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Discount Slave Berry Punch 01: Employment is Mandatory (Part 1)

By twilightgamenight
Created: 18th December 2020 10:54:16 PM

  1. DRINK 1: PONY ACQUIRED...?
  2.  
  3. >You are tired.
  4. >And angry.
  5. >And sober.
  6. >God, that’s the worst fucking part.
  7. >You wouldn’t care about the other two if you weren’t sober.
  8. >Today SUCKED.
  9. >That doesn’t make it special.
  10. >Every day sucks.
  11. >You work retail.
  12. >Life itself is Satan’s flaming taint and the only thing you look forward to is the sweet nothingness of oblivion.
  13. >”OH HAY MISTER I’M LOOKING FOR LIGHT BULBS. DO YOU SELL LIGHT BULBS?”
  14. “What kind?” you had asked, as politely as you could. Which was very politely.
  15. >You have too much experience putting up with the retarded shitstains called customers.
  16. >”YOU KNOW, LIGHT BULBS!”
  17. “Um, yes. What kind are you looking for? We have outdoor lights over -”
  18. >”LIGHT BULBS! THE THINGS YOU PUT IN A LAMP SO THEY MAKE LIGHT!”
  19. >You ended up handing him a pack of halogens.
  20. >If there is a kind and loving god, that asshole’s lamp is next to a curtain and that fucker’s house will burn.
  21. >Fucking Indians don’t know what the fuck an inside voice is.
  22. >Maybe that’s because they come from a shit country and don’t actually have real buildings?
  23. >Huh.
  24. >You should try to be more considerate of other cultures.
  25. >But not today.
  26. >It’s too late for today.
  27. >Between shit customers and all your friends working the closing shift, it’s a shit day.
  28. >Which hopefully explains the bottle of Eristoff Black tucked in your bag as you shuffle down the sidewalk.
  29. >If there’s any proof that a kind and loving god *does* exist, it’s the small little liquor store between work and your place.
  30. >It’s a bad thing that you and Ethel are on a first-name basis, isn’t it?
  31. >It’s definitely a bad thing that she knows you well enough to have the bottle waiting for you behind the counter.
  32. >The cashier at the hooch hut shouldn’t be able to predict your drinking habits this well.
  33. >This is keeping track of your friend’s menstrual cycles level creepy bullshit.
  34. >Plus she’s… like… pushing 80, so it’s already a miracle she can remember how to work the register.
  35. >Whatever.
  36. >You have your vodka.
  37. >That’s all you need.
  38. >Well, it would be nice to have someone to drink with, but since all your so-called friends decided to actually show up for their shifts…
  39. >Yeah.
  40. >Fucking traitors.
  41. >Oh, it’d also be nice to have some Sprite.
  42. >Shit, why didn’t you get any at the booze bank?
  43. “Dammit, Ethel! I was counting on you!”
  44. >The woman walking your way suddenly stops and crosses the street, eying you warily.
  45. >Whoops.
  46. >Maybe screaming your hate into the sky and waving your arms wasn’t the best idea.
  47. >You have to admit, you’re overreacting a little.
  48. >Just a little.
  49. >There’s a convenience store in the shopping center just ahead.
  50. >You’ll get some there.
  51. >It’s the second store in, right between the shitty Chinese restaurant and the pet shop.
  52. >Too far…
  53. >It’s literally ten steps detour, but it’s toooooo faaaaaaaaaaar.
  54. >You make yourself do it anyway.
  55. >Drinking alone at 3 PM is one thing, but drinking straight vodka is just too much.
  56. >You do have some standards, after all.
  57. >With a sigh, you push open the door and shuffle in.
  58. >Wait.
  59. >Is this the wrong place?
  60. >The convenience store seems to have changed up their selection.
  61. >You don’t remember them selling this many puppies before.
  62. >Whatever.
  63. >Coolers are in the back, so you shamble inside and head towards the far end of the place.
  64. >”Hey, mister!” the old man behind the counter greets you eagerly. “Looking for a new pet?”
  65. >You grunt back, too tired to deal with his cheerful bullshit sales pitch.
  66. >Not your goddamn problem if they ordered too many fucking goldfish or whatever.
  67. >”Well, okay then.”
  68. >He frowns, but doesn’t speak any more.
  69. >Victory.
  70. >You’re just here for some damn Sprite.
  71. >So where the fuck are the damn coolers?
  72. >There’s puppies and goldfish and even a couple of those ponies – all of them making those sad “take-me-home” eyes in your direction.
  73. >Even the goldfish.
  74. >How the fuck do they manage that?
  75. >Maybe you’re just lonely.
  76. >Fucking old man.
  77. >He knew the merch would do the work for him.
  78. >Cunning bastard.
  79. >You feel respect well up from the shriveled ball of hate that was once your heart.
  80. >Too much respect for you to go back and bother him now.
  81. “Dammit, where are the fucking coolers?”
  82. >”Coolers?” a mint green pony asks, tilting his – or… her…? – head to one side.
  83. “HOLY SHIT A TALKING HORSE!”
  84. >Wait.
  85. >They can do this.
  86. >You know this.
  87. >”Actually, I’m a pony.”
  88. “I knew that.”
  89. >”Then why did you –“
  90. “Hey. Know where the coolers are?”
  91. >The mare…? Stallion…?
  92. >Must resist temptation to flip her over and check.
  93. >The PONY frowns and jerks its head towards the right.
  94. >”There’s some over there,” he/she/it grumbles. “Near the clearance section.”
  95. “Thanks.”
  96. >You head that direction.
  97. >How long has it been since you’ve come in here?
  98. >The store seems bigger.
  99. >Must have remodeled.
  100. >That *would* explain the new product.
  101. >Eventually you come to a wall.
  102. >No coolers.
  103. >Well, there is *one*.
  104. >A little thing filled with live crickets.
  105. >NOT Sprite.
  106. >Not even that shit knockoff stuff.
  107. >This is too much.
  108. >Just too FUCKING much.
  109. >The straw that broke the Anon’s back.
  110. >You’re on the verge of tears.
  111. >There… there has to be SOMETHING here!
  112. >SOMEONE that can help!
  113. >Or… some*pony*.
  114. >There’s one staring at you.
  115. >It’s… kind of scary, actually, the way his/her/its eyes just keep growing wider and wider until you’re not sure there’s any room left in that skull for anything else but TWO FUCKHUGE EYES.
  116. “Um… have you… have you seen any Sprite around – GAH!”
  117. >It pounces.
  118. >You jump back.
  119. >Only the chain around its neck keeps it from savagely mauling you to death.
  120. >”Please take me with you!” it pleads, straining to reach you. “I can smell it!”
  121. “Smell what?”
  122. >The words slip out of your mouth before you think.
  123. >Crazy pony is crazy.
  124. >You aren’t going to get a decent answer out of –
  125. >”Vodka!”
  126. “NO!”
  127. >It’s yours!
  128. >”Sharing is caring!”
  129. “I don’t care!”
  130. >Its hooves are waving wildly, trying to snatch your bag from you.
  131. >Shit.
  132. >Time to escape. You try to go – no, that way is blocked off. How about – shit. Employees only sign.
  133. >You have too much respect for the sign to escape that direction.
  134. >It has you trapped.
  135. >”Please?” the pony begs, turning the sad eyes up to eleven.
  136. “Fuck no! I just came in here for some Sprite!”
  137. >That gives it pause.
  138. >You can almost see the lightbulb turn on over its head.
  139. >”If… if I lead you to the Sprite, will you take me with you?”
  140. “Um…”
  141. >It’s tempting, until you remember that she’s technically merchandise.
  142. >You don’t want her getting out of place.
  143. >Done too many closing shifts and had to clean up after too many assholes to want to make any more work for anyone.
  144. “Yeah, sorry, but you’re chained up, and –“
  145. >”HEY, MISTER!” an old man’s voice calls out. It probably belongs to the old man up front. “YOU TALKIN’ TO BERRY PUNCH?”
  146. >Fuck if you know.
  147. >You don’t even know the names of most of your coworkers, and they fucking wear name badges!
  148. >How the fuck are you supposed to know this thing’s name?
  149. >You can’t even tell if it’s male or fe – oh, it has a tag on its collar.
  150. >A tag that reads “Berry Punch.”
  151. >It’s also nodding.
  152. “MAYBE!?”
  153. >”IF YOU WANT ‘ER, YOU CAN ‘AVE ‘ER! FREE! JUST GET ‘ER OUT OF MY STORE!”
  154. >With a happy shriek, the pony jumps into the air and – no shit – clicks its hooves together.
  155. >”Follow me!” it shouts, dashing off to fucking nowhere, because the chain runs out before her momentum and flips her over onto her back.
  156. >Yep.
  157. >Her.
  158. >You can tell it’s a her now – on account of the being flipped on her back thing.
  159. >Yep.
  160. >Okay, this is getting awkward.
  161. >You should look away.
  162. >”Don’t just stare!” she growls. “Get me free and I’ll take you to the Sprite!”
  163. >Ooooooh, Sprite!
  164. >The chain is attached to her collar with a simple carabiner.
  165. >Why didn’t she just – oh, right. Hooves.
  166. >You undo the clip and follow after her as she trots off.
  167. >”That’ll be fifteen bucks,” the old man smirks as you walk past him.
  168. “What…?”
  169. >”You said I was free!” the pony complains from the door.
  170. “Why are you going outside?”
  171. >She’s supposed to take you to the Sprite!
  172. >”Leash laws,” the old man says with a smile. “Remember?”
  173. “What?”
  174. >”Pay the man,” the pony sighs with a roll of her HUGE AS FUCK eyes.
  175. >When the old man doesn’t hand you any money, you realize she must be talking to you.
  176. “And… then I get my Sprite?”
  177. >”Well, we can’t get it until you pay him!”
  178. “Oh, right.”
  179. >You dig into your pocket for your wallet and hand over the cash.
  180. >Yes, you use cash.
  181. >It’s untraceable!
  182. >That doesn’t mean anything to you, though.
  183. >It’s just easier to budget this way.
  184. >Once the money is in the till, the old man hands you something that is definitely not Sprite.
  185. “Um…”
  186. >”Yeah, I know, but the law’s the law,” the man says semi-sympathetically in the way all customer service employees do.
  187. >That slightly whiney tone that pretends to agree with you, while actually saying something along the lines of “I don’t care, it’s your problem.”
  188. “Okay then.”
  189. >The pony grabs the package out of your hand and attaches one end of the leash to her collar.
  190. >Weird how she can manage that, but not the cara – ooooooh, those things are *easy* to put on. Right. That’s kinda the point of them.
  191. >”Well?” she demands.
  192. “It… looks very pretty…?”
  193. >”Just take the other end,” she growls, thrusting the looped handle at you.
  194. “And then you’ll take me to the Sprite?”
  195. >”YES! AND THEN WE’LL GET OUR DRINK ON!”
  196. “Sounds like a plan!”
  197. >You let her drag you outside.
  198. >”Good luck with your new pony!” the old man calls after you as you’re yanked through the door.
  199. >New pony?
  200. >Did you just buy a pony? Because it feels like a pony bought you.
  201. >Seriously, she’s practically dragging you.
  202. >Outside.
  203. >And…
  204. >… next door…?
  205. “Fuck me.”
  206. >”Later,” the pony says dismissively. “After we’ve both had enough to drink.”
  207. >You follow her into the convenience store.
  208. >The Sprite is exactly where you remembered it. Except one shop to the left.
  209. >You swear you’re sober.
  210. >It’s just been a long day.
  211.  
  212. >You manage – just barely – to keep your arm attached.
  213. >Berry Punch is straining on the leash the entire way home.
  214. >You don’t know why; she doesn’t even know the way to your house.
  215. >The door is barely shut and you’ve just kicked off your shoes when you notice your bag weights significantly less.
  216. >Specifically one bottle of Sprite and one bottle of vodka less than it had just moments earlier.
  217. >Shit.
  218. “How the fuck did I drop those?”
  219. >You’re looking around when you hear –
  220. >”OH. MY. CELESTIA.”
  221. >Yeah, that’s what you heard. A happy shout from the living room.
  222. >Crap.
  223. >Right.
  224. >Pony.
  225. >You shamble out of the entryway to see what the hell she’s going on about.
  226. >Berry Punch is on her knees – are those knees?
  227. >Or are they…?
  228. >BERRY PUNCH IS ON HER KNEE-ANALOGUES.
  229. >Kneeling before your bar cart.
  230. >And the spillover.
  231. >You buy way too much alcohol.
  232. “Yeah, I know…”
  233. >It’s honestly a little embarrassing.
  234. >”This… is…”
  235. >Oh, there’s the Eristoff. Right next to the Sprite on the “coffee” table.
  236. >You don’t drink coffee.
  237. “Alrighty, now we just need some glasses…”
  238. >You reach for the tumblers, but a pair of pink legs are suddenly wrapped around your waist in a tight hug.
  239. >”You. Friend.”
  240. “Uh… thanks…?”
  241. >She squeezes tighter.
  242. “You need to let go if I’m going to make a drink.”
  243. >Her legs are gone just as fast as they appeared.
  244. “I’m guessing you want one?”
  245. >Her head is bobbing faster than…
  246. >Huh.
  247. >She probably gives great blowjobs.
  248. >You ponder that thought for a second longer than you are entirely comfortable with.
  249. “Well, at least I won’t be drinking alone.”
  250. >You grab the glasses and… ponder…
  251. “Hey, what do you feel like watching?”
  252. >”Watching?”
  253. “Yeah, I usually watch stupid movies or stuff when I’m drinking, so…”
  254. >”Oh,” she grunts, still staring at your shrine to Bacchius. “Something funny?”
  255. “Huh. I was thinking loud and angry.”
  256. >”Well, you’re the owner,” your new pony mumbles. “Whatever you –“
  257. “No, this works.”
  258. >With your free hand, you grab your bottle of Midori.
  259. “We’re watching DMC.”
  260. >”What?”
  261. “DETROIT. METAL. CITY.”
  262.  
  263. Drink for the night:
  264. 1oz Eristoff Black Vodka
  265. 2oz Midori
  266. 4oz Sprite
  267. (adjust measurements depending on how angry/drunk you are)
  268.  
  269.  
  270. DRINK 2: ETHELNOL
  271. >You don’t even.
  272. >It’s just…
  273. >No.
  274. >Your boss is insane, *his* boss is insane, and *her* boss never played tetris once in his entire life.
  275. >Fitting twelve pallets worth of supplies on two pallets is fucking impossible.
  276. >They insisted you find a way.
  277. >Twelve hours later, you found a way.
  278. >Coincidentally, you also found the keys to the compactor.
  279. >Well, it all fits now!
  280. >You walk out – no, you *skip* out with a smile on your face and a bounce in your step, whistling like someone from a fucking Disney cartoon.
  281. >It’s possible birds join in and cute woodland critters dance along in the background.
  282. >You wouldn’t know.
  283. >Even if they are, you don’t fucking care.
  284. >You don’t care about anything anymore.
  285. >It’s surprisingly liberating.
  286. >For example, you know there’s a suicidal Berry Punch pawing at your booze safe – yes, you had to buy a goddamn safe to stop her from drinking everything – but you just don’t give a fuck.
  287. >You are all out.
  288. >Pretty sure some asshole customer bought the last one around noon.
  289. >That son of a bitch.
  290. >You don’t let that get you down, though, because it doesn’t matter.
  291. >Nothing matters!
  292. >Even now Sithrak oils the spit!
  293. >You hear your name called out over someone’s walkie as you skip out the door.
  294. >Nope!
  295. >You *almost* get a quarter of the way home before resuming your usual trudging stagger.
  296. >Skipping is fucking exhausting.
  297. >That was not a good call.
  298. >You feel like balls.
  299. >Too fucking tired to walk by the time you get to your front door.
  300. >You’re forced to crawl the rest of the way.
  301. >There’s a nice, refreshing cider with your name on it calling to you.
  302. >You can hear it from the entryway.
  303. >”Aaaanooooon…” it whimpers. “Aaaaaaaaanooooooooooooooooon…”
  304. >It’ll be cold.
  305. >You need cold.
  306. >T’was a pain in the ass to fit one of those ridiculously small mini-fridges into the safe – had to cut a hole for the power cord and everything – but it’ll be worth it.
  307. >A perfectly chilled cider, just for you.
  308. >”Aaaaaaaaanoooooooooon!”
  309. >It’s calling out to you.
  310. >You drag your battered and weary body to the safe.
  311. >”Aaaaaaaaaaanoooooooooooooooon! Let me out!”
  312. >…
  313. >She’s in the safe.
  314. >How the fuck is Berry Punch in the goddamn safe?
  315. >More importantly, how is she stuck *in* the safe?
  316. >Isn’t it supposed to keep her *out*?
  317. >”Anon! Are you there! Let me out!”
  318. >NOPE.
  319. >OUT OF FUCKS.
  320. >You do a 540 and nope right the fuck out without pause.
  321. >Time to go spend some time with your favorite octogenarian.
  322.  
  323. >You catch Ethel by surprise.
  324. >Not by crawling through the door like a dead cat.
  325. >Not by croaking out a request for cider in the tongue of an extinct civilization not of this earth.
  326. >No, it’s because –
  327. >”What? ANON! You’re two days early!”
  328. “I wasn’t aware I had to make appointments to buy some booze.”
  329. >”Of course not,” she snorts, “but… but… oh dear, this is going to throw *everything * off.”
  330. >The woman sighs and facepalms, the gesture so long and exaggerated that you have time to pull yourself to your feet.
  331. >”What happened, Anon? Run out of Amaretto early?”
  332. “And a few other things.”
  333. >You pause, thinking of the likely result of Berry Punch finding her way into the liquor safe.
  334. “Probably all the things.”
  335. >Wow, that really makes you sound like an alky.
  336. >You’d worry more, if you weren’t among your own kind.
  337. >”Well, can’t be helped,” Ethel sighs, putting down her gin and coming around to your side of the counter. “Pretty stressful at work lately?”
  338. “No worse than usual.”
  339. >Sad part is that’s true.
  340. “I just… um…”
  341. >You feel some obligation to explain your situation to Ethel.
  342. >After all, she’s the lady that sells you your happy juice and that makes her your very best friend.
  343. >But on the other foot, some of your coworkers flipped when they found out you got a pony.
  344. >You’re not sure if you want to risk alienating your dealer like that.
  345. >Be vague.
  346. >Vague is good.
  347. “I’m drinking for two now.”
  348. >”What.”
  349. >The gets a look on her face – a look that’s something between “are you fucking retarded” and “I hope you’re only fucking retarded,” only somewhat polite and adorable looking because she’s older than your grandmother.
  350. >”There’s two things wrong with what you just said,” Ethel groans. “God I hope there’s only two things wrong with it. First off, you shouldn’t be drinking if you’re pregnant. Second, you shouldn’t be pregnant.”
  351. “I fucking hope I’m not pregnant.”
  352. >You don’t remember Wednesday, so it’s possible.
  353. >Well, *impossible*, but so are unicorns and crap, so…
  354. >Ethel gives you a curious look and groans.
  355. >It’s an old person groan.
  356. >“I’m getting too old for this shit.”
  357. >She reaches across the counter for her gin.
  358. >”Now then, why don’t you tell old Auntie Ethel what you’re out of?”
  359. “Everything. Literally everything.”
  360. >She blinks twice.
  361. >”Well, what do you *need*?”
  362. “Cider.”
  363. >”That’s it?”
  364. “That’s what I need *now*.”
  365. >She nods sagely.
  366. “Seriously. Now. It’s been a shit day.”
  367. >”You know you can’t drink in here, right?” she asks, following up with a sip of her gin.
  368. “Y-yeah –“
  369. >”Just so long as you know,” Ethel grunts. “That’s the important part. Isn’t any fun breaking the law by accident.”
  370. >The octogenarian smiles and winks as she takes another sip from her drink.
  371. >Well then.
  372. >She sighs happily and sets down the glass before cupping her hands and calling out to the back of the store.
  373. >“Dear. Dear! Fetch Anon here a cold cider, will you?”
  374. “Oh, finally got some help around here?”
  375. >You were fairly certain other people worked here, but you’d just never… actually… you know… SEEN any of them.¬
  376. >”Yes’m!” a chipper voice shouts back.
  377. >Thirty seconds later, a white unicorn opens her (his?) mouth and drops a cold cider into your hand.
  378. >Biggest fucking unicorn you’ve ever seen.
  379. >Damn near as tall as Ethel.
  380. >Taller, if you count the horn.
  381. >You’re almost too tired to count horns, but you do anyway.
  382. >She (he?) has one.
  383. >One horn.
  384. >Hahaha!
  385. >”You didn’t specify a brand, so –“
  386. > Ethel cuts her off with ear scritchies.
  387. >Ponies fucking LOVE ear scritchies.
  388. >”I’m sure you picked a good one, Tia.”
  389. >You stare at the bottle suspiciously.
  390. >It feels wet.
  391. >Ewwwwwwwww.
  392. >That better be condensation.
  393. >Meh.
  394. “Got a bottle opener?”
  395. >”Just use the counter, Anon,”
  396. >One well aimed blow later, and you’re starting to feel human again.
  397. >Might have skipped a few steps there.
  398. >There’s an empty bottle on the counter and a half-empty cider in your hand.
  399. >Probably skipped a few steps.
  400. >”So what happened?” Ethel asks, still scratching her pony’s head. “You should have at least… well, you should have plenty left. How can you be out of *everything*!?”
  401. “Berry Punch.”
  402. >”Oh?” the woman chuckles. “That sounds like a pony’s name.”
  403. “Yeah.”
  404. >You stare into your bottle.
  405. >It’s empty.
  406. >Fuck.
  407. “Yeah, that’s what she says she is.”
  408. >You’re starting to wonder about that.
  409. “I see you got one for yourself, too.”
  410. >”A while back, actually.”
  411. >Ethel throws her arms around her ponies neck and hugs tightly, making her (him?) chirp in surprise.
  412. >”Couldn’t handle this place without Tia!”
  413. >“I’m… sure you would manage…”
  414. >”Nonsense!” Ethel laughs. “Who would reach the top shelf for me?”
  415. >”Or carry you home,” the pony concedes with a weary smile.
  416. >”See? I couldn’t do this without you?”
  417. “Drink on the clock?”
  418. >”He gets it!”
  419. ”I wish *I* could do that.”
  420. >Actually, you probably could get away with it.
  421. >Hmm.
  422. >You’re a happy drunk.
  423. >Bosses bitch about your “constant negative attitude,” so…
  424. >This is starting to sound like a good idea.
  425. >Probably means it’s a bad idea.
  426. >Fuck work.
  427. >”So Anon, now that you have your cider, what’s next?”
  428. >You think it over, weigh your desires against the amount of cash in your wallet.
  429. >Make the hard choices, cut what you can cut.
  430. >And in the end, shrug.
  431. >Fuck it.
  432. >You stop getting paid to make decisions about… some time ago that’s not now.
  433. “I’ve got about eighty bucks in my pocket, Ethel. I leave it to you.”
  434. >She nods sagely.
  435. >”Tia, could you get me…”
  436. >You stop paying attention about then.
  437. >Her pony has wings.
  438. >A horn AND wings.
  439. >They can do that?
  440. >Gods, you wish *your* pony had something useful like that, though you imagine that horn might lead to some mighty painful blowjobs.
  441. >Not that you’ve gotten any… that you remember.
  442. >You lean against the counter and enjoy your third cider. You don’t know where it came from, but that’s okay.
  443. >Still don’t care.
  444. >You’re just finishing up the fourth when Ethel sets a bag on the counter with the heavy clink of glass bottles bumping each other.
  445. >”I think this should keep you and your pony set for a while.”
  446. “With any luck.”
  447. >You dig out your wallet and pay up.
  448. >”Good to get home on your own? Tia could –“
  449. “I’ll be fine.”
  450. >You finish off… oh, wow, that’s a lot of empty bottles on the counter.
  451. “Probably…?”
  452. >”Well, you’ve got my number,” Ethel chuckles. “Call if you fall down and can’t get back up.”
  453. “Will do!”
  454. >You pat your pocket.
  455. >Your *empty* pocket.
  456. >Fuck.
  457. “Except I… uh… left it at home this morning.”
  458. >You grab the bag off the counter and pirouette like a fucking ballerina.
  459. “I’ll just scream like a little bitch, okay?”
  460. >”Works for me!”
  461.  
  462. >The carefully arranged secret screamcode never gets put to the test.
  463. >You make it home intact.
  464. >So do all the bottles.
  465. >Wow, there’s a fuckton in there.
  466. >You kick open the door and stagger inside.
  467. >”ANOOOOOOOOOOOOOON! ARE YOU HOME!?”
  468. “YEAH!”
  469. >”LET ME O-O-O-OUUUUUUUT!”
  470. >Or you could leave her in there.
  471. >Probably safer for the booze if you do *that*.
  472. >”ANON! I NEED TO GO TO THE BA-A-A-A-A-ATHROOM!”
  473. >Shit.
  474. >Except you *hope* not.
  475. “Fine.”
  476. >You head to the safe and stare at it blankly.
  477. >Not good.
  478. >You can’t remember the combination.
  479. >Very not good.
  480. >”ANON!”
  481. >Oh, right.
  482. “Sorry, just had to remember the combination.”
  483. >It’s a VERY simply combination.
  484. >You reach into your pocket and pull out the key.
  485. “Insert… and… quarter turn to the… right!”
  486. >SCHUNK!
  487. >The door flies open and a pink blur speeds past you.
  488. >Empty bottles tumble out after her.
  489. >God, you’re just happy they *are* empty.
  490. >Say what you will about your pony – and you will, on account of her being your pony – but she sure can hold it.
  491. >You clear out the remaining bottles with a few sweeps of your hand and begin restocking the safe.
  492. >Doesn’t even fill it up a quarter of the way, but that’s enough, assuming Berry Punch doesn’t get inside again.
  493. >Speaking of – or more accurately, thinking of – you need to figure out how she did that.
  494. >You have no fucking clue how she managed to get into the safe.
  495. >There’s nothing obvious. No holes cut in the metal, no… uh… actually, that about covers it.
  496. >No holes cut in the metal, so –
  497. “How the fuck did she get inside…?”
  498. >”Love finds a way, Anon” Berry Punch answers to your complete and total surprise, trotting up beside you with a huge smile. “Love ALWAYS finds a way. Whatcha bring me!?”
  499. >Your eyes dart back and forth between the empty bottles and the now-empty pony.
  500. >If it wasn’t so innocently cheerful, you’d describe her smile as the biggest shiteating grin you’d ever seen.
  501. “But… you… this was FULL! You want more!?”
  502. >”I can walk in a straight line!”
  503. >She trots across the room and back.
  504. >”Of course I want more!”
  505. >You blubber words and parts of words – none of it makes sense, because none of this makes sense.
  506. >She waits patiently for the confused noises to stop.
  507. >Fairly patiently.
  508. >They don’t stop.
  509. >You’re still confused.
  510. >With an irritated sigh, she presses a hoof against your mouth.
  511. >”Shush.”
  512. “But –“
  513. >”Shush.”
  514. “No, I – “
  515. >”Shush.”
  516. “No!”
  517. >You shove her hoof aside and give her the angriest look you can muster.
  518. >After today, it’s probably less angry and more along the lines of something between begging for death and Stoic Infant.
  519. >”Oh stop it, you big baby,” Berry Punch sighs with a roll of her eyes, firmly identifying your expression as Stoic Infant. “Make me a drink and you can tell me all about your day.”
  520. “No! You’re the damn pet… slave… thing… whatever in this relationship!”
  521. >”You’d think that, wouldn’t you?”
  522. >She ambles away, the swaying of her hips exaggerated to almost ludicrous degrees.
  523. >Walk a straight line your ass.
  524. >You look at your nearly empty liquor safe and sigh.
  525. >As much as you like not drinking alone, is it fucking worth it?
  526. >Maybe you should trade her in for a different pony.
  527. “Dammit, Tia doesn’t give Ethel this much bother.”
  528. >Your pony freezes by the door.
  529. >”Tia…?”
  530. “Yeah, a *much* nicer pony than you.”
  531. >”About twice my height?”
  532. “If you’re telling me that the taller a pony is, the nicer they are –“
  533. >”White coat? Pastel mane? Alicorn?”
  534. “Yes, yes, and if that’s what you call pegacorns, then yes.”
  535. >”Oh.”
  536. >She takes a few more steps into the living room proper.
  537. >”Anon, could I have that drink now…?”
  538. “Fine.”
  539. >You look over your narrow selection.
  540. >Ethel packed you a few rums, some… ew… whipped cream vodka, some brandy…
  541. >You haven’t had brandy in a while.
  542. “Be right there!”
  543. >You pull the brandy out of the safe and lock the rest up tight, for all the fucking good that apparently does.
  544. “Got something picked out to watch!?”
  545. >”Aren’t you going to tell me about your day!?”
  546. “FUCK my day.”
  547. >You throw yourself into the sofa beside her.
  548. “Besides, we aren’t married. I don’t have to tell you shit.”
  549. >That’s fucking right. SHE’S the fucking petslavething.
  550. >Even got two glasses filled with ice all ready for you on the so-called coffee table.
  551. >Fuck yeah.
  552. >Berry Punch shrugs slightly and nudges the glasses towards you.
  553. >”And I don’t have to give a shit,” she comments. “Yeah, I’ve got something picked out.”
  554. “No subtitles, right? I’m too fucking tired to read.”
  555. >You pour out a small measure of the brandy for both of you – just to taste it.
  556. “I… don’t think so? I think it’s in English, but it reminds me of that first thing you showed me.”
  557. >”DMC?”
  558. “Yeah.”
  559. >”Everyone’s got guitars and stuff and it’s all black and red and edgy looking.”
  560. “Ah. Metalocalypse?”
  561. >”Yeah!”
  562. >She sniffs cautiously at her glass.
  563. >”Doesn’t really smell like anything, does it?”
  564. >You raise your glass to your nose.
  565. “No, it doesn’t.”
  566. >Tastes like piss and fire, though.
  567. >It’s like a war is being raged in your mouth between the two – and no matter who wins, you lose.
  568. >From Berry’s scrunched up face, she must feel the same.
  569. “Mix it with Coke?”
  570. >”Mix it with Coke,” she agrees, nodding quickly. “That stuff will mask the taste of anything.”
  571. >You hop – for a given and somewhat lax definition of that word – up from the sofa and make for the kitchen.
  572. >”What the hell is this stuff called, anyway?” Berry Punch calls out after you, though all you actually hear is “mumblemumblewordsquestion.”
  573. >By the time she speaks, you’re already head first in the refrigerator looking for the Coke, and those things are not know to be particularly helpful when it comes to hearing shit.
  574. “WHAT!?”
  575. >”mumblemumblewordsquestion.”
  576. “HOLD ON, I’M GETTING THE COKE!”
  577. >”angryannoyedmumblequestionwordsquestionmumble.”
  578. >Oh, there are some cans.
  579. >You’re going to have to swap to buying two-liters if this keeps up. Cans last longer and are easier to measure, but lasting longer doesn’t seem to be an issue with the amazing pony wetvac around.
  580. >You… you’re not going to try that, are you?
  581. >You probably are.
  582. >Spill some beer on the rug, watch her suck it all up.
  583. >It’d be like having a beer-powered Roomba!
  584. >Fuck yeah!
  585. >You’re going to try that.
  586. >Later.
  587. >Right now you have some swill to make palatable.
  588. >Cans in hand, you tromp back into the living room.
  589. “What were you asking?”
  590. >”What the hell is this?”
  591. >Berry Punch kicks out at the brandy, nearly tipping the bottle over.
  592. “Brandy.”
  593. >”Yeah, but what kind?”
  594. “Shit, I don’t know.”
  595. >You consider climbing over the back of the sofa instead of walking around.
  596. >It’d be faster…
  597. >No.
  598. >Bad idea.
  599. >DAMMIT, LEGS, BAD IDEA!
  600. >STOP!
  601. >The mare doesn’t seem to pay any attention to the seating lurching precariously as your traitorous legs carry you to victory.
  602. >You’ll forgive them, for now.
  603. >With a happy sigh, you settle in to the broken down sofa.
  604. “Yeah, I don’t have a clue what it is. I stopped reading the label after I saw it was brandy.”
  605. >Berry Punch looks at you out of the corner of her eye.
  606. >”So did I.”
  607. “Huh.”
  608. >”Huh.”
  609. “NOT IT!”
  610. >”FUCK! FINE!”
  611. “HEY, YOU CAN’T TALK LIKE THAT!”
  612. >”Why not?”
  613. “Because…”
  614. >Uh…
  615. “… because ponies are supposed to be pure and shit.”
  616. >Her eyes narrow angrily.
  617. >”Shut up, dildolicker. It’s your fault.”
  618. “How!?”
  619. >”Just what kind of shit have we been watching?”
  620. >Oh, right.
  621. >”Plus, you’re pretty foulmouthed yourself, so…”
  622. “So it’s all my fault?”
  623. >”Yep.”
  624. “I can… live with that.”
  625. >You shrug so hard you nearly dislocate both shoulders.
  626. >So does she.
  627. “Still not it.”
  628. >”Fine! I swear to Celestia, if you…”
  629. >She stops and blinks.
  630. >”Don’t tell her I swear. She doesn’t even know who I am, but don’t –“
  631. “Sure.”
  632. >She leans forward and stares at the bottle.
  633. >”It’s… uh… bullshit…”
  634. “What?”
  635. >”It’s called pisco.”
  636. "Explains why it tastes like piss."
  637. >"Y-yeah..."
  638.  
  639. Drink for the night:
  640. Piscola
  641. - Coke
  642. - Pisco
  643. Yup. Exactly what you’d think it is.
  644.  
  645. DRINK 3: PUNCHKLOK
  646. >SETTING: YOUR HOME, CIRCA ABOUT NOW
  647. >Enter you, with the jangle of keys.
  648. >You stuff them back into your pocket and kick the door shut behind you.
  649. >Heavy bags hang from both hands.
  650. >Not booze this time.
  651. >Suprise!
  652. >It's been about two weeks since Berry Punch followed you home and she's managed to tear through your surplus pony-edible-type-things.
  653. >You never thought you'd live to see the day when you were out of ramen, but it happened.
  654. >You also never thought that she was actually *eating* anything while you were gone.
  655. >First off, how the hell can she work the stove?
  656. >And where the fuck did that stepstool come from?
  657. >You just kind of thought that she lived off alcohol and snacks.
  658. >Booze is a food, right?
  659. >It has calories.
  660. >That makes it food.
  661. >But no.
  662. >She's been eating your emergency ramen.
  663. >And the emergency dried vegetables.
  664. >You didn't check, but probably the emergency -
  665. >Okay, she's been eating all the food you wouldn't normally touch unless you'd accidentally blown your food money on something else.
  666. >Coincidentally, now that you've bought all this - and some fresh vegetables - your budget is gone for the week.
  667. >Yay, ramen!
  668. >You sigh loudly as you shuffle towards the kitchen with the heavy bags.
  669. >This might become a problem.
  670. >You hadn't thought about it earlier, but just like rocks, ponies aren't free.
  671. >Not only has your alcohol spending gone way up, followed now by food, but Berry Punch has been sleeping on the sofa... and that's... just not right.
  672. >She needs a bed, even if she's too blindingly drunk to stagger to it most nights.
  673. >It's just proper.
  674. >You sigh again and begin putting away the groceries.
  675. >Walking to and from work cuts back on your expenses, as does your living situation (inherited house, whooo! Thanks grandparents!), but you still work retail.
  676. >Full time, thank the stars, but it's still retail.
  677. >Your income isn't enough to cover both you and Berry Punch, not in the long term.
  678. >This just isn't sustainable.
  679. >She has to get a job.
  680. >"What...?"
  681. >You pull your head out of the refrigerator to see your pony staring at you in abject terror.
  682. "Oh, hi..."
  683. >"I have to get a *job*?"
  684. "Was I talking out loud?"
  685. >Or... can she read minds...?
  686. >She nods
  687. >That doesn't answer the fucking question, now does it!?
  688. >"Is this because I drank the last of the mango rum?"
  689. "You drank the fucking rum!?"
  690. >"Yes," she squeeks, followed by a few steps backward.
  691. "WHY!?"
  692. >"Because... I... missed you...?"
  693. >Berry Punch dips her head and looks away, following all the standard body language practices of someone or somepony that feels ashamed or embarrassed - except she's licking her lips and smiling.
  694. >You don't blame her, though.
  695. >It was a nice rum.
  696. >You sigh and pull yourself out of the refrigerator.
  697. "No, it's not because of the rum. Well, yes. Kind of."
  698. >Dammit, it was a *very* nice rum.
  699. >You do blame her a little.
  700. "More like... if we want to get any more of that rum *and* continue to eat... well... my income alone can't cover both of those things for both of us."
  701. >You shrug.
  702. "Since I can't see either of us giving up those things -"
  703. >"I don't need food."
  704. "And yet I was out of ramen."
  705. >"I'm a pony."
  706. "Yeah, I know.
  707. >"I can eat grass."
  708. "I've never seen you eat grass."
  709. >"I can learn."
  710. "Bullshit, I'm not letting you eat grass. You're getting a job."
  711. >Berry Punch sighs mournfully - the effect somewhat lessened by the drunken belch at the end.
  712. "Look, just let me finish putting this away and we can talk about it."
  713. >"Okay," the mare snarls. "Fine."
  714. >You turn back to the fridge - and swing back when you hear something scraping across the tiled floor.
  715. >With her head, Berry is shoving her stepstool across the kitchen to the pantry.
  716. >She freezes when she notices your eyes on her.
  717. >"What?"
  718. "You're going to help?"
  719. >"Yeah. Why wouldn't I?"
  720. "O-oh."
  721. >It goes much faster with her help and it isn't too long before you're both relaxing on the sofa with a cold one.
  722. >Sadly, it’s only beer.
  723. >That’s what you’ve been reduced to – drinking swill from *cans* like a filthy peasant.
  724. >"So," Berry Punch mumbles into her beer. "A job."
  725. "Yeah. Sorry, but -"
  726. >"No, it's fine. I should have expected it."
  727. >She sighs and drains her can.
  728. "I can sympathize, but -"
  729. >"What are my options?"
  730. >You... probably should have done some fucking research.
  731. "What are your interests?"
  732. >Socratic method of covering your ass, fuck yeah!
  733. >"Besides the obvious?"
  734. >Berry tips over her empty can and you both watch as it slowly rolls across the "coffee" table until it tumbles off the far end.
  735. "Huh, the table is uneven. I never noticed that before."
  736. >"You should probably fix that."
  737. "I probably should."
  738. >You both sigh in unison.
  739. >The distraction didn't last half as long as you had hoped.
  740. "I can see if Ethel needs any help, though -"
  741. >"No," your pony snaps back adamantly. "I can't let Celestia see me like this."
  742. "What? Why? She a friend of yours?"
  743. >"Nope. She doesn't know who I am; we've never met."
  744. "Celebrity?"
  745. >"Princess."
  746. "Shit."
  747. >That’s right, ponies had those.
  748. >"And I don't really want to see her like this either, so..."
  749. >Berry Punch shrugs violently, like she's trying to convince herself.
  750. “That’s the one that could move the sun or something?”
  751. >You have a 50/50 shot, right?
  752. >You *think* they only had two…
  753. >Keeping track of current events is HARD.
  754. >Still, you know enough to know when things don’t make sense.
  755. “How the fuck is she here?”
  756. >”Don’t know, don’t want to know.”
  757. “Isn’t she basically a god?"
  758. >Your pony shrugs and slinks off the sofa.
  759. >”I need another. You?”
  760. >You stare at your half-full peasantbrew in disgust.
  761. “Sure.”
  762. >Maybe it gets better after the first one.
  763.  
  764. >IT DOESN’T GET ANY BETTER.
  765. >You’ve given it FOUR chances, and it NEVER got any better.
  766. “We can’t keep drinking this shit.”
  767. >”Fuck no,” Berry Punch agrees, kicking another empty can off the table.
  768. “You have to get a job.”
  769. >”I have to get a job,” she sighs.
  770. >You both sigh in unison, deep and sorrowful – the sound of true suffering.
  771. >If a bard were to hear it, he would cast aside his pen and weep. Not for you, but for himself, because the works of mortals could never call forth such pure emotion.
  772. “Well, now that’s settled, we just have to actually *find* one.”
  773. >”Yeah.”
  774. >You both sigh again.
  775. >”How about where you work?”
  776. “Haven’t you heard me bitch about where I work?”
  777. >”Kinda…?” the mare slurs, tilting her head to one side. “After a while, I just tune it out, but it sounds –“
  778. >[DRUNKEN BELCH NOISES]
  779. >” – it sounds like –“
  780. >[ENCORE]
  781. >” – like you’re overworked –“
  782. >[CHORUS]
  783. “Yeah, but…”
  784. >Is there a but?
  785. >There’s two butts! Probably more, but only two on this sofa right now!
  786. >And they’re TOTALLY irrelevant to getting her a job.
  787. “Sure, we can go in tomorrow and see about it, but…”
  788. >This but is relevant.
  789. >”What?”
  790. “But we’ll have to stop by the pet store so I can get some papers on you.”
  791. >”Fine.”
  792. “Also, you’ll have to be sober.”
  793. >”FUCK THIS PLAN!”
  794. "Unless you get a job, this house is going dry."
  795. >Berry Punch nods glumly, muttering something about necessary evils.
  796.  
  797. >Getting the proper paperwork for her was easier than you expected - once you got past the old man's screaming and flailing.
  798. >First thing out of his mouth was "NO REFUNDS!"
  799. >After that little bit of confusion was cleared up, he cheerfully - a little TOO cheerfully - rifled through his filing cabinet until he found the paperwork on Berry Punch.
  800. >"Sorry about that," he had apologized as he signed ownership over to you. "I was just so happy to see her go, it slipped my mind."
  801. >That conversation preys on your mind as you drag your pony towards her doom.
  802. >He was just WAY too fucking cheerful about the whole thing.
  803. >And, yes - there is definitely an element of dragging involved.
  804. >Berry Punch isn't quite digging in her hooves, she isn't *quite* fighting you, but close enough.
  805. "Do I have to carry you?"
  806. >"Will you?"
  807. >Another way too cheerful response.
  808. "No."
  809. >"Damn."
  810. >Berry's pace slows - you don't notice until the leash jerks taut.
  811. "What now?"
  812. >"Do I *have* to do this?" she whines, plopping down on the sidewalk.
  813. "Yes."
  814. >The few other people in the world that remember they have feet and can fucking walk places look at you and your pony curiously.
  815. >"I wouldn't put up with that if I were you," one man snarls as he steps around Berry Lump. "Gotta teach them their place."
  816. >You shrug and step out of his way.
  817. "Nah, I have the same conversation with myself every morning."
  818. >He mutters angrily, but you don't listen. Fuck him and the stick up his ass.
  819. >Doesn't stop you from giving Berry's leash a gentle yank, though.
  820. "Come on, it's not that bad."
  821. >"And yet every single word you say about that place is a complaint of one kind or another."
  822. >True. She has a point.
  823. "Okay, it is that bad, but it's close."
  824. >"Maybe if you drove -"
  825. "Then I'd have to pay for gas and maintanance and all that. Walking is good. It keeps me healthy."
  826. >She stairs at you with the saddest eyes you've ever seen.
  827. >*Second* saddest.
  828. "Won't work, Berry. I had a pug as a kid."
  829. >"Fine. Fuck it. Whatever."
  830. >She staggers back to her hooves and bounds forward a few steps.
  831. >"But when everything goes to shit, we're going to try things *my* way."
  832. "What the fuck is your way?"
  833. >"I don't know yet. I'm too sober to come up with something."
  834. >She glances at you out of the corner of her eye and smiles.
  835. >"And you're too sober to go along with it."
  836. "True enough."
  837.  
  838. >You lead Berry Punch through the front doors of the eleventh circle of hell.
  839. >Funny how it just so happens to look like a retail establishment.
  840. >"Hey, Anon! What are you doing HERE on your day off!?"
  841. >Jessica is waving frantically from her register.
  842. >You wave back - she doesn't make your life harder and is cheerful, and that makes her one of your very favorite people.
  843. "Just coming in to see about getting my pony a job."
  844. >"O-oh," Jes mumbles, looking down and seeing Berry Punch for the first time. "Oh."
  845. >She waves timidly.
  846. >Berry waves back.
  847. >"Is this place as shitty as he says it is?"
  848. "Well, she certainly has your mouth," your coworker mumbles with a frown. "It's not *that* bad..."
  849. >She drifts off, tilting her head to the right.
  850. >You can hear her silently make the same correction you did earlier.
  851. >It *is* that bad.
  852. >But she does it silently and with a smile.
  853. >Gods, she's so fucking cheerful it hurts.
  854. >You hate her.
  855. >"ANYWAY! Hi! I'm Jessica! What's your name!"
  856. >Berry Punch sighs and looks up at you with a grimace worthy of any 2000AD character.
  857. >Perhaps even all of them.
  858. >She sighs again and forces a smile onto her face.
  859. >Good, maybe there's -
  860. >"Worker Drone #893 if Anon has his way."
  861. > - absolutely no fucking way this will work.
  862. >"That's a pretty horrible name," Jes tuts - YES, SHE ACTUALLY TUTS. "Can I call you something else?"
  863. "Besides, we only have about 250 people working here. You'd be #251, maaaaaaaaybe 260 at the most."
  864. >"Oh, sorry massa, scuse me massa."
  865. "I... uh..."
  866. >You take a step back from Jes.
  867. "I swear, she didn't learn that from me."
  868. >"Nuh-uh, no ma'am, Ah sho din't. Massa don't like it the help gettin’ idears n’ learnin' -"
  869. "Since when have I ever treated you like a slave!?"
  870. >Berry Punch grabs her leash with both forehooves and nearly rips it from your hands.
  871. >"Ever since you decided I had to get a job! "
  872. "You have to get a job so we can buy more booze!"
  873. >”Oh, right!”
  874. >She flutters her eyelashes at Jes and smiles widely – not quite a slasher smile, but close enough.
  875. >It’s unsettling seeing it on someone else’s face for once.
  876. >”So, which way to the employment applications?”
  877.  
  878. Drink for the night:
  879. 1 part coffee
  880. as many parts of whatever you can hide in the coffee and still have it smell and look like coffee
  881. I call it the "I'm awake and smiling, what more do you fucking want!?"
  882.  
  883.  
  884. DRINK 4: PUNCHKLOK II: THE PUNCHENING
  885. >You weren't surprised that Berry Punch passed the interview.
  886. >As long as the pony can speak English and smile, all the interview actually checks for are signs of abuse.
  887. >*Physical* abuse, not alcohol abuse, otherwise she wouldn't stand a chance in hell.
  888. >Makes sense.
  889. >Scarred up ponies scare the customers.
  890. >Honestly, it's not much more than what they ask of human employees - for humans, English is optional.
  891. >Seriously, fuck Minh.
  892. >Vietnamese doesn't count for shit when you're trying to help stupid white soccer moms and all the signage and equipment is in English.
  893. >That particular example sticks in your mind because you had to help her - again - just a few minutes ago.
  894. >Why do they keep her on the salesfloor when she literally can't answer any questions!?
  895. >Even then, why can't she just ask one of the ponies for help!?
  896. >She could even be a better cashier - all she would have to do is scan the shit, bag it, and point to the total.
  897. >If there was a price dispute or something, the cashiers always call over a manager anyway, so it wouldn't fucking matter that she can't speak English.
  898. >FUCK Minh.
  899. >You aren't even salesfloor!
  900. >The backroom doors swing shut behind you and you turn your music back on.
  901. >No. Fuck that.
  902. >That's happy pony music.
  903. >You need angry retail music.
  904. >You crane your neck and check the clock next to the receiving desk.
  905. >It still doesn't work.
  906. >That was effort well spent.
  907. >You check your PDA instead.
  908. >Good, about an hour until Berry is done with orientation.
  909. >HR brought her through on a tour about fifteen minutes ago, along with all the other new hires.
  910. >More than half were ponies.
  911. >Thank the stars your job requires reaching high shelves, or they'd replace you too.
  912. >Corporate must be loving this.
  913. >Ponies get paid about half of what a human employee would - and best of all, they can't quit. Not without their owner's permission.
  914. >Turnover rates have never been lower.
  915. >That's not really saying much, though.
  916. >You will never understand how the cashiers managed to have over 100% turnover rate last month.
  917. >Idly, you check your PDA - more for the benefit of the cameras than because you really want to get back to work.
  918. >Part of you wishes you could just skip lunch and leave early, but NO, MUH LAWS.
  919. >Fucking laws.
  920. >After a long moment and several weird beeps, the PDA finally flashes over to the right screen.
  921. >Just as you expected, there are a shitton of orders.
  922. >So much for management covering your lunch like they said they would.
  923. >You sigh.
  924. "Any second now..."
  925. >As if on cue, your walkie crackles.
  926. >Deafening feedback screeches out until one or more of the idiots remember to turn their walkies off.
  927. >Only then can you actually make out the words.
  928. >Fuck, you miss the static.
  929. >"Heeeeeey, Anon, it looks like we're really backed up on those pick-up orders. I need you to drop what you're doing and prioritize those."
  930. "Any chance I can get some help? I've got -"
  931. >"Where's your new assistant? Isn't she helping you? Why isn't she helping you?"
  932. "She's still in orientation."
  933. >Not to mention she hasn't even been trained yet.
  934. >Seriously, you don't mention it.
  935. >Wouldn’t do any good.
  936. >Technically, you haven't been trained yet either.
  937. >"Well, can't she –“
  938. >Someone says something you don’t catch.
  939. >”– oh, they're watching the film about unions? No, she can't miss that."
  940. >Fuck.
  941. >How do they even think you could do things faster with an untrained pony with no equipment tagging along?
  942. >Maybe this was a shitty idea.
  943. "Nevermind. I'll take care of it."
  944. >You sigh and start pulling the orders.
  945. >Fuck it.
  946. >The scheduled restock is going to be missed - because of course no one started working on that while you were on lunch - but that can't be helped.
  947. >There's no way you could get it done before the deadline anyway and management *did* tell you to drop everything and work on the pick-up orders.
  948. >Besides, it's not even your job - the opener should have done it and your work is piling up, but they told Jeff to go home early because they overscheduled cashiers and...
  949. >Fine.
  950. >Fuck it.
  951. >Whatever.
  952. >They know best.
  953.  
  954. >You are now Berry Punch.
  955. >It's a little sudden and you don't know how long it will last.
  956. >Best make the most of it.
  957. >Seconds ago, you were happily chatting with three of the other ponies in your orientation group.
  958. >You didn't know any of them - the only pony you recognized was Fluttershy and she pretty much kept to herself like always.
  959. >Why she's being put in customer service is a mystery.
  960. >As always, she seems frightened out of her wits by every little thing.
  961. >Your new friends, on the other hoof, seem pretty happy to be here.
  962. >Sunny Meadows and Olive Orchard are the store's new cashiers - their owners didn't want them doing anything too strenuous - and they're both cheerful mares with bright smiles.
  963. >Copper Bottom is working hardlines - his knowledge about cookware actually got him a bump in pay before he had even started.
  964. >Maybe it's not so bad here after all.
  965. >Everypony seems happy.
  966. >The humans... not so much, but the ponies are happy.
  967. >That's a change from anywhere else you've heard about.
  968. >Yeah, it really doesn't seem that bad at all.
  969. >You're the first pony to be assigned to the backroom and a little part of you is proud of that.
  970. >The pitter-patter of hooves on tile accompanies your humming as you trot towards the back.
  971. >Only a few more hours left for today, probably not enough to learn everything, but Anon and you can gets started on the training packet you have shoved in the pocket of the vest you had been issued.
  972. >You’re looking forward to it.
  973. >Should be fun.
  974. >For being sober, today has been surprisingly nice.
  975. >You don't see a single customer on your way.
  976. >The store actually seems pretty empty.
  977. >Huh.
  978. >You smile at Anon's silliness.
  979. >He's always acting like this place is worse than buttrape -
  980. >(his words, not yours... wow, you have picked up a LOT of bad words from him)
  981. >- but it really doesn't seem that bad.
  982. >Really!
  983. >You might even enjoy it here.
  984. >The music in electronics is loud enough to drown out your humming, but you don't particularly mind.
  985. >It's some kind of catchy pop music - nothing you recognize, but it seems happy enough.
  986. >You're bobbing your head in time with the music when you shove open the doors to the backroom.
  987. >There's Anon, sitting at his desk sorting through piles of papers.
  988. >You giggle to yourself.
  989. >He's always complaining about how hard his job is.
  990. >Doesn't look that hard.
  991. >It's *just* filing.
  992. >He's listening to something - you can catch bits and pieces of it, though they're distorted by distance and his phone's poor speaker.
  993. >Well, time for your training to begin.
  994. >You let the door shut behind you, muting the music from outside.
  995. >Coincidentally, whatever Anon seems to be listening to comes to an end.
  996. >There's a brief moment of silence, and then -
  997. >"FUCK."
  998. >"FUCK."
  999. >"FUCK."
  1000. >"FUCK."
  1001. >"FUCK."
  1002. >"FUCK."
  1003. >"FUCK."
  1004. >"FUCKFUCKFUCK-"
  1005.  
  1006. >Go back to being yourself.
  1007. >Someone has to be.
  1008. >No one else wants to do it.
  1009. >Gotta be you.
  1010. >You're fucked - you gotta be you.
  1011. >Plus... you're fucked.
  1012. >Some unnamed asshat had to cover for you when you ran out of hours last week and you can't find any of the paperwork he/she/it supposedly did.
  1013. >Key word there is “supposedly” - you've gotten three calls today about deliveries not being acknowledged, plus an Office Space-esque chain of emails from a string of managers all asking each other to ask you to check on something - with you cced on the emails.
  1014. >They can't even fucking ask you themselves?
  1015. >Are you *really* that scary?
  1016. >Your angry Japanese music is strangely silent - you didn't notice the song come to an end.
  1017. >Shit, you’ve lost track of time.
  1018. >You must have gone through the entire album while t -
  1019. >"FUCK."
  1020. >Nope.
  1021. >"FUCK."
  1022. >Still have three songs left.
  1023. >"FUCK."
  1024. >So you been listening to this for... what?
  1025. >"FUCK."
  1026. >About thirty minutes?
  1027. >"FUCK."
  1028. >And you listened to that other band for another thirty.
  1029. >"FUCK."
  1030. >Berry Punch should be about done.
  1031. >"FUCKFUCKFUCK-"
  1032. >"WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING!"
  1033. "FUCKING WHAT!?
  1034. >"-FUCKFUCKFUCK-"
  1035. >"You can't listen to that here!" your pony protests, grabbing your arm with her hooves. "You'll be fired!"
  1036. >For her sake, you turn the music down before answering.
  1037. "I haven't been yet."
  1038. >”Turn it off!” Berry Punch pleads. “I know you think you’re too important for them to fire, but –“
  1039. >You sigh and pause the song.
  1040. “Wrong. I think they’re too fucking lazy –“
  1041. >”You can’t talk like that!”
  1042. >Her eyes stare up at you, begging you to not throw away the only thing that keeps you and her in booze and ramen.
  1043. >You stare back.
  1044. “Fuck.”
  1045. >She gasps.
  1046. >You turn back to your paperwork.
  1047. “True, no one else in the store knows how to do any of this –“
  1048. >Despite every manager being signed off as being trained while you *aren’t.*
  1049. “ – but more importantly, do you think any of those lazy cuntwhales would go through all the paperwork necessary to fire me if they can’t even be fucking bothered to deal with this?”
  1050. >Berry Punch looks at the table, at all the papers scattered across, over, and under it.
  1051. >She looks at the four filing cabinets and then tilts her head back to see the boxes and boxes of prior years’ documentation.
  1052. “Believe me, they won’t fire me for swearing.”
  1053. >”Well, if you say so,” she sighs. “So… what should I do now?”
  1054. “Right now, just… fuck, I can’t believe I’m going to say this…”
  1055. >”What?”
  1056. “Just stand over there and leave me alone.”
  1057. >”Um…”
  1058. “What?”
  1059. >”Shouldn’t I do some training or something?”
  1060. “I just need a few minutes to get this wrapped up, okay?”
  1061. >One way or another.
  1062. >You can only spend so much time dealing with someone else’s fuckups.
  1063. >”Isn’t there *something* I can do?”
  1064. >Oh, god, you didn’t realize she’d be like this – all pro-active and eager and shit.
  1065. “Fine, think you can deal with the trash?”
  1066. >It’s almost full, so that’ll at least give her something to do.
  1067. >”Sure.”
  1068. “Compactor is over there.”
  1069. >You point to the right, past your desk and the pallets of soda and bottled water.
  1070. “Door should be unlocked – against regulations, of course.”
  1071. >Berry Punch nods and begins pushing your trash can with her head.
  1072. “Wait.”
  1073. >”What?”
  1074. >Fucking regulations.
  1075. “I never asked, but you’re over 18, right?”
  1076. >She turns back to stare at you with dead, flat eyes.
  1077. >”Seriously?”
  1078. “Yeah, you have to be at least 18 to work the compactor.”
  1079. >”Breakfast was beer and fruit loops."
  1080. “So? That’s at home, where we ignore laws that are silly. This is work, where they are enforced arbitrarily and ALWAYS at the worst times.”
  1081. >Your pony rolls her eyes you really begin to doubt she’s old enough to use the equipment.
  1082. >Only bratty know-it-all teenage girls can pull off such disdainful mastery.
  1083. >”Yes, I’m over 18.”
  1084. “Good enough for me!”
  1085. >You turn back to your paperwork.
  1086. >Several minutes later, you’ve just found the missing invoices when –
  1087. >”Anoooooooooon!”
  1088. “WHAT!?”
  1089. >”I think it’s full!”
  1090. >FUCK.
  1091. >IMPOSSIBLE.
  1092. >IT WAS PICKED UP YESTERDAY.
  1093. >THERE’S NO WAY.
  1094. >You put your hand on your brow and take a deep breath.
  1095. >Okay, maybe it just has to be run.
  1096. “BE RIGHT THERE!”
  1097. >You carefully set the invoices down, away from the rest of the papers, and stand.
  1098. >Keys are in your pocket?
  1099. >Yep, keys are in your pocket.
  1100. >You pull ‘em out and head over to rescue your pony from the perils of overfilled compactors.
  1101. >Shit, she’s right – dumbass fuckers have the fucking garbage bags piled nearly to the ceiling.
  1102. “Godsdammit. It shouldn’t be that hard for them.”
  1103. >You put the key in and start it up.
  1104. “All these jizzguzzling cummonkeys have to do is throw the fucking trash over the gate and tell someone with a key when it’s almost to the top.”
  1105. >”Who?”
  1106. “Anyone. Shit, we’re so topheavy here –“
  1107. >”You’re not *that* fat.”
  1108. “I’m talking about *management*. About half the employees here are managers of one kind or another and they ALL have keys! Why didn’t any of them –“
  1109. >You can hear the ram grinding along, but the trash level isn’t falling.
  1110. “Oh, fuck.”
  1111. >”What?”
  1112. “Fuck. Them. To. Hell.”
  1113. >”What?”
  1114. “Fuckers jammed it. FUCK.”
  1115. >”Huh?”
  1116. “Thanks to some genius engineering work, there’s a lip on each side of the hole. If something’s big enough…”
  1117. >Berry Punch tilts her head to one side, waiting for you to finish explaining.
  1118. >She doesn’t get it.
  1119. “If it’s big enough, it spans the hole and blocks it.”
  1120. >”Oh.”
  1121. >She still doesn’t understand.
  1122. “We have to pull out all the trash to get to it.”
  1123. >She looks back at the pile of trash.
  1124. >You can spot the exact moment when her soul flees her body.
  1125. >”Fuck.”
  1126. >Now she gets it.
  1127. >Ten minutes later, the two of you have moved enough trash to spot the problem.
  1128. >A bookcase.
  1129. >A fucking fully assembled bookcase.
  1130. “Shit.”
  1131. >”So, do we pull it out…?”
  1132. “We’d have to move everything else to get to it.”
  1133. >”Oh.”
  1134. “Besides, look at it – those fuckers stomped it in.”
  1135. >Godsdamn them.
  1136. >You’d facepalm if your hand wasn’t covered in… *something.*
  1137. “It’s stuck. They’ve literally smashed it into… fuck. Go down by there –“
  1138. >Her eyes follow your finger.
  1139. “ – and ask the maintenance guy for a crowbar. A big one. He should be in his office.”
  1140. >”You’re going to try to pry it out?”
  1141. “No.”
  1142. >”D-don’t smile like that. It’s weird!”
  1143. >You didn’t know you were smiling.
  1144. >Irrelevant.
  1145. “Berry, have you ever played Half-Life?”
  1146. >”I’m a pony, so no.”
  1147. “You have no idea who Gordon Freeman is, do you?”
  1148. >”Nope.”
  1149. “You’re about to find out.”
  1150. >”Wha –“
  1151. “Go get that crowbar.”
  1152. >You would like to say you weren’t laughing like a maniac as you smashed the bookcase into splinters.
  1153. >It would also be nice to say you weren’t imagining the faces of your coworkers as you were doing so.
  1154. >A lot of things would be nice.
  1155. >You work retail.
  1156. >You can’t have nice things.
  1157. >You cackled like a fucking madman as you envisioned smashing those fuckers faces in.
  1158. >It only takes six swings, leaving you disappointed.
  1159. >There is SO MUCH ANGER to work out.
  1160. >You have to find some coworkers.
  1161. >They can help you with –
  1162. >”You’re scaring me.”
  1163. >Oh.
  1164. >Holy shit, a talking horse!
  1165. >YOUR talking horse!
  1166. “Here.”
  1167. >You hold out the crowbar to Berry Punch.
  1168. “Take this back, will you? I’ll… get started on… this…”
  1169. >Mountains of garbage bags await you.
  1170. >One stomp sends the piled trash falling into the compactor.
  1171. >Now for… all the others that had been pulled out.
  1172. “yay.”
  1173. >You’ve made a sizable dent in the accumulated filth before Berry gets back.
  1174. >With her help, it only takes fifteen minutes to get it all smashed.
  1175. >Thirty minutes after asking her to take care of the trash, she’s able to tip the can over and empty it out.
  1176. “Awesome, now I’ll just finish up what I was doing, and –“
  1177. >There’s someone at your desk.
  1178. >Using the phone.
  1179. >The papers have all been shoved into a single pile.
  1180. >There are three other phones within ten feet.
  1181. >the fuck are they… fuck it
  1182. “Let’s go to break.”
  1183. >”Good idea,” your pony sighs. “I need something to drink.”
  1184. “No alcohol.”
  1185. >”Fuck.”
  1186. “I can get you a soda, though. Or gatoraid or whatever.”
  1187. >”Fiiiiiine.”
  1188.  
  1189. >”Anon, what does Coke taste like?”
  1190. “You’ve had it before.”
  1191. >”Yeah, but only as a mixer.”
  1192. “Rancid bird shit.”
  1193. >”Really? How do you know what that tastes like?”
  1194. “Don’t. I’m just guessing.”
  1195. >”Hmm. I have a friend that probably knows. Well, an acquaintance.”
  1196. >She fumbles for the walkie attached to her vest.
  1197. >”Well, we lived in the same town,” your pony amends. “Hey, customer service? Come in customer service.”
  1198. >There’s a fizzle of static before a fragile voice answers.
  1199. >”Um… yes…?” the voice quivers. “Go for… um… customer service…”
  1200. >”Hey, Fluttershy, what does rancid bird shit taste like?”
  1201. >”Uh… it’s a lot like Coke…”
  1202.  
  1203. Drink 4
  1204. 1 part Amaretto
  1205. 4 parts Cream Soda
  1206. Sweet (but not TOO sweet), smooth, and makes it easy to relax after a fucking horrible day.
  1207.  
  1208.  
  1209. DRINK 5: OFFERINGS TO THE PAGAN GOD
  1210.  
  1211. >You are Berry Punch, retail slave.
  1212. >Also literal slave, but that doesn’t seem quite as horrible as the other.
  1213. >It should be. A part of you knows that, well, it’s – as one of your fellow Ponyvillians would have said – the worst possible thing, but your owner is nice.
  1214. >He treats you mostly like a roommate, and it’s nice having a roommate that share’s your interests.
  1215. >Probably a good thing for both of you.
  1216. >It’s not so bad, being owned by him.
  1217. >In contrast, you hate your job.
  1218. >You don’t even know what it is, but you know that you hate it.
  1219. >Not out of some petty, generic hatred towards employment in general, but because you specifically hate *this* job.
  1220. >”So, looking forward to your second day?” Anon asks as he saunters down the sidewalk. “I bet you’re looking forward to your second day.”
  1221. “Fuck you.”
  1222. >”That’s the spirit!”
  1223. >You groan silently.
  1224. >“And speaking of spirits…”
  1225. >Anon raps on a door as he walks past.
  1226. >“We could always stop here on our way back and pick up a little something to celebrate?”
  1227. “What?”
  1228. >You stop and turn your head back to look at the door.
  1229. >”I’m sure Ethel will have just the thing you need.”
  1230. “*That’s* the liquor store?”
  1231. >It’s such a small, unassuming storefront.
  1232. >”Mhm. They aren’t open yet, on account of it being fuckass early in the morning, but whadya say?”
  1233. >You stare at the door for a second more before trotting on ahead.
  1234. “Maybe.”
  1235. >You have to get away from there.
  1236. >Anon is slower to follow – by the end of the street, you’re practically dragging him along by the leash.
  1237. >Your collar is digging painfully into your neck, but you don’t care.
  1238. >As you pass by a large, plate-glass storefront, you catch your reflection and almost laugh.
  1239. >The image is just too funny not to – the condemned dragging her executioner to the gallows.
  1240. >Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
  1241.  
  1242. >You are Anon, and your arm is fucking sore.
  1243. >So are your legs.
  1244. >Goddamn ponies.
  1245. “I never thought you were a morning person. Pony. Person. Living creature.”
  1246. >”I’m not,” Berry Punch answers as she hits the buzzer again. “I’m just too sober to put up with this shit.”
  1247. >She slaps her hoof against the buzzer a third time.
  1248. >“Aren’t they going to let us in?”
  1249. “When they get their hands off their dicks.”
  1250. >”So never?”
  1251. “Never.”
  1252. >She groans and hits the buzzer again before turning her back on it and slumping against the wall.
  1253. >”So, what’s the first thing we have to do?”
  1254. “Assuming we ever get inside the store?”
  1255. >Your pony nods irritably.
  1256. “Clock in, because fuck working off the clock.”
  1257. >”And after that?”
  1258. “Find some of the overnight crew and mug them for equipment.”
  1259. >”Why?”
  1260. “Because we need equipment to do our job.”
  1261. >”Don’t they?”
  1262. “Fuck them. All they do is put shit in the wrong places, break all the gear, and make a fucking mess of my area.”
  1263. >”It didn’t look that bad yesterday,” Berry Punch sighs. “They can’t be that –“
  1264. “I spent three hours cleaning up after them.”
  1265. >”Oh.”
  1266. “Guess what we’re going to be doing after we get equipment?”
  1267. >”Cleaning up after them?”
  1268. “Yep.”
  1269. >”Fuck this, I’m going ho –“
  1270. >You both look up at the sharp, mechanical click.
  1271. “Finally.”
  1272. >The manager glares pure death into your soul as she unlocks the door and shoves it open.
  1273. >”You only have to ring once, you know,” the hellbitch snarls.
  1274. >”Apparently not,” your pony snaps back, “because it took you fifteen minutes to open the fucking door.”
  1275. >The worthless piece of shit gasps and clenches her fists.
  1276. >”I thought ponies were supposed to be nice!”
  1277. >”This *is* me being nice.”
  1278. “Believe me, you don’t want to see her with a hangover.”
  1279. >”You –!“
  1280. “Nope! You can’t talk to us! We’re not on the clock yet!”
  1281. >”YOU BETTER GET YOUR BUTT TO THE BACK, PRONTO!”
  1282. “I. CAN’T. HEAR. YOU!”
  1283. >”THERE ARE THREE DELIVERY GUYS WAITING ON YOU!”
  1284. “THEN MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE LET ME IN BEFORE LETTING THEM IN!”
  1285. >Merrily, you skip away, the only creature in existence you can stand trotting alongside.
  1286.  
  1287. >You are now Berry Punch. You wish you weren’t.
  1288. >Maybe it would be nice to be Fluttershy. All she has to deal with are customers.
  1289. >You get to deal with *this*.
  1290. >It looks like half the laundry aisle attempted to gang-rape the other half.
  1291. >Never in your life have you seen so many bright, colorful, dribbling liquids slowly running down such a rainbow of shapes.
  1292. >The sight has you entranced, keeping you occupied while Anon did… something… with those people.
  1293. >”Alright!’ he exclaims, clapping his hands together as the door shuts behind him. “Now we can begin your training!”
  1294. “Couldn’t you have started by showing me what to do with those –“
  1295. >”Nah, those ones are boring. They just come in, drop stuff off, take stuff out. All we have to do is open the door to let them in and out.”
  1296. “Then why didn’t she just –“
  1297. >”Manager,” he snaps back, as if that answers everything.
  1298. “Right, manager.”
  1299. >It does.
  1300. >”Okay! So! Training! Look at that pile of shit!”
  1301. “You mean the one I’ve been staring at?”
  1302. >”Yep!”
  1303. “Okaaaay.”
  1304. >”Now repeat after me! Fuck.”
  1305. “Fuck.”
  1306. >”Worthless jizzguzzling sons of bitches.”
  1307. ”Worthless jizzguzzling sons of bitches.”
  1308. >”Cockgobblingshitdickchildmolesteringfucks.”
  1309. ”Cockgobblingshitdick – uh – child…molestering…fucks…?”
  1310. >”You got it,” Anon says, nodding in approval. “Alrighty, so that’s step one of your training.”
  1311. “Is it really?”
  1312. >”Fuck if I know,” he answers with a shrug. “I never got trained, but it seems appropriate, doesn’t it?”
  1313. >He kicks a bottle, sending it rolling along the ground and leaving a streak of orange detergent across the bare concrete floor.
  1314. “On the one hoof, yes…”
  1315. >”And on the other?”
  1316. “Yes, yes it does.”
  1317. >You look at the pile of broken bottles and other assorted merchandise.
  1318. >”I swear, those fucking idiots busted half the truck last night.”
  1319. “So what do we do?”
  1320. >”Besides curse fate and all the stars in the sky? Clean it up, bag ‘em up, sort ‘em out, hopefully –“
  1321. >He turns and cups his hands around his mouth.
  1322. >” – GET SOME EQUIPMENT SO WE CAN MARK THIS STUFF OUT OF INVENTORY!”
  1323. >Anon holds that pose for a moment before shrugging and turning back to you.
  1324. >”Well, we sit around until they remember we need equipment.”
  1325. >Anon sighs and pulls a bin off of his desk.
  1326. >”Unfortunately, I don’t have any gloves for ponies –“
  1327. >He freezes mid-sentence and shoves the bin back on the shelf.
  1328. >”Let me amend my previous statements. I don’t have any gloves. This is going to get messy.”
  1329. >You sigh and reach for the nearest item – a ball missing any tags – while Anon looks over his desk carefully.
  1330. >”Just trying to find out what they did with the gloves,” he explains distractedly. “Oh, great, they piled opened makeup in the in-box. Fucking awesome.”
  1331. >He groans and carefully pushes it aside.
  1332. >”HEY! WAIT!”
  1333. “What!?”
  1334. >”We skipped breakfast!”
  1335. “Yeah. And?”
  1336. >Anon turns to you and smiles.
  1337. >”The primitive beasts have left us an offering,” he laughs, holding up a split open bag of candy. “Let us feast!”
  1338. “Uh… can we really do that…?”
  1339. >”As far as I’m concerned, if it’s on the desk, it’s an offering.”
  1340. “And if it’s not on the desk?”
  1341. >”Then it’s probably coated in whatever new and exciting cleaning chemical the overnight team decided would be fun to drop today.”
  1342. >He shrugs with the force of a thousand Atlases that suddenly realized the weight of the world wasn’t their problem and oops, it fell, so… whatever.
  1343. >None of that makes any sense to you, but it’s something you heard him say once and it sounds appropriate.
  1344. >”I don’t want to eat Clorox-soaked chocolate, do you?”
  1345. “No, I guess not.”
  1346. >”Then let’s have breakfast.”
  1347. >Anon throws himself into his chair and gestures for you to come over.
  1348. >”We’ll deal with the overnight team’s mess in a bit,” he sighs. “Worst fucking people in the world.”
  1349. >Then he looks around.
  1350. >The he swears.
  1351. >He does that a lot.
  1352. >You think you finally know why.
  1353. >"I'll have to get another chair back here," he groans, standing up and waving towards the seat. "Go ahead."
  1354. >The office chair isn’t meant for ponies, but it's better than sitting on the floor.
  1355. >You scrabble up into the seat with only minor difficulty and share quite possibly the unhealthiest breakfast you've ever had.
  1356. >Considering you've started the day with a cup of gin and nothing else, that's saying something.
  1357. >Still, it's relaxing.
  1358. >Doesn't quite wipe away your worries, but, as Anon puts it, you're "literally eating your problems away."
  1359. >Everything you eat is one less thing you have to handle later.
  1360. >You're still fumbling with the wrapper on the fifth piece of candy when Anon turns to the pile of broken bottles and sighs.
  1361. >"Keep eating. I'll get started on this."
  1362. >A few seconds later, you've pried open the wrapper and are just about to pop some sweet, sweet chocolate into your mouth with Anon sighs loudly and lets loose a new string of profanities.
  1363. "What's wrong?"
  1364. >"Fucking customer service. Worst people in the world."
  1365. "I thought the overnight team was the worst?"
  1366. >"They're both the worst," he groans, holding up a cartoon of eggs. "I can't believe they thought this could be donated with half of them smashed and the entire thing left out unrefrigerated overnight."
  1367. >You nod, acknowledging the point.
  1368. "You hate a lot of people."
  1369. >Anon smirks and throws the carton into the trash can he had dragged over.
  1370. >"Your training begins now. Let me explain to you the cycle of retail hatred."
  1371. "What."
  1372. >Cycle of retail hatred is confusing enough, but the way he said it… with such *pride*…
  1373. >It sends a chill up your spine.
  1374. >"Everyone hates everyone,” Anon explains, throwing another carton into the trash, “but there’s one group of people everyone hates more than anyone else.”
  1375. “The… overnight team…?”
  1376. >Anon shakes his head and steps away from the mess to grab a roll of paper towels.
  1377. >”No, everyone hates the people they can’t fuck with, but can fuck with them.”
  1378. >A box of moldy raspberries joins the eggs in the trash.
  1379. >"For example, the overnight team hates the DC, because -"
  1380. "The what?"
  1381. >"DC. Distribution center. The overnight team hates them because the DC can fuck with the overnight team. Load the truck backwards, load the wrong stuff, bust cases and leave them to drip down and ruin everything underneath…"
  1382. >Anon stops talking to focus on a particularly colorful mess.
  1383. "And there's nothing they can do to stop it?"
  1384. >"The overnight fuckers? Nope. But *me*... I don’t hate the DC, because I can fuck with them. Load the truck backwards, load the wrong stuff... basically the same thing they do to the overnight team, but in reverse."
  1385. "And customer service?"
  1386. >"Probably half this mess came from them,” he sighs, waving a hand at the pile. “Lazy fuckers. They're supposed to bag and ziptie this shit so it doesn’t leak everyfuckingwhere, but..."
  1387. >He holds up a bag with a bottle of soap inside.
  1388. >"See?" he asks as a bright orange stream drips out. "Customer Service is the enemy."
  1389. "Fluttershy is the enemy?"
  1390. >She works Customer Service, but you can’t imagine her being anypony’s enemy.
  1391. >"Is that the timid yellow fucker that knows what rancid bird shit tastes like?"
  1392. >You nod.
  1393. >"Yes. She's the enemy."
  1394.  
  1395. >You are Anon and you are teaching your pet/slave/roommate/apprentice/drinking buddy/pony how to hate.
  1396. >More accurately, you are teaching her how to hate *appropriately*.
  1397. >"Fluttershy is the enemy...?" she mumbles softly, still fumbling with a candy wrapper. "But Fluttershy is the kindest pony I've ever known."
  1398. >Berry Punch dips her head in thought.
  1399. >"She's very literally the kindest pony in existence," the mare continues quietly. "She's the Element of Kindness."
  1400. "Well, she's also Customer Service, so..."
  1401. >You gesture wildly towards the pile for far too long.
  1402. >Eventually she looks up and sees your antics.
  1403. "Fluttershy is..."
  1404. >You wiggle your eyebrows most emphatically until she nods.
  1405. >"... the enemy," Berry Punch grunts. "She's still a nice pony, though."
  1406. "It's okay to like her. Hell, you two can be friends, just it has to be outside of work. Because -!"
  1407. >More wild gesturing.
  1408. >"In here, she's the enemy."
  1409. "Bingo."
  1410. >You turn back to the damaged merch and continue sorting through it.
  1411. "As soon as you're finished, I'll show you how to deal with all this."
  1412.  
  1413. >You are Berry Punch and you are a fucking mess.
  1414. >Anon offered to buy you a hazmat suit, whatever that is, but you thought he was joking.
  1415. >Might have to take him up on that, though.
  1416. >Soap doesn't wash out of your coat as easily as it does off his hands.
  1417. >"Okay, so... that was a mistake," Anon sighs, flashing you an apologetic grin. "Sorry about that."
  1418. "It's *fine*."
  1419. >It's not really fine, but you have to remember that there are worse fluid you could be drenched in.
  1420. >"Tomorrow, I'll deal with all the wet stuff -"
  1421. "*Everything* is wet."
  1422. >He pauses, looks at the now-clean spot that used to house a mountain of detritus.
  1423. >"Point."
  1424. >With an underhand toss, Anon throws the last item into it's bin.
  1425. >"Then how about this: I'll bag everything and you can sort it."
  1426. "Could work."
  1427. >Assuming that it *will* work is beyond you.
  1428. >Two days of retail have driven all hope from your soul.
  1429. >"Then that's what we'll do," Anon sighs, heavily dropping into his chair, drawing a squeal of protest from it.
  1430. "Yay."
  1431. >"You don't sound particularly happy."
  1432. "No. I am. My joy knows no bounds."
  1433. >It's only been... you don't know how long it's been, but you're exhausted.
  1434. >You slump against Anon's leg, almost laying your head in his lap, but he scoots away quickly.
  1435. >Fucking wheelie chair.
  1436. "Sorry."
  1437. >You aren't really.
  1438. "I guess you want to be covered in soap as little as I do."
  1439. >But you can understand.
  1440. >"No, no," he protests, waving his hands. "It's not that! Just... uh..."
  1441. >He points up at a small black bubble on the ceiling.
  1442. >"Cameras. There's only a few things they'll actually go through the paperwork to fire someone over, but... um..."
  1443. >He stands quickly and shoves the chair back towards the desk.
  1444. >"There's no way your head in my lap could look good. For the cameras."
  1445. "Oh."
  1446. >You're too tired to get what he's saying, but he probably has a good reason. Or a shitty reason. A *retail* reason.
  1447. >Something that makes sense only to management.
  1448. >"I guess you must be tired," Anon says with a little laugh. "That *was* a lot of shit. Ready for -"
  1449. >Obnoxious ringing drowns out whatever he was going to say, your own thoughts, and even the very concept of sound itself.
  1450. >"Neverfuckingmind," Anon sighs once the sound has receded. You think you still hear ringing, but you're also pretty sure that's just your ears.
  1451. "WHAT THE HELL IS THAT!?"
  1452. >"Doorbell," he sighs, slapping a button on the wall. "Nevermind break. First, Nonny gotta stab a bitch."
  1453. >He doesn't pull out a weapon, though, so you don't think he means it. Then you see his face and you're not quite so sure anymore.
  1454. >Motors growl loudly as a nearby door slowly raises -
  1455. >"Fucking Fedex," he snarls, approaching the door. "Watch closely, Berry, I'll show you how to fucking deal with Fedex."
  1456. >You watch as he thrusts an outstretched fist at the man on the other side.
  1457. >He isn't trying to hit him, though.
  1458. >One finger is raised, and though you don't have them yourself, anypony can tell that would be a silly way to hit somepony.
  1459. >"You just gotta tap the bell, asshole!" he shouts.
  1460. >"Hey, I got a schedule to -"
  1461. >"AND I FUCKING USED TO HAVE EARS, BUT NOT ANYMORE SO GUESS WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOUR FUCKING EXCUSES."
  1462. >”I have a schedule –“
  1463. >”AND I HAVE A PONY!”
  1464. >Anon waves an open hand towards you.
  1465. >”So?”
  1466. >”So her hearing is far more sensitive than mine, and that bell fucking hurts *me*! Want me to sue your ass for fucking damages? Just look at her!”
  1467.  
  1468. >You are PISSED.
  1469. >So pissed that you almost forgot who you are, but not quite.
  1470. >You are Anon and you are PISSED.
  1471. >More than you usually are after some asshat tries to murder you with your own doorbell.
  1472. >Berry Punch has her hooves over her ears, pressing them down against her skull.
  1473. >Her muzzle is… well… it can only be described as the SCRUNCH OF UNWANT.
  1474. >You’re going to have to get that bell fucking checked.
  1475. >Always suspected that it was over the maximum decibel level, but never did anything about it, because, fuck, it was just you.
  1476. >But this fucker just fucking hurt your fucking pony.
  1477. “Just give me the goddamn packages and get the fuck out.”
  1478. >You don’t wait for him to actually do it.
  1479. >GRAB.
  1480. >Shit, it’s just a pouch of fucking preorder cards? Fuck.
  1481. >You glare at the man as he leaves, just in case he gets any smartass ideas about ringing the bell again.
  1482. >He doesn’t.
  1483. >Good.
  1484. >You’d hate to have to go to jail, but fuck that guy, you would have done it.
  1485. >He hurt your pony.
  1486.  
  1487. >You can’t remember who you are.
  1488. >The ringing won’t go away.
  1489. >It’s distracting.
  1490. >The rumble of the door closing barely registers.
  1491. >”Here,” Anon says – though you have to guess what he’s actually saying by the movement of his lips more than what you actually hear. “Have some chocolate. Calm down.”
  1492. >And at that moment, you remember who you are.
  1493. >There’s only two of you in the room, and since Anon is currently pushing another piece of candy towards you…
  1494. >That leaves Berry Punch.
  1495. >You are Berry Punch, and your hooves are way too filthy to –
  1496. >He unwraps the candy for you, holding out for you to take with your mouth.
  1497. >Somehow, you doubt it’ll have the calming effects of sweet, sweet rum, but you take it anyway.
  1498. >It helps.
  1499. >Maybe it’s the chocolate, maybe it’s him caring about you, but it helps.
  1500. >Your ears still hurt like fuck, though.
  1501. >Like maybe someone actually fucked your ears.
  1502. >Fuck.
  1503. >This hurts.
  1504. >”Break time?”
  1505. >You can hear the words, but it doesn’t hurt that he mimics snapping a branch.
  1506. “Yes.”
  1507.  
  1508. >Being Anon has its own little downsides.
  1509. >First off, you’re you, and that sucks, but secondly, that means you have to deal with everyone else’s bullshit.
  1510. >And that’s bullshit.
  1511. >After the second time someone rings the bell, you just leave the door open.
  1512. >Violation of security blah blah blah fuck them. Anyone who bitches is more than welcome to either fuck off or go fuck themselves.
  1513. >You had to sneak off and “defect” a second bag of candy to keep your pony calm.
  1514. >She… might have some dependency issues.
  1515. >Probably best to not let her know the store sells beer or she might decide she needs that.
  1516. >Chocolate seems to be doing the trick, though, for now at least.
  1517. >It keeps her going through until lunch.
  1518.  
  1519. >You watch as Anon shuts and locks the door.
  1520. >”Yep, definitely lunchtime,” he repeats, before turning to smile at you. “I know there’s a lot left to do, but…”
  1521. >He checks his wrist for a watch.
  1522. >He’s not wearing a watch.
  1523. >”We have about five minutes to clock out before we’re breaking laws, so… RUN!”
  1524. >You take off like one of the Wonderbolts – only… a crippled, land-based one… you guess – and almost make it to the doors before Anon yells again.
  1525. >”Wait! Don’t actually run!”
  1526. “But –“
  1527. >”It’s a safety thing,” he sighs. “Just walk fast and ignore everyone.”
  1528. “What if someone asks for help?”
  1529. >”Just look angry.”
  1530. >You try to look angry.
  1531. >”I don’t think ponies *can* look angry,” Anon grumbles. “Just follow me. Stay close.”
  1532. >He speedwalks out of the backroom and through the store, with you scampering along at his heels.
  1533. >And then – at that very moment – something catches your eye.
  1534. ”Hey, Anon?”
  1535. >You don’t have time to get it right now.
  1536. >The timeclock is god. The timeclock is life.
  1537. >The timeclock must be obeyed.
  1538. >”What?”
  1539. “Can I have a few dollars?”
  1540. >”For?”
  1541. “I saw something I want to get.”
  1542. >”Decided against having a granola bar for lunch?”
  1543. “No, just…”
  1544. >You don’t really want to tell him.
  1545. >It’s embarrassing, and despite what everypony in Ponyville thought, you still have some sense of shame.
  1546. >”Yeah, sure. Let’s just clock out first.”
  1547.  
  1548. >You are watching Berry Punch fiddle with the packet of candy she bought.
  1549. “Well?”
  1550. >You are waiting impatiently.
  1551. >Kinda thought you might steal some.
  1552. >”Well, what?” she sighs. “We can’t clock back in yet, right?”
  1553. “Right. We have another…”
  1554. >You check the wall clock.
  1555. “Another twenty minutes.”
  1556. >Until then, you’re trapped in the breakroom, waiting for Berry Punch to open her candy.
  1557. >It won’t be long, you think. She’s nervous. She needs something to calm herself down.
  1558. >”What do you normally do on your lunch?” she asks stuffing the package into her vest pocket.
  1559. >FUCK.
  1560. “Normally I eat.”
  1561. >”That took you all of five minutes.”
  1562. “After that I normally just masturbate in the corner, but since *you’re* here…”
  1563. >Not really, but –
  1564. >Berry Punch’s dead look cuts that thought short.
  1565. >”Anon, I know I’m your pony, but we’re not having sex in the break room.”
  1566. >DOUBLE FUCK.
  1567. “Not what I meant!”
  1568. >You wave your hands wildly.
  1569. “Not what I was implying!”
  1570. >You groan and shove your chair back.
  1571. “I was just joking!”
  1572. >”Ooooooooh. It’s hard to tell with you. Sometimes.”
  1573. “I don’t do that!”
  1574. >”Masturbate?”
  1575. “Not at work!”
  1576. >”Oh, good,” a tiny voice squeaks. “That’s… good to know.”
  1577. “Shut up, Fluttershy. No one’s paying attention to you.”
  1578. >”I know,” the pegasus mumbles softly, returning to her meal.
  1579. >"So, what *do* you do?" your pony asks, looking around in boredom.
  1580. "Usually I bring a book or something, but..."
  1581. >You shrug.
  1582. "...I figured we'd probably talk or... I don't know..."
  1583. >"We live together. I'm pretty sure we've talked about everything we have to talk about."
  1584. "Yeah."
  1585. >You sigh.
  1586. "We could try talking to Fluttershy?"
  1587. >"Oh, um... well... actually, I *did* have something interesting happen today! Do you remember Scootaloo? She's -"
  1588. >"Nah," Berry Punch grumbles, shaking her head. "I'm not really interested in birds or whatever she'd have to talk about."
  1589. >"Oh..."
  1590. >"How about that delivery guy? What was up with him?"
  1591. "Which one?"
  1592. >You've had about a dozen come through so far today.
  1593. >"The one you yelled at."
  1594. "Oh. Fedex guy."
  1595. >The mare nods.
  1596. >"So, is that part of your hatred flowchart or whatever?"
  1597. "Nah, he's just a cunt."
  1598. >You shrug and look out the break room window.
  1599. "Wasn't even our regular guy. If he was, I wouldn't have yelled at him like that."
  1600. >Another shrug.
  1601. "Of course, if it was our regular guy, he wouldn't have held that button down like a fucktard."
  1602. >”Oh. Okay then. So, what do I do if that happens and you aren’t around?”
  1603. “Remember that gesture I made?”
  1604. >”Yeah.”
  1605. “Just do that.”
  1606. >She tilts her head to one side, then the other.
  1607. “What?”
  1608. >”Just trying to see if you’ve got an extra hole in your head or something.”
  1609. “Why?”
  1610. >”Because how am I supposed to do that?”
  1611. >She holds up a – oh, fuck, right – a hoof.
  1612. “Nevermind.”
  1613. >Berry Punch sighs and looks away, her eyes hovering on Fluttershy for a second before drifting away.
  1614. >”Tomorrow, we bring books.”
  1615. “Yeah.”
  1616. >”Y-yeah… f-fuck you two.”
  1617. >”Hey, Anon, did you hear something?”
  1618. “Nope.”
  1619. >You sigh.
  1620. >Berry Punch sighs.
  1621. >Someone else sighs.
  1622. “I could bring my laptop.”
  1623. >”Great, so you could play games, but –“
  1624. “We could watch movies.”
  1625. >The mare considers it for a second, but shakes her head.
  1626. >”Wouldn’t be much fun watching them in short bits.”
  1627. “I guess not. Besides…”
  1628. >”The kinds of movies we usually watch aren’t that great when we’re sober.”
  1629. “Yep.”
  1630. >Berry Punch sighs.
  1631. >You sigh.
  1632. “Well, that killed all of… five minutes.”
  1633. >”Can’t we just go back to work?”
  1634. “Only if you want to be fired.”
  1635. >”Well, yeah, obviously I want to be fired.”
  1636. >Her eyes narrow.
  1637. >”And so do you.”
  1638. “But…?”
  1639. >”But we need money for booze and ramen,” she groans. “Fine.”
  1640. “Speaking of booze and ramen…”
  1641. >Berry Punch tilts her head to one side, waiting for you to continue.
  1642. “How about some of that candy?”
  1643. >”Nope.”
  1644. >Her brow furrows as she stares at you.
  1645. >”And what does that have to do with booze and ramen?”
  1646. “Nothing, I guess. Just things that I want that I apparently can’t have.”
  1647. >”You work retail, Anon,” your mare sighs. “You know you can’t have nice things.”
  1648. “I know, I just… I just didn’t want to believe it.”
  1649. >Berry Punch sighs and looks around the room again, finding ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF INTEREST.
  1650. >With another sigh, she turns back to you.
  1651. >”Well, we might as well fuck.”
  1652. >She’s not serious.
  1653. >She can’t be serious.
  1654. >”Stop looking at me like that,” she grunts. “I wasn’t serious.”
  1655. >Thank the gods.
  1656. >That was awkward.
  1657. >”But it’s totally fine with me if you want to rut Flutter-“
  1658. >”OKAY!”
  1659. >”OH, LOOK, LUNCH IS OVER. COME ON ANON, WE BETTER GET BACK TO WORK!”
  1660. >”Awwwww…”
  1661. >Okay, you’re starting to feel a little bad teasing the poor mare.
  1662. >Just a little.
  1663. >She *is* customer service, so… yeah, only a little guilty.
  1664. >Fuck customer service.
  1665. >But not literally.
  1666. “We can’t go, Berry. We still have ten minutes, at least.”
  1667. >”Yay.”
  1668. “I’m not fucking you, Fluttershy.”
  1669. >”Awww.”
  1670. “But come sit over here. We can talk to you.”
  1671. >”Yay!”
  1672. >You listen halfheartedly to the conversation between the two mares.
  1673. >Something about some filly from the town they used to live in showing up and… something.
  1674. >Meh.
  1675. >They almost sound like friends, the way that chatter on.
  1676. >Dammit.
  1677. >You remember when you had friends, but then those fuckers quit or moved away or whatever.
  1678. >It’s hard to make new ones when the only places you go are work, where you treat everyone with the disdain and hatred they deserve, and the liquor store, which is staffed by a 90 year old woman and her pet pony goddess.
  1679. >Well, what do you expect when you fucking work retail?
  1680. >Berry Punch was pretty damn on the ball when she said you can’t have nice things.
  1681. >It’s in the employee handbook.
  1682. >No, really, it is.
  1683. >Probably only your copy, though.
  1684. >You had to write it in.
  1685. >Fucking printers left it out for some reason.
  1686. >You’ll have to see about fixing Berry’s copy, too.
  1687.  
  1688. >You have been here for three days solid.
  1689. >The clock you and Anon are staring at says otherwise, but it’s wrong.
  1690. “I think you need to get a new clock.”
  1691. >”Yeah,” he grunts, watching it patiently. “Probably.”
  1692. “There is no way we’ve been back for only an hour.”
  1693. >”Nope.”
  1694. >He sighs, loud in your ear, and grabs the back of the chair you’re sitting in.
  1695. “This is bullshit.”
  1696. >“Yes, it is.”
  1697. “Can’t we just go home?”
  1698. >”Nope,” he answers, pushing the chair – and you – back towards his desk. “The dock is technically open for another thirty minutes. We can’t leave just in case some asshole decides to show up.”
  1699. “So… what do we do…?”
  1700.  
  1701. >You look around the backroom, trying to find something you and Berry Punch can finish in the time you have left.
  1702. >Reorganizing your supplies – nope – that’ll take at least an hour.
  1703. >Try to get that pallet ready for – oh fuck no, there’s no way.
  1704. >Fuck no.
  1705. >Plus you’d have to find a place to…
  1706. >Fuck.
  1707. >No.
  1708. >It needs to get done, but it’ll just have to wait.
  1709. >”Are we done for the day?” she asks, looking around, following your eyes. “Did we run out of things to do?”
  1710. >BITCH, FUCK NO.
  1711. “Not… quite.”
  1712. >There’s never no work to do.
  1713. >Never.
  1714. >You sigh, cursing your life.
  1715. >No, cursing all life.
  1716. >Fuck existence.
  1717. “Let’s get some of the paperwork done for your training.”
  1718. >You push her up to the desk and root through the pile of papers in your in-box.
  1719. “Here.”
  1720. >You drop the certification in front of her, followed by a pen.
  1721. “I’m not technically supposed to sign off on anything, since I’m not technically certified for any of this shit, but let’s just pretend, okay?”
  1722. >”Sure…”
  1723. >She looks at the pile nervously and reaches for not the pen, but some of the “defective” candy.
  1724. “Not going to eat the stuff you bought?”
  1725. >She shakes her head, too occupied trying to unwrap it to answer.
  1726. “Saving it for an after-work snack?”
  1727. >”Something like that.”
  1728. “Well, it is your first real day, I guess.”
  1729. >Orientation doesn’t count, right?
  1730. >You shrug, even though she’s facing away from you.
  1731. “We should celebrate.”
  1732. >”Yay,” the mare grunts, her mouth full of choco – holy shit that’s a lot of empty wrappers.
  1733. “How did –“
  1734. >”Ah fuggered awt ah –“
  1735. “I can wait.”
  1736. >You roll your eyes and wait patiently way too long for her to swallow it all.
  1737. >”I figured out the trick to it,” she smirks, looking back at you.
  1738. “Oh?”
  1739. >”Whole thing. In the mouth. Spit out the part I can’t eat.”
  1740. “That… uh…”
  1741. >Now that you look at ‘em, those wrappers do look kinda moist.
  1742. >EW.
  1743. “Good job.”
  1744. >”Yeah, that’s what I thought,” she smiles happily. “So, what do I do with this… stuff…?”
  1745. >She jabs at the papers with her hoof.
  1746. ”Well… uh… shit, I don’t know. Wasn’t certified, remember?”
  1747. >”Oh.”
  1748. “We’ll have to actually read it.”
  1749. >”Fuck.”
  1750. “Indeed.”
  1751. >The mare sighs, willfully trying to expel her final breath.
  1752. >It doesn’t work.
  1753. >She still lives.
  1754. >”Let’s just get this done.”
  1755. >She growls as ruffle her mane.
  1756. “Yeah, but hey, let’s celebrate! Once is this is done, we can pick up another bottle of that mango rum.”
  1757. >”Um, from the liquor store…?”
  1758. “Of course. Where else?”
  1759. >”No thanks,” she mumbles, planting her nose on the paper and trying to focus on the words. “Let’s just… let’s just get some cider or something from here.”
  1760. >She noticed the store sells booze?
  1761. >FUCKSHIT.
  1762.  
  1763. >It… feels awkward buy happy juice from work.
  1764. >But you did it anyway.
  1765. >For her.
  1766. >You don’t know why.
  1767. >Crazy pony.
  1768. >Stupid pony.
  1769. >Why did she buy candy if she wasn’t going to eat it?
  1770. >She’s trotting along ahead of you with the bag in her mouth, pulling on the leash like she can’t wait to get home.
  1771. >Shit, she probably can’t wait.
  1772. >You can’t wait.
  1773. >Home is where the police can’t arrest you for drinking.
  1774. >Fucking public intoxication laws.
  1775. “So what are we gonna do when we get home?”
  1776. >”HRING!”
  1777. >Right.
  1778. >Bag.
  1779. >Mouth.
  1780. >Talky-no-workie.
  1781. >Sound like the name of a Chinese cartoon or something.
  1782. “Drink?”
  1783. >”RUH-HUH!”
  1784. “And?”
  1785. >”HRING HOR!”
  1786. “Sounds like a plan.”
  1787. >”HEST HAN!”
  1788. “Right. Best Plan.”
  1789. >The liquor store is right up the street.
  1790. >You can see it from here.
  1791. “Sure you don’t want to –“
  1792. >She’s already walking faster, pulling on your arm.
  1793. “Okay then. Home and cider it is.”
  1794. >You really don’t get what her problem is with that place.
  1795. >Meh, you’ll head out later… this week… and pick up some rum on your own.
  1796. >Not tonight.
  1797. >Cider tonight.
  1798. >Lots of cider.
  1799. >And some candy.
  1800. >Some mystery pony candy!
  1801.  
  1802. >You never got any candy.
  1803. >Maybe when you get to work.
  1804. >You sigh again, stumbling after your pony.
  1805. >Why the fuck is she so eager to fucking get to that fucking fuckityfuck place?
  1806. “Come on, Berry, give me some of the candy!”
  1807. >She shakes her head adamantly, dragging you onward to work.
  1808. >Fucking bitch.
  1809. >She has the same fucking bag of candy gripped in her mouth.
  1810. >You hate her with all your heart.
  1811. >ALL OF IT.
  1812. “I need a happy thing.”
  1813. >You aren’t whining.
  1814. >It’s… more dignified than that…?
  1815. >YES, ABSOLUTELY MORE DIGNIFIED THAN THAT!
  1816. “Let me have a happy thing!”
  1817. >More head shaking.
  1818. >FUCK.
  1819. “Didn’t it cheer you up yesterday, having happy things?”
  1820. >Nod.
  1821. “I need cheering up! Let me have a happy thing!”
  1822. >Shake.
  1823. “Fine, fuck you too.”
  1824. >”HAYBE HOMORRA.”
  1825. >the fuck does that mean…?
  1826. >AW, SHIT.
  1827. >Just up ahead is the liquor store – you prepare yourself to have your arm torn off by Berry Punch.
  1828. >But…
  1829. >… the fuck…?
  1830. >… she stops…?
  1831. >… and…?
  1832. >… oh fuck her…
  1833. >… drops the bag right outside the door.
  1834. “The fuck are you doing?”
  1835. >”Nothing,” she mutters back. “Let’s go.”
  1836. >And now your arm gets torn off.
  1837. >Yay.
  1838. “Dammit, slow down! If you’re going to abandon the candy, can’t I have some!?”
  1839. >”No. You work retail. You can’t have nice things.”
  1840. “I’m allowed to have a few!”
  1841. >”Like what?”
  1842. “I have… uh… you…”
  1843.  
  1844. >”Tia, dear?”
  1845. >That’s you.
  1846. >You sigh quietly and tilt your head towards Ethel.
  1847. “Yes?”
  1848. >”Think we’re ready to open up for the day,” the old woman says, shuffling towards the counter. “Mind getting the door for me?”
  1849. “Not at all.”
  1850. >”Oh, and could you take out the sign?”
  1851. “Of course.”
  1852. >”Set it up right outside on the sidewalk.”
  1853. “As always.”
  1854. >Ethel nods, turning away to finish preparing the register.
  1855. >Grabbing the stanchion with your magic, you unlock the door and drag it –
  1856. >Wait.
  1857. >What is this…?
  1858. >Chocolate-covered sunflower seeds?
  1859.  
  1860. Drink for the night: Mango Sunrise
  1861. 6oz orange juice
  1862. 2oz mango rum
  1863. 1/2oz grenadine
  1864.  
  1865.  
  1866. DRINK 6: WHY WE DON'T ALWAYS HATE EVERYONE (only when we're paid to)
  1867.  
  1868. >And so does your life continue, following the same patterns day after day, week after week, month after month... until about four days later.
  1869. >Tomorrow is your day off.
  1870. >By random crazy happenstance, it also is Berry Punch's day off.
  1871. >And, coincidentally, Fluttershy's day off.
  1872. >That wouldn't matter much - because fuck customer service - but she had talked to her owner.
  1873. >Again, that wouldn't matter much, but she had gotten permission to come over to your place.
  1874. >You had a reason for offering, but that's long forgotten.
  1875. >All you remember is hate. And regret. And more hate.
  1876. >That may or may not have to do with what you're currently staring at.
  1877. "I had a pallet here."
  1878. >Its disappearance is troubling.
  1879. >Had your name written on it and everything.
  1880. >"DO NOT TOUCH. THIS STUFF GOES BACK ON THE TRUCK. - ANON."
  1881. "Berry, did you do something with the pallet?"
  1882. >"What?"
  1883. >She abandons her garbage duties with a little too much glee, not that you blame her.
  1884. >"What are you talking about?" the mare asks, trotting up to you. "It's right there."
  1885. "No. No, it's not."
  1886. >"But... uh..."
  1887. >She smacks the piled boxes with her hoof, right on the note you'd left.
  1888. >Even used bright green paper.
  1889. >"It's right here."
  1890. "No, it's not."
  1891. >"Are you -"
  1892. "The merch is. Neatly stacked, too."
  1893. >"Yeah, and -"
  1894. "But where the fuck is the pallet I had put it on?"
  1895. >Berry Punch steps back and looks at the pile again.
  1896. >"Um..."
  1897. "Yeah."
  1898. >"It's not... uh... no. Um... what?"
  1899. "Someone took everything off, restacked it neatly, and took the pallet."
  1900. >"Why!?"
  1901. "That's a very good question."
  1902. >"If anything, I thought they'd stock out the product and leave the pallet."
  1903. "Yeah. Me too."
  1904. >"Well..."
  1905. >Berry Punch looks around carefully, as if the missing wooden pallet would miraculously spring from nowhere in ambush.
  1906. >Nope.
  1907. >"That certainly is a special kind of assholeness."
  1908. "Yup."
  1909. >"I guess it wasn't a good idea to go to lunch before we finished loading the truck."
  1910. "Apparently not."
  1911. >"So..."
  1912. >The mare idly shifts from side to side, staring at the pile.
  1913. "Yeah."
  1914. >"We can't ship those boxes back without putting them on a pallet, can we?"
  1915. "Nope."
  1916. >"And we don't have any spare pallets because that jerk with the pickup took the rest?"
  1917. "Yup."
  1918. >"And security didn't stop him?"
  1919. "Nope."
  1920. >"So... what do we do?"
  1921. "Let's turn this into a training exercise."
  1922. >You cross your arms and turn to your pony.
  1923. "What do YOU think we should do?"
  1924. >"Clock out. Go home. Get wasted."
  1925. "Tempting, but let's call that Plan B."
  1926. >She frowns and lets out a weary sigh.
  1927. "Don't be like that. You know if we don't get these... uh... whatever the fucks shipped out today, we'll just have to do even more work later."
  1928. >"We'll have to do even more work later anyway," she argues, making one hell of a good point.
  1929. "True, but there's a simple solution to this."
  1930. >Kinda.
  1931. >Simple for you.
  1932. "Berry, grab a flatbed."
  1933.  
  1934. >Five minutes later, you're restacking the product on a SUDDENLY EMPTY PALLET while the salesfloor schmucks are panicking about why the system suddenly decided they needed an entire flatbed's worth of plastic tubs.
  1935. >A dick move, sure. You'll admit that, but they probably deserve it.
  1936. >You don't actually recognize any of them, but that doesn't mean anything.
  1937. >If three people can't find room for and stock out one flatbed's worth of product, then there's something else seriously wrong.
  1938.  
  1939. >Something else is seriously wrong.
  1940. >The flatbed is still there.
  1941. >You've finished loading the truck and showing Berry how to do the paperwork, and it's still there.
  1942. >Untouched.
  1943. >Fuck.
  1944. >It's not the product sitting for an hour that pisses you off.
  1945. >Nor is it that the salesfloor team didn't even TRY to do a damn thing about it.
  1946. >It's the way Berry Punch is smiling at you.
  1947. >"Told you."
  1948. "You didn't, actually, but..."
  1949. >She didn't.
  1950. >"Fine. You're right. There's always more work to do."
  1951. >You throw your hands in the air.
  1952. "You win. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
  1953. >"Yep."
  1954. "Good. Now go stock those out."
  1955. >"Fuck."
  1956. "Consider it the price of victory."
  1957. >She doesn't like that. Not one bit.
  1958.  
  1959. >You don't like that. Not one bit.
  1960. >Anon's just pushing you around because you're a pony.
  1961. >"Oh, and Berry?"
  1962. "What?"
  1963. >"Don't take too long. It's almost time to go."
  1964. >You look at the plastic bins and sigh.
  1965. "Fine."
  1966. >It'll be easy. Just push the flatbed out to the salesfloor...
  1967. >Okay, it'll be kinda easy.
  1968. >You rear up on your hind legs, balancing tenuously with the help of the flatbed's handlebar.
  1969. >Awkward as fuck, but better than pushing it with your head.
  1970. >It'd be nice if they made some damn harnesses for ponies to pull these things.
  1971. >Well, not made.
  1972. >Bought.
  1973. >They exist.
  1974. >You know they exist.
  1975. >They're for sale on aisle 25A.
  1976. >Too bad you're not allowed to use them because "MUH OSHA."
  1977. >Anon's words, not yours.
  1978. >You don't have a clue what they mean, just that you needed a drink after he tried to explain them.
  1979. >Something about "Push, don't pull."
  1980. >His explanation was bullshit, which means it's probably true.
  1981. >Whatever.
  1982. >Gonna need a drink after this, too.
  1983. >But seriously, this is bullshit.
  1984. >By the time you get the flatbed out to the salesfloor, it's almost time to clock out.
  1985. >Bullshit.
  1986. >What's so wrong with a harness?
  1987. >Your hindlegs burn with the strain of standing up.
  1988. >Maybe if you'd had a harness to pull the damn thing, you'd have the time and inclination to find a spot for these bins.
  1989. >Instead, you take a look around and wheel them right back to the stockroom.
  1990. >Anon raises an eyebrow when you push your way through the double doors.
  1991. >"Didn't find a place?"
  1992. "Thought of something better."
  1993. >"Oh?"
  1994. "Time to clock out."
  1995. >"Someone will have to take care of it tomorrow," he sighs, shaking his head. "You know it'll be us, right?"
  1996. "We're off tomorrow."
  1997. >He stares at you for a second, then nods.
  1998. >"Truly, you are the wisest mare I know."
  1999. >He looks around the stockroom and shrugs.
  2000. >”Well, let’s clock the fuck out before a manager says something.”
  2001.  
  2002. >You have just clocked out.
  2003. >Literally JUST clocked out; the time clock is still flashing your name.
  2004. >”Hey, Anon? What are you waiting for?”
  2005. >While Berry’s… um… *enthusiasm* to GIT THE FUCK OUT is understandable, you roll your eyes at the mare.
  2006. “I’ve still got to get my stuff, you sill pony. Besides, what’s the rush? We have to wait for Fluttershy.”
  2007. >”Oh, right,” she huffs loudly. “Fine.”
  2008. “You don’t sound too excited.”
  2009. >”Eh.”
  2010. >She shrugs the shrug of a million fucks neither given nor received.
  2011. “That… makes you seem even less excited.”
  2012. >”Eh.”
  2013. “Oh, cheer the fuck up. We get to go shopping. Bitches love shopping.”
  2014. >”Explains why you like it so much, but fine,” the mare groans. “Where?”
  2015. “Here.”
  2016. >”Fuck.”
  2017. “Yeah, I know… here, give me your vest.”
  2018. >She frowns, but shrugs out of the garment and passes it to you.
  2019. “Thanks – we don’t want anyone thinking you’re on the clock or anything.”
  2020. >You stuff it into your bag – hey, you have room! Silver lining to not bringing anything to read during lunch, apparently – and sling it over your shoulder.
  2021. “Anyway, yeah, I know, our booze selection sucks, but…”
  2022. >You stare pure hatred and death at the pony’s direction.
  2023. “… SOMEPONY has some kind of issue with going to the liquor store.”
  2024. >”That fucker.”
  2025. >Her deadpan delivery almost sells it.
  2026.  
  2027. >You trot along beside Anon.
  2028. >He doesn’t bother to get a cart – whatever he gets, you two will just have to carry it back home anyway.
  2029. >Or you could make Fluttershy carry it all.
  2030. >You’ll have to remember to suggest that.
  2031. >”Damn, already out of Eastcider,” Anon grumbles, blissfully unaware of your internal monologue as he stares at the beer coolers. “I told him to bring in an extra case, but…”
  2032. “You *could* go to the liquor store on your own…?”
  2033. >”No time,” he sighs. “Fluttershy gets out in…”
  2034. >He looks at watch.
  2035. >”… soonish.”
  2036. >He looks back to the cooler and sighs again.
  2037. >”Fine. Strongbow it is.”
  2038. “But it tastes like… whatever, I’ll just stick with harder stuff.”
  2039. >”Good, it’s not for us. Your little friend just doesn’t seem like much of a drinker.”
  2040. >He stares down at you – until you realize he’s waiting for confirmation.
  2041. >”Fuck if I know.”
  2042. >He shrugs.
  2043. >You shrug.
  2044. >The chips piled on your back fall off.
  2045. >He shrugs again.
  2046. >So do you.
  2047. >”Okay then, now that’s settled…”
  2048. >You both shrug again.
  2049. >”Good conversation.”
  2050. “As good as you’re going to get out of me. I mean, I’m off the clock, yet – somehow – still at work.”
  2051. >”Point.”
  2052. “And weren’t you worried about a manager catching us? Why the rush to get out if we weren’t going to actually, you know, GET OUT?”
  2053. >”Oh, no rush to get out,” he corrects, shaking his head. “Just to *clock* out. We still have…”
  2054. >He checks his watch.
  2055. >”… fifteen minutes. Fuck. Well, anything else we need?”
  2056. “Hoookies?”
  2057. >It’s hard to talk with your mouth full of bagged chips, but -
  2058. >”What!? No!”
  2059. >That fucker.
  2060. “HOOKEES!”
  2061. >You’ve been a good mare. You deserve them.
  2062. >Anon glares before yanking the bag from your mouth and dropping it on your bag.
  2063. >”Okay, try again. I’m hoping I heard you wrong.”
  2064. “Cookies, dumbass!”
  2065. >”Oh. Okay, good. Yeah. Sure.”
  2066. >He chuckles awkwardly as he stands back up.
  2067. >”Yeah, we can afford cookies.”
  2068. “What did you think I said?”
  2069. >”I… uh… you don’t want to know.”
  2070. “Okaaaaay…”
  2071. >You would shrug again, but you’ve learned your lesson.
  2072. >”Come on, let’s go pick out some cookies.”
  2073. “Sure.”
  2074. >He reaches into the cooler and grabs a six-pack of pisscider.
  2075. >Makes you feel almost embarrassed to be trotting after him.
  2076. >More than the leash, even.
  2077. >Fuck this.
  2078. >You’ve been a good pony. You deserve more than cookies.
  2079. >”Anything else you can think of?”
  2080. “Yeah. On the way home…”
  2081. >”What?”
  2082. “Let’s get some hookers.”
  2083. >”Let’s not.”
  2084. “Oh, right. Fluttershy.”
  2085. >”Yeah.”
  2086. “Yeah.”
  2087. >”It wouldn’t be polite if we didn’t get her one, too.”
  2088. “Aaaaand that would get expensive.”
  2089. >”Yep.”
  2090. “Fine, let’s just stick with the cookies.”
  2091. >”I’d appreciate that.”
  2092.  
  2093. >You stare blankly at the cookie aisle.
  2094. >”Anon?”
  2095. >A hoof pokes at your leg.
  2096. >”Hey, Anon?”
  2097. >Oh, right, that’s you.
  2098. “What?”
  2099. >”Pick something.”
  2100. “I would, but…”
  2101. >You wave an arm at the shelves.
  2102. >There’s a lot of variety and you haven’t the faintest idea what Fluttershy would like.
  2103. >Besides the d, that is, and you aren’t giving her that.
  2104. >Oh, you could get snack cakes instead!
  2105. >She’d probably love Ding Dongs!
  2106. “Hey, Berry –“
  2107. >”ANON! THERE YOU ARE!”
  2108. “Fuck.”
  2109. >”Fuck,” your little pink pony agrees with a sigh. “I guess we’re in for it now.”
  2110. “Nah.”
  2111.  
  2112. >You watch as the manager starts yelling at Anon.
  2113. >Well, not yelling, but talking louder than he probably should.
  2114. >You watch as Anon sighs and reaches into his bag with his empty hand.
  2115. >”Look, are you going to take care of –“
  2116. >You watch as he pulls out a hand puppet.
  2117. >>”Sorry, but Anon can’t talk to you right now! He’s off the clock and that’s…”
  2118. >Wow, he’s moving the little mouth just right and everything, all without even making eye contact with… uh… whatshisname or setting down the cider.
  2119. >”Anon!”
  2120. >>”And that’s. Against. The. Law!”
  2121. >Little puppet hands clasp a little puppet face in an expression of pure horror.
  2122. >”Hey, Berry,” Anon say, turning his head to look at you, “grab those Nutterbutters, will you? Bitches love Nutterbutters.”
  2123. >”Anon!”
  2124. >>”Anon isn’t available right now! Please leave a message at the sound of a fuck being given.”
  2125. >”Oh, and Berry?”
  2126. >He starts walking.
  2127. >You follow – like you really have any choice, what with the leash and everything – grabbing the cookies and chasing after him.
  2128. >”Let’s get some Ding Dongs and eggs on the way up front.”
  2129. “H-hure.”
  2130. >It’s hard to talk with your mouth full of cookies.
  2131. >You look over your shoulder – and the chips – warily, but the manager isn’t following.
  2132. >Huh.
  2133. >“What?”
  2134. ”Ah head hure.”
  2135. >“Here, give me those.”
  2136. >A little puppet snatches the cookies from your mouth with its own.
  2137. >Okay, that’s starting to get a little creepy.
  2138. >Its beady little eyes stare into yours for a fraction of a second too long.
  2139. “Are… are you going to take that off?”
  2140. >He looks at you. He looks at the puppet.
  2141. >The puppet looks back.
  2142. >>”No.”
  2143. >You shudder, nearly dropping the chips gain.
  2144. >It's those eyes - those tiny, black, STARING eyes.
  2145. "Could you NOT do that?"
  2146. >"I could do many things," Anon answers, straightening."
  2147. >>"But I won't stop. I'll never stop."
  2148. "I'll let you have the rest of the mango rum."
  2149. >"Promise you won't touch a drop?
  2150. "Cross my heart and hope to fly."
  2151. >"Deal."
  2152. >The puppet is off in a flash, somehow without Anon setting down the cookies it was holding in its mouth - or, er, his hand.
  2153. >"You do know I picked up another bottle yesterday, right?"
  2154. "Sundammit!"
  2155.  
  2156. >You are waiting patiently in the breakroom.
  2157. >Really shouldn't be here, on account of being off the clock and all, but fuck the police.
  2158. >That rule doesn't make any sense anyway.
  2159. >The one about no alcohol in the breakroom makes slightly more since, but since you're already fucking the police... fuck the police.
  2160. >You're just about to crack open the cookies and partake of nutterbuttery goodness when a soft voice at your elbow almost makes you spill the cider you're not drinking. Nope, not drinking that at all.
  2161. >"Anon...?"
  2162. "Oh!"
  2163. >You put the bottle back in the six-pack.
  2164. >You hadn't actually opened it, so everything's... fine...? Fine enough.
  2165. "You finally out?"
  2166. >The little butterpone nods.
  2167. >"Finally," Berry grumbles before grabbing the handle of her bag in her mouth. "He her hwattin horreher!"
  2168. >You roll your eyes at the mare - she *knows* it's hard to understand her when she's doing that.
  2169. >"HWAT?"
  2170. "Nothing. You ready to go, Flutters?"
  2171. >"Um... *almost*."
  2172. >She tilts her head to the right and brushes back her mane with her hoof.
  2173. >And then she holds that pose.
  2174. "Okay, I think I'm missing something here?"
  2175. >She blinks those big eyes of hers.
  2176. >"Um..."
  2177. >And then you see the black collar around her neck. Well, not *see* so much as actually become aware of.
  2178. >You’ve gotten so used to them, you just tuned it out.
  2179. "Oh, right. Laws."
  2180. >"GHE, HYU HREMEMBREWD MINE!"
  2181. d>You still have no idea what your pony is saying, but you figure that's probably okay. Definitely not important.
  2182. >If she really wanted you to understand even a single fucking word, she'd put the damn bag down.
  2183. >Fluttershy waits patiently while you fumble in yours for the extra leash her owner had given you this morning.
  2184. >Ah, there it is.
  2185. >And then she continues to wait patiently while you attach it to her collar.
  2186. >It's a pain in the ass, which is why you make Berry put hers on herself.
  2187. >"And you still have the letter, right Anon?"
  2188. "Yeah."
  2189. >Her owner had left that with you, too, just in case you had to prove you had permission to watch her.
  2190. >He seemed suspiciously happy to hand her care over to a stranger he'd never met before.
  2191. >Almost worried you.
  2192. >Shit, it HAD worried you.
  2193. >God, you hope you don't get raped tonight.
  2194. >With a click, the simple clasp of the leash finally hooks on to Fluttershy's collar.
  2195. >That took too fucking long. Almost embarrassing really.
  2196. >It's been a long day.
  2197. >They're all long days.
  2198. >You work retail. Even the holidays are fucking long days.
  2199. “Alrighty girls, let’s go get pissed.”
  2200.  
  2201. >Halfway home, you realize you’re explaining your life story to a pony.
  2202. >Little butterpone has can be disarming when she wants to be.
  2203. >”But if you hate it so much, Anon, why do you still work there?”
  2204. “Because…”
  2205. >There’s a moment’s weakness where you’re tempted to punt her into traffic and scream that you don’t have to explain shit, but it’s quickly overcome.
  2206. >Those fucking sad puppydog eyes would be too much.
  2207. “Um, benefits. You know, insurance and shit.”
  2208. >”I’m sure you could get another job with insurance somewhere else, if you just looked.”
  2209. “Yeah, but that’s the problem, I’d have to have the energy.”
  2210. >”Well, if you –“
  2211. “Eight years, Fluttershy. I’ve been working there eight fucking years, bouncing from position to position. I’ve done everything. I’ve seen everything. I have the experience – I *could* get a job somewhere nicer, but…”
  2212. >”What?”
  2213. >”Yeh, wha?”
  2214. “I wouldn’t necessarily be able to find someplace that would let me work with Berry.”
  2215. >”HONT HYU BRAN IES OHN EE!”
  2216. >”Oh.”
  2217. >Little butterpony is sad.
  2218. “Well, uh, what about you? Why do you work there?”
  2219. >Nothing cheers people up like shared bitching.
  2220. >Little hooves tap on the sidewalk without any answer.
  2221. >You don’t really need one after Berry spots the liquor store and picks up the pace, almost jerking her leash out of your hand.
  2222. “Nevermind, it’s kind of obvious. I guess you didn’t have a choice.”
  2223. >”Not… really,” Fluttershy mumbles. “My owner’s daughter… she… um… she got bored with me.”
  2224. “And?”
  2225. >The little pony stops, turns, and looks you square in the eyes.
  2226. >“NEVER buy a pet for a child that does not want it.”
  2227. >And that day, at that very moment, with that tiny little pony staring solid hate into your soul, you swore to never do such a thing.
  2228. >Also, you gained a new respect – and fear – of the customer service team.
  2229. “So, uh…”
  2230. >Your arm is being torn from your body by one mare and the other has you pinned in place with her stare of death.
  2231. >Kind of hurts.
  2232. >”NEVER, Anon.”
  2233. “Don’t worry, I won’t ever have kids.”
  2234. >The mare’s eyes travel up and down the length of your body before she nods slightly.
  2235. >Okay, that’s a little fucking insulting.
  2236. >”I’m just lucky ponies can get jobs,” Fluttershy sighs, turning away from you and trotting after Berry Punch. “Otherwise…”
  2237. “Otherwise?”
  2238. >The mare’s head dips, her mane almost dragging along the concrete.
  2239. >”What usually happens to pets whose owners don’t want them anymore?”
  2240. “Oh.”
  2241. >Thoughts of feral pony packs roaming the streets dance in your mind before being replaces with a mental image of someone trying to flush Fluttershy like a dead goldfish.
  2242. >”But… you know… it’s okay…”
  2243. >The pony tries to smile up at you encouragingly.
  2244. >”Now I’m an investment, not a pet.”
  2245. “That’s depressing as fuck, Flutterbutt.”
  2246. >”Yeah…”
  2247. ”Don’t worry, I know how to cheer you up.”
  2248. >”O-oh…?”
  2249. “Yeah, I’ve got an excellent positive attitude.”
  2250.  
  2251. >Be at the far end of the leash, and still not far enough away to not hear that.
  2252. >You drop the bag and spin around to face Anon.
  2253. “Bullshit!”
  2254.  
  2255. >You return your mare’s outraged glare.
  2256. “Fuck you, Berry, my attitude is out-fucking-standing.”
  2257. >”Um… I don’t mean to be rude, but I have to agree with her, Anon.”
  2258. “Oh fuck you, too. I’ll have you know my last annual review made special mention of my ‘excellent positive attitude’!”
  2259. >”I’ve seen you tell people to go fuck themselves,” butterpone mumbles softly.
  2260. “But I did it with a smile!”
  2261. >”Didn’t you threaten to beat that driver to death with his own cock?”
  2262. “And I was smiling!”
  2263. >”More like a psychotic grin.”
  2264. “Yeah, a smile!”
  2265. >The two ponies look askance at each other.
  2266. >”Not worth it,” Berry mumbles.
  2267. >”Not worth it,” the other agrees.
  2268. “Oh fuck you two.”
  2269. >”I’ll pass.”
  2270. >”I… um…”
  2271. >Berry elbows – knees? – the other mare.
  2272. >”No…” Fluttershy mumbles, “but thank you.”
  2273. “That’s not… wait… what? I wasn’t – gaaaah!”
  2274. >You throw your hands into the air.
  2275. “Fuck it, let’s get home and get wasted.”
  2276.  
  2277. >Fluttershy creeps in behind you.
  2278. “Just shut the door after you, Flutters, and – oh, goddammit, Berry, let me help you with that!”
  2279. >”No, I almost… grr…”
  2280. >Her leash’s latch slips from her hooves.
  2281. >She can get it on easily enough, but off is an entirely different matter.
  2282. “Look, just move your hooves and I’ll –“
  2283. >”I can do this!”
  2284. “You probably shouldn’t be able to!”
  2285. >”Yeah, but I can do this!“
  2286. >You facepalm. Hard.
  2287. “Flutterbutt, why don’t you go look at the DVDs”
  2288. >You wave your other, unfacepalming hand off to the right, roughly in the right direction of your DVD collection.
  2289. “See if there’s anything you want to watch. This is…”
  2290. >Fuck, she’s using her teeth now.
  2291. “… this is going to take a while.”
  2292.  
  2293. >Berry Punch has been successfully unleashed, with absolutely NO FUCKING HELP from her end.
  2294. >The groceries have been put away – that she did help with, not that there was much to put away. Just the eggs and the cider, because fuck warm cider.
  2295. >You aren’t Canadian.
  2296. >And fuck ice.
  2297. >And fuck Berry Punch.
  2298. >Probably going to have a fucking bruise from where she kicked you.
  2299. >Mare needs to learn to calm the fuck down.
  2300. >A cold one in both hands – and they’re both yours, goddammit, you earned them – and popcorn in the microwave and you’re good to join the two ponies in the living room.
  2301. >… and… apparently half of your DVD collection piled on the table.
  2302. “I guess you found something you liked?”
  2303. >”Maybe,” Fluttershy answers, nodding demurely.
  2304. >Aww, shit, she still has her leash on.
  2305. >You set down your beers and reach for – fuck.
  2306. >”Thanks, Anon,” Berry smirks, drinking down one of your HARD EARNED ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES.
  2307. >You’ll beat her for that later.
  2308. >Well, she’ll drunkenly stumble into a door all on her own. That’s good enough.
  2309. >Right now, you have a leash to unhook.
  2310. >You steel your soul and prepare for… well… okay, that was easy.
  2311. >Fluttershy tilted her head to one side, exposing the latch, and waited calmly for you to undo it.
  2312. >No flailing, no yelling, no *biting*.
  2313. “Damn, I wish you were my pony instead of –“
  2314. >On fucking cue, Berry lets out a belch of epic pony proportions. That is to say, tiny and cute, but fucking loud and gross at the same time.
  2315. >“I’m just going to pretend I didn’t hear that,” Fluttershy mumbles, going back to looking over the amassed movies.
  2316. >Looks like she pulled about half your damn collection down, and… and they’re all anime.
  2317. >Everything from the Ghibli classics to stuff you probably should keep hidden.
  2318. >”What’s this one about, Anon?” she asks, nudging Ghost Talker’s Daydream with her hoof. “It sounds weird.”
  2319. “It’s about a psychic dominatrix detective that can’t grow pubic hair.”
  2320. >”O-oh…”
  2321. “But considering the concept, it’s VERY tastefully done!”
  2322. >Smooth.
  2323. >Totally covered that up.
  2324. >”And… and this one?”
  2325. “Oh, Mnemosyne? That’s… uh… here, let me have that one. And… yeah, Doomed Megalopolis. Genocyber. Oh, and Geist. No way am I letting you see that. Wait. *And* fucking Juden-chan? Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan? Magical Witch Punie-chan? Fucking hell, you really did grab every bit of anime I had, didn’t you?”
  2326. >”Yes,” the butterpone mumbles, her shoulders slumping. Or are they melting? “Sorry… I just got excited… sorry…”
  2327. “I guess you like this stuff?”
  2328. >”Mhm,” she answers, her head drooping even further. “I don’t get to watch TV during the day, only at night when everyone else is asleep, and…”
  2329. “Toonami?”
  2330. >The mare nods.
  2331. >”It was the only thing I could find that wasn’t... *horrible*. I mean, wait, oh dear, that sounds wrong. I enjoy it! What I meant was –“
  2332. “No, I get it. I’ve done the same, but damn, you’ve been staying up late.”
  2333. >Another nod.
  2334. >”I guess that explains why you always look so tired,” Berry comments, before – OH FUCK HER, SHE’S DRINKING YOUR SECOND BEER.
  2335. >”Yeah,” Fluttershy murmurs, shrinking in on herself even more, “but it’s… nice… having something to myself.”
  2336. “I can only imagine.”
  2337. >You glare pure hate at your alcoholic roommate pet slave mooch thing.
  2338. “Would be nice if I could actually drink some of my own booze around here.”
  2339. >”It was getting warm,” Berry snaps back with an apathetic shrug. “We aren’t in fucking Canada, you know.”
  2340. “Point, but I’m still going to hate you forever.”
  2341. >”That’s okay, I hate myself,” the mare answers, shrugging again. “After all, I work retail, so…”
  2342. “Shut up and go get some replacements for what you just drank. And… Fluttershy?”
  2343. >The mare tilts her head to the side, listening attentively even though she doesn’t raise her eyes.
  2344. “Could you go with her to get the popcorn and stuff?”
  2345. >You need to make some of these things disappear before Fluttershy gets a chance to actually read their descriptions.
  2346.  
  2347. >Three minutes and thirty frantically hidden DVDs later, you present Fluttershy with your suggestions.
  2348. “Now, you’ve been watching Toonami, and for the most part that means shonen shit, so these will be a little different…”
  2349. >The pony looks over the small stack you’ve pushed over to her – and then at the larger pile.
  2350. >Fuck, she looks so sad.
  2351. >Admittedly, that’s how she always looks, but something about it really hits you this time.
  2352. “I’m not saying you can’t watch those, just that I think these ones might be better. And shorter. No sense starting up some fuckhuge series we can’t finish.”
  2353. >Besides, bitches LOVE Ghibli.
  2354. >Wait. Shit. Why is Grave of the Fireflies in the smaller pile?
  2355. >You slowly settle into the sofa and grab the beer Berry brought.
  2356. >She even took the cap off for you.
  2357. >Good po -
  2358. "Bad pony."
  2359. >Fluttershy cowers abruptly, hiding - well, trying to - behind the small pile of Ghibli films.
  2360. "No, not you."
  2361. >You point your half-empty bottle at Berry.
  2362. "Her."
  2363. >Your mare shrugs and twists off the cap of a new bottle using just her mouth.
  2364. "Dammit, that's mine!"
  2365. >"You have the rum," she gurgles.
  2366. >You... uh... have no idea how she's talking and drinking at the same time, but she's right.
  2367. >Fuck this weak shit.
  2368. >You go to set the bottle down - but it shouldn't go to waste.
  2369. "Fine, Berry, finish -"
  2370. >Nah, fuck her.
  2371. "Here, Fluttershy!"
  2372. >You set the bottle on top of the Ghibli stack.
  2373. "This is for you!"
  2374. >Slowly, she lifts her head up from behind the pile to stare at the bottle.
  2375. >Her eyes cross.
  2376. >"Um... thank you...?"
  2377. "Finish that, and I'll bring you some cider."
  2378. >"O-okay..."
  2379. >She reaches for the bottle with both forehooves - and sets it off to one side.
  2380. >"I'm just going to pick a movie first, if you don't mind."
  2381. >She turns over the first case and thoroughly reads over the description.
  2382. "This is going to take a while, isn't it?"
  2383. >"Sorry..."
  2384. "Nah, don't be."
  2385. >You have rum to get.
  2386. >She's so engrossed in looking over the movies that she doesn't react as you jump to your feet and skip - THAT'S RIGHT, FUCKING SKIP - out of the room and all the way to the booze safe.
  2387. >It's not locked. Not even shut.
  2388. >No point, since Berry spends her days at work with you now. Not like it ever managed to stop her anyway.
  2389. >Fucking reality bending tiny magical horses.
  2390. >There it is - your old bottle of mango rum.
  2391. >Aaaaaaand behind it... yes, oh sweet day... a full bottle that Berry hadn't found.
  2392. >They're both yours. All yours.
  2393. >Maybe you'll share some with Flutternutter.
  2394. >Maybe not.
  2395. >It's yours and you don't have to share.
  2396. >A bottle in each hand, you skip - LIKE A FUCKING MAN - back to the living room.
  2397. >And through it.
  2398. >She's still looking her choices over.
  2399. >You've got time to get some MOTHERFUCKING MIXERS.
  2400. >But what?
  2401. >Let's fucking see.
  2402. >You set the bottles down - no, wait, bad idea. Fucking ponies are everywhere.
  2403. >You set down the nearly empty bottle, but keep a firm grip on the full one, and open up the fridge.
  2404. "So... hmm."
  2405. >Well, there's Sprite. Everything mixes with Sprite.
  2406. "Hmmmmmmmmmmmm."
  2407. >While you're here, might as well grab that cider for Flutters. And a second, because she'll drink the first eventually and getting up to get another bottle is for shits that don't spend all day on their feet working fucking retail.
  2408. >You aren't getting up again.
  2409. >Better get everything you're going to need now.
  2410. >Like prickly pear puree, fuck yeah.
  2411. >Oh, and coconut rum, because that shit is the sprite of rums.
  2412. >Mixes with damn near everything. There's a reason you keep that bottle in the fridge.
  2413. >Grenadine? Skip! Why is it even here? You have a bottle of that under the table in the living room.
  2414. >Ooooh.
  2415. >Ginger ale.
  2416. >And - oops, nope. Nearly dropped a bottle when you reached for the green apple mix.
  2417. >When you're having trouble carrying everything, that's when you have enough mixers.
  2418. >You manage to grab the partial bottle of mango rum by the neck between the ring and index finger of your left hand and then - nopenopenope.
  2419. >Too overloaded for skipping.
  2420. >Instead, you settle for a FIRM, YET JOVIAL STRIDE, and then nearly drop everything onto the table in a catastrophic example of why multiple trips aren't always a bad idea.
  2421. >But no, you don't. Just almost.
  2422. >Fuck yeah, ONE TRIP.
  2423. "Got a movie picked out, Flutters?"
  2424. >"I... think so...?"
  2425. >She picks up one with her mouth.
  2426. >"Cawn hwe hwatck his won?"
  2427. "Nausicaa? Sure. Just let me put these down and I'll - shit."
  2428. >You forgot to get a glass, dumbass.
  2429. >"Eww."
  2430. >"Please don't."
  2431. "No, I... you know what? Fuck you two."
  2432. >Berry giggles drunkenly.
  2433. >Fluttershy looks up at you with her big, sad eyes. She sets the DVD down on the top of the stack and sighs.
  2434. >"Okay," she murmurs.
  2435. >The mare raises herself up and turns around, lifting -
  2436. "No! GAH! Not what I meant!"
  2437. >Berry laughs. That bitch.
  2438. >Fluttershy giggles. THAT BITCH!
  2439. >You dump your bottles on the table and snatch the movie from the table.
  2440. >Ewwww.
  2441. >Pony spit.
  2442. >Flutters squeals as you wipe it off on her mane.
  2443. >You crack open the now dry case and pop in the DVD.
  2444. >Yes, DVD.
  2445. >No, not Bluray.
  2446. >You work retail.
  2447. >You think you can afford a fucking Bluray player?
  2448. >No, you don't think that, because you know you work retail and that means you can't have nice things.
  2449. >You let the autoplay launch into previews - might help the little butterpone pick out the next movie - and head back into the kitchen for a clean glass.
  2450. >You get three.
  2451. >Fuck if you know why.
  2452. >Berry doesn't deserve any.
  2453. >But while you're here...
  2454. >Yeah, you grab a few more mixers. And chips. And the cookies.
  2455. >Why the fuck did you leave the cookies in here?
  2456. >You can't eat them if they're in here.
  2457. >And so, arms overloaded once again, you stumble - BUT IN A MANLY FASHION - back into the living room.
  2458. >"Um... Anon...?" Fluttershy asks, sitting directly in front of the TV like some 5 year old that wants to ruin their eyes.
  2459. "No, I got this. Thanks though."
  2460. >"What?" she asks, turning her head around to face you like a fucking owl or some shit. "Oh, sorry!"
  2461. >She starts to stand before remembering you'd already turned her down.
  2462. >The mare falls down on her rump with a thud.
  2463. >She stays quiet while you set everything down, but her tail lashes back and forth like a coked up puppy with a new toy.
  2464. "Okay, what is it?"
  2465. >"Um..."
  2466. >She pokes at the screen with one hoof.
  2467. >Not actually touching it though, thank Bacchus.
  2468. >There are two options displayed.
  2469. >Ah, right.
  2470. >"Are we going to watch this subtitled or dubbed?" Fluttershy asks. "Also, what's dubbed?"
  2471. "Dubbed. Dubbed is anime for drunk people."
  2472. >"Oh," she grunts. "Okay."
  2473. >You grab the remote off the sofa's arm and select dubbed, because fuck weeaboo animu puristos or whatever they call themselves.
  2474. >Besides, Patrick Stewart.
  2475. >And... all those other people. Famous people, but fuck all if you can remember their names.
  2476. >You lean back into the sofa and relax as the movie starts up.
  2477. >This is nice, or it would be, if Flutterbutt's head didn't block a good quarter of the TV.
  2478. >Yeah, your TV is small.
  2479. >You work retail. You can't... yadda yadda.
  2480. >Actually, it's not that small.
  2481. >Retail has its benefits, like being able to snag marked down stuff on the cheap.
  2482. >No, the TV isn't really all that small, she just has a big head.
  2483. "Hey, Flutters?"
  2484. >"Hmm?"
  2485. "Why don't you take a seat?"
  2486. >"I'm fine here."
  2487. "But I... uh..."
  2488. >She's fucking GLUED to the screen.
  2489. >So you pause it.
  2490. >THAT gets her attention.
  2491. >"Huh!?"
  2492. >Her head whips around.
  2493. "You're in the way. I can't see."
  2494. >"Oh!"
  2495. "Why don't you go sit over -"
  2496. >You gesture towards a chair off to the side, but she's already scooting under the table - and damn near tipping the thing over with that butt of hers.
  2497. "Don't... don't burrow under there like it's a damn pillow fort."
  2498. >Dammit, that sounds fun.
  2499. >You need a bigger coffee table.
  2500. >Her little yellow nose pokes out the near end, between your legs, followed by two pawing hooves.
  2501. >Eventually the rest of her emerges as she begins crawling up onto your lap.
  2502. >It all happens so fast.
  2503. >One minute you're trying to figure out what the fuck, the next, she's sliding off your lap onto the empty space between you and the sofa's arm.
  2504. >You look at the mare. She looks at the screen.
  2505. >Then she looks at you.
  2506. >Then the TV.
  2507. >Then she whines.
  2508. "You... uh... you could have gone around, you know."
  2509. >"Oh."
  2510. "Would have been easier."
  2511. >"Oh. Yeah. Probably."
  2512. >Another whine.
  2513. >"Just start it again or she'll start crying," Berry sighs. "Sun, I hope she isn't a weepy drunk."
  2514. >"I am not," Fluttershy answers, blindly reaching for her drink.
  2515. >Fucking hell, she can't even look away from a paused screen.
  2516. >"Left, Fluttershy!" Berry shouts. "No, no, the other left! A little further, now -"
  2517. "You aren't helping."
  2518. >The bottle is to the right.
  2519. >"I'm supposed to be helping?"
  2520. >Fluttershy whines softly - probably because the movie is still paused, now that you think about it, but you lean forward and grab her beer for her anyway.
  2521. "Here."
  2522. >"Aw, that's..."
  2523. "Heartwarming?"
  2524. >"Nah," Berry grunts. "Disappointing. You ruined my fun."
  2525. "Berry, play nice."
  2526. >"But she's Customer Service."
  2527. "No, she isn't."
  2528. >You wad up the closest wadable thing and throw it at the mare's head.
  2529. >The dirty napkin - ew, you should have cleaned up before bringing Fluttershy over - sticks in Berry's mane.
  2530. >She shrugs.
  2531. >And burps.
  2532. >"Pretty sure Fluttershy is still customer service."
  2533. "She's off the clock. That makes her our friend."
  2534. >Berry shrugs and turns her attention back to her beer.
  2535. >"Fine. She's our friend."
  2536. >"Yay."
  2537. >"Shut up, Fluttershy. No one cares."
  2538. >"Don't care."
  2539. >This is weird. Berry isn't normally a surly, pissy little shit of a drunk.
  2540. >No, pretty cheerful, usually, until she's walked into the same wall three times because "EXCUSE ME MISTER, I'M TRYING TO WALK HERE" has no effect on drywall.
  2541. >"Hey," Fluttershy whispers, prodding your thigh with her hoof. "Play."
  2542. "What?"
  2543. >"Play."
  2544. "Huh?"
  2545. >"Movie."
  2546. "Oh."
  2547. >You hit the button before Flutterpone pokes you again.
  2548. >Berry is glaring at you.
  2549. >Meh. She's probably pissy because the rum is ALL YOURS!
  2550. >You would cackle maniacally, but you were raised better than that.
  2551. >No talking during the movie, and yes, maniacal laughter counts. Normal laughter is okay.
  2552. >You chuckle and swirl the bottle around for Berry to see.
  2553. >"Hush."
  2554. >POKE.
  2555. >Well now, apparently you have to amend the rules a bit.
  2556. >Ooooor throw a pony out on her ample ass.
  2557. >Choices, choices...
  2558. >Meh, you can't be expected to make choices sober. They might accidentally be something logical, like getting a new job.
  2559. >You stretch forward, grab one of the small glasses and hold it out to Nuttershy. Not quite in front of her, but close enough that you hope she'll actually notice it.
  2560. >Her eyes never waver from the screen.
  2561. >Well, questions are allowed, too. Were. You'll see.
  2562. >Probably not. You brace for another jab.
  2563. "Want me to mix you -"
  2564. >She licks it.
  2565. >And again.
  2566. >Then whines when her tongue finds the glass empty.
  2567. "Okay then."
  2568. >Looks like a yes.
  2569. >You set that glass down - to the side of the rest. (Pony spit does not a good mixer make.)
  2570. >(Actually, are you sure about that?)
  2571. >(Not like you've tried it.)
  2572. >(Probably not, though.)
  2573. >(Yeah, not trying that.)
  2574. >(Not sober.)
  2575. >ANYWAY.
  2576. >MOVING ON.
  2577. >You pour a measure of mango rum into all three glasses, killing off the bottle.
  2578. >A valiant and truer companion there never was.
  2579. >You toss it over your shoulder and grab the next bottle.
  2580. >Fluttershy's focus is squarely on the the movie as you work The Magicks.
  2581. >Berry's is on you - and keeping her frown from bringing shame to any of the other characters from 2000 AD.
  2582. >A little bit of mango rum, a dash of coconut... hmm... oh.
  2583. >Sprite.
  2584. >How could you forget?
  2585. >Everything uses Sprite.
  2586. >EVERYTHING.
  2587. >Somehow, Berry's expression gets even angrier as you hand Fluttershy her glass, the little mare taking it between both forehooves and lapping from it like a dog.
  2588. >You grab the next glass and slide - NOPE, BAD IDEA. Flutters starts to lean as you move away, nearly tipping her glass over.
  2589. >Apparently, you are LOAD BEARING and Fluttershy cannot sit up on her own.
  2590. >You knew she lacked a spine, but that seems a little extreme.
  2591. >Instead, you are wave Berry over and gesture to the glass - let it never be said that you are not the most Merciful and Generous of Men - but the mare shakes her head.
  2592. >Ungrateful swine!
  2593. >Stubborn girl won't abandon HER chair even for mango rum.
  2594. >You should have expected shenanigans when she made a little flag and taped it to the back of the seat.
  2595. >She stretches as far as she can. You stretch as far as you can - without tipping over the meltypone.
  2596. >Somehow miracles happen.
  2597. >The glass ends up in her hoof.
  2598. >No spillage.
  2599. >Praise Thor.
  2600. >"I thought I wasn't getting any of this," Berry mumbles, earning you another poke in the thigh.
  2601. >"Shush," Fluttershy hisses.
  2602. "But I -!"
  2603. >Poke.
  2604. >The mare pulls her muzzle away from of her glass long enough to whisper, "Movie. Hush."
  2605. "She's the one -"
  2606. >Poke.
  2607. >Fuck it!
  2608. >People poke ponies, not the other way around!
  2609. >You scoot away so she can't poke you.
  2610. >Bad idea.
  2611. >She falls.
  2612. >You can deal with that.
  2613. >She falls with her head in your lap.
  2614. >That part is a little awkward.
  2615. >She doesn't move.
  2616. >That ratchets things up to Pretty Fucking Awkward.
  2617. >Luckily, her glass - still clutched between her forehooves and held up to her mouth because dedication you guess? - anyway, it's empty, or this might have skipped that step and gone straight to NOPE.
  2618. >Still Pretty Fucking Awkward though.
  2619. "Um, Fluttershy, could you -"
  2620. >POKE.
  2621. >"Hush."
  2622. >And that’s how you watch that movie.
  2623. >Buttershy’s head in your lap, a beer in your hand (because mixing drinks is fucking hard when there’s a pony jabbing you every time you move), and Berry Punch’s disapproving glare boring in to you.
  2624. >Either she’s jealous or she thinks you’re gonna take advantage of the tiniest otaku.
  2625. >”Gimme ‘nother, Anon.”
  2626. >Or she just wants you to mix her a drink.
  2627. >Which you can’t do.
  2628. >POKE.
  2629. >”Hush.”
  2630. “I didn’t –!”
  2631. >POKE.
  2632. >You give up.
  2633. >Like the narration up above says, that’s how you watch the rest of that movie.
  2634. >By the time the movie ends and Fluttershy finally sits the fuck up, your legs have gone numb.
  2635. >That’s probably why the damp spot on your lamp is a complete and total surprise.
  2636. “Um… Fluttershy, did I… um…”
  2637. >”Sorry,” the mare mumbles. “I was crying.”
  2638. “Oh, thank fuck.”
  2639.  
  2640. >You try not to laugh.
  2641. >You fail.
  2642. “Ha! Anon, if you had to go to the bathroom, why didn’t you say anything?”
  2643. >Whatever. In for a bit, in for a lot of bits.
  2644. >”Shut up and get me a towel or something or you know what?”
  2645. “Gotta go to the bathroom?”
  2646. >”No. Fuck pants. I’m home and home is a no-pants zone.”
  2647. >”Please don’t.”
  2648. >”What!?” Anon growls at the other mare. “Berry isn’t wearing any pants. You aren’t wearing any pants. Why should I have to wear pants?”
  2649. >Man has a point.
  2650. >”Flutterbutter –“
  2651. >”Flutter*shy*.”
  2652. >”- whatever, pick out another anime. I’m gonna throw these pants in the laundry and grab some more beers from the –“
  2653. >”I’ve already picked one.”
  2654. >Anon stops mid-stride, one foot up in the air defying gravity.
  2655. >Reminds you of some of the ponies you used to know.
  2656. >You take a drink.
  2657. >”Um, that was fast. What?”
  2658. >”Cat Planet Cuties. It sounds adorable.”
  2659. >She’s right. It does.
  2660. >Almost like something from back home.
  2661. >You take another drink.
  2662. >”Seriously?”
  2663. >”Mhm.”
  2664. >”GONNA GO GET CLEAN PANTS ON. BERRY, GET SOME BEER.”
  2665. “Think I’m going to need something harder than that.”
  2666. >”THEN MIX US SOMETHING. GETTING NEW PANTS.”
  2667. >He runs off before you can point out that you DON’T HAVE HANDS.
  2668. >Well. Shit.
  2669. >You stare at the collection of tasty, tasty hooch and sigh.
  2670. “Close your eyes, Buttershy –“
  2671. >”Fluttershy.”
  2672. “ – whatever. This is going to get ugly.”
  2673. >She glances your direction, then at the bottles, then at you, then firmly at the DVD case.
  2674. >"Um... maybe I should put the DVD in?"
  2675. "How? You don't have hands."
  2676. >"Um..."
  2677. >Okay, you don't mix any drinks.
  2678. >Instead, you sit back and watch. Would be better if you had popcorn.
  2679. >Fuck yeah, there's some on the table!
  2680. >You grab the bowl and slump back in the seat to watch the fun unfold.
  2681. >Fluttershy fumbles with the case with both forehooves.
  2682. >You eat popcorn.
  2683. >Finally she gets is open.
  2684. >You eat more popcorn.
  2685. >"Um..."
  2686. "Yeah. Good luck."
  2687. >"Thanks..."
  2688. >She jabs at the tab with her hoof, over and over.
  2689. "Uh-huh, not so easy is it?"
  2690. >"I can do this."
  2691. "Uh-huh."
  2692. >She tries to poke at it with just the tip of her hoof.
  2693. >Still no luck. Not for her anyway. You've got plenty of luck, like Anon not coming back to ruin your fun.
  2694. >You laugh unabashedly as the other mare goes crosseyed trying to stare at the tab holding the DVD in place.
  2695. >"I can do this."
  2696. "Sure you can. I believe in you."
  2697. >She puts her hoof down and stares even more ferociously at the tab.
  2698. >"I can do this."
  2699. >And then she sticks her tongue out.
  2700. "What the hell are you -"
  2701. >"Goth it!" Fluttershy cheers merrily, DVD impaled on her tongue. "Thankth for beliefin in me!"
  2702. >She trots over to the DVD player humming a cheerful tune.
  2703. >Just like somepony would do back home.
  2704. "Shit."
  2705. >You take another drink.
  2706. >Maybe hanging out with other ponies isn't such a great idea, particularly her.
  2707. >"Uhhhhhhhh..."
  2708. "What?"
  2709. >"Can hew ohen the hayer?"
  2710. "What."
  2711. >"The hayer," Fluttershy repeats, poking at the - oh, fuck, right, that's what she meant.
  2712. "Yeah, yeah."
  2713. >You slide out your chair and trot over to the sofa where Anon left the remote. Takes a few tries, but eventually you hit the right button.
  2714. >"Hanks!"
  2715. >Dammit, show's over.
  2716. >Time to make some drinks.
  2717. >You need some drinks.
  2718.  
  2719. >You walk back in with clean pants and a shitton of questions about your life choices.
  2720. >And the choices of others.
  2721. >"Siddown, 'non," Berry slurs, waving you over to the sofa.
  2722. >"Yeah, siddown," Fluttershy softly agrees, patting the empty space between her and the other mare. "Let's watch the show."
  2723. "Is there supposed to be pony drool on my DVD player?"
  2724. >"Mhm, siddown. Let's watch."
  2725. "Uh... okay..."
  2726. >You make your way for the empty chair, but Fluttershy pats the empty space on the sofa again.
  2727. >"Here. Best view here."
  2728. "Then why don't you sit there? I've seen this before and -"
  2729. >"If I sit next to her, Berry will bite me again."
  2730. >What?
  2731. >WHAT!
  2732. "Wat."
  2733. >"I didn't bite her."
  2734. >"She growled."
  2735. "Berry..."
  2736. >"I didn't!"
  2737. >"She wanted to."
  2738. >"I wanted to."
  2739. "Berry."
  2740. >"Siddown."
  2741. >"Yeah, siddown."
  2742. >Fuck it.
  2743. >You siddo - uh, *sit down* between the two mares.
  2744. "Fine, but are you sure you want to watch this show? It's kind of... um..."
  2745. >Okay, how do you explain this to ponies?
  2746. >"Yeah," Fluttershy murmurs. "I wanna watch it."
  2747. >She's already in the zone, staring at menu screen with a single-minded focus, barely enough attention left over to hold the tumbler in her hooves.
  2748. "It's... um... I don't know if you'd like it. It's..."
  2749. >"Its a harem anime. I know. Play."
  2750. "What."
  2751. >"Play."
  2752. "Yeah, but there's nudity and -"
  2753. >Berry lightly bats the side of your head.
  2754. >"Anon."
  2755. "What."
  2756. >"Anon."
  2757. "What."
  2758. >"Anon."
  2759. "Don't just fucking kick me in head and say my name! What!?"
  2760. >"Anon, look at me."
  2761. "Why?"
  2762. >"Just look at me."
  2763. >Fuck. Fine. You look.
  2764. >Or glare.
  2765. >Yeah. Glare.
  2766. >That sounds more accurate.
  2767. >You *glare* at the mare.
  2768. >She shrugs.
  2769. >You try to pour every speck of hatred and anger into your furious expression, and. She. Fucking. Shrugs.
  2770. "What."
  2771. >"Am I wearing anything?"
  2772. "Oh. Kay. Point."
  2773. >POKE.
  2774. >"Play."
  2775. "But I don't want to make our guest uncomfortable and SOME PONY said something about not wanting me to take off -"
  2776. >POKE.
  2777. >"Play."
  2778. >You give up on life and hit play.
  2779. >God, this is going to be embarrassing.
  2780. "Fine. Berry?"
  2781. >"Hmm?"
  2782. "Drink."
  2783. >She pushes a tumbler into your open hand.
  2784. >"Play."
  2785. >You grab the remote with your other and settle back into the sofa.
  2786. >Damn broken-ass thing sags under your weight.
  2787. >It's fine with two people, but three?
  2788. >Both mares lean in towards you, not enough to tip over, but enough the sofa feels pretty fucking crowded.
  2789. "Sure you don't want me to sit -"
  2790. >POKE.
  2791. >POKE.
  2792. >"Play," the pair say in unison.
  2793. >Fucking creepy ponies and their weird-ass anime cults.
  2794. >You hit the button and toss the remote onto the table.
  2795. "Happy?"
  2796. >"Mhm," little Butterhush moans.
  2797. >"Not really," the other mare grumbles.
  2798. >POKE.
  2799. >"Hush."
  2800. >You glare at Fluttershy for a second, then over to Berry.
  2801. >BOOP.
  2802. >She scrunches with the fury of a thousand suns.
  2803. "Yeah. Hush."
  2804. >"But -"
  2805. >POKE.
  2806. >BOOP.
  2807. "Hush."
  2808.  
  2809. >You snatch up the remote and pause the show as the first episode comes to an end.
  2810. "So, I can stop this now, right? Want to pick out something else to -"
  2811. >POKE.
  2812. >"No," Fluttershy answers with a shake of her head. "Play."
  2813. >GENTLE POKE.
  2814. >"Play."
  2815. "Fine."
  2816. >You sigh and hold out your empty glass to Berry Punch.
  2817. "I'm gonna need another."
  2818. >Berry sighs and scootches forward on the sofa.
  2819. >"Fine. Hold it steady."
  2820. >She picks up a bottle of ginger ale with her hooves - and the strawberry rum with her mouth.
  2821. >Ew.
  2822. >Pony spit all over your rum.
  2823. >Double ew.
  2824. >Ginger ale and strawberry rum?
  2825. >"It's not as bad as you'd think," Berry answers your raised eyebrow.
  2826. >POKE.
  2827. "Play?"
  2828. >"Drink?"
  2829. "Berry, another for our guest."
  2830. >"Fiiiiiiiiiine."
  2831. >NUDGE.
  2832. >What?
  2833. >The sudden change from POKING is -
  2834. >INSISTENT NUDGE!
  2835. "Play?"
  2836. >"Play," Yellowquiet sighs, giving in to gravity and snuggling up to your side.
  2837. >After two more episodes, the mare starts fidgeting.
  2838. >After the third, it becomes practically unbearable.
  2839. >After the fourth, you figure things out and pause the show.
  2840. "Fluttershy?"
  2841. >"Mmmm?"
  2842. "Go to the bathroom."
  2843. >Silence.
  2844. "You have to go, don't you?"
  2845. >"Yeah, but... do I have to go *here*?"
  2846. "FUCK NO. BATHROOM, DOWN THE HALL."
  2847. >You point. Then point again.
  2848. >Then use both hands.
  2849. "THAT WAY!"
  2850. >"Mmmmmkay."
  2851. >She rolls off the sofa and scampers away before the echoes of your shout die down.
  2852. >You and Berry Punch exchange looks.
  2853. >A door slams.
  2854. >"I hope she made it in time."
  2855. "Me too. Shit, I do NOT need to clean that up."
  2856. >She stares at you, her mouth slowly twisting into a frown.
  2857. "What?"
  2858. >Berry shrugs and looks away.
  2859. >"Well, at least I know you don't have a piss fetish. Probably."
  2860. "Wait, so that's your takeaway here?"
  2861. >Piss fetish? Where the fuck did that even come from?
  2862. >"Well, yeah," Berry sighs, staring into her nearly-empty glass. "That and you're way to nice to mares you barely even know."
  2863. "Luckily for everyone."
  2864. >"Huh?"
  2865. >She look up in confusion.
  2866. >"What does... oh..."
  2867. >Her head drops.
  2868. >"Yeah, I guess so."
  2869. >The mare swirls the dregs of her drink around in her tumbler.
  2870. >"I need another drink."
  2871. "Want me to mix you something?"
  2872. >"Nah, I got it."
  2873. >She sets her glass down next to yours and starts pouring, first into your glass, then into hers.
  2874. >"I... um... guess I've never actually thanked you or anything."
  2875. "For?"
  2876. >Her answer is to shove a glass into your hands.
  2877. >"Here. Drink."
  2878. "Thank me for what?"
  2879. >"You're a good friend."
  2880. >Yeah, you can drink to that.
  2881. "You too, Berry."
  2882. >Glasses clink gently - or not so gently, fine motor control is quickly becoming a lost technique of the ancients - yours held loosely in one hand, Berry's gripped between both forehooves.
  2883. >She downs the drink in one go. You... hesitate.
  2884. >Smells familiar. Sweet. Hard to pinpoint.
  2885. "What did you put in this?"
  2886. >"This n' that."
  2887. "... aaaand why are we almost out of mango rum?"
  2888. >Berry shrugs.
  2889. "That bottle was nearly full."
  2890. >She shrugs HARDER.
  2891. "Whatever."
  2892. >You knock back the drink.
  2893. "Make me another."
  2894. >"Yessuh, massah."
  2895. >She *could* just be slurring - that's an awful lot of rum for a little pony to drink in such a short time.
  2896. >On the other hand... oh, your other hand is holding a full glass.
  2897. >Cool.
  2898. "Tastes good."
  2899. >Sweet, but mellow.
  2900. >"Thanks, Anon."
  2901. >You're on your third before you notice Fluttershy is back.
  2902. >Halfway done before you notice her head is on your lap.
  2903. >Finishing up the glass when she nudges your thigh.
  2904. >"Play."
  2905. >You set your glass down on her head and reach for the remote.
  2906. >One rum-induced time-lapse later, you’re watching the credits scroll past. The *final* credits, you think, but you can’t be sure.
  2907. >Kinda fell asleep at one point. Maybe.
  2908. >The two mares certainly did.
  2909. >Berry is leaning up on your left shoulder and – ew – drooling.
  2910. >Why couldn’t you have ended up with a nice pony like Fluttershy?
  2911. >She’s sleeping quietly with her head in your lap. No drooling.
  2912. >”I wanna play with those ears.”
  2913. >HOLY SHIT SHE’S AWAKE.
  2914. “What!?”
  2915. >”Those ears,” the mare mumbles, waving a hoof in roughly the right direction of the TV, “I wanna play with them.”
  2916. “Um… you have ear of your own.”
  2917. >”Yeah, but I wanna play with *those*,” she giggles. “Kitty ears are fuzzy.”
  2918. “Your ears are kinda fuzzy.”
  2919. >”They are *not*!”
  2920. “They kinda are.”
  2921. >”It’s not the same,” she huffs. “They’re fuzzier.”
  2922. “Yeah, okay, they’re fuzzier.”
  2923. >”Mhm.”
  2924. >You take your glass off her head and set it on the table.
  2925. “Up.”
  2926. >”Time to put something else in?”
  2927. “Nope. Time for bed.”
  2928. >Fluttershy lets out a tired little moan.
  2929. “Come on, up. I’ll take the couch and you can sleep in my bed, but I need you to get up so I can stretch out.”
  2930. >”Nuh-uh.”
  2931. “Fine, then get up so *I* can go sleep in my bed. You can stay up and watch more, but I have to get to bed.”
  2932. >”Nuuuuuu. Be my pillow.”
  2933. >She wiggles slightly.
  2934. >”Comfy pillow.”
  2935. “No. Up.”
  2936. >“Awwww.”
  2937. >Slowly, Fluttershy shimmies aside, giving you just enough to rise.
  2938. “Berry…”
  2939. >You gently shake the other mare.
  2940. “Berrrrry…”
  2941. >You shake her a little rougher.
  2942. “BERRY!”
  2943. >You shake her like a goddamn baby seal.
  2944. >”Whaaaaaaa?”
  2945. “Go to bed.”
  2946. >”Uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh.”
  2947. >Berry slumps over, a controlled tumble across the arm of the sofa.
  2948. >She’s too tired to even try to hide the bottle of rum she smuggles away.
  2949. >You’re too tired to call her out on it.
  2950. >Just have to buy some more mango tomorrow.
  2951. >”G’narght.”
  2952. >You think that was a word. Several words. Maybe just a grunt.
  2953. “See you in the morning, Berry.”
  2954. >”Yeargh. Seadin.”
  2955. “Night, Flutterbutt.”
  2956. >”Good night, comfy pillow.”
  2957. >You lurch towards your room, your legs fighting with you every step of the way.
  2958. >Looks like they fell asleep before the rest of you.
  2959. >Lazy fuckers.
  2960.  
  2961. >It’s still dark outside when you wake.
  2962. >Which is impossible, because there is no fucking way you slept through the entire day, and nothing short of being murdered could wake you up before noon.
  2963. >Your bed shifts and creaks slightly as someone puts their weight on it.
  2964. >Someone not you.
  2965. >Shit, someone’s about to get murdered.
  2966. >Hopefully not you, but that doesn’t seem likely.
  2967. “Um…”
  2968. >"G'back t'slep," Berry drunkenly mumbles, crawling alongside you.
  2969. >Okay.
  2970. >Good.
  2971. >It's just your pony.
  2972. >Shit.
  2973. >It's your pony.
  2974. "Um... this isn't really appropriate...!"
  2975. >"Shaddap," the mare grunts, burrowing under your sheets and snuggling up against your side.
  2976. >You try to scoot away, but something has your legs pinned.
  2977. >Shit.
  2978. >Trapped.
  2979. >"Y'gawt n'right to talk 'bout 'propriate," Berry slurs as you lift yourself up to stare at the weight on your legs.
  2980. "Fuck. I guess not."
  2981. >"G'back t'sleep."
  2982. "Yeah. Okay."
  2983. >You know when you've been beat.
  2984. >With a sigh, you lower yourself back down.
  2985. "Good night, Berry."
  2986. >"G'night."
  2987. "Good night, Fluttershy."
  2988. >The mare curled up on your legs flicks her ears and lets out a tiny snore.
  2989.  
  2990. DRINK 7: I'M NOT INTO HERDING, I SWEAR
  2991.  
  2992. >Most mornings suck.
  2993. >Most mornings, you have to go in to work.
  2994. >Kinda puts a damper on the rest of the day.
  2995. >Fuck work.
  2996. >Not this morning, though.
  2997. >This morning is nice.
  2998. >No work.
  2999. >No screaming alarm clock.
  3000. >No backup screaming alarm clock.
  3001. >Yeah.
  3002. >This is a nice morning.
  3003. >Possibly even a *good* one.
  3004. >Nice warm bed.
  3005. >Fuzzy, cuddly pillows.
  3006. >It's too nice a morning to get up.
  3007. >You hug the pillow tighter.
  3008. >The pillow lets out a happy little purr.
  3009. >...
  3010. >Pillows purr, right?
  3011. >Okay, no, too silly. You can't even pretend to convince yourself of that.
  3012. >But it could be your cat.
  3013. >Yeah, your imaginary cat.
  3014. >Definitely not Berry Punch.
  3015. >Couldn't be.
  3016. >That'd be even sillier.
  3017. >Slowly, and against your better judgement - not that your judgement in the morning is usually any good to begin with, going from how you keep heading in to work in the mornings instead of calling in dead - you open your eyes.
  3018. >Praise the punchclock, it's not Berry.
  3019. >Oh.
  3020. >Fuck.
  3021. >You wish it was Berry.
  3022. >This is awkward.
  3023. "Um..."
  3024. >"Good morning," Flutterbutter murmurs softly, nuzzling your chest.
  3025. "So, uh, how drunk was I last night?"
  3026. >"I don't think you were."
  3027. "Oh. Okay. Good. So..."
  3028. >You try to scoot away.
  3029. >It's not very successful.
  3030. >Should have tried letting go of Flutterhush first.
  3031. >Or getting your leg out from between hers.
  3032. >Yeah. That's a better idea.
  3033. >Doesn't work so well in practice, though.
  3034. >POKE.
  3035. >"Um..."
  3036. "Shit, sorry."
  3037. >Fucking morning wood.
  3038. >"It's okay."
  3039. >It's not really okay.
  3040. >Awkward as fuck.
  3041. "Where's... uh... where's Berry?"
  3042. >Half worried she'll see and smack you.
  3043. >Half worried you'll need her help to get free.
  3044. >"Making breakfast," Nuttershy mumbles. "She told me to keep you warm."
  3045. "I... uh... wat."
  3046. >Berry is making breakfast?
  3047.  
  3048. >Flutters trots alongside as you amble into the kitchen.
  3049. "Whatcha making, Berry? Jackie'Os?"
  3050. >"Nah," she grunts back. "All out of Jack Daniels. Plenty of Cheerio's, though."
  3051. "Bah. Guess I'll have to go to the liquor store today."
  3052. >"I guess so. Now go sit. I'll have breakfast out in a bit."
  3053. >You wanna stick around to see how she actually cooks anything without hands - but you don't think of that until you're slumped over the table in the dining room.
  3054. >"Umm..."
  3055. >And then you forget about it, because apparently Flutterbutter is being weird again.
  3056. >Standing beside the table.
  3057. >Looking at you.
  3058. >Looking at it.
  3059. >Looking at a chair.
  3060. >Prodding it with her hoof.
  3061. >Almost - but not quite - rearing up to pull herself onto the seat.
  3062. >"Ummmm..."
  3063. "What."
  3064. >"I'm not usually allowed to eat at the table..."
  3065. “What.”
  3066. >Bullshit.
  3067. “That’s bullshit.”
  3068. >Fuck yeah mouth, way to repeat what the brain is thinking.
  3069. “That’s my job.”
  3070. >”Huh?”
  3071. “Nevermind, mouth wasn’t supposed to say that.”
  3072. >”Um…”
  3073. >Floopershy tilts her head to the side.
  3074. “That’s such fucking bullshit. I know you’re technically a pet or whatever, but they make you eat on the floor? That’s shit.”
  3075. >Her eyes flare wide, her mouth drops open.
  3076. “What? This can’t be the first time someone’s treated you with some common decency! I should –“
  3077. >”nononoNoNoNoNoNONONONONOYOUGOTITWRONG!”
  3078. >The little pony falls back on her haunches, waving her forelegs furiously in front of her face.
  3079. >”Imeanthere’snotreallyanyroomformeso –“
  3080. “What?”
  3081. >”I mean,” Fluttershy says, slower but still with panicked urgency.
  3082. >Weird how “panicked” has a k in it.
  3083. >Anyway.
  3084. >”What I mean is, there’s not really any room for me at the dining table, so I usually eat in the living room!”
  3085. “Oh.”
  3086. >Yeah.
  3087. >Maybe you jumped to conclusions there.
  3088. >Doh.
  3089. >Right.
  3090. >Not like you haven’t seen Flutternutter eating at the tables in the break room at work.
  3091. >You just pretend not to because she’s fun to fuck with, but you’ve seen her.
  3092. >”I’ve just… um… I’ve…”
  3093. >She falls back down to all fours, dipping her head down piteously and peering up at you through her mane.
  3094. >”I’ve gotten used to watching TV while I eat,” she mumbles. “I mean, it *is* Saturday morning and all, and…”
  3095. >Her eyes twinkle like little stars.
  3096. >How the fuck do ponies manage that?
  3097. >Berry tried to explain once and you gave it a shot.
  3098. >Almost gave yourself a hernia.
  3099. >”… and… well…”
  3100. “You want to watch your cartoons?”
  3101. >”Mhm…”
  3102. “BERRY! WE’LL BE IN THE LIVING ROOM!”
  3103. >”FINE! BREAKFAST WILL BE OUT IN A SEC!”
  3104. >Fluttershy flashes you a wide smile and gallops out of the dining room in a blur of yellow and "yay"
  3105. >Like... comic-book-visible-sound-effect-yay.
  3106. >You don't know why it isn't capitalized.
  3107. >You also don't know why you're worried about capitalization when you're clearly hallucinating. Or... uh... imagining stuff.
  3108. >Yeah. Imagining stuff.
  3109. >That makes you sound NOT crazy.
  3110. >Smiling at your newfound sanity, you shuffle after the pony.
  3111. >Fluttershy has the TV on and is flipping through your limited channels by the time you flop down into the sofa.
  3112. >"No cable?" she pouts, hitting a series of similar channels.
  3113. >The Static Channel.
  3114. >The Family Static Channel.
  3115. >Turner Classic Static.
  3116. "Who needs cable when you have streaming?"
  3117. >"Huh?"
  3118. "Netflix. Hulu. That shit."
  3119. >"Oh."
  3120. >She looks at you out of the corner of her eye.
  3121. >"Um."
  3122. >She glances back at the remote, then picks it up in her mouth and drops it in your lap.
  3123. >"Okay. Streaming sounds nice. I like streams."
  3124. "You have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?"
  3125. >Her head bobs left and right.
  3126. >"No..."
  3127. >And so, in the time between sitting down and breakfast, you introduce Flutterbutter to the wonders of streaming and - after scrolling past several shows because NOPE - the cuteness that is Hanamaru Kindergarten.
  3128. >It's too nice a morning to watch something angry.
  3129. >She's bobbing her head and humming along to the closing theme - a half-second behind the TV - when Berry comes in.
  3130. >One plate balanced on her head, two on her back.
  3131. "I could have helped carry those."
  3132. >"Meh."
  3133. >Berry shrugs and expertly slides all three plates onto the coffee table.
  3134. >"What are you watching?"
  3135. >She sits down on the floor - puts the table at the right height for her to eat from.
  3136. "Hanamaru Kindergarten."
  3137. >She looks at the screen and frowns at all the little adorable anime kids.
  3138. "Trust me, it's cute."
  3139. >Without breaking the delayed humming, Nuttershy slides off the sofa and scoots up to the table.
  3140. >"Yeah," she says softly as the closing song wraps up. "It's cute."
  3141. >"I'm sure it is," Berry grumbles, reaching for the remote. "Could we watch something else?"
  3142. "Don't like kids?"
  3143. >"No, she *loves* kids," Fluttershy answers for her.
  3144. >"I just want to watch something else."
  3145. "What?"
  3146. >"Something else."
  3147. "Fluttershy?"
  3148. >"Okay," the little pony murmurs. "I don't mind."
  3149. >Berry swipes the remote and starts scrolling.
  3150. >"Eat your eggs," she says distractedly, flipping through her options. "They'll get cold."
  3151. >Fluttershy looks at her plate at frowns.
  3152. >Understandable.
  3153. >Berry has some... *unique*... ideas about how to season scrambled eggs.
  3154. >You lean down and whisper into her ear.
  3155. "A little weird, but it's always tasty."
  3156. >"Oh? Maybe a bite..."
  3157. "That's good enough. Once you've had a taste, you're going to eat all the eggs."
  3158. >Flutterbuns looks at you like... if she wasn't such a doormat, you'd say she looks at you like you're fucking retarded. And not the nice kind of "awwwww, so sweet" retarded, but full on "shat the table" retarded.
  3159. >But she's too much of a doormat for that kind of expression.
  3160. >Nah, she looks at you like she's not entirely sure, but willing to play along.
  3161. >"If you say so..."
  3162. >Slowly, she lowers her muzzle to the plate. Her tongue flicks out.
  3163. >And then she eats all the eggs.
  3164. >You don't see it happen; you leave for a moment to go get yourself a fork, because CIVILIZED SPECIES USE SILVERWARE - but when you come back, Fluttershy's eggs are gone.
  3165. >Your plate looks a little emptier, too.
  3166. >Hmm.
  3167. >Fuck it.
  3168. "Go ahead, Flutters. You can have my eggs."
  3169. >"yay"
  3170. >Yep, it's a cake for breakfast kind of morning.
  3171.  
  3172. >You slide your empty plate onto the coffee table and lean back.
  3173. >On either side of you, still sitting on the floor, the ponies are rocking side to side, singing along to the closing theme of... something. You don't remember what it is.
  3174. >Just that it's upbeat and has no children in it.
  3175. >You let the episode roll to a close before putting a hand on Fluttershy's head, right between her ears.
  3176. >"Hmmnh?"
  3177. "About time to get you home, isn't it?"
  3178. >"Noooooooooooooooooo?"
  3179. "Yeah, it is. It's... what... noon? Later?"
  3180. >"They won't mind if I stay another day," she pleads softly, tipping her head back to give you the biggest, saddest, upsidedowniest puppydog eyes you've ever been given.
  3181. >Also, as a side effect of you not moving your hand, she ends up with your palm on her nose.
  3182. >"Pleeeeease?"
  3183. >"Just let her stay," Berry sighs, leaning back against your legs. "Don't be a faggot."
  3184. "You're a faggot."
  3185. >"Yeah, and one is enough for this house."
  3186. >Whelp.
  3187. >You're outnumbered.
  3188. >Outcuddled.
  3189. >Outlogiced.
  3190. >Flutterbutt licks your palm.
  3191. "Fuck it. Fine, lemme call and make sure it's okay."
  3192. >You wipe pony spit off on her nose - that's what you're supposed to do, right? Rub their noses in it when they make a mess?
  3193. >Doesn't work.
  3194. >She giggles.
  3195.  
  3196. >You aren't on the phone for long.
  3197. >Nuttershy's owner - or, uh, owner's father, you guess - doesn't seem very concerned.
  3198. >Relieved, almost.
  3199. >Short story even shorter, he doesn't care what you do with the mare, so long as she shows up for her shift on Monday.
  3200. >Short story long - you can fuck with her all you want today.
  3201. >Nah.
  3202. >That would be mean.
  3203. >You slowly amble back into the living room. Neither pony looks at you - both are focused on the next episode of whatever the fuck they were watching.
  3204. >Those fuckers.
  3205. >They started without you!
  3206. >Not that you were paying attention, but it's the principle of the thing!
  3207. "Hey Fluttershy!"
  3208. >"Hmm?"
  3209. "Your owner said you can stay."
  3210. >"yay."
  3211. >Goddamn, not even a capitalized "yay."
  3212. "He also says it's okay if I beat you."
  3213. >"m'kay."
  3214. "And rape you."
  3215. >"yay."
  3216. "Aaaaaaaand you aren't listen to a word I say."
  3217. >"Am too."
  3218. >Flutternut falls forward and sticks her yellow butt into the air, her tail flicking back and forth..
  3219. "Goddammit."
  3220. >Doesn't even take her eyes off the screen for a second.
  3221. >Berry sighs and leans over, planting both forehooves on the waving pink flag and pushes the other mare back down.
  3222. >"Fucking hell," she grumbles, rolling her eyes. "Have a little dignity."
  3223. >"Awwwww..."
  3224. >"And *you* -"
  3225. >Berry glares the glare of a thousand empty bottles.
  3226. >"- stop teasing her like that. We both know you're not going to stick your dick in her."
  3227. >"He's not?"
  3228. >"No, Fluttershy. He's a faggot."
  3229. >"Aww..."
  3230. "Am not."
  3231. >"But he can still beat you."
  3232. "yay."
  3233. "OKAY. TOO WEIRD. I'M OUT."
  3234. >"Time for another rendezvous in the men's room at Dillard's?"
  3235. "GOINGTOTHELIQUORSTOREBYE."
  3236. >"Waitwaitwaitwaitwaitwa-"
  3237. "NOPE."
  3238. >You're three steps out the front door when a pony nose bumps your hand.
  3239. >"Waaaaaaaaait," Flutterbutt... uh... you're not thinking about her butt. NOPE. FlutterSHY pants breathlessly.
  3240. >NOPE.
  3241. "NOPE."
  3242. >FUCK NOPE.
  3243. >"Please? Let me come with you."
  3244. "NOPE."
  3245. >"But I brought my leash and collar and everything," she whines.
  3246. "Don't care!"
  3247. >"And my saddlebags!"
  3248. "Good for you. Still no."
  3249. >"But... how are you going to carry everything...?"
  3250. "With my... uh..."
  3251. >You gesture to the bag you clearly do not have with you.
  3252. >You thought you had it with you.
  3253. >Well, you hadn't thought as such.
  3254. >Just... uh...
  3255. >Fuck it.
  3256. "I'll only get a couple things."
  3257. >"Uh-huuuuh."
  3258. "Fine. You can come."
  3259. >"yay."
  3260. >She shimmies further under your hand until you stop and take her leash.
  3261. >"What about Berry...?" she asks as you're clipping it on to her collar. "Shouldn't she come too? I bet we could carry a LOT of bottles. I mean, she could carry way more than me, since she's an Earth Pony, but..."
  3262. "Nah, she hates going to the liquor store. It'll just be you and me."
  3263. >"y-"
  3264. "UNLESS you start getting pervy again. Do that, and I'm taking you to your place."
  3265. >"You started it."
  3266. >She kicks at the sidewalk like a petulant child.
  3267. "Did not."
  3268. >"Did too."
  3269. "Did not."
  3270. >"Did too."
  3271. "Did... LOOK. You shouldn't have... uh..."
  3272. >You glare down at the little pony, trying to think of a valid reason to be pissed at her for going along with what you said.
  3273. "Fuck this. I'm too sober for this shit."
  3274. >That’s what you get for not starting the day off with a delicious bowl of Jackie’Os or refreshing screwdriver.
  3275. >Fluttershy looks up at you, tilting her head to one side.
  3276. “Shut up.”
  3277. >”I’m not saying anything.”
  3278. “Double shut up.”
  3279. >Also too sober for clever retorts.
  3280. >”Okay.”
  3281. >You glare at her for a moment, wait –
  3282. > - JUST FUCKING WAITING –
  3283. > - for the next –
  3284. >She tilts her head the other way.
  3285. >You don’t scream in frustration.
  3286. >Pussy faggots scream in frustration.
  3287. >You let loose a battlecry to shake the heavens themselves.
  3288. >”Are you okay?”
  3289. “No. Let’s go get some booze.”
  3290. >You begin to walk. Because that’s how you get places.
  3291. >Fucking walking.
  3292. >Teleportation is like… two levels above your current rank.
  3293. >Fucking Vancian casting.
  3294. >The happy, bouncy pony at your side doesn’t seem to mind, though.
  3295. >She’s literally bouncing.
  3296. >Not like a basketball or anything, but there’s a certain overabundance of bounce in her step.
  3297. “The fuck are you so happy about…?”
  3298. >”Oh, um, nothing important!”
  3299. “Uh-huh.”
  3300. >Not buying it – and getting more cynical and bitter by the step.
  3301. >You glance at Flutternutter again.
  3302. >The faint smile on her face pisses you off to no end.
  3303. >Fucking karmic balance or some shit.
  3304. >Her happiness is sucking up all of yours.
  3305. >That’s how happiness works, right?
  3306. >It must be.
  3307. >Long years of retail employment have taught you that happiness only comes from:
  3308. >A) a bottle.
  3309. >or
  3310. >2) making others miserable.
  3311. >Fluttershy bumps her shoulder into your leg playfully.
  3312. >Your growled slur leaves her undaunted and she has the audacity to grin at you.
  3313. “You’ve got a fucking problem.”
  3314. >”I’m just happy to be getting some attention,” she answers, playfully bumping you again. “I *never* get to go shopping. Or outside, really. Ooooooor ooooooh…”
  3315. >As if on cue, a butterfly flitters past, Fluttershy’s head snapping around to watch it go.
  3316. >Yes, it makes you even more miserable. Deep down. In the part of you that’s angry at everything because you work a shit job and isn’t drunk enough to forget your WONDERFUL LIFE CHOICES.
  3317. >But that’s not really her fault, is it?
  3318. >Nutterbutt barely reacts when you pat her head.
  3319. “Hey, wanna swing by the park or something?”
  3320. >You did not know pony eyes could get that big, nor a pony body contain so much excitement.
  3321. >Fine.
  3322. >Fuck it.
  3323. >Sometimes ice cream and pony smiles are an acceptable substitute for rum.
  3324. "I take it that means yes?"
  3325. >"Mhm!"
  3326.  
  3327. >Be finishing up the last of the dishes when the phone rings.
  3328. >You wipe your hooves dry and fumble with the receiver for a bit.
  3329. >Fucking human hands.
  3330. >Fucking humans.
  3331. >"Hey, Berry?"
  3332. "Fuck you."
  3333. >"Uh... okay? I guess I deserve that for storming out?"
  3334. "No. Well. Sure. But fuck you and fuck your opposable thumbs. And your fingers. In fact, your hand in general and all attached bits."
  3335. >"That's called fisting."
  3336. "Wait, what?"
  3337. >"That's what fucking someone with a hand and all attached bits is called. Fisting."
  3338. "Not what I meant."
  3339. >"Fine, but now you know and -"
  3340. "I already knew what fisting is, dumbass."
  3341. >There's a long moment of awkward silence.
  3342. >"I don't want to know why you know what fisting is."
  3343. >Fuck yeah. You win.
  3344. "So what do you need? I'm a little busy washing the dishes. One of us has to be a responsible adult."
  3345. >"Yeah. Sucks to be you. Anyway, we're going to be out for a bit. Fluttershy wants to go to a part."
  3346. >Fucking homewrecking hussyslut.
  3347. "Fine."
  3348. >If it weren't for her, you could bully Anon into doing the rest of the dishes, but nooooooooooooooooooooo.
  3349. "Dont' stay out too late."
  3350. >"I won't. And I'll bring home something special."
  3351. "Cool."
  3352. >"Seeya then."
  3353. "Yeah."
  3354. >He hangs up.
  3355. >You hang up.
  3356. >That's what one normally does when a phone call ends.
  3357. >You look back into the kitchen, at the few dishes left to clean.
  3358. >Fuck it, they can wait.
  3359. >TV now.
  3360. >TV aaaaaaaand...
  3361. >You flop into the sofa and fumble around until your hoof touches glass.
  3362. >Apparently, time for TV and tequila.
  3363. >This is going to be an interesting day.
  3364. >With your other hoof, you feel around for a mixer. It's not long before you find a second bottle.
  3365. >Curacao.
  3366. >Huh.
  3367. >Two things flash through your mind.
  3368. >The first is that you REALLY should put away all these bottles before someone trips on one and gets hurt.
  3369. >The second is that today is going to be a REALLY interesting day.
  3370.  
  3371. "Be patient."
  3372. >"Anooooooooooon..."
  3373. "We're just stopping here first because they close soon."
  3374. >NUDGE.
  3375. >"But you said we would go to the park..."
  3376. "And we will."
  3377. >You sigh.
  3378. >Try not to roll your eyes.
  3379. >Succeed.
  3380. >Accidentally roll your whole head.
  3381. >Fuck.
  3382. >At least your eyes didn't move.
  3383. "The sooner we get this over with, the sooner you can go play with the squirrels or whatever."
  3384. >Fluttershy's head droops until her nose is an inch from the sidewalk.
  3385. >"Okaaaaaaaaay."
  3386. >Awwww, shit.
  3387. >You broke her little pony heart.
  3388. >Fucking asshole.
  3389. "This won't take long, Fluttershy. I promise."
  3390. >You push open the door and walk in, holding it open for the shambling wreck that slowly follows.
  3391. "I'm just worried she might close up before you're -"
  3392. >A drunken, elderly, shiteating, shitSTARTING laugh cuts you off.
  3393. "Morning' Ethel."
  3394. >"Think you mean evening," she chuckles, waving to you from behind the counter. "But don't be silly, I'm never closed for my best customer."
  3395. "Well, yeah. You have a key. You can open up for yourself whenever you want."
  3396. >"Point. I'm never closed for my second-best customer either."
  3397. "Fuck, that is..."
  3398. >"Touching?"
  3399. "Almost. Mostly depressing."
  3400. >You try to mimic Fluttershy's body language, but the human form isn't meant for such adorable despair.
  3401. >So you do the next best thing.
  3402. >Pick up Fluttershy -
  3403. >"eeeeeeeeeeep!"
  3404. > - and lift her up to the counter -
  3405. >Fuck. Ow. Ponies are heavier than they look. > - for Ethel to see.
  3406. "Imagine I was making this expression. That's what I feel like."
  3407. >Ethel looks at Flutternut.
  3408. >She looks at you.
  3409. >She looks at Buttershy.
  3410. >And holds out her ever-present gin.
  3411. >"Here," she says to Yellowquiet in a warm, sweet, grandmotherly tone you wish she'd use with you occassionally, "I think you need some of this."
  3412. >A little pony head bobbles up and down, trembling with sadness that no human heart could ever comprehend.
  3413. >"Aww, is big ol' Anon being mean to you?"
  3414. >Another nod.
  3415. "Am not."
  3416. >"Don't be mean," Ethel grumbles, clearing a space on the counter. "Put her here."
  3417. >Thank the gods, you thought you were going to throw your back out holding up a little pony so an octogenarian could hand-feed her gin straight from the bottle.
  3418. >No, instead you nearly do it lifting her up high enough to get her ponyass onto the counter, where she promptly curls up into a tiny ball of fuzz and feathers.
  3419. >"Go on, meanie," Ethel hisses, waving you off. "Get what you came here for while I nurse this sweet little thing back to health."
  3420. "But... I... I don't know where anything is..."
  3421. >"Fine, I'll get you some help. Tiaaaa! TIA!"
  3422. >"WHAT!?"
  3423. >Fluttershy's ears stand straight up.
  3424. >If you could hear - and you don't think you can after that because HOLY FUCK THAT WAS WORSE THAN THE BELL AT WORK - you would hear the words the little pony whispers.
  3425. >Actually, you do hear them.
  3426. >But you want to make a big deal about HOW FUCKING LOUD THAT WAS, if only to yourself.
  3427. >In your head.
  3428. >Silently.
  3429. >Anyway.
  3430. >You THINK you may have POSSIBLY heard something from Flutterbutt.
  3431. >In a hushed, reverent whisper.
  3432. >But you imagined it.
  3433. >Because you can't hear anything.
  3434. >You certainly didn't hear her say "Royal Canterlot voice."
  3435. >Though you do question why you would imagine such a thing, because you have no fucking idea what it means.
  3436. >ANYWAY.
  3437. >You ignore it.
  3438. >Silly thoughts are par for the course when Smirnoff is your co-pilot.
  3439. >"YOU DON'T HAVE TO YELL, YOU KNOW!"
  3440. >"I'M NOT YELLING!"
  3441. "You're both yelling."
  3442. >"YES, TIA, YOU ARE!"
  3443. >"IN THAT CASE, SO ARE YOU!"
  3444. "Could you please stop yelling?"
  3445. >"I'M NOT YELLING! I'M JUST TALKING LOUD ENOUGH FOR YOU TO HEAR ME!"
  3446. "I can hear you just fine. I wish I couldn't."
  3447. >"AND I AM SPEAKING AT SUFFICIENT VOLUME FOR YOUR DEAF EARS!"
  3448. "Oh god, it's getting louder."
  3449. >"I'M NOT DEAF!"
  3450. "I think I might be after this."
  3451. >"AND YOU THINK I AM?"
  3452. "Fuck everything. I'll find my own mango rum."
  3453. >"Wait, what?" Ethel asks, puzzled as fuck. Perhaps because you weren't screaming.
  3454. "I'll get it myself. Just stop... stop fucking yelling. God. Fuck. I don't even have a hangover and..."
  3455. >Ethel flinches back as you thrust an accusatory finger in her face.
  3456. >Not IN in her face.
  3457. >Just, you know, close enough she gets the point.
  3458. "YOU and that FATASS pony of your just gave me a hangover."
  3459. >"I did not."
  3460. >"Nor did I," follows Ethel's too-damn-tall pony, coming around the display of - oooooh, spiced black rum. Yeah, you're getting some of that. "And my ass is *not* fat, human. It is perfectly proportioned for a pony of my stature."
  3461. >"And I think you mean 'headache,'" Ethel adds, AS SHE PETS YOUR GODDAMN - uh... nevermind. Fluttershy isn't your pony.
  3462. >So... um...
  3463. >Well, you're still not okay with it, but you'll just be a grumpy little bitch about it instead of a LOUD grumpy little bitch.
  3464. >Too much loud recently anyway.
  3465. "No, you're fat. You've got a fat butt."
  3466. >Not your best, you'll admit.
  3467. >The pony rolls her eyes and turns to Ethel.
  3468. >"Can we not simply throw him...
  3469. >"Fluttershy?"
  3470. >"P-p-p-princess!"
  3471. >Guess Berry wasn't exaggerating.
  3472. >Shit, you might owe her an apology.
  3473. >Bourbon should do.
  3474. >The two ponies stare at each other in shock.
  3475. >You hate to interrupt, but... liquor's a'calling.
  3476. "Um, so..."
  3477. >Celestia smiles warmly at one of her loyal subjects, though you recognize a retail smile anywhere.
  3478. >Polite, but ready to snap. And not at Flutterbutt, you suspect.
  3479. >ohshit
  3480. >"Good to see you again, Fluttershy," the taller mare says, dipping her head slightly. "Has your master been treating you well?"
  3481. >Two pairs of eyes glance towards you.
  3482. >Neither one looks happy.
  3483. >fuckfuckfuck
  3484. >shoulda taken her to the park.
  3485. >"Well..."
  3486. >She's gonna say you rape and beat her.
  3487. >You're gonna get hornstabbed.
  3488. >Some part of you always knew you were going to die on a liquor store floor. You just hadn't expected a pony to be involved.
  3489. >"... he..."
  3490. >You're not ready to die! There's still so much to... uh... live for...?
  3491. >Sure, why not?
  3492. "SHE'S NOT MINE! I'M JUST BORROWING HER FOR THE WEEKEND!"
  3493. >Ethel blinks.
  3494. >Flutnut blinks.
  3495. >The Tallest Murderhorse blinks.
  3496. >You prepare to run the fuck out while they're all OH FUCK SHE OPENED HER EYES.
  3497. >"I... see..." Princess Stabhead mutters, glaring at you.
  3498. >FUCK.
  3499. >YOU KNOW STABBIN' FACE WHEN YOU SEE IT. RETAIL EXPRESSION #2.
  3500. "Ethel, I'm just gonna... uh..."
  3501. >The princess circles around you, blocking your route to freedom.
  3502. "TELL HER I'M NICE, NUTTERSHY! TELL HER!"
  3503. >"He's very nice, princess."
  3504. >"And if he hadn't told you to say that?" she prompts. "Are you being mistreated?"
  3505. >"No, princess," Flooterhooter sighs. "My owner ignores me. But Anon is nice. Mostly."
  3506. >A head - and headshiv - turn your way.
  3507. "Mostly!?"
  3508. >"Mostly?" the princess repeats. "Care to explain?"
  3509. >"Well, Anon *did* say he was taking me to the park..."
  3510. "I will! We just -"
  3511. >And then Fluttershy sticks out her tongue and giggles quietly.
  3512. >GODDAMMIT.
  3513. "Ethel, pass the gin."
  3514. >She holds out the bottle, but pulls it back just before your fingers brush against the glass.
  3515. >"Actually, I have a question, Anon."
  3516. "Fine, whatever. As long as it doesn't end in stabbing."
  3517. >"What exactly are you 'borrowing' this sweet little thing for?"
  3518. "Mostly so she can watch all of my anime and drink all of by booze."
  3519. >She looks at you suspiciously before glancing over at Princess Deathkill.
  3520. >They both nod.
  3521. >"Very well," the mare sighs, smiling slightly. "Let's get you what you need while Ethel... 'entertains' my subject."
  3522. "Uh... cool?"
  3523. >Yes mouth. No stabs is cool.
  3524. >"Just remember, my butt is *not* fat."
  3525.  
  3526. >Fluttershy watches in awe as birds descend to devour the bread she had scattered.
  3527. >There's a spot of ice cream on the tip of her muzzle and she doesn't even notice.
  3528. "If you don't hurry up, the rest of that is going to melt."
  3529. >"Uh-huh."
  3530. >She says that, but she doesn't do more than halfheartedly lick at the cone.
  3531. >Misses entirely.
  3532. >Whelp, her loss.
  3533. >You kick back on the park bench and eat yours, watching the birdwatcher.
  3534. >"Anon...?"
  3535. "Yeah?"
  3536. >"Can we do this again someday?"
  3537. "That'll really depend on your owner."
  3538. >"You could buy me from them."
  3539. >She says it so casually, you almost half-heartedly agree before your brain processes her new brand of insanity.
  3540. "What."
  3541. >"You could buy me from them."
  3542. "I doubt that."
  3543. >"But -"
  3544. "I work retail, Flutterbutt. I can't have nice things."
  3545. >"I... I'm not nice! I can be mean!"
  3546. >She bounds forward a half-step, nearly dropping her cone in the process, and growls at a little squirrel that had joined the birds.
  3547. >It fucking drops the piece of bread it was holding and fucking hugs her leg.
  3548. >Hugs the leg of the growling pony.
  3549. >You can't make this shit up.
  3550. "Fluttershy?"
  3551. >"Hmm?"
  3552. "Eat your ice cream."
  3553. >She sighs and falls back on her haunches.
  3554. >The squirrel - and again, you can't make this shit up - pats her leg before grabbing a chunk of bread and running.
  3555. >She's got to be a fucking Disney princess or something.
  3556. >An hour later, maybe two (maybe three?), you stand up and stretch.
  3557. >Not that it wasn't pleasant watching her play with all her new friends - hypnotic, really - but you *do* have other responsibilities.
  3558. >Stuff like helping Berry stagger to the bathroom, making sure she doesn't die of alcohol poisoning or vomit out anything important. Shit like that.
  3559. >Besides, you can barely see the little hippie.
  3560. >Park needs more goddamn lights.
  3561. "Starting to get dark, Fluttershy. Time to go."
  3562. >More like pitch-fucking-black and you're going to show her a certain movie tonight in revenge.
  3563. >"Okay," the little mare sighs, picking herself up without any argument and earning your eternal mercy. "I'll see you all later."
  3564. >You're pretty sure that last part isn't directed towards you.
  3565. >"No, I don't know when. Sorry."
  3566. >Definitely not directed towards you.
  3567. >"Yes, I'll bring some more bread...?"
  3568. >Okay, that last part *was* directed at you.
  3569. >You know because she looks at you.
  3570. >Oh, right. Question.
  3571. "Yeah. Sure, we can bring some more bread."
  3572. >"yay"
  3573. >She keeps staring at you, until you figure out there's another, unasked question there. Flubberbutt wants to know when.
  3574. "When's your next day off?"
  3575. >"Wednesday."
  3576. >You work Wednesday.
  3577. >You work *every* weekday.
  3578. >And after work is scheduled drinktime.
  3579. "Shit, um, correction: when's your next weekend off?"
  3580. >"Um... I don't know..."
  3581. >You sigh, look at the gathered wildlife, and try not to feel like an idiot.
  3582. "She'll be back Wednesday."
  3583. >You feel like an idiot.
  3584. >Flutterbutt smiles.
  3585. >You smile.
  3586. >The squirrels smile.
  3587. >Shit, that's too much.
  3588. "Come on, Flutterbutt. We gotta go."
  3589. >"Okay. Byeeeeee!"
  3590. >Fluttershy waves.
  3591. >The squirrels wave.
  3592. >You wave.
  3593. >Fuck.
  3594. >You're gonna need a therapist after this.
  3595.  
  3596. >It's a big park.
  3597. >That's totally why you got lost, not because you have a shit sense of direction or anything.
  3598. >You're not blaming it on Fluttershy either, because you're relatively certain she wouldn't lead you in circles just to stay a little bit longer.
  3599. >Park just doesn't have any fucking lighting. Can't get anywhere if you can't see where you're going.
  3600. >Stupid city.
  3601. >Stupid parks department or whatever your city has that does that job.
  3602. >"Um..."
  3603. "Yes, Nutterbutt, I know we're lost."
  3604. >You think - *think* - this is a hiking trail.
  3605. >Or maybe you're just blundering through a slightly less brushy bit of... uh... brush.
  3606. >"No, well, yes, but..."
  3607. "What?"
  3608. >"I think it's that way."
  3609. >She points to the left.
  3610. >You *think* she points to the left.
  3611. >Can't see a fucking thing.
  3612. >There should be lights along the trail.
  3613. >No lights leads to crime! It's a safety hazard!
  3614. >Don't they know someone could be raped down here or something?
  3615. "Are you sure?"
  3616. >"Pretty sure?"
  3617. "There's no trail that way."
  3618. >"Oh, right."
  3619. "But you're sure it's that way?"
  3620. >"Maybe?"
  3621. "Answering with a question is not reassuring."
  3622. >"Sorry...?"
  3623. "FUCK IT. WE'RE GOING LEFT."
  3624. >You stomp off, promptly plowing through the undergrowth, small trees, unoccupied hobo camp, slightly larger trees, and rather unfortunate park bench that all seek to thwart your will with a determination only a lack of fucks can bring about.
  3625. >"Um..."
  3626. "What?"
  3627. >"You passed a trail..."
  3628. "Yeah. So?"
  3629. >"I thought you might want to follow it or something."
  3630. "FUCK. NO. Following trails got us in this mess."
  3631. >You pull aside a sapling that Fluttershy could just as easily have walked around - seriously, there's like two feet of clear space on all sides, but fuck going around - and motion for the pony to walk past.
  3632. "Now we make our own trails."
  3633. >"Um... okay..."
  3634. >You proceed in a STRAIGHT LINE, going your OWN WAY, pushing on through the shrubs and brush and whateverthefucks.
  3635. >And one fairly large hobocamp.
  3636. >Occupied, this time.
  3637. >You don't give a fuck.
  3638. >Okay, you give a little bit of a fuck.
  3639. >Berry will kill you for this, but you pull a bottle out of Fluttershy's saddlebags and hand it to the closest one without deviating from your chosen path.
  3640. "Merry Christmas."
  3641. >Your moxie and/or generosity leaves them speechless. Your body leaves them behind.
  3642. >"Um..."
  3643. "What? Another trail?"
  3644. >"No," Fluttershy murmurs, flying up to hover next to -
  3645. "HOLY SHIT, YOU CAN FLY!?"
  3646. >"Um. Yeah."
  3647. "I knew that. Carry on."
  3648. >Holy fucking shit, she can fly!
  3649. >"So... uh... are there always this many homeless people out here?"
  3650. "I dunno. Maybe. Probably."
  3651. >"Oh."
  3652. >She sinks down to the ground and plods along after you.
  3653. >Little thing is depressed.
  3654. >Yeah.
  3655. >You're regretting giving away the booze too.
  3656. >Berry is going to murder you.
  3657. >"Uh... Anon...?"
  3658. "Fuck trails."
  3659. >"No, I... um... I see a light over there..."
  3660. "I don't."
  3661. >"No, over *there*."
  3662. >Oh.
  3663. "Yeah. Cool."
  3664. >You take another step, but suddenly there's resistance on Fluttershy's leash.
  3665. "You want to investigate."
  3666. >"I... think it might be a way out...?"
  3667. "You want to investigate."
  3668. >"Yes, please."
  3669. "FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE."
  3670. >You turn and begin walking towards the faint green glow.
  3671. >The light blinks out before you've gone three steps, but you don't fucking need it.
  3672. >You know where you're going!
  3673. >"Um... it's this way..."
  3674. >NOW YOU KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING!
  3675. >You let Fluttershy lead you, tugging on the leash like the adorablest little seeing eye pony.
  3676. >EVEN BLINDED BY THE DARK, NOTHING CAN HALT YOUR DRU...Uhhhhh... ummmmm... Sober Park Rampage.
  3677. >Except that tree. The one you just walked into.
  3678. >Fucking ow.
  3679. >"You might want to go around that one."
  3680. "You can actually see shit?"
  3681. >"Mhm."
  3682. "In the dark?"
  3683. >"Mhm."
  3684. "Because of your hugeass eyes?"
  3685. >"Uhhhh... yes...?"
  3686. "Fuck you and your abnormally huge eyes."
  3687. >"Please don't. I need them to see."
  3688. "Fine. But I'm being merciful."
  3689. >You step around the - holy shit, that's a big tree - the... uh... tree. Takes longer than you thought.
  3690. "Okay, now which way?"
  3691. >"Over here," Fluttershy whispers, tugging on her leash to guide you. "There's a small hollow in the brush."
  3692. "I thought this was a way out!"
  3693. >"Quiet!" she hisses. "You're going to scare -"
  3694. >"GO AWAY!"
  3695. "HOLY SHIT A TALKING BUSH!"
  3696. >Pale green light bursts to life, practically blinding you.
  3697. >You think you take it pretty calmly. You couldn't see a fucking thing five minutes ago and you can't see anything now.
  3698. >Not really a big difference.
  3699. >"You can stop screaming," Fluttershy whispers into your - HOLY SHIT SHE'S FLYING AGAIN.
  3700. >"Just go away and leave me alone!" a sharper voice screeches, barely understandable over Flutterfly's screaming.
  3701. >"We just want to help," the pegasus responds, without even pausing her screaming. That's some fucking talent right there.
  3702. >You stop to casually admire her skill.
  3703. >"GO - uh... is he always like this?"
  3704. >"Um. No. Anon, please stop screaming."
  3705. "Bitch, I am calm and collected as fuck."
  3706. >"Uh... okay?" Flutterbutt. "Um, he stopped screaming now, could you stop -"
  3707. >The light fades. Slightly. Enough to see the tiny pony cowering under a filthy blanket.
  3708. >Holy shit is she small.
  3709. >The urge to punt her and see how far she flies pops into your head.
  3710. >"Please don't," Fluttershy whimpers.
  3711. >FUCKING HELL. SHE CAN FLY *AND* READ MINDS TOO?
  3712. >Fuck all this.
  3713. "That's it, I'm going home. I am going home and I am getting drunk."
  3714.  
  3715. DRINK 8: BOOZE FOR THE BOOZE GOD or AND HOW YOU TOO CAN GO FUCK YOURSELF aka And This is How Anon and Berry Punch Became Parents Without Ever Fucking Once
  3716.  
  3717. >”Be –“
  3718. >You hear noise.
  3719. >You hate noise.
  3720. >” – unch!”
  3721. >… the fuck is an unch…?
  3722. >”Be – Berry! Berry Punch!”
  3723. >And why won’t the noise stop!?
  3724. >”Dammit, Berry! Wake up!”
  3725. >You try to ignore the voice, but it’s insistent as fuck.
  3726. >”Get up, I need you to help me get dishes and all that crap!”
  3727. >IGNORING.
  3728. >ROLLING OVE---------AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH FUCK.
  3729. >Stupid sofa.
  3730. >Stupid tequila bottle.
  3731. >Stupid kidney.
  3732. “Ow.”
  3733. >”I’m assuming you didn’t mean to roll off the sofa and land on those bottles?”
  3734. “Fuck you.”
  3735. >”Okaaaaaay, you’re drunk.”
  3736. >You blink at your lord and master and hooch provider. Then you shrug. Then you burp.
  3737. “Uh… surprise...?”
  3738. >”No, not really,” he sighs as he drops – oooooh, is that Chinese? Do you smell Chinese?
  3739. >No, really, do you smell Chinese?
  3740. >Maybe you should stand up.
  3741. >Laying down here with the empties is painful.
  3742. >All you can smell are dead soldiers and lost dreams – and a hint of tequila.
  3743. >It burns.
  3744. >So you stand up.
  3745. >NOPE. NO YOU DON’T.
  3746. >STANDING UP WAS A BAD IDEA.
  3747. >FUCK.
  3748.  
  3749. >You try not to laugh as Berry nosedives right back into the pile of glass bottles.
  3750. >It’s very easy.
  3751. “Fucking fuckety fuck fuck.”
  3752. >It’s harder not to cry.
  3753. >This is just fucking sad.
  3754. >”I’m okay!”
  3755. >The saddest thing ever.
  3756. >Not that she’s so piss drunk.
  3757. >Not that she’s so fucking piss drunk in front of your guests.
  3758. >Not that she… wait… okay, praise the brewers, that’s not piss on your sofa, only drool.
  3759. >No, this is sad because she Fucking. Drank. EVERYTHING.
  3760. >AGAIN!
  3761. >You were only gone a certain undetermined number of hours and she drank everything!
  3762. >Wait.
  3763. >No.
  3764. >Wait.
  3765. >Maybe.
  3766. >Butterhush squeaks as you dive for her saddlebags.
  3767. >Oh thank the gods.
  3768. >The bottles you just bought are still there.
  3769. >You don’t know why they wouldn’t be, but you also don’t know how Berry does half the shit she does, from winding up in a locked safe to putting up with you.
  3770. >It’s a fucking mystery, particularly that last one.
  3771. >“Um, I think I’m going to go.”
  3772. “Wait… uh… uh…”
  3773. >You snap your fingers, like that will somehow remind you of -
  3774. >”Samantha,” Flutternutter helpfully whispers.
  3775. >Oh. Yeah.
  3776. “Wait, Samantha!”
  3777. >It’s not your fault you can’t remember! Weird-as-fuck name for a pony.
  3778. “Right. Um. Wait, Samantha. Don’t you… uh…”
  3779. >”Look, I’ll just go. It’s not like you want me to be here anyway and it’s not like I *want* to -.”
  3780. “Aren’t you hungry?”
  3781. >Yeah, she’s hungry.
  3782. >Stops mid-stride, all four hooves suspended in mid-air.
  3783. >Wait.
  3784. >Huh?
  3785. >”SHAY!” Yellowshy shouts through her mouthful of fillyscruff.
  3786. >Oh, good.
  3787. >Filly isn’t floating, she’s just being cannibalized by Fluttershy.
  3788. >More Chinese for you then. Fuck yeah.
  3789. >”Lemme go!”
  3790. >”NUH! SHAY! EEF SAHMHING!”
  3791. >The little filly’s horn starts to glow again and you can hear screaming. Again.
  3792. >”Shut the fuck up, Anon,” Berry growls nosing her way through the pile of empty bottles. “Stop screaming!”
  3793. “I’M NOT SCREAMING NO ONE IS SCREAMING EVERYTHING IS FINE.”
  3794. >”No, you’re screaming. Shut up.”
  3795. >The light blinks out suddenly, but the screaming continues.
  3796. >”I said stop screaming!”
  3797. “I’m not!”
  3798. >Honestly, you’re not!
  3799. >It’s coming from the filly that Flubbergutter is shaking like a godsdamn baby.
  3800. >Heh, she *is* shaking a godsdamn baby.
  3801. >Who is currently screaming.
  3802. >And flailing.
  3803. >Fuck.
  3804. “Stop it, ‘shy.”
  3805. >“Buh sheh wuh –“
  3806. “Stop it. Let her go.”
  3807. >MEANWHILE – and you only know this because of the sound of hooves scrabbling on bottles draws your attention like a man who knows he’s going to have to clean up pony blood soon because SOMEPONY is going to slip and smack her face on the coffee table AGAIN – Berry Punch – holy fuck – SUCCESSFULLY crawls back up onto the sofa and looks around, eyes unfocused all squinty-like.
  3808. >Well, at least one thing is going well tonight. You don’t have to clean up pony blood tonight. Fuck yeah.
  3809. >”Night’s not over, ‘Non,” Berry slurs, smiling like the idiot she is.
  3810. >Fucking mindreading ponies.
  3811. >”So, you said you were gonna bring me something special…” she groans as she limply flops over the arm of the sofa and flailing at you with her forehooves. “Whatcha bring? Can I drink it now?”
  3812. “I got you Chinese.”
  3813. >”Oh.”
  3814. >Those giant-ass pony eyes blink, focus, unfocus, blink again, go in opposite directions, blink, and THEN start to tear up.
  3815. >”That’s not special,” she whines softly. “Fluttershyyyy, did you –“
  3816. >The other mare trots up to sofa, filly squealing unhappily with every bounce.
  3817. >”Fluttershy, did you bring me something special? Because Anon didn’t! He said he would, but –“
  3818. >”Let me go, you stupid pegasus! I said –“
  3819. >PEGASUS DROPS.
  3820. >FILLY FLAILS.
  3821. >SOFA SQUEEKS.
  3822. >MARE OPENS EYES. GASPS IN SHOCK.
  3823. >”Uh, thanks, but I dun wannit,” Berry grunts, kicking Samantha off the sofa. “Take it back.”
  3824. >Or at least she would have if her hooves had connected.
  3825. >But luckily (?) they’re about three inches too far away, no matter how hard Berry struggles to reach.
  3826. >”I dun wanna puppy,” Berry whines, kicking out futilely again, because learning is hard when you’re drunk as fuck.
  3827. “It’s not a –“
  3828. >”She’s not a –“
  3829. >”I’m not a puppy!” the filly barks, cutting off Flutterbutter who was cutting off Berry Punch who was cutting off… uh… no one? Was she actually the most polite of you all? Nah, that’s you, because you’re keeping your fucking mouth shut and going to get plates. And ice. And cups. Yeah, cups, then ice. It would be stupid to carry ice without cups. “I’m a free pony!” Oh crap, filly’s still talking. “And I –“ am not your problem “ -don’t have to stay here if I don’t want to!”
  3830. >Haha yeah no.
  3831. >Fluttershy’s got this, even if you’d rather she didn’t.
  3832. >”Wait, no -”
  3833. >Yeah, she’s got this.
  3834. >Waaaaaait.
  3835. >No.
  3836. >”- aren’t you hungry?” Berry continues. Yes, Berry. Berry Punch. The very same pony that just tried to kick Sammy off the sofa and is so drunk you don’t know how she’s managing to sit up right now, let alone ruffle the filly’s mane. “At least stay for dinner.”
  3837. >”No! I don’t know how I let them talk me into coming here, but I have my papers! I can –“
  3838. >”And you can go after you eat,” Berry pleads. “I… I mean, you don’t *have* to go, but -
  3839. >Shitting dicknipples, that was a fucking quick 180 from Berry.
  3840. >Wait.
  3841. >Shit.
  3842. >Didn’t Flutternubs say Berry loved kids?
  3843. >Fuck.
  3844. >Is she a fucking child molester or something?
  3845. >Wait, foal fucker…? Filly fondler?
  3846. >Meh.
  3847. >”Don’t touch me,” the little shit growls, scooting as far from your hopefully non-pedophile mare. “You *stink*.”
  3848. >”Play nice,” Fluttershy hisses. “Both of you. Besides, Samantha, you –“
  3849. >Yeah, shit, you’re going to have to wash that cushion later, aren’t you?
  3850. >Hobofilly doesn’t look all that clean.
  3851. >Hopefully that brown is her natural hair… fur… haifur?
  3852. “Flubbertits?”
  3853. >”Ye-wai-*what* did you call me?”
  3854. >Yeah, that was a mistake.
  3855. “Do ponies have hair or fur?”
  3856. >”Um… it’s hair. Why?”
  3857. “NOT IMPORTANT. GETTING PLATES.”
  3858. >Hopefully that brown is her natural hair color and not just accumulated filth.
  3859. >You goose step stiffly – because of course you do, is there any other way to goose step? – into the kitchen and, after a short internal debate you won’t bore yourself with by repeating here, you grab four plates.
  3860. >If the filly is gone, meh, at least you won’t look like a jackass.
  3861. >You come back to a relatively quiet room, three ponies, and (explaining the ‘relatively’ part of the quiet, because there sure is some awkward as fuck silence between the ponies) some cute little Chinese cartoon playing on your TV.
  3862. >Squickylickins –
  3863. >And with that, you realize you’re run out of new things to call Fluttershy.
  3864. >Shit.
  3865. >*Fluttershy* is the only one watching it, though.
  3866. >Berry is sitting quietly and swaying only pretty damn much.
  3867. >Sammy Davis Jr. (yes, you have a new target now) has eyes only for the stacks of Styrofoam containers someone pulled out of the bag and stacked neatly.
  3868. >Probably Fluttershy, since they’re stacked neatly and not dumped in a fucking pile on the floor by Miss Fumblehooves the Incredibly Wasted.
  3869. “You’re still here, huh?”
  3870. >”I’m hungry,” the filly mumbles back. “Thank you for the food.”
  3871. >Fluttershy nods happily, though whether it has anything to do with the filly or if it’s because of her anime, you’ll never know.
  3872. >Who the fuck are you kidding? It’s the anime.
  3873. “Well, I’m glad to see Berry didn’t run you off.”
  3874. >Your pony’s head drops.
  3875. >Okay, you’re a fucking asshole.
  3876. >Unless she’s just too drunk to hold it up any… uh… nope, she’s trying not to cry.
  3877. >You’re a fucking asshole.
  3878. >This is awkward as fuck.
  3879. >One pony watching anime like nothing else exists, one pony staring at a pile of boxes like nothing else exists, one about to cry her fucking eyes out, and you holding four plates, four tumblers, and dead sober.
  3880. >This is a problem.
  3881. >You know how to solve problems.
  3882. >First step –
  3883. >First step is getting some food in that filly.
  3884. >Fuck, she looks so goddamn hungry.
  3885. “Alright, Sammyhammy…”
  3886. >You drop a plate on the coffee table, in front of the littlest pony in the room.
  3887. >She doesn’t reach for it or anything until you fill it up with a little bit of everything and nudge it towards her. Twice.
  3888. >Even then Samsquanch hesitates.
  3889. >”I’ll go once I’m done eating,” she insists softly.
  3890. >”You can stay…”
  3891. >The voice is so quiet and weak, you don’t know which of the mares said it.
  3892. >Seems like more of a Fluttershy thing, but she’s busy watching her toons.
  3893. >SHRUG.
  3894. “You can stay if you want. I’ll get you some blankets or something.”
  3895. >She’s too busy eating to hear you.
  3896. >Well, fine then. Not like you wanted her to stick around. Or tag along in the first place. Or…
  3897. >Fuck it, time for a drink.
  3898. >Shit, everyone could use one.
  3899. “Okay girls, serve yourselves.”
  3900. >You line up the glasses and go for the rum.
  3901. >There are some things more important in life than watching ponies try to ladle out Chinese noodles.
  3902. >One glass. Bam.
  3903. “You want some, right Fluteshoot?”
  3904. >Awwww yeah, you got it back.
  3905. >”Mkay.”
  3906. >Two glasses.
  3907. >You start to pour the third, but Berry pulls the glass away and fills it with soda.
  3908. >”She’s just a foal, ‘non,” the mare slurs. “Dun need any of that.”
  3909. “Uh, right.
  3910. >”I bet she just want it all for herself,” the filly snarks through her full mouth. “Like she *needs* any more.”
  3911. >One look at Berry and you know that she *does*.
  3912. >After all, she’s still Berry Punch and this is some primo rum, so you don’t bother to ask her if she wants any.
  3913. >You know the answer there.
  3914. >What you don’t know is why you’re spilling your rum on the table and where the glass went.
  3915. >”I dun need any.”
  3916. >Okay.
  3917. >Okay.
  3918. >Don’t panic.
  3919. >Changelings are a thing.
  3920. >You know they’re a thing.
  3921. >One snuck into your house, murdered your favorite pony, and took her place.
  3922. >You can be calm about this.
  3923. >Maybe this one will be better in the long run.
  3924. >It’s not like every changeling goes on murder sprees.
  3925. >Besides, that was only a sex toy shop.
  3926. >Okay.
  3927. >Yeah.
  3928. >You’re safe.
  3929. >Can changelings look like humans? Because -
  3930. >”Really, ‘non,” the probably-changeling mumbles. “Can I get like… uh… some coffee instead?”
  3931. >”Pretty sure there’s not enough coffee in the world to sober you up.”
  3932. “Wow, you’re kind of bitchy for a pony.”
  3933. >No comment?
  3934. “I mean, is that how it works? The smaller the pony, the bitchier they are?”
  3935. >The only pony looking at you is Berry.
  3936. >Huh.
  3937. >So ponies are telepathic, but deaf?
  3938. >Guess you’ll go get Berry some fucking coffee then, because it’s not as if this is your house or anything. Nope, you’re just the fucking waiter.
  3939. >”Thanks, ‘non,” the mare mutters. “An’ you’re not just a waiter, I…”
  3940. >Yeah, she’s probably too wasted to walk in a straight line, let alone while trying to balance a hot mug of coffee.
  3941. >”Y-yeah.”
  3942. >Berry’s head sinks even lower.
  3943. >”Pr-probably. Thanks, ‘non.”
  3944. >You don’t even know if you *have* coffee, but a brief search of the kitchen turns up everything you need.
  3945. >Huh.
  3946. >Breakfast doesn’t have to consist of only Jackie’o’s and bacon anymore.
  3947. >You have no idea when you bought this shit, because the idea of wasting booze by sobering yourself up is about as anathema to your ideals and/or existence as the thought of being awake when you get to work.
  3948. >Fuck. That. Shit.
  3949. >If you were awake, you know you’d never be able to force yourself to go in.
  3950. >Shit, does this thing have an instruction manual?
  3951.  
  3952. >You FINALLY get a chance to sit down and eat something like three eternities later.
  3953. >Those are some damn good Styrofoam containers, because the food is still warm.
  3954. “Anyone else need anything?”
  3955. >You’re too kind to your ponies. Pony. Pony and guests.
  3956. >Two ponies ignore you, distracted by Chinese food and Chinese cartoons. The third thanks you quietly for her coffee.
  3957. >WHELP, TIME TO KICK BACK, DRINK, RELAX, AND EAT.
  3958. >IN THAT ORDER.
  3959. “Flutetoot, whatcha watching?”
  3960. >She kicks the case across the table to you.
  3961. >Trigun.
  3962. >You own this on DVD?
  3963. >Apparently you do.
  3964. “Huh, good choice.”
  3965. >Yup, and that’s about all the words that are shared during the meal.
  3966. >Would have been awkward if you hadn’t been drinking.
  3967. >Well, probably *was* awkward, just not for you.
  3968. >And eventually not Berry either.
  3969. >You raise your glass in salute when you see her pouring some crème de menthe into her coffee.
  3970. >Fuck yeah, that’s how you solve problems.
  3971. >Well, the ones you can’t solve with crowbars, angry growling, pleading growling, and threats of genocide.
  3972. >(You know those don’t work, because you threatened little miss goodie two-shoes with all of them on the way back, but noooooooooo she just HAD to rescue the filly from her happy little camping spot in the park).
  3973. >Actual genocide probably would have worked, but seemed like too much effort at the time.
  3974. >Anyway, awkwardness is one of those things.
  3975. >(Threatening to wipe out someone’s entire species tends to make things *more* awkward.)
  3976. >And for that, there’s booze.
  3977. >Also –
  3978. “Looks like that’s all gone.”
  3979. >Yep, every last speck of the Chinese is fucking DISAPPEARED like a political dissident in… well… China.
  3980. >They still do that, right?
  3981. “Who’s up for some desert?”
  3982. >One hoof shoots up into the air.
  3983. >A second follows slowly.
  3984. >Berry Punch needs chocolate badly.
  3985. >”Um…”
  3986. >”Yes Samantha,” Lumbershy responds softly to the filly's unasked question, “you can have some, too.”
  3987. >”Actually, I think I’m going to go now,” the filly responds, skootching herself off the edge of the sofa. “Thanks for the food, but –“
  3988. “Sweet. More chocolate for us.”
  3989. >Because for whatever alcohol can’t solve, there’s always emergency chocolate.
  3990. >(Now there is.)
  3991. >(It was hard to overlook the calming effects of chocolate on ponies – or at least one particular pony – after the third bag you had to “defect” because it was “open”.)
  3992. >”Oh…”
  3993. “Fine. Stay. You can have some.”
  3994. >Dammit.
  3995. >Stupid filly, eating up your emergency chocolate.
  3996. >Stupid Flitterflutter, making you bring out your emergency chocolate.
  3997. >Stupid you, not eating your emergency chocolate before now.
  3998. >And letting Fluttershy stay an extra night.
  3999. >Letting her stay at all.
  4000. >Go to park.
  4001. >Being friendly with her at all.
  4002. >Ponies at all.
  4003. >Goddammit, this is all Berry Punch’s fault.
  4004. “I’ll be right back!”
  4005. >Fuck yeah 13 years of customer service skills put to use right fucking there: you say it with a *smile*.
  4006. >Who say’s you’ve wasted your life?
  4007. >YOU SAY YOU’VE WASTED YOUR LIFE!
  4008. >A bit harder to fake the skipping, but that’s okay.
  4009. >Probably would have come off as sarcastic at that point and you wouldn’t want *that*!
  4010. >“Don’t gotta be such a jackass, ‘non.”
  4011. >”Berry!” Fluttershy hisses, never looking away from the screen. “Don’t swear in front of Samantha!”
  4012. >”W’not? You didn’t get affer ‘non!”
  4013. >”That’s because he’s a raging faggot and doesn’t know any better. You need to be a good -”
  4014. >NOT YOUR PROBLEM.
  4015. >CHOCOLATE IS YOUR PROBLEM.
  4016. >TASTY TASTY CHOCOLATE, AND YOUR SOON TO BE LACK OF ANY TASTY CHOCOLATE.
  4017. >Damn ponies.
  4018. >This was for Berry.
  4019. >[INTERNAL WHINING CONTINUES]
  4020. >WAIT!
  4021. >[INTERNAL WHINING PAUSES]
  4022. >Cookies.
  4023. >You have cookies.
  4024. >They weren’t all eaten last night!
  4025. >Praise the bakers!
  4026. >You return to the room with double fistfuls of cookie packages and – though it pains you dearly – a chocolate bar for Berry.
  4027. >She needs it.
  4028. >Booze ain’t working.
  4029. >She smiles weakly when you hand her the candy.
  4030. >Flowerpower meeps when you put a box of cookies on her head.
  4031. >And Sammich… she’s looking at the Nutterbutters like they’re a trap.
  4032. >”I’ll just have a few. Then I’m leaving.”
  4033. >You don’t doubt that. Either part, really.
  4034. >Pretty damn sure that tiny pony has already eaten twice her body-weight in Chinese.
  4035. “’kay.”
  4036. >And if she’s so eager to leave, who are you to stop her?
  4037. >A kidnapper?
  4038. >Foal... napper?
  4039. >Nah, that ain’t you.
  4040. >Sammy carefully takes three cookies from the package – and you note not to touch the adjacent cookies because 1) ewww, filly cooties and 2) FILLY NEEDS SHOWER BADLY.
  4041. >Mostly the filly cooties.
  4042. >You work retail.
  4043. >You’re used to absolute filth.
  4044. >But still, this is a special filth.
  4045. >Hobofilly filth, which combines three of the nastiest shit you’ve ever known – hobos, ponies, and children.
  4046. >Of the three, children are the worst.
  4047. >And without a fresh breeze or the pleasantly strong stench of shitty Chinese food, it’s getting Pretty Fucking Noticeable.
  4048. >Time for Hobofilly to fucking go.
  4049. >Of course, the two mares are going to object.
  4050. >Getting her to leave has to be brought up with tact.
  4051. >With nuance.
  4052. >With subtlety.
  4053. “Samantha.”
  4054. >She raises her head, looking at you askance.
  4055. “You stink.”
  4056. >Fucking nailed it.
  4057. >But yeah.
  4058. >This show.
  4059. >Sure, it’s a little old, a little dated, goes a little fucking nowhere (kinda like your life), but still -
  4060. >”Well…”
  4061. >Yep, little filly got the hint. She’s wrapping up the two cookies she hadn’t gotten around to in her napkin.
  4062. >”… YOU try living… living –“
  4063. >Aww shit. Is she crying?
  4064. >She better not be crying.
  4065. >Fucking shit. She’s crying.
  4066. >Godsdammit.
  4067. >All your diplomacy, wasted on a child.
  4068. >”Non din’t mean it like that!”
  4069. >You roll your eyes and let Berry run damage control.
  4070. >She’s supposedly good with kids, right?
  4071. >”He just – uh –“
  4072. >Supposedly.
  4073. >Right?
  4074. >RIGHT?
  4075. >You can’t hear your sweet, sweet dubs over fillylily’s sniffling.
  4076. >”Y’can use the shower before you go!”
  4077. >Oh godsdammit, Berry.
  4078. >”N-no –“
  4079. >”He’s a nice guy! Really! He just dunno how to… uh… Fluttershh-“
  4080. >Heh, she’s too drunk to pronounce that last letter.
  4081. >Wait.
  4082. >What.
  4083. >”Flutter, back me up. He’s nice, isn’e?”
  4084. >”Mhm. Very nice. Quiet.”
  4085. >”See?”
  4086. >”Of course you’re going to say that,” the filly sneers, shoving a dirty napkin into her dirty saddlebags. “He owns you. I’m a free –“
  4087. >”He doesn’t own me,” Flutternutter mumbles as the closing song starts to play. “I wish he did.”
  4088. >She leans over towards you, stretching that little neck of hers as far as she can.
  4089. >”Pats?”
  4090. >You pat the pony.
  4091. >It requires some stretching on your part, but you can’t say no to those big, pleading –
  4092. “Hey!”
  4093. >You don’t have to do this!
  4094. >”Hehe,” the little pony giggles. Yes, she actually says “hehe.” “I got pats.”
  4095. “Sam, don’t trust her. I think her brain is broken.”
  4096. >”Aww.”
  4097. “I’m really very mean and evil and if you stay any longer I’ll -”
  4098. >Okay. Nope. Threat aborted.
  4099. >Threatening to rape a filly is a bit much.
  4100. >She doesn’t even have any tits.
  4101. >How the fuck are you supposed to get it up?
  4102. >Totally not a believable threat.
  4103. “I’ll… uh…”
  4104. >COME UP WITH A BELIEVABLE THREAT!
  4105. “…um…”
  4106. >Drinking all the rum won’t do it either.
  4107. >Stupid sober babies.
  4108. “…uh…”
  4109. >Withhold pats?
  4110. >Why are you patting Sluttershy again?
  4111. >Shit.
  4112. “… go take a fucking shower.”
  4113. >”Yeah, no,” the filly responds after a second. “I’m leaving.”
  4114. >You’re preeeeeeeeeetty sure she wasn’t even contemplating it. Probably more likely she was trying to figure out if you were serious or not.
  4115. >(You were.)
  4116. >(Kinda.)
  4117. >(But not enough to let her think you were.)
  4118. “Kay. Bye.”
  4119. >Sammael the Homeless Filly hops right the fuck off your sofa, throws her saddlebag over her back – and seriously, why are they even called saddlebags when ponies don’t have saddles (or… do they…?) -
  4120. >(NOTE TO SELF: Look into the possibility of riding Berry to work.)
  4121. > - and makes it all of three steps before getting booped right in the fucking nose by a yellow hoof.
  4122. >Aaaaaaaand you’re still petting Flutterpet.
  4123. >Wow, she can stretch.
  4124. >Pretty flexible for a… uh… bad thoughts.
  4125. >”Nope!”
  4126. >Oh, right, other shit still happening.
  4127. >”You’re going to take a shower, little filly,” Buttershy says, in her *sternest* of voices. Which is actually far more terrifying than you expected.
  4128. >It’s a good fearboners aren’t a thing.
  4129. >”I’m leaving and you –“
  4130. >Whatever the little filly is about to say is lost in a flurry of feathers, vulgarity, and –
  4131. >OH GOD THEY SPILLED YOUR DRINK.
  4132. >Oh. Wait. That was empty.
  4133. >BUT STILL THEY COULD HAVE SPILLED YOUR DRINK.
  4134. >Such potential hypothetical imaginary wastefulness MUST be punished.
  4135. "FLUTTERSHY!"
  4136. >"Meeeeeep."
  4137. >The ball of flapping wings and strobing green... heeeeeeey, the pair would make a pretty decent disco ball if you hang them from the okay you know what? Nope, nopenopenopenopenopenot hanging slaves and/or former slaves. Nope. Surefire way to get the ACLU on your ass, even if they are yellow and... yeah... brown... yeah... nope!
  4138. >"Um... Anon...?"
  4139. >THOUGHT ABANDONED.
  4140. "Fluttershy! You want Samantha to take a bath?"
  4141. >"Mhm," she hums, nodding, which is honestly quite an accomplishment considering she's upside down and the filly is currently standing on what probably passes her chin among this marshmallow species.
  4142. "Well, SHE'S NOT."
  4143. >"B-b-b-b-b-ut -"
  4144. "NOPE. SILENCE. YOU ALMOST - oh, thank you, Berry."
  4145. >You nod in appreciation to your favoritist pony ever who just refilled your drink.
  4146. "As I was saying, you ALMOST SPILLED MY DRINK."
  4147. >"But your glass was empty," Sammael grumbles. "What does it -"
  4148. "SILENCE!"
  4149. >Yeah, that shuts her up!
  4150. "You're both getting punished!"
  4151. >"But I'm a free pony! You can't -"
  4152. "SILENCE! Fluttershy, you want her to take a shower, SO SHE'S NOT!"
  4153. >"Awwwwww..."
  4154. "And Sam -"
  4155. >"You can't do -"
  4156. "SIIILEEEENCEEEEEEEEEEEEE!"
  4157. >Silence!
  4158. "You don't want to take a shower... so... uh... Fluttershy! Wash half of her!"
  4159. >VICTORY SIP!
  4160. >OHGODITBURNSWHATISTHISTEQUILLA?
  4161. >"Um..."
  4162. "Yes, Fluttershy, you can choose which half, for I am always the most merciful of men."
  4163. >"Can't I just wash all of her?" the little pat of butter mumbles as she melts into your carpet OH GOD YOUR CARPET! "I don't know if -"
  4164. "YES. FINE."
  4165. >Whatever gets her off the carpet and into a nice room with tiles!
  4166. >Melted pony is probably an utter BITCH to get out of carpet.
  4167. >"yay"
  4168. >She's on her hooves in an instant, holding a flailing filly by the scruff of her marshmallow neck and smiling. Smiling...?
  4169. >OH. RIGHT.
  4170. "BUT!"
  4171. >"Hmmmmmm?"
  4172. "You better not enjoy it!"
  4173. >"Hooohaaay."
  4174. "Seriously."
  4175. >Resolidified Flutterbutter nods, shaking that little filly in ways you would probably get arrested for if you were doing it and it was a human baby.
  4176. >Might get arrested for doing it to a pony baby, too.
  4177. "Ummm, Berry, remind me to look up what counts as animal abuse or whatever when it comes to ponies."
  4178. >"I'm not going to do that."
  4179. "Okay."
  4180. >You fall back into your seat only to find the pink mare sitting beside you.
  4181. >"Seriously, 'non."
  4182. "Fine."
  4183. >"M'your only pony," Berry mumbles, refilling her glass with EXTREME difficulty.
  4184. >Hooves are silly.
  4185. >"Y'hurt 'em, I think it'd be somethin' else."
  4186. "Oh. Right. Hey, Fluttershy!"
  4187. >"Hrrrm?" she grunts from the doorway.
  4188. "Don't molest the filly."
  4189. >"HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH?"
  4190. >"WHAT!?"
  4191. >"AH WHOHD NEHHA!"
  4192. "I'm serious, you two. No hanky-panky."
  4193. >The kicking and flailing - and the shaking - increases by a factor of something scientific.
  4194. >You sit down.
  4195. >You were already sitting down but you do it anyway.
  4196. >It's complicated to explain.
  4197. >Shut up.
  4198. >Your house has good plumbing, but you can still pinpoint the exact moment the water turns on.
  4199. >It's when the screaming starts.
  4200. "Okay, that's a little disconcerting."
  4201. >"Yeah," Berry murmurs as she pours herself anoth- shit. Pure gin. She doesn't even care what she's drinking anymore.
  4202. "Should I... uh... do I need to go check on them?"
  4203. >Besides, if you're up you can go get some more of something NOT shit to drink so... yeah. There's that.
  4204. >"If y'want."
  4205. >She shrugs.
  4206. >You shrug.
  4207. >Ling shrugs.
  4208. >Wait, what?
  4209. >Oh, right.
  4210. >Screaming.
  4211. "She's not murdering the filly, is she?"
  4212. >"Nah. Well..."
  4213. >Berry smiles.
  4214. >The expression is more painful than anything you've ever seen her make.
  4215. >It honestly hurts.
  4216. >Right here.
  4217. >"... pro'ly not. This's... normal."
  4218. "Really?
  4219. >"Sometimes," Berry murmurs into her glass.
  4220. "Seriously?"
  4221. >"Some foals don' like t'take their baths."
  4222. "I should really look up those abuse laws."
  4223. >"It'sn't abuse to make a foal get clean e'ry once inna while."
  4224. "Yeah, but..."
  4225. >Berry reaches for you with both forelegs stretched out wide.
  4226. >She looks SO FUCKING SAD.
  4227. >Is she crying? Is she really fucking crying?
  4228. >Wait. WAIT.
  4229. >Is... is she trying to... to HUG you?
  4230. >HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
  4231. >You freeze in panic because HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
  4232. >That's why she has absolutely no difficulty swiping your drink from you, even with your home turf and MASTER RACE opposable thumbs advantages.
  4233. >Shit.
  4234. >You should have known better.
  4235. >Berry doesn't have real emotions.
  4236. >Not that it's a bad thing.
  4237. >You don't have real emotions either.
  4238. >RETAIL!
  4239. >[JAZZ HANDS]
  4240. >It'll clear up that 'giving a shit about shit' problem faster than it takes a new hire to quit!
  4241. >'cause, well, if anyone still gives a shit, they quit.
  4242. >Emotions are for people with better jobs.
  4243. >Except hate. You're allowed to hate.
  4244. >Good thing, because your drink is gone, your shower is getting dirtied up by a filthy hobopony - hopony? hobony? meh, those are stupid - a filthy *hobopony*, who is currently screaming loud enough that you can't hear what the fuck Vash is saying.
  4245. >Subtitles! Whooo!
  4246. >Okay, one problem solved.
  4247. >You look at your empty hand, then over at your empty glass which is NOT in your empty hand which was once filled with alcohol which is NOT currently in YOUR belly.
  4248. "Berry."
  4249. >"Hmm?"
  4250. "I hope you know I hate you."
  4251. >"S'okay. I hate me too."
  4252. "So long as we're in agreement."
  4253. >She nods once, but, uh... probably just too drunk to keep her head up.
  4254. >If she can stomach pure gin, she's beyond three sheets to the wind.
  4255. >Four or five in a monsoon, at the *very* least.
  4256. >"We should prolly shut this off."
  4257. >Yeaaaaah, if she's too drunk to understand how nasty gin is, then this anime is probably wasted on -
  4258. >"Fluttershy'll be pissed we din't stop it for'er."
  4259. "Oh. Right."
  4260. >That too.
  4261. >"Don't need e'rypony hating me," Berry mumbles, fumbling for the remote.
  4262. >She can't pick it up.
  4263. >It's not even the right remote.
  4264. "Here, lemme get that for you."
  4265. >You grab the remote and -
  4266. >Right, right, it's not even the correct one.
  4267. >You grab the PROPER remote and turn off the DVD.
  4268. >The screen flashes blue for a second, then goes black, then pops up with that stupid little grey box saying what fucking fuckity fuck you're on.
  4269. >Whatever it's called.
  4270. >A quick trip to the kitchen gets you a fresh glass... or would, if it wouldn't be so much effort.
  4271. >Berry's still holding onto your glass, so you grab hers.
  4272. >Alcohol is a disinfectent, right? That means pony slober and backwash isn't a problem.
  4273. >Sure, it's gross anyway, but meh.
  4274. >You pour yourself a little something and drink in comfortable silence.
  4275. >Semi-comfortable silence.
  4276. >Semi-comfortable, semi-silence.
  4277. >Okay, it's fucking awkward as fuck and that filly is still fucking screaming.
  4278. >Fuck.
  4279. >Berry just sits there, staring at her empty glass.
  4280. >Fucking weird.
  4281. "I'm... uh... I'm just gonna turn on the news or something, okay?"
  4282. >Your pony grunts.
  4283. >Thaaaaaaaat's a yes!
  4284. >You don't have cable, because, well *retail*, but who the fuck has cable in this age anyway?
  4285. >Old people who don't know how to stream?
  4286. >Fuck that, you have an antenna!
  4287. >Luckily, it only takes three tries (split between two remotes), to find some news.
  4288. >Sure, it's depressing as fuck, or would be if you could still feel depressed, but it's better than anything else that's on.
  4289. >Could find something else if you flipped over to Hulu or Netflix or whatever, but that'd mean choices and choices are *hard*.
  4290. >This is easy.
  4291. >You laugh along to a stupid little fluff piece about... something.
  4292. >It was so pointless it's out of your head as soon as it cuts back to the newdesk.
  4293. >Ooooh, weather!
  4294. >Yep, weather is happening!
  4295. >You glance at Berry.
  4296. >Still an empty glass, so you fill it for her.
  4297. >You're a nice guy.
  4298. >Oh, and it looks like the weather tonight is going to be pretty weathery, so it was nice of you to let filthy hobofilly come inside.
  4299. >You're one hell of a nice guy.
  4300. >Letting that little pony come in out of the cold, feeding her, letting another pony give her a shower... yeah, you're a pretty fucking awesome dude.
  4301. >If it weren't for you, she'd probably be frozen dead or in a pony mill.
  4302. >Pony mill?
  4303. >Huh, where'd that thought come from?
  4304. >Double huh, Berry looks sick.
  4305. "Drink too much? You're not going to vomit all over the -"
  4306. >"M'fine."
  4307. >"That's right, Tom," the TV says - or the reporter on the TV says? "The police discovered the illegal operation today when a -"
  4308. >Ohshit.
  4309. >Berry's gonna fuck up your carpet.
  4310. >And after you went back on your word so butterpone didn't wreck it!
  4311. >" - mare set herself on fire -"
  4312. >Waitwhat?
  4313. >For the first time, you look at the screen.
  4314. >Oh.
  4315. >Whoops.
  4316. "Yeaaaaah, I'm just going to change this."
  4317. >"S'fine. Leave it."
  4318. "But -"
  4319. >"Doesn't bother me."
  4320. >Berry drains her glass in one go.
  4321. >"Work retail now," she slurs. "Nothin' bothers me an'more."
  4322. >Too late.
  4323. >Your hands are already moving.
  4324. >Several pan shot and a few stills flash on the TV as you fumble between remotes.
  4325. >"Said it's fine, 'non," Berry grunts, pushing her glass into your side WHICH IS NOT HELPING AT ALL. "Pour me 'nother."
  4326. >" - the only casualties were the mare and her unborn foal."
  4327. >And then back to the newsdesk just as you find the right remote.
  4328. >Not the right button, though.
  4329. >Turning up the volume does NOT change the channel.
  4330. >"Wow, what a sad story."
  4331. >"Look on the bright side. All those ponies are going to find new, loving homes, just in time for the holidays!"
  4332. >"'nother."
  4333. >She pushes her glass into you again, which is STILL NOT HELPING.
  4334. >"That's true, Tom. There are going to be a lot of happy boys and girls this Christmas."
  4335. >And then they're on to the next story.
  4336. >Not even on screen for two full minutes.
  4337. >"Gimme... um..."
  4338. >GODDAMN THAT GLASS.
  4339. >"Vodka and Sprite?" she murmurs softly.
  4340. "Fine."
  4341. >Oh, hey! You actually heard her!
  4342. >The screaming stopped and you never even noticed!
  4343. >Yay!
  4344. >"'non?"
  4345. >POKE-WITH-GLASS.
  4346. "Goddammit, Berry! I'm reaching for it!"
  4347. >POKE-WITH-GLASS.
  4348. >"'non, pour?"
  4349. "Dammit, are you picking up bad habits from Fluttershy?"
  4350. >SHRUG.
  4351. >POKE-WITH-GLASS.
  4352. >"Pour?"
  4353. "I'm not going to let her come over again if this is what happens."
  4354. >You yank it from her hooves and set it on the table.
  4355. >Always easier to pour hooch when the fucking glass isn't moving.
  4356. >And of course, first thing you do is dribble vodka all over the fucking table.
  4357. >Shit, it's hard enough sitting still on the table, NOT THAT YOU'RE DRUNK OR ANYTHING.
  4358. >POKE-WITHOUT-GLASS.
  4359. "FUCKING FUCKITY FUCK, NOW YOU'RE JUST DOING THAT TO PISS ME OFF!"
  4360. >"Yeah."
  4361. >POKE-WITHOUT-GLASS.
  4362. >"So?"
  4363. "So it's making it hard to mix your drink!"
  4364. >"Oh."
  4365. >POKE-WITHOUT-GLASS.
  4366. >"Sorry."
  4367. "If you make me spill the Sprite..."
  4368. >"Won't," Berry sighs, slumping away from you.
  4369. >Slumping?
  4370. >Nah, that implies a single action.
  4371. >This movement is more like a fucking Jenga tower falling into a shitpile.
  4372. >She sways one way, then another, before gravity or whatever finally decides she should end up leaning against the arm of the sofa and not you.
  4373. >Good.
  4374. >That'd make it hard to pour her drink, which would probably lead to more poking, which would lead to you punting a pony, which might not be the right pony.
  4375. >Maybe you should kick both of 'em, just to make sure.
  4376. >Maybe.
  4377. >You'll think about it.
  4378. >You won't actually *do* it, but you're gonna think about it.
  4379. >Maybe yourself, too.
  4380. >You spilled the Sprite.
  4381. >Fuck.
  4382. >Today sucks.
  4383. >"That sucked!"
  4384. >Fuck yeah it did.
  4385. >Huh, your voice sounds waaaaaay girlier and higher pitched than normal.
  4386. >"That *really* -"
  4387. >Oh. Good. It's Sammyhammy.
  4388. >Your manly, deep, masculine voice is intact.
  4389. >"- sucked!"
  4390. >Too bad whining is only okay when it comes from a manlyman voice.
  4391. "Silence!"
  4392. >"But it suuuuuucked!"
  4393. >IT'S NOT WORKING!
  4394. >Sam Adams shakes - splattering water EVERYTHUFCKINGWHERE!
  4395. >Your mind is incoherent with rage.
  4396. >"Stop it," Fluttershy sighs, stepping up beside the filly and putting a hoof on the top of her head. "You're making a mess."
  4397. >ECFRYVFKUCGNIWHAR!
  4398. >"She washed me in places I didn't even *know* could be washed!"
  4399. >"You had mudbutt."
  4400. >"I DID NOT!"
  4401. >Fluttershy rolls her GIANTLY HUGEASS eyes.
  4402. >"She had mudbutt."
  4403. >"I DIDN'T!"
  4404.  
  4405. "Get out."
  4406. >"W-wh-what?"
  4407. "Everyone get out."
  4408. >You're going to burn this everything.
  4409. >Starting with where she was sitting, which was... uh... where you're sitting now?
  4410. >Seating arrangements have gotten a little wonky, but you're *pretty sure* she was sitting where you're sitting now.
  4411. >Fuck.
  4412. >Sofa first, then pants. Wait. Maybe you should put some new pants on before -
  4413. >"Sh'can't," Berry argues, turning her head about like some goddamn fuzzy, inebriated owl, "Sh'still soaked."
  4414. "Well, if she stays -"
  4415. >"Berry's right," Fluttershy adds, BECAUSE APPARENTLY YOU FUCKING ASKED FOR HER OPINION ON THE WHOLE SETTING PONIES ON FIRE THING AND EVERYONE BUT YOU IS IN FUCKING FAVOR OF IT. "If you send her out into the cold, she'll freeze to death."
  4416. "Better than -"
  4417. >"I DID NOT HAVE MUDBUTT!"
  4418. >Fluttersigh.
  4419. >Fluttereyeroll.
  4420. >"You -"
  4421. "I'M GOING TO BELIEVE THE FILLY."
  4422. >Because believing otherwise means torching everything, including your booze and your favorite pony and your pants and these pants are actually pretty comfortable.
  4423. >"*Anon*, she -"
  4424. "SHE'S BROWN. CLEARLY YOU JUST MADE A MISTAKE."
  4425. >Fluttersigh.
  4426. >"Berry, can you make be a little less... uh... *him*?"
  4427. "I'M BEING PERFECTLY REASONABLE RIGHT NOW."
  4428. >"Nu-uh. Not when he gets that voice."
  4429. "THIS IS MY BEING PERFECTLY REASONABLE VOICE."
  4430. >"See?"
  4431. >"Uh-huh," Putterfly hums, nodding that giant head of hers slowly, like... uh... you tried to think of a funny simile, but nothing came to mind.
  4432. >Headbanger at the slowest metal show ever?
  4433. >Yep, not funny.
  4434. >It'll come to you, though. Eventually. Probably tonight as you're just about to fall asleep.
  4435. "EVERYTHING IS NORMAL!"
  4436. >Luckily, volume is a substitute for humor.
  4437. >"Okay, so... I'm going now," Sam Adams murmurs (that is your new very favorite name for her because it's booze). "Thanks for the food and... uh..."
  4438. "The shower?"
  4439. >"I guess," the little filly sighs, shivering. Probably because she's traumatized for life.
  4440. >That was a LOT of screaming.
  4441. >"Yer cold."
  4442. >Or maybe Berry's right and she's shivering because she's cold.
  4443. >WHO KNOWS!?
  4444. >NO ONE ALIVE, THAT'S FOR -
  4445. >"I'm not cold."
  4446. >EVEN BETTER! YOU'RE RIGHT!
  4447. >"I'm... fine. Everything's fine."
  4448. >"Nuh - no," Berry slurs, falling off the sofa in what probably wasn't the most dignified method to dismount.
  4449. >Dignity doesn't usually involve stumbling into a coffee table.
  4450. >"Stay."
  4451. >The filly hesitates, probably frozen stiff by Berry's breath. Or dead. Both maybe.
  4452. >"C'mon, y'can sleep in m'bed."
  4453. >"NO. THANK YOU, BUT NO."
  4454. >Berry stumbles into the coffee table again because volume works.
  4455. >Smuggness warms your insides.
  4456. >"S'fine," Berry slurs, leaning against the table for support. "It's getting colder, so stay. I'll... uh... I'll sleep on the... um..."
  4457. >The table is a dick.
  4458. >It slides out from under Berry's weight, dropping her to the ground with a semi-painful thud.
  4459. >"I'll sleep righ 'ere."
  4460. >Well, she *does* look comfortable.
  4461. >"I'm used't sleeping onna floor," she mumbles, softly. "Least this'n isn't covered in spilled beer -"
  4462. >(you've cleaned it up)
  4463. >"- n'vomit -"
  4464. >(she's cleaned it up)
  4465. >"- n' has carpet."
  4466. >(which made cleaning it up pretty damn difficult.)
  4467. >(You should get hardwood floors installed, but those cost money.)
  4468. >Berry tries to push herself back up, but makes it about noway.
  4469. >"I'll... uh..."
  4470. >Yep.
  4471. >Epic failure.
  4472. >"I'll... um... pack you some food..."
  4473. >Second attempt.
  4474. >Glorious non-victory!
  4475. >"... 'fore y'go," Berry finishes, giving up as her cheeks glow bright red.
  4476. >Literally glowing.
  4477. >Holy shit.
  4478. >Ponies are magic.
  4479. >"And... and *her*?" Sammy asks, trying to gesture towards Flutterpie with only her eyes, as if that's subtle or something when your eyes are FUCKING HUGE.
  4480. >"I'll take the sofa," the possible child molester answers, cheerfully climbing up into the spot Berry vacated. "I don't think I'll be sleeping anyway."
  4481. >"Welllll..."
  4482. "Okay, that almost sounds creepy -"
  4483. >Filly nods.
  4484. "- but I swear she just means she's going to go through my anime collection -"
  4485. >Flutternod.
  4486. "- like a crackwhore through dicks."
  4487. >Flutterfreeze.
  4488. >You reach over and grab the back of the head, helping her agree.
  4489. >FLUTTERNOD.
  4490. >The filly looks like she's cracking.
  4491. "Fuck it. Stay the night."
  4492. >"M...maybe..."
  4493. "I think we've already reached our quota of dead ponies for the day."
  4494. >FLUTTERTWIST.
  4495. >FLUTTERQUESTIONINGLOOK.
  4496. >FLUTTERNOTQUITESUREIFJOKE.
  4497. >"Oh... uh..."
  4498. >FLUTTERTURNTOWARDSNOISE.
  4499. >ANONGETTINGTIREDOFTHISGIMMICK.
  4500. >"... 'non?" Berry murmurs softly, reaching blindly for whatever she hopes to find on top of the table.
  4501. "Need me to get that for you or something?"
  4502. >You reach for the closest bottle, but Berry shakes her head.
  4503. >"Can y'show'er t'my room?"
  4504. "Yeah. Sure."
  4505. >You stand and decide that yes, that table is a DICK.
  4506. >Fuck.
  4507. >Ow.
  4508. >Fuckity fuckwhorefucks.
  4509. >"Um..."
  4510. "I'm fine, Tooterpoot. My shins aren't, but I wasn't using them for anything anyway."
  4511. >"I don’t get it. Was that a joke?"
  4512. >"Yesh."
  4513. "No. That was me putting on a brave face."
  4514. >"O-oh..."
  4515. >"Dun lishen t'im."
  4516. "Nope, it's serious. I'm going to die. Too bad I'm not pregnant, because that'd make it even more tragic."
  4517. >Buttshy tilts her head to one side.
  4518. >"He’s making jokes, isn’t he?"
  4519. >You stare at her.
  4520. >She stares back.
  4521. >Well fuck. Now you feel a little stupid.
  4522. >None of that was funny at all.
  4523. "I'm trying, but now I feel kind of silly because no one is laughing."
  4524. >You would laugh yourself, but then you'd probably look the wrong kind of crazy.
  4525. >AND WE WOULDN'T WANT THAT, WOULD WE?
  4526. >You hold your insane smile until Fetashy giggles uncertainly.
  4527. >But not 'cause you're funny or anything.
  4528. >She's just being polite.
  4529. >Good. Enough.
  4530. "Fine, I'm going."
  4531. >But not before you kick the dick - uh, *table*.
  4532. "Sammylammy, follow me on the quest to adventure!"
  4533. >"Was he trying to make a joke?" you hear Fluttershy ask, but you don't acknowledge, because that would mean admitting failure. "First he tells me not to molest Samantha, and now this...? Berry, I'm confused..."
  4534. >Her answer is just loud enough for you to hear.
  4535. >"Apple Bloom died today."
  4536. >wat
  4537. >You can faintly remember the news piece, the pictures it showed.
  4538. >A yellow mare with a red mane.
  4539. >Well, that was the *before* pic. The after was mostly black and grey.
  4540. >And Berry and Fluttershy knew her?
  4541. >"Oh. That's..."
  4542. >Bad.
  4543. >Very bad.
  4544. >You don't need two bawling mares to deal with.
  4545. >NOT AFTER TODAY.
  4546. >NOT THAT YOU'RE GOING TO ADMIT THAT ANY OF THIS IS YOUR FAULT AND YOU DON'T KNOW BOUNDARIES OR WHAT CONSTITUTES THE LINE.
  4547. >You turn to see a faint tremble run through Fluttershy.
  4548. >FUCKSHITWHORES, SHE'S GONNA CRY.
  4549. >"... sad," she finishes with a sigh. "That’s sad."
  4550. >And then she reaches for the remote.
  4551. >"I'm going to watch more Trigun."
  4552. >"'kay."
  4553. >Ooookaaaaay?
  4554. >Fluttershy *looks* sad, but she always looks sad so that doesn't mean anything.
  4555. >Berry doesn't look sad. She doesn't look particularly *anything*.
  4556. >Well, drunk, but that's a given.
  4557. >Huh.
  4558. >Okay. Well. Cool. Crises averted.
  4559. >Apparently you got worried for nothing. They must not have been too close or anything to that pony.
  4560. >Guess it's not a big deal after all.
  4561. "C'mon, Sam, lemme show you to the room."
  4562. >Come to think of it, you've never even looked in there after setting up the bed for her, have you?
  4563. >Hurray for giving your pet/slave/roommate/platonic lifemate her own space and not being a total creeper about it!
  4564. >But now you're curious and skipping down the hallway at a pace that probably isn't entirely safe. Nor, if you're being honest with yourself, is it all too swift.
  4565. >More like a slow, drunken lurching. BUT ELEGANT. LIKE A BEAUTIFUL SWAN.
  4566. >Sammich catches up quickly, which is weird as fuck because even with her tiniest pony legs she should be able to keep up with you in the first place at your current pace.
  4567. >"Who's Apple Bloom...?"
  4568. >You stop and stare at the littlest pony.
  4569. "Fuck if I know."
  4570. >"Oh."
  4571. >You shrug.
  4572. >She shrugs.
  4573. >...
  4574. >Nothing else shrugs, so you do it again.
  4575. "Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, her room is right through -"
  4576. >You twist the knob and fling the door open.
  4577. "- here!"
  4578. >Yes, you pause for effect and everything, sweeping your arms in a buttlery "well, go the fuck in!" type gesture.
  4579. >And then you pop your head in, because you're curious.
  4580. >It's been a few months, and you're not entirely sure Berry's ever even used this room.
  4581. >Looks like she hasn't, except for the pile of blankets tossed in the corner with a pillow.
  4582. >... the fuck is that?
  4583. >Doesn't she like her bed?
  4584. >Well.
  4585. >That was money and time well spent.
  4586. >She's even decorated up the place a bit.
  4587. >Silly you.
  4588. >Shouldn't have let her keep whatever of her pay didn't go into booze and food if she was just going to waste it on frilly curtains an' shit.
  4589. >How the fuck did she even hang those up without hands?
  4590. >"Um..."
  4591. "Yeah, just... uh... there's the bed."
  4592. >With buttercup sheets that look like they've never been slept in.
  4593. >YES, YOU KNOW WHAT COLOR BUTTERCUP IS.
  4594. >Real men know colors.
  4595. >It's how you tell your booze apart by sight.
  4596. >What a waste of an employee discount.
  4597. >Shit, it's one teddybear and some poorly scrawled drawings short of a kid's room.
  4598. >Wait, there's the teddybear, tucked beside the pillow on the bed.
  4599. >When did she buy that?
  4600. >Oh, those silly marshmallow ponies.
  4601. >Too innocent for this world.
  4602. >"I can really stay here...?"
  4603. >OHSHIT A TA... oh, yeah, those a thing now and have been for a while.
  4604. "If Berry says it's okay, then, well... I mean, it's *her* room."
  4605. >"But she's *your* pony...?"
  4606. "Yeah, I guess so."
  4607. >"But you let her have her own room?"
  4608. >You shrug.
  4609. >Your shadow shrugs.
  4610. >Again, no one else shrugs, just the two of you.
  4611. "There's a lock on the door, if you're worried about Yellow McChildmolester, but... uh... she really was probably just trying to clean you up or... uh... something."
  4612. >Hopefully.
  4613. >For your own sanity, if nothing else.
  4614. >"T-thanks..."
  4615.  
  4616. >Fluttershy is humming along happily to Kaze Wa Mirai Ni Fuku when you shuffle back into the living room.
  4617. >(Yes, you know the name of the song. You know many things. Never doubt yourself.)
  4618. >Her head bobs left and right, matching absofuckinglutely nothing.
  4619. >Just... *wrong*.
  4620. >It's not in time to the song or her humming or ANYTHING.
  4621. "You can skip that, you know. Just push -"
  4622. >"I know. Like it."
  4623. "O... kay."
  4624. >It's not, but you're not about to do shit about it, are you?
  4625. >You shuffle past her, ignoring her whine as you block her view of the screen, and collapse into the sofa a leeeeeeetle harder than you intended.
  4626. >Completely without bumping your leg on that tabledick.
  4627. >Yay!
  4628. >Or stumbling over Berry.
  4629. >Doubleyay!
  4630. >Wait. Where is Berry?
  4631. >Fluttershy stares at the screen in pure rapture.
  4632. >POKE.
  4633. >"Whaaaaaaaaaaaat!?" she whines.
  4634. >So you POKE her again.
  4635. "Where's Berry?"
  4636. >"Kitchen."
  4637. "Getting booze?"
  4638. >FLUTTERSHRUG.
  4639. "Cool."
  4640. >Shit. Berry's gonna drop all the bottles.
  4641. >She's in no condition to stuff.
  4642. >Better help her.
  4643. >"Then shut up and do that?"
  4644. "Was I... uh..."
  4645. >"Talking out loud? Mhm."
  4646. "Oh. Sorry."
  4647. >UNPAUSE.
  4648. "Wait, why am I apologizing to-"
  4649. >VICIOUS POKE.
  4650. "Fine! Fuck! I'm going!"
  4651. >POKE.
  4652. >So you go, because you are nothing if not a man of your word and you are definitely more than that (namely possibly drunk, you're willing to admit the possibility of such a thing), so you are therefore a men of your word.
  4653. >Men?
  4654. >Nah. Man. There's only one of you.
  4655. >Right?
  4656. >You check with your shadow.
  4657. >It shrugs.
  4658. >You shrug.
  4659. >You shrug.
  4660. >Wait.
  4661. >No, okay, it's just the two of you in the kitchen... and a bright pink Berry butt drunkenly waving to and fro.
  4662. >Probably the rest of her is still attached, but stuck in the pantry.
  4663. >Probably.
  4664. >It seems likely.
  4665. "Berry."
  4666. >You grab the flicking tail and pull gently.
  4667. "Berry. Stop it. You're drunk."
  4668. >INDISTINCT PONY MUMBLES.
  4669. "Berry. The booze isn't in there."
  4670. >INDISTINCT PONY STRUGGLES.
  4671. "Berry -"
  4672. >"I know. Get - gettin' food."
  4673. "You're hungry?"
  4674. >"For'er, dumbass."
  4675. "Oh. You can do that tomorrow morning."
  4676. >"Doin't now."
  4677. "You're drunk."
  4678. >"Doin't now. An' you're drunk, too."
  4679. "Am not."
  4680. >"Is too. Go t'bed, 'non."
  4681. >Sure. Fine. Why not?
  4682. >You're not going to stand here all night arguing with a fuzzy pink tail or the ass it's attached to.
  4683. "Fine, but I'm only doing this because *I* want to."
  4684. >"Isn't why y'do anything?"
  4685. "Yep!"
  4686. >"Y'wanted'er t'stay."
  4687. >Fucking smugass talking asshole.
  4688. "Fuck you. I'm going to bed."
  4689.  
  4690. >It’s still dark outside when you wake.
  4691. >Which seems entirely plausible, because there is *every* fucking way you slept through the entire day, and nothing short of being murdered could wake you up before noon.
  4692. >Your bed shifts and creaks slightly as someone puts their weight on it.
  4693. >Someone not you.
  4694. >Shit, not again.
  4695. "Fluttershy -"
  4696. >"Jus'me," Berry slurs as she crawls into your bed.
  4697. "Her cartoons making it hard to sleep?"
  4698. >"She'sa sleep."
  4699. >She raises the sheets and you know because OH GOD THAT'S COLD.
  4700. >Okay. That's better.
  4701. >Her warm body makes up for it, driving away the chill as she pushes up against your back.
  4702. "Floor too hard?"
  4703. >"Nuh, jus' didn't wanna..."
  4704. >There's more, but it's mumbled. And you're tired. And POSSIBLY drunk.
  4705. >Seems like a hastle to ask what she said.
  4706. >WELL.
  4707. >She's drunk.
  4708. >You're POSSIBLY drunk.
  4709. >You'll allow it and pretend it didn't happen in the morning.
  4710. >Kinda like a few one night stands, just without the fucking and slightly less body hair.
  4711. "'kay."
  4712. >"Won't make a habit of't. Promise."
  4713. "'kay."
  4714. >"Turn'ver."
  4715. "Why?"
  4716. >"Hol'me."
  4717. >Fuck it. You're drunk. You have an excuse.
  4718. "'kay."
  4719.  
  4720. >You're woken up by a knock on your door.
  4721. >Meh.
  4722. >You go back to sleep because fuck that.
  4723. >The constant knocking makes it hard, though.
  4724. >Fluttershy asking if you've seen Sam makes it absolutely fucking impossible.
  4725. "NO!"
  4726. >"Oh."
  4727. "GO AWAY!"
  4728. >Bed is warm and comfortable.
  4729. >Out-of-bed is NOT.
  4730. >"I... um... I guess she snuck out last night, then."
  4731. "FINE! GO AWAY!"
  4732. >"Have you seen Berry?"
  4733. >You open your eyes.
  4734. >Yep. She's still here, making the bed toasty warm.
  4735. "YES. GO AWAY."
  4736. >"O-oh, okay."
  4737. >Surprisingly, she DOES.
  4738. >Wow.
  4739. >Fucking miracles!
  4740. >"I'll start breakfast!"
  4741. >Spoke... uh... *thought* too soon.
  4742. >But when five seconds pass without her shouting something else through your door, you start to think that maybe she *did* fuck off.
  4743. >Yay.
  4744. >"I should probably go stop her before she burns the house down."
  4745. >OH SHIT. PONY AWAKE.
  4746. >EXCUSE OF POSSIBLE DRUNKENNESS GONE.
  4747. >FUCKING SOBRIETY.
  4748. "So, uh... you heard that?"
  4749. >"Y-yeah."
  4750. "Well, uh..."
  4751. >NERVIOUS LAUGH.
  4752. "I guess you didn't need to sleep in my bed after all."
  4753. >"I... uh..."
  4754. >PONYMUMBLE.
  4755. "Huh?"
  4756. >"I -"
  4757. >YOU'RE GOING TO PRETEND YOU DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THAT.
  4758. >"Thanks, Anon."
  4759.  
  4760.  
  4761. DRINK 9: CHAMPAGNE IS A PLAIN SHAM
  4762.  
  4763. >So… time passes.
  4764. >Not a lot, just a few weeks.
  4765. >Just long enough for Christmas to come and go and for Berry to tell you about Christmas in Equestria which honestly sounds pretty fucking metal.
  4766. >More metal than the rapebaby of German Christmas and Norse Christmas.
  4767. >Be friends or GENOCIDE!
  4768. >Forget bad little kids getting tossed in sacks and beaten! In horsyland EVERYONE FUCKING DIES!
  4769. >Frozen apocalyptic wasteland as far as the eye can see!
  4770. >Seriously some Ragnarok level shit right there.
  4771. >Yeah, it’s pretty fucking metal.
  4772. >Almost makes you wonder who hasn’t been friends today, because it’s cold as fuck outside and getting colder.
  4773. >Should be in the negatives with the wind chill later tonight.
  4774. >Sammich has been by a few times, perhaps by RANDOM CRAZY HAPPENSTANCE only on the coldest of nights. Nights like tonight.
  4775. >You’re a nice guy.
  4776. >You let her in every time.
  4777. >Still sneaks out every morning before you and Berry wake up.
  4778. >Well, before you wake up.
  4779. >Not *entirely* certain Berry gets any sleep those nights.
  4780. >Meh, slight amendment to statement: she still sneaks out every morning before you and Berry get up.
  4781. >There, one word changed and it’s now completely true.
  4782. >It’s been a while, though, long enough you’re starting to worry a bit, NOT THAT YOU’D REALLY WORRY ABOUT NOT HAVING TO FEED THAT HOBOFILLY AND DROWNING IN ALL THE MONEY YOU’D BE SAVING.
  4783. >You can probably find something to spend that money on.
  4784. >Maybe booze.
  4785. >You aren’t the only one ‘not worrying’.
  4786. >She hasn’t been by since before Christmas. Sure, the nights have been pretty mild lately, and Berry has given her enough of your emergency rations to last her a month, but you still come home to find your little alcoholic fiddling with an empty bottle of vodka – and a still-wrapped present.
  4787. >She never did let you open it.
  4788. >That heinous bitch.
  4789. >Maybe today’s the day.
  4790. “Hey.”
  4791. >You drop your bag on the sofa and shuck off your coat.
  4792. “Heeeeeey!”
  4793. >”Hi, Anon,” Berry mumbles, setting the present down and half-turning from the withered and dying (or more likely dead) Christmas tree that’s just fucking BEGGING for a random spark so it can turn this entire block into a raging bonfire of commercialism and buzzwords.
  4794. “Enjoy your day off?”
  4795. >You’d gotten her a couple days. Well, more than a couple.
  4796. >From Christmas through New Year’s.
  4797. >You would try to claim that it was difficult, getting time off from a retail job during the busiest season, but… well… *management*.
  4798. >It’s only hard if they read the time off requests before approving them, which is why half of the store is gone.
  4799. >Mostly the human half.
  4800. >Who gives a shit about giving ponies time off?
  4801. >More importantly, why are you talking so much to yourself in your own goddamn head?
  4802. “BERRY!”
  4803. >That’s right! Talk to other people!
  4804. >Pretend that you’re a sane and well-adjusted individual!
  4805. >You strike a heroic pose – or at least as heroic as you can manage after a 10-hour shift of dealing with all the broken shit that manages to only show up at the final hour.
  4806. >That’s right, a 10-hour shift. At the end of the week. After you’d already spent 37 hours there.
  4807. >Yep.
  4808. >The Powers That Be approved overtime for the first time this year.
  4809. >So truth be told, that heroic pose that you just struck?
  4810. >It’s not a very heroic pose at all. Not in the least.
  4811. >Rather bedraggled, actually.
  4812. >”You okay, Anon?”
  4813. “Fuck no.”
  4814. >Would have reaaaaaaally helped if she’d been there today, because today was apparently the official day for everyone to take down their decorations, return them to the store for a full refund despite being used and/or busted and/or covered in BIRD SHIT, and for customer service to go “OKAY, THESE ARE GOOD” and send them out to the salesfloor to be stocked out.
  4815. >Where, once someone remotely reasonable saw it –
  4816. >[SHOCK AND SURPRISE THAT SUCH A PERSON EXISTED]
  4817. > - it was sent directly to you –
  4818. >[COMPLETE LACK OF SHOCK AND SUPRRISE]
  4819. > - because you have nothing better to do than process defective merch aaaaaaall daaaaaaaaaaaaay loooooooong.
  4820. >”Anon?”
  4821. “I’m fine. Just bitching quietly in my head.”
  4822. >”Um, no, you weren’t.”
  4823. “Oh.”
  4824. >”You were talking out loud.”
  4825. “Then apparently I’m even less okay then I thought I was. BRING ME MY BEER!”
  4826. >You fall into the sofa, narrowly avoiding your discarded stuff. Actually, no you don’t and the lumpy back kinda digs into your belly painfully, but you roll off of them pretty quickly.
  4827. >Not of your own volition – you’re too tired for that.
  4828. >Thank gravity for gravity.
  4829. >Too exhausted to do anything, even talk out loud, open your eyes, or stop talking out loud when you don’t mean to.
  4830. >It’s worth it, though.
  4831. >Pink Pony Needed Break Badly.
  4832. >Pink Pony Was About To Die.
  4833. >She’d been through some shit.
  4834. >Literally.
  4835. >Fucking hobos.
  4836. >Not literally.
  4837. >No hobofucking.
  4838. >And not ponyhobos, mind you, just regular, normal, ordinary, not even remotely cute *human* hobos shitting outside the compactor because… why…?
  4839. >WHY!?
  4840. >THE STORE WAS OPEN!
  4841. >JUST COME INSIDE AND USE THE FUCKING RESTROOM!
  4842. >And since amputating Berry’s hoof wasn’t an option…
  4843. >(according to her anyway)
  4844. >Well. Whatever.
  4845. >Anyway.
  4846. >Fuck that memory and all memories of everything.
  4847. >She needed time off, but maybe this was a mistake.
  4848. >Got her too many days off.
  4849. >She’s been pretty maudlin these last couple, like an episode of M*A*S*H.
  4850. >That’s right, you’re old enough to know what M*A*S*H is.
  4851. >It was referenced in Futurama once!
  4852. >You don’t know what M*A*S*H is except maudlin.
  4853. >Something cold and wet is being pushed against your hand.
  4854. >Goddamn ponynose oh it’s a beer.
  4855. >Peasant swill.
  4856. >Just like you asked for.
  4857. >Until you forget you work retail, you can’t enjoy nice things.
  4858. >Seriously.
  4859. >Even if you have them, you can’t enjoy them, so why waste nice things now?
  4860. “Thanks, Berry. House all cleaned up?”
  4861. >”Clean enough.”
  4862. “Seriously, Berry, I’m fucking dead, so the least you could do is –“
  4863. >”Make your meals, do your laundry, clean your house –“
  4864. “I didn’t ask you to do any of those things.
  4865. >”- tend to your rose garden –“
  4866. “We don’t have a rose garden.”
  4867. >”- take the puppy for a walk –“
  4868. “We don’t…”
  4869. >Well, you may not *own* her, but there *is* Puppershy.
  4870. >”I mean Fluttershy.”
  4871. “Realized that. I’ll concede that point.”
  4872. >You blindly raise your beer in salute.
  4873. >”And do you need me to open that beer for you?” Berry mutters.
  4874. “Will you drink it, too?”
  4875. >She shrugs. Your eyes are closed, but you know she shrugs.
  4876. “Do I really ask that much of you?”
  4877. >”You asked me to bring you a beer.”
  4878. “Unforgivable?”
  4879. >”You’re literally the worst.”
  4880. “Shit. Tell you what – open this for me and you can forget about the rose garden ever again.”
  4881. >”It’s already open.”
  4882. “Good. Fuck the rose garden. What about the house?”
  4883. >”It’s clean.”
  4884. “Good, because I ran into someone on the way home.”
  4885.  
  4886. >You almost feel like life is worth living again when you hear a gentle tapping at the door.
  4887. >It isn’t, of course, but meh.
  4888. >What’s one more lie to yourself?
  4889. >Yeah! Life is worth living! Whooooooo!
  4890. >[Knocking.]
  4891. >Oh. Right.
  4892. “Berry! Can you get the –“
  4893. >”Hold on! Still cleaning up this –“ blahblahblahwordsblahdoityourselffaggot
  4894. “Fine, I’ll get it!”
  4895. >Standing is hard.
  4896. >Fuck it.
  4897. “IT’S UNLOCKED! JUST COME IN!”
  4898. >[taptaptapnotdooropeningnoises]
  4899. >Fuckityfuckfuckfine.
  4900. >Standing is hard. You do it anyway. Only a dick would invite someone over and make them stand outside in the cold and while yes, you *are* a dick, you’re not *that* kind of dick. A different dick.
  4901. >There’s a difference, like… uh… the difference between a black guy and an asiaauuuuh, no, because one is clearly superior to the other.
  4902. >Ah, the difference between a vibrator and a cumming dildo! A difference! An equal yet very palpable and throbbing difference!
  4903. >[More light tapping.]
  4904. “I’M COMING! HOLD ON!”
  4905. >Okay, that sounded –
  4906. >That sounded perfectly normal and not gross in any way. It only sounds gross because you’re gross. Stop being gross.
  4907. >Stop thinking about dicks, faggot.
  4908. >Fuck that, why should you stop being gross?
  4909. >If your guests can be gross, why can’t you?
  4910. >Oh.
  4911. >Idea.
  4912. >She’s going in the shower first thing.
  4913. >Fuck yeah!
  4914. >Wait.
  4915. >Fuck no!
  4916. >If that happens, she won’t be gross!
  4917. >If she’s not gross, *you* can’t be gross!
  4918. >Hmm.
  4919. >You stand at the door, hand on the knob (the door’s knob, not your own), contemplating the options before you.
  4920. >Sophie’s Choice ain’t got nothing on this shit.
  4921. >[KNOCKNOCKNOCKNOCK]
  4922. >That’s getting annoying.
  4923. >It’s distracting you from your solemn meditation.
  4924. >[KNOCKNOCKNO-]
  4925. >OKAY THAT’S REALLY ANNOYING.
  4926. >So you yank the door open.
  4927. >It was already unlocked.
  4928. >A little filly falls face first through the threshold, followed by Buttersplat, dragged down by the leash caught in Samantha’s mouth.
  4929. “Why didn’t you just open the door?”
  4930. >”Because I can’t reach it?” Ham grumbles through clenched teeth, through the floor, the vibrations of her mouth traveling up your leg until – oh, wait, no, you just hear her normally. But she’s still faceplanted on the entryway.
  4931. “Okay, that’s a valid reason. Fluttershy?”
  4932. >”She didn’t ask me to.”
  4933. >Again, faceplanted, her long, pink tail fluttering in the breeze like her ass was a hill some marines had just planted a flag on.
  4934. >Dammit, stop being gross!
  4935. “Well… uh…”
  4936. >Blame the victim!
  4937. “If you’d opened the door, you wouldn’t have fallen!”
  4938. >”If she didn’t have to wear a collar…” the littlest porky mutters angrily as she stands (falls?) back to her hooves, “… she wouldn’t have fallen.”
  4939. “Hey, don’t blame me. I didn’t pass the leash laws.”
  4940. >You kneel and acquire the abandoned aforementioned affirmed leash and begin the not so slow process of dragging Loot(shy) inside.
  4941. “Anyway, thanks for going by to pick her up. Close the door behind you. Oh, and lock it. Would be a shame if… something something whatever just do it, ‘kay?”
  4942. >Samantha shakes her head, prolly not saying no but trying to clear the fog from her bashaddled brain.
  4943. >You feel safe making that assumption because she says “Fine,” before the headshaking.
  4944. >Oooof, sudden resistance on the leash.
  4945. >You look back and see Fluttershy’s face has left the smooth entryway tiles and hit carpet. You also see a little filly jumping up and down –
  4946. >Wait, how does someone jump down without, like, a cliff or… whatever, not important. It’s a saying.
  4947. > - jumping up and down trying to reach the door knob, her little hooves flailing at the apex of every leap.
  4948. “Sam?”
  4949. >”How the heck am I supposed to reach this!?”
  4950. “Iono.”
  4951. >”Well -!”
  4952. “Use your magic…?”
  4953. >Littlest pony stops bouncing like a goddamn basketball.
  4954. >She stares at you, her grapely purply eyes growing bigger and bigger.
  4955. “You know, you prolly could have opened –“
  4956. >”SHIT!”
  4957. >You never thought Berry Punch could move so fast.
  4958. >You also didn’t know she was in the room.
  4959. >Or that she had a magazine.
  4960. >Or how she managed to roll it up, let alone wield it like a club.
  4961. >Or how she’s talking with it gripped in her mouth like that.
  4962. >”Stop that,” she SOMEHOW MANAGES TO SAY, swatting the little filly’s head. “And you –“
  4963. >You also don’t know how she’s going to reach your head or why you’re particularly scared of a little headswatting, but you back away quickly – and fall right over the arm of the sofa.
  4964. >Fucking sofa. Fucking knee height. Fucking physics.
  4965. >SWAT.
  4966. >Fucking magazines.
  4967. >Well at least you know how she was going to reach your head, so… hurray for minor victories.
  4968. “Okay, okay, I’ll stop.”
  4969. >”Good.”
  4970. >Fucking ponies. Don’t they remember they have to be nice to EVERYONE or EVERYONE DIES?
  4971. >Holy shit, humans should start being nicer to ponies or they might decide to suicide-apocalypse the world. Or does that only work in Horsylund?
  4972. >”Can I get up now?” some pony that no one cares about asks.
  4973. >That earns her a swat on the rump.
  4974. >”Eeeeeep!”
  4975. >”If you’d just…”
  4976. “See, it’s all her fault!”
  4977. >OHGODMAGAZINECOMINGYOURWAY.
  4978. >”Anon-“
  4979. >FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK.
  4980. >”- I’m still making dinner, so could you –“
  4981. “Anything!”
  4982. >” – turn on some cartoons for Sam to watch?”
  4983. >”Oooooh, can I watch –“
  4984. >”Not you, Fluttershy,” Berry threatens. It may not sound like a threat, but when your mouth is holding a magazine of smiting and you’re ALSO using your mouth to tell someone FUCK NO, everything sounds like a threat.
  4985. >”Awwww.”
  4986. “Actually…”
  4987. >NOW SHE’S LOOKING AT YOU AGAIN.
  4988. “Look, Sam’s going to take a shower anyway, so why doesn’t she do that now so I don’t have to –“
  4989. >”So we can have some time to finish getting everything ready,” Berry interrupts tactfully. “Good idea.”
  4990. >psh
  4991. >Tact.
  4992. >Who needs it?
  4993. >Oh, right. Vraal.
  4994. >Fucking badass.
  4995. >Not that you’d know, because you’re a drunk, not a nerd.
  4996. >Not that it matters, because Berry isn’t a badass with lightsaber wolverine claws.
  4997. >Nope. She’s a… uh… um…
  4998. >She’s a nicepony/hostess/housewife/mom/something maternal and kind towards children and retards.
  4999. >She’s giving you The Look.
  5000. >Yep. Kind towards retards.
  5001. >She’s giving you a chance to agree before coming at you with that magazine.
  5002.  “Yeah! That sounds great!”
  5003. >Keeping your balls sounds FUCKING GREAT!
  5004. >”Do I *have* to?” Hammy whines, shuffling her filthy hobohooves across your carpet in the traditional dancewalk of her tinyfilly people.
  5005. >It’s a damn good thing you don’t have one of those superfuzzy carpets or her fur (hair?) would be standing on end before she’d made it two feet.
  5006. >”Do I *really* have to?”
  5007. >”Dinner won’t be ready for another hour.”
  5008. >And maybe by then Berry will have finished sobering up, too!
  5009. >Sending hobofilly to get Flutterstall bought her *some* time, but not enough.
  5010. >What?
  5011. >You’re allowed to occasionally notice things *and* give a fuck about them, particularly when it comes to things that make your favorite little boozer painfully uncomfortable.
  5012. >”Plus,” the mare adds, “you haven’t been by in over a week and… well…”
  5013. >”Yeah,” Fluttard agrees, reaching for the remote, her leash still dangling behind her, forgotten and irrelevant in the presence of ANIME and ANIME ACCESSORIES. “You kinda stink.”
  5014. >SMACK.
  5015. >Yep. Berry’s kind towards retards.
  5016. >Fluttershy is still alive enough to yelp.
  5017. >”Fine,” hobofilly sighs. “But does *she* have to –“
  5018. >Clearly, she’s talking about Pedoshy, what with all the hoof pointing and angry/scared glaring.
  5019. >”Nuh-uh.”
  5020. >Weird how Berry can talk clearly with a magazine in her mouth, but Mumblemutter can’t with a remote control in her mouth.
  5021. >”Gonnah wah Bih Oh.”
  5022. “NOPE.”
  5023. >The way she stares at that suitdude is way too creepy.
  5024. >Watching that with her is more uncomfortable than grabbing the ponyslobbered remote out of her mouth.
  5025. >”Awwwwwww…”
  5026. “We’re gonna watch… uh…”
  5027. >”Gundam?”
  5028. >She’s on a mecha kick?
  5029. “Sure. Fuck it. Why not?”
  5030. >Unless she starts clopping when the robots come out.
  5031. “Which one?”
  5032. >”…”
  5033. >Yep.
  5034. >You can HEAR the ellipsis that come out of her mouth.
  5035. >”… there’s more than one…?”
  5036. “Sam, go take your shower.”
  5037.  
  5038. >Okay, that was a waste.
  5039. >Sure, you don’t have hobofillydirt n’ shit all over your chair, but the minute Starving Sammy got a sniff of dinner, she’s drooling.
  5040. >God, you hope that’s drool.
  5041. >God, you hope that’s drool on Roboshy’s chair.
  5042. >Mare clearly has a mechafetish.
  5043. >Fuck it. If you get rid of one chair, you were going to have to get rid of the other too.
  5044. >Replacing one would just be silly.
  5045. >A man’s gotta coordinate his seating properly or he’s nothing but a barbarian.
  5046. >A sober, awkward, reaaaaaally uncomfortable barbarian who’s contemplating setting both seats on fire, possibly with the ponies still in them.
  5047. >Fucking hell, that better be drool.
  5048. >That would be almost forgivable.
  5049. >Food does smell pretty good.
  5050. >Not that you’re drooling or creaming yourself.
  5051. >That’s just spilled beer. From earlier.
  5052. >You were tired, okay!?
  5053. >”Can we go back to watching –“
  5054. “No.”
  5055. >You’re not going to be responsible for making a little child sit through that – or what Flutterlewd might do during the next fight scene.
  5056. >”But –“
  5057. “Quiet. We’re watching Avatar.”
  5058. >Well, *they* are.
  5059. >You’re just keeping the sofa from floating away – and the remote out of Flutterhooves.
  5060. >”But –“
  5061. “It’s anime, okay?
  5062. >”No! No it isn’t!”
  5063. “Close enough.”
  5064. >"It's all wrong! It's almost right, but it's wrong!"
  5065. >Hmm.
  5066. >Damn.
  5067. >The remote’s mute button doesn’t work on ponies.
  5068. >”I’m enjoying it,” Sam comments, because you apparently give a shit about her opinion.
  5069. >”But it’s all wrong!”
  5070. “Know what? I’m out. Gonna help Berry in the kitchen.”
  5071. >You throw the remote on the coffee table and yourself over the back of the sofa.
  5072. “Thunderdome for it.”
  5073. >The silence from the pair is beyond ominous, but badasses don’t look at the explosion.
  5074. >You walk away.
  5075. >Best pony raises her head from the floor as you stumble into the kitchen.
  5076. >Then she raises her beer – and throws it aside.
  5077. >”Damn. Empty.”
  5078. >It’s doesn’t make it into the recycling can, nor was it the only one to miss the mark.
  5079. >So much for giving her time to sober up.
  5080. “Leave any for me?”
  5081. >It’s not sarcasm – it’s altruism.
  5082. >If you’re drunk enough, she’ll look sober in comparison!
  5083. >YES, THIS IS TOTALLY YOUR REASON FOR WANTING A DRINK.
  5084. >Berry nods towards the fridge.
  5085. >”A few.”
  5086. >At least she doesn’t *sound* drunk.
  5087. >You step over her and pull open the door to receive your prize.
  5088. >One solitary beer.
  5089. >Wheeeee!
  5090. “Well… uh…”
  5091. >She doesn’t look happy.
  5092. >Should probably do something about that.
  5093. >You sink down to the floor beside her.
  5094. “What’s wrong?”
  5095. >Besides being out of beer, of course.
  5096. >”Just… memories.”
  5097. “Ah.”
  5098. >You pass her the beer.
  5099. “Fuck memories.”
  5100. >”Fuck memories,” she agrees, followed by a swig of YOUR beer.
  5101. >She still looks sad, though.
  5102. >Well, shit. You’ve done everything humanly possible.
  5103. “I’ll… uh…”
  5104. >Oh shit, she looks so fucking sad.
  5105. >TIME TO DO THE IMPOSSIBLE.
  5106. “… um… the food smells great.”
  5107. >”Good,” she murmurs. “It’s been a while since I really cooked anything.”
  5108. “You cook all the time.”
  5109. >”Just food.”
  5110. “Um…”
  5111. >”Ramen n’ shit. Not a meal.”
  5112. >Ehhhhhh, acceptable.
  5113. >You concede the point with a simple nod, but still -
  5114. “Maybe you should more often.”
  5115. >Berry starts to open her mouth – but thinks better of it. A shrug conveys things well enough.
  5116. “Guess there’s not really a reason to if it’s just the two of us.”
  5117. >She nods – or maybe is just taking a sip of beer.
  5118. >One gesture pretty much melds into the other without any distinct separation between them.
  5119. “So… uh… how long?”
  5120. >Berry raises her head, looking at you – and with a twitch, *past* you, to the microwave and the numbers counting down.
  5121. >”It’ll be ready in 13 minutes.”
  5122. >Not what you were asking, and you think she’s sober enough to know it.
  5123. >Well, you’ve done what you could.
  5124. >If she doesn’t want to talk…
  5125. >”Help me get everything set?”
  5126. >Eh, you could do a little more.
  5127.  
  5128. >Sam looks over her teeny little shoulder as you walk back into the room.
  5129. “Where’s… uh…”
  5130. >This is not the direction you expected Thunderdome to go.
  5131. >”I put her in the closet,” Sambam, answers, turning her attention back to the NOT-WEEABOO SHIT on the screen.
  5132. “Uh… ’kay.”
  5133. >GOOD ENOUGH EXPLANATION FOR YOU.
  5134. >You set the plates on the coffee table and double back for the next load.
  5135. >Well…
  5136. >You should probably let Nuttershy out.
  5137. “Which closet?”
  5138. >”One by the front door.”
  5139. >Ah. The coat closet.
  5140. >Technically.
  5141. >Long devoid of coats, because company is something other people have over and your own coat can go wherever the fuck it lands when you cast it aside, you’ve filled it up with… uh… other stuff?
  5142. >Huh.
  5143. >There’s light shining from underneath the door.
  5144. >But… there’s no light in there.
  5145. >Shit, did you really manage to set Lightershy on fire with your brain?
  5146. >You take the handful of steps and – carefully - pull the door open.
  5147. >The silliest yellow pegasus looks up at you through her lashes, flashlight clutched in her mouth and –
  5148. >Ah. Right. That’s what you were storing in here.
  5149. > - and a manga clutched in her hooves.
  5150. >”Uhhhh –“
  5151. >She spits out the flashlight.
  5152. >”- hi…?”
  5153. “Time to eat.”
  5154. >You spin and head towards the kitchen, but she calls out after you.
  5155. >”Wait, wait!”
  5156. “What?”
  5157. >”Anon, what *are* these!?”
  5158. “Manga.”
  5159. >”But what *is* it?”
  5160. “Uhhhhh… drawn anime…?”
  5161. >”Oh. That’s nifty.”
  5162. “Um… just get out of there, okay? Dinner’s going to be ready in a bit.”
  5163. >”Sure, fine,” she answers, head bobbing away like she’s sucking on a cock. “But… um… one more question?”
  5164. “What.”
  5165. >”These are all… um…”
  5166. >She holds up the manga she had been reading and pokes at one of the speech bubbles.
  5167. >“… dubbed.”
  5168. >wat
  5169. >”I mean, they’re *nice*, but do you have any that are… um… subbed…?”
  5170. “Jesus Fucking Christ you are literally fucking retarded.”
  5171. >You close the door and go back to the kitchen because the law is pretty strict on what does and does not qualify as a mercy killing.
  5172. >Yes, you checked.
  5173. >Somehow – and you have no idea how – she’s found her way out of the closet and into her be-drooled(?) chair on your third trip.
  5174. >Serving platter with a mashed potato roast.
  5175. >You have no idea what kind of pony witchery and magics made this a thing.
  5176. >Second had been the drinks.
  5177. >Water all around!
  5178. >Little ponies need to stay hydrated and sodas are unhealthy!
  5179. >Also, you’re out of beer!
  5180. >Little Hammy lunges for the roast-like substance with all the decorum of a fucking hobo – so, fuck it – you pick up Fluttershy and drop her on the filly.
  5181. “Stay.”
  5182. >Works like a fucking charm.
  5183. >They’re both too confused to so much as protest, let alone perform the simple procedure of getting off and/or getting thrown off.
  5184. >Berry put too much work into this meal to let either of them ruin it.
  5185. >You’re not what the stupid butterball was going do to wreck things, but it was something.
  5186. “Almost ready, Berry?”
  5187. >”Yeah,” the only decent pony in this place answers, a dish of corn balanced on her back, another of sweet potatoes on the tip of her nose – and a fucking bottle of champagne in her mouth.
  5188. “What’s that for?”
  5189. >”It’s New Year’s Eve, remember?”
  5190. “Yeah.”
  5191. >You shrug with the force of a thousand suns.
  5192. “Still a couple hours off. Shouldn’t we let that chill a bit longer?”
  5193. >She shakes her head.
  5194. >Meh.
  5195. >Whatever.
  5196. “One of these days, you’re going to have to tell me how you manage to talk with your mouth full like that.”
  5197. >”Practice.”
  5198. “O…kay.”
  5199. >You look around the kitchen and –
  5200. >”The mushrooms,” Berry points out. “Stove.”
  5201. “Got it.”
  5202. >Damn. Three sides and a main?
  5203. >Fucking impressive.
  5204. “Went a little all out, didn’t you?”
  5205. >”We didn’t have a decent Hearth’s Warming dinner, so…”
  5206. “This is it, huh?”
  5207. >”Yeah.”
  5208. >Fair enough.
  5209. “Anything else I need to get?”
  5210. >”Glasses?”
  5211. “Not going to drink straight from the bottle?”
  5212. >Stupid Anon.
  5213. >Did you really want another dose of The Look?
  5214. >Apparently so.
  5215. “Sorry. I’ll be right there.”
  5216. >Takes you a minute to find two champagne flutes, another minute to find the third, and yet another to decided that Bamalam doesn’t need one.
  5217. >She’s just a child.
  5218. >Which is why you’re really confused as to why Berry sends you back to find a fourth, but fuck it, who are you to judge a pony’s legal drinking age based solely on your human notions of propriety.
  5219. >Someone very reasonable perhaps, because Sam is scowling at Berry when you come back victorious.
  5220. >”I think you’re drunk again,” the filly growls. “I’m a child! You’re –“
  5221. >”It’s *fine*,” Berry responds with the firm patience of parent.
  5222. >Damn, she’s taking to this having-a-kid-around thing pretty well. Almost like she’s done it before.
  5223. >Well, Flutterapist *did* say she liked kids…
  5224. >Maybe they were part of the same sex offender club or something.
  5225. >”I’m not an alcoholic like you!” Sam screams as Berry slides a full flute over to her.
  5226. >”It’s *sparkling,*” the mare explains softly.
  5227. >“SO!?”
  5228. >”No alcohol.”
  5229. >She reaches over and ruffles the little filly’s mane.
  5230. >”You don’t have to drink it if you don’t want to, but I thought you might want to celebrate.”
  5231. >”Celebrate *what*?”
  5232. >Suddenly little filly eyes are open wide.
  5233. >Just as suddenly, they are narrow and suspicious.
  5234. >”What… day is it…?”
  5235. “New Year’s Eve.”
  5236. >”It’s a little early,” Berry continues, “but I thought… I thought… you *might* be too tired to stay up with us.”
  5237. >You take your seat beside Berry and – purely out of politeness – fill the final flute with pseudo-champagne.
  5238. >Not because you’re an alcoholic or anything who would rather pretend to be drinking than be without.
  5239. >NOPE. CERTAINLY NOT.
  5240. >”Oh,” Sammy whimpers, her ears pinned back. “I thought… maybe… nevermind. Can I eat now?”
  5241. >”What?” Fluttersquats asks, still perched on the filly. You should probably move her. Yeaaaaah, you should. Probably. “What did you think?”
  5242. >Eyes roll back as far in Sam’s little filly head as they can, glaring at the pegasus.
  5243. >”I thought maybe it was Christmas,” she grumbles. “Because of the meal.”
  5244. >”Oh. Nope! You’re off by – eeeep.”
  5245. >Yep, you’re moving her!
  5246. >Little fillies can’t eat with big ponies standing on them!
  5247. >”It’s a little late,” Berry murmurs, sliding off her spot and over to the filly’s chair. “But…”
  5248. >She drops that one fucking wrapped present beside Sammy.
  5249. >Oh goddammit. That was for her!?
  5250. >Deep down, you guess you knew that. You just didn’t want to believe.
  5251. >Like a reverse Agent Mulder.
  5252. >”Happy Hearth’s Warming.”
  5253. >The look of happiness on her little filly face almost makes you forgive Berry.
  5254. >Almost.
  5255. >You were really banking on that pair of socks or whatever to make it through the harsh winter.
  5256.  
  5257. >There’s not a scrap of food left.
  5258. >Not that everything was eaten – though you certainly made a good faith effort on that front – but what little was left over, Berry packed up into little containers and has already stuffed into Sammy’s saddlebags.
  5259. >”She’s just going to sneak out again,” the mare sighs, looking over at the sleeping filly wrapped up in her brand new scarf.
  5260. >Damn thing is almost big enough for her to use as a blanket.
  5261. >Coincidentally, that’s how she’s using it right now.
  5262. >It would have been just the right size for you.
  5263. >[QUIET JEALOUSY AND PETTINESS]
  5264. “She’ll come back.”
  5265. >Maybe, maybe not, but you have to say *something* positive and reassuring, or you’d be a total asshole like Fluttershy.
  5266. >Stupid pony is glued to the tv. Hopefully *not* literally, though she’s sitting so close…
  5267. >Nope, nope, don’t think those thoughts.
  5268. >”I…”
  5269. >She looks away with a sigh.
  5270. >You know that sigh.
  5271. >Hope is for other people. People who don’t work retail.
  5272. >People who can have nice things.
  5273. >It’s a sigh of surrender.
  5274. >Of acceptance.
  5275. >It’s a step on some something step program for something.
  5276. >You haven’t the faintest clue what.
  5277. >”I’ll be right back,” Berry mumbles.
  5278. >She snatches up the empty bottle of sparkling champagne and lurches out of the room, a weary, exhausted trot.
  5279. >Whelp.
  5280. >Almost time for bed?
  5281. >Nah, you’ve only got a few more minutes until midnight.
  5282. >Might as well stay up, right?
  5283. >Celebrate another meaningless march around the Sun?
  5284. >Pretend that there are things in the world worth being happy about?
  5285. >That life can somehow – magically, somefuckinghow – become suddenly worthwhile and better?
  5286. >Yeah! Why not? Why the fuck not.
  5287. “Fluttershy?”
  5288. >”Did… did you actually use my *name*?”
  5289. >Huh.
  5290. >Well.
  5291. >Now you know how to get a reaction out of her.
  5292. “Move.”
  5293. >”But –“
  5294. “Move, *please*. I wanna watch the ball drop.”
  5295. >”Um, Anon, aren’t you old enough that both –“
  5296. >She’s resisting.
  5297. >Luckily, you thought ahead.
  5298. >You reach between two sofa cushions and pull out a box of pocky.
  5299. “Fetch!”
  5300. >Heh.
  5301. >Little thing could probably set speed records.
  5302. >And that’s how you end up with a nice, clean view of your tv and the most meaningless event in the whole world.
  5303. >At least Christmas is supposed to about togetherness. Valentine’s is about chocolate and being alone. Halloween is for people to reminisce about better days and how everything has gone to shit because kids these days…
  5304. >But what about New Year’s?
  5305. >It’s just an excuse for the normies to get drunk and act stupid.
  5306. >”I agree,” Berry whispers, because you were talking out loud again. “Yes, you were, but you’re right.”
  5307. >She looks at Sam, snuggled under her makeshift blanket, then at Fluttershy, ravenously tearing at the box of pocky like a starving wolf.
  5308. >”What’s there to celebrate?”
  5309. “Nothing. This past year was shit.”
  5310. >”Every year is.”
  5311. “Drink to forget?”
  5312. >”Drink to forget,” she agrees, hold up a bottle of – fuck yes! – NOT sparkling champagne.
  5313. >You pour for both of you, the little bubbles rising to escape the liquid like happiness from your lives.
  5314. >”Do you think that’s why they do this?” Berry asks, tilting her head towards the tv and the crowds singing and chanting around the world’s biggest, stripperless pole.
  5315. “I hope not.”
  5316.  
  5317. >The bottle is dead by the time the countdown begins, the last dregs settling in your glasses – and the majority in your stomachs.
  5318. >10!
  5319. >There’s a soft groan to your left.
  5320. >9!
  5321. >A blurry-eyed filly shaking her head.
  5322. >8!
  5323. >Woken by the chanting coming from the tv.
  5324. >7!
  5325. >”Whaaaa?”
  5326. >6!
  5327. >”Happy New Year, Samantha.”
  5328. >5!
  5329. “Happy New Year.”
  5330. >4!
  5331. >”Huh…? Oh.”
  5332. >3!
  5333. >”Oh, almost midnight.”
  5334. >2!
  5335. >”Are you going to kiss?”
  5336. >1!
  5337. >”That’s what you’re supposed to do, right?” the filly mumbles, shaking away a tired yawn. “Kiss at midnight? Isn’t it good luck or something?”
  5338. >HAPPY NEW YEAR!
  5339. “Um…”
  5340. >Sam blinks, trying to clear her eyes and her mind.
  5341. >”I… guess?” Berry mumbles.
  5342. >The filly yawns again, her eyes finally focusing on the one and only bottle on the table. “Well?”
  5343. >You look askance at Berry.
  5344. >Kind of amazing that you can see her blush, considering how pink her coat is.
  5345. >Holy fucking shit. She’s actually thinking about it!
  5346. >You shouldn’t be surprised. Berry’ll do anything for that filly.
  5347. >Fuck it.
  5348. >If it makes her happy.
  5349. >It’s not at all like you thought.
  5350. >No irritating fuzz that makes you think you’re kissing another man.
  5351. >No awkwardly huge ponymouth enveloping your entire face.
  5352. >No tongue shoved down your throat, choking you to death.
  5353. >No struggling to get away and calling you a filthy rapist.
  5354. >Honestly, that might be the most surprising – and welcome – part.
  5355. >2013 really fucking sucked.
  5356. >And it’s not just shock stopping Berry from screaming for the police.
  5357. >A quick peck on the cheek wouldn’t be enough, so you put on a little show – purely for Sam’s sake.
  5358. >Berry immediately freezes up like an ice statue the instant your lips touch hers, but thaws after a moment, surprisingly demure and reserved.
  5359. >No tongue. No exaggerated pawing, embarrassing makeouts, or mouth wrestling.
  5360. >It’s just a kiss. A simple kiss.
  5361. >That’s all it is.
  5362. >One that lasts a while, but just a kiss.
  5363. >“Doesn’t count,” Sam yawns as your mouth parts from Berry’s. “It’s past midnight. You missed your chance.”
  5364. “If you say so.”
  5365. >You don’t think she heard you, not the way she’s sleepily stumblefalling off the chair, tangled in her blanketscarf.
  5366. >”I’m going to bed.”
  5367. >She shuffles off, scarf trailing behind her, oddly reminiscent of Flutterpet’s leash.
  5368. >Something about the sight keeps you watching until she’s turned the corner, until the tail end of is finally gone.
  5369. “Huh.”
  5370. >That’s… interesting.
  5371. “She doesn’t even think of that as your room anymore, does she? Does she actually think it’s hers?”
  5372. >A pony head falls against your chest.
  5373. >”I’m okay with that.”
  5374. “Really?”
  5375. >”It was never mine to begin with.”
  5376. “What, just because I… uh…”
  5377. >There’s something fundamentally wrong with telling your roommate that you own her, even if it is legally true.
  5378. >Being fundamentally wrong doesn’t usually stop you from saying things.
  5379. >That’s weird.
  5380. “Because its… *mine*?”
  5381. >Close enough.
  5382. >”No. That’s not why.”
  5383. >Um.
  5384. >Okay.
  5385. >Well.
  5386. >”I think… I think it was always hers.”
  5387. >Okaaaaaaaay.
  5388. >”… because…”
  5389. >She trails off, unwilling or unable to finish the thought out loud.
  5390. >Her head rises and falls with your every breath.
  5391. >There’s still a little bit of champagne left in your glasses.
  5392. >You manage to stretch forward and pick them up without dislodging best pony.
  5393. “Drink to forget?”
  5394. >She stares at the offered flute and lets out a sigh.
  5395. >”I think…”
  5396. >Large eyes dart towards yours, meeting them for a fraction of a second.
  5397.  
  5398. >There’s a gentle tapping at your door.
  5399. >It’s still dark outside. Hell, you haven’t had a chance to do much more than crawl under the sheets and close your eyes.
  5400. >”Anon…? Anoooooon? Why did you turn off the lights? Did you go to bed? Aren’t you and Berry coming back to finish your drinks? Anoooooooooon…”
Anon Berry Punch Fluttershy /spg/ Drunken Shenanigans Retail is Hell Comedy Complete Celestia NSFW

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