
  1177. >As you continue something not quite marely slips into your voice.
  1178. “You could have really hurt yourself...”
  1179. >He just smiles and pats you on the head.
  1180. >”Oh come on Pike, I’m a big strong stallion, you don’t need to worry about me.”
  1181. >Allowing your gaze to slack, you rest your head on his chest.
  1182. “Big and strong or not...”
  1183. >You give a much gentler and more playful boop.
  1184. “A mare’s job is to keep her stallion out of trouble.”
  1185. >At that, his face lights up.
  1186. >”Oho, I guess then, that makes you...”
  1187. >In a surprise twist, he boops you!
  1188. >”/My/ mare.”
  1189. >Without giving him a second to think, you boop him back.
  1190. “Guess it does.”
  1191. >The two of you don’t even bother to get up, both just laying there, you on top of him, laughing and booping each other.
  1192. >It’s a good way to spend the hours before your shift.
  1193. >It’s... nice.
  1194. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and you find the months passing by.
  1195. >Since you met Anon, Autumn has turned into Winter, and the two of you found yourselves in a comfortable routine.
  1196. >A routine you find is being shaken up as you set down the box you’ve been carrying, lovingly labeled ‘dumb shit’.
  1197. >If you had read that a few months ago, you’d have no idea what that meant or what was in it.
  1198. >But after spending so much time with Anon, you feel like you’ve started to really understand his weird accent.
  1199. >’Shit’ roughly translating to ‘horseapples’.
  1200. >As for what he’d pack as ‘dumb horseapples’? You’d put your bits on this box being full of ball bras.
  1201. >Mare, he really doesn’t like those things.
  1202. >Turning to the other boxes, you see the rest of what Anon has deemed “his essentials.:
  1203. >All in all, it’s far less than what you’d expect a stallion to pack, but not less than you’d expect Anon to pack.
  1204. >Only a few toiletries, some board games, those bras, and a relatively light box labeled ‘clothes’.
  1205. >Oh! And, can’t forget about his work stuff.
  1206. >Which, since you just heard your door close, he probably just brought up.
  1207. >Turning around to look at him, you can see the strain on his face as he hoists the box carrying what must be dozens of pages of notes, his camera, and his typewriter.
  1208. >As he drops the box on the counter (probably not as gently as he should) he sighs with relief.
  1209. >”Thanks again for letting me stay here, Pike.”
  1210. “Of course, what else am I supposed to do? Let my coltfriend freeze to death in his own apartment?”
  1211. >He lets out a soul expelling sigh at that.
  1212. >”Then you’re a better mare than my landlady. Un-fucking-believeable, I bet that rat bitch would let her own husband freeze for a bit.”
  1213. “Pffft, hahaha! Well Anon...”
  1214. >You elbow him in the shin.
  1215. “You certainly got what you paid for, eh?”
  1216. >He rolls his eyes.
  1217. >”Yeah, I really did. I went for a cheaper apartment, and now I’m paying the price. Heh, while she’s paying the price for a new heating system.”
  1218. >Giving him a supporting smile you gesture with your wings to the apartment around you.
  1219. “Well, until the heat returns, be that in your building or in the weather, my home is your home.”
  1220.  
  1221. “Thanks Pike, I really appreciate it.”
  1222. >You are Anonymous the Unicorn.
  1223. >And you may not be showing it, but you were honestly pretty peeved.
  1224. >You ran into a repairmare a few days after it first got really cold in your building.
  1225. >Apparently, the heating system hadn’t been updated, or even maintained, in actual decades!
  1226. >She said they were practically going to need to replace the whole thing.
  1227. >So not only was your rent about to go up so the owner could afford that, but there’s not going to be heat in that building for months!
  1228. >During what weatherponies were calling ‘the coldest Winter since Luna’s return’!
  1229. >So here you were, temporarily moving in with Pike.
  1230. >Normally you’d wait a lot longer before moving in with someone.
  1231. >But your options were:
  1232. >A. Shell out the big bits for a fancy schmancy crystal heater
  1233. >or B. Move in with Pike.
  1234. >And you gladly chose B.
  1235. >Plus, you’re looking forward to being able to spend more time with her.
  1236. >She’s a busy pony after all.
  1237. >And there’s no easier way to spend time with someone than to sleep in the same bed as them!
  1238. >So here you were, unpacking most of your worldly possessions for an extended stay in Pike’s apartment full of comically shortened furniture.
  1239. >Just look at that dresser in her bedroom!
  1240. >If you were standing next to it, you could rest your chin right on top of it!
  1241. >Hey, speaking of bedrooms...
  1242.  
  1243. >“There a good place to put this stuff?”
  1244. >As you, Nocturnal Pike, turn your attention back to Anon, you see he’s pointing to his ‘clothes’ and ball bra boxes.
  1245. >Uhhhhhhhhhhh
  1246. “They should fit in my closet as long as you don’t need to hang /all/ of them up.”
  1247. >”Yeah that’s fine. If I’m being honest: most of these’ll probably never leave their boxes anyhow.”
  1248. >Ha! Leave it to a stallion to pack something he never uses as an ‘essential.’
  1249. >Not that you really mind of course.
  1250. >Turning your attention to the other boxes, you’ve got to figure out where that stuff can go.
  1251. >Hmmmmm, where should you put his typewriter?
  1252. >Well, you suppose the first step is finding a table you didn’t already halve the height of for your convenience.
  1253. >You’d rather not make him spend all that time hunched over like some kind of Diamond Dog.
  1254. >Let’s see. Maybe you could glue the legs back on that old end table...
  1255.  
  1256. >Not long after that, you and Pike have come to the end of getting you all moved in.
  1257. >So to celebrate your moving into this abode (and as a thank you for letting you stay here) you decided to do something special.
  1258. >Indulge the gender roles and cook Pike a nice, homemade meal!
  1259. >With mixed results.
  1260. >”Luna a-*cough*-above Anon what did you do!?”
  1261. “I DON’T KNOW!”
  1262. >Taking in the sight before you, you see what was meant to be a simple veggie stir fry has now transformed into a nightmare.
  1263. >The pan you were using has turned a troubling shade of black and is spewing smoke at an alarming rate.
  1264. >”Anon, you’re supposed to put the olive oil in first!”
  1265. >Your first attempt at an answer is cut off by a coughing fit, with the second try only barely making it out.
  1266. “I *cough* *cough* did!”
  1267. >Turning off the stove, and even pulling the pan off the burner seemingly hasn't stopped the smoke at all.
  1268. >At this rate you might have to flee the goddamn apartment!
  1269. >Just as you’re about to give up hope, suddenly Pike shouts at you:
  1270. >”Quick, open a window!”
  1271. >Immediately turning your head to the living room you spy one.
  1272. "THERE!"
  1273. >Reaching out with your magic you whip it open.
  1274. >Before you can even shout that it’s open, Pike leaps into the air and begins beating her wings.
  1275. >At first you’re not sure what she’s doing, but then you feel it.
  1276. >Each wingbeat creates an air current that begins flowing out the window, slowly but surely taking the smoke with it.
  1277. >So with every beat the air gets clearer, and breathing becomes easier.
  1278. >So much easier that you can let out a little cheer!
  1279. “Go Pike go!”
  1280. >As she continues cleaning the air you telekinetically grab the pan and throw it into the sink.
  1281. >Hopefully drowning this culinary abomination will be what finally puts it out of its misery.
  1282. >Turning on the water, and saying a small prayer, you dunk it in.
  1283. >Success!
  1284. >The smoke flow tapers off, and Pike promptly clears the rest of it out, thereby returning the kitchen to it’s natural order.
  1285. >As Pike comes back down to land beside you, the two of you take some much needed lungfuls of clean air.
  1286. >The respite is nice, but after having a few moments to think, you begin to feel the tinges of shame.
  1287. >Unbelievable, how did you manage to fuck that up?
  1288. >Sure you were never much of a cook back home, but this is a new low.
  1289. >Placing your head in you hooves, you’re unable to muster anything more than a simple:
  1290. >“I just don’t know what went wrong...”
  1291.  
  1292. >Turning your attention away from the bliss of clean air, and over to Anon, you’re treated to a sad sight.
  1293. >Head down, eyes covered with his hooves, pitiable expression on his face.
  1294. >Before you even think twice you’re in full comfort mode.
  1295. >Immediately moving to his side you wrap him in the biggest hug you possibly can.
  1296. [spoiler]Sure your hooves can’t reach all the way around, but it's the thought that counts, Luna damn it![/spoiler]
  1297. >And while you’re sure he’s not about to burst into tears or anything like that (he’s no little bastard) it’s not like you’re gonna turn down the chance to hug your cf.
  1298. >So hug him you shall.
  1299. >And after a few reassuring pats, he pulls his hooves away from his face, showing you the true emotion he was feeling.
  1300. >Pure, distilled, exasperation.
  1301. >”Seriously, you were watching me do that right? All that was in there was oil and veggies.”
  1302. “And yet it almost burned down the building.”
  1303. >”Fuck, yeah I guess it... wait why didn’t the smoke alarm go off?”
  1304. >Figuring the hug had served its purpose, you pull back.
  1305. “Oh that? I pulled the batteries out before you started.”.
  1306. >”What? Why?”
  1307. “Just a hunch.”
  1308. >At first he recoils, looking offended.
  1309. >But slowly his face falls and he lets out a sigh.
  1310. >”Well, damn. I guess you were right.”
  1311. >Oh buck, now you’ve actually got him down.
  1312. >Hoping to salvage the mood, you give him a reassuring slap on the back with your wing.
  1313. “Don’t sweat it! C’mon let’s just get takeout.”
  1314. >He takes a glance out the window, as do you.
  1315. >The snow’s really started to come down.
  1316. >”Is there any place even open at this point? It’s looking like a blizzard out there.”
  1317. “Oh, I know /just/ the place.”
  1318.  
  1319. >A quick jaunt through the snow later, and you and Pike have returned with your meal.
  1320. >A peetzer larger than you’ve ever seen.
  1321. “I didn’t even know they made pizzas this big.”
  1322. >Pike smiles, obviously pleased that her recommendation has impressed you.
  1323. >”I told you, Giorno makes the biggest, and best, pizza’s in Canterlot.”
  1324. “And I’m guessing that Griffon’s the only one who bothers to stock your weird preferred toppings.”
  1325. >Your statement instantly wipes the smile off her face, leaving a look of indignity.
  1326. >”Hey! They aren’t weird!”
  1327. >Placing the extra large pizza box on her living room table, you pop the lid to look at the contents.
  1328. “Pike, I needn’t remind you that your half of the pizza has /mangos/ and /moths/ on it.”
  1329. >”Which are THE most popular toppings for bat ponies!”
  1330. >Your face reflects the incredulity you feel.
  1331. >While it’d be impossible to argue about Thestrals’ love of moths and mangos, you remain unconvinced either of those have any place on a pizza pie.
  1332. >Although, considering how much those ponies love their mangos...
  1333. >Oh right!
  1334. “Speaking of.”
  1335. >”Speaking of what?”
  1336. >Plopping yourself on her couch, you eyeball a brown paper bag you left in her kitchen earlier.
  1337. >In an instant it flies across the room and into your waiting hooves.
  1338. >Go telekinesis!
  1339. “Speaking of mangos.”
  1340. >You pull off the bag to reveal the bottle inside.
  1341. “I got us this!”
  1342. >Handing the bottle to Pike, she takes a moment to read the label.
  1343. >And as she does, her face lights up like a Christmas tree.
  1344. >”’Noctis Vineyard’s: Mango Moscato’!? Anon, you shouldn’t have!”
  1345. >You puff up like a peacock, pleased as punch with yourself.
  1346. “Hey, what kinda guy would I be if I didn’t treat my fillyfriend to a little somethin somethin every once in a while?”
  1347. >”Heh, come on let’s get this baby popped open!”
  1348.  
  1349. >You are Nocturnal Pike, several glasses of wine in.
  1350. >And mare, that’s some strong stuff!
  1351. >At this point you’ve certainly passed ‘tipsy’.
  1352. >You’re not quiiiiite drunk, but you’ve gotten enough wine in you that you’ve started hanging on Anon.
  1353. >So here you were upside down between his forelegs, head on the couch, and tail wrapped around his neck like the world’s fuzziest necktie.
  1354. >”Haha! Hey! That book was right!”
  1355. >You angle your head to look up at the stallion in question.
  1356. “What book?”
  1357. >After a brief look of concentration passes over his face (followed by the sound of something falling over in your bedroom), and a telekinetically suspended book flies into the room.
  1358. >Coming to a stop right by your head, you grab it out of the air and take a look at the cover.
  1359. “The Complete Guide to Intimacy Between All the Pony Tribes.”
  1360. >”Pretty slick right? I got it so I could be a more dutiful coltfriend and all that.”
  1361. >Awww how sweet of him.
  1362. “Anon, you could have just asked me about those types of things.”
  1363. >”Yeah, but reading is fun!”
  1364. >You roll your eyes at the dork before you crack the book open yourself.
  1365. >Let’s see how accurate it /really/ is.
  1366. >Here’s the table of contents...
  1367. >Thestrals on page 45....
  1368. >Ah, there!
  1369. >And after reading the first couple paragraphs, you gotta say...
  1370. “You know, this is actually pretty accurate!”
  1371. >His smile widens just a tad.
  1372. >”I’m glad! That salesmare pitched it to me for TWENTY MINUTES, so it’d better be.”
  1373. >You chuckle and continue to read the chapter.
  1374. “I see the author remembered to include membrane moistening, good detail.”
  1375. >”Pffffft hahahaha!”
  1376. “What?”
  1377. >”Is that seriously what you call it?”
  1378. >You puff out your chest indignantly.
  1379. “Oh? And what would /you/ call it?”
  1380. >”Wing licking.”
  1381. >Your face turns a little red at that.
  1382. “B-but that makes it sound so... so dirty.”
  1383. >Anon, seemily not picking up on your mounting embarrassment, continues unabated.
  1384. >”It just seems silly to give it such an overly long name though. Cuz that’s what it is right? If I was going to ‘moisten your membranes’ that’d just be me running my tongue up and down your wings...”
  1385. >By now your face has turned beet red.
  1386. >Praying he doesn’t notice, you attempt to focus on anything in the room that isn’t what he’s talking about.
  1387. >Unfortunately it is in vain, as he catches sight of you frantically looking away from him.
  1388. >”Oh? Tell me, am I seeing somepony...”
  1389. >He leans in until you can feel his breath on your ear.
  1390. >”Who would like your ‘membranes moistened’ right now?”
  1391. >You can feel your face getting redder.
  1392. “Uh, uh, di-didn’t you read the book? I-it’s something you do at the start of the day, n-not at the end!”
  1393. >Sensing your deflection, he only gives you a sly smile.
  1394. >”What’s the matter? I know you’re a popular mare. What, never had a stallion offer to /lick/ your /wings/ before?”
  1395. >Come on Pike, if you keep letting him get you this flustered you’re going to have to turn in your mare-card!
  1396. “O-of course!”
  1397. >Leaping out from under him, and landing on the other end of the couch, you strike a wings extended, tuft out, mareliest of mares pose.
  1398. “I-I’ll have you know that before I met you, stallions would line up around the block for a chance at these!”
  1399. >You accentuate this point by giving said wings a wiggle.
  1400. >You mean, look at how perfectly maintained they are!
  1401. >Anon seems unimpressed however, and turns his attention back to the book.
  1402. >” ’As the membranes of a Thestral’s wings don’t grow back like pegasus feathers, Thestrals ascribe a great deal more intimacy on allowing others to lick their wings. A Thestral allowing somepony who was just a one night stand to ‘moisten their membranes’, is almost unheard of.’ ”
  1403. >Looking up from the page, he simply affixes you with a smug grin, knowing the passage speaks for itself.
  1404. >Rats! You should have taken the book so he couldn’t call your bluff.
  1405. >Knowing he’s got you beat, you allow your posture to deflate and acquiesce.
  1406. “Yeah ok I haven’t... but ONLY because the book is right! It’s not the kind of thing you do with someone you just took home from the bar! It’s more... i-intimate. R-Really intimate.”
  1407. >”So intimate that just the thought of it is enough to fluster a Trixie Thundercunt like yourself?”
  1408. >Your face lifts a little at that, the compliment alleviating /some/ of the embarrassment.
  1409. >But the fact is, you blushing like a schoolfilly hasn’t exactly got you feeling like a Trixie Thundercunt right now.
  1410. “Y-yeah...”
  1411. >He doesn’t reply to that, only smiles.
  1412. >”Well then,”
  1413. >It's around then you noticed he’s dropped the book, but kept his horn lit.
  1414. >”Let’s see how intimate we get tonight then...”
  1415. >As if to punctuate this statement, two more bottles of wine drift in from the kitchen.
  1416. >And before you can even finish comprehending that, he rapidly scoots across the couch until he can drape his foreleg over your shoulders.
  1417. >As he lays his chin atop your head, the bottles come to rest in your direct field of vision.
  1418. >Wait, those bottles...
  1419. >They’re mango too.
  1420. >Oh mare.
  1421. >The two of you (but mostly you) are about to drink a /lot/ of wine tonight.
  1422. “Anooooon...”
  1423. >”Hey, come ooooooon, you said you didn’t have to go into work tomorrow!”
  1424. >Looking at the bottles, you can feel the sweet mangos within... calling to you...
  1425. “Promise you won’t let me drink them both myself?”
  1426. >”Promise.”
  1427.  
  1428. >You are Nocturnal Pike, guard mare extraordinaire, and it is now the next morning.
  1429. >Waking up as the little spoon would normally be an embarrassing start to the day, but as the memories of last night come trickling back, something far more shameful seized your focus.
  1430. >So while Anon continues to sleep, you extracted yourself from his forelegs and went to the shower, to ponder the maelstrom of emotions inside you.
  1431. >Letting the cold water wash through your coat, you begin to organize your thoughts...
  1432. >The first thing that comes to mind is the immutable fact that, as much as you’d like to, you truly cannot deny.
  1433. >Last night was the best sex you’ve ever had.
  1434. >Not because Anon had a massive cock (which, to be fair, he did).
  1435. >But because of what he did with it.
  1436. >It started off normally enough, you marked him with your scent, beat him in a tongue battle during your passionate kiss, and lead him to your bed to perform your signature move.
  1437. >Ahhhh, if only you had a camera to get his picture.
  1438. >The blissed out look on his face when you took that monster to the hilt in one move was a sight to behold.
  1439. >You honestly thought he would bust then and there.
  1440. >But, in a surprising show of stallion endurance, he held on, even as you rode him in earnest.
  1441. >You can almost feel the ghost of the confidence you felt at bringing your gentle giant to the edge so quickly.
  1442. >But then, something changed.
  1443. >Before you knew it, he had flipped you over, pinning you to the bed, keeping you there with his sheer size and positioning alone.
  1444. >And then... and then...
  1445. >He TOOK you.
  1446. >There was no other way to describe it.
  1447. >In all the stallions you’ve been with, not a single one had ever been so /aggressive/.
  1448. >All you were able to do was squirm and moan as he pounded you into the bed without remorse.
  1449. >He even turned your normal banter into dirty talk that cut right to your core.
  1450. >”Oh yeah, you LIKE this don’t you, Pike? Even with all your training, you can’t get back on top. Why? Cuz you’re just a little mare. And you LOVE that don’t you?”
  1451. >Even with the cold water hitting your back, just remembering what he said was enough to put the heat back in your loins.
  1452. >And as you shudder with barely contained arousal, you remember the ultimate sinful shame of your climax.
  1453. >At the end, it became a race, who could drive the other to orgasm first.
  1454. >You had hoped that if he at least came before you did, you could salvage your marely pride.
  1455. >But... it was not to be.
  1456. >The domination, the dirty talk, and indulging in the part of you you’ve always hidden away was just too much.
  1457. >You can’t even remember if he came, the white hot pleasure of being fucked through your own orgasm was enough to blank your mind and knock you out cold for the rest of the night.
  1458. >So here you stand the morning after, fulfilled in a way you never had been before, and burning with a deep, deep shame.
  1459. >Because he was right, you did love how small and weak he made you feel as he pounded your helpless form without remorse.
  1460. >Not once had a single stallion ever bucked you like that before, and if you were honest, you don’t think you could go back.
  1461. >And to top it all off, the part of you that you’ve hidden away ever since you were a filly, has now forced itself into the forefront of your mind.
  1462. >Bringing with it a sense of... what you’d almost call release.
  1463. >But also, a deep and pervasive feeling of shame.
  1464. >You can practically hear the voice of your family and your squadmates in your ear.
  1465. >”What in Tartarus is wrong with you, filly!? Letting a COLT talk to you like that?!”
  1466. >”Gee Pike, I thought you were a mare!”
  1467. >”Look at little Pike! I always knew she loved being a MARELET!”
  1468. >Placing your head in your hooves, you feel hot tears in your eyes.
  1469. >You hate how much you loved everything about last night, but it’s the opposite of everything you are supposed to be!
  1470. >You’re supposed to be big and strong, the pinnacle of femininity!
  1471. >Not a weak little mare!
  1472. >And just as the tears of shame start falling, a singular memory cuts through all the voices and feelings.
  1473.  
  1474. >It was about a week ago, when you and Anon had just stumbled upon a flier advertising a cooking class.
  1475. “Ooooo, we should sign up for this!”
  1476. >To your surprise, Anon suddenly leveled a devious glare at you.
  1477. >”Oh? We? If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were interested in learning to cook, Pike.”
  1478. >Cursing yourself for letting that slip, you immediately attempted to stammer out some sort of deflection.
  1479. >But Anon saw right through you, and was having none of it.
  1480. >”I don’t know, Pike. Sounded to me like you wanted to learn how to do a /stallion’s/ job.”
  1481. >Thinking back on it, the feeling of embarrassment then was strikingly similar to the shame you felt now.
  1482. >And both hurt just as much.
  1483. >Solemnly turning away from the flier and lowering your head, you simply mumbled out a quiet
  1484. “Forget it.”
  1485.  
  1486. >Coming back to the present, you curse your mind for bringing up such a horrible memory.
  1487. >The stress has you grinding your teeth as 1000 nightmare scenarios of rejection flash through your mind.
  1488. >But just as they reach a precipice, you’re suddenly yanked back into the memory, just as Anon suddenly yanked you around to face him a week ago.
  1489. >You remember how concerned he looked, genuinely aghast at how his words had clearly unintentionally hurt you.
  1490. >”Pike what’s wrong? I was just kidding, I’d be happy to learn how to cook with you.”
  1491. >You realize now how pathetic you must have looked, gazing up at him with such hurt and fear in your eyes.
  1492. “Really? E-even if it’s so... unmarely?”
  1493. >His only response was to pull you into probably the deepest hug he ever gave you.
  1494. >”Of course. You know I don’t give a shit about that crap, Pike. If you want to learn how to cook, that’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
  1495. >Back then, when he said that, you could almost hear the disapproving voice of your family ringing in your ears, just like you could now.
  1496. >But he was your rock in that miniature maelstrom of fear and doubt, going against everything you’ve ever been taught and telling you not to be ashamed.
  1497. >Just like he would be now, if he weren’t fast asleep right outside this room.
  1498. >Suddenly one more memory surfaces in your mind-one of you and Anon sitting on the couch last night, after you’d just got done marking him with your scent.
  1499. “You’re all mine, stud! You’re going to smell like me for months! Every mare in Canterlot will know you’re mine, mine, mine!”
  1500. >Chuckling lightly, he just picked you up and squeezed you against his barrel.
  1501. >”Awwww. I love you too Pike.”
  1502.  
  1503. >Suddenly, you feel like a weight has been lifted.
  1504. >Standing back up and letting the water wash away the tears, you smile.
  1505. >There was no reason to be so upset, Anon was right.
  1506. >So what if there was a part of you that liked being a little mare that Anon could dominate and cuddle?
  1507. >So what if you wanted to learn to cook and other colty things?
  1508. >All your life you’ve known about that part of you, the part you’ve always tried to stomp down.
  1509. >But what if...
  1510. >What if you didn’t?
  1511. >What if you indulged it, just a little bit?
  1512. >Surely there’d be no harm in that.
  1513. >And you could count on Anon being there for you when you did.
  1514. >So this time, when that little voice in the back of your mind speaks up and says:
  1515. >”We should cook Anon breakfast! Ooooooh, there’s that really good banana pancake recipe in that cook book on our coffee table that he would love!”
  1516. >You smile and let it speak, because it’s right.
  1517. >He would love that.
  1518.  
  1519. >Sometime later, you, the very drowsy but coming out of it Anonymous, are waking up from a VERY restful slumber.
  1520. >Man, last night was wild.
  1521. >Who knew pony sex could be so good!
  1522. >Hopping out of bed, your nose is treated to the sweet smell of... pancakes?
  1523. >Yep, those are pancakes.
  1524. >Seeing as Pike wasn’t still wrapped up in your not-arms, she must have already gotten up and started breakfast.
  1525. >Nice!
  1526. >Hopefully that means she’s alright.
  1527. >Admittedly, last night is mostly obscured by a lusty haze, but you know one thing.
  1528. >When the going got tough, some wires got crossed and you went absolutely ape on poor Pike.
  1529. >And coming out of the haze to find Pike passed out beneath you was more than a little terrifying.
  1530. >But, at the time you were way too tired to worry, and promptly passed out: intending to leave it for well-rested Anonymous to deal with.
  1531. >Well, now that Anonymous is you, so you’d better get out there and ask her.
  1532. >And give her a good morning smooch for good measure.
  1533. >So, with that fool-proof plan in mind, you trot a little trot right to the kitchen.
  1534. >And, upon your arrival, immediately spy her hard at work.
  1535. >So hard at work in fact, that it seems she hasn’t noticed your approach.
  1536. >This gives you a devilish idea...
  1537.  
  1538. >Luna, how much longer is Anon going to be asleep for?
  1539. >At this point, you’ve more or less worked your way out of the emotional breakdown you were having earlier.
  1540. >Who knew cooking could be so cathartic!
  1541. >But that being said, you really were dying to see hi-
  1542. >HEY!
  1543. >Suddenly you find yourself swept up from behind!
  1544. >Letting out an involuntary ‘Eep!’, you find yourself pulled into a surprise embrace.
  1545. >Followed by a good morning smooch right on your snoot!
  1546. >”Mwah! Good morning honey!”
  1547. >The new pet name makes your cheeks burn a little.
  1548. “Oh, so we’re using pet names now?”
  1549. >He just smiles and gives you another peck on the cheek.
  1550. >”I figured, why not? I’ve always wanted to call someone ‘honey’.”
  1551. >Hearing him call you that puts a warm feeling in your chest you can’t help but smile at.
  1552. >And just like that, pressed up against him, you can feel all your anxieties fading away.
  1553. >But, duty calls.
  1554. “Well then, sweetie, can you do me a favor and put me down? I don’t want these to burn.”
  1555. >Doing just that, he proceeds to move to your side to see what you’ve got in the pan.
  1556. >”And just what are ‘these’?”
  1557. “Banana pancakes from that one cookbook you got us.”
  1558. >His eyes light up.
  1559. >”The one by Waffle Iron?”
  1560. “That’s the one.”
  1561. >”MMMMMMMM Pike, you spoil me beyond compare.”
  1562. >After that, he leaves your side to go set the table, putting out silverware, grabbing plates, and so forth.
  1563. >And as he does, you feel the need to at least say /something/ about your earlier revelation.
  1564. >You’re not spilling your guts though, it’s not like you’re a stallion or something.
  1565. >”Hey Anon? Thanks for letting me sign up for that cooking class with you.”
  1566. >As he plops down in a seat at the table he replies,
  1567. >”Of course! I know you’re a little embarrassed by it, but I’m not judging! In fact, I’m looking forward to getting into something with my fillyfriend.”
  1568. >You simply smile back and say:
  1569. “I’m looking forward to it too.”
  1570. >You figured that’s the end of it, but you hear the tell tale tapping of nervous hooves behind you.
  1571. >Just as you’re about to ask what’s up, he speaks.
  1572. >”Oh, and uh, Pike? About last night...”
  1573. >Turning to actually look at Anon, you see he’s indeed shifting uncomfortably.
  1574. “What is it?”
  1575. >”I wasn’t too... rough was I? I mean, I don’t know what came over me. And after you passed out I just got kinda terrified.... and uh, yeah.”
  1576. >Awwww, he looks so cute like that!
  1577. >All nervous like a virgin.
  1578. >To think last night he was ravaging you like a beast.
  1579. “Anon. I...”
  1580. >Loved every second of it.
  1581. “I really enjoyed myself. You don’t need to worry about me.”
  1582. >His relief at your answer is practically palpable.
  1583. >”Really? Oh thank god. I just- yeah. I was admittedly more than a little worried about it.”
  1584. >Pulling the now done pancakes off the stove and putting them on plates, you move to join him at the table.
  1585. >Placing a stack before him, you return his peck on the cheek and say:
  1586. “Well, don’t.”
  1587. >He earnestly smiles and begins cutting into his grub.
  1588. >”Phew, that’s a load off my shoulders. I tell you what, it’d be terrible if my first time ended up being shitty for my fillyfriend. I don’t think I’d ever live that down.”
  1589. >It’s a damn good thing you already put down your pancakes, otherwise you would have certainly dropped them in shock.
  1590. “YOUR WHAT?”
  1591.  
  1592.  
  1593.  
  1594. >You are Anonymous the unicorn, and you just spilled the beans to your fillyfriend that last night she took your virginity.
  1595. >And she is reacting to it a lot differently than you would’ve thought she would.
  1596. >Unfortunately, there’s a lot more shouting than you would have ever expected.
  1597. >"How can you be so casual about that!?!?!"
  1598. >Unfortunately for you, what you intended as a simple throwaway (but true) goof, has clearly sent her reeling.
  1599. “Pike, I really don’t see what the big deal is.”
  1600. >And you really don’t.
  1601. >You mean, come on?
  1602. >Your virginity? Mattering?
  1603. >What is this, some kind of wacky reversed-
  1604. >Wait a second.
  1605. >Oh no.
  1606. “I’m a fucking idiot.”
  1607. >Pike has a fierce, yet (admittedly) expected reaction to that.
  1608. >”Anon, I swear to the stars above, if this is one of those ‘well, back home’ moments...”
  1609. >You stop yourself from responding, desperately racking your brain for an explanation that isn’t that.
  1610. >...
  1611. >You got nothin.
  1612. “Well, you see Pike... uh, well...back home-”
  1613. >”ANONYMOUS!”
  1614. “What?! It’s true. And I still don’t see why it matters. What, would you have ‘saved it for the sanctity of our marriage’?”
  1615. >She raises her hooves defensively,
  1616. >”It’s not that! It’s just... a colt’s first time is supposed to be special! Romantic!”
  1617. >Wha- you reject that insinuation!
  1618. “Last night was plenty romantic!”
  1619. >”Oh you know that’s not what I mean.”
  1620. “The sex was romantic too!”
  1621. >You certainly thought so, at least!
  1622. >However, if Pike’s flat glare is anything to go by, she /vehemently/ disagrees.
  1623. >”Anon, I opened foreplay by wrapping my legs around your head and shoving my cunt in your face to ‘show you what you’d smell like’.”
  1624. >Which taught you several new things about yourself, by the way.
  1625. “And it was so hot I was afraid my dick dislocated your nose when it shot up.”
  1626. >As if to punctuate your statement, she reaches up to rub her obviously still sore muzzle.
  1627. [spoiler]>Mental note, in the future keep Pike away from the ‘strike zone’.[/spoiler]
  1628. >”Th-that’s beside the point! When a colt loses their virginity it’s also supposed to be tender, a-and loving! Not... not...”
  1629. “Fucking like animals?”
  1630. >”Exactly!”
  1631. >Jesus, this has really got the poor mare, worked into a tizzy.
  1632. >You’ve gotta nip this in the bud, and fast.
  1633. >So, hoping to do just that, you walk over to her side of the table and wrap your hooves around her.
  1634. “Come on Pike, I myself am telling you here and now, that last night was perfect. What are you so worried about?”
  1635. >”But... its...”
  1636. >She attempts to look you in the eyes, before letting her head drop and letting out a soul wrenching sigh.
  1637. >“I just... I just feel like I robbed you of something special.”
  1638. >Awwwwwwww, Piiiiiiiiiike.
  1639. >You guess you can understand where she’s coming from.
  1640. >But, as it stands, she’s really just bumming herself out over nothing.
  1641. >You meant what you said, you weren’t forgetting last night for a long, long time.
  1642. >So you will stand for NO MORE of this moping!
  1643. >Time for your coup de grâce of cheer up maneuvers!
  1644. >Leaning down, and giving her a big ole smooch, right on her snoot!
  1645. >Followed by the most encouraging words you can think of:
  1646. “Well, don’t. We both had a wonderful evening and an amazing time. And besides, I can’t think of a single pony I would have rather lost it to.”
  1647. >You think you can spot an errant tear leave her eye as she snuggles into your chest.
  1648. >”...Thanks Anon.”
  1649. >Yeah, crisis averted!
  1650. >You smile back, content to just bask in her embrace and enjoy the (now) tender moment.
  1651. >But as you do, a cold feeling of dread shoots up your spine.
  1652. >You’ve forgotten something important.
  1653. >Something that’ll prove a massive pain in the ass later.
  1654. >But what could it be...?
  1655. >What is something people always need to do after a night of wild sex?
  1656. >You peed, showered, ate, what is it you could be...
  1657. >OH NO!
  1658. >Jumping back and whipping your head in the direction of her room, you cry in a sudden panic:
  1659. “THE SHEETS!”
  1660.  
  1661. >After Anon’s revelation the two of you rushed into your bedroom, hoping to mitigate the damage.
  1662. >But it was far, far too late.
  1663. >You hadn’t noticed it when you woke up, but by then there was no escaping the smell of sex that had permeated the room.
  1664. >Like a physical wall of stench.
  1665. >The culprit, of course, being the absolutely ruined sheets.
  1666. >After a quick inspection, the two of you unanimously agreed they were a lost cause.
  1667. >So off to the dumpster they went!
  1668. >A process that would have been a bucking nightmare, /if/ Anon hadn’t been willing to use his magic.
  1669. >Talk about a lifesaver.
  1670. >So on the way back up to the apartment you said a little thank you prayer that Anon was a janefilly, and therefore not afraid of ‘getting his magic all icky’.
  1671. >/That’s/ a line you’ve heard stallions use more times than you’d like.
  1672. >So with what could have been a daunting task easily dealt with, here the two of you are, relaxing in the living room while you wait for the bedroom to air out.
  1673. >Anon himself is sitting across from you, still apparently reeling from the sight of his hoofiwork.
  1674. >”Goddamn, I can’t believe we did that to those poor sheets...”
  1675. >Admittedly a part of you can’t either.
  1676. >It was equal parts kinda hot, and kinda bucking nasty.
  1677. >You suppose though, it does indeed confirm that old schoolyard adage.
  1678. “Locker room talk or not, Anon, it’s true what they say: colts with fat nuts, /bust/ fat nuts.”
  1679. >Anon says nothing for a few moments, ramifications of what you just said making their way through his skull.
  1680. >And once they have...
  1681. >”Pffffft hahahahahahaaaa, no way. Uh-uh, ponies do /not/ say that!”
  1682. >Putting on your best indignant face, you make sure your response is positively dripping with faux-outrage.
  1683. “Of course it is! That knowledge has been passed from mother to daughter for generations! Besides...”
  1684. >You affix him with a scathing gaze.
  1685. “Are /you/ of all ponies really going to deny its wisdom?”
  1686. >He knows he can’t.
  1687. >And as such, all he can do is chuckle and put his hooves up in submission.
  1688. >”Considering how stiff those sheets were when I picked them up? No ma’am!”
  1689. >Ugh, Luna, you wish he didn’t remind you about that.
  1690. >Just the memory of the sound they made as he folded them up is enough to make you gag.
  1691. >Mare, you’re going to need to invest in some industrial strength cleaner if his output stays /that/ high, otherwise you’ll be throwing away a lot of sheets.
  1692. “Blech, not the most romantic start to our Saturday together.”
  1693. >At that, Anon simply shrugs.
  1694. >”Hey, it’s certainly better than the alternative of putting that off.”
  1695. >Now that, you cannot argue with.
  1696. >If you’d left those sheets in there any longer the smell would have probably soaked into the Luna damned carpet.
  1697. [spoiler]>Not that you’d have /really/ minded though. A primal part of you really liked that smell. Anon’s scent mixed with stallion musk? Umf.[/spoiler]
  1698. >But seeing as that’s all over and done with, that leaves you an entire rest of your weekend, with nothing planned!
  1699. >So with that in mind you kick back, put your hooves behind your head, and say:
  1700. “So, what do you want to do today?”
  1701. >Getting a devilish look on his face, Anon just leans back and mimics your pose.
  1702. >”Uhhh, honey, isn’t that /your/ job?”
  1703. >Your eyes snap wide open at that.
  1704. >And this time, the indignation in your voice is real.
  1705. “Hey! What’s that supposed to mean!?”
  1706. >He simply smiles, feigning innocence.
  1707. >”Give me some credit! I may not have /accustomed/ to all of your /customs/ but I’ve gotten a few of them! For example, it’s a mare’s job to figure out plans. All I, the stallion, need to do is be indecisive!”
  1708. >You roll your eyes, at the statement and the pun.
  1709. “Of course /that’s/ what you pick up on, you plothole.”
  1710. >He opens his mouth to undoubtedly share some more whimsy, but you silence him with a pillow right to the snoot.
  1711. >”Hey!”
  1712. >Ha ha! Knock out!
  1713. >But his exclamation does remind you of something...
  1714. “Speaking of, that should be our first stop- getting you some hay.”
  1715. >As he tosses away the pillow you see his previously jovial expression has now been replaced with concern.
  1716. >”What? Why?”
  1717. >Smiling knowingly, you hop off the chair and start making your way over to him.
  1718. “I saw how you were shivering when we went down to the dumpster, colt.”
  1719. >Now close enough to touch him, you run a hoof through his coat.
  1720. >And just like you thought, it’s far too thin.
  1721. “Your Winter coat clearly isn’t coming in thick enough, so we need to up your hay intake, stat.”
  1722. >In a surprising show of anxiety, Anon recoils from your touch, pointedly avoiding eye contact.
  1723. >What the heck?
  1724. >Where is this coming from?
  1725. >”D-don’t worry about it. I just gotta buy an extra thick winter coat is all!”
  1726. >You recoil a little yourself, surprise written clear on your face.
  1727. “Are you sure? A jacket won’t help much when your coat is that thin.”
  1728. >You’re about to press further, when he seemingly shakes himself out of whatever had him so jumpy and turns back to you.
  1729. >”Oh come on, a little cold never hurt anypony.”
  1730. >At that, you can only silently shake your head and relent.
  1731. >What other possible answer could you have expected from your janefilly?
  1732. >Even if you’re certain he’s going to be freezing his flanks off.
  1733. >And you sure as heck are making a mental note to keep an eye on him.
  1734. >Both because of how thin his coat is, and how he reacted to you noticing.
  1735. >Maybe you ought to take an active role in making sure he gets his daily hay?
  1736. >Hold on.
  1737. >Wait a minute!
  1738. >/He’s/ the one who’s supposed to be making sure /you’re/ eating healthy, not the other way around!
  1739. >Ugh.
  1740. >Janefillies.
  1741. >On the plus side though, at least now you’ve got an activity to do.
  1742. >Shopping!
  1743. >And now you’ll /finally/ be able to settle something once and for all:
  1744. >Everypony knows stallions love shopping, but does Anon?
  1745. >Or... is he too much of a janefilly?
  1746. >Time to find out!
  1747.  
  1748. >It is now much later, and now you have a far deeper understanding of the pain women go through every time they shop.
  1749. >Finding a coat took /way/ longer than you liked.
  1750. >And there weren’t even that many coats!
  1751. >But every single one felt like it was sized at goddamn random.
  1752. >So what should have, at most, been a five minute stop, instead ended up being a forty-five minute detour.
  1753. >Which, of course, brought Pike no end of joy.
  1754. >”Anon, it’s ok. All stallions love shopping. There’s no shame in admitting you do too.”
  1755. >You don’t even need to look down and to your left to see the shit eating grin on her face, you can hear it.
  1756. “Pike, there was /nothing/ I enjoyed about that. That was some straight bullshit.”
  1757. >But at least you can’t argue with the results.
  1758. >The fuzzy dark green jacket you got has you feelin’ as snug as a bug in a rug.
  1759. >Walking around outside (like you are right now) is actually bearable now!
  1760. >...Buuut only on your front half.
  1761. >If only it covered your back legs!
  1762. >A nice pair of socks /could/ do the trick, but you already know how a stallion who wears socks in public is viewed.
  1763. >But, that does give you an idea...
  1764. “Say, while I loathe the idea of doing more shopping, I should ask you while we’re on the subject of clothes. Tell me, is there such a thing as nonsexual socks?”
  1765. >Much like before, you don’t even need to look down to see her expression.
  1766. >You can hear her trip over her own hooves.
  1767. >”Wh-what!?”
  1768. “You know, like something to wear on my back le-”
  1769. >Hold up.
  1770. >By the sound of it, that ‘trip’ has become a full on stop.
  1771. >And turning around lets you see why.
  1772. >Pike’s entire face has turned beet red, and she’s wearing the expression of someone who’s desperately trying to keep themselves from doing something embarrassing.
  1773. >Quickly putting two and two together, you find that the shit eating grin’s on /your/ face now.
  1774. >And boy does it feel good.
  1775. >Already deducing your next move, you lean down to her level and whisper in her ear:
  1776. “You like the idea of me in socks, don’t you Pike?”
  1777. >Which causes her to visibly jump, clearly having been startled out of whatever fantasy she was previously lost in.
  1778. >”Ahhhh!”
  1779. >Her eyes then dart around, looking like a kid whose parents just caught them in the cookie jar.
  1780. >”S-so what? There’s nothing wrong with a mare liking the idea of her coltfriend dressing up in l-long... striped... socks...”
  1781. >Damn, she couldn’t even finish her thought before the fantasy reclaimed her.
  1782. >Well, she did insist on paying for your coat, might as well pay her back.
  1783. >In your own, special way.
  1784. >Clapping your spectral hands in front of her face, you once again jerk Pike back to reality.
  1785. “I have got the perfect place for us to go next!”
  1786. >You remember it from shortly after you first got here, right before you gave up trying to wear clothes.
  1787. >Every clothing salesmare in town had pointed you there when you asked for a place to get socks (back when you though socks were still just, you know, socks).
  1788. >And, looking around, you could /actually/ find your way there from here too!
  1789. >Perfect!
  1790. >However... once again you feel the cold dread from earlier creep down your spine.
  1791. >This time triggered at the thought of that store.
  1792. >Like you’ve forgotten something.
  1793. >Something /painfully/ embarrassing.
  1794. >Oh well. You’re sure it’ll be fine.
  1795. >After all whatever it is, it’ll /probably/ be nothing compared to what you can put Pike through once you’ve got a repertoire of socks to wear!
  1796. >So with that in mind you set off!
  1797. >Beet red Pike in tow.
  1798.  
  1799. >As you follow Anon through the market, your blush refuses to wipe itself off your face.
  1800. >After all, it doesn’t take a master sleuth to figure out where he’s headed.
  1801. >A lingerie store.
  1802. >An idea that’s got you both giddy and terrified in equal measures.
  1803. >Giddy because you’ve never had a stallion dress up for you, much less one as excited to do it as Anon.
  1804. >And terrified, because the one who’ll be dressing up, is Anon.
  1805. >You know there’s no way in Tartarus he’ll just settle for breaking them out occasionally for lewd times.
  1806. >No, he’s gonna put you through the wringer.
  1807. [spoiler]>And you’ll love every second of it.[/spoiler]
  1808. >And based on the speed at which he’s walking, he’s really excited to do it.
  1809. “You’re really into this whole ‘wearing socks for me’ thing, huh?”
  1810. >He turns to face you without slowing his stride.
  1811. >”How could I not be? I have before me the unique opportunity to drive you absolutely wild, and all I have to do is buy and wear a clothing item that, to me, is completely mundane! It’s perfect!”
  1812. >Turning back to face forward he adds:
  1813. >”I’d be a fool to pass this up!”
  1814. >It takes everything you’ve got not to scoff and roll your eyes.
  1815. >/Of course/ his weird home culture would view socks as ‘mundane’.
  1816. >First the virginity thing, now this?
  1817. >Sometimes you really wonder what kind of horrible Tartarus culture Anon came from.
  1818. >Before you can ruminate further however, your destination comes into view.
  1819. >Silken Evening’s Naughty Nightwear (and other assorted garments).
  1820.  
  1821. >As you and Anon, step into the shop you’re honestly kind of blown away.
  1822. >Sure the outside didn’t look like much... but inside...
  1823. >There are a /lot/ of garments.
  1824. >Socks, costumes, even regular clothes!
  1825. >Aw mare, Anon’s gonna be in here for hours!
  1826. >Speaking of, you look over to him, expecting to see the face of a colt in a candy store.
  1827. >But instead you see... fear?
  1828. >”Honey, you ever get that feeling that you’ve forgotten something important, and that something is about to hit you right smack in the face?”
  1829. “Yeah, why?”
  1830. >Now he’s desperately waving his head in all directions now, searching for whatever threat he feels is coming.
  1831. >”Something’s coming.”
  1832. >What the heck is with this colt?
  1833. >Intending to grill him on what’s /actually/ bothering him, you open your mouth...
  1834. >Only for the sound of an approaching pony to distract you.
  1835. >>”Hey there! Welcome to Silken Evening’s Naughty Nightwear! What can I do... for.. You...”
  1836. >You recognize the mare the instant she comes out from behind whatever display she was previously stocking.
  1837. >Her pale orange coat and her two tone pale red, pale blue mane are unmistakable.
  1838. >You’ve seen pictures of that pegasus on at least a dozen reports of ‘disturbing the peace’ and ‘disorderly conduct’.
  1839. >Something that, based on the look on her face, you may very well be experiencing first hoof.
  1840. >>”YOU!? What the buck are YOU doing here!?”
  1841. >You immediately assume a fighting stance.
  1842. >After all, if she’s reacting so negatively to having a guard in her store than she-
  1843. >Wait a second.
  1844. >Allowing the initial adrenaline to fade, you realize something.
  1845. >She wasn’t talking to you...
  1846. >She was talking to Anonymous!
  1847. >Who’s only response is a strained:
  1848. >”Ha haaaaaaaa, now I remember!”
  1849. >And a 180 so fast you didn’t even see his legs move.
  1850. >”AlrightPikelet’sgosomewhereelse.”
  1851. >Thankfully for you however, your position behind Anon has provided you with a unique opportunity.
  1852. >As such, his attempt at a hasty retreat is immediately cut off by a bat wing blockade.
  1853. >”Come on, let’s get out of heeeeere!”
  1854. >He stares into your eyes, begging you to relent.
  1855. “And miss the chance to hear what this is about? I’d be a fool to pass this up.”
  1856. >Anon can only whimper, realizing his plan to spend the day embarrassing you, will instead be used to embarrass him.
  1857. >Turning to the agent of said embarrassment, you see she’s remained where she was, but your keen guard’s eye can see what Anon probably cannot.
  1858. >Her stance is defensive, like she’s expecting you to hit her at any moment.
  1859. “So uh, you must be Silken Evening?”
  1860. >Her stance relaxes at your tone, but not completely.
  1861. >>”Yeah, is he your coltfriend?”
  1862. >You nod.
  1863. >>”Ok... keep him under control then, or it’ll be your flank I kick to the curb.”
  1864. >Woah, hold up!
  1865. “Why me!?”
  1866. >Interestingly, despite the response being aimed at you, she looks at Anon when she says it.
  1867. >>”I don’t fight colts.”
  1868. >Suddenly the pieces start coming together.
  1869. >Her stance from before, she wasn’t expecting a hit from you!
  1870. >She was expecting a hit from ANON!
  1871. “Luna teats, you tried to fight this mare didn’t you Anonymous!?”
  1872. >After he winces and lowers his head in submission, you know you’re right on the money.
  1873. >You expect him to start defending himself, but Silken is faster.
  1874. >>”Oh, you didn’t tell her before coming here?”
  1875. >Anon is, of course, as quick on the draw as always.
  1876. >”Of course not! Why would I? It happened months before I even met her! Hell, it must have been over half a year ago! How do you even still remember?”
  1877. >Based on what you know of Anon, that would put this relatively shortly after his move to Canterlot, and by extension Equestria.
  1878. >Hmmmm, another piece for the puzzle.
  1879. >>”I don’t I’ll ever forget the one colt who said he’d kick my flank and mean it. Tartarus, I’d have been impressed if it wasn’t over something so stupid.”
  1880. >Suddenly, it all makes sense.
  1881. >A flashback to what he said earlier proves the final piece:
  1882. >”All I have to do is buy and wear a clothing item that, to me, is completely mundane!”
  1883. >So when Anon opens his mouth to respond, you halt him by putting your hoof on his shoulder.
  1884. “Anon, tell me you didn’t.”
  1885. >He looks down at you, genuinely confused.
  1886. >”Didn’t what?”
  1887. “Tell me you didn’t try to fight this mare because she told you socks were lingerie.”
  1888. >Neither he nor Silken responds to that for a good few seconds.
  1889. >Which basically tells you all you need to know.
  1890. >”I-it wasn’t /just/ that...”
  1891.  
  1892. >You are Silken Evening, owner and proprietor of Silken Evening’s Naughty Nightwear.
  1893. >And this is (thankfully) going very differently than you expected.
  1894. >”HAHAHAHAHAA I CANNOT BUCKING BELIEVE YOU DID THAT ANON!!! I-I, HAHAHAAAA, I CAN’T BREATHE!”
  1895. >When you saw that stallion walk in with a mare, you thought it would turn into a brawl.
  1896. >But instead all your doing is watching the mare roll around on the floor laughing.
  1897. >>”Come on Pike! It’s not /that/ funny!”
  1898. >And the colt pouting.
  1899. >You gotta admit though, when he’s not screaming in your face, he looks pretty cute when he’s upset.
  1900. >Awwwww, and look at that! He just did some little stompsies!
  1901. >>”Piiiiiiiiiiiike!”
  1902. >”G-give me a moment Ano-hahaaaaaa”
  1903. >Although to be honest, you’re on the colt’s side here.
  1904. >You were there after all, and it /certainly/ wasn’t funny then.
  1905. >But... there was no way in Tartarus you were sticking your neck out for that guy.
  1906. >So she can laugh it up as much as she wants, as far as you’re concerned.
  1907.  
  1908. >Jesus christ this is humiliating.
  1909. >”HAHAHAHA OVER SOCKS! OVER SOCKS! HAHAHAHAAAA!”
  1910. >But to be perfectly honest, you did deserve it a little bit.
  1911. >Because now that you can remember it, you were really the one in the wrong.
  1912. >However, in the sake of fairness, what you did was less because you were mad at the shopkeep and more because you had hit rock bottom.
  1913. >Which is probably why you had put the event so far out of your mind to begin with.
  1914. >It wasn’t exactly a time you’d want to remember...
  1915. >All you’d wanted to do that day was put a little normalcy back in your life.
  1916. >Get a regular outfit to wear so you could at least sort of pretend your entire life wasn’t uprooted forever and that everything you knew was gone.
  1917. >But of course you couldn’t even do that.
  1918. >Because, as you learned from the shopkeep, there was only one reason a stallion would wear socks in public.
  1919. >She wasn’t even particularly mean about it, just blunt.
  1920. >’You know there’s a reason socks are in the lingerie section, right?’
  1921. >And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
  1922. >Jesus, just thinking back to it is starting to make you feel miserable.
  1923. >But thankfully, that sadness is short lived.
  1924. >Because honestly, right now?
  1925. >You’ve got it pretty good.
  1926. >Besides, Pike may be laughing now, but you’ll be laughing very soon.
  1927. >Oh yes you will...
  1928. >Speaking of Pike, it looks like she’s finally laughed herself out.
  1929. >As she stands from her place on the floor, she asks you the million dollar question, all the while still chasing away a few errant chuckles.
  1930. >”Heheeeeee, Luna above Anon, what kind of day were you having when you did /that/?”
  1931. >You can’t help but share the smile on her face.
  1932. >Ahhhh, the living proof of how much better you’ve got it now.
  1933.  
  1934. >”A pretty fucking terrible one.”
  1935. >The only thing stopping you from scoffing at that, is the fact you’d rather not provoke a confrontation.
  1936. >Of course the /stallion/ would have some kind of excuse for shouting at you over nothing.
  1937. >Oh, now he’s walking up to you, no doubt to tell you off for not knowing he was having a bad day or some other manure.
  1938. >”Hey so, uh look. Last time I was here was a pretty rough time in my life. And you just caught me on a really bad day, and I sort of took it out on you. Which I know isn’t right, or fair, but that’s what happened, and I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve that.”
  1939. >You honestly can’t believe what you're hearing right now.
  1940. >A stallion, apologizing?
  1941. >No manure? No passive aggressive deflection?
  1942. >Before you can even begin to ponder further, he sticks out his hoof in a familiar gesture.
  1943. >”We cool?”
  1944. >Y-you can’t believe it.
  1945. >He really is apologizing.
  1946. >Welp, you can’t see a reason why you wouldn’t accept it.
  1947. >He certainly seems earnest.
  1948. >But, as you go to accept the hoof bump, something occurs to you.
  1949. >The mark on your flank isn’t a needle sewing a sock on a stallion's leg for nothing.
  1950. >It means you're both good at making them, and good at making stallions look good in them.
  1951. >And as you look over at his fillyfriend (who technically was also laughing at you), you realize this might be the perfect opportunity to indulge in one of your favorite pastimes.
  1952. “We’re cool.”
  1953. >You say while stopping your hoof just short of the bump.
  1954. “On one condition.”
  1955. >And as that condition comes to your lips, you can’t suppress an evil smile.
  1956. “I get to help.”
  1957. >Which you see Mr. “Anon” has matched to a T.
  1958. >”Deal.”
  1959.  
  1960. >“AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”
  1961. >You are loving every second of this.
  1962. >Who knew that the lingerie salemare, of all people, would turn out to be a secret bro!?
  1963. >>”Ooooooo that definitely got more of a reaction than the last one!”
  1964. “You sure, Silk?”
  1965. >Although, not that you’re looking closer, Pike’s face /is/ a shade darker than it was before.
  1966. “On second thought, you’re definitely right. Got any more of those lacey mesh type one? Ooooo maybe with little moons on ‘em?”
  1967. >Oh that would be perfect.
  1968. >”Maybe, I’ll need to check in the back."
  1969. >Which as an added bonus, will give you time to molest Pike, unmolested!
  1970. “See what you can find.”
  1971. >And off she goes!
  1972. >So now let’s see how you can rile her even further up.
  1973. >Putting on your best strut, you saunter on over to your fillyfriend.
  1974. >She only has to look at you for a second before she puts her head in her hooves and starts shaking her head in adorable distress.
  1975. >”An~oooon I don’t know how much more of this I can ta~aaaaake!”
  1976. >You couldn’t keep the toothy smile off your face if you tried!
  1977. >This is delicious!
  1978. >Circling her like a shark honing in on the kill, you remember a certain fun fact from last night...
  1979. “Oh? Why’s that honey? Could it be there’s something /else/ you’d like to be taking right about now?”
  1980. >To complete the tease, you lean in and run your tongue along the membrane of her wings, getting her to make the most wonderful sound:
  1981. >”Eeeeeeeeeeee!”
  1982. >Ahhhh music to your ears!
  1983. >Oh speaking of ears, sounds like Silken’s coming back!
  1984. >Quickly running back to your previous position, you assume the pose you had when she left.
  1985. >But she’s a crafty one, as soon as she comes into view, she only needs one look at Pike to know you did something.
  1986. >>”Mare Anon, you’re one sadistic buck, you know that?”
  1987. >You can only smile in response.
  1988.  
  1989. “Oh shit oh fuck oh shit oh fuck.”
  1990. >This is bad.
  1991. >This is really REALLY bad.
  1992. >>”Quit your fretting colt, she’ll be fine.”
  1993. >You will NOT be doing that!
  1994. >Because Pike just FUCKING COLLAPSED IN FRONT OF YOU!
  1995. “What do we do? What do we do?! Do we need to get her to the hospital?? Oh God what if she hit her head when she fell? I don’t know anything about pony head trauma!”
  1996. >It’s all your fault.
  1997. >You could tell you were pushing Pike toward something.
  1998. >But you didn’t think that something was unconsciousness!
  1999. >Oh God, you overdid it.
  2000. >What if her little heart gave out!?
  2001. >What if-
  2002. >>”Hey, HEY! Snap out of it!”
  2003. >Wha- oh! Silken’s trying to get your attention!
  2004. >Turning to look at her, she’s got the hard stare of someone trying to take charge of the situation.
  2005. >>”Listen, I need you to help me move her. Let’s get her onto the sales counter and I can check her over.”
  2006. >Yeah, that... that makes sense.
  2007. “On it.”
  2008. >Without further ado you lift Pike up in your magic.
  2009. >Silken looks like she’s going to protest something, but before she can get the words out you’ve already drifted Pike over and set her down.
  2010. >You think you can hear Silken mutter:
  2011. >>”Strong magic for a colt.”
  2012. >But you already tuned her out to run over to Pike’s side.
  2013. “Wake up wake up wake up!”
  2014. >You’d be shaking her if you weren’t terrified of hurting her.
  2015. >Silken approaches shortly after, and makes a show of checking Pike over.
  2016. >>”Listen, every once in a while this happens. You were just too lewd for the poor mare to handle.”
  2017. >She reaches behind the counter, pulls out a small candy, and immediately pops it in Pike’s mouth.
  2018. >>”She’ll come out of it, you just got to give her a little time, and some sugar.”
  2019. >Ok... Ok.
  2020. >She spoke with the finality of someone who knew what they were talking about, so you suppose you’ll just have to differ to her judgement.
  2021. “So you’re saying this is a /normal/ thing?”
  2022. >She shrugs.
  2023. >>”Not normal as in ‘it happens every day’, but every once in awhile, yeah.”
  2024. >In a surprising move, she positively beams.
  2025. >>”Always a bit of a treat when it happens though, it's the ultimate symbol of my mastery to the craft. She must look at you what, thousands of times a day? But my clothes made you look so good that doing something as simple as that knocked her off her hooves, literally.”
  2026. >You can feel your face scrunch at that.
  2027. >Sure, she’s obviously not wrong per say...
  2028. >And if this really /isn’t/ a big deal then you guess it’s fine.
  2029. >But it still kind of strikes you as odd.
  2030. >>”Say, want me to ring you out while she’s out? Doubt you’ll be trying anything else on today.”
  2031. >You wave your hoof to decline.
  2032. “No, if there’s really nothing to do but wait, I might as well check out the non-sex things that caught my eyes.”
  2033. >Like that little apron you saw in the far corner.
  2034. >You and Pike are scheduled for a cooking class after all!
  2035. >>”Suit yourself. Been a long time since anypony’s taken advantage of the ‘and assorted garments’ section, be my guest.”
  2036.  
  2037. >W-where are you...?
  2038. >What’s... what’s going on....?
  2039. >You remember... you remember....
  2040. >SOCKS!
  2041. >Shooting up in place, you find yourself lying on a sales counter.
  2042. >No, not /a/ sales counter, /the/ sales counter!
  2043. >>”Oh, you’re up.”
  2044. >Turning you head to the side you see /her/, that shopkeeper.
  2045. “Where’s..?”
  2046. >>”Your coltfriend? After I convinced him you were alright he went to look at my assorted garments.”
  2047. >Well, that’s good news at least.
  2048. >You don’t know if you could take any more socks right now.
  2049. “*Sigh*, I don’t suppose I got lucky and no customers came in while I was out?”
  2050. >>”Nah, I closed the shop as soon as your colfriend agreed to let me help. Figured seeing your face would be worth the few lost sales.”
  2051. >At that she looks down at you, giving you a smile that’s borderline predatory.
  2052. >>”It totally was.”
  2053. >You scoot back just a little bit, just put some distance between you and her.
  2054. >That’s /certainly/ not the answer you were expecting.
  2055. >But, you suppose you shouldn’t look a gift whorse in the balls.
  2056. >Knowing your luck with emaresculation, your entire squad would have walked in.
  2057. >Speaking of emaresculation, Luna above how humiliating!
  2058. >You can’t believe you passed out like a horny schoolfilly!
  2059. >Oh what would Anon say?
  2060. >Wait... Anon was there!
  2061. >What /did/ Anon say!?
  2062. >Trying to keep your embarrassment buried under your marely pride you stammer out,
  2063. “How *Ahem* How did Anon take it?”
  2064. >Silken lets out a tart chuckle at your question.
  2065. >>”Sweet Celestia, I thought he was going to have a panic attack!”
  2066. “Really?”
  2067. >>”No manure. I’ve never heard a stallion scream louder than when you fell over! For a second I thought I was going to have to deal with /two/ unconscious ponies!”
  2068. >You chuckle yourself, unable to keep a smile off your face.
  2069. >Sure, you feel bad for making him worry.
  2070. >But it’s nice to have somepony care about you like that.
  2071. >>”For being such a janefilly, you’ve sure got a fretter on your hooves.”
  2072. >You chuckle yourself, after all she’s right.
  2073. >For a stallion who takes so much pride in his unusual demeanor, he sure can fuss with the best of them.
  2074. >Deciding that’s enough lying around, you prop yourself up in an attempt to start the process of standing.
  2075. >Only for that process to immediately be halted by a hiss of pain.
  2076. “Ah! No offense Silken, but isn’t there anything softer you could have laid me out on?”
  2077. >A sales counter isn’t exactly meant for ponies to lie on after all.
  2078. >Silken meanwhile just gestures to the back of the store.
  2079. >>”Yeah, but if I left you to go get it, your colt would have probably dragged you off to the hospital.”
  2080. >Oh Luna that would have been even worse.
  2081. >Giving her a nod of understanding, you turn your attention away from Silken.
  2082. >If Anon was half as stressed as she claimed, you better track him down.
  2083.  
  2084. >Sitting here staring at garments is only kind of working.
  2085. >No matter how hard you try to focus on how great the two of you would look prancing about in matching aprons, your mind keeps drifting back to Pike’s condition.
  2086. >Even though at this point you know you really shouldn’t even be worried.
  2087. >After all the clarity afforded by calming down reminded you of something.
  2088. >A passage from the same book that clued you in to ‘membrane moistening’.
  2089. >A passage that claimed an aroused mare’s body begins using blood sugar to build up a magical charge to convert into love magic upon mating.
  2090. >A healthy amount of foreplay would then up fondness or even fertility (in high enough concentrations)!
  2091. >But too much foreplay and, well…
  2092. >There go the mare’s blood sugar levels.
  2093. >You’re such an idiot! Why didn't you-
  2094. >”Hey Anon.”
  2095. >Definitely not startled, you most certainly did not let out an unmanly shout as you whipped around to see:
  2096. >Pike!
  2097. “You’re ok!”
  2098. >”Wha- of course I’m ok! What mare worth her weight in sugar can’t handle a little fainting every now and again?”
  2099. >Normally, you would have commented on how that’s the strangest thing you’ve ever heard.
  2100. >Buuuuut you’re much too happy Silken was right to focus on that.
  2101. >So instead you just sheepishly smile at her and say,
  2102. “I’m glad you’re alright. I-I was pretty freaked out there.”
  2103. >You rub the back of your head, and brace yourself to get told off.
  2104. >After all, by your own admission you were the one ‘putting her through the wringer’.
  2105. >But instead of getting some what-for, all you get is a sad sigh.
  2106. >”Sorry I passed out on you, and made you worry so much.”
  2107. >Oh no, she’s not taking the fall for this one.
  2108. “No Pike, I’m sorry I pushed you too hard. And don’t you dare say anything else cuz /I’m/ apologizing to /you/ and that’s that!”
  2109. >She seems unconvinced, opening her mouth to argue further.
  2110. >”But I was the one-”
  2111. “Ah ah ah, I said that was that!”
  2112. >Turning away from her (and discreetly pulling two aprons off the shelf), you begin trotting toward the sales counter.
  2113. >”No Anon, I should have been able to-”
  2114. “That was that!”
  2115.  
  2116. >>”You two come back soon! And buy just as much next time you do!”
  2117. >You chuckle and smile back at Silken, waving goodbye as you step out of the store.
  2118. >Today was a blast (you know, minus the whole Pike blacking-out thing), maybe the three of you should go drinking sometime!
  2119. >Wait... does that mean you made a friend?!
  2120. >Score!
  2121. >”Alright, no more shopping. We are heading home, and breaking in some of those socks!”
  2122. >Already!?
  2123. “Pike, no way! These things had you keeled over like, less than 30 minutes ago! We’re at least waiting a day.”
  2124. >”Oh no, buck that! You don’t get to tease me all day and then /not/ let me ride you like a freight train!”
  2125. >You suppose you backed yourself into a corner there.
  2126. >But to be frank, you are actually worried about her.
  2127. “Ok, ok. But if you pass out again, I don’t care what anyone says, I’m taking you to the hospital. Deal?”
  2128. >Continuing to keep pace with your trot, her face scrunches in thought.
  2129. >You expected her to answer right away, but she’s apparently putting a lot of thought into this.
  2130. >”Hmmmmmm.”
  2131. “Oh come on, would it really be that big a deal if I took you to the hospital?”
  2132. >Your response is a surprised gasp, as if the very question is absurd.
  2133. >”A hospital visit for lewdness induced vertigo? I’d never live it down!”
  2134. >Really? That seems rather extreme.
  2135. “Well those are my conditions! I’m not risking you getting a blood clot or something. I don’t care what anyone says, fainting multiple times in one day isn’t healthy!”
  2136. >But it appears your rant fell on deaf ears, as all that gets out of Pike is a groan and an eye roll.
  2137. >”Come on Anon, I thought you were a janefilly!”
  2138. “Oh, just say yes you big baby.”
  2139. >Hey, that got her to stick out her tongue at you! That’s new.
  2140. >”Fine, fine. It’s not like I’m gonna faint again anyway. So let’s hurry it up and get home!”
  2141.  
  2142. Pike did, in fact, pass out again. But thankfully (for her) she woke up as Anon was carrying her down the apartment building’s stairs, and was therefore able to barely talk him out of taking her to the hospital.
  2143.  
  2144. Continued in Part 2: https://ponepaste.org/161

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