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The Long and Short of It (RGRE) Part 3

By SQA-non
Created: 24th October 2020 07:15:49 AM
Modified: 23rd October 2020 03:36:50 PM

  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, ScribblesAnon, APA, HotKinkajou, LaP, Rot, Editfag, and Shu for prereading/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: ponybooru.org/images/33009?q=artist%3Anignogs
  4.  
  5. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and you are currently enjoying the fruits of your labors.
  6. >The two of you may have only woken up about an hour or so ago but, seeing as it's the weekend, the two of you have decided to pass the time in a time honored winter tradition.
  7. >Lying on the couch, snuggling.
  8. >Anon has found himself sandwiched between yourself and the couch, while you’ve pressed yourself as deep into his fuzz as you can go.
  9. >Which, after he’s become slightly addicted to hay, there’s actually a lot of fuzz to snuggle into.
  10. >You’d be a fool to complain about it though, because you remember what many mares have forgotten.
  11. >Unicorns are the tribe of the mountains, and mountains get cold.
  12. >Cold mountains means fuzzy coats, and Anon has fuzzed up with vengeance.
  13. >Letting out a contented ‘hm’ you snuggle further into Anon’s soft, soft grip.
  14. >Ahhh yes, truly this moment is perfect...
  15. >...perfect to spring your trap!
  16. “So Anon, last night, what did you mean by ‘what is a beta’?”
  17. >You smile evilly as you feel his body go ramrod stiff behind you.
  18. >Last night he got away with avoiding the question by pretending to already be asleep by the time you got home (you saw him open his eyes when he thought you weren’t looking).
  19. >But here, now?
  20. >You’ve got him pinned, literally.
  21. >Smiling smugly to yourself, you settle in and wait for an answer.
  22. >...
  23. >Aaaaany time now.
  24. >...
  25. >Any time.
  26. >...
  27. >Ok, so that’s how it's going to be.
  28. >Spinning around to face him directly you give him an accusatory poke right in his chest.
  29. “Come /on/ Anon, you seriously don’t know what a beta is!? How!? I’ve even told you about my family before!”
  30. >His eyes briefly search for a way out, but eventually he lets out a resigned sigh, understanding that he needs to confront this.
  31. >”Ok, this is going to sound kind of mean... but I really thought that was just a thing your family did.”
  32. >What!?
  33. “Why would you think that?”
  34. >Realizing he said something wrong, an increasingly nervous look blossoms on his face.
  35. >”W-well you always talked about how your family were very ‘orthadox believers of Luna’! So I just figured you were like Mormons!”
  36. >Deciding that’s enough snuggling (this discussion is serious), you fully extract yourself from his forelegs in order to hop off the couch and stand up to your full height, giving him a glare the whole time.
  37. >A glare that he instantly gets the meaning of.
  38. >”Right, you don’t know what a Mormon is. Ok, fact is I never actually expected somepony else to ask to be in our relationship.”
  39. >He says it with finality, but that raises a whole lot more questions than in answers.
  40. >Does that mean that in his culture, monogamy is the norm?
  41. >How!? Do they have some magical cure that evens out the ratio of stallions to mares born?
  42. >No, there’s a much more plausible answer here.
  43. >He’s bucking with you.
  44. >Can’t he play it straight with you for once?
  45. “You know, Anon, I’m kind of getting sick of this.”
  46. >You don’t like the look of worry that shows up on his face, but it at least shows you’re getting through to him.
  47. >He rapidly sits up, you can hear the quiver in his voice.
  48. >”Wh-what do you mean hon? Sick of what?”
  49. >You sigh, exasperated.
  50. “Every time we start talking about your home, it gets to the point where you either stonewall me, or just tell me a bold faced lie.”
  51. >”I’m not lying-!”
  52. “Then how is it possible for a pony to come from a culture where herding is unheard of? Did your country somehow solve the gender ratio issue?”
  53. >”N-no....”
  54. >Around now you've realized your voice has unintentionally been steadily getting louder.
  55. “Then how the heck could a culture of ponies survive if they’re monogamous!?”
  56. >”BECAUSE WE’RE NOT PONIES!”
  57. >
  58. >
  59. >What?
  60. >”We- /I’m/ not... oh God.”
  61. >Y-you’ve been caught completely off guard.
  62. >Sure you could just say he’s still lying but... the look on his face...
  63. >Terror, pure undiluted terror.
  64. >Like he just said something that shouldn’t be said at all costs.
  65. >As you try to scrounge up some sort of response, the sound his voice cuts right to your heart.
  66. >For once it's not bold and confident, it's meek and afraid.
  67. >”P-please don’t leave me.”
  68. >He’s started shaking now, and tears are flowing freely from his eyes.
  69. >Before he can say another word you launch yourself directly back into his forehooves, which he wraps around you without a second thought.
  70. >You expected him to start sobbing, but he just sits there with heaving breaths.
  71. >Eventually you decide it's time to speak up.
  72. >Pulling back just enough to look him in the eyes, you give him a reassuring smile.
  73. “Why don’t you start at the beginning, Anon?”
  74.  
  75. >You’ve been sitting there for awhile now, letting Anon tell you his life story.
  76. >Not the abridged one he usually gives you, the whole thing.
  77. >”...and that's the long and short of it,” he finishes.
  78. >Sitting there, you have to admit it's quite fantastical.
  79. >At first you admittedly didn’t believe him.
  80. >However, the longer he talked, the more things started to make sense.
  81. >His bizarre homeland, his unpony mannerisms, the extremely strange circumstances of his arrival, and that weird story Celestia told...
  82. >It's all starting to come together.
  83. >Plus, if you’re being honest, is it /really/ that unusual of a thing to happen, compared to the kind of stuff that goes down in Equestria every day?
  84. >Compared to his homeland though, something like this is totally unheard of.
  85. >They don’t have demons, or chaos gods.
  86. >The absolute strangest thing that could happen to one of his people, to you would seem extremely mundane.
  87. >No wonder he was so terrified of telling you.
  88. >If you had been sent to his world and turned into a ‘human’, nothing good would have come of telling anypony.
  89. >A fear that Anon clearly still holds.
  90. >Because despite how many times you stopped to reassure him that you wouldn’t leave him and that you believed him, he’s still the picture of anxiety.
  91. >Hoping to assuage that a least a bit, you rest your hoof on his shoulder to comfort him as best you can.
  92. “Anon, you should have just told me.”
  93. >His sighs sadly.
  94. >”I know, I know. I was just so scared. What if it scared you off? What if you got mad that I waited so long to tell you? What if you just thought I was insane? T-there’s so many things that could have gone wrong, I-I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.”
  95. >One might wonder why he was so forthcoming about information if he was terrified of the truth coming out, but in hindsight the answer is obvious.
  96. “But despite that, you didn’t want to live a lie. So you always told me just enough of the truth.”
  97. >He solemnly nods his head.
  98. >”Yeah. I wanted you to know about my real family and my real culture, but not to know I was a freak, you know?”
  99. >Wordlessly you wrap him in another hug.
  100. >After a little while he lets out another breath that sends shutters through his whole body.
  101. “You’re not a freak Anon, you're perfect.”
  102. >His response is just to hold you tighter, but you know what he means.
  103. >After letting him rest his chin on your head for a few minutes, you pull away.
  104. “Alright, enough moping around. Today’s an important day! Let’s go out, and get some ingredients for our big celebratory dinner tonight.”
  105. >Anon looks confused at your statement, and he’s begun visibly trying to puzzle out what day it is today.
  106. >”W-why is today important again?”
  107. “It’s the day you admitted to your fillyfriend you’re actually an alien! If that isn’t a big relationship milestone, I don’t know what is.”
  108. >Your joke is what finally breaks through his somber mood, and he lets out a little laugh that warms your heart.
  109. >”Yeah, hehe I guess so. I love you, Pike.”
  110. “I love you too, Anon.”
  111.  
  112. >The day passed by quickly after that, the two of you reveling in each other’s company.
  113. >Thankfully, by the time you and Anon got back from your errands, Anon had almost entirely returned to his jovial self.
  114. >He was practically bouncing around the kitchen while the two of you did food prep, chattering about his home the whole time.
  115. >They apparently even went to their moon!
  116. >Mare, you’d sure like to go to the moon...
  117. >..and then to the sun so you could beat the crap out of it!
  118. >”Ingredients, chopped!” calls Anon.
  119. >Turning away from your dough, you see it is as he says.
  120. “Great, get those blended and we’ll be on our way to some marinara sauce!”
  121. >The meal the two of you settled on was a stuffed crust pizza, homemade this time.
  122. >Anon was busy making the sauce, and you were busy kneading the dough.
  123. >If the recipe book you read was right, you need to get the consistency to about—
  124. >*Ding Dong!*
  125. >Huh, the doorbell?
  126. >You certainly weren’t expecting a visitor today.
  127. >However, Anon apparently was, because his face lights up like a hearthswarming tree.
  128. >”Ooo! That must be Silken with my package! Perfect timing.”
  129. >Happily trotting over to the door, he opens it to reveal that very mare, Silken Evening.
  130. >>”Got what you asked for, Anon.”
  131. >Greedly grabbing the box off Silken’s back, Anon’s smile grows immeasurably.
  132. >”You’re a real pal Silk, catch you tomorrow!”
  133. >She just gives him a cheeky smile and nods.
  134. >>”See you then, Anon. Don’t wear ‘em out too quick!”
  135. >He just nods back and shuts the door, leaving you to wonder that the heck Silken just dropped off.
  136. >Anon’s statement made it sound like whatever it was would be useful for cooking dinner, but Silken runs a lingerie shop!
  137. >Turning your attention from the dough, you watch him open the box with rapt attention.
  138. >”Ta dah!”
  139. >It’s a pair of aprons with matching patterns!
  140. >One's even your size!
  141. >And its... baby blue?
  142. >Looking at Anon’s much larger pinker apron, it occurs to you exactly what these apron’s /actually/ are.
  143. >Something Anon has clearly missed.
  144. >”Check it out, eh? Now we can cook in style!”
  145. >Aw that’s so sweet of him!
  146. >Not sweet enough to keep you from laughing though.
  147. “Ahahahahahahahahaaaaaa!”
  148. >As you laugh, the smile slowly falls off Anon’s face.
  149. >”What’s so funny?”
  150. >Forcing your giggles down, you point to the smaller apron.
  151. “Anon, /that’s/ supposed to be the stallion’s apron.”
  152. >He does a double take, looking between himself and the apron.
  153. >”Huh? But it's so small! It would hardly even fit on a regularly sized stallion.”
  154. >Giggles threatening to burst out again, you add as quickly as you can.
  155. “And what kind of shop does Silken run?”
  156. >”A sex sh— ooooooooh.”
  157. >Looking over to the apron, you see the recognition flash in his eyes.
  158. >”So it’s /supposed/ to look skimpy! Aw, well that’s disappointing.”
  159. >Holding it up to himself, you can tell right away he won’t be able to put it on at all.
  160. >”Fuck. Here I thought I was being clever when I saw these in her shop a few days ago,” he curses to himself.
  161. >Curious, you grab it out of his magic and hold it up to yourself.
  162. >Huh, well on the upside for Anon, he was at least able to guess your size perfectly.
  163. >Shame that wearing it would just be so emareculating thou—
  164. >Suddenly it hits you.
  165. [spoiler]>A vision of you in the little apron, it perfectly shows off your flanks.[/spoiler]
  166. [spoiler]>Hopping around the kitchen cooking Anon dinner, all the while he can’t take his eyes off of you.[/spoiler]
  167. [spoiler]>You always did like the color baby blue...[/spoiler]
  168. >You shake your head to dismiss those unmarely thoughts, but the blush on your face remains.
  169. >You couldn’t do that to yourself!
  170. >It’d be so embarrassing, so /colty/.
  171. >Better to have him just return the—
  172. “Let’s keep 'em!”
  173. >W-why’d you say that?!
  174. >I-it's not like you’d /enjoy/ prancing around the apartment in a tight little apron!
  175. >”You sure? I mean won’t it be kind of weird knowing what these actually are?”
  176. >He’s right it would be weird.
  177. >You need to just tell him to return them, that’s the right thing, right?
  178. >As you look at the apron though, you can’t help but think to yourself...
  179. >’Just once, I’ll wear it just once, for him.’
  180. “I-It’ll be fine.”
  181. >Unable to stop yourself, you immediately slide the apron on.
  182. >It fits just as well as you thought it would.
  183. “It's a perfect fit after all!”
  184. >Putting the other on himself, he chuckles.
  185. >”If you’re sure. We’d better make sure not to wear it around company though.”
  186. >Your face starts to heat up at the thought, before you promptly stomp those thoughts back down.
  187. “Alright, enough dallying. Let’s get back to work, unless we want to eat dinner at midnight.”
  188.  
  189. >You are Anonymous, and the pizza turned out really well!
  190. >Every single part of this dinner has been sublime, which is just what you needed after the unexpectedly stressful day.
  191. >The two of you are currently once again lounging on the couch, chatting and drinking wine while some dumb movie plays on tv.
  192. >The conversation has seemingly inevitably drifted back to last night, and all the bizarre events that happened during it.
  193. >”So that’s what an ‘apealien’ is! You!”
  194. “Hehe, yep. I guess in my moment of panic that just wrenched itself out of some weird part of my psyche.”
  195. >Taking a sip of your mango wine, you can’t help but smile at how lucky you are.
  196. >How many other ponies, nay, people would be willing to share drinks with a being from across the universe.
  197. >Not many you’d reckon!
  198. “Anything happen after that?”
  199. >”I wouldn’t know, I was hot on your hooves almost as soon as you left. Oh! I did catch sight of Cut throwing up all over the floor though.”
  200. >Oh no!
  201. >You feel bad for laughing, but you can’t help it.
  202. “Ohohoho my God, poor Cut. She’s going to be so strung out tomorrow.”
  203. >She’s already a nervous wreck most days, this’ll just make her anxiety even worse.
  204. “Jeez, I’ll invite her over to just hang out or something. No reason to let her worry that she like destroyed our friendship or anything.”
  205. >What would you /do/ though?
  206. >She almost certainly wouldn’t want to drink after last time.
  207. >As you ponder, your eyes are drawn to the XPONI board game sitting on your shelf.
  208. >It does get better with more players...
  209. >”Speaking of Cut,” chimes in Pike, “I never got an answer out of you about herding.”
  210. >She didn’t.
  211. >This morning, you were both thankful and terrified when the topic shifted.
  212. >However, just like before, you can’t run forever.
  213. “Honestly... I don’t know. I’m tempted to say ‘fuck it’ and try it out, but it runs so contrary to what my view of a family is, I really don’t know if I’d be actually comfortable with it.”
  214. >You sigh involuntarily, you know this isn’t what Cut will want to hear.
  215. >Hell, you can tell from the look on Pike’s face it's not even what /she/ wants to hear (which is so dissonant from what you’d expect, it makes your skin crawl a little bit).
  216. >However, you think this really is for the best.
  217. >So speaking with finality, you tell Pike how it is.
  218.  
  219. >”So really, I just need to think this through more. What if I rush in half cocked and find out I just can’t handle it? It’d break Cut’s heart to just be shoved back in the friend zone.”
  220. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and while you are disappointed, you understand.
  221. >You’ve always dreamed of being in a large herd, ever since you were a filly, but you don’t want to force Anon into something he’s not comfortable with.
  222. >Honestly, knowing what you do, you’re glad he’s even considering it.
  223. >Sure, monogamists aren't exactly super common, but they at least /exist/ in your culture.
  224. >For Anon, this is a whole new avenue he’s never even considered.
  225. >”What about you, Pike? How do you feel about Cut joining us? It sounded like she made quite the fool of herself to you.”
  226. >To an average pony, Anon would be right.
  227. >You however, were taught to believe in Luna the Orthadox way.
  228. >Sure, she may have been under the influence, and sure, jealousy may have been a major motivation...
  229. >But she, a schlubby earth pony, was still willing to stand up to you, a trained member of the guard, all to protect Anon.
  230. >She even knew who you were, and almost certainly knew you could kick her flanks if you wanted.
  231. >She did it anyway though, in a show of grit that would have earned her at least a chance in any herd back in the old days.
  232. “I’m willing to give her a chance, she was willing to stand up for you after all.”
  233. >But just as you say that, your eyes are involuntarily dragged over to your apron, currently hung up on one of the kitchen chairs.
  234. >’We’d better make sure not to wear it around company though,’ Anon’s voice echoes in your head.
  235. >You’ve always wanted a big herd... but...
  236. >What would other mares say if they saw you wearing that?
  237. [spoiler]>What would they say about how you acted around Anon? How you want to act?[/spoiler]
  238. >Don’t think about it, don’t think about it.
  239. [spoiler]>They- they’d make fun of you wouldn’t they!? Oh Luna, what if Anon decides he wants a /real mare/ then!?[/spoiler]
  240. >Shut up thoughts! You are a real mare!
  241. >Suddenly the same nervousness about herding that afflicted Anon has been transferred to you.
  242. >Maybe it is for the best if you stay mono for now.
  243. >While Anon figures out if herding is for him, you can work on confronting these strange feelings.
  244. “Whatever you decide Anon, I’ll respect it.”
  245. >He beams.
  246. >”Aw, thanks hon. I promise I’ll give it some real thought, for you.”
  247. >You suppose that’s all you can ask for.
  248. >Oh hey, you know what would be perfect for this moment?
  249. >A toast!
  250. >Raising your glass, you say exactly what your heart feels.
  251. ”Anon, monogamy may be for degenerate crystal ponies, but if I had to be degenerate with anypony, I’d be you.”
  252. >Still smiling gratefully, he returns the toast.
  253. >“Awwwww thanks honey—”
  254. >Just as you touch glasses though, a look of confusion passes over his face.
  255. >“— I-I think.”
  256. >You lean in and give him a smooch, laughing all the way.
  257. “You /know/.”
  258.  
  259. >You are Nocturnal Pike and everything's all hazy.
  260. >The last thing you remember is tucking into bed, and now...
  261. >...now you’re running late!
  262. >Your coltfriend will be home any minute, and you only /just/ put the roast in the oven!
  263. >Arrg how could you be so stupid!?
  264. >Brushing your hooves off on your baby blue apron, you glare at the roast, hoping the sheer power of your gaze will cook it faster.
  265. >Maybe, maybe you can keep him occupied somehow.
  266. >He does really like seeing you in this apron.
  267. >Uh oh, the front door just opened.
  268. >Whatever you’re going to do, better do it fast!
  269. >”Honey, I’m home!”
  270. >Crouching your forehooves down to ‘look at the roast’ you ‘accidentally’ raise your plot into the air.
  271. “Sorry hon, dinner’s running a little late! I hope you don’t mind!”
  272. >Giving your rear a little shake, you expect to hear the sound of his breath growing increasingly heavy.
  273. >Instead you hear... nothing?
  274. “Uhhhhh, Ano—”
  275. >As you stand up to try and see where he is, you suddenly find your vision full of green.
  276. >As two distinct weights settle on your snout, it doesn’t take long for you to figure out what you’re seeing.
  277. “Th-these aren’t my glasses!”
  278. >You can feel him chuckle as much as hear him, somehow he managed to get right over top of you without you noticing.
  279. >Taking a deep breath, the smell of his nuts are intoxicating.
  280. “Mmmmf”
  281. >”Oh?” he calls out, “got something you like over there?”
  282. >Oh Luna you can feel his breath on your slit!
  283. >”Because I see a snack right here.”
  284. >You wink, desperately anticipating Anon’s tongue.
  285. >Come oooooooon! Put it in put it in—
  286.  >>”NOCTURNAL! What are you doing!?”
  287. >Your blood runs cold.
  288. >No longer are you in your cosy kitchen standing under your hubby.
  289. >But instead under a harsh spotlight, darkness all around you.
  290. >Well, darkness, your family, and your co-workers.
  291. >Slowly turning your head toward the first voice, it's exactly who you feared.
  292. >Your mother, Star Mapper.
  293. >>”Luna’s sakes, what’s gotten into you, filly? Doing a /colt’s/ work!? And that ‘apron’? By the moon...”
  294. >No, no! She can’t see you like this!
  295. >>>”We always said you were too small to be a mare!” comes a cold voice to your left.
  296. >Whipping your head around you see you sisters, all laughing at your expense.
  297. >>>>”Haha! Pint-sized Pike at it again.”
  298. >S-stop! Please stop!
  299. >>>>>”What’s gotten into you Pike?”
  300. >No. Nononononono.
  301. >Slowly turning around, you come face to face with a pony you know all too well.
  302. >Astral Blade.
  303. >>>>>”Here I thought a /real mare/ led our platoon, but turns out you were as weak as you are small all along. I bet you were the little spoon the night you met him!”
  304. >You want to cry, you want to scream, you can feel the tears at the edges of your eyes.
  305. >You are a real mare! You are!
  306. >You—
  307. >”HEY!”
  308. >Your breath hitches in your throat.
  309. >You thought he had disappeared, but he had been standing over you the whole time.
  310. >”I don’t /fucking/ remember inviting any of YOU to MY fillyfriend’s sexy dream!”
  311. >A voice you recognize as your mother’s calls out.
  312. >>”We have every right to check in on Nocturnal!”
  313. >”Yeah!? From where I’m standing the only thing you’ve got a ‘right’ to is a kiss from my fist you cock-sucking fa—”
  314.  
  315. >”Hon? Hon! Wake up!”
  316. >Who’s what's huh?
  317. >Opening your eyes the rest of the way, you find yourself still in bed, being gently shaken by Anon.
  318. >”You alright? You went from moaning in your sleep to crying in the span of five minutes.”
  319. >Oh thank Luna.
  320. >Your relief at realizing it was only a nightmare is immeasurable.
  321. “I-I’m fine.”
  322. >Wiping the tears out of your eyes, you can tell he doesn’t buy it.
  323. >”You sure? You seemed pretty upset.”
  324. >Aw, Anon...
  325. >Can’t you be like most stallions and take ‘I'm fine’ at face value? Just this once?
  326. “I-it was just a bad dream, I’ll be fine.”
  327. >He looks you over, definitely not believing you, but he acquiesces all the same.
  328. >”Alriiiiight. But remember, I told you I was an alien. Is what you don’t want to tell me /really/ worth keeping a secret more than that?”
  329. >Oh come on, you’re not keeping a secret.
  330. >You just... need to work through some stuff on your own is all.
  331. “Yes, come on it's fine,” you say as you push out of his forehooves, “let’s go get ready.”
  332.  
  333. >You are Anonymous, and having decided that a quick grocery run was in order before the two of you went off to work, you and Pike decided to hit the farmer’s market.
  334. >And boy, do they have something interesting today.
  335. >>”WHY KEEP COMING TO THE MARKET WHEN YOU CAN GROW YER OWN? 10 BITS A PLANT!” cries a large earth pony mare from inside her cart.
  336. >>”GOT A RESTLESS STALLION WHO NEEDS SOMETHING TO DO? HAVE HIM START A GARDEN!”
  337. >Ha! As if.
  338. >Pfffft starting a garden.
  339. >Pike however, is seemingly drawn in by the idea, and starts heading toward it.
  340. >Not wanting to be left behind, you follow behind her.
  341. >As you get closer to the cart though, Pike noticeably starts slowing down.
  342. >Her pace goes from a beeline, to the pace of someone who’s not sure if they’re going the right way.
  343. >Then, when you’re almost at the cart, Pike turns to you.
  344. >”Hey Anon, m-mind if we pick some of these up? I-It would sure save us a lot on ingredients if we just grew our own.”
  345. >Makes sense to you.
  346. >But there’s something about her tone that makes you think she’s hiding something...
  347. >Well, that and the way she’s nervously taking one step forward and one step back.
  348. >Oh! You bet you can guess what it is.
  349. >Leaning down to eye level, you give her an evil smile.
  350. “You just want to start a garden, don't you Pike?”
  351. >The way her face instantly turns red tells you everything you need to know.
  352. >”Wha-!? N-no! I’m just thinking about our financial wellbeing is all!”
  353. >Sure you are Pike.
  354. “Oh come on, just admit it! You want to start a garden!”
  355. >Somehow she managed to turn a shade of red darker.
  356. >”No, I don’t! G-gardens are c-colty!”
  357. “/Admit it/!”
  358. >She spends the next few seconds sputtering, hoping to come up with a retort.
  359. >Her words fail her though, and she hangs her head in defeat.
  360. >”It's /not/ a garden... its an /independent growth venture/...”
  361. >Awwww, look at how pouty her face is!
  362. >You’re tempted to scoop her up, but you feel like you’ve ribbed her enough.
  363. >Walking past her, you head over toward the cart.
  364. “Great!”
  365. >You don’t even need to look back at her, you can hear her whirl around to face you as you pass.
  366. >”What!? That’s it!?”
  367. “Yep,” but just as she thinks you’re going to leave it at that, you toss a glance over your shoulder, “It's still a garden though.”
  368. >’Wha -but - ah, Anoooooooooon!”
  369. “Now get over here and tell me what you want!”
  370.  
  371. >As you, Nocturnal Pike, sit at your desk later in the day, you find a thought running through your head.
  372. >You really bought a lot more plants than you’d like to admit.
  373. >Anon kept ribbing you over where you were going to put all of them, but you were too distracted trying to come up with things to call it that weren’t ‘a garden’ to fire back.
  374. >A distraction that’s infiltrated your day so thoroughly that even as you’re trying to work, your mind is still racing.
  375. >Admittedly ‘independent growth venture’ was good, but you need something more concise...
  376. >Plant patch?
  377. >”So what do you think, Sarge?”
  378. >LUNA!
  379. >The voice from in front of you startles you out of your thoughts with a jump.
  380. >Oh right, you aren’t currently alone in your office working on paperwork.
  381. >You’re in fact sitting across from Cloak N. Dagger, who’s come to discuss which of your guardsmares are eligible to enter the Nightstalker program.
  382. >Whoops!
  383. “Sorry, Cloak. Could you run that by me again?”
  384. >Surprisingly she doesn’t, she just sighs.
  385. >”Sorry, Sarge. I’ve just been distracted today.”
  386. >Apparently so distracted she didn’t notice /you/ were distracted.
  387. >But hey, you’re not complaining!
  388. “What’s on your mind?”
  389. >In the past you’d have told her to stuff it and focus on her job.
  390. >However, not only would that make you a massive hypocrite in this situation but you’ve also been feeling more... open, in recent months.
  391. >Settling in, you prepare yourself for whatever Cloak may say.
  392. >”You had kind of a rough foalhood, didn’t you, Sarge?”
  393. >You were not prepared for whatever Cloak would say.
  394. “Well, I guess.”
  395. >Calling it ‘rough’ was a bit extreme in your mind.
  396. >”Your Mom and siblings gave you a hard time, right?”
  397. >They did, as a matter of fact.
  398. >Your mother, Star Mapper, was a mildly famous explorer.
  399. >She traveled the known world, seduced dozens of stallions, and was just generally the ultimate standard of femininity.
  400. >A standard she expected her foals to live up to.
  401. >An already hard task, made harder by the fact that you were the youngest, and (you very begrudgingly admit this) the smallest.
  402. >Aw mare, they really put you through the wringer back when you were young...
  403.  
  404. >It was your twelfth birthday.
  405. >The cake had been cut, your sisters had already run outside to play, and your dad had already run off to take care of one of the (few) younger foals.
  406. >That just left you and your Mom as you opened your present.
  407. >Your heart lit up when you first saw it, it was the exact size of what you wanted.
  408. >But when you tore the wrapping paper off, you didn’t find an easy bake oven.
  409. “A hoofball?”
  410. >Your mother, who towers over you even now, looked down at you with scorn.
  411. >”That’s right! I don’t care what your father told you, no daughter of mine is going to learn to do a /colt’s/ job! Now take that hoofball and go play with your sisters.”
  412. >Aw, but you didn’t /want/ to play outside with them.
  413. >They were always so rough!
  414. “Do I have to? They’re just gonna make fun of me...”
  415. >Your Mom just gives you a slap on the back so hard that nearly knocks you out of your chair.
  416. >”So? It builds character! Now get out there, Nocturnal.”
  417. >Sending her one last pleading look, you take your hoofball and glumly step outside.
  418. >It goes exactly as well as you’d expect.
  419. >Whichever one of your older sisters is closest, immediately sees your forlorn face and moves in for the kill.
  420. >>”Aw, what’s the matter /runt/ didn’t get your colt toy?”
  421. >Before you can even attempt to defend yourself, another one of your sisters speaks up.
  422. >>>”You sure Noct’s not just a colt? She sure is small enough, and an easy bake oven? Come on!”
  423. >You do your best to stamp them down, but you feel the tears at the edges of your eyes nonetheless.
  424. “I-I’m not a colt.”
  425. >>”Look, she’s even crying like one!”
  426. >At this point, one of your sister’s starts chanting.
  427. >>>”Noct’s~a~cooolt! Noct’s~a~cooolt”
  428. “I’m not!”
  429. >They don’t even hear you, as your protests are buried under the rest of your sisters joining in.
  430. >>>>”Noct’s~a~cooolt! Noct’s~a~cooolt”
  431. “SHUT UP!”
  432.  
  433. >Hm, actually that was kind of awful.
  434. >In fact, so were all of your birthdays, up until you toughened up that is.
  435. >So it wasn’t that bad.
  436. [spoiler]>Yes it was.[/spoiler]
  437. >Besides, you’re all on good terms now! ...kinda.
  438. >Wait why are you thinking about this again?
  439. “What’s your point, Cloak?”
  440. >In a surprising show of emotion for Cloak N. Dagger, she starts tapping her hooves nervously.
  441. >”Well, just, please don’t hold what Cut said last night against her. It’s not her fault.”
  442. >Oh? Once again the conversation veers in an unexpected direction.
  443. >You motion for Cloak to continue, and she does.
  444. >”She just got bullied a lot when we were foals. She’s a good pony but that just messed her up. Heck she’d still be a NEET if it weren’t for aunt Jargon.”
  445. >You suppose the two of you are similar in that regard.
  446. >Although, you at least didn't get messed up from it.
  447. >Indeed, you are a one hundred percent well adjusted pony, no lingering issues whatsoever.
  448. >Nope, not a one.
  449. ”What for, if you don’t mind me asking?”
  450. >Cloak looks at her hooves, they’re the same tan color as Cut’s.
  451. >”She inherited our mom’s looks.”
  452. >That strikes you as rather odd.
  453. >Nothing about her appearance stuck out particularly.
  454. >What could ponies have bullied her so horribly for?
  455. >Furthermore, why does Cloak expect you to know what her mom looks like?
  456. “And your mom is...?”
  457. >Cloak doesn’t say anything at first, instead just sitting there with a deep look of shame on her face.
  458. >What, is her mom like a war criminal or something?
  459. >”Her name’s Suck N. Buck.”
  460. >What? There’s no way you heard that right.
  461. >Popping open a drawer, you pull out a cotton swab out to clean your ears.
  462. >Since of course, there’s no way Cloak just said what you think she said.
  463. >After giving your ears a /very/ throughout cleaning, you address Cloak.
  464. “Sorry, I didn’t catch that. Hehe, it sounded like you said—”
  465. >”Yes, I said Suck N. Buck. *sigh* The porn star.”
  466. >WHAT!?
  467. >You couldn’t even stop yourself from laughing if you tried.
  468. >Cloak N. Dagger is the daughter of Suck N. Buck!?
  469. >How did you not know this!?
  470. >Just thinking about that infamous name brings dozens of porn titles to your mind.
  471. >’Barely Legal Colt Get Virginity STOLEN By Ugly Bitch!’
  472. >’MASSIVE Teated Ugly Bitch Steal and Corrupts Pure Coltfriend!’
  473. >And so on and so forth.
  474. >You seriously can’t believe that Cut and Cloak are related to a porn star, who’s famous for being the grimiest bitch alive!
  475. >...and Cut inherited her looks.
  476. >Oh Luna no.
  477. >It doesn’t take long for the joy of finding out your friend is related to a porn star, to be replaced with horror at the implications.
  478. >Cloak seems to sense this, and leans forward in her chair.
  479. >As you truly grasp the enormity of Cloak’s statement, your voice is reduced to a whisper.
  480. “Cloak, when you say she inherited your mom’s looks, does that include...?”
  481. >Cloak nods her head.
  482. >”Yes. Except last time I checked, Cut’s were bigger.”
  483. >BIGGER?
  484. “How much bigger?”
  485. >”F cup.”
  486. >Sweet Luna above.
  487. >That revelation almost knocks you out of your chair.
  488. >This mare /teats/ are as big as Anon’s /balls/!?
  489. >You knew mares in school who caught crap for having C cup teats, but F CUP!?
  490. >That would get you bullied.
  491. “Th-they didn’t look that big last night.”
  492. >”Cut spends a fortune of enchanted maternity bras to hide them. She’s still pretty self conscious about it.”
  493. >Holy cow.
  494. >No wonder she fell so hard for Anon, he’s probably given her the only positive male attention she’s received in years.
  495. >Poor gal.
  496. >You feel like you need to send her an ‘I understand’ card or something.
  497. >You’re glad Cloak told you all this, you feel like—
  498. >Wait hold on, why /is/ Cloak telling you all this?
  499. >You’ve known her for years and she’s NEVER been this forthcoming with information.
  500. >In fact, usually she takes specific pleasure in withholding it!
  501. “Why, are you telling me all this?”
  502. >Actually focusing back on Cloak, you notice that at some point she pulled out a small picture.
  503. >You can’t see who’s in it from where you’re looking, but you can guess.
  504. >”L-last night when I took her home she was pretty upset. I just wanted to try to show you where she's coming from, you know?”
  505. >Yes, and you’re sure the stuff about you also having a rough foalhood was /definitely/ just brought up as a coincidence.
  506. >/Totally/ not supposed to foster a connection and empathy between you and Cut.
  507. >Still, unsubtle as it may be, you can’t knock Cloak too much for it.
  508. >It did work after all.
  509. >Kind of sweet that she’s trying to play wingmare in her own weird spy way.
  510. >However, you were already on board with letting her in the herd.
  511. >The ball is in Anon’s metaphorical court.
  512.  
  513. >You are Cut N. Paste, and all you’ve been doing since you got into the office four hours ago, is sit in your chair and worry.
  514. >A worry that is growing worse the closer you get to three.
  515. >That’s the time Anon usually comes in.
  516. >M-maybe he’s not coming in today?
  517. >Or ever again?
  518. >No, no you want him to come in.
  519. >It's not worth it to hope you never see him again, just because he /might/ get mad and yell at you.
  520. >Ok, almost certainly will get mad and yell at you.
  521. >Oooooh, maybe you could give him a spa day as a ‘please-let-me-still-be-your-friend-present’?
  522. >No no no, you idiot! Anon doesn’t like colty stuff like that!
  523. >Before you know it, you feel tears stinging at the edges of your eyes.
  524. >Why aren’t you good at this!? Why do you always mess things up!?
  525. >Before you can spiral deeper into self loathing however, you hear something.
  526. >The sound of the door to the stairs opening, and Anon greeting some of your coworkers as he walks into the office floor.
  527. >He’s here.
  528. >Oh buck no no no please no!
  529. >You need more time!
  530. >Oooooh Celestia help! What do you do?
  531. >In a moment of pure panic, you pull the hairpin out of your mane, letting it fall in front of your face.
  532. >If he can’t see you, maybe he won’t yell at you, right?
  533. >Yeah, let’s go with that!
  534. >Hiding behind your bangs, you can hear him approaching now.
  535. >You can feel yourself shaking in your chair, and the tears start flowing again.
  536. >Please don’t be too mad, please don’t be too mad!
  537. >”Cut?”
  538. >Oh no oh no oh no!
  539. >”Come on, Cut. Look at me.”
  540. >Pulling your bangs back, you expect the worst.
  541. >Him to have a snarl on his face, and to start laying into you.
  542. >Him to tell you never to talk to him again...
  543. >But you don’t see that.
  544. >Instead you see... sympathy?
  545. >Oh, don’t let him know you were trying to hide from him, ponies hate that!
  546. >Come on Cut, think!
  547. “Oh, h-hey there, Anon! I uh, didn’t see you there. I’m t-trying out a new manestyle, you see?”
  548. >Oooooh no, he doesn’t believe you!
  549. >”Jesus, Cut. Were you crying?”
  550. >Gosh dang it, you stupid filly what are you doing?!
  551. >Mares! Don’t! Cry!
  552. “N-no, I-I just had some allergies is all!”
  553. >...
  554. >Ooooooh he doesn’t believe that either!
  555. >As your mind spins trying to come up with another excuse, you suddenly find your thoughts ground to a halt.
  556. >Anon just reached over, and wrapped you in a hug.
  557. >”Cut, it's ok.”
  558. >I-it is?
  559. “B-but I said those things to your marefriend...”
  560. >”So? You were just trying to look out for me. You couldn’t have known Pike gave up that life.”
  561. >You-you almost can’t believe it.
  562. >Back in school, whenever you tried to warn a stallion that a mare was just taking advantage of him, they always got so mad.
  563. >And that was when the stuff you said was true!
  564. >Your sister already gave you a lecture about how ‘Sarge hasn’t so much as looked at another stallion since their relationship began, she’s clearly changed her ways’!
  565. >(Well, either that or Anon used his magic to take control of Pike’s mind, your sister couldn’t really decide).
  566. >Yet despite all that, here Anon is, telling you it's all ok.
  567. >Pushing out of his grip you quickly wipe the new, but very different feeling, tears out of your eyes.
  568. “O-oh mare. Still, here I am crying into your shoulder like little c-colt. I’ve really made a flank of myself, haven’t I?”
  569. >He just smiles and shrugs.
  570. >”Eh, you were really stressed out. It happens.”
  571. >Suddenly his smile shifts from congenial and friendly, to smug and prescient.
  572. >”Besides, there was /one/ mare at that table last night who you didn’t embarrass yourself in front of.”
  573. >What? Who could he be talking about?
  574. >As far as you know there was only one mare at that table he actually talks to, and that would be...
  575. >Your heart soars.
  576. “P-Pike?”
  577. >”Yep!” he says while nodding, “She thought you had... oh god what was that phrase? Oh right! ‘Big brass ovaries’!”
  578. “R-really?”
  579. >”Yeah, she was genuinely impressed.”
  580. >No way.
  581. >Did- did your drunken gambit actually work!?
  582. “D-does this mean I...?”
  583. >You don’t even want to say it out loud, lest you jinx it.
  584. >But based on how Anon’s face just fell, it was jinxed from the start.
  585. >”No. Not yet.”
  586. >Oh.
  587. >You let your shoulders sag.
  588. >Of course it was too much to hope th—
  589. >”Hey, let me finish!”
  590. >Even though you didn’t verbalize it, he was seemingly able to sense your despair.
  591. >”Look Cut, the fact is, my culture was monogamous.”
  592. >NO!
  593. >Of course you’d fall for a mono stallion, you idiot!
  594. >”/BUT/, Pike really wants me to give herding a try. So I’m thinking about it. Thing is, I really want to make sure I'm emotionally ready before I dive into something I’d never even considered before, you know?”
  595. >Reaching out his hoof, he puts it comfortingly on your shoulder.
  596. >”And when I decide you’ll be the first to know, and if it turns out that way, the first one I let in.”
  597. “R-really?”
  598. >”Yes.”
  599. >The joy is back in full force.
  600. >Talk about a day of emotional highs and lows!
  601. >Honestly, you’re completely content with orbiti—
  602. >”This comes with a caveat though.”
  603. >Oh?
  604. >Putting his other hoof on your other shoulder, he looks you right in your eyes.
  605. >”Do not wait up for me. If you meet someo--pony you really like, don’t feel like you’ve got to wait for my answer. I want you to be happy, Cut.”
  606. >You can’t keep the smile off your face.
  607. >Even now he’s considering /your/ feelings.
  608. >”Promise me, ok?”
  609. “I promise.”
  610. >It's a very easy promise to make, since you’ll never find somepony like else like that.
  611. >Since you’ll never find another stallion like him.
  612.  
  613. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and you beat Anon home!
  614. >So what better way to spend your time than with your new independent growth venture!
  615. >You may have had to rearrange your living room a teeny bit, but you like how it turned out.
  616. >Now all your plants are right next to the window, nice!
  617. >Which, by extension, means you’re by the window as well while you tend to your planter.
  618. >Good thing it’s night time and you’ve long since closed the curtains.
  619. >Wouldn’t want anypony to look through your window and see you wearing your apron, that would be embarrassing.
  620. >...What!? Y-you don’t want to get dirt on your coat!
  621. >It's only practical that you wear it while you [spoiler]garden[/spoiler] tend to your venture!
  622. >B-besides, it’s not like you /like/ wearing it....
  623. >”Honey I’m home!”
  624. >Turning away from your planter, it appears Anon just walked in.
  625. >”And... oh my gosh! Don’t you look adorable tending to your garden!”
  626. >Grrrrrr.
  627. >You pout mightily at his choice of words.
  628. “EEEEEEEE it’s /NOT/ a garden! Gardens are for colts who want pretty plants! /I’m/ growing these so we’ll have free ingredients!”
  629. >You don’t like the look he gives you, its smug aura mocks you.
  630. >”Oh? Are we having daisy sandwiches for dinner then?”
  631. >What?
  632. >Why would he ask that?
  633. “I thought we both agreed daisies taste terrible?”
  634. >”We did! So why’d you buy so many?”
  635. >Uh oh.
  636. >Turning back to look at you not-garden, you see he’s right.
  637. >You did buy a considerable number of daisies.
  638. >Why’d you do that? You both hate daisies!
  639. >A-although they do look... [spoiler]pretty.[/spoiler]
  640. “Ok, so m-maybe it’s /kind of/ a garden.”
  641. >”Aha! I knew it!” he cries as he sits down next to you.
  642. >”So what are you growing?”
  643. >O-oh! You assumed he was going to keep teasing.
  644. >Seemingly sensing your surprise, he leans in and whispers in your ear.
  645. >”Gotta keep you on your toes, I uhhh mean, hooftips! Can’t let myself get /too/ predictable.”
  646. >Uh oh, you don’t like the implications of that.
  647. >You’ll just have to prepare yourself to counter!
  648. >So while you try to think of what you could tease him about, you turn your attention to your kind-of garden.
  649. “W-well you see, I got some daisies, roses, tomatoes, daffodils, one mild pepper plant, and a few stalks of a special strain of hay. They say it tastes li—”
  650. >You’re interrupted by the sound of dripping.
  651. “Hey Anon, did I leave the faucet on?”
  652. >However, turning your head toward the faucet reveals it is not a leaky sink, but a leaky Anon.
  653. >As in he’s currently drooling all over the floor.
  654. “Well well well, Mr. ‘I-don’t-eat-hay’ sure looks excited for hay.”
  655. >You comment snaps him out of it, but it's too late as he’s already covered in drool.
  656. >After a few moments of grabbing every towel in range and trying to wipe himself down, he gives up.
  657. >”*Sigh* Well, balls. We gonna have that hay for dinner though?”
  658. “Maaaaybe.”
  659. >You were thinking about using some of it in a casserole.
  660. >The guy selling it did say it went well with rose petals...
  661. “Say Anon, what about hay makes you like it so much? Like, what does it taste like to you?”
  662. >”Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell...”
  663. >The longer Anon draws out his ‘well’ the more evil his smile becomes.
  664. >”You /sure/ you want to know?”
  665. >Is there something you’re missing here?
  666. >You rack your brain trying to think of why the heck you wouldn’t want to know, but come up with nothing.
  667. “Uuuuuh, I guess?”
  668. >His face has practically just become the face of DIscord.
  669. >Put up your guard, expect incoming whimsy!
  670. >”It tastes like beef.”
  671. >You stare at him blankly for a couple of seconds.
  672. “What?”
  673. >”Oh, right. It’s cow meat!”
  674. >...
  675. “WHAT!?”
  676. >Suddenly you’re blinded by a bright flash!
  677. >”Hehe, gotcha!”
  678. >As your vision gradually returns, you see you’ve come face to face with Anon’s camera.
  679. “You lying flankhole! You just wanted an embarrassing picture of me.”
  680. >His smile dips a little at your accusation.
  681. >”Hey, I wasn’t lying, it really does!”
  682. >Aha! He let himself get distracted!
  683. >While he’s focused on you, you snatch the photo right out of his camera!
  684. >A turnabout is fair play after all.
  685. “Hehe, gotcha!”
  686. >Now quick, before he can stop you!
  687. >You’ve got to destroy this photo!
  688. >But as you run toward the fireplace you spare a passing glance at it.
  689. “*Snirk!*”
  690. >Ok, Anon somehow managed to snap it right at the apex of your ‘WHAT!?’.
  691. >That’s actually pretty funny.
  692. >Chuckling you walk back over and hoof him the photo.
  693. “Ok, ok. That actually turned out pretty good.”
  694. >Snatching it out of you hoof, he holds it to his chest indignantly.
  695. >”I know, it's almost like I get paid to do it!”
  696. >After his statement, he valiantly tries to hold on to his indignant expression, but before long the two of you have broken down into laughter.
  697. >While the two of you share that laugh, you hear Anon’s camera flash again.
  698. >Curious, you again snatch the photo out of the camera as it develops.
  699. >Awww, it's a heartwarming scene of the two of you laughing together.
  700. “Not that I’m complaining, but what’s got you in such a picture taking mood?”
  701. >Anon, taking the photo and taking a look at it himself, shrugs.
  702. >”I don’t know. Just kind of felt like trying to capture some moments is all. Especially considering I knew you’d flip when I told you about beef.”
  703. >Oh yeah! The joy of the moment /almost/ made you forget about that!
  704. “What’s the deal with that by the way? Are you seriously telling me that if I went to one of those farming towns down the mountain, and took a bite of a random cow, it’d taste like hay?”
  705. >”Well specifically a hayburger, but you’d have to cook it first. Come on, my people weren’t animals, Pike.”
  706. >Considering how he acts in bed?
  707. >You doubt that.
  708. “So what are you going to do with the photos?”
  709. >”Haven’t decided yet. Might just put ‘em in a box. But that feels like kind of a waste, you know?”
  710. >Nodding your head, you start trying to think of what there is to do with pictures.
  711. >Hmmm, you probably don’t want to just frame all of them...
  712. >Say, there was that thing your dad used to do!
  713. >Nah, that’s too colty.
  714. >Just as you think that however, your brain suddenly makes you keenly aware of the fact that you just got done gardening in colty lingerie.
  715. >Ok brain, ok you get it.
  716. “W-well it's kind of colty, but do you want to make a scrapbook?”
  717. >Thankfully, he doesn’t just laugh at your idea.
  718. >Instead, his eyes light up.
  719. >”That would actually be fun. Oh! I know what we’re doing after dinner tonight!”
  720.  
  721. >Turns out that idea was to stage events from when you two were dating.
  722. >Going to Silken’s shop for the first time, Anon eating his first hayburger, you almost causing a diplomatic incident...
  723. >You’ve gone down the list and got pictures of all of them.
  724. >”Let’s put ‘Anon’s tries his first hayburger’ right next to that picture of us in our aprons.”
  725. “Ok, but we’re also putting ‘Anon’s burns stir fry’ on the same page.”
  726. >”Fair, fair.”
  727. >And now comes the fun part of arranging them on pages!
  728. >Like any good scrapbook, you’ve been trying to give each page a consistent theme.
  729. >This one had been summed up, very succinctly, by Anon as ‘kitchen misadventures’.
  730. >”I can’t think of any other ones to go on this page, can you?”
  731. >You shake your head no, you’ve got better places for all the others.
  732. >Taking a look at the accurate recreation of Anon’s first hayburger, you’re reminded of your earlier conversation.
  733. “Mare that’s still so weird. Makes me worry what goes into the average hayburger.”
  734. >Anon chuckles as he glues the photo in question in place.
  735. “Say Anon, do you ever miss it?”
  736. >He looks over at you, slightly confused.
  737. >”What, like, meat? Yeah, but that was mostly before I started eating hay.”
  738. >Suddenly gazing off, he gets a far off twinkle in his eye.
  739. >”Do you know what I really miss though?”
  740. >You think back to everything he’s told you about his home, all the strange and wondrous gadgets.
  741. “The internet?”
  742. >”FUCK no! I miss titties!”
  743. >Oh come on Anon, quit saying words you don’t know!
  744. >For some reason it reminds you of the word ‘teats’ but there’s no way that can be it.
  745. >That’s no reason not to rib him over the unfortunate word choice though.
  746. “Oho, you’re telling me you like big teats, Anon?”
  747. >”I WOULD like them if any mare HAD them!”
  748. >Wait THAT’S WHAT TITTIES ARE? TEATS!?
  749. >If you had a drink you’d have just spit it everywhere!
  750. >What are the odds?
  751. >And the way he talks about them... /he doesn’t know about Cut!/
  752. >Oh you just had the idea for the best surprise ever.
  753. >”I mean there are so few titties, bras are associated with guys! What’s the deal with that!?”
  754. >Huh, that is kind of weird to think about.
  755. >Sure there are maternity bras but—
  756. >Ohoho.
  757. >OHOHOHOHO!
  758. >You just realized something, something you wouldn’t have thought twice about if Anon hadn’t mentioned bras.
  759. >Ooooooh he just gave you something better than the plan for the best surprise ever!
  760. >/Ammunition/.
  761. “Say, speaking of bras, I’ve noticed we’ve had A LOT more laundry than usual. Why is that?”
  762. >Oh, he knows what he just brought on himself, you can see the look on his face.
  763. >”I-I don’t know. That sure is really weird though!”
  764. “Are you sure it’s not because you’ve been wearing your ball bras every day?”
  765. >Bingo.
  766. >”W-well its not been /every/ day...”
  767. “Who would have thought you’d actually like wearing them.”
  768. >He hops to a standing position, you can feel the genuine indignation on him.
  769. >”Hey I don’t /like/ wearing them! It’s just, most of them are insulated and have warming charms! The boys like eighty degrees not ten!”
  770. >You give him a smile as evil as his was earlier.
  771. “You sure that’s it?”
  772. >”Yes!” he says as he stamps his hoof, “it's not like they’re comfortable!”
  773. >A disbelieving look from you is all it takes for that excuse to break down.
  774. >”Ok, they’re /kind of/ comfortable! But still!”
  775. >You’re pretty sure he’s going to continue, but then the look on his face abruptly changes.
  776. >If you had to call it something, you’d call it: realization.
  777. >”Heeeeey, you’re just doing the same thing to me that I did to you about your garden!”
  778. “It's only a kind-of garden! Just like you only kind-of like wearing ball bras!”
  779. >Anon manages to hold onto an angry face just a split second more, before the two of you once again devolve into laughter.
  780. >”Hahaha! Ok th-that’s haha that’s fair.”
  781.  
  782. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and tonight’s a big night!
  783. >After the fiasco that was the last time you met Cut N. Paste, Anon has been trying to put together an evening where the two of you can actually meet and hang out.
  784. >He keeps stressing that this is meant to be a platonic sort of night, and you don’t doubt that.
  785. >However, you can see the undercurrents of this.
  786. >You’ve been talking to him about herding over the past two weeks since you originally met Cut, and you think he’s coming around.
  787. >If tonight goes well, you might find yourself being an alpha sooner rather than later.
  788. >An idea that fills you with joy [spoiler]and dread.[/spoiler]
  789. >You were raised to be an alpha after all, to be anything less would make you less of a mare!
  790. >So that means you’re putting in the extra miles so that things go perfect.
  791. >Anon undoubtedly just wants to sit around and hang out, but you’ve got a /much/ better idea.
  792. >Give him just a taste of what herd life is like, and by extension, give you a taste of what kind of herd sister Cut would be.
  793. >Thankfully, through Cloak, you were able to pass your plans on to Cut so she knows what to expect.
  794. >If she read your instructions, she should be here soon.
  795. >Until she gets here, you’re just milling about the kitchen in your apron, doing one last double check to make sure you didn’t forget anything.
  796. >Ingredients, check. Alcohol, check. Movies, check. Board games, check...
  797. >*Ding Dong!*
  798. >That must be her!
  799. >Prancing over the door, you throw it open to gaze upon your potential sister.
  800. >There she is, Cut N. Paste herself, looking appropriately nervous.
  801. >”H-hey Pike! Sis gave me your note a-and...”
  802. >She trails off mid sentence, her previously ‘nervous and excited’ face turning into a ‘shocked and confused’ face.
  803. >As she looks at you more, that confusion only seems to grow.
  804. >What’s gotten into her? Do you have something on—
  805. >aaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
  806. >WHY ARE YOU STILL WEARING THE APRON!?
  807. >”Uhhhh, what are you wearing?”
  808. >BUCK BUCK BUCK!
  809. >In a flurry of hooves, you pull the apron off you as fast as you can.
  810. >From Cut’s perspective, all she’d be able to see is a blur, as you rapidly undo all the ties and toss the apron behind your sofa.
  811. >”W-woah!”
  812. >Leaning against the doorframe with a beet red face, you strike a pose that you hope hides how winded you are.
  813. “Wh-*ha*whatcha talkin about?”
  814. >You internally brace yourself, expecting the same kind of biting remark you would receive if anypony else had caught you wearing colty lingerie.
  815. >However, all you receive from Cut is a look of... genuine gratitude?
  816. >”Aw, y-you didn’t have to do that just to make me feel better, Pike. I-I do really appreciate it though...”
  817. >Wait, she thinks you did that on purpose?
  818. >Why?
  819. >What could- Aha! Anon /did/ say she still felt very embarrassed about two weeks ago.
  820. >You suppose ‘this pony is making a fool of herself to make me feel better’ isn’t too far fetched of an explanation for ‘this mare just answered the door in lingerie’.
  821. >Saying a prayer to your lucky star, you pin your hopes on that actually being what Cut is thinking.
  822. “Yeeeeah, you caught me. Figured it’d make us even for the last time.”
  823. >Success! Cut is positively beaming at you!
  824. >Arrow dodged!
  825. >Plus, based on the way her posture just relaxed, your weaseling seems to have had the side effect of genuinely putting her at ease.
  826. >”Well, thank you.”
  827. >Meeting the mare’s smile with one of your own, you internally pat yourself on the back.
  828. “You’re welcome, now come in I’ll make us something to drink.”
  829.  
  830.  
  831. >You are Cut N. Paste, and you are currently sitting on the couch waiting for Pike to return with hot cocoa.
  832. >And as you do, you can’t help but be struck by something.
  833. >She’s /exactly/ as marely as Cloak made her seem!
  834. >Aaaaaaah! You thought she was mostly exaggerating!
  835. >The only thing keeping you together in the face of this apex Trixie, is the fact that you’ve seen her in a colt’s outfit.
  836. >But the fact that she was willing to do that just to make you more comfortable makes her seem even cooler!
  837. >AAAAAAAAAAH!
  838. >And if all that wasn't enough, her tuft is MASSIVE!
  839. >She’s practically the textbook definition of marely!
  840. [spoiler]>Makes you wonder what Anon sees in an ugly stuttering tuftlet like yourself.[/spoiler]
  841. >No, don’t think those thoughts, Cut!
  842. >You managed to get in line for a potential herd, so you can’t be a complete buck up!
  843. >Speaking of, Pike mentioned herding in her note!
  844. >As she walks over to join you on the couch, two steaming mugs of cocoa in hoof, you can’t help but let yourself hope there’s been a development.
  845. >”It's nice to actually meet you, Cut.”
  846. >Alright Cut, now's your chance to leave a good impression.
  847. >Don’t squander it!
  848. >Say something that shows how you really feel!
  849. “Y-you too...”
  850. >...
  851. >BUCK!
  852. >You BUCKING idiot!
  853. >She hoofed you the perfect opportunity and you BUCKED it like the MORON yo-
  854. >”Thanks! I’ve actually been looking forward to this. Although, as much as I’d like to do the meet and greet now, we need to take care of business before Anon gets here.”
  855. >W-what?
  856. >No harsh remark, no laughing at you?
  857. >Is this what your ancestors felt like when they met the Princesses, the original Trixies??
  858. “Business?”
  859. >”Mmm hmm. Anon told you he comes from a herdless culture right?”
  860. >You tentatively nod, unsure where this is going.
  861. >”I’ve been trying to tell him what exactly a herd is, but showing is always better than telling, right?”
  862. “Right.”
  863. >Pike smiles in a way only a scheming pony can.
  864. >”Well tonight, we’re going to /show him/.”
  865.  
  866. >You are Anonymous, and you’re finally home.
  867. >Jargon made you stay late (for a completely bs reason) so now you’re late to your own hangout night!
  868. >How embarrassing.
  869. >Cut’s presumably already been at your apartment for about thirty minutes now, so you’re about to open your door and find out how she and Pike have gotten along without you.
  870. >Please let them be friends, /please/ let them be friends.
  871. >Bracing yourself for the worst, you push open the door to find...
  872. >...Pike and Cut chatting away in the kitchen.
  873. >Overcome with relief, you let out the breath you didn’t notice you were holding.
  874. >”Look Cut,” says Pike, “I don’t want to get all political on you, but Thestrals are the fuzziest of the tribes.”
  875. >>”O-oh yeah? Well, in a cross-Equestrian study conducted three years ago, s-seven out of ten stallions preferred Earth Ponies as their big spoon!”
  876. >Pike’s facing away from you, but you can plainly hear the confusion in her voice.
  877. >”Why have you memorized EBI snuggle statistics?”
  878. >>”Uhhhhh, no reason!”
  879. >Before Cut can dig her hole any deeper though, she notices you’ve finally joined them.
  880. >Standing on her tippy-hooves to ensure you see her, she gives you a shy little wave.
  881. >>”Oh, h-hey there Anon! Aunt Jargon finally let you out huh?”
  882. >Crossing the threshold into the kitchen, you let out a vague sound of frustration.
  883. “Yeah, apparently she overheard me saying I’m ’’’mono’’’ so I just spent the last thirty minutes getting an earful about how ‘every good stallion needs at least four mares to his name!’”
  884. >Both Cut and Pike visibly cringe at that.
  885. >>”Ouch, yeah Aunt Jargon can be a bit... /overzealous/.”
  886. >Pike, finally smoothing out her fur, smiles.
  887. >”Well, we’re glad you’re back. We’d been waiting for you to get here before we started.”
  888. >Get started?
  889. >Hey, now that you’re taking a better look at it, looks like the kitchen’s all set up to make dinner.
  890. >’Set up’ being the keyword here.
  891. “Uh, Pike, we have a guest. Why does it look like we’re about to make dinner?”
  892. >”Because we are?”
  893. >Uhhhhhhhhhhhh
  894. >Your gaze flicks between the two of them, searching their faces for any sort of clue to what you’re missing.
  895. >There is none.
  896. “Pike, are you taking revenge on Cut by forcing her to help us with dinner?”
  897. >”What? No! Coming together to cook a meal is a perfectly normal thing for a he- a group of /platonic/ friends to do!”
  898. >Ok, normally you would have bought that, but her overemphasis on the word ‘platonic’ makes you sure there’s something else going on.
  899. >You know you probably won’t be able to pry ‘what’ out of Pike though.
  900. >Luckily for you, Pike’s not the only one involved.
  901. “Say... Cut.”
  902. >>”Eep!”
  903. >Looking her right in the eyes you ask:
  904. “Is there something going on here?”
  905. >Her eyes start moving around the room, avoiding yours.
  906. >>”I uhh, I don’t know what you’re talking about, Anon!”
  907. >Narrowing your eyes ever so slightly, you press on.
  908. “You /suuure/?”
  909. >Her eyes continue to flick about until they settle on Pike.
  910. >Following her gaze, you catch the tail end of Pike mouthing something.
  911. >Something that looked suspiciously like ‘tell him nothing’.
  912. >>”Y-you’re just letting your whimsey act up Anon! This is totally something we /friends/ do here in Equestria!”
  913. >Flicking your gaze between the two of them, you eventually give up.
  914. >Eh, you’re probably just reading into it too much.
  915. >Still, cooking a meal does seem like an odd activity to do the first time you meet someone (in the case of Cut and Pike).
  916. >Oh well, like many things you’ve seen, it's probably just a pony thing.
  917. “If that’s the case, let’s just get started then. I’m famished!”
  918. >A statement that causes Pike and Cut to sigh in relief!
  919. >HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
  920.  
  921. >You are Cut N. Paste and dinner is underway.
  922. >Once Anon cleared you and Pike of suspicion, you expected he’d assume control of the kitchen.
  923. >But instead, the pony who took command was Pike.
  924. >”Hey Cut,” she says, “could you grab the cream out of the fridge? I want this alfredo to be extra /creamy/.”
  925. >Nodding, you move to do just that.
  926. >As you do though, you can’t help but notice this is the fifth time she’s asked you to get something dairy related while putting extra emphasis on either the word ‘milk’ or ‘cream’.
  927. >Makes you really wonder why.
  928. >Wait... does she know!?
  929. >No, no, there’s no way.
  930. >If she did, she’d never have allowed you in on this plan with her.
  931. >An alpha mare like her would have no time for a big teated freak...
  932. >”Thanks!”
  933. >Oh huh, you hoofed her the cream without even noticing.
  934. >Come on Cut, you’re with other ponies right now! Quit getting lost in your head.
  935. >Anon’s over stirring the pot of boiling noodles, quit living in awkward silence and make some conversation!
  936. “So uh, it's nice of you to let us do some cooking, Anon.”
  937. >Contrary to everything you think you know about stallions, he starts laughing.
  938. >>“Nothing, ‘nice’ about it. Pike can tell you all about how terrible I am at this stuff. She’s the cook around here.”
  939. >What?
  940. >A marely mare like her?
  941. “Really?”
  942. >>”Yeah, she loves it!”
  943. >Pike, a look of panic on her face, interjects.
  944. >”N-no I don’t! He’s just... he’s just teasing!”
  945. >>”Pffft, whatever you say, hun.”
  946. >Wow, she even willingly helps her coltfriend around the house?
  947. >The more time you spend with Pike, the more unbelievable your sister’s stories seem.
  948. >Stallionizers don’t help stallions around the house.
  949. “W-well, I think that’s really cool of you, Pike.”
  950. >She stops dead as you say that, nearly dropping the container of spice she was holding into the pot.
  951. >”You do?”
  952. “Yeah, not many mares are willing to help out their stallion around the home.”
  953. >There was something in her eyes when she asked, something you almost think looked like hope.
  954. >But whatever it was, disappears in a flash and she returns to cooking.
  955. >Wait, she just said something under her breath, something you barely caught.
  956. >”Yeah, ‘helping out’, that’s what it is. /Sure/.”
  957. >For once your social skills aren’t failing you, you detect that there’s something more there.
  958. >However, whatever you were going to ask is lost, as Anon destroys your train of thought by slapping you in the face with some now cooked noodles.
  959. >>”Ha! Gotcha!”
  960.  
  961. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and the three of you just finished up dinner.
  962. >A part of you is still reeling from that close call you had while you were making it.
  963. >Cut almost figured out that you’re [spoiler]just a pathetic excuse pretending to be a REAL mare.[/spoiler]
  964. >But now she just thinks you’re a good marefriend, so all's well that ends well!
  965. >The pasta turned out really good too.
  966. >Not to brag, but that alfredo sauce was your best yet!
  967. >Plus it had the added bonus of allowing you to spend the whole time making milk references at Cut.
  968. >You’re unsure if she picked them up though.
  969. >Once you get to know her better you’ll just have to actually ask her about these so-called ‘F-cup teats’.
  970. >Or she might just tell you herself once you’ve broken out the alcohol.
  971. >Speaking of...
  972. “Alright ponies, want me to grab some cider while you two pick out a board game?”
  973. >”I don’t know,” says Cut, “a-after last time...”
  974. >>”Last time, shmast time! Have some fun, besides if you get too smashed you can just spend the night here.”
  975. >Cut looks over to you, eyes silently asking permission.
  976. >Ha! This mare really was born to be a beta.
  977. “I’ll get us some ciders.”
  978. >As you leisurely trot over to the fridge, you can hear Cut and Anon scurry over to the closet containing your growing board game collection.
  979. >Pulling open the door at the same time they open the closet, you begin browsing your selection.
  980. >Hmmm, let’s see... some Apple Family hard cider sounds good...
  981. >While you busy yourself weighing the pros and cons of apple versus pear cider, bits of their conversation reach you.
  982. >>”Yeah, I’ve totally gotten her hooked. At least 30% of these games are ones she got herself.”
  983. >”That doesn’t seem like a lot...”
  984. >>”Yeah, well compared to the zero she had before I’d call that a win.”
  985. >You do have some of that Kirin Beer, although Cut’s stomach probably won’t be able to handle that for at least another month.
  986. >>”Holy shit, what the FUCK is that?”
  987. >”I’ve never seen one that big before...”
  988. >Settling on some Pear Family’s Finest, you head over to the closet to see what the fuss is about.
  989. >You don’t remember putting anything weird in there, so what the heck’s got them in such a tizzy?
  990. >Crossing the room, you hoof Anon and Cut their ciders.
  991. “What’s all the hullabaloo?”
  992. >In response, Anon reaches into the closet...
  993. >...and pulls out your copy of Jenga?
  994. >After letting the box hit the floor with a loud ‘thud’, he gestures to it.
  995. >>”Care to explain this, hun?”
  996. >Quickly giving the box a once over, you see nothing out of the ordinary.
  997. “Explain what? It's Jenga.”
  998. >Choosing not to answer verbally, he grabs you in his magic and slides you next to the box.
  999. >Hey, what’s he trying to show here!?
  1000. >It’s only what, twice your size?
  1001. >Honestly this is getting you a little steamed.
  1002. >What’s the big idea!?
  1003. >>”You really don’t see what’s wrong with this?”
  1004. “No, I don’t.”
  1005. >Sighing and facehoofing, Anon gestures to Cut.
  1006. >”Alicorn Jenga, featuring a seven hoof tall tower,” she reads off the box.
  1007. >So what? They—
  1008. >Oooooooh, you get it now.
  1009. >They think you’re too short for the game!
  1010. “Come on, seven hooves is /nothing/!”
  1011. >>”Pike, seven hooves is taller than me!”
  1012. >Unbelievable!
  1013. >His attitude makes you indignantly puff out your chest.
  1014. >You don’t have to take this from your own coltfriend!
  1015. “So what!? Are you saying I’m /too short/ to play this?”
  1016. >Now he has the audacity to look flabbergasted at /you/!
  1017. >Where’s he get off?
  1018. >>”Pike, /I’m/ too short for this! /Cut’s/ too short for this! Why did you buy this!?”
  1019. >That’s easy!
  1020. >You bought it because... because...
  1021. >Oh right.
  1022. >Spite.
  1023. >With that, your righteous indignations falls away to reveal what it was the whole time: embarrassment.
  1024. “Ok, I /may/ have bought it because the gal at the register said the normal size one was ‘not quite your size little filly’.”
  1025. >Surprisingly, your admission instantly changes Anon’s tune.
  1026. >>”Ooooooh, well why didn’t you just say so?”
  1027. >Cut meanwhile, walks over and puts her hoof on your shoulder.
  1028. >”Was it at the Board Game Barn?”
  1029. >Is... is there more than one board game shop?
  1030. “...I think?”
  1031. >The look she gives you is by far the most pity a pony has ever directed your way.
  1032. >”Tut-tut-tut, big mistake. Everypony in the know knows that you never shop at Board Game Barn.”
  1033. >>”Hold on, /that/ place?” chimes in Anon, “The place we went to get a copy of Bits N’ Bows, Cut?”
  1034. >She nods.
  1035. >>”Jesus, well in that case I take it all back. Getting this was absolutely worth it if it's to spite those fucks.”
  1036. >Oh? He never told you anything about this.
  1037. “What happened?”
  1038. >In a rare moment of affability, Cut puts on what you guess qualifies as ‘manure eating grin’.
  1039. >”T-they outed him as a /fake gamer colt/!”
  1040. >Anon feigns being angry, but you can see the smile on his face.
  1041. >>”Bullshit! What kind of per- er- pony asks somepony to name ‘every board game’!? There are thousands!”
  1042. >Cut, clearly invigorated by Anon’s response, responds with a bit more confidence in her bit.
  1043. >”Fake. Gamer.”
  1044. >Anon’s eyes widen at her accusation, faux panic dawning on his face.
  1045. >Turning to you, he dips his head to make direct eye contact.
  1046. >>”Y-you still think I’m a real gamer, right honey? Right!?”
  1047. >Leaning around him to look at Cut, she solemnly shakes her head ‘no’.
  1048. >Looking right back into his eyes, you mimic her motion.
  1049. “No.”
  1050. >Crying out, he throws himself backward onto the floor like he had just been shot through the heart.
  1051. >>”AHHHH! My own beloved! What a world!”
  1052. >”There there Anon,” says Cut, “not everypony can be a true geek.”
  1053. >Sniffling, he paws at his cider that’s still floating in the air.
  1054. >>”I guess I’ll just have to DROWN my sorrows.”
  1055. >At that point you start laughing, how could you not?
  1056. >Before long the other two have joined you.
  1057. >The three of you stay like that for a few minutes, just laughing your flanks off.
  1058. >After a while though, you break up the laughter by giving Cut a playful punch in the shoulder.
  1059. “That was pretty clever there, Cut. I wasn’t sure you had it in you.”
  1060. >Cut meanwhile has started trying to discreetly rub the shoulder you just punched.
  1061. >Did you really hit her that hard...?
  1062. >”Th-thanks! Anon and I have been joking about it for awhile now though... I still can’t believe they did that to you though, Anon! Gentlemares should never talk to a stallion like that!”
  1063. >As he gets back up, Anon rolls his eyes.
  1064. >>”Yeah, yeah they were pretty shitty but whatever. What are we /actually/ playing?”
  1065. >”I thought we were going to play Jenga.”
  1066. >You and Anon both do a double take at that.
  1067. “You sure? Won’t it be kind of unfair that you can’t fly or do magic? You’ll be stuck at the bottom of the tower.”
  1068. >Cut turns a slight shade of red and hides her face, clearly embarrassed.
  1069. >”Don’t worry, I... I play a lot of Jenga.”
  1070.  
  1071. >You, Nocturnal Pike, are on the fifth game now.
  1072. >After the first, the three of you decided to make a drinking game out of it.
  1073. >Every time somepony pulls out a block successfully, the other two drink.
  1074. >If you knock the tower over though, you’ve got to open and chug an entire bottle.
  1075. >As it stands, Anon’s on his tenth bottle and you’re on your eighth.
  1076. >All the while Cut’s only on her fourth.
  1077. >”This *hic* has GOT to get her!” cries Anon.
  1078. >You’re inclined to agree.
  1079. >Due to a coordinated effort by you and him, all the rows within Cut’s reach have been reduced to one block.
  1080. >There’s no way she’s getting out of this one!
  1081. “Yeah, I’d like to see you get out of this one Paste!”
  1082. >She pays no heed to your taunts though, instead studying the tower in a way that eerily reminds you of how you look at a crime scene.
  1083. >>”Hmmmmmmm.”
  1084. >At this point you can hear Anon start lightly stomping his hooves.
  1085. >”Knock it down! Knock it down!”
  1086. >You don’t bother vocalizing it, but you’re thinking the exact same thing.
  1087. >Cut says nothing, instead continuing to inspect the tower.
  1088. >>”Hmmmmmmm.”
  1089. >Oh come on, what is she doing?
  1090. >She’s stuck! There’s no way out for her!
  1091. >And yet she continues going up and down the rows, repeatedly tapping blocks—
  1092. >Wait!
  1093. >The fifth row, she just hit it and it made a different sound!
  1094. >She clearly noticed it too, as a massive grin appears on her face.
  1095. >Then with precision that would rival your finest guardsmares, she taps the single block the fifth row is comprised of, perfectly knocking it out.
  1096. >As expected, the part of the tower that was above that row begins falling, and Anon starts letting out a cheer.
  1097. >But that cheer is cut off as it all lands on the fourth row, still perfectly upright, without so much as a wobble.
  1098. >Both your jaws hit the floor.
  1099. >”HOW!?”
  1100. >Cut, smug as a changeling in a rug, just hoofs you the block.
  1101. >>”Put this on the top please.”
  1102.  
  1103.  
  1104. >You and Anon can’t take it anymore.
  1105. >You’ve been playing all night now and she’s won every game!
  1106. >Every single game!
  1107. >Chugging the rest of your beer as you stare at the remains of your fallen tower, you just don’t know what went wrong.
  1108. >Honestly the three of you should have stopped after the eighth game, but both you and Anon were too prideful to quit without winning once.
  1109. >However, considering he can barely lift his head off the couch at this point, the two of you may just have to accept defeat.
  1110. >”A-a-again!” he slurs from the couch, “B-best seventeen out of uhhh, thirty-three!”
  1111. >Standing on pretty unstable legs yourself, you call out to him.
  1112. “Nah, it's getting pretty late, big guy. We might just have to take this loss.”
  1113. >Pathetically attempting to lift his head, he cries out, “NEVEEEEEEEEEEEEEER!”
  1114. >Before just falling off the couch.
  1115. >”Waaaaahg!”
  1116. >Springing into action you leap across the room to catch him!
  1117. >...only to overshoot it and have him land snoot first on top of you.
  1118. >”AAARG!” the both of you cry out.
  1119. >Thankfully his horn misses you entirely, but Cut is instantly by your side nonetheless.
  1120. >>”Oh sweet Celestia are the two of you ok?”
  1121. >Oh Luna, you’ve loved having a giant coltfriend every day but this one.
  1122. >Not only did his crash landing knock the wind out of you, but now you’re being smooshed.
  1123. >And not in a sexy way!
  1124. “Cut... help...”
  1125. >Thankfully she hears you and helps him up, and more importantly off of you.
  1126. “Th-thanks...”
  1127. >Visibly straining herself, Cut braces against Anon, holding him upright.
  1128. >>”*Hrrrrng* N-no problem! L-let’s get the two of you into bed.”
  1129. >At the sound of ‘bed’ a bit of awareness returns to Anon’s eyes.
  1130. >”Bed.. Oh right! Cut, you- you shouldn’t walk home. Too cold, too dark. Sp-spend the night here. We’ve got... Pike, do we got a spare bed?”
  1131. >Having regained some of your breath, you start to drag yourself up.
  1132. “It's okay. She can *hic* sleep with us.”
  1133. >Anon is, understandably, shocked by this.
  1134. >”She can!?”
  1135. >>”I can!?”
  1136. >By now you’ve returned yourself to a standing position, and the three of you are making your way to the bedroom at a snail’s pace.
  1137. “Of course! D-didn’t you have /platonic/ cuddle piles back in Amareica?”
  1138. >”No... It does sound nice though...”
  1139. >Anon gets a misty look in his eye, clearly imagining how nice a cuddle pile would be.
  1140. >Meanwhile, you side eye Cut, hoping your gaze will cut through the haze of intoxication and remind her of the plan.
  1141. >Which it, combined with the alcohol pulling her out of her shell, does exactly that.
  1142. >>”O-oh right! Yeah, Anon, you haven’t lived until you’ve experienced an E-equestrian /perfectly platonic/ cuddle pile!”
  1143. >You can tell he knows something’s up but, like the cuddle slut you always knew he was, he gives in.
  1144. >”Hmmmmm, ok. But... but! You two get to fight over who gets to be the little spoon. Cuz I call middle spoon.”
  1145. >Well that’s an easy one! You will of cou-
  1146. >>”D-don’t worry Pike, I’ll take this one for the team.”
  1147. >O-oh right.
  1148. >Being the little spoon is ‘unmarely’, and you wouldn’t want to look unmarely in front of your beta to-be.
  1149. >So with a smile on your face you absolutely don’t feel, you turn to Cut.
  1150. “Thanks.”
  1151.  
  1152. >The morning after we left our gang...
  1153. >You are Cut N. Paste, and something’s strange.
  1154. >As you are slowly pulled out of the sweet embrace of sleep, you feel a presence on your snout.
  1155. >What could it be though?
  1156. >You usually don’t sleep with anything in your bed.
  1157. >Wait... this /isn’t/ your bed.
  1158. >As the early morning fog lifts, you remember where you are.
  1159. >And as you take a breath in through your nose, you know /exactly/ where you are.
  1160. >Your eyes shoot open in alarm, visually confirming exactly what you thought.
  1161. >In your sleep, you shoved your face right into Anon’s balls.
  1162. >Completely alarmed, a cry escapes your throat before you can stop yourself.
  1163. “aaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!”
  1164. >Oh Celestia why did you scream!?
  1165. >Now he’s gonna wake up and see that you’re /practically motorboating his balls/!
  1166. >Oh no, oh no!
  1167. >/He’s never going to want to get in bed with you again!/
  1168. >Desperate to push some distance between his balls and your face, you attempt to throw yourself out of bed.
  1169. >Only to find yourself unable to.
  1170. >Something’s holding you in place!
  1171. >Oh no no no no no!
  1172. >Looking over your shoulder, you see something that makes your heart stop.
  1173. >Anon’s sleep casting!
  1174. >His weird telekinetic paw things have got you /stuck up against him/!
  1175. >”Wha? Cut? Are... are you ok?” he mumbles.
  1176. >Oh Celestia he’s coming to!
  1177. >You’ve got to do something!
  1178. >He’s just a stallion, an Earth Pony mare like you should be stronger than his sleep telekinesis!
  1179. >But even as you redouble your efforts you find that is not the case.
  1180. >Oh no he’s about to open his eyes!
  1181. >Pleasepleasepleaseplease—
  1182. >Then something you forgot to anticipate happens.
  1183. >As he wakes up, and regains full control of his magic, the telekinesis winks out.
  1184. >However, at that moment, you were still trying to put off the bed with all your might.
  1185. >Which, of course, results in you launching yourself off the side of the bed.
  1186. “AAAAAAAAAAAAH!”
  1187. >*THUD*
  1188. >You land flank first, the rest of you following shortly behind.
  1189. >As you fall in a crumpled heap, you can’t help but the thankful Pike is so short.
  1190. >If she wasn’t, the bed would probably be further off the ground and this would have hurt a lot more.
  1191. “Oooooooooooooh.”
  1192. >Lying there on your back and moaning in pain, you silently pray you at least didn’t get caught unintentionally sniffing Anon’s balls.
  1193. >Which, considering he didn’t start cussing you out like any other colt would, you assume you got away with it.
  1194. >Thank bucking goodness.
  1195. >If you’d destroyed your one relationship with a colt over something so stupid, you’d have never forgiven yourself.
  1196. >After lying there in pain for a bit, both his and Pike’s tired and visibly hungover faces peek over the side of the bed at you.
  1197. >”Cut, I heard you fall. Are you alright?”
  1198. >You simply moan back in response.
  1199. >>”She must have been drunker than I thought.”
  1200. >”Hehe, I’ll say, she’s even wearing one of my bras.”
  1201. >Panic floods your veins.
  1202. >You realize laying on your back like this, they have a perfect view of something you never wanted them to see.
  1203. >Your teats.
  1204. >”I don’t remember having a tan one though.”
  1205. >Without wasting another second you flip yourself over and stand up, hiding the bra from their sight.
  1206. “Haha, yeah, last night was crazy!”
  1207. >While Anon seems content to believe that, Pike’s giving you a look that, combined with all the milk jokes she made yesterday, makes you very afraid.
  1208. >>”Go back to bed, hun. I’ll have some aspirin on the table when you wake up.”
  1209. >He doesn’t even respond, instead letting his face drop back onto the bed and starting to snore.
  1210. >After watching him sleep for a moment, Pike turns to you.
  1211. >>”Go on and get yourself some OJ, I’ll freshen up and be out to talk to you in a bit.”
  1212.  
  1213. >You, Cut N. Paste, have done just that.
  1214. >Now you’re sitting at the table, hunched over and staring into a cup of orange juice you haven’t even considered drinking from.
  1215. >After all, how could you enjoy juice at a time like this!?
  1216. >Pike knows!
  1217. >Anon may have been too hungover to realize it, but she wasn’t!
  1218. >Oooooh now she’s going to come out here, and tell you you’re a freak and—
  1219. >”I’d say that went well, wouldn’t you?”
  1220. >Pike’s voice startles you back upright, causing you to reflexively slam one of your hooves on the underside of the table.
  1221. >Next thing you know, the glass has gone flying and you’re covered head to hoof in orange juice.
  1222. >...
  1223. >You don’t even have the heart to cry out, you just hang your head while your face burns with shame.
  1224. >”Oh, don’t be such a colt,” Pike says as a towel lands on your head, “Here, just dry yourself off.”
  1225. >You can’t bring yourself to do that though, so you simply let it fall into your lap.
  1226. >Your mood is way too crushed to even bother.
  1227. >Sweet Celestia, first Pike sees your teats and now this?
  1228. >Might as well just give up.
  1229. >Pike, meanwhile, has taken a seat across from you with her own cup, a pensive look on her face.
  1230. >”Okay Cut, I was planning on waiting to talk to you about this, but it’s clearly freaking you out so let me be upfront with you. I’ve known about your teats this whole time.”
  1231. >What?
  1232. >But... but how?
  1233. >That doesn’t make any sense! I-If she knew you were an ugly bitch why are you even here?
  1234. >”Your sister told me about them after the night we first met.”
  1235. >CLOAK?
  1236. >What the BUCK, CLOAK!?
  1237. >How could she!?
  1238. >Th-there must be a reason.
  1239. >Cloak wouldn’t just betray you like that!
  1240. “S-she did?”
  1241. >”Yeah, she wanted me to understand where you were coming from that night. And it worked.”
  1242. >Oh, sounds like you owe her a thank you.
  1243. >She always was better at reading ponies than you were...
  1244. “So what happens now?”
  1245. >”What do you mean?”
  1246. >You start tapping your forehooves together nervously.
  1247. >Anon clearly doesn’t know or else he’d have undoubtedly commented on it himself.
  1248. >Which means the next step is obvious, but you almost can’t bring yourself to say it out loud.
  1249. “A-are you going to tell Anon?”
  1250. >”No, no, I’ll leave that to you. You can do it when you’re ready.”
  1251. >Really?
  1252. >Letting out the breath you were holding, your posture relaxes.
  1253. >What a relief.
  1254. >”I’m guessing he never told you his actual opinions on big teats?”
  1255. >That question throws you for a loop.
  1256. >After all, why would he? Every stallion in Equestria—
  1257. >Suddenly it hits you.
  1258. >This whole time you’ve been thinking of Anon like he’s from Equestria.
  1259. >Anon’s not from Equestria.
  1260. >Your breath hitches, and your eyes widen to the size of dinner plates.
  1261. >This is a possibility you’d never even considered!
  1262. >You’re feeling something right now, something you’ve never felt before.
  1263. >It’s as warm as it is unfamiliar.
  1264. >Hope?
  1265. “W-what’s his opinion on big teats?” you ask breathlessly.
  1266. >”I’ll let you find out for yourself, but let’s just say he has /alien/ tastes.”
  1267. >You don’t even know what’s come over you at this point.
  1268. >You’ve started panting and you can feel your heart hammering in your chest.
  1269. >Everything Pike’s told you leads you to one conclusion.
  1270. >/He likes teats./
  1271. “I’m telling him right now.”
  1272. >Standing up so fast that your chair is blasted across the room, you make a move to sprint to the bedroom...
  1273. >...Only for Pike to throw herself in front of you.
  1274. >”Nonono, don’t tell him now! He’s drowsy and hungover, save it for a better moment.”
  1275. >Oh yeah, that makes sense.
  1276. >He wouldn’t be able to... /appreciate/ them in his current state.
  1277. >Celestia, the very idea that somepony would appreciate your teats...
  1278. “When should I, then?”
  1279. >”I’m sure the opportunity will come our way soon.”
  1280. >You nod vigorously.
  1281. >But as you do, that voice inside your head is as fast on the draw as ever.
  1282. >’Don’t be ridiculous, there’s no way a stallion could ever be interested in /those/. Pike’s just messing with you, you gullible idiot.’
  1283. >For once though, you ignore that voice.
  1284. >Even if it seems unbelievable that Anon the gamer colt likes big teats, no pony could ever be so cruel as to play with your hopes like that.
  1285. >Y-you hope.
  1286. >You pray.
  1287. >Besides, Pike’s got a certain look on her face, the same kind of look your sister has whenever she says something that really brightens up your day.
  1288. >The look an alpha has when they help out a beta like you.
  1289. “Thanks, Pike, f-for all of this. I-I know I’m probably not your first pick for a herd sister but—”
  1290. >”Ah-ah-ah! Don’t sell yourself short! Anon thinks the world of you, and my discerning eye can see your potential.”
  1291. >Despite your desire to not embarrass yourself, you audibly gasp.
  1292. “Y-you really think so?”
  1293. >She looks genuinely surprised you asked.
  1294. >”Of course! I already know there’s fire in you, we just need to work on bringing it out.”
  1295. >Wow!
  1296. >You’ve never had a mare outside of your family tell you that before!
  1297. >If she’s serious about helping you and about Anon’s preferences...
  1298. >This could easily be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.
  1299. >You are NOT bucking this up, you are getting in this herd!
  1300. >Pike, seemingly reading your mind, immediately shifts gears.
  1301. >”Speaking of working on things, like I said last night went well. But, we should keep up the pressure! Here’s what we’re gonna do...”
  1302.  
  1303.  
  1304. >You are Anonymous the unicorn, and about two weeks have gone by.
  1305. >You’ve just got off work, and Pike hasn’t gotten home yet, so for now you’re just chillin' in the main room, reading the latest print of your newspaper.
  1306. >Honestly... it's kind of weird being home alone.
  1307. >Pike has apparently /really/ hit it off with Cut, so she’s been coming over more or less every day, either at Pike’s behest or yours.
  1308. >It's kind of gotten you used to always having someone around.
  1309. >Not today though, Pike specifically asked for ‘no company’.
  1310. >Something about a ‘bog day’?
  1311. >You can’t imagine what they’d want her to do in a bog in the middle of winter.
  1312. >Whatever it is though, she’s usually home by now so you can’t imagine it’ll be much longer.
  1313. >Ooooh, looks like Quick Wit’s article on the odd increase of fires in town finally got printed.
  1314. >She seems to think it's Canterlot’s aging gas pipelines, but you’re not so sure...
  1315. >Oh hey! That was the front door opening.
  1316. >Hopping off the chair and heading to the door, you smile in preparation for the sight of your lovely fillyfrie—
  1317. “Pfffft, hahahah what the heck happened to you?”
  1318. >The sight that greeted you was not a tired Pike, pleased as punch to be off work.
  1319. >It was a Pike who looks like she took a detour through a lake on the way here!
  1320. >She’s covered head to toe in dried mud and grime, and clearly mad as hell.
  1321. >”Bog day,” is her only reply.
  1322. >Without another word she stomps into the house, clearly making a beeline for the shower.
  1323. [spoiler]>AHHHHHH! You /JUST/ cleaned the floor![/spoiler]
  1324. “Don’t they have showers at the castle?”
  1325. >She doesn’t even turn to address you directly, getting clean being the sole occupier of her mind.
  1326. >”Every public shower is about to be clogged. I just told the mares they were done for the evening and got here as fast as I could.”
  1327. >As jeez, sounds bad.
  1328. >You’ll have to ask her about it once she’s out.
  1329. >May as well just go back to reading Quick’s—
  1330. >Wait.
  1331.  >As you turn to look at the discarded newspaper, still open to Quick’s article, you suddenly remember something that happened involving that very mare...
  1332. >As soon as you got to work a few days ago, she approached you and handed you some weird gift basket.
  1333. >>”You’re workin’ too hard sugerdick, tell your mare to treat you one of these days. Or better yet, call me over and /I/ can treat you.”
  1334. >The basket, as you found out, was some kind of ‘do it yourself spa day’ kit.
  1335. >When you got home that day, you just sort of put it in the bathroom and forgot about it.
  1336. >But now... now you’ve been presented with the perfect chance to use it!
  1337. >So doing a quick one-eighty, you make a beeline for the bathroom as well.
  1338. >Pike’s still waiting for the water to warm up when you run in, and lazily turns her head toward you.
  1339. >”I appreciate the enthusiasm to shower with me, but I’m really just not up to it right now, hon.”
  1340. >Chuckling at the joke as you pass her, you pull open the cabinet under the sink.
  1341. >Aha, perfect! Right where you left it.
  1342. >It's pretty big honestly.
  1343. >The basket itself is filled to the brim with froufrou soaps, various oils, and even some manicure supplies!
  1344. >Or would that be pedicure?
  1345. >Hooficure?
  1346. >Ah, who gives a shit.
  1347. “Au contraire my dear, you won’t be showering at all!”
  1348. >Pulling the basket out, you give her a prize winning smile.
  1349. “Because I, your loving coltfriend, am going to treat you to an at-home spa day!”
  1350. >Her eyes widen in abject terror.
  1351. >”What!? No Anon I—”
  1352. >Tearing open the basket’s wrapping without another thought, you hold up the enclosed instruction book for her to see.
  1353. “Come on, it’ll be fun, see? ‘So easy even a mare can do it!’ What, worried I’ll mess up your tuft?”
  1354. >You can tell she wants to say yes, she’s started doing that shifty eye thing she does whenever she wants to say yes to something, but doesn’t want to outright admit it.
  1355. >”W-wasn’t that a gift for you? I-I wouldn’t want to take away your chance at a nice—”
  1356. >Leveling a massively smug grin her way, you cut her off.
  1357. “Pike?”
  1358. >She knows what’s coming, you can see it on her face.
  1359. >”Y-yes dear?”
  1360. >You magically close the drain, and turn the knob so the water starts coming out of the faucet.
  1361. “Get in the tub.”
  1362.  
  1363. >You are Nocturnal Pike, and as much as you didn’t want to admit it, Anon was right.
  1364. >You desperately needed this.
  1365. >Due to your /height impaired/ stature, it didn’t take long for the tub to be full enough for you to hop in and submerge yourself.
  1366. >And you gotta say: after traipsing around in freezing bog water all day?
  1367. >This hot water is Elysium.
  1368. >Slowly disconnecting from reality, you feel yourself melt away in the water’s warm embrace...
  1369. >At least until Anon starts dumping things in with you.
  1370. >”Okaaaaaay. A touch of this, a splash of this, and bada boom!”
  1371. >Lazily glancing up from your position, you see no less than five bottles of various things floating about above you.
  1372. >Considering the amount of things in the basket, you’re honestly surprised he’s only using five.
  1373. >You’re familiar with the contents of a few of them, typical shampoos and the like, but some of the stuff he’s put in with you you’ve never seen before.
  1374. >Are those beads?
  1375. “Anon, what’s all this stuff even for?”
  1376. >Keeping his eyes on the instruction book, he continues adding various things to your bathwater.
  1377. >”Honestly? No clue.”
  1378. >What!?
  1379. “What’s that instruction book for, then!?”
  1380. >Switching his gaze between the book and the basket, he chuckles.
  1381. >”It just tells me what to do, even got a little script and everything. Doesn’t tell me what any of this stuff actually does though.”
  1382. >Rapidly leafing through the pages, he comes to a stop near the front of the book.
  1383. >”If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll read you an excerpt from it. *Ahem*, ‘Dear my beloved coltfriend/husband, you are about to embark on a mystical journey from the comfort of your very own home. Contained within these balls are the finest therapeutic aromas, hoof crafted to invigorate your ocular senses and open your chakras. This body wash, here, has been proven to desquamate your skin and-,’ that’s enough of that, you get the idea it's nonsense.”
  1384. >Stars above, you sure do.
  1385. “That’s so weird. Why?”
  1386. >He flips back to the cover and shows it to you.
  1387. >’You don’t need to know what these words mean, because your stallion will!’ it boldly claims.
  1388. >As you read that cover, Anon leans around it to meet your eyes.
  1389. >”I don’t,” he says as if he’s responding to the cover itself.
  1390. “HA! You better hope I’m not allergic to any of this stuff, then!”
  1391. >The bottles all stop mid air, instantly ceasing their pouring.
  1392. >A look of genuine worry is plastered on Anon’s face, apparently that was a possibility he hadn’t considered.
  1393. >”You’re not /actually/ allergic to anything right? You’ve never mentioned if you were.”
  1394. >You can’t help but laugh out loud at that.
  1395. >Come on, Thestrals? Allergic?
  1396. >What in Equestria is- oh right he’s an alien.
  1397. “Thestrals don’t /have/ allergies you doof!”
  1398. >Pulling your hoof out of the water, you give your muzzle a tap.
  1399. “Eighty-something percent of our magic pathways connect to our senses. Can you imagine how bucked we’d be if we could have allergies?”
  1400. >He worries assuaged, he resumes adding ingredients to your bath with a laugh.
  1401. >”Magical allergies? Haha, oh man, yeah that would be pretty bad. Can you imagine a magic powered sneeze?”
  1402. “I don’t have to, we can still get sick.”
  1403. >He cringes, understanding the implications.
  1404. >”Ouch.”
  1405. >With that, he closes all the various bottles and starts putting them away.
  1406. >”Alright, that’s everything I’m supposed to add. Now I’m supposed to let you, ‘soak in the atmosphere’ while I find a good brush.”
  1407. >You just ‘hm’ appreciatively, closing your eyes and letting yourself sink into the water a little.
  1408. >Ahhhh, you can feel the warm water seeping into your coat and pulling the grime away.
  1409. >/Luna above/ you needed this.
  1410. >”Say, which brush do you want? Hard or soft bristled?”
  1411. >Hmmm, while soft bristled sounds nice, you could really go for a nice HARD scrubbing right now.
  1412. “Hard.”
  1413. >You don’t even need to open your eyes, you can hear him prepping the hard brush with another new soap.
  1414. >”I wonder, if your senses are altered by magic, does that mean you taste things differently than me?”
  1415. >Letting yourself relax and sink further, practically only your ears and muzzle are sticking out of the water now.
  1416. “What, like we’ve unlocked the secret sixth taste? Don’t be ridiculous.”
  1417. >He’s approaching you now, sudsed up brush in hoof (or you guess in his case ‘hand’).
  1418. >”Aw, so my cock /isn’t/ magically delicious?”
  1419. >Booooooooo!
  1420. >Opening your eyes, you give him a deadpan stare.
  1421. >You see he’s looming over you now, primed and ready to brush.
  1422. >”Oh come on, not even a little chuckle?”
  1423. >Cracking a smile despite yourself, you deny him.
  1424. “Nope!”
  1425. >He collapses onto the floor, feigning hurt.
  1426. >”Aah! And here I was starting to think I was clever!”
  1427. >Alright, that gets a laugh out of you.
  1428. >Which, in turn, gets a laugh out of him as he climbs to his hooves.
  1429. >”Alright hon, now I’m going to have to ask you to sit up. I hope your cute flank is prepared for the scrubbing of a lifetime!”
  1430.  
  1431. >You’re Nocturnal Pike, and what were you doing again?
  1432. >You seemed to have... blacked out?
  1433. >As you slowly come to, you realize you may have blacked out, but you didn’t pass out.
  1434. >You’re still sitting upright, and a torrent of VERY unmarely things is coming out of your mouth!
  1435. >AHHHHHH! You’re moaning and mewling like a schoolfilly!!!
  1436. >Why are you—
  1437. >The question is wiped from your mind before you can even finish it however.
  1438. >Because Anon just got done putting more soap on his brush, and resumed brushing.
  1439. “Oh BUCK yes! Harder! HARDER!”
  1440. >He doesn’t verbally respond, but you can feel the brush start to work harder, DEEPER.
  1441. >Oh stars why haven’t you asked him to do this before!?
  1442. “Mmmmmmmmm, BUCK...”
  1443. >He could do anything he wanted to you right now, and you wouldn’t even care.
  1444. >As long as he keeps up that /divine/ brushing.
  1445. >Hoping to keep yourself from completely fading out again, you crack your eyes open.
  1446. >The sight brings you a small amount of comfort, as Anon’s not faring any better than you.
  1447. >He’s got a far off, zen look in his eye.
  1448. >Like a painter immersed in his craft.
  1449. >And he’s... whispering something under his breath?
  1450. >”Monkey brain like brushy pretty pony.”
  1451. >Odd. You’d ask him about it if you weren’t so busy being putty in his hooves.
  1452. >Speaking of, he just got to a particularly gnarled part of your coat, and ohhhhhhhhh Luna.
  1453. >Good thing you’re too lost in the sensation to care, because that moan was /particularly/ unmarely.
  1454.  
  1455. >Oooof, looks like this time you /did/ pass out.
  1456. >You’re lying against the sloped side of the tub, head propped up by Anon’s magic.
  1457. >Ooooh, the water feels warmer too, did he change it while you were out?
  1458. >Considering it doesn’t look as brown with grime as it should, you bet the answer to that is yes.
  1459. >”Oh hey,” Anon’s voice calls out, “you’re finally awake.”
  1460. >Turning towards him as the magic dissipates, you see he’s looking pretty sheepish for someone who just scrubbed you so well you passed out.
  1461. >”Sorry about that, I uhhhhhh, went a little overboard clearly.”
  1462. >Stretching your forelegs, Luna that feels good, you smile at him.
  1463. “Did ‘monkey brain’ enjoy himself?”
  1464. >In rare form, he blushes and hides his face behind his hoof.
  1465. >”Ah, I said that out loud, did I?’
  1466. >Nodding sagely, you reply.
  1467. “That you did.”
  1468. >Putting down his hoof, but still clearly blushing, he makes an attempt to own it.
  1469. >”Well, they did say my people are hard wired to enjoy grooming.”
  1470. “And mine are hard wired to enjoy being groomed. Clearly we’re a match made in Elysium.”
  1471. >He smiles a little more earnestly at that, and pulls out the book again.
  1472. >”Guess so.”
  1473. >As he reads, a bottle of an as of yet unused shampoo drifts over, and he squeezes the contents into two of his magical hands.
  1474. >”Alright, this stuff is for your mane and tail. I’ll do your mane first so you can lay down a little longer.”
  1475. >Settling in, you just ‘hm’ as he sets to work massaging your scalp.
  1476. >Mmmmm, mare his ‘fingers’ can really do work!
  1477. >After laying there and enjoying the feeling, he eventually motions for you to stand up so he can do your tail.
  1478. “How come you never go this deep when we shower together?”
  1479. >As he sets to work running his fingers through your tail, you can’t help but let it flick.
  1480. >Did his magic just falter a bit?
  1481. >”Well I’m usually a little /distracted/.”
  1482. >Oooooh, you can guess exactly what’s distracting him.
  1483. >No reason to just leave it up to conjecture though!
  1484. >Flicking your tail again, you feel his magic once again falter as his concentration slips ever so slightly.
  1485. “Like right now?”
  1486. >You can hear his breath get a touch heavier from behind you.
  1487. >”/Exactly/ like right now.”
  1488. >Aha! You’ve got him under your spell.
  1489. >He’s slooooowly leaning in toward your marehood now.
  1490. >Closer.... Closer...
  1491. >He’ll make contact in just a few seconds.
  1492. >5... 4... 3... 2... 1...!
  1493. >Aaaaaaaand—!
  1494. >Just as he’s about to shove his tongue between your folds, you kick the water as hard as you can, sending a generous splash right into his face.
  1495. >”BWAAAAAAA!” he cries as he stumbles back.
  1496. >You can hear him land right on his rump.
  1497. >Ha! You really got him!
  1498. >Turning to face him with your hooves resting on the side of the tub, you get to look down smugly at him for one.
  1499. “Now now, finish what you started and /then/ the fun can begin.”
  1500. >He cracks a smile at you before pulling a towel off the wall to dry his face off.
  1501. >”Oooh, you tease. I’ll have to get you back for that one.”
  1502. >As he climbs back to his hooves, he starts grabbing more towels off the wall.
  1503. >”Go ahead and rinse your mane and tail out, the next part is outside the bath.
  1504.  
  1505. >Before, you were able to ignore that voice in your head.
  1506. >Sure, your colt was pampering you with a spa-day, but it wasn’t /that/ unmarely, you were just getting clean!
  1507. >Now though?
  1508. >Anon has drained the tub, and you’re lying on the couch, multiple towels wrapped around you.
  1509. >He even put a mud mask on your face!
  1510. >Jeez all you're missing is the cucumbers over your eyes and you’d be the spitting image of every colt you’ve ever seen at the spa.
  1511. >Which is /painfully/ unmarely!
  1512. [spoiler]>But oh so relaxing, you’ve never felt so clean![/spoiler]
  1513. >Oh mare, if anypony other than Anon saw you now...
  1514. >Thank Luna no one will.
  1515. >”Sorry there’s no cucumber for your eyes.” Anon says as he walks over to you, “But the one that it came with smelled suspicious, and I don’t trust that Quick Wit didn’t do something to it.”
  1516. >You chuckle sarcastically.
  1517. “What, like shove it up her cunt?”
  1518. >Anon laughs, but the look on his face tells you that’s not that absurd.
  1519. >”Either way I threw that shit away. Now, time for your pedicure!”
  1520. >A pedicure?! Aw mare...
  1521. >What will your guardsmares say!?
  1522. “D-do we /have/ to do that?”
  1523. >He looks between you and the file he pulled out.
  1524. >”I mean, do you not want to? I’ve never done something like this before, so if you want we can just skip to the tuft oil and stuff like that.”
  1525. >B-better to just move on without it then.
  1526. >So what if it’d probably feel nice?
  1527. >No reason to sign away your pride just for that!
  1528. >... You’ve never really done more than basic hoofcare though, so it’ll probably feel /really/ nice.
  1529. >No! No.
  1530. >Just say, no, Pike.
  1531. >Getting a pedicure is the /opposite of marely/!
  1532. >JUST. SAY. NO.
  1533. “A-actually, g-go ahead and do it.”
  1534. >Anon shrugs, completely unaware of the screaming inside your head.
  1535. >”Sounds good to me.”
  1536. >No no! Y-you should stop him!
  1537. >...but now he’s already started filing, might as well just let him finish this one right?
  1538. >Yeah, yeah!
  1539. >You’ll let him do this one, and then after that you’ll tell him to stop!
  1540. >Might as well prepare yourself to—
  1541. >”So Pike, I’ve been thinking, and I think we should talk about this.”
  1542. >Your eyes widen a touch.
  1543. >Normally a colt saying something like this would send cold panic through your veins.
  1544. >But considering recent events and conversations...
  1545. “About herding?”
  1546. >He ‘um-hm’s as he continues to smooth out your hoof.
  1547. “Well, what about it?”
  1548. >He stops briefly, likely surprised that you didn’t opt to take the lead in the conversation.
  1549. >After some thought, and tapping the file against his head a few times, he figures out what he wants to say and resumes your pedicure.
  1550. >”I guess... what happens to you in all this? You’ve thrown out the phrase ‘alpha’ quite a few times, but what does that actually mean?”
  1551. >Oooooh, that’s a good question.
  1552. >And, thankfully for you, easy.
  1553. “An alpha is the guiding hoof of the herd. The leader, more or less.”
  1554. >He looks kind of surprised by that.
  1555. >”Oh really?” he says as he adjusts the file, “I would have assumed the stallion would be, being the linchpin and all.”
  1556. >That gets a loud laugh out of you.
  1557. “Ha! No offense Anon, but most stallions are much too whimsical to be hoofed that kind of power.”
  1558. >It's with no small amount of pride that you say that because, even though every mare knows it, 99.99% of stallions would flip if you told them that.
  1559. >Not Anon though, his gaze just turns incredulous.
  1560. >”Really?”
  1561. >Although before you can respond, he seems to realize something.
  1562. >”Actually... yeaaaah considering they act like living stereotypes, I can see it.”
  1563. >Ha! A stallion finally admitted it!
  1564. >Although he is from another dimension, so does it really count?
  1565. “The stallion also isn’t, or I guess I should say shouldn’t, be the ‘linchpin’. In a healthy herd everypony cares for each other, it's not just a bunch of mares tied to the one stallion.”
  1566. >He sighs, seemingly genuinely relieved.
  1567. >”Okay, that’s good. Because honestly I don’t think I could maintain more than one relationship like that if it were all up to me.”
  1568. >Oh goodness gracious why would he think that!?
  1569. “Stars no! I don’t think anypony could handle that on their own.”
  1570. >As you say that, he finishes working on your first forehoof.
  1571. >You hoof him the next one without even thinking.
  1572. >”So if you’re in charge, where does that leave me?”
  1573. >Ooooh mare, that’s kind of a tough one.
  1574. >How would you explain it best to somepony with no experience with it...
  1575. >Aha!
  1576. “Think about it this way. Say, we as a herd were going somewhere. My job would be to lead the herd there, your job would be to make sure no one gets left behind along the way.”
  1577. >His eyes light up in understanding and he nods his head.
  1578. >“Okay, I think I see what you mean.”
  1579. >The two of you lapse into silence after that.
  1580. >Anon’s clearly mulling over what you said, and you’re content to let him mull.
  1581. >As you lay there in silence though, you can’t help but notice how... good your hoof feels.
  1582. >It seems your earlier guess was spot on, allowing Anon to give your hooves that extra tlc is going the extra mile.
  1583. >Aches and pains you’d grown so accustomed to that you hardly even noticed them, are gone.
  1584. >Worth it.
  1585. >”Aaaaaand done!” Anon says as he pulls the file away.
  1586. >Lifting your forehooves to your face, you give them a closer look.
  1587. >As expected they look painfully colty.
  1588. >But they /feel great/!
  1589. “You know Anon, you might have a future as a spa pony!”
  1590. >He smiles smugly, blowing hoof shavings off the file.
  1591. >”Oh really? You wouldn’t get jealous at the thought of me brushing other mares all day?”
  1592. >You return a smile with equal smugness, motioning him to begin working on one of your hind hooves.
  1593. “I’m sure the castle could comp for daily ‘de-stressing’ trips. Plus, maybe you’d meet a nice mare while you’re working.”
  1594. >Anon sticks out his tongue like he just ate something foul.
  1595. >”Eeeeew, don’t say shit like that! Makes you sound like you’re my mom.”
  1596. >What!?
  1597. >You make no attempt to hold your disbelieving laughter in.
  1598. >A mother, telling her son to go out and try to meet some mares?
  1599. >Luna above, if your brothers ever brought a mare home your moms looked like they were going to bite his head off!
  1600. >Your dad on the other hoof...
  1601. “Haha! You know, that is the sort of thing my dad would say.”
  1602. >You say it before you realize exactly what it means.
  1603. >Because while it is true, that really is something your dad would say to you.
  1604. >And admitting it means you admit that you’re /talking like your dad/.
  1605. >That kills your laughter near instantly.
  1606. “Eeeeug, yeah on second thought I’m never saying that again.”
  1607. >He lets out a snigger.
  1608. >”So, you’re looking forward to being an alpha?”
  1609. >You attempt to puff out your chest, but the motion doesn’t really work since you’re lying down.
  1610. “Of course! As the mareliest mare around, it’s my domestic calling!”
  1611. >”Oh wait,” he asks, surprised, “You don’t just get the position by nature of being the first?”
  1612. >You wave your hoof dismissively.
  1613. “Oh no no no no! The alpha can be a mare who joins at any point. The only requirement for the alpha is that she is the one most willing to lead. Aka the mareliest. Aka—”
  1614. >Aka NOT the kind of mare who gets a pedicure from her stallion.
  1615. “—M-me.”
  1616. >Anon, seemingly oblivious to the painful irony, nods.
  1617. >”Makes sense to me. I can’t think of a mare marelier than you.”
  1618. >Yeah Pike, you’re so marely you do more domestic jobs than he does.
  1619. “R-right.”
  1620. >“Oh, yeah! I just remembered, Cut was saying you were talking about helping her be more marely?”
  1621. >/Yeah right/ like you, the mare who just spent the day being pampered with an in-home spa kit meant for colts, could teach somepony about being marely.
  1622. “Y-yeah. S-she seems like she could use the help.”
  1623. >He smiles earnestly.
  1624. “I think that’s really swell of you. Honestly by the sound of it, you’d make a good alpha.”
  1625. >No you wouldn’t.
  1626. >An alpha is a position reserved for /real mares/!
  1627. “T-thanks...”
  1628. >By this point, he’s picked up the wavering in your voice and looks up from you hoof with concern.
  1629. >”You alright, hon?”
  1630. >You want to say something but...
  1631. >What, are you going to cry while he’s giving you a pedicure?
  1632. >To think you call yourself a mare!
  1633. “I-I’m fine.”
  1634. >It's clear as day he doesn’t believe you, but he concedes.
  1635. >”Alright, Pike. Just remember: the fact I was an alien eventually came out, whatever you don’t want to talk about will come out one day too.”
  1636. >He’s right... maybe you should just...
  1637. >No! No. He was willing to accept you being submissive in the bedroom, but this!?
  1638. [spoiler]>Admitting you like being a little domestic!?[/spoiler]
  1639. [spoiler]>Admitting you don’t like being a macho mare 24/7!?!?!?[/spoiler]
  1640. [spoiler]>Admitting that that makes you a fraud? A fake!? NOT A REAL MARE!?[/spoiler]
  1641. >SHUT UP, THOUGHTS!
  1642. >It is only by the grace of all your years lying and training that you’re able to keep this internal debate off your face.
  1643. “I-It’s fine. I’ll tell you later.”
  1644. >He shakes his head disapprovingly.
  1645. >”You better. Don’t let it eat you up inside.”
  1646. >AaaaaaAAAAAAAHHHHH HE’S RIGHT!
  1647. >QUICK! CHANGE THE SUBJECT!
  1648. “S-so! About Cut! Uhhh, how have you enjoyed having her around?”
  1649. >Aha! It worked!
  1650. >Your change in topic was so abrupt and jarring that it totally crashed Anon’s train of thought!
  1651. >It crashed so hard in fact, that his magic just dropped the file.
  1652. >”Oh uhhhhh, it's nice. I like it.”
  1653. >Your eyes widen a touch.
  1654. >He just hoofed you the perfect opportunity to spring your trap.
  1655. >Ha! Take that, inner voice!
  1656. >If you weren’t a /real mare/, could you do this!?
  1657. “And the stuff we do together, how do you like that?”
  1658. >”You mean normal hangout stuff? Well I guess she’s also been helping out around the house. And snuggling.”
  1659. >Come on, come on!
  1660. >You can tell it's working!
  1661. “Aaaaand? Wouldn’t you like to do that /every night/?”
  1662. >You can feel how much your offer is tempting him.
  1663. >”W-well, I wouldn’t mind it.”
  1664. >Your smile turns smug.
  1665. >You don’t say anything though, this is something he has to decide on his own.
  1666. >”A-and with that in mind, now that I understand the idea of herding better...”
  1667. >His statement tails off, and he takes a deep nervous breath.
  1668. >”I-I think I’d be open to try.”
  1669. >WOO HOO!
  1670. >You leap off the couch in joy, wrapping your hooves around his head in a hug.
  1671. >”AAAGH!”
  1672. “Yes! Oh you won’t regret this, Anon! What do you want to do first? Got to a fancy dinner? Go out to see a show? Minesweeper!?”
  1673. >”Mmm hmm mmm hmmm hmmm.”
  1674. >...what?
  1675. >Oh right! You’ve currently got his face mashed into your tuft.
  1676. >Whoops!
  1677. >Hopping off his face, you let him breathe once again.
  1678. >There’s a deep blush on his face, which puts one on yours as well.
  1679. >Clearly that moment he just spent amongst your tuft scent is having an effect on him.
  1680. >”Wow, that shampoo smells great... I-I mean, let’s *ahem* let’s just have her over and hang out again. S-something low key, for her.”
  1681. >Right, this is Cut we’re talking about.
  1682. >Better to start small.
  1683. “Right, right. I’ll leave the day and time up to you. Your first task as a herd stallion!”
  1684. >Regaining a bit of control over his faculties, he straightens up.
  1685. >”Right! Sounds easy enough.”
  1686. >After that he turns his attention to the forgotten file.
  1687. >”Well, now that that’s settled, want me to finish up your pedicure?”
  1688. >Oooof, that puts a damper on your mood.
  1689. >A real mare would say no.
  1690. >Buuuuuut, the hooves he’s trimmed do feel really good...
  1691. >Aaaaaand you are officially an alpha now...
  1692. >Sure you’re an alpha who likes getting pampered, but does that really make a difference in the long run?
  1693. >After all, you’d say being an alpha is more pivotal to being a marely mare than getting your hooves done /one time/.
  1694. >Yeah, you’ll do it.
  1695. >Just this once!
  1696. [spoiler]>It almost certainly won’t be just this once.[/spoiler]
  1697. “Sure.”
  1698.  
  1699. >You are Cut N. Paste, it's a Saturday, and you’re standing outside of Anon and Pike’s apartment.
  1700. >This was not unusual, you’ve been coming over more days than not (based on Pike’s plan).
  1701. >But tonight you feel like something’s different.
  1702. >When Anon invited you over he seemed unusually... nervous?
  1703. >Yeah, nervous is the right word.
  1704. >Pike’s also been oddly silent about progress updates over the last few days, and those two things together have really got you wondering.
  1705. >Although, you’re probably overthinking it, as you’re one to do.
  1706. >Yeah, that must be it!
  1707. >Confident that’s a mystery solved, you knock your hoof against their door.
  1708. >You can hear Anon’s voice from inside.
  1709. >”C-coming!”
  1710. >...okay that sounded pretty nervous.
  1711. >Maybe you aren’t overthinking things?
  1712. >Before you can ponder it further though, the stallion himself opens the door.
  1713. >By the Sun, you don’t think you’ve ever seen him like this.
  1714. >He looks like you!
  1715. >”H-hey Cut!” he says, “Glad you made it. Come in!”
  1716. >As you walk in, you’re really starting to worry now.
  1717. >What could have possibly put Anon of all ponies in such a state?
  1718. >Passing him, you enter the living room to see Pike smiling so hard that her fangs might fall out.
  1719. >>”Heeeey Cut,” she says, “Anon’s got something to say to yooooou!”
  1720. >He does!?
  1721. >Excitedly whirling around, you see he’s still looking extremely nervous.
  1722. >”C-can’t you say it?”
  1723. >Huh?
  1724. >>”WHAT!?” you hear PIke cry from across the room, “You weren’t nearly this bashful when /we/ first met!”
  1725. >Your heart starts to beat faster as your brain starts putting the pieces together.
  1726. >”Well, yeah! Asking one per-pony out is one thing! But asking out somepony else while you’re already in a relationship? That’s weird! THAT’S WEIRD!”
  1727. >Did-did he just imply what you think he’s implying?
  1728. >>”Oh come on, quit being such a colt and leaving the poor mare in suspense! As the stallion, this is /your/ call.”
  1729. >Oh Celestia, you think your heart is going to stop!
  1730. >”Fine! Fine, Cut,” he takes a deep breath, “would you like to be in a herd with us?”
  1731.  
  1732. >You are Anonymous, and you did it!
  1733. >You said it!
  1734. >It made your skin crawl a little bit, but Pike was right.
  1735. >At this point, you’ve committed, and all being non-committal was doing was fucking with Cut’s feelings.
  1736. >Which obviously, you don’t want to do.
  1737. >Speaking of Cut though, you’re mildly afraid that her eyes are about to fall out of her head.
  1738. >Oh, she just whispered something.
  1739. >Something so quiet you only barely caught it.
  1740. >”Really?”
  1741. >Come on Anon, don’t bitch out.
  1742. “Really.”
  1743. >She inhales sharply, and her eyes return to normal size.
  1744. >”Well then,” she says at a surprisingly normal volume, “if you two will excuse me for a moment.”
  1745. >She doesn’t even wait for an answer, quickly trotting into your bedroom and slamming the door.
  1746. >What the heck?
  1747. >You look to Pike for confirmation, but she looks just as confused as you are.
  1748. >However, the sounds that start coming from the bedroom tell you all you need to know.
  1749. >”BUCK YES!” Cut screams, her voice barely muffled by the bedroom door.
  1750. > “BUCK YOU, FIX-UP! BUCK YOU, FIRST DOWN! BUCK YOU—”
  1751. >She continues like that for several minutes, listing an impressive amount of names that you and Pike have never heard.
  1752. >”—AND BUCK EVERYPONY ELSE WHOEVER SAID I’D ONLY BE A LOSER!”
  1753. >At the conclusion of her rant she throws open the door, and you can see her positively beaming.
  1754. >Oh shit, you should probably say something, shouldn’t you?
  1755. “Cut—”
  1756. >Although before you can actually say anything, she charges across the room to you.
  1757. >Sweeping up Pike along the way,who lets out a squawk of alarm, she approaches you at a worrying speed.
  1758. >Bracing yourself, the two of them impact you with a force that probably would have bowled a smaller pony over.
  1759. >But thankfully, due to your sturdy constitution, you manage to stay on your hooves, and the collision results in what Cut had likely intended.
  1760. >A somehow not-awkward tri-hug.
  1761. >As she holds you and Pike in her Earth Pony grip, you can see a few happy tears escape her eyes as she desperately tries to hold onto her composure.
  1762. >After letting out a few shuddering breaths, she eventually speaks.
  1763. >”Th-*sniff* thank you both so much!”
  1764. >Deciding that this is one of those ‘actions speak louder than words’ moments, you answer her by squeezing her extra hard.
  1765. >Which wrenches a choked up sob out of her throat.
  1766. >Wow, you really made her day.
  1767. >A fact that does a great deal to offset the feelings of uncertainty you have about herding in general.
  1768. >Looking to Pike (who’s currently being crushed between the two of you) you see her roll her eyes, but the smile on her face tells you she doesn’t really mean it.
  1769. >A silent communication passes between the two of you, you both deciding you ought to let Cut vent.
  1770. >So you stay like that for a few minutes, Cut crying into your shoulder.
  1771. >Eventually she pulls away though and takes off her glasses to wipe the tears from her eyes.
  1772. >”S-sorry,” she stammers out, “Aw buck, I probably look really pathetic right now, h-huh?”
  1773. >Oh, mares and their need to look marely.
  1774. >Giving her a punch on the shoulder, you give her what you hope is a reassuring smile.
  1775. “You’re fiiiiiine.”
  1776. >Pike, having been freed, speaks up.
  1777. >>”If a mare can’t cry in front of her herd, who /can/ she cry in front of?”
  1778. >Wiping a few more errant tears from her eyes, she meets your smile.
  1779. >”Yeah... Yeah you’re right.”
  1780. >Putting her glasses back on, she clears her throat, still trying to regain her composure.
  1781. >”Thank you.”
  1782. >She looks around the room, curiosity touching her features.
  1783. >”So is this our first... /date/? W-what are we going to do?”
  1784. >>”Anon figured we should keep it a low key affair. We got some movies, games, food is on the way, and...”
  1785. >Aha! That’s your cue!
  1786. >Magically opening the door to the board game closet, you reveal an already assembled Jenga tower.
  1787. “And we’re not going to lose again!”
  1788. >You had hoped moving the activity to something she was extremely comfortable with would help her nerves, and you were right.
  1789. >At the sight of the tower, her posture visibly relaxes a bit, and her stutter starts to recede.
  1790. >”I’ll believe that when I see it.”
  1791.  
  1792. >You are Cut N. Paste, and you feel like you might have messed up.
  1793. >After winning seven more games, the food Pike ordered arrived.
  1794. >And as you trot toward the table, you wonder, should you have let Anon win one?
  1795. >F-fillyfriends do that for their colftriends, right?
  1796. >No, no, what are you thinking?
  1797. >Anon would have /hated/ it if you let him win.
  1798. >Better to just win until they realize they’re not going to.
  1799. >”Unbelievable,” says Anon as he drops the largest pizza box you’ve ever seen on the table, “not even a single game.”
  1800. >Pike, with an air of faux-solumness, pulls a bottle of something out of the cabinet.
  1801. >>”I think the dream is dead, Anon. Time to let go.”
  1802. >”Never!” he replies, “We’ll see how she fares after I’ve got some of /this/ in me!”
  1803. >Taking your own seat, he pulls open the pizza box.
  1804. >You were kind of skeptical about splitting just one large pizza three ways, but honestly this should be more than enough.
  1805. >Pike even got it split three ways!
  1806. >Speaking of, she pops the cork off the bottle, and the smell of mango hits your nose.
  1807. >As it does, Anon starts beaming for some reason.
  1808. >”Heyyyyy, I recognize that bottle and two-thirds of this pizza!”
  1809. >That’s... something you’ve never heard another pony say before.
  1810. >>”Oh, you do?” Pike smugly replies.
  1811. >”Of course! This is almost the exact same meal we had the night I moved in! With Cut’s pieces added in of course..”
  1812. >Awwwww, you see what Pike’s doing here!
  1813. >Pizza symbolism!
  1814. >Pike herself beams, happy both Anon and you picked up on it.
  1815. >>”I figured it was fitting, considering tonight’s significance.”
  1816. >Anon chuckles once.
  1817. >”What, are you planning on stealing my virginity, /a second time/!?”
  1818. >SHE DID WHAT!?
  1819. “WHAT!?”
  1820. >Whipping your head towards Anon, he throws an accusatory hoof at Pike.
  1821. >”It's true! She’s a THIEF!”
  1822. >Whipping your head back towards Pike, you see her wings extend defensively.
  1823. >>”I didn’t STEAL anything! You gave it to me and you know it!”
  1824. >You can’t believe it!
  1825. >Anon was a virgin, and Pike took his virginity before marriage!?
  1826. >Despite your best efforts, you can’t keep yourself from shouting.
  1827. “Pike, what were you thinking!?”
  1828. >Her hooves join her wings in a defensive posture.
  1829. >>”H-hey! It's not my fault! He didn’t even tell me until it was too late!”
  1830. >You can’t believe this!
  1831. >Anon was a /pure/ husbando and she DEFILED him!
  1832. >Although, the stallion himself seems completely oblivious to the severity of the situation.
  1833. >He’s laughing!
  1834. >He had his virginity taken before marriage and he’s laughing!
  1835. >”Haha, holy shit! It /is/ a big deal!”
  1836. >Pike, also seemingly in much higher spirits than the situation calls for, pouts [spoiler]it looks pretty c-cute. No dyke though![/spoiler]
  1837. >>”You mean you didn’t believe me all this time?”
  1838. >Anon takes a break from slapping himself on the knee to answer.
  1839. >”Oh, I did. But I really didn’t grasp /how/ big of a deal it really was! Look at Cut, she’s about to blow a gasket!”
  1840. >Oh gosh!
  1841. >M-maybe you were getting too worked up about it.
  1842. >Oh Celestia you /were/ getting way too worked up about it!
  1843. >Th-they’re going to awkwardly ask you to leave now!
  1844. >THEY—
  1845. >Whatever you were about to think is instantly cut off by the feeling of something clasping your shoulder.
  1846. >It’s one of Anon’s magic things!
  1847. >”It’s okay, Cut. I’m just messing with you.”
  1848. >R-right, of course.
  1849. >W-what were you thinking?
  1850. “I-I know.”
  1851. >You definitely didn’t know, and Anon knows it.
  1852. >Neither he nor Pike seem interested in making fun of you for it though.
  1853. >Indeed, Anon immediately starts grabbing slices and Pike starts pouring drinks.
  1854. >”So anyway, why the heck are we eating pizza at the dinner table again?”
  1855. >Pike tosses a packet of parmesan his way, booping him straight on the muzzle.
  1856. >”Wha—!”
  1857. >>”Where’s your sense of ceremony, Anon? This is our first meal as a herd! That’s the kind of meal you have at a table.”
  1858. >You nod your head, after all your family always stressed the importance of eating together at a table.
  1859. >Reaching to grab a slice yourself, you open the pizza box and—
  1860. “SWEET CELESTIA!”
  1861. >Your cry of alarm makes both Pike and Anon jump out of their seats.
  1862. >”What is it!?” asks Anon as he opens the box himself.
  1863. >They both check the pizza, Anon looking confused, while Pike gives you a knowing look.
  1864. >>”It's your third of the pizza,” she says to him.
  1865. >”What, no way!” he counters, “It’s obviously yours!”
  1866. >You shake your head in disbelief.
  1867. >How could the love of your life have such a terrible taste in pizza!?
  1868. “Pineapple and banana peppers, Anon!?”
  1869. >He looks very shocked.
  1870. >”What? What’s so odd about that? It's got sweet and it's got heat! That’s not weird!”
  1871. >He turns to Pike.
  1872. >”I-is it weird?”
  1873. >>”It's kind of weird.”
  1874. >He worriedly looks between you and her.
  1875. >”Why didn’t you tell me?”
  1876. >She moves between the two of you, addressing each of you equally.
  1877. >>”Because if your colt’s willing to eat some pineapple, you don’t question it. No matter the dish he puts it on.”
  1878. >Ooooooooh my goodness!
  1879. >You can’t keep the look of childlike wonder off your face.
  1880. “S-so it's true?”
  1881. >Pike nods like a mountain sage.
  1882. >You almost can’t believe it, you always thought that was just one of those bogus sex tips your mom always used to give you.
  1883. “Wow...”
  1884. >Anon rapidly looks between the two of you, probably trying to figure out what you’re talking about.
  1885. >”Wanna tell me what you two are talking about?”
  1886. >You and Pike share a smile that only two mares can share.
  1887. “Nope!”
  1888.  
  1889. >Anon wasn’t happy, but eventually the conversation moved on, and so did dinner.
  1890. >When it finished, the three of you went to the living room to play some card games!
  1891. >Anon’s trying to teach the two of you a game called “Euchre” right now, and it's not going well.
  1892. “So then I would win this hoof.”
  1893. >”No no no,” he says, picking up a nine of hearts.
  1894. >”Pike declared hearts the trump, so that would win.”
  1895. >Ooooooh, now you’re starting to get it.
  1896. “So I should have played the heart I had then.”
  1897. >”No, since I led with clubs, if you had a club but didn’t play it that would mean you ‘renigged’ and you’d forfeit the round.”
  1898. >Nevermind, no you’re not.
  1899. “So where does the Jill come in?”
  1900. >”Well...”
  1901. >Whatever he was going to say is cut off by a loud “UGH,” from Pike.
  1902. >>”Only /nerds/ can find a way to make cards boring!”
  1903. >Anon looks a little offended by that.
  1904. >”It’s not boring!”
  1905. >Pike’s having none of it though, as she snatches up all the cards and begins shuffling them again.
  1906. >>”You said we couldn’t even play it ‘till we had a fourth pony. Let’s just play something we know and can actually play.”
  1907. >His face and posture falls.
  1908. >”But...”
  1909. >You put your hoof on Anon’s sullen shoulder.
  1910. “It's ok, we’ll come back to it later.”
  1911. >He sighs sadly.
  1912. >”Alriiiight. But this isn’t the last you’ll hear of it!”
  1913. >Pike continues shuffling the cards, good-naturedly rolling her eyes.
  1914. “So what are we playing?”
  1915. >>”Well,” she says as she deals the first card, “normally we’d need to liquor ourselves up more before doing this, but as it stands we’re in a /unique/ position.”
  1916. >That piques both Anon’s attention and yours.
  1917. >”Really?”
  1918. >She mm-hmm’s as she passes him the first card.
  1919. >>”You’d be ok with playing some dress poker right now, wouldn’t you, Anon?”
  1920. >He shrugs.
  1921. >”Eh, I guess. It just kinda sucks cuz I won’t be getting anything out of it, you know?
  1922. >Pike grins, clearly that was exactly what she was hoping he’d say.
  1923. >>”That’s why me and Cut will be playing /strip/ poker!”
  1924. >What? Anon’s weird take on dress poker?
  1925. >Speaking of, he seems to instantly make some connection that you’re not.
  1926. >”Ooooh! That’s pretty clever!”
  1927. “I don’t follow.”
  1928. >Pike critically looks you over.
  1929. >>”Cut, you’re pretty sober right? Would you really be up for dress poker right now?”
  1930. >Of course you would be!
  1931. >Anon would just have to s-see y-your sweaty ugly body p-putting on s... so... soc...
  1932. >Unable to even finish that thought, you sigh.
  1933. “No, I wouldn’t...”
  1934. >>”How about strip poker?”
  1935. >Taking clothes off instead of putting them on?
  1936. >Yeah, that’d be easy.
  1937. >Oh, OH!
  1938. “Now I get it! B-but what do I wear?”
  1939. >Pike cocks her head toward the bedroom.
  1940. >>”I’m sure we’ve got something.”
  1941.  
  1942. >You are Anonymous, and you just lost another hand.
  1943. >You suck at this!
  1944. >You’ve already got three socks on, and now here comes the fourth.
  1945. >While you grab it, Pike and Cut watch you with rapt attention and eventually begin to cheer.
  1946. >”Put it on! Put it on!”
  1947. >Man, is this what it feels like to be desired by the opposite sex?
  1948. >This is great!
  1949. >Hopping up on the coffee table the three of you are playing on, you make a show of sticking your right hindhoof toward them, which turns their cheering into pure roars.
  1950. “Remember, look, but don’t touch!”
  1951. >As you start sliding the purple and white striped sock up your leg the two of them are practically frothing at the mouth.
  1952. >”YEAH! SHOW ME HOW THOSE LEGS CHASE!” Pike cries.
  1953. >Meanwhile Cut has just started repeating some mantra under her breath.
  1954. >>”Please crush my head between your thighs, please crush my head between your thighs, please crush my head...”
  1955. >As the sock climbs higher, the two only grow more feverish.
  1956. >Cut is cutely trying (and failing) to hide just how much this is riling her up, while Pike is just openly salivating.
  1957. >As the sock reaches 3/4s of the way up, you get a devilish idea.
  1958. >Cut’s started repeatedly shifting her eyes away to keep herself from staring too hard, and you’re not having that.
  1959. >So with every inch the sock gains, you scoot your leg closer to her.
  1960. >With great effect!
  1961. >After just a few inches, she’s visibly sweating and finding it harder to look away.
  1962. >Then by the time it’s only a few inches from her face, she’s looking at you with a desperately pleading gaze.
  1963. “You may touch it. Once!”
  1964. >She takes a shuddering breath, clearly balking under the anticipation.
  1965. >Slowly lifting her forehooves, she gingerly reaches out and wraps them around your leg.
  1966. >>”O-oh gosh... I, uh, I—”
  1967. >She seems like she’s enjoying herself.
  1968. >Every good stripper knows though, you can’t let them enjoy themselves /too/ much.
  1969. >With surprising skill, you slide your hoof out from her hooves without warning.
  1970. >She feebly reaches out towards it again, but she remembers the rule and lets her hooves fall.
  1971. >“Hey! How come I don’t get a touch!” cries an offended Pike.
  1972. >You pause mid-strut in front of her.
  1973. “Oh come on, you touch this like every day. Do you really want—”
  1974. >She cuts you off by nodding extremely vigorously.
  1975. >Hmmmm, well, you suppose it's only fair...
  1976. “Okayyyyy.”
  1977. >”WOO WOO!””
  1978. >Before you could hope to stop her, she leaps into the air and practically wraps herself around your leg.
  1979. “Hey!”
  1980. >”Quick, Cut! Grab his other leg and we can have all the touches we want!”
  1981. >You start to panic as she does just that.
  1982. >Quick, someone call the bouncer, this is getting out of hand!
  1983. >”Drag him to the ground!”
  1984. >>”Yeah!”
  1985. >Uh oh!
  1986.  
  1987. >After you and Cut came out of your lust-induced haze to find yourselves pinning Anon to the ground and nuzzling him all over, you were afraid that you, Nocturnal Pike, had ruined the plan you had for the evening.
  1988. >But thankfully, in typical Anon fashion, he just laughed and said, ”Wow, I guess this is what Princess Luna meant when she told me I would ‘incite the castle’s mares into a riotous lust”.
  1989. >He’s been pouring shots for the three of you ever since.
  1990. >After all, he does have all four socks on now, making him fully dressed (a fact he took a great deal of joy in).
  1991. >Leaving it a game of Cut versus you.
  1992. >You admittedly expected it to be an easy win for you, but Cut seems to know her way around a deck of cards.
  1993. >You’re just down to your apron, and she’s down to Anon’s apron (he said it was ok) and her bra.
  1994. >And Anon is leering in a way you’ve never seen a colt leer before.
  1995. >”The naked apron is a good look on the both of you,” he says.
  1996. >Cut bashfully hides her face behind her cards.
  1997. >>”R-really?”
  1998. >He grows a lecherous grin to match his eyes.
  1999. >”Mmmm hmmm. I can see it now. I come home after a long day to the sight of you two working in the kitchen, backsides to me. Oh yeah, that’d be quite a ‘meal’ alright.”
  2000. >A visible shudder passes through the poor mare.
  2001. “Be careful, Anon, keep talking like that and you end up in the same position you were a few hooves ago.”
  2002. >”Dang, wouldn’t want to get to that point before seeing the whole show.”
  2003. >Cut is practically vibrating at this point.
  2004. “Want to take a break, Cut?”
  2005. >She looks at you, with an unspoken question in her eyes.
  2006. >>”I think I want to fold... t-twice.”
  2007. >Ah, you couldn’t agree more.
  2008. “Do it.” you goad.
  2009. >”Huh?” pipes up Anon, “but you’re only wearing one article of clothing.”
  2010. >She’s getting nervous now, fumbling with the apron’s ties.
  2011.  
  2012. “I-I, I-m wearing something else, too.”
  2013. >You are Cut N. Paste, and you don’t know if you can do this.
  2014. >You were so eager to show him a few days ago, why are you so nervous now?
  2015. >”Oh? What?” he asks.
  2016. >You’re trying to untie the straps of the apron, but you keep fumbling them.
  2017. “W-well...”
  2018. >Suddenly you hear Pike move behind you.
  2019. >>”Here, let me.”
  2020. >With just a few deft motions she’s done what you couldn’t and the apron falls away.
  2021. >>”Go get him,” she whispers in your ear.
  2022. >Anon, unable to see your bra because of how you’re sitting, is still confused.
  2023. >”You mean your glasses?”
  2024. >Oh are you really about to show a colt your /teats/!?
  2025. >Y-you can’t do this!
  2026. >What if he doesn’t like them!?
  2027. >What if—
  2028. “Eep!”
  2029. >Suddenly Pike, who was still behind you, grabs you and pulls you back giving Anon a perfect view of your bra.
  2030. >You let out a panicked “AAAAAAH!” as he looks at it, confused.
  2031. >”Wait, is that one of my bras?! No, wait, my bras aren’t tan...”
  2032. >Something seems to click with him, and he suddenly leans in much closer.
  2033. >”Cut, what’s under the bra?”
  2034. >You try to verbalize it, but you can’t seem to.
  2035. “My... my... t-t...”
  2036. >Just do it Paste!
  2037. >Realizing your voice has failed you, you simply reach behind yourself and release the clasp.
  2038. >As you do, the bra is immediately pushed away as your teats flop out for all to see.
  2039. >You close your eyes as you hear both Pike and Anon sharply inhale.
  2040. >>”By the stars, they’re bigger than I thought...”
  2041. >Oh Celestia you can’t bear to look!
  2042. >You just hold your eyes shut, waiting for Anon to say something.
  2043. >And waiting.
  2044. >And waiting.
  2045. >Aaaaand—
  2046. >Suddenly, you feel something wet and warm drip onto one of them.
  2047. >Wait, what?
  2048. >Cracking an eye open you spy something suspiciously drool-like having landed on your right teat.
  2049. >Uhhhh, d-does that mean he’s...
  2050. >Slowly looking up towards Anon, you see that he absolutely is.
  2051. > At some point between closing your eyes and now, he moved so that he was only a scant few inches from them.
  2052. >Now his eyes are practically bulging out of his head and he’s /literally/ drooling over your teats.
  2053. >W-what do you do?
  2054. >You’ve never had a colt (or anypony, for that matter) react like this before.
  2055. >All you can manage to do is sit there frozen, unable to do anything but shakily breathe in and out.
  2056. >Thankfully, he makes a move first.
  2057.  
  2058. ”Cut... have you had these the whole time?”
  2059. >You, Anonymous, cannot believe what you’re seeing right now.
  2060. >“Y-yes.”
  2061. >Cut has had humongous hungolomghononoloughongous this whole time, and DIDN’T TELL YOU!?
  2062. >And you thought the two of you were FRIENDS!
  2063. >You gingerly hold your hoof towards them.
  2064. “May I?”
  2065. >She looks between you hoof and your face, definitely not getting the hint.
  2066. >”May you... what?”
  2067. >You move you hoof just a bit closer.
  2068. “May I, you know, touch them?”
  2069. >She’s staring wide eyed at your hooves now.
  2070. >”Well, uh, I... I donno...”
  2071. >>”FOR LUNA’S SAKES GET ON WITH IT!”
  2072. >Pike (who you’d admittedly forgotten was still behind Cut) has clearly gotten fed up with the two of you.
  2073. >So much so that she is physically lifting Cut up as you speak!
  2074. >Soon, a confused Cut has been hoisted above Pike’s head, and spun around.
  2075. >Next thing you know, she's been tossed at you, teats first.
  2076. >You catch her of course, but Pike’s aim was true and now you find yourself sandwiched between the floor and Cut’s fat teats.
  2077. >”Ohmygosh!”
  2078.  
  2079. >You are Suck N. Buck, and you don’t know why, but a surge of motherly pride just filled you from head to hoof.
  2080. >And while you can only guess the reason why, you can also hope it's a certain daughter of yours.
  2081. “Way to go, Cut!”
  2082.  
  2083. >You are Cut N. Paste, and you can’t believe it.
  2084. >Pike’s throw ended up with you right on top of him, his head under your teats, and your face right at his balls.
  2085. >You couldn’t hope to focus on those balls if you tried though, as your mind is consumed by one simple fact.
  2086. >A /stallion/ is smothered in your teats this very moment!
  2087. >You feel terrible for treating him like some d-dirty porn star...
  2088. >But your mom was right, having a stallion between your teats feels GREAT!
  2089. >It helps that if you lift yourself up to look back at him, you can see they’ve got Anon grinning like a drunken dope.
  2090. >The upstanding gentlemare in you is screaming at you to get your teats off his face, but the rest of you...
  2091. >The rest of you is demanding that you stay right where you are.
  2092. >So there you stay, enjoying the intimate touch of another pony for the first time.
  2093. >While you sit there and bask in the s-sinful pleasure, Pike walks around you and takes an appraisal of Anon herself.
  2094. >”You know Anon, I had always kind of wondered if you were just pulling my tail about having been a virgin.”
  2095. >He doesn’t even respond, he just chuckles.
  2096. >”But there’s no way you ever got to grab some teats before if /this/ is your reaction.”
  2097. >>”Hehe, booba...”
  2098. >You can’t believe it, you really can’t.
  2099. >The idea that you’d actually find a stallion w-who /liked/ this never even occurred to you.
  2100. “D-does he usually get like this?”
  2101. >Pike sniggers.
  2102. >”Only if I catch him off guard with a surprise face sit. He’s still not really used to mare smells so if you can surprise him, you’ll knock him off his hooves.”
  2103. >Not used to mare smells?
  2104. >How does that happen?
  2105. “Really?”
  2106. >”Yeah, he’ll tell you why later. It's a pretty wild story.”
  2107. >Wow.
  2108. >So that means Anon is completely at your mercy.
  2109. >You can do whatever you want...
  2110. >ANYTHING!
  2111. >...
  2112. >Uhhh, what /do/ you want to do?
  2113. “Pike, what should I do now?”
  2114. >Pike taps her jaw with her wing.
  2115. >”Hmmmmm, well, his boolas are alone and unprotected.”
  2116. >Oh right!
  2117. >You were so caught up in the euphoria of having your teats appreciated, you had completely forgotten about that!
  2118. >Turning your gaze forward, you see those two perfect emerald orbs are indeed dominating your vision.
  2119. >Before you even know it, Pike is by your side.
  2120. >”You take the right, I take the left?”
  2121. >Ohhhh yeah.
  2122. >Ooooooh YEAH!
  2123. “OOOOOH YEAH!”
  2124.  
  2125. Continued in part 4: ponepaste.org/621
RGRE Reversed Gender Roles Equestria NSFW Anon OC Romance Comedy

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