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Mistletoe

By Hawkeye
Created: 7th March 2021 05:07:04 PM

  1. >Snow falls gently outside, warm light spilling out of the windows of Canterlot Castle.
  2. >You are attending a Hearths Warming Eve Party as a guest of the Princesses.
  3. >They've assimilated a few of your own traditions as well.
  4. >Working closely with Applejack, you had developed a lovely Wassail for toasting.
  5. >Massive Christmas trees occupy the alcoves of the Great Hall.
  6. >And there's even mistletoe hung in a few places.
  7. >Very nostalgic, a nice taste of home.
  8. >The Holidays just feel better this way.
  9. >You are currently watching the party from a balcony overlooking the Great Hall.
  10. >All sorts of noble ponies are milling about below.
  11. >The princesses mingle dutifully with them.
  12. >They appear to be bored out of their skulls.
  13. >All of the girls are somewhere down there as well.
  14. >But you were never that much of a social butterfly to begin with, so you're content knowing that your friends are having a good time.
  15.  
  16. -Fluttershy POV-
  17. >There are so many ponies at this party.
  18. >Too many.
  19. “Oh Fluttershy, you should have stayed home!” you whisper to yourself.
  20. >But Pinkie would have been so heartbroken...
  21. >Lets just find a nice corner where we can stay out of the way.
  22. >Looking up, you consider flying up to a balcony.
  23. >Pondering your options, you notice Anon, standing all alone under the mistletoe in one of the balconies!
  24. >Oh no!
  25. >He told all of the girls about mistletoe and the tradition...he must be feeling so lonely up there!
  26. >You try to unfurl your wings to go to him, but other ponies keep bumping into you.
  27. >Finally escaping behind a buffet table, you get the space you need, but when you look up, Anon is gone.
  28. “You're too late, Fluttershy! He probably thinks we all hate him!” you worry to yourself.
  29. >As panic sets in you start to wonder where he could have gone.
  30. >Is he alone?
  31. >Sad?
  32. >Hurt?
  33. >You have to get yourself together Fluttershy.
  34. >...together...
  35. >Knowing what you must do, you take flight and hover just over everypony's heads.
  36. >Spotting Twilight, you rush to her.
  37.  
  38. -Anon POV-
  39. >As you were watching the crowds, Shining and Cadence noticed you as they circled the balconies.
  40. >Now you're in the hall, laughing as Cadence regales you with a story of how Twilight once lit Celestia's mane on fire.
  41. >”So Auntie sits her down and says 'Twilight Sparkle, while I know you desire to prove your magical skill, there is no need to rush yourself. Ignan Rune Circles are still distant in your curriculum, and shouldn't be scribed just anywhere, where anypony can run into them.”
  42. >Ha-ha!
  43. >Oh you're going to give Twilight so much shit for this later.
  44. >”Then she made Twilight scrub the scorch marks off the walls and break up all of the obsidian left in the hall herself! Even with her magic it took her all week!” Cadence giggles.
  45. >”I still draw little cartoons of Princess Celestia on fire and mail them to her when she's being particularly precocious.” Shining adds with a grin.
  46. “Which is how often?”
  47. >”Very.” he snorts.
  48. >”Anon, you simply have to come visit us sometime!”
  49. >”Yeah man, seeing you once or twice a year isn't cutting it. You should spend a week or two with us this Summer. Unless you like a lot of snow, because we've sure got plenty.”
  50. “I think we have enough here, but that sounds like a fun idea.”
  51. >A guard approaches and whispers something to Princess Cadence.
  52. >”It seems we are being requested downstairs.”
  53. >”Bummer. Well, keep in touch bro.”
  54. “I will. Take care of yourselves.” you wave as the couple heads down the hall.
  55. >You could use some more wassail.
  56.  
  57. -Fluttershy's POV-
  58. “Don't you see Twilight, he's all alone! This is the time of year humans spend with their families!”
  59. >”And you're sure he was just standing there, under the mistletoe, by himself?”
  60. “Yes. He was in that balcony right there a second ago!”
  61. >”You go find Rarity and Rainbow. I'll tell Applejack and Pinkie. He needs to know he isn't alone!”
  62. >Twilight teleports, and you lift off once more.
  63. >You quickly spot Rainbow, and summon as much wingpower as you can.
  64. [spoiler] So about 3 [/spoiler]
  65. “Um, Rainbow Dash?”
  66. >The prismatic pony continues to animatedly describe one of her stunts to whoever that is she's talking to.
  67. “Rainbow?” you ask again, shuffling into her peripherals.
  68. >No dice.
  69. “Oh, is that Daring Do over there?”
  70. >”What!? Really!? Where!?”
  71. “Rainbow, I need your help. Its about Anon!”
  72. >”Geez Flutters, you didn't have to trick me. You know I would've helped if you'd have just asked.”
  73. “I'm sorry. I'm not very good at talking...”
  74. >”So whats up?”
  75. >You quickly explain the situation, and Rainbow helps you to corner Rarity.
  76. >”Oh, hello Rainbow! Isn't this gala simply to die for?”
  77. >”Yeah yeah, listen we need you to help us find Anon!” Rainbow blurts.
  78. >”But whatever is the matter, dear?” the fashionista frowns.
  79. >Recounting your tale once more, Rarity looks aghast.
  80. >”That poor, gentle soul! We simply must help him!”
  81. >At that exact moment, Twilight teleports in front of you, knocking you to the floor.
  82. >”Oh, I'm so sorry Fluttershy! It's just so crowded in this room!” she apologizes, helping you to your hooves.
  83. “Its alright. Did you find Pinkie and Applejack?”
  84. >”I did, and they've already headed to search. I've devised a plan to find him, so listen up...”
  85.  
  86. -Anon's POV-
  87. >Reaching the buffet area, you're surprised to see that Applejack has left the Wassail unattended.
  88. >She had been using it to promote Sweet Apple Acres when you left the balcony.
  89. >Weird.
  90. >Helping yourself to a warm mug of the invigorating beverage, you turn to peer over the crowd.
  91. >You watch Rainbow Dash fly up to the balcony you were just at.
  92. >Hope she isn't looking for you.
  93. >Maybe you should head back up there just in case.
  94. >Yeah, that'd be best.
  95. >As you start to leave, you run into Princess Luna.
  96. >”Anonymous! How is Our favorite Human?”
  97. “Doing pretty alright. Thanks for inviting me, Luna. Its been fun visiting you all again.”
  98. >”Indeed, you spend far too much time in Ponyville. It is most regrettable.”
  99. “I even saw Cadence and Shining Armor. I'm hoping to go visit them some time this Summer.”
  100. >”That is refreshing to hear. I fear they miss their friends and family, living so far to the north.”
  101. >”Ah, Princess Luna, I was just looking for you!” a voice calls from the crowd.
  102. >The Midnight Mare rolls her eyes and excuses herself to speak with yet another brown-nosing noble.
  103. >You just shrug and head back towards the stairs.
  104.  
  105. -Twilight's POV-
  106. >With the girls split up and searching the outlying rooms, you begin to search the Great Hall.
  107. >You'll never find him without help, so you decide to ask around.
  108. >After all, Anon is kind of hard to miss!
  109. >Trotting up to your brother and Cadence, you surprise him with a tackle-hug.
  110. >Returning your embrace, your older brother smiles.
  111. >“Twily! I was hoping I'd see you tonight! Are we still on for a family breakfast tomorrow?”
  112. ”Of course! I wouldn't miss it for anything!” you answer, now hugging Cadence.
  113. “But I can't stop to talk right now, have you seen Anon? We're looking for him.”
  114. >”Yes, in fact we just spoke with him a few minutes ago.” Cadence nods. “He was watching the party from a balcony when we were walking past.”
  115. “Was...was he alone?”
  116. >”Yeah. Why, what's wrong Twi?” Shining asks, puzzled.
  117. “Its just, humans aren't used to being alone this time of year. We're worried about him.”
  118. >”Twilight, he seemed fine. I'm sure Anon is alright.” Cadence assures you.
  119. “Well there's only one way to be sure...” you say. “I'll see you tomorrow!”
  120. >And with that you canter back across the Great Hall, towards the back staircases.
  121. >There are only two ways downstairs, and you'll see him if he comes down the Grand Staircase.
  122. >So you must guard the back ways!
  123.  
  124. -Rainbow POV-
  125. >Standing in the balcony, you find it empty.
  126. >The hallway is also empty.
  127. >You spot something on the floor though...
  128. >It's Anon's handkerchief!
  129. >He was definitely up here.
  130. >But where did he go?
  131. >There's a guard at the end of the hall, maybe he knows?
  132. >Artfully dodging some garlands, you land with the power and precision of a pro.
  133. “Hey, you haven't seen a tall gangly human up here, have you?”
  134. >”He just left, after speaking with Prince Shining Armor and Princess Cadence.”
  135. “Really? Awesome! Which way did he go?”
  136. >”Turned right at the far end of the corridor.” he says, pointing stiffly back the way you came.
  137. “Thanks dude!” you say, taking off down the hall.
  138. >Turning to the right, you're faced with a dilemma.
  139. >Ahead on the left is the patio, straight ahead the hall goes along the Great Hall and into the castle, or there's a smaller dual staircase that goes to the ground floor.
  140. >What did Twilight say?
  141. >She's got downstairs, and you're pretty sure that the rooms east of the Great Hall are Rarity's...
  142. >Time to go check out the patio.
  143.  
  144. -Anon's POV-
  145. >Careful not to spill your wassail, you make your way towards the back staircase.
  146. >Upstairs, you find the place deserted.
  147. >If Rainbow was up here, she isn't any more.
  148. >You can hear an orchestra over the voices drifting in from the patio,
  149. >Making a mental note to check it out later, you return to your previous perch and settle into a chair.
  150. >Far across the way, you can see Rarity talking to Princess Celestia.
  151. >Always a climber, that pony.
  152. >You lift the mug to your lips.
  153. >Spice, Apples and Alcohol.
  154. >So delightful.
  155.  
  156. -Rarity POV-
  157. “So we're looking for him to make sure he understands that we're here for him. Can you imagine, being all alone at this time of year? I simply cannot believe we allowed this to happen!”
  158. >”While I appreciate your concern for your friend, I am sure Anon is just fine. I saw him conversing with Luna not five minutes ago near that punch he brought with Applejack.”
  159. “Of course! How many times have I drowned my sorrows in such a way...how could I have not thought of it myself! Thank you princess!”
  160. >With a quick bow, you move with as much haste as decorum allows down the stairs.
  161. >Reaching the punch bowl in question, you find a server but no one else of note.
  162. “Ehem, excuse me, have you seen Anonymous the Human by chance?”
  163. >The pony glances at you, handing you a mug of the cider-like concoction.
  164. >“Of course, madame. He was here but moments ago. He moved off towards the back stairs. Perhaps the Patio?”
  165. “Thank you.” you smile, taking a sip of the brew.
  166. >Quite warming. Just what you'll need on the chilly patio.
  167. >Drink in tow, you make your way towards the stairs.
  168.  
  169. -Pinkie POV-
  170. >You aren't really sure where you are right now.
  171. >It probably would have helped if you had listened better to Twilight.
  172. >Or not had so much coffee.
  173. >But Non-non needs you, so you'll keep looking.
  174. >Even if you doubt he's anywhere near here.
  175. >Not that you know where here is.
  176. >Wait!
  177. >That smell...that's...
  178. >CAKE!
  179. >You must be near the kitchens.
  180. >Perfect!
  181. >Now you know exactly how to get back to the party!
  182. >Following your nose, you soon push through a pair of doors and find yourself in the massive Canterlot Castle Konditorei.
  183. >Watching wide-eyed as platters of pastries are placed on carts, you see your chance and take it.
  184. >While the servers go disappear into a back room, you sneak up to the carts.
  185. >Grabbing two eclairs, you then hide under the tablecloth, sitting on the lower panel of the cart.
  186. >Now we just wait until they take us back to the party!
  187. >Until then...
  188. >Mmmm...eclair.
  189.  
  190. -Fluttershy POV-
  191. >Drifting from room to room, you see a lot of ponies.
  192. >Ponies playing games.
  193. >Ponies smoking cigars.
  194. >Ponies with fancy names.
  195. >Ponies with cool guitars.
  196. >But you haven't seen a single human.
  197. >THE single, lonely human in Equestria.
  198. >Oh poor Anon.
  199. >How did you let this happen, Fluttershy?
  200. >Some Element of Kindness you are.
  201. >You spotted him once.
  202. >He was talking with Princess Luna across the Great Hall.
  203. >But by the time you made it there he was gone.
  204. >Princess Luna didn't know where he went, but assured you he seemed happy.
  205. >Maybe he's avoiding you?
  206. >Is it because he think you all have abandoned him?
  207. >He was talking to Luna and was happy, does he even want to come back to Ponyville!?
  208. >What if he decides to stay here, with the Princesses?
  209. >”You have to make this right, Fluttershy” you sniffle to yourself.
  210.  
  211. -Applejack POV-
  212. >Horseapples.
  213. >This is the dumbest thing you've ever let Twi talk you into.
  214. >Well, that isn't exactly true.
  215. >But still, you know Anon.
  216. >And bein' his friend, you know he'll be returning to that fancy cider quite a bit.
  217. >Its got a good kick, but the big galoot will probably shrug it off like always.
  218. >Darn Anon, bein' all tall and human and whatnot.
  219. >But still, you're the foal who let Twilight convince you to head out and look for him.\
  220. >Now you're out here in the gardens, snow fallin' around you and not a soul in sight.
  221. >Buck this, it's taking too long.
  222. >Scrambling onto a snow-covered hedge, you trot along the carefully manicured bushes.
  223. >After a quick survey of the gardens, you know two things:
  224. >1) Hedges are uncomfortable to walk on
  225. >2) Anon is not in the Gardens.
  226. >Now its time to get your flank back to that cider bowl!
  227.  
  228. -Anon POV-
  229. >Well, your wassail is gone.
  230. >You could get another...
  231. >...but that means going back downstairs.
  232. >Instead, you decide to check out the patio.
  233. >Your suit coat should keep you warm enough.
  234. >Probably.
  235. >Approaching the Patio you decide to make a quick detour to hit the head first.
  236. >Passing the open doors, you head into the nearby bathroom.
  237.  
  238. -Rainbow POV-
  239. >Aww man, this music is lame.
  240. >These ponies are lame.
  241. >And Anon isn't out here.
  242. >You even flew up overhead to make sure you hadn't missed him somehow.
  243. >Not that that's even possible.
  244. >Anon sticks out like a sore thumb, being the only human.
  245. >You sit miserably at a table near the bar, looking despondently out towards the horizon.
  246. >After a while a hoof pats your back.
  247. >”I take it you haven't found him either, darling?” Rarity asks, sliding into the seat next to yours.
  248. “No.” you mumble.
  249. >It feels bad to admit that.
  250. >He's one of your best friends!
  251. >Not even AJ is as patient with you as Anon is!
  252. >And you can't even be there for him when he needs it most.
  253. >”Come now, Rainbow. Surely you aren't giving up the hunt that easily?”
  254. “He's not anywhere Twilight asked me to look though!” you groan, downing the rest of your drink.
  255. >”Well you can come help me then.” she says, pulling you to your hooves. “Anon needs us.”
  256. >Yeah.
  257. >Yeah he does.
  258. >And you're gonna be there for him.
  259. >Following Rarity, you head back inside and into the East Wing.
  260.  
  261. -Pinkie POV-
  262. >”Ugh! What are these things filled with, lead?” the server groans as you feel your cart lurch forward.
  263. >”Aw c'mon ya wuss!” the other one mocks.
  264. >Finally!
  265. >You really need to get back!
  266. >And you really want another eclair!
  267. >Or maybe some cake!
  268. >And then you have to find Anon!
  269. >Or maybe you should do that first?
  270. >Okay, we'll find him first, and then we'll BOTH get some cake.
  271. >Everypony likes cake.
  272. >And if that doesn't cheer him up, well...
  273. >...well you don't know.
  274. >You'll figure that out later.
  275. >For now, you need to get back and find Anon!
  276.  
  277. -Twilight POV-
  278. >You haven't seen Anon.
  279. >It's starting to scare you a little.
  280. >Rarity stopped by.
  281. >She said Celestia had spotted Anon talking to Luna.
  282. >And that Luna had confirmed this.
  283. >You must have just missed him.
  284. >How could you let him get away!
  285. >Now nopony seems to know where he is.
  286. >You really want to go speak to Princess Luna.
  287. >She's not that far away...you can still watch the stairs from there-
  288. “No!” you shout, startling a nearby stallion.
  289. >You grin sheepishly, as the miffed noble walks away.
  290. >Steeling yourself against temptation, you resolve to guard the stairs.
  291. >There's no way you'll let Anon get past you again.
  292.  
  293. -Anon POV-
  294. >Drying your hands on a towel [spoiler]Oh My God, how do they get these so soft!?!?[/spoiler] you make your way out onto the patio.
  295. >Snagging some food from a passing server, you make your way to the bar.
  296. >Drink in hand, you take a seat at a table with a view.
  297. >You're not sure, but those twinkling lights on the horizon might be Ponyville.
  298. >Damn, you wish you knew where the girls were.
  299. >Getting all feelsy.
  300. >That little town had really grown on you since arriving here.
  301. >Canterlot is fun to visit, but you'd never leave Ponyville for it.
  302. >You simply sit and stare out at the stars for a while.
  303. >Finally you stand and stretch.
  304. >You'll have to host a more intimate Christmas party back home.
  305. >Just you, the girls and a few other close friends.
  306. >But now you are tired.
  307. >Snagging an eclair off a passing cart, you head towards your room in the East Wing, bidding goodnight to Luna as you pass her near the stairs.
  308.  
  309. -Pinkie POV-
  310. >That voice!
  311. >It was Anon!
  312. >Was he...saying goodbye?
  313. >Goodbye to who?
  314. >The cart finally stops, and you somersault out to find yourself on the patio.
  315. >Ignoring the angry shouts of the servers, you race back inside.
  316. >Which way, which way!
  317. >You spot Applejack coming from the West Wing.
  318. “Applejack! I just heard Anon, did you see him?”
  319. >”Of course not, Pinkie. I would've told y'all if I'd have seen him.”
  320. “We have to hurry! He was saying goodbye to someone! What if he's leaving!”
  321. >”Pinkie, I don't think Anon is goin' nowhere. But...” the farm pony drifts off.
  322. >”I bet I know where he went. C'mon Pinks, follow me!”
  323.  
  324. -Fluttershy POV-
  325. >You have fallen into despair.
  326. >Tears sit perched at the corners of your eyes.
  327. >You'll never find Anon.
  328. >He'll never know how much you all care for him.
  329. >He'll-
  330. >Before you can continue, Twilight drops in front of you.
  331. >”Fluttershy! Princess Luna just told me Anon came by and said goodnight! Do you remember what room he's staying in?”
  332. “N-no, I don't. I'm sorry-”
  333. >”Not your fault. Come on, we can still catch him if we hurry!”
  334. > A familiar purple aura grabs you and you find yourself sailing after Twilight.
  335.  
  336. -Anon POV-
  337. >Brush Brush Brush or the crazy dentist pony will murder you in your sleeeeep.
  338. >You quietly hum the tune to yourself as you clean your molars.
  339. >Your suit hangs nearby, lest you set yourself up for a lecture from Rarity.
  340. >Rinsing and spitting, you climb into bed.
  341.  
  342. -Rarity POV-
  343. >You were just about to advise conceding when you heard it.
  344. >A faint tune.
  345. >Not one you knew, but that voice...
  346. >Turning to Rainbow, you both spoke at once.
  347. “Anon!”
  348. >Racing down the hall, you follow the tune until it ends.
  349. >Nearby a light goes out under a door.
  350. >You approach it and both of you press ears flat against the wood.
  351. >That mumbling /could/ be Anon.
  352. >Close enough for you.
  353. >The door is locked, so you magic a bobby pin from your hair.
  354. >A few clicks later and you try the handle.
  355.  
  356. -Anon POV-
  357. >Someone is picking your lock.
  358. >What.
  359. >The.
  360. >Fuck.
  361. >You thought crime was non-existent here in magic horse land.
  362. >But right now you're lying in bed, holding your alarm clock.
  363. >The door opens a crack, then flies open, two ponies charging at you.
  364. >You let the alarm clock fly, but it misses widely as you're tackled into the comforter.
  365. >But instead of meeting your struggles with blows, the ponies counter with snuggles.
  366. >As your panic subsides, you recognize the voices...
  367. “Rarity? Rainbow?”
  368.  
  369. -Applejack POV-
  370. >Barreling down the halls of the East Wing, you desperately try to recall which room Anon was staying in.
  371. >A sudden commotion ahead draws your attention, and you surge forward.
  372. >Coming around a corner, Pinkie sticks a hoof out.
  373. >”There! The open door! That's Non-nons room! I'm sure of it!”
  374. >Coming to the doorway, you see the silhouette of a human and two of your friends.
  375. >Dropping your hat on a chair, you clamber up onto the bed, Pinkie close behind you.
  376. “Anon, I'm-I'm sorry partner. I didn't-”
  377. >”Shhhh. You didn't do anything wrong. C'mere.”
  378. >A long, strong arm pulls you in close.
  379. >Rarity and Rainbow are curled up, heads resting on either shoulder.
  380. >So you lay your head down on his chest, Pinkie mirroring your move.
  381. >The gentle rise and fall of his breathing is calming...
  382.  
  383. -Fluttershy POV-
  384. >Twilight leads the way to the front desk.
  385. >Seeing nopony around, she steps behind the desk and skims the ledger.
  386. >You watch the hall to make sure she isn't interrupted.
  387. “I hope she's right.” you whimper to yourself.
  388. >”A-ha!” she shouts triumphantly.
  389. >You float back over to her and suddenly feel yourself jerked backwards.
  390. >Landing with a thud, you take a moment to orient yourself.
  391. >Twilight is standing before an open door, peering inside.
  392. >Then she suddenly rushes forward.
  393. >Poking your head around the door, you see Twilight settling down on Anon's lap.
  394. >Taking to the air, you slowly float over the bed.
  395. >You gently touch down on Anon's chest, and curl up into a ball.
  396. “A-anon?”
  397. >”Hmmm?”
  398. “You know that...that you're not alone, right? We're all always here for y-you...”
  399. >His chest bounces as a low chuckle reverberates through the room.
  400. >”You crazy ponies.” he laughs. “Of course I knew that.”
  401. “I just thought that, well, maybe you were...lonely?”
  402. >”Now why would you ever think that?”
  403. “I just...I saw you under the mistletoe. Up on the balcony. And well-”
  404. >You don't know why you did it.
  405. >But you just leaned forward and kissed him.
  406. >A quick brush of butterfly lips.
  407. ”Happy Hearth's Warming, Anon.”
  408. >”Merry Christmas, Fluttershy.”
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